[Advaita-l] Discussion group of Adwaita

Ananta Bhagwat ananta14 at yahoo.com
Wed May 7 22:46:36 CDT 2008

Sri Srikanta in his very informative mail (May 6, 2008) says:

"I would like to say that in Adwaita tradition,it has maintained a
uniformity over the years starting from Vyasa's Brahmasutra(what is now
available as the start)"

True, but there is firming-up and evolution (and may be even course correction) in this tradition and the tradition can be linked to the upanishad-s of earliest times.

1/ One can see Sri Gaudapada and Sri Sankara themselves as firming up the tradition in favor of kevala advaita from amongst choices of bhedAbheda, pariNamavAda etc. This was also syncretism between advaita and Mahayana Buddhism. As you have pointed out rightly, there is a cross co-relation between advaita and Buddhism.

2/ One can see further evolution towards the streams of bhAmati and vivaraNa. The advaitin like Madhusudana Sarasvati resolving the dichotomy between bhakti and jnAna is also part of this evolution. The influence of other sects like Bhagavata and Vaishnava can also be seen. In the process terminology of sAnkhya, dialectics of nyAya, and meditative techniques of yoga were adapted. 

3/ In practice, advaita has distanced itself from the minor tradition of BS 1.3.34 - 38 of excluding certain class (SUdra) from the studies of shruti. This is a course correction not only in tune with modern times but also in tune with advaita's teaching that Knowledge can never be tainted by anybody. It can only be concealed as part of Ignorance.

In all this historical development the core upanishadic principle of advaita, Atman = brahman is not diluted.


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