[Advaita-l] Temples , smArtha-s, vaiShNava-s
Jai Simman R. Rangasamy
rjsimman at yahoo.com
Mon Jun 7 05:11:56 CDT 2010
Thanks for your points.
For every evidence you have cited, there are many counter evidences to prove the reverse.
And I am not going to re-churn the many mails and texts on various forums have already posited thus.
My only point is this:
Don't criticise a person or his view without directly speaking to him about it and asking why he has said this and in what connection.
My remarks are warranted because firstly the gentleman who has made the intitial comments about "childish" and "silly" has admitted via private correspondence that he should not have said those words and is willing to find out more before making such comments. That settles the matter there.
Also, you have made comments about Sri Velukkudi' Krishnan's lectures, etc. I have not repudiated them even earlier. But the point is, have you directly asked him about these? Without this and without understanding that there are texts even in the Veda that ranks Deities, how can you simplistically make assertions that this is just some sectarian man-made notion? One can easily say the same about the effort to absolutely equalise everything even as there are texts that speak of differences. Have you asked the Madhva line about the basis for the hierarchy? Are they present on this forum to answer? If they are not, then what sense does not make to pass such a comment? I'd say the same about Madhvas making assertions in the reverse direction on their forums too.
You are still doing the same thing that I have highlighted earlier. You have cited what Velukkudi Krishnan has said and then have not posed these points to him but say that he should not have said this and that behind his back. Why don't you ask him why and what he meant and why he has said this? He is a contemporary so you have all the access to pose these concerns of yours! Provide the quotes you have given on this forum to him and see what he says.
The references to daksha yajnam, etc. in the Bhagavatam are also known to Vaishnavas. In fact, the text is held most sacred by Vaishnavas, more than the others. How have they reconciled these points? Have you studied this from a Vaishnava acharya? What Veda pramana have such acharyas cited to explain the sense of equality highlighted in that context? Every sampradaya admits some form of oneness but that has qualification based on other texts of shruti and smrti that also highlight differentiation. How the samanvaya is soundly achieved is the issue.
The process of reconciliation is multi-faceted, not single. Verses extolling the supremacy of one deity over another are also present in the Veda and smrti shastras. Can we totally turn a blind eye to that? Certainly, you will reconcile through an Advaitic framework but that is what it is, a framework. Now, as to the validity of that framework or that of any other, that is subject to the scrutiny of debate and that has gone on for years. So, your text-quoting and interpretation are not absolute by any means. If you wish to engage in a debate, you ought to do this in a neutral forum. You cannot take Sri Velukkudi Krishnan's comments, no matter how troubling they are, and then criticise him without bothering to communicate with him and get his feedback after making your protest. Criticism of something behind one's back, especially when he is an accessible contemporary, does not augur well for proper etiquette. From the vantage point of one view, the other
will look "offensive". This is a given. To a Vaishnava, the Advaitic viewpoint will look offensive beyond a certain point. And such positioning and response can be directed in all directions. That's not uncommon but that cannot be posited as the verdict in a forum where the counter voice is absent! What good will that achieve except singing to the choir? Velukkudi Krishnan's comments were open and you have access to them. Now ask him why he said that and take it up with him. Why pass comments about him and his comments in a place where he is not present?
--- On Mon, 6/7/10, V Subrahmanian <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com> wrote:
From: V Subrahmanian <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Temples , smArtha-s, vaiShNava-s
To: rjsimman at yahoo.com, "A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta" <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Date: Monday, June 7, 2010, 3:15 PM
On Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 8:45 AM, Jai Simman R. Rangasamy <rjsimman at yahoo.com> wrote:
The only thing silly and childish here is to call something the same without actually properly seeking the response of the person whose original comments are under scrutiny. If you wish to make these points, make them to Sri Velukkudi Krishnan and seek his response instead of talking behind his back in a forum where he does not appear. It's become the culture of all forums to entertain cross-posted comments, not seek any clarification from the source of the original comment and then present "counter arguments" in an interactive vacuum. What good will this do?
I think your above remarks are not warranted. Let me assure you that I have not made those observations in any manner belittling Sri Velukkudi Krishnan or Sri Ramanuja. I have with me those speeches that Sri Krishnan delivered abroad, both in Tamil and English. While delineating on 'how should a Srivaishnava conduct himself', I suppose that is the topic, he raises a question: 'People might ask you why do you not visit other temples and visit only Vishnu temples? ' He replies, in an advisory manner to the Srivaishnavas of today, that they have the reasoning and example set by Sri Ramanuja himself, to emulate. Of course, he says elsewhere, that a true Srivaishnava is one who does not find faults with others. He even gives examples like: 'these smarthas are like this', etc. such thinking should not be there with Srivaishnavaites.
