[Advaita-l] Importance of Ashram

K Kathirasan NCS kkathir at ncs.com.sg
Wed Jan 2 03:14:57 CST 2008


I am not sure if Swami Parthasarathy is a Jnani (in fact who can vouch
for that with certainty), but it would be good for seekers like us to
heed what Shankaracharya says in the Tattva Bodha: 

"Further those who praise, worship and adore the Jnani, to them go the
result of the good action done by the Jnani. Those who abuse, hate or
cause pain or sorrow to a jnani - to them go the results of the sinful
actions done by the Jnani. "

And also in the Jivanmuktananda Lahari, Shankaracharya says: 

" Seeing the people of the city, men and young women of different forms
clad in attractive dress and decked with ornaments of gold, beautiful as
paintings, the sage joyously interacts with them - yet he never gets
deluded, blessed with the grace of his master, for in his heart is the
knowledge that he is the witness, the watcher of them all, and of

Living at times in mighty palaces and at others in pearly mansions; at
times on mountaintops and at others on the banks of rivers, and again in
the huts of great hermits, the sage never gets deluded, blessed with the
grace of his master - for in his heart is the knowledge that he is the
witness, the watcher of them all, and of himself. " 

Warmest Regards,
Kathirasan K

-----Original Message-----
From: advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
[mailto:advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org] On Behalf Of S
Sent: Tuesday, January 01, 2008 2:31 PM
To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Importance of Ashram

--- 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.


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:


  "... 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:


  "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:


  "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.


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