[Advaita-l] SSS, avidyA, shrI Ramakrishnan

Annapureddy Siddhartha Reddy annapureddy at gmail.com
Thu May 24 15:22:07 CDT 2007

namaskAramu Siva Senani gAru (and others in the discussion too),
         Please see below:

> I will make my current position too clear for you. I feel SSS said
> only 1. If he did make statements like 2 (as I mentioned, I do not
> have access to the books, and hence have no way of ascertaining the
> context of the quotes you mentioned), then presumably it could be
> ascribed to reasons like imprecise use of language etc.
> * With due respect, factual questions should be verifed not argued. Whether Sri Satchidanendra Sarasvati Swamiji made such a statement (2 above) or not is verifiable, and since Sri Ramakrishnan has made his understanding explicit, would it not have been better to take up this matter * after * verifying the factual position?

What I wanted to convey through my earlier mails was not that shrI
Ramakrishnan produced bogus quotes (given your "factual questions
should be verifed not argued") etc. Maybe, my usage of the phrase
"imprecise use of language" was also a red herring. Let me clarify
what I intended.

When an author makes two apparently contradictory statements, one
ought to try and  achieve samanvaya between them. Just to quote a few
examples (I am hoping that they won't raise further discussion):
-- Our discussion of BG 2.11, where interpreting the statements in a
strawman fashion makes them look contradictory.
-- shrI Jayanarayanan's discussion of shaN^kara's statements on
whether effort is required after attainment of GYAna or not. The
statements of shaN^kara seem contradictory on the surface.
-- vEdic statements themselves, some of which speak of duality and
some of which speak of non-duality.

In all these cases, resolution is done either by placing the
statements in their proper context, or by subordinating one statement
to the other (paramArtha vs. vyavahAra) etc. By "imprecise use of
language", I meant to capture these kinds of scenarios

(This paragraph can be skipped btw:
Let me also clarify that I am not questioning the diction of shaN^kara
here. All I am saying is that his statements seem
obscure/contradictory, as opposed to an ideal world where shaN^kara
himself would clarify why he wrote two mutually opposing statements
regarding the necessity of effort after attaining GYAna.)

Similarly, when SSS makes two apparently contradictory statements, I
would try to see if they go well together. For example, in our case
with statements 1-2, 2 might have been subordinated to 1 in a
consistent way.

Now, on to your statements:
-- "factual questions should be verifed not argued". As I noted, what
is involved is not just a question of fact, but a question of
interpretation. (And usually, this can be solved only by a "Sears
catalog" of references to extract what the author intended. Or in the
case of a person like SSS, we could ask his immediate disciples,
-- "would it not have been better to take up this matter * after *
verifying the factual position". I felt what I understood from Alston
to be the "factual" position of SSS (which also happens to have a
consistent interpretation of all the quotes), and hence I took up the
matter with shrI Ramakrishnan. When shrI Ramakrishnan felt otherwise
(viz. that Alston was/could be inaccurate), I asked the same question
on satchidanandendra list to confirm/correct my understanding. And
once that is done, I will take up the issue again.



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