[Advaita-l] Re: Pa~nchapAdikAchArya

Ramesh Krishnamurthy rkmurthy at gmail.com
Mon Oct 2 08:29:33 CDT 2006

On 30/09/06, Abhishek RK <rkabhi at gmail.com> wrote:
> Namaste Sri Ramakrishnan,
> I am eagerly awiting your critique of Sacchidanandendra's writings. Just to
> put things in perspective, criticising his approach by claiming he goes
> against "tradition" is a logical fallacy. See:
> http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/appeal-to-tradition.html.
> Regards,
> Abhishek
> --

Namaste Abhishek-ji,

I agree with what you have mentioned above. I have gone through the link also.

However, if my understanding is correct, what Sri Ramakrishnan means
by tradition is somewhat different from what you are referring to
above. He is using tradition to mean 'sampradaya'.

Sampradaya is not merely a word that connotes tradition in the sense
of "this is the way things have always been done". Rather, sampradaya
is the vehicle that transmits the teaching. In fact, sampradaya is the
authority on the teaching.

I am probably not the best person to explain the importance & spirit
of sampradaya. So here's a link you may want to look at:


Like yourself, I am eagerly awaiting Sri Ramakrishnan's critique of
the writings of SSS. While I am no expert on SSS, the impression that
I get from some of his *followers* is that they dont respect the
concept of sampradaya.

One of the consequences of not going by the sampradaya is an excessive
focus on trying to identify Sankara's "genuine" works, and then
speculating about where this or that acharya differs from Sankara.
While such an exercise has its academic merits and no sampradayavit
would ignore it, it does not help us in understanding the teaching the
way it has been passed down by the sampradaya.

For example, the Vivekachudamani is undoubtedly a sterling work of the
Advaita parampara. In fact, it is probably the most widely known and
widely read text in Advaita-Vedanta. And yet one finds some SSS
followers dismissing it because they think it may not have been
written by Sankara, or that it differs in some aspects from what they
think is Sankara's "true teaching".

In what respects the VC differs from Sankara's other works can be
debated (though it is quite likely to be an endless debate). But the
fundamental point is that its authorship is immaterial. What is
material is that the text has been considered important by several
advaita acharya-s over the centuries.

Advaita-Vedanta is not "Shankaraism". Advaita Vedanta does not derive
its greatness from Sankara. It is Sankara who derives his greatness
from Advaita Vedanta.


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