[Advaita-l] jnAna-vijnAna, gradations in Atma jnAna, superior-inferior jnAna nishTa etc. etc. PART-I

Ravishankar Venkatraman sunlike at hotmail.com
Mon Mar 5 18:05:20 CST 2007

Normally I do not post too much here. This one is a long post. Please bear 
with me.

>Vidyasankar wrote:
>Personally, I admire, revere, stand by and am guided by the Sringeri 
>Acharya and the matha's tradition. However, there are other longstanding 
>members of this list, as well as new members, who are aligned with other 
>institutions or perhaps with none.
>We cannot presume to speak for any of the traditional mathas, in an 
>official or unofficial capacity. We have come together on this forum only 
>in order to assist in our own svAdhyAya, to engage in and to mutually 
>benefit from a dialogue with other people who share our interests in 
>advaita vedAnta. That is all. I hope that this settles doubts on the 

>Ravisankar Mayavaram wrote:
>When there is a dispute in understanding the doctrine of
>advaita-vedAnta, we have  no choice but to go back to the sampradAya
>and Sringeri maTha is the obvious and the best choice.   But we should
>allow room to raise some of these disputes so that we can understand
>the objections and thereby the siddhAnta better.
>The only place I think, as a policy, we should not  take a specific
>side is regarding the date of Sankara. But this is not a doctrinal
I have been a member of this list for several years and would like to make 
certain observations based on my experience over the years. This list has 
helped me a lot in understanding what I have been reading from other 

I should thank Sri. Vidyasankar Sundaresan for his posts covering a huge 
bandwidth - from the profound Advaita BhashyAs to Mahabharata stories. There 
have been other contributors in this forum including Kartik, whose posts 
have been beneficial too.

I have had different view points on the Sankara's date to post here (from 
what Sri. Vidyasankar had to say) which I had researched several years ago. 
It was more of a presentation of the material from different view points for 
both of us, for the reader to take whatever he/she thought was appropriate 
enough. Personally, I do not think that there is much to conquer in this 
area for anyone.

Coming from a very orthodox family steeped in tradition, my father's parents 
were devoted to Sringeri gurus, with my mother's side devoted to Kanchi 
mutt. Needless to say, I had visited both the acharyas. I certainly did not 
like the mutts to have differences whatsoever, but things were not very rosy 
at least among some of the staunch devotees.

When new members browse the pages of Advaita Vedanta, apart from the 
material covering the philosophical matter, they see links from external 
sites seeing vehement attacks on the Kanchi mutt. For someone who abides by 
the Kanchi mutt tradition, this is really offending. We have seen a few new 
members join the forum, to get back on Vidyasankar, start a new set of posts 
to get even; this goes on for a while, and the whole thing dies down. I am 
sure that they have also offended some of the other devotees in this forum.

My humble opinion is that the links attached by Vidyasankar, though created 
by him in some other Hindu forum a decade ago or even before, is very 
hurting for Kanchi devotees including myself, certainly giving a necessary 
color to this august forum. As Vidyasankar himself mentioned that we cannot 
presume to speak for any of the traditional mathas, in an official or 
unofficial capacity, it certainly indicates that what ever has been written 
in that article is his opinion.

The Kanchi AcAryA's opinion on this dispute can be seen in Ra.Ganapathi's 
article (http://www.kamakoti.org/souv/5-59.html). Sringeri AcAryA had given 
a message about Sri. Kanchi Mahaswami on the occasion of centenary 
celebrations of Kanchi Mahaswami's peetarohanam (I posted some time ago), by 
which all the questions of the devotees should be cleared. This proves 
beyond doubt that AcAryAs are above this normal plane looking at the same 
dispute from a different perspective (perhaps from being THE SELF). They 
cannot and need not change the ground rules in which we normal human beings 
live. They need to pretend to rely on conflicting material, though they know 
what they are talking of.

On a similar note, the recent discussions about Sri.SachchidAnandendra 
Saraswathi Swamiji (SSS) have caused much anxiety and stress in the minds of 
Holenarsipur Swami's devotees. What we need to consider is that this Swami's 
works have been funded by AcAryAs of 3 traditional mutts. They would not 
have given SSS the due importance, if SSS did not really deserve it. Having 
read some of SSS works, I feel that there is a possibility for some of his 
thinking to create new vistas in certain areas of Advaita tradition. Though 
it may not be part of the tradition now, some parts of Swamiji's teachings 
could become part of the tradition down the road, provided our tradition 
itself survives (seeing the current state of affairs in India!!!). That is 
possibly the primary reason for which Kanchi, Sringeri and Dwaraka AcharyAs 
have accepted SSS. I also think that SSS was very well read, able to discuss 
the subject authoritatively using different possibilities.

I would like to talk about another person I admire who can be inspiration to 
all of us. Some of the members of the forum may know Dr.Yagnasubramanian 
(YS) of Sanatana Dharma Yajna Mandali (www.yajnam.org) New Jersey. He is 
great devotee of Kanchi and Sringeri mutts. Please see the GuruparamparA 
page http://www.yajnam.org/guruparampara.html.

YS was given a title of "Dharma Rakshamani" by Sri. Jayendra Saraswathi 
Swamigal a few years ago. He is one of the key members running Sringeri 
Vidya Bharati Foundation in Pennsylvania. Under the instructions of Sringeri 
Sankaracharya, YS is working on a temple for Sarada Devi in the US, along 
with his friends and disciples - from both Kanchi and Sringeri mutts.

Let us look for common areas of understanding, strengthen our bonds to the 
root (which is Sri. Adi Sankara Himself), but cling to one of the branches 
of the tree (Sringeri, Kanchi or SSS and so on...). Though the tree exists 
with branches, we need more people to practice this tradition by clinging to 
one branch of the tree or other. The tree will get weakened if one branch 
cuts the other. Practitioners are more important; bring more people into 
this fold. Let us make our children understand the fundamentals (root) of 
this tree and make them cling to a branch. That is more rewarding for all of 
us, and if this forum is used that way, I am sure it will have the blessings 
of all the great gurus of the tradition.

Sorry again for the long post. Regards, Ravi

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