[Advaita-l] Interesting URL

Ramesh Krishnamurthy rkmurthy at gmail.com
Wed May 14 01:05:49 CDT 2008

2008/5/14 Sundaresan, Vidyasankar (GE Infra, Water)
<vidyasankar.sundaresan at ge.com>:
>  Let me also add that, given India's history and the way its society
>  is changing, the formally appointed Sankaracharyas of tomorrow
>  are all going to be men who have been schooled not only in the
>  Sanskritic legacy but also in the English language

Given the way Indian society is changing, I for one think it is a fond
hope that future acharya-s will be schooled in the Sanskrit legacy at
all. The small south indian vaidika community is pretty much a last
bastion and demographics are simply against it. North India outside of
Rishikesh and Varanasi is already a dead place. Even in Varanasi, most
of the scholars are south indians or marathi brahmins. I visited
Varanasi in 2005 and it is in a pitiable state.

The strange thing is, almost all the educated and relatively young
(<40 years old) scholarly people I know are in America, but this might
be because of the selection bias caused by the Internet.

On the Ramakrishna Math, I personally know a few sadhu-s there and the
general refrain is that scholarship within the math is not as vigorous
as it was earlier. No more Gambhirananda-s and Tapasyananda-s. Even
the better ones don't always have a solid base in Sanskrit and do
little more than bhajan-kirtan and social work.

IMHO, one of the practical problems of the so-called neo-Vedanta
(Swami Vivekananda onwards and all the modern teachers including the
luminaries of the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam) is that it has tended to
detach the advaita tradition from the karma-kANDa and the
mantra-shAstra in general. They might emphasize the 4-fold
qualifications etc but what about the methods to achieve them. The
traditional acharya-s were schooled in the mantra-shAstra/yoga and had
imbibed it in their blood. A Ramakrishna Math sadhu admitted to me in
as many words that they don't quite match up to the Sankaracharya-s in
terms of intensity of sadhana.

I would be surprised if someone 50 years hence were to have enough
background in yoga/mantra-shaastra to produce a volume such as the
"Yoga, Enlightenment & Perfection of Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha

Without the various practical methods based on yoga/mantra-shAstra,
the dharma does not have a leg to stand on. It appears to me that the
advaita tradition is in danger of becoming a purely "bookish"
scholastic tradition divorced from the methods that developed people's
minds & intellects and enabled the various darshana-s to flower in the
first place.

santoShaH paramo lAbhaH satsa~NgaH paramA gatiH I
vicAraH paramaM j~nAnaM shamo hi paramaM sukham II
 - yoga vAsiShTha

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