A Myth About Sankara (was Re: [Advaita-l] jnAna-vijnAna, ...)

Praveen bhatpraveen at gmail.com
Sat Mar 17 02:19:45 CDT 2007

praNAm all,

(I'd written this yesterday, being upfront, but stored it as draft to
give it another thought. I send it today after toning it down further
to my capacity. If it still sounds harsh, its purely unintentional,
and I may kindly be corrected and/ or excused.)

On 3/16/07, Shyam <shyam_md at yahoo.com> wrote:
>   I find it difficult to believe that a student of advaita can question Bhagawan Shankara's authority as a revealer of what Mother Shruti conveys.

Agreed, but no one used terms that point even anything close to
questioning *authority* of Shankara. Pls don't read it in that light.

>   (rather disrespectfully referred to as "SSS" by many in this forum - shouldn't we have the patience to at least type out a mahatma's name??)

This has been discussed on the list before. Instead of giving someone
else's example, I'll take mine: I use my father's initial in my name.
Does that mean I'm being disrespectful? I hope not. Its convenience
akin to usage Shankara, that you too use, Shyam-ji, instead of Adi
Shankaracharya... both meaning the same beloved guru, with the same

> and that too by people who havent even taken their babysteps in the direction of attaining mumukshutvam.

I'd take this opportunity to thank this list that has been
instrumental in my gaining mumukshutva, if I can call it that, even so
a bit, and I'm sure there are a good many more. So, IMHO, that
statement does not do justice to some respected people on the list,
the number increasing vastly, that are the driving force behind
elementary seekers like me.

>   Now within this sampradaya authored by Bhagwan Shankara some differences in emphasis, terminology, and methodology may creep up with the passage of time.

Perhaps, *self-correction* can be linked here.

>   If one takes the position that
>   "my primary allegiance is to the shruti and..
>   I shall sit in judgement of Shankara and others' interpretation of the shruti, according all of them more or less an equal stature, and ..
>   I, this great panditah that i am, shall decide which of these interpretations i feels best represents the shruti's import, and..
>   I shall reject alternative positions on this issue even it is authored by Bhagwan Shankara Himself"
>   then i am afraid this person is rapidly digging his own spiritual grave.

Nobody here seems to be doing that in the years I've seen on this list
and if that, its clearly wrong. The list provides a platform to
improve everybody's understanding at various levels with various
tools. And since you too agree that Mahatma-s come down to the level
of the seeker, kindly also treat the discussion here so, albeit in a
modern way.

> Let us not fritter away this by questioning his stature as a intepreter of the Shruti's blessed message. It is not in our own good.

Again, may I humbly point out that all that is being said is *if*
there is a (seeming) contradiction between the Shruti and Shankara's
commentaries? Its not really said as if there *is* a contradiction,
per se.

> To say that latter day commentaries improve our understanding of vedanta over and above Shankara's exhaustive and elaborate bhashyas is indeed preposterous.

Thats being very unfair, Shyam-ji. If we all could understand
Shankara's bhashya-s crystal clearly, where would sampradAya be even
with the innumerous pains that the ones within take to help us gain
jn~Ana? Is shruti vAkya ahaM brahmAsmi so easy to *realize*?
Similarly, is Shankara's brahmasatyaM jaganmithyA jIvo brahmaiva nA

>Equally preposterous is to claim that this sampradaya is a
self-correcting mechanism - directly implying that there are mistakes
in the beginning which subsequently get "corrected" with the passage
of time - please think about the implications here!

Not in the beginning, but somewhere in the middle, *if* there are
mistakes, sampradAya plays a self-correcting role is how I read it to

>   As an example let us take "maya" As Swami Vidyaranya warn us :

Precisely so... we do need other commentaries, bhAshyAs, works...

>   In the example of the blue sky being an illusion, suffice to say it is a illusion - period.

I think we're using the examples too literally. For me, this example
was trying to bring out a different point altogether. The logic used
is only to help us understand things better.


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