[Advaita-l] Importance of Ashram

Anuj whereisanuj at gmail.com
Tue Jan 1 01:21:56 CST 2008

Dear Kartik, I appreciate your visiting the website thoroughly and
although I agree that it is a marketing savvy website (what you consider
corporate or "cultish" ), I think the central message of not believing what
you read, hear and assume but finding out for yourself through direct
experience is being missed here. You see, Mahesh actually has been to the
ashram, as will I in a few days. My mother has this problem of taking things
on face value and believing things too literally sometimes...and I can see
how that messes things up.

Yes, he is a businessman, and a really good one at that, but considering
that most of the influence and problems lie at their root in the working,
materially attached world, I see nothing wrong with addressing that
audience who need this knowledge the most. It's great that Vedanta is
preached the world over to all but most people like my mother and other
people in their retirement years that tend to really take this knowledge to
heart are not going to make the kind of difference it will take to make
society at large a better, truer, wiser place. So I feel the niche Swami
Parthasarthy appeals to is quite an important part of the generation that
can make a real, practical difference in their society and this is for the
greater good for the most people. Let's just say, for someone like me with
an MBA who has withdrawn from the American corporate banking/consulting
lifestyle I can connect with this version of Vedanta that leaves me more
positive for the state of humanity - that there is hope if only the
knowledge is shared in a digestible context. Rather than sharing all the
complicated Sanskrit terminology and debating over Which Swami is more or
less authentic and wiser, I prefer to concentrate on finding this out within
and if the environment and guidance is conducive to that, that's where my
home will be.

I do sincerely appreciate every one's input and concerns and support though,
this discussion group is a great forum for these exchanges.

With thanks,

On 1/1/08, S Jayanarayanan <sjayana at yahoo.com> wrote:
> --- Ramesh Krishnamurthy <rkmurthy at gmail.com> wrote:
> > On 31/12/2007, Mahesh Ursekar <mahesh.ursekar at gmail.com> wrote:
> > > b. Swamiji himself has studied in the UK and so is comfortable &
> > conversant
> > > with ideas of the West. In this respect, his teaching is a
> > wonderful blend
> > > of the East & the West
> > > c. His teaching is 100% rational with no element of superstition
> > or
> > > ritualistic leanings or blind beliefs.
> >
> > This talk of "blending east & west" always makes me squirm in my
> > seat.
> > Most people who make such claims are actually 99% west and 1% east.
> > Our problem is not the need to assimilate western paradigms but the
> > need to first understand our own.
> >
> Exactly.
> But there is hardly any doubt that Swami Parthasarathy is first and
> foremost a businessman who happens to be incidentally interested in
> Vedanta. For instance, here is the advertisement on his website:
> http://www.vedantaworld.org/cultural%20foundation%20bro_sc.pdf
> "... you will learn in a personalized setting with
> Swami Parthasarathy, the world authority on ancient wisdom
> in modern business."
> As to his credentials of being a great Vedanta teacher:
> http://www.vedantaworld.org/founder_person.htm
> http://www.vedantaworld.org/cultural%20foundation%20bro_sc.pdf
> "Above all, at 6 feet he has maintained a 32 inch waistline,
> 148 pound weight and ideal blood pressure and sugar levels
> for the past 60 years! Born to a premier business family,..."
> Swami Parthasarathy's waistline and weight are important selling
> points for his being a great teacher of Vedanta! Note the emphasis in
> "Above all, ..." - implying that his maintenance of waistline and
> weight is a clincher establishing him as a great Vedanta teacher.
> Does anyone care if Sankara or Sureshvara maintained a certain
> waistline or "ideal" blood sugar levels?! Bodily characteristics are
> inconsequential details to a Vedantin.
> The above link also says:
> http://www.vedantaworld.org/cultural%20foundation%20bro_sc.pdf
> "If you cannot find happiness in your work,
>   you will never find it."
> Advaita Vedanta teaches us that it is the RENUNCIATION of work
> (Sannyasa) that is the ideal to true and steady happiness. Isn't it
> strange that Swami Parthasarathy teaches us that it is IN work that
> happiness is found - a doctrine that is never found in the teachings
> of great Vedantins, all of whom unanimously teach us to either remain
> detached from the results of work (Nishkamya Karma) or renounce work
> altogether (Sannyasa)?
> Swami Parthasarathy respects Vedanta enough to incorporate it into
> his "version" of Vedanta and "Corporate Management", so he may have
> good intentions, but this still feels "cultish".
> The "Self-management" that is being taught here is what Vedantins
> would call "EGO-management".
> Gita 3.27 is very relevant in this context:
> ahaMkAra vimUDhAtmA kartAham iti manyate .
> "The soul deluded by the ego (ahaMkAra) thinks 'I am a worker'."
> > I am not sure what you mean by "superstition" and "blind beliefs"
> > but
> > rituals are quite central to Indian ways of learning. All our
> > philosophies are children of the ritualistic tradition, and not
> > rebellions against ritual as some modern historians would like us
> > to
> > believe.
> >
> > Ramesh
> Just a small note: Dharma encompasses all righteous action, not
> merely rituals.
> Regards,
> Kartik
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