[Advaita-l] Email of Sri Vidyashankar Sundaresan of March 31, 2007, on the P

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Mon Apr 2 21:21:01 CDT 2007

>I say that this topic of discussion is to explore how far this story is
>true and  has done credit to Shankara who is a teacher parexcellence and a
>Brahmajnani,and should we continue to hold on to it?.There is no way of
>verifying this story by doing parakayapravesha in this modern age,and

My take on it is that this discussion is really fruitless. The legends are 
what they are. You are doing no great service to Sankara or advaita vedAnta 
by questioning whether this or that legend is true and by finding fault with 
the authors of the texts that recount these legends. If the stories bother 
you, ignore them. If they don't, well and good.

If there is no way of verifying, there is really no way of refuting parakAya 
praveSa either. This holds true for any age, not just in this modern age. If 
I were to say that I know a great Yogi who possesses this power, how will 
you refute me? Say I have never ever given you cause to think I am liar. 
Will you think I am deluded about this great Yogi? If so, why? If not, why 

Given this situation, in what sense are we to explore whether the story 
about Sankara is true? Certainly, no scientific experiment is going to be 
possible. All exploration will proceed along the same lines as the 
discussion we are having, going nowhere, because those who find no problem 
with it will see no need for exploration and those who do find a problem 
with it are never going to agree.

Furthermore, what is meant by "should we continue to hold on to it"? Even if 
you or I reject the legend, it is not going to disappear from all the texts 
which recount the story. You are not going to be able to rewrite the life of 
Sankara without reference to the existing digvijaya texts. So, do you want 
to selectively pick and choose episodes from these texts, based upon your 
own likes and dislikes? If you do so, in what way will your output be any 
different from the texts that you criticize today? My point is, a few 
centuries later, someone else will have different likes and dislikes, and 
will want to change it all yet again, and they will have their own mental 
image of Sankara to justify their revisions.


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