[Advaita-l] (Advaita) Bhakti vs. Jnana

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Fri Jul 1 17:00:29 CDT 2011

On Fri, Jul 1, 2011 at 5:07 PM, Ramesh Krishnamurthy <rkmurthy at gmail.com>wrote:

> Dear Sri Rajaram,
> I clearly said "If Sri Krishna really meant that...", implying that he
> really did not mean so. To be more precise, I was indicating that such
> statements are contextual.

RV: I know you stressed on REALLY to indicate the opposite. But I took the
positive meaning because you cannot take positive counterpart (abhava
pratiyogin) for a positive entity because of identity.

> When I talked about "getting the basics right" I meant it as a well-meaning
> suggestion to you given the many questions you have put to the list of
> late.
> No offence meant :-)
> RV: Thanks and not offended but how am I to react to a generalization that
I dont know the basics? I have learnt the basics of advaita from my family
elders and reading but of course I have a lot to learn.

> As far as quoting shaastra-s is concerned, I would just like to mention one
> thing. One cannot learn something like vedAnta by looking at verses
> piecemeal. To understand each verse one must have an understanding of the
> full picture, and to understand the full picture one has to understand
> individual verses. So it is a bit circular. One way to break this
> circularity is to study under a teacher who can give you the big picture
> first, build up your concepts and then take you step by step. Even if one
> does not have access to a teacher, one can start by first understanding key
> concepts like avidyA and thereafter the role of j~nAna and the mahAvAkya-s.

RV: Let me see if you understand what is Avidya with a basic question. As
ajnana is always with respect to an object, jnana of the object of ajnana is
a pre-requisite for ajnana. So, how can ajnana arise at all in the face of
jnana with respect to the same object? If ajnana does not exist, then there
is no question of jnana arising with respect to that object. Pl. let me know
the advaitin response to it.

If you are influenced by Gaudiya-s then you have a lot of unlearning to do,
not merely in matters of philosophy but *even in terms of how to look at
shaastra-s*. In fact, the only reason why I even made that suggestion is
because you had mentioned earlier that you were influenced by the Gaudiya-s.

My perception was that in spite of the Gaudiya influence you wanted to learn
Advaita Vedanta. The choice is of course yours. Once again, no offence
RV: I am aware of the differences in epistemelogy between the two schools of
thought to some extent. But I disagree with your premise that you have to
unlearn. One can know why two but all schools of thought by the grace of
Isvara. (rachayakila darshana tattva vidham bhava sankara desika me saranam)

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