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

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Sun Feb 18 16:31:56 CST 2007

--- Stig Lundgren <slu at bredband.net> wrote:

> Dear Rama,
> Thank you for your input and your interesting viewpoints. I will
> try to
> answer your questions as follows:
> You wrote:
> <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
> Is the "standard" advaita tradition composed of Vidyaranya,
> Madhusudana Saraswati, Abhinava Vidyatirtha, Ramana Maharshi, etc.,
> who do accept the pa~ncapaadikaa derived doctrines, sampradaayavits
> or
> not? The answer should be in the binary - yes or no, it cannot have
> Clintonian wafflings. My reading of SSS is that he think they are
> NOT.
> <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
> My reply:
> I´m afraid that my reading of SSS is that he think they ARE,
> although many
> later advaitic authors have (in SSS:s opinion) deviated from
> Shankara on
> certain points. But the sampradAya is certainly not any monolithe
> where
> every acharya has said exactly the same thing on every matter.
> Hence, one
> can be a part of the sampradAya without fully agreeing with all the
> other
> acharyas. SSS, though, is concerned that the original teachings of
> Gaudapada, Shankara and Sureshvara have been in certain aspects
> reinterpretated by later commentators in a way not faithful to the
> original.
> But this does not put those commentators outside the sampradAya
> (although
> those specific deviating parts are, according to SSS, not in line
> with
> Shankara).

SSS has done two things:

1) Present Sankara's teachings as-is, sans "extraneous influences".
2) Condemn post-Sankaran authors as being unfaithful to Sankara.

The first contribution is laudable, but the second is of poor taste.
SSS was not content merely presenting Sankara's commentaries to the
beginner, but he was keen on using his ideas to censure the later
advaitins such as the Panchapadikacharya.

Thus it is not uncommon to find students of SSS who use such
"superior logic" to the level of not accepting even scriptural quotes
that go against SSS's works. Whereas a minor difference (which is not
actually a difference at all) between Sankara and the
Panchapadikacharya renders the whole of the Panchapadika redundant.

For example, when I first pointed out that Vidyaranya has
distinguished Self-knowledge from Liberation, Bhaskar said:

"From my understanding, it is like saying, since our advaita AchArya
Sri VidyAraNya saying that there is difference between these two, we
have to accept it....I hope that would not be the case &  Sri Karthik
prabhuji will address these issues in detail in his subsequent posts
by providing logical answers with proper supportings from shruti-s"

After I provided the relevant shruti reference -- the Brihadaranyaka
Upanishad 3.5.1 that speaks of the GYAnI as giving up desires --
Bhaskar goes into denial, saying:

"...under these circumstances, where is the question of *leaving
desires* AFTER atma jnAna??"

In other words, disbelief continues even if the Brihadaranyaka
Upanishad says so! IMHO, it seems like SSS is idolized to the extent
of being greater than Vidyaranya, greater than Ramana Maharhi,
greater than H.H. of Sringeri, and GREATER EVEN THAN THE

Again, to quote Bhaskar:

"...calibrating jnAni-s like jnAni mAtra & jIvan mukta etc. etc. and
entrusting him certain disciplining acts (vidhi-s) etc. etc. are due
to lack of grasping the truth behind the jnAni-hood as enshrined in

In other words, Bhaskar is implying that Vidyaranya did not grasp the
truth behind Self-realization as taught by the scriptures!

It is one thing praise one's own Guru, it is an entirely different
thing to condemn another's!

> In SSS:s small ashram in Holenarsipur there are numerous
> photographs still
> hanging on the walls from the time when Swamiji lived there. For
> instance,
> there is a photograph of Swami Shivananda Saraswati. And there are
> several
> photos on the Sringeri Shankaracharyas Swami Satchidananda
> Shivabhinava
> Narasimha Bharati (who formally initiated SSS into the studies of
> Shankara
> Bhashya), Swami Chandrasekhara Bharati and Swami Abhinava
> Vidyatirtha. A
> picture of Swami Chandrasekhara Bharati can also be seen in the
> Rama-temple
> connected to the ashram. In the Bangalore karyalaya there is for
> instance a
> huge portrait of Sri Ramana Maharshi. I would assume that this
> indicate that
> Swamiji and the people at the ashram consider those great teachers
> to be
> sampradAyavits.

So what do SSS followers think when Ramana Maharshi says (Talks

"Some extraordinary persons get drdha jnana (unshaken knowledge)
even on hearing the Truth only once (sakrchhravana matrena).
Because they are krthopasakah (advanced seekers), whereas the
akrthopasakah (raw seekers) take longer to gain drdha jnana
(unshaken knowledge)."

Ramana Maharshi evidently accepts Vidyaranya's classification of
different grades among students!

> You wrote:
> <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
> Would any man call the standard tradition a procession of the blind
> leading the blind in that case? Let's just have some plausibility
> here. We need explanations, and not explaining away differences.
> <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
> My reply:
> You are referring to page 43 of Satchidanandendra Saraswati
> Swamiji´s work
> "Essays on Vedanta", right? There, Swamiji quotes a portion of
> Shankara´s
> introduction to Brahma Sutra Bhashya in order to show Shankara´s
> definition
> of avidyA. Thereafter SSS claims that in spite of this definition,
> "the
> sub-commentaries on Sankara-Bhashya, have started a procession of
> the blind
> led by the blind". So what SSS actually says here is not that the
> whole of
> post-Shankaran tradition is a procession of the blind leading the
> blind. The
> sub-commentators interpretation of avidyA have blurred Shankara´s
> original
> understanding of avidyA. And those who lean solely on the
> sub-commentators
> will therefore have to rely on a definition of avidyA not found in
> Shankara´s work.

There are other ways of pointing this out. SSS could easily have
said, "The Panchapadika is an advanced work that will not be clear to
the beginner student, so only the greatest scholars should study it."

Why the needless insinuation about the Panchapadikacharya being a
blind person?


Need Mail bonding?
Go to the Yahoo! Mail Q&A for great tips from Yahoo! Answers users.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list