SSS and Madhva (was Re: [Advaita-l] Review of MarthaDoherty's comments on Sri Satchidanandendra Sarasvati)

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian rama.balasubramanian at
Wed Feb 28 12:31:01 CST 2007

In case any one did not get it, Kartiks mail was about why/how
*terminology* should not be confused with *philosophy*. Terminology
can change quite a bit over time without the philosophy changing. And
philosophy is the most important thing - at least to most of us.

But consider this other interesting thing. There's a book by S.K.
Ramachandra Rao [1] (SKRR) on the adhyaasa bhaaShya. In the foreword,
he blasts Padmapada et. al in no uncertain terms for "distorting" the
bhaaShya of Sankara. Then he claims that if avidyaa=maayaa were not
claimed by "later advaitins", there would not have been
"controversies" with the later VaiShNava vedaantins. Then he goes to
add that he heard that one Madhva-Mathadipathi (Sri Vidyamanya Tirtha,
or some one else, I forget the exact name now) had told someone that
there is no difference between Sankara and Madhva and that he was
going to write a book on it. Then SKRR helpfully adds that he doesn't
know if he wrote that book, but this confirms what he said about the
part that there wouldn't have been "controversies" with later
Vaishnavas if maayaa=avidyaa had not been claimed by Padmapada.

Now this paragon of "critical" scholarship could have at least verfied
with the Madhva Mathadipati how it is possible that pa~nca-bheda which
exists forever, souls having intrinsic, eternal qualities such as
sattva, rajas and tamas, tamasic souls can never attain moxa or change
into rajasic or saatvic souls, etc.; magically become the same as
advaita if maayaa=avidyaa is not accepted. How pathetic. This scholar
thinks he knows better than Padmapada, and dons his "critical" scholar
hat when talking about Padmapada, and gets out his magnifying glass
when searching for trivial terminological differences. But he rests
content with handing out some old wives tale that he heard from
someone, regarding Madhvas doctrine being the same as Sankara.

Of course, in his introduction he pays homage to Sri Candrashekhara
Bharati Mahaasvaaminah and Sri Mahaasannidhaanam, who he admits "would
not have been happy with his writing in this book". What is wrong with
all these folks? Do they seriously think they can pick up a book and
second-guess sampradaayavits regarding vedaanta? If so, what kind of
sampradaayavits are they in the first place? If you can understand
vedaanta better by reading some bhaasShya, why the heck would you need
to approach a sampradaayavit? The guru is who effects the
transformation of the consciousness and not any amount of "critical
scholarship" on 1200 year old bhaaShyas, regardless of whose bhaaShya
it may be. The bhaaShyas are only a crutch for *second-grade
students*, who need more reasoning than the guru provides directly by
his mere presence.  In my opinion this bhAshya studies disease is
confused thinking at best, if not sheer lunacy; especially prevelant
among Western educated Indians who think reading Sanskrit texts is a
substitute or even better than the actual guru; and that they can
"out-guru" the guru himself.

So, you actually hit the nail on the head more than you might have
thought (I am assuming you haven't read the book by SKRR).


[1]  SKRR passed away about a year back. There was a message on the
list regarding this. He accepts SSSs interpretation of Sankara.

On 2/28/07, S Jayanarayanan <sjayana at> wrote:
> It occurs to me that there isn't much difference between SSS and the
> dvaitins.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list