[Advaita-l] Modern science and Vedanta.

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Fri Jul 22 09:24:47 CDT 2011

On Thu, Jul 21, 2011 at 10:58 PM, Vidyasankar Sundaresan <
svidyasankar at hotmail.com> wrote:

> I suppose you have a little bit of reading to do on the doctrine of papal
> infallibility
> in the dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, but that is peripheral to our
> list. Here
> is something to get you started -
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papal_infallibility.
RV: From your own link, "This dogma, however, does not state either that the
Pope cannot sin in his own personal life or that he is necessarily free of
error, even when speaking in his official capacity, outside the specific
contexts in which the dogma applies".

 And I will leave alone your statements about sarvajna-tva because I can see
that this discussion is quickly becoming fruitless and I have no desire to
 RV:  I have quoted on attaining sarvajnatvam with reference to the works of
Sankara and Madhusudana. It is very pertinent because a sarvajna does make
grammatical mistakes or erroneous arguments. As I write this, I know that
books and articles have been written by expert scholars on the errors and
inconsistencies in the works of Sankara. I  dont have time to analyze each
one of them but know that some are wrong and hope others are.

Your position and the reasons you offered for it are not in consonance with
each other. On the one hand, you say that MS does not differ from Sankara.
On the other, you say that Sankara sees two verses as two separate
sentences, whereas MS,
along with a number of other commentators, sees the same two verses as one
sentence. That in itself is a difference, wouldn't you agree?

RV:  Madhusudana writes Gudartha Dipika as an exposition on the commentary
of Sankara. He does explain combination of verses, verses, compounds and
words differently giving the same conclusion as Sankara or a different
conclusion implicit in Sankara's works. So, he does not differ from
Sankara. This verse is an example of an instance where he breaks complex
sentence in strings instead of sentences but arrives at the same
conclusion (state of mind) implicit in Sankara and explicit in the
sub-commentary of Ananda Giri. BG 5.7 (sarvabhutatmabhutatma) is an example
of where he arrives at the same conclusion as sankara by explicitly
splitting the compound apparently differently to how Sankara does it. BG
18.66 is an example of him giving a different opinion based on nyaya and
apparently contradictory to Sankara but actually implicit in his works.

Now, I have tried to explain to you that even in Sankara's commentary, the
two verses are indeed taken as one complex sentence, and that you are (or
whoever you are listening to, is) mistaken about how Sankara interprets the
said verses. Please read carefully and think twice before responding

RV: In Sanskrit grammar, complex sentences have dependent and independent
clauses. You can derive the same complex sentence by applying different
rules of grammar from independent sentences and strings. I think Sankara
does it from independent sentences and Madhusudana from strings. When I
publish my research, I hope to go in to the specific rules of grammar. I
dont agree that Madhusudana is pointing out a grammatical error in Sankara's
works because there is no error in Sankara's commentary. Madhusudana is
scholarly, if not devoted, enough not to make incorrect accusations about
his own venerable acharya. It also contradicts style of writing because
whenever he quotes Sankra, he refers to the latter as the commentator or
venerable one or by name. It also contradicts his position that he is only
expositing the works of Sankara for his own clarity. I dont think he is
pointing out error in someone else commentary because there is no valid
error. Also, I dont have a reason to assume that because I have seen someone
else take yatra to mean yasmin kale. This leaves me with the only option
that he is only pointing out why in his reading, it is not possible to take
yatra to mean yasmin kale because tat in the third or upcoming clause, which
can be used for the purpose, will be disconnected.  If my logic is shown to
be incorrect, I will wait for sometime to develop deeper insights instead of
jumping in to a conclusion that either Madhusudana or Sankara is wrong.

That said, unlike Rama and the frog, this list has two other moderators in
addition to me. If you wish to make a complaint about my responses to you,
including this one, please feel free to do so. Since you are using
legislative language about proceedings and expunging them selectively, let
me use judicial language and promise you that I will recuse myself from any
decision making process in this regard. In any case, please remember that
all posts made to the list are part of a permanent and public record;
nothing gets expunged.
RV: I was using parliamentary language not judicial!  But I dont want you to
walk out of the discussion on this topic.

However, the rigour required to embark upon such a study does not come
through in your postings.

RV: I agree and am building up the rigour required through studies and
discussions. I am ignorant of many basic tools such as Mimamsa, Vyakharana,
Nirukta, Nyaya etc. One needs a thorough grasp of Paninian as well as other
grammars because Vedic texts do not follow Paninian though he has provided
exception clauses. It is indeed foolhardy to attempt a research without
having a thorough grasp of these basic tools leave alone sraddha and
bhakti. I'll try my best. To make it practical, I am limiting my research to
the position of bhakti in advaita and dealing with explicit references to
the topic.

I withdraw from further discussion with you at this point and refer you to
that old English adage about glass houses and throwing stones. Someone who
thought, not too long ago, that the Tamil pronunciation of "sagotharan" for
the Sanskrit word sodara/sahodara is instead derived from the term
"sa-gotra", should think twice before preening about their grasp over the
grammar and usage of the
Sanskrit language.

RV: While I believe Sankara is inerrant, probably because of childhood
conditioning, I am ignorant and prone to errors in many ways. So, I have
nothing to preen about. All I am trying to do is truthfully and in a
scholarly way (at my level) elucidate the position of bhakti in sankara
sampradaya. I made a casual remark in a different post about sagodharan and
sagodhari possibly coming from sagotra. I have not studied the roots of
sagotra and sahodara but will not be surprised if they are mutually related.

Wishing you good luck with your studies on madhusUdana sarasvatI and bhakti,


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