The above and the other few speeches that I have with me are not that abstruse in language or delivery that they need my contacting him for clarifications. They are simple enough for any reasonably intelligent person to comprehend their meaning and intention. Also, there is no 'talking behind his back' as you would want it to appear. After all, what do I gain by doing that? It is only in admiration of his commendable service to aasthika-s of today that I sought and listened to his talks. If anyone is interested in getting the collection I have, I may be contacted on email. By whatever means feasible I can share those talks with others.
And I also see comments like "Man accords hierarchical positions to Gods", etc. without actually finding from the men themselves if there is any basis for God according positions to the Gods. Very fanciful terms but terribly biased. For all the evidence given, there is counter evidence too. Krishna's worshipping Shiva to obtain a son has a precedence in another account where He blesses Shiva that in order to honour him for his vishnu bhakti, He shall approach him in His bhauma leela to obtain a son. And so the inter-links can go on.
I am not unaware of all this. I did not mention the 'counter evidences' as that runs counter to the parama taatparyam of the Lord's teaching. It is only man, again, that seeks to make a difference between God and God. God Himself is quite opposed to this. In the Bhagavatam Daksha yajnam portion the Lord specifically denounces the vision of difference between Himself, Shiva and Brahma. Here are some references:
1. The Maitrayani Upanishad:
VI prapaathaka, 8th mantra. And the same Self is also called Isana (lord), Sambhu, Bhava, Rudra (tamasa); Prajapati (lord of creatures), Visvasrig, (creator of all), Hiranyagarbha, Satyam (truth), Prana (breath), Hamsa (ragasa); Sastri (ruler), Vishnu, Narayana (sattvika); Arka, Savitri, Dhatri (supporter), Vidhatri (creator), Samrag (king), Indra, Indu (moon). He is also he who warms, the Sun, hidden by the thousand-eyed golden egg, as one fire by another. He is to be thought after, he is to be sought after. Having said farewell to all living beings, having gone to the forest, and having renounced all sensuous objects, let man perceive the Self from his own body.
(Incidentally, this Up. Is quoted by Madhwa in the Vishnu Tattva Vinirnaya. See this link):
2. The Ganapatyatharva shIrsha Upanishad:
त्वं ब्रह्मा त्वं विष्णुस्त्वं रुद्रस्त्वं इन्द्रस्त्वं (You are Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Indra….)
(In this Upanishad, belonging to the Atharva Veda, popularly chanted in many traditions, Lord Ganapati is depicted as the Supreme Brahman and all other deities are spoken of as manifestations of this Consciousness.)
3. SrimadBhagavatam: Daksha yajna (IV.7.50 – 54)
(50) Lord Vishnu said: 'I, Brahmâ and Lord S'iva as well, do not differ in being the supreme cause and Supersoul, the witness and the self-sufficient one of the material manifestation.) Him the Supreme Brahmân that is without a second, is as one Supersoul with both Brahmâ and S'iva, but the living ones who are not conversant with this, think of them as being separate. (53) The way a person sometimes does not make a difference between the head, hands and other parts of his own body, so does My devotee thus make no difference between living beings. (54) He who having the one nature of the three, verily does, of the Supersoul in all beings, not see the separateness, o brahmin, realizes the peace.'
4. Bhagavadgita: 10.23:
[The Lord says ‘I am Shankara (Shiva) among the (eleven) Rudras.’]
See also: http://atma.sulekha.com/blog/post/2009/06/shankaracharya-and-gitacharya.htm
I am also aware of at least one instance where Krishna and Shiva fought with each other. See also:
Here is a talk. in Tamil, recently delivered by Dr.K.Srinivasan on how Kalidasa viewed the Tri murtis Brahma Vishnu and Shiva:
Forums such as these are not suitable for cross-posting and if they are used for such purposes, let the participants make no accusations and criticisms that are ad hominem.
And the biggest joke is to make them behind one's back!
I have made myself clear on this. There is absolutely no joke involved here. We are not jokers and this forum is not a circus show.
If you want to posit the Advaitic stance on such matters, present them on the basis of the issue, not call someone else's comments silly, etc. because there are other views too which have shastric precedence and from the view of these, the Advaitic view can also be deemed "silly".
Surely I have not called them 'silly'. I reported facts as facts and even added that 'I am not having any objections to their practices. It is their prerogative'. If you have not noticed this, it is only unfair on your part to make accusations.
We've had enough of these for thousands of years. It's okay to engage in such hot air trumpeting in a closed forum, not an open one.
Most forums are only 'closed' forums. There are great advantages in having them so. There are open forums also where only quarrels thrive and no true knowledge seeking and gaining arises. You have plenty of them on the internet. In closed forums there is a method of keeping out those elements that are committed to creating trouble. This is not possible in the so-called open forums. Forums of all persuasions such as Advaita, Dvaita have such norms which they strictly invoke whenever occasion arises. I am aware of members of opposing persuasions being shown the door by these forums. This is not stifling criticism, at least by advaita.
My foremost point is simple:
Velukkudi Krishnan made the point or has been attributed with the point.
You are welcome to seek the speeches from me and know for yourself whether anything at all was attributed to him.
With warm regards,
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