[Advaita-l] [advaitin] Veda-s & its apaurusheyatva

Shyam shyam_md at yahoo.com
Sun Sep 6 09:19:13 CDT 2009

Dear Michael-ji
Thank you for your note. 
While agreeing with you, I am perhaps being cavil in saying, "any  mention of 'comparative religion' and 'conversion' is distasteful" period. Once you introduce terms like "in relation to self-realisation, kaivalya or moksha." these terms themselves become heavily "loaded"...moksha within sanatana dharma itself means different things to a dvaita and a advaita follower and what to speak of then nibbana and nirvana and salvation and deliverance and other soteriologic concepts with regards to spirituality. One doctrine's "atma" may turn out to be the "anatma" of another :)

What tends to happen in these comparative exercises (in the case of a seeker) is a focus on the end which are decidedly different rather than in the means which have a very common theme. To use a rather crude analogy we have person A and person B with 2 different lottery tickets where-in the prizemoney is not only different in amount, but also different in "denominations". Now who is luckier? Even if you were to somehow, for arguments sake, determine that the lottery ticket A has has more value than B - does it mean person A is luckier?? Perhaps at face value it would seem so - but what if I told you person A has a 1 in 30 chance at winning and person B a 1 in 3 chance. Now who is better situated? 

In spiritual terms every religion lays out a path for its followers to - with every passing day - improve their odds of success - by dint of perseverance, dispassion and practice (abhyasena tu kaunteya vairagyena cha to use a Gita expression) embedded in a matrix of faith/shraddha - in that particular doctrine and/or in God.

And when closely examined the basic tenets of each path are almost uniform - the fundamental goal being an effacement of one's ego - and the procedural "practice" detailed would include humility, absence of pride and vanity, nonviolence, forebearance, straightforwardness - in thought, action and word, devotion and service to a Master, cleanliness, austerity, self-control, adherence to truth, renunciation of the objects of sense gratification, dispassion to worldly affairs, mental equipoise amongs life's pleasures and sorrows, resorting to solitude, sacrifice or charity or giving of oneself in the service of others, engaging in some of penance, meditation or contemplation consisting of a constant and unalloyed devotion to God or Truth. I dont know of any religion where-in these values are not Universally prescribed, or emphasized. And Lord Krishna in the Gita talks about these values themselves as being Jnana - Knowledge. 

So seen in this way, "Knowledge" is common to every faith - and if man learns to examine in himself how close he is to this "knowledge" - nonjudgementally and with a pleasant disposition - and persevere in his efforts to improve - then there is no denying the "End" to such a determined devotee. As Krishna assures all of humanity in the Gita "ye yatha mam prapadyante tams tathaiva bhajamy aham mama vartmanuvartante manusyah partha sarvasah" "In whichever way men approach me, I reward them accordingly. Everyone everywhere follows My path alone!"

Really speaking, it is this "practice" - the lack thereof - that prevents the Grace of the Lord's sunshine in enveloping and sublating our unrelenting and tragic hold on the darkness of our own doubtless ephemereality.

Hari OM
Shri Gurubhyoh namah

> --- On Sat, 9/5/09, Michael Shepherd <michael at shepherd87.fsnet.co.uk>
> wrote:
> From: Michael Shepherd <michael at shepherd87.fsnet.co.uk>
> Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] [advaitin] Veda-s & its
> apaurusheyatva
> To: "A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta" <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
> Date: Saturday, September 5, 2009, 7:40 AM


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