[Advaita-l] Holding back knowledge (was Re: SRI SUKTAM - Meaning)

Siva Senani Nori sivasenani at yahoo.com
Tue Mar 3 00:29:04 CST 2009

Dear Sri Narayan

Holding back knowledge - deliberately or unwittingly - is not really the correct starting point. Taking the ashTaadhyaayii as a reference point, this can be elaborated.

The various lists of ganas given in the appendices need to be understood properly to get a full grip of the book; similarly a small explanatory remark ("this is a definition" against the sutra specifying 'Guna' vowels) against each sutra etc. make the book far more accessible. My teacher Sri Prof. B V L Narayan Row (bvlnrow at gmail.com) has with many such aids-to-understanding demonstrated how the ashTaadhyaayii can be learnt more easily. So, if the starting point is "can we change the presentation to make it a bit easier for the student to learn", the answer is yes, by all means. And, I am not saying this theoretically. 

About four hundred years or so back, a traditional scholar (Bhattoji Dikshita) did the re-presentation; it is called the siddhaantakaumudii, making it a whole lot easier to learn grammar. One way of looking at it is that these attempts are being continuously made with varying degrees of success. Some, like the Tarka Sangraha, stand out as the most preferred text book in that particular subject (nyaaya, in this case); others (say, the various prakaraNa granthas attributed to Sri Sankara or the alankaara Saastra granthas by various Kashmiri scholars) are held collectively in high esteem; yet others - say, the Bhamati - define a particular sub-set within a school; and others - most famously the Bhagavadgita and later the Dakshinamurthy stotra - stand out as The Reference Summary of the subject in question.

With reference to the vedas, far from keeping the essential teachings secret, the basic secret of the vedas have been propagated in multiple forms. Dara Sikoh, the son of Shah-jahan and elder brother of Aurangazeb, similarly believed that the Hindus were hiding certain secrets and got the great secret (Upanishads), Sirr-e-Akbar, tranlsated into Persian. Even with the translation, he was not happy is what I read. The secrecy is not in the words - ayamaatmaa brahma - but is perceived due to the difficulty in understanding it or in realising it (not only as in experiencing the truth of the statement, but as in mathematics where one 'realises' a theorem with a proper proof).

Every stotra - the thousand names of Vishnu or the Mother, say - attempts to teach the key secrets; every kalpa (the manual for doing a particular rite) is a compilation of the most important aspects of the Veda. This propagation became the then equivalent of modern pop music with singer-saints like Meera, Jnandev, Kabir, Nanak, Tulsidas, Annamayya, Vallabhacharya, Narayanateertha, Tyagaraja-Dikshitar-Shyama Sastri, Ramadasu and Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna. Why, even the modern-day film songs - from Sankarabharanam or Dasavataram, for instance - are full of the essence of vedanta.

So, far from holding back, there is an assault going on. It is up to one to find the form and flavour that appeals to one. 

And this, I address to the larger group:

Mesdames and Sirs, one of the five Debts we have is to the rishis, who have accumulated this knowledge; even in conjectures, let us not be anything less than grateful to those great rishis.

Best regards

From: narayan iyer <z1e1b1r1a at yahoo.com>
To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Sent: Sunday, March 1, 2009 8:48:24 PM
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] SRI SUKTAM - Meaning

Namase Sri Bharadwaj-ji,

> > Also many nuances and finer aspects often were held back
> from the text by a
> shrewd shastrkara and were dedicated to the traditional
> parampara channels,
> to minimize the possibility of the valuable knowledge going
> into the wrong
> hands. Even Panini resorted to this.
> It is because of this consciously introduced lacunae that
> these texts are
> open to disparate, heterogeneous interpretations.
> The key is only with the one that is a part of a live
> traditional
> parampara....and is therefore guhya.

I too have heard similar things.  But I have doubts whether nuances or finer aspects were deliberately held back.  Now regarding valuable knowledge going into wrong hands,  who are the presumed wrong hands?  Would the vedic knowledge have helped the "wrong hands" without adhikaratwa?  Can you please elaborate?

With regards,

narayan iyer 

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