[Advaita-l] A matter for Adjudication

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Tue Apr 13 16:37:24 CDT 2010

> But kindly tell me what is your impartial reading of the below call from 
> Sri Subbu prabhuji 
> // quote //
> I request all the interested members and the Moderators to give a serious
> thought to this, especially in view of the posts from Shri Bhaskar ji. An
> adjudication based on the facts that are clearly available to us at this
> point of time will go a long way in preventing students of Advaita, both
> members who are present here and those who might view these discussions in
> the archives in the future, from arriving at (1) wrong conclusions and / 
> or
> (2) resting with the feeling that 'this is a point of contention, not
> decidable for eternity'.
> // unquote //

Dear Bhaskar,


I think I've said much of what I want to say in my previous response
to Smt. Savithri. I do not read Sri Subrahmanian's post as a request
to judge anything in his favor at all. It is merely a request to everybody
on the list to give serious thought to the topic of discussion. He asks
members and moderators (who are also members, by the way) of the
list to weigh the citations presented so far and to think for themselves.
Both sides, in any debate, are entitled to state views with as much
enthusiasm as they can muster. As much as you think he is wrong,
he is entitled to think you are wrong! To me, personally, it does not
matter which person is wrong or right; it is only about the larger
issues being debated that we need to care. 

> ... you tell me prabhuji, how can a meaningful debate can take 
> place when blind arbitrary remarks imposed on others' view points?? For 
> that matter Sri subbu prabhuji not even directly studied my parama 
> guruji's works & he depends upon his friend's phone call for the 
> understanding of Sri SSS works..But nevertheless he dared to question the 
> understanding of Sri SSS,..how funny it is :-))

I think that as a relatively new member of this list, Sri Subrahmanian
has taken some pains to read through many previous list posts, including
yours, and to present his views in a well-coordinated manner. He has
not dismissed any stance merely as being out of context or irrelevant.
It behooves anyone who wants to take issue with his statements, to
present a well-argued case in response. Perhaps all it will take would be
a posting of relevant excerpts from existing publications (preferably
translated into English, if from a Sanskrit or Kannada source) of Sri SSS.
Perhaps it will require a fresh set of posts with new arguments supporting
the positions taken by Sri SSS. If you think Sri Subrahmanian has
misunderstood or misrepresented something, surely there is a civil way
of presenting what you think is the correct position. I am sure we
would all appreciate that, because in the process, all list-members
would have an opportunity to learn. That is what list discussions are
for anyway.


As I read through the posts, it seems to me that his contention is that
Sri SSS's rejection of avidyAleSa in his footnote on sUtrabhAshya 4.1.15
is itself an arbitrary remark, which has other implications for the ensuing
debate. We all dare to question each other, the same way Sri SSS himself
dared to question the sAmpradAya as he understood it. To say that Sri
Subrahmanian shouldn't dare to question Sri SSS is not a valid argument
and it doesn't do justice to the philosophical positions that Sri SSS upheld.
I don't think Sri Subrahmanian is relying solely on a phone call to a friend
for everything that he has said so far. I'm sure he has sufficient access
to at least some of the published writings of Sri SSS and as far as I can
remember, it was only on one particular quotation that he said he did not
have the publication at hand. I'm also sure that Sri SSS has said more 
about avidyA-leSa elsewhere. If Sri Subrahmaian is wrong about a specific
point on this score, we would all be better served if you can set it right
with the proper reference. In any case, even if he has made a couple of
possible mistakes here or there, they do not take away from the main
thrust of his argument, unless the mistakes are hugely fundamental ones
that shake the very foundation of the argument. As far as I can see, that
is not the case here.


> saMpradAya baddha & it is obligatory for you to oblige the theories that 
> comes under the tag of tradition. But atleast when it comes to sensitive 
> issues like above, I expect your goodself to be impartial being a 
> moderator. I liked Sri Ravi Mayavaram prabhuji's impartial observation in 
> this regard. 

My views are not thrust upon me by sampradAya. It so happens that
whatever I understand of the advaita vedAnta darSana and what is
presented as the views of the sampradAya authors coincide nicely.
I have not been traditionally schooled in the sampradAya method and
I do not have any depth of familiarity with the texts cited by Sri
Subrahmanian and others in the latest threads of discussion. What
I know of the contents of works by sarvajnAtman, citsukha and
madhusUdana sarasvatI is insignificant. I know a small bit from those
of vidyAraNya. I can, however, easily see where the quotations made
from the sampradAya AcArya-s are in consonance with whatever I
know of Sankara bhagavatpAda's bhAshya-s and where they seem
like logical extensions of the arguments laid out in these bhAshya-s.


I am also not blind to the objections raised by Sri SSS to the sampradAya
opinions on these topics. If you remember discussions from the earliest
days of this list, I have acknowledged my own indebtedness to some
of Sri SSS's publications for my first exposure to vedAnta. However,
on certain issues that can be very puzzling, I find that the positions
taken by sampradAya-oriented writers are very consistent and highly
explanatory. There are numerous places where Sri SSS simply says,
"this is only an admission that does not compromise the mUla siddhAnta,"
where I was not able to work out how, without resort to an explanation
like mUlAvidyA. At this juncture, it is not my intention to enumerate
these nor do I care to revisit all the reasons why I came away with a
feeling that one needed to give much more credit to the post-Sankaran
authors than Sri SSS did and why I could not agree with him that they
all, except sureSvara, basically misunderstand Sankara. I also came to
differ from Sri SSS's contention that none of the prakaraNa texts other
than upadeSasAhasrI can be taken as authentic. The issue of authorship
may seem like a mere academic debate, but at least for me, it is much
more than that.

Be that as it may, these are my personal views and are based solely
on my reading of the available literature and whatever saMskAra-s
aid me in understanding the source texts. I trust that I have not let
this adversely impact any active discussion threads. I have never
shut out any poster with a dissenting view. I am reiterating this only
because there seems to be an impression floating around to the
contrary. If there is any merit to that impression, I'd be glad to take
corrective action. Let me know if you think being a moderator means
that I should never express a personal agreement or disagreement
with anybody, because I post my own views too strongly and too
frequently on this list!


I am also glad that you liked Ravisankar Mayavaram's response.
He spoke for all three moderators in making some suggestions, viz.
(a) need for clarification from you (or anyone else for that matter)
as to what Sri SSS says about the quotation from sUtrabhAshya
4.1.15 vis-a-vis avidyA-leSa, (b) each reader has to study these
issues and make his or her own judgments, and (c) we could host
a compiled set of postings on the website, so as to make it all easily
available in one place. On this last point, as a moderator, I can
extend the same courtesy to anyone who wishes to refute Sri
Subrahmanian's posts in detail and put those up on the website
too. There is no special treatment to anyone here, as you can
see from the materials available under the various links on the
top page of our website (www.advaita-vedanta.org). 


Best regards,



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