[Advaita-l] The Human aspect of Jnanis - 5 (Concluded)

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Fri Jul 23 08:27:07 CDT 2010

> The problem is that we take the import of the Vivekachoodamani or
> Sankaracharya Bhashyas for coming to grips with the ultimate reality
> (however approximate that may be). But there are other Bhasyas & works, for
> example the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo or Suddha Advaita of
> Vallabhacharya and many such. Each claims a Reality different from the
> other, so much so that that they cannot be reconciled with each other.

A reconciliation, or failing which, a resolution of contradictory notions, 
can only come with a recourse to the fundamental source texts of
vedAnta, the upanishad-s. There may be points of commonality among
various authors or there may be fundamental differences of perspective.
At some point, such an exercise becomes merely academic and can be
far removed from us coming to grips with ultimate reality.


> Given this, if one believes (for legitimate reasons) that only his view is
> correct, it indirectly means the author of the others would have to be taken
> as fallible. If one says all views are correct, then Sankaracharya's
> exposition is just a view, one among many. And then, oddly, all the
> different authors become, in some sense, fallible. Truth is only expressed
> through silence.

The problem would lie in saying unconditionally that all views are correct. 
There would be no problem in accepting that all views are partially correct,
given the assumptions and hypotheses on which those views are based.


I think that a major hesitation in boldly saying that the authors of other
views are fallible is of very recent origin. Syncretism and broadness of
perspective are well and good, but they cannot and should not stand in
the way of clarity of insight. Prior to the Western colonization of Indian
minds, I don't think any scholar in any vedAnta tradition felt it necessary
to think that Sankara and rAmAnuja and madhva and vallabha and others
all had to be correct at the same time.

For that matter, at least within the advaita tradition, subsequent authors
have not felt duty-bound to "toe the line" of earlier authors. For example,
sureSvarAcArya, whose works exhibit a high degree of fidelity and respect
towards Sankara bhagavatpAda's views, did not hesitate to specifically
say "bhAshyam virudhyate" with respect to saMnyAsa for non-brAhmaNa-s.
With the greatest respect towards his guru, sureSvara wrote down his own
view on this topic, substantiated it with references to the dharmaSAstra
texts and thereby clarified an important issue. Accepting fallibility in one's
own paksha and moving to correct it is more important, at least in my mind,
than holding to an impossible ideal of infallibility. 


There is the fairly well-known bAshkali-bAdhva episode recounted in the
sUtra-bhAshya, which drives home the point that truth indeed lies only
in silence. However, such silence is not to be understood as lending an
unqualified acceptability to every view. Rather, such silence stands as
a lasting rejection of all views, because of the limitations of every point
of view. Now, it is of course possible to turn around and say that this 
statement about silence is itself only a view! So, having said what I've

had to say in this regard, let me be silent :)



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