[Advaita-l] BrahmaGYAna and jIvanmukti - 5 (Other References)

Stig Lundgren slu at bredband.net
Thu Feb 8 18:07:44 CST 2007

Dear Rama,

First we should ask this: Why is Satchidanandendra Swamiji critical about
some of the standpoints propagated by Advaitins in the post-Shankara era?
Well, one reason is that he thinks that those later vedantins have deviated
from Shankara´s original teachings, and hence that they have in certain
aspects been propagating doctrines not found in Shankara´s works. But there
is also another reason, although connected to the first one:
Satchidanandendra claims that just because those post-Shankara thinkers have
on some points invented new doctrines, their writings might create obstacles
for those who would like to learn what Shankara himself said. If the student
of Shankara tries to understand Shankara with the help of those commentaries
written by later vedantins, unnecessary confusion might follow regarding
what Shankara said or not said. Hence Satchidanandendra Swamiji says that
"to take the Vedanta system, not as we find it in Sankara but 'as elaborated
by his followers' would be only to court confusion and create needless
obstacles in our way." This quote is from the book "How to Recognize the
Method of Vedanta" (p.19) where Swamiji is trying to show what was really
the vedantic method propagated by Shankara. Moreover, in his book "Essays on
Vedanta", Satchidanandendra writes the following: "in these circumstances,
it is most necessary to discover the unique doctrine and the distinctive
tecnique or the method, if there be one at all, which governs all the modes
of approach to reality in these writings. If one could succeed in this
attempt, that would be the source to provide the critical student of Vedanta
with a clincher to help him out of this apparent maze." (p.5)

These two quotes shows that
Satchidanandendra´s critical attitude toward later commentaries (for
instance Vivarana and Bhamati) is due to his view that those commentaries
might actually be confusing to those who would try to understand what
Shankara himself says in his books. Hence, Satchidanandendra thinks that one
ought to study Shankara´s own works, rather than rely on later commentaries.
The critical remarks by Satchidanandendra about later vedantic
interpretations should be considered in the light of this.

So, are all Vedantic writings after Sureshvara useless? No. But parts of
them might create unnecessary confusion on those specific point where they
teach doctrines not found in Shankara´s own writings. However, all the other
parts of all those later works would NOT create any confusion simply because
they do not say anything that differs from Shankara (or from Gaudapada and
Sureshvara). After all, we must not forget that post-Shankara vedanta has
everything in common with Shankara, apart from some (albeit important) parts
of the doctrine.

But we should not be surprised to find that Satchidanandendra Saraswati
Swamiji in his writings focuses on those points where he believes the
differences are to be found. When he is analyzing the development of the
vedantic doctrine, then the focus is on the differing areas rather than on
the teachings common to all advaitins.

Satchidanandendra Swamiji certainly makes no secret of his critical view on
for instance the Panchapadika. But the Panchapadika should be studied
nevertheless. In
the introduction to his Sanskrit book on this work by Padmapada
("PancapAdikA-prasthAnam"), Satchidanandendra Swamiji says that the purpose
of his work is not merely to show "the divergent and highly conflicting
nature of the Post-Shankara doctrines on particular subjects, but also to
serve the purpose of a healthy stimulus to the study of the development of
Vedantic thought." (p.12)

Warmest regards
Stig Lundgren

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian" <rama.balasubramanian at gmail.com>
To: "A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta"
<advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 2007 10:13 PM
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] BrahmaGYAna and jIvanmukti - 5 (Other References)


Any basis for this assertion? Hopefully from works of SSS himself?

I can produce about a dozen quotes which imply all writing after
Sureshvara are useless.


On 2/6/07, Stig Lundgren <slu at bredband.net> wrote:
> Dear Kartik,
> I´m afraid my only intention here was to point out that even though Swami
> Satchidanandendra Saraswati did refute the opinion that Vivekachudamani is
> work by Shankaras pen, and even though he didn´t approve of all
> presented in Jivanmuktiviveka, he nevertheless considered those two works
> be most important works within the Advaita Vedanta tradition. He did not
> consider as useless all works written after Sureshvara, as some people
> to believe.
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