[Advaita-l] Re: Pa~nchapAdikAchArya

Ramesh Krishnamurthy rkmurthy at gmail.com
Thu Oct 26 03:54:45 CDT 2006

Namaste Kathirasan-ji,

On 25/10/06, K Kathirasan   NCS <kkathir at ncs.com.sg> wrote:
> There was a time when the Upanishads were not written just like the
> samhitas & brahmanas. Advaita darshana was taught even during those
> times.

Agreed 100%. Nobody ever denied that. But in your earlier post you wrote:

As we all know that during ancient times, the Shruti was
committed to memory and not to writing. Therefore, one had to resort to
a teacher to know oneself. There was no other alternative.

But today the Shankara's Bhashyas and the Upanishads are
available in writing. Are we to still maintain that an Uttama Adhikari
will still be unable to gain Brahmajnana through the study of these
texts independently?

What does the above mean? What you seem to be implying above is that a
guru is somehow less relevant today (because written texts are
available) than in very ancient times when teaching was purely oral.

I am saying that the mere availability of written texts does not in
any way reduce the relevance of a guru. A good teacher is valued even
in mundane subjects like mathematics or physics where books are
available in plenty.

Let me also add that there is little point in bringing in uttama
adhikArI-s. An uttama adhikArI is a theoretical possibility, a very
very rare case indeed. Swami Dayananda Saraswati goes to the extent of
saying that an uttama adhikArI exists "only on paper".

The shaastra-s with all their meticulous teaching & explanation of
various kinds of sAdhanA-s are really meant for adhikArI-s who are not
all that uttama.

> any case, Shankara didn't invent this teaching. He was an illustrious
> teacher in the line of many teachers who established the Siddhanta
> firmly as taught the Upanishads.

Wonderful. This is what I have been saying all along. But your views
in general dont seem to reflect the above.

> There was a methodology employed by the
> Upanishads, which Shankara made very clear in is Bhashyas. Somehow the
> methodology took a back seat after many years because of the later
> Acharyas in the form of Bhamati and Vivarana.

Here's the problem. What if someone says that Sankara's bhashya-s had
some misinterpretations which the later Acharya-s corrected? Indeed a
dvaitin would say that that Sankara misinterpreted the upanishadic
teachings and  Madhvacharya had to restore the "original" teachings in
all their glory.

It simply becomes a case of my opinion versus yours. That is why
sampradaya, the continuous succession of teachers, is so important.

> Especially the undue
> emphasis on Yoga as a direct means to moksha.

And what is a "direct means" anyway?

Vidyasankar's posts are clearly bringing out the relevance of yoga in
advaita-vedAnta. I sincerely hope you are reading them. They contain
some real gems.

If you are saying that jnAna is the "direct means", then let me point
out that the achievement of jnAna is mokSha itself. And how does one
achieve jnAna? Through SravaNa, manana, nididhyAsana. And Sankara
refers to the Br.Up teaching of "Srotavyo mantavyo nididhyAsitavyaH"
as a yogic teaching. I wonder what greater endorsement you need.


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