[Advaita-l] Thanks [Was some questions on dharma]

Annapureddy Siddhartha Reddy annapureddy at gmail.com
Mon Oct 30 23:58:38 CST 2006

praNAm.h shrI Vidyasankar,
       Thanks for clearing up the following issues:

> To my knowledge, these sorts of questions are not even discussed in any
> detail by traditional advaita vedAnta teachers. The question of supporting
> bhIshma or criticizing him does not arise. Two different advaitins can
> have
> very different personal opinions and evaluations of bhIshma's conduct.

This again emphasizes for me that mOkSha and dharma are slightly orthogonal
to each other as puruShArthas (in the sense that the nature and the means of
attaining these are different).

It is easier for vaishNavas to say that all who fought on the side of
> duryodhana
> were being adharmic, although I suspect that different vaishNava
> sampradAya
> leaders will have different views on this. However, I doubt if SrI kRshNa
> himself would have said so.

I am not sure if the vishiShTAdvaitins have a definite position on this. The
dvaitins, as I mentioned earlier, have a definite position.

After all, when duryodhana and arjuna both arrived simultaneously, asking
> for his support, why did he give them a choice between the yAdava army and
> himself (and only in a non-combative capacity)? Even if he knew beforehand
> that duryodhana would choose the army, his offer of a choice meant that he
> wilfully offered up his army to the side of adharma.

Thanks for pointing this out.

Personally, I don't agree that kRshNa offers a different view of dharma than
> what was in practice before. One might as well say, and with better
> textual
> justification, that it is yudhishThira, not kRshNa, who offers a very
> different view of dharma. There is at least one episode in the
> mahAbhArata,
> where he says, "if I do a thing, how can it be anything but dharma?" Not
> so
> with kRshNa. He offers long explanations, teaches and advises.

I meant it in the following sense. For example, when bhIShma was on a
rampage exterminating the pAnDava army, shrI kR^iShNa did not bother
breaking his vow to stay bhIShma. And He mentions several times that He
would transgress his vow if need be. This is something which is difficult to
associate with shrI rAma whose adherence to the Truth (literally) is
well-known (this is conjecture, but given the rAmAyaNa, this seems very

 Absolute non-violence is an ideal; the reality falls far short.
> Similarly, absolute right and absolute wrong are ideal ends of a spectrum.
> Every human act falls in between, and is tinged with both, to varying
> degrees.

I agree with you fully on this. The question though is how far to the
right/wrong side one is. In this context, the question is if bhIShma's
action was the best possible given the circumstances/norms of the day. For
example, would bhIShma going on a pilgrimage (like shrI balarAma) be a worse



> Vidyasankar

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