[Advaita-l] shaDdarhana and other unorthodox schools

Sanjay Srivastava sksrivastava68 at gmail.com
Fri Jan 19 22:47:49 CST 2007

On 1/19/07, Ram Garib <garib_ram at yahoo.co.in> wrote:

> Thanks Sri S Jayanarayanan for your very detailed
> reply. I stand chastised and corrected.

OTOH I see no reason why our schools should be treated as a subset of

All indian schools, whether it is buddhism or their arch rival advaita
vedanta, are first and foremost a moksha-shAstra: a practical means to
solve the existential problem of human limitation. Everything else is
subservient to this overarching goal. These schools have used every
available tool to reach this goal - be it reason or faith or ritual or
why, even philosophy but that shouldn't cloud our line of sight. They
are not exponding their systems for mere 'lovers of wisdom'.

When I first started reading locke, berkeley and hume, I must confess
I was terribly disappointed. Even after accounting for my obvious
bias, I can confidently say that anyone who is looking for real
solutions to problems of human existence is going to find 'philosophy'
as excruciatingly bland and lifeless. The urgency and the passion with
which a shankara or a nagarjuna is engaged in providing a tangible
solution to the problem of human existence will not be found anywhere
in 'philosophy'. How does it then matter whether we call it
'philosophy' or not? Shankara has very aptly captured this pitfall
when he warns the seeker against the dangers of dukrinkaraNE.

If the Indian schools do not generally show up in philosophy
curricullum, good for them. If as Sri Jayanarayan has pointed out that
they have started showing up, let us pray that they don't succeed.
Teaching and study of these schools require a completely different
mindset, which cannot be cultivated in a usual run-of-the-mill

If the 'philosophers' are not generally expounding on Indian schools,
that is all the better. They are not the least competent to do so, and
I am saying it as a most matter-of-fact statement without any tinge of
cultural arrogance. I will dread the day when I have to see a RamaNa
or a kAnchI-mahAswAmi standing beside a Sartre or a Camus.


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