[Advaita-l] Adwaita and God.

Sunil Bhattacharjya sunil_bhattacharjya at yahoo.com
Fri Nov 5 13:35:08 CDT 2010

Dear Srikantaji,

You have forgotten that you brought in the story first to show that Gaudapada was a disciple of Patanjali, which included the story regarding the curse of Patanjali. I responded by extending that with the Adi Sankaracharya's addressing Govindapadacharya as Patanjali's rebprn. I am surprised that you are taking umbrage at it, If you wanted to say that I have not studied Buddhism adequately and you have studied much more and more thoroughly I salute you. 
As regards calling Gaudapadacharya also as Pracchanna Buddha is not my invention. I just told you what different people have opined. Take it or leave it if you like. Nobody can also go back in time and ask Yamunacharya whether he really called Adi Sankarcharya  as Pracchanna Buddha or not.
I talked about
 Lord Buddha's Shunyata through what Nagarjuna said, as historically it is accepted that Nagarjuna was the first to bring out the Mahayana texts and Ashvaghosa was also a contemporary of Nagarjuna. I have done a lot of research on the dating of Lord Buddha and Kaniska as well. You must be knowing that Nagarjuna and Ashvaghosa were contemporaries during the regime of Kaniska I have presented a paper on the Dotted Records in the WAVES Conference in Florida sometime ago showing the periods of Buddha and Kaniska I arrived at and these tally with the brilliant work of Prof. Narahari Achar on the dates of Lord Buddha and Kaniska, using astronomical data.  I will not be surprised if you tell me that you know the ancient Indian history also more than me and that I should shut up.
Though Nagarjuna was the earliest exponent of Shunyata after Lord Buddha, there is no substitute for reading Lord Buddha' own words as recorded in Prajnaparamita and its smaller versions. Hope
 you have read those  too. The famous brothers Asanga and Vasubandhu came much later. You must be aware that Vasubandhu had written on Abhidharma and later on made a U-turn and opposeed his own earlier work through another work. Dignaga was a disciple of Vasubandhu. Dharmakirti, the senior contemporary of Adi Sankaracharya, lived a couple of centuries after Dignaga. I feel one must have clear historical perspectives in discussing the evolution of the different schools of Mahayana Buddhism. This is not to say that you do not have. You may have deeper knowledge on these and may deserve another salute from people like me.
Silence of Lord Buddha is inner silence and that did not deter Lord Buddha from preaching in louder voices.  Chittavrittinirodha is Patanjali's way to achieve the true silence and that is not different from the state of Samadhi. True silence cannot also be achieved without true renunciation. Inner silence is the aim of the Sanatana dharma and
 you must be aware that Lord Buddha did not claim to have invented anything new. He was frank in admitting that he was just retelling what the ancient seers had told.
Why I told you about the Bhagavad Gita is because one should not dismiss  the BhagavadGita  just as a primer. You must have understood from  the Mahabharata that all the Kaurava and the Pandava princes were taught all the shastras ( as told by Vaishampayana to Janmejaya) yet Arjuna's confusions vanished only after hearing the discourse on the Bhagavad Gita in the battlefield. So please do not underestimate the useful role of the Bhagavad Gita. Bhagavad Gita is the one treatise that alone removes whatever confusions people may have after reading all the Upanishads. The Brahmasutra too cannot help as much as the Bhagavad Gita can do. I shall add to that the Uttara Gita and you must be aware that Gaudapadacharya valued it very much. Whatever the Lord could not say in the battle field was supplemented in the Uttara Gita 
I shall still reuest you to give the references wher you said  the Vedanta says that Vishnu is not Shunya.

It is good that you
 have told me about your scholarship and I assure you, as before, that my intention was not to challenge your scholarship. I shall by this request the moderators (and to my knowledge Jaldharji is one of them) to have a sort of details of the learned members in the group file so that the members can look at the details and accomplishments of the members, when they wish to.

As regards myself I am from Assam. Seven Bhattacharjya (or Bhattacharya or Bhattacharjee) families, including my forefathers,  shifted from Shantipur in West Bengal to Assam in the first half of the 18th century. One of those families still speak Bengali at home though they can speak equally well in Assamese. I speak Assamese in home though I know Bengali equally well. I also know Hindi, Marathi and Konkani well apart from English. I almost forgot my German and Russian and the later was compulsorily taught in the Training school before one could join Atomic Energy Establishment in Mumbai as a scientist. Presently I am retired and settled
 in Maharashtra, shuttling between Mumbai, Pune and my place in Assam. At this time I am in Santa Clara, California. My interest has been in Indian Philosophy and ancient Indian history and I am of the opinion one cannot really understand the development of Indian Philosophy without having a proper historical perspective. Further most importantly one should shed the western notion that the different darshanas are different systems of competing philosophies and that is a must before one can really begin to understand Indian Philosophy. These darshanas are the answers to the jijnasas at different levels. I would like to know more about you either through mail sent to the group or by direct mail to my email id. I had the good fortune of meeting Vidyasankarji in Mumbai sometime ago and probably he is the only group member I had me so fart.


