[Advaita-l] Importance of Ashram

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Mon Jan 21 23:53:16 CST 2008

On Fri, 4 Jan 2008, murali mohan wrote:

>  This is my humble thoughts on this:
>  It is said that digging at one place would ultimately fetch you water 
> whereas digging many small holes all around would lead nowhere and is a 
> waste of time (there is a story on this used to illustrate the 
> uselessness of worshipping multiple gods - can apply to multiple Gurus 
> as well).  There is no dearth of views in this world and there will be 
> no end to one's search. Better select one and stick to it as life is 
> short. Shraddha is more important than finding the most ideal teacher. 
> It is also said that if a student has enough Shraddha even an idiot 
> teacher can make him enlightned (there are stories in Srimad Bhagavatham 
> that illustrates this).

In Shankaracharyas' own generation we can see examples of both approaches. 
Totakacharya was a very simple person whose sadhana was to do laundry for 
the other shishyas but he had faith his Guru Shankaracharya and eventually 
received the grace to produce works such as totakashtaka and 
shrutisarasamuddharana.  Sureshwaracharya on the other hand was an 
established scholar in his own right in all aspects of Vedic lore and it 
was only after hard intellectual battle and defeat that he submitted to 
Shankaracharyas teachings and gained his grace.  The paths were different 
but the result was the same.

But I'm not talking about faith in the Guru so much as *context*  It has 
been my experience that although it is hard to read and understand 
Vedantic works in Sanskrit a determined person does not find that an 
unsurmountable problem.  Where they get confused is in understanding the 
cultural environment in which Vedanta occurs, all the thousands of little 
assumptions that are left unsaid in even the most voluminous treatises. 
This is especially true for those (Indian or foreign) who do not have the 
fortune of living in India.  IMO, without understanding context one cannot 
even begin to seriously make a choice of Guru whether a simple or more 
learned one.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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