[Advaita-l] How to begin studying Advaita Vedanta : post 1 of 3

yajvan yajvan at san.rr.com
Sun Jan 17 17:11:15 CST 2010

hariḥ oṁ

Regarding the study  advaita vedānta , let me offer a point of view for your kind consideration.
Let me also avoid long posts - so I  will do this in 3 installments.
Post 1 :  An opinion  why this advaita vedānta is relevant
Post 2:   catúr-liṅga  ( 4 marks) of advaita vedānta 
Post 3:  a brief conclusion

For all posts, I look to be corrected and/or look to additional insights on all matters.
I consider myself a śiṣya of this body of knowledge and take no special authority
On the wisdom offered - it is on other great shoulders we stand.

POST 1 of 3

We know advaita अद्वैत means the following: a=not + dvaita = duality , duplicity , dualism 
Also - advitīya = without a second , sole , unique, matchless ( as in couple) from a + dvitīya a=not + dvitīya= second, couple, accompanied by, companion

So , why such a big deal over this? What helps us better understand the value of this notion of this advitīya ?

IMHO there are many reasons and I hope the members of this forum will continue to offer their views based upon the śāstra-s, yet one salient point for me comes from the bṛhadaraṇyaka upaniṣad - puruṣavidha-brāhmaṇa, 2nd śloka. It simply says the following:   
Any time there is a sense of 2, fear arises i.e. dvitiyad vai bhayam bhavati - Fear is born of duality. 
dvitiyad or dvitīya द्वितीय - 2nd or two , couple, 
bhayam or bhaya भय - fear , alarm dread apprehension 
( rooted in bhī to fear for , be anxious about ) 
vai an emphasis and affirmation , generally placed after a word 
and laying stress on it (it is usually translatable by 'indeed' , 
'truly' , 'certainly' ) 
bhavati or bhava भव arising or produced from , being in
The implications of this truth is profound... we can talk of this if there is interest.


End of Post 1.

-----Original Message-----
From: advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org [mailto:advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org] On Behalf Of Jaldhar H. Vyas
Sent: Sunday, January 17, 2010 1:05 PM
To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta
Subject: [Advaita-l] How to begin studying Advaita Vedanta

Re: [Advaita-l] New members
On Mon, 11 Jan 2010, Michael Shepherd wrote:

> Jaldhar
> In the absence of an index for this site -- though new members could 
> pursue much through the existing system -- what would be you personal 
> recommendations for study of Advaita Vedanta other than the obvious -- 
> to find the apppropriate guru, or just to read Adi Shankara's chief writings ?
> Any book or online info that stands out for you ?

One should begin by getting atleast a little bit familiar with Sanskrit. 
I freely admit that mastery of the subject is hard work but even basic knowledge reaps great profits.  As we often see on the list, translations can be inaccurate.  Even if the translator is diligent (and alas not all of them are.) it can be hard to capture all of the nuances of a Vedantic concept in another language.  If you know some some Sanskrit you will be better able to assess the quality of a translation.  Probably the most easily available book is "Teach Yourself Sanskrit" by Michael Coulson, McGraw-Hill, ISBN: 978-0071468527

You will also need a dictionary. I suggest V.S. Apte's "The Student's Sanskrit-English Dictionary", Motilal Banarsidass, 81-208-0044-1

To get a handle on the history of Advaita Vedanta (Including the controversies that have recently preoccupied the list) I recommend "The Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies", edited by Potter et al., It has two volumes of interest, "Volume III: Advaita Vedanta Up to Samkara and His Pupils" and "Volume XI: Advaita Vedanta from 800 to 1200".  (a third volume is planned covering 1200 to the present.)  There is a bibliography volume but a more uptodate bibliography is maintained online at http://faculty.washington.edu/kpotter/xhome.htm

For shastras, I have previously mentioned the 10 volume "Complete Works of Shankaracharya" published by Samata Books (http://www.samatabooks.com/) as being the canonical collection of Shankaracharya's works but it is Sanskrit only. The most readily available and generally good quality translations are those published by the Ramakrishna Mission.

As for online resources, why www.advaita-vedanta.org of course!

These recommendations are for learning the "facts" of Advaita Vedanta. 
But moksha comes from "experience" not facts alone.  For that one should find a guru.  It is not something you can get from books or the Internet.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com> _______________________________________________
Archives: http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l/

To unsubscribe or change your options:

For assistance, contact:
listmaster at advaita-vedanta.org

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list