Sunil K. Bhattacharjya

--- On Fri, 11/5/10, srikanta <srikanta at nie.ac.in> wrote:

From: srikanta <srikanta at nie.ac.in>
Subject: [Advaita-l] Adwaita and God.
To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
Date: Friday, November 5, 2010, 5:19 AM

 Sunil Bhattacharji,
I donot understand why you are so workedup with the discussions in the
Emails.I was just pointing out and explaining,that GovindaBhagawath pada
was not an reincarnation of Patanjali.These are mere stories.Shankara
might have called GovindaBhagawathpada as "incarnation"of Patanjali,as it
is customary in our culture to repect our preceptors as
calling"Brahaspati"?Can we cite this as a proof.Please donot bring stories
into our discussion.Sorry to say that these stories take us away from real
1)You have said that Gaudapada was called"pracchanna Bauddha"(a crypto
Buddhist).This is totally wrong and a misconception.This allegation is
made with mischief by half-boiled scholars,without knowing deeply the
principles and concepts of Buddhism and Vedanta.I am sure you would not
have made this comment if you have studied depply and understood clearly
Buddhism and vedanta.
2)I know
 "shunya"is not void as some mean it.It means "Devoid".This is
like inexpressibility in Vedanta.For Buddha the final answer is
Silence.That is why Nagarjuna defines it as free from the four pronged
notions,as "It is(asti),It is not(nasti),It both is and is
not(asti-nasti),and finally It is not,not"(nasti nasti).The
Pratityasamutpada theory(the theory of conditional co-origination) which
for a seed to grow it needs,mud,water,fertilisers etc.When the sprout
comes up,the seed is not the sprout,but,at the same time it is not
different from the seed.It cannot come up without the aggregates of the
resources like mud,water,fertilisers etc.So every thing is changing
without leaving their mark.So Nagarjuna concluded,there is no inherent
nature in anything in the world."sarve nissvabhavah"is the conclusion of
Buddha.This is against the "sarvasthithva vadins"who believe in the
existence of the external world.Then the
 Vaibhashikas said that the
external world can only be inferred by the mind.But,the mind has no
nature.Asanga wrote the "Abhidharmasutras",and later,his half-brother
Vasubandhu expanded the 'Yogachara Vijnanavada".Later,Dignaga wrote the
"alambana pareeksha"which denies the existence of the external world.This
has been examined in the "bauddha pariksha"section of Brahmasutrabhashya
of Shankara,by bringing in the oppsite view of Sarvasthitvavadins to prove
that the external world exists."Na abhavah,upalabdeh"(the external world
of objects exist,as they are experienced.)The Vaibhashikas and
Sautrantikas have been at logger heads as discussed in detail in
Madhava's(vidyaranya?)"sarvadarshana sangraha".In Vijnanavada,it is shown
that,neither the objects exist,nor the mind.These are brought by Gaudapada
to prove that the various schools of Buddhism are in opposition to each
other.Even today,these Philosophical debates
 are conducted in Buddhists
camps.Gaudapada says in his Karika in the "Alata shanti prakarana,:
Bhutasya jatimichchanti vadinah kecideva hi!
abhutasyapare dhirah vivadantah parsparam!!
This 'Vadinah"refers to the two schools of Sarvasthitvavadins and the
vijnanavadins of the Mahayana.Asparsha yoga or ajathavada is the
explanation given by Gaudapada in Vedanta.This is different from Buddhism.
3)In Hinayana(lower vehicle) which believes in the existence of the
external world,when an individual dies,it is like blowing off a
candle.Just as,when a candle is extinguished it goes in neither
direction,there is annihilation(Buddhism by Rhs Davids).In opposition to
this,Mahayana answers in maintaining silence which is the highest
truth.(maunam eva bauddha desana).In truth,the Buddha didnot teach
4) As far as "Bhagawadgita"is concerned it is a Primer for Hindu
religion.I started my Bhagawadgita lessons much
 earlier in my young age,by
listening to His Holiness Sri Swami Chinmayanandajis,discourses,in
"Geethajnanayagna"conducted by him.To understand Vedanta,one has to study
deeply and study various other books like Shankara
Bhashyas,Upadeshasahasri,Upanishad Bhashyas and other related books and
also Prakaranas,both vedantic as well as belonging to other darshanas like
Sankhya,Busddhism,Jainism,Yoga etc.otherwise our knowledge of Vedanta will
remain hazy and very confusing.all these doubts arise because of not
devoting our time for the study of these scriptures and assimilting them.
5)Dear Bhattacharji,I nay not exaggerate when I say that I have perused
the books on Buddhism you are mentioning.I devote most of my time in
studying them,and on comparative philosophies.Otherwise,I would not have
entered into this discussion.

6)Finally,you have not said about you.If Iam correct,from your name I
think you are a
 Bengali,since  the suffix,Bhattacharjee is common among
Bengalis.Gaudapada also belongs to Gaudadesha,which in Bengal.
Bhava Shankara Desika me Sharanam.                     N.Srikanta.

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