[Advaita-l] Importance of Ashram

Lakshminarayana narayana_kl_71 at yahoo.com
Wed Jan 2 18:53:54 CST 2008

Dear Shri Jaldhar,

>Other things are expected 
of younger people and I think those other things would do more to address 
the immediate problems they face than Vedanta would while preparing them 
for Vedantic sadhana later.

With all due respect, I disagree with you. The reason for my disagreement is my personal experience. I am young (just turned 27) and unmarried and I am not a sannyAsi. So in a sense I am neither here nor there. I pursue material goals in general like most other young men of my age do. I got acquainted with vedAnta first in 2002, with the immediate provocation being the horrors of the Gujarat riots. I found that vedAnta has permanently changed my attitude towards everything. The mere idea that everything is brahman gives me immense solace even in my deepest of the deep troubles. This is not to say that I am a practicing vedAntin. I don't think it is easy for me to lead a normal life if I constantly remind myself that everything is brahman. I tried that in 2002 and ended up getting depersonalized to such an extent that my parents thought there was something wrong with me. Instead I resort to the vedAntic mode of thinking as a way of reducing stress in my life. And vedAnta has
 never failed me when I seek refuge under it. 

On the other hand, no rituals, no puja, or no visit to places of pilgrimage seem have the same amount of effect on me. Please understand that I am not trying to denigrate rituals here. I am merely telling my experience. With all due respect to Shankara,  my experience has taught me that small doses of jNAna while doing karma can be beneficial. Of course, I am not suggesting that this is the path to moksha, far from that. But it has the potential to solve stress related issues.

I am not sure if everybody would agree with this. May be the situation is different for married men. 

>The confusion over these matters is a deliberate historical and cultural 
phenomenon.  A critical thinker should ponder why.

Can you please elaborate? Thanks.

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