[Advaita-l] SSS, avidyA, shrI Ramakrishnan

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian rama.balasubramanian at gmail.com
Tue May 22 14:29:57 CDT 2007

1. Context: Quite clearly when any work/works are being critiqued only
quotes, and some descriptions can be given. Obviously, things can be
quoted out of context. I maintain that I have not done so. So the
thing to do is to obtain the works cited, and check up. I have written
about 10 papers in communications/signal processing international
journals and conferences, and refereed papers for top notch journals
including IEEE trans on comm, IEEE journal of selected areas in comm,
etc. When the reviewer disagrees with a result, it is ****incumbent on
the reviewer to produce evidence for his opinion****, not demand that
the author clear up his misunderstanding by rewriting in some
mathematical notation he prefers. Or, claim that his teacher who lived
to 90 years and published 200 papers told him otherwise.

2. Language: While aatman is beyond words, the reason why it is said
to be so (assertion of shruti that aatman is beyond words, why we
should believe it, etc.) are not beyond the realm of words. If a
person cannot explain philosophy in words, he better not take up the
role of a teacher. As a matter of fact, SSS never claims he is at a
loss for words and asserts his opinions - always.

3. Again the stuff below shows basic misunderstanding of section 2.
What is the point in asking about ontological categories beyond aatman
and anaatman, and asserting SSS did not say there was a third
ontological category called the mind? First of all, neither aatman nor
anaatman are purely ontic in advaits, the word ontic being a very
loaded word having broad ramifications in philosophy. This at least
should have been clear. Secondly, the very point of section 2 was that
SSS does not realize that what he says *IMPLIES* a third category
called the mind. Obviously he did not explicitly asserts it, since he
did not realize it. Textual and terminological nitpicking instead of
philosophy, has resulted in an absurd situation which *IMPLIES* the
existence of a third category (lets not label it ontic, etc.), and
that indeed was the whole point of the paper. And now you come and
tell me that he did not assert a third category, so I am mistaken.

4. All this 90 years stuff is useless argumentation. Do you think
advaitins for 1200 years did not know that mithyaajnaana could also be
split as mithyaa+ jnaana, and not mithyaa + aj~naana? And this parsing
is passed of as the philosophical equivalent of the General theory of
relativity! Since you are willing to make 1200 years of advaitins
wrong on behalf of 1 person, you should have presumably equally
skeptical when you first read Alstons book. After all, here is a man
who claims 1200 years of advaitins were the "blind-leading-the blind".

So I presume:

a) You first got the orginal of the veddanta-prakriyaa-pratyabij~naa
and checked up Alston's translation.
b) You got every single book referred to by SSS, with all the Sanskrit
originals, and checked up each and every translation, and the context.
After all, you are this skeptic, who thinks things can be quoted "out
of context", and things can be "beyond words".

If you did do the 2 things above, it should be pretty easy for you to
get the books I quoted, and show that I quoted SSS out of context :-).
It's a much easier task. Should not take you more than 1 hour if you
have the books. A few years back I contacted the kaaryaalaya and sent
a check for $200 or so, and they very promptly sent the books. That's
not a steep price, is it?

FWIW, SSS completely misinterprets Padmapaada and Vidyaaranya and I
have verified this for myself.


On 5/20/07, Annapureddy Siddhartha Reddy <annapureddy at gmail.com> wrote:
> praNAm shrI Jayanarayanan,
>          Please see below:
> >
> > I think you missed out reading page 5 of Rama's paper, where SSS
> > himself is quoted as saying in one of his own works (direct English
> > quote - not a translation!):
> I did read the quotes. But given the lack of context for those quotes,
> I could not conclude much from them. And I have come across enough
> instances in literature where statements taken at face value
> contradict each other, but samanvaya sets them in the proper context
> and brings out a coherent opinion of the author. And I feel the same
> could be true with SSS. If he made two apparently contradictory
> statements, I would try and find out what he intended, before
> concluding that his philosophy is incoherent.
> > > -- If the superimposition is done by the mind, there would be three
> > > "ontological" categories, namely brahma (the real), the jagat (the
> > > unreal), and the mind which superimposes the real and the unreal.
> > > But
> > > I have not yet come across any statements of SSS which so much as
> > > discuss the nature of such a mind. What's its status in paramArtha?
> > > It
> > > cannot be real (as nirguNa brahma would not be advitIya then) or
> > > unreal (because we claimed it to be different from the jagat which
> > > comprises the unreal). Thus, it should be something like
> > > anirvachanIya, and I have not seen such an exposition from SSS
> > > (yet).
> > > Also, given the number of debates on this issue, I would be highly
> > > surprised if this issue was not pointed out earlier and if SSS did
> > > not
> > > have a position on it.
> > >
> >
> > You have just argued against the theory that "the mind does the
> > superimposition of the Self and not-Self on each other".
> >
> I understand that my argument goes against SSS (if he did hold the
> position you ascribe to him). But I have also noted that for a person
> who lived almost 90 years (?), engaging a number of scholars in
> debate, it is surprising that he did not have a position on this third
> ontological category (which makes me feel he never intended a third
> ontological category in the first place). Or maybe he did have a
> position on this third ontological category, in which case I would be
> interested in knowing more about it.
> > If so, your arguments are targeted precisely ***against*** SSS, who
> > held such a false theory!
> >
> > > -- SSS always talks of two "entities" - Self and not-Self (Method
> > > of
> > > Vedanta, translation by A.J.Alston ch.3, sec. 23, pg. 47). Nowhere
> > > does mind figure as a separate entity (mind, notion of jIva etc.
> > > are
> > > subsumed under anAtma, non-Self).
> >
> > That is then another point against SSS: why did he say at one point
> > that the mind does the superimposition of the Self and not-Self, and
> > at another say that the mind itself is part of the not-Self?
> >
> As I ventured to say in my mail to shrI Ramakrishnan, one reason could
> be imprecise use of language (presumably).

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