[Advaita-l] (Alleged) Internal Inconsistencies in the Advaita Tradition

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Mon Jun 27 15:59:21 CDT 2011

> Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2011 20:43:06 +0100
> From: rajaramvenk at gmail.com
> To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
> Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] (Alleged) Internal Inconsistencies in the Advaita Tradition
> Hare Krishna. I dont know why you say that the internal inconsistency is
> an allegation. There are two primary classifications

I'm sure Sri Anand Hudli will address the details of your concerns if he wishes to,
but it is sometimes a fruitless exercise to talk around in circles. Please re-read the
four links that he sent to his earlier posts and work through them in a little more
detail. I would also like to point out to you that what one sees as an internal
inconsistency is not necessarily so in another's viewpoint. I am butting in here
only because I fully agree with him that the so-called inconsistency is indeed only
an allegation.

To really "get" advaita, one needs to give up a lot of one's preconceptions. It is
like having to give up the preconceptions based on classical physics in order to
truly get into quantum physics. There, a photon is neither merely a wave, nor
merely a particle, nor merely a combination of both, although described as if it
were indeed both a particle and a wave. So also in advaita, a jIva (or for that
matter, ISvara) is neither merely a pratibimba, nor merely an AbhAsa etc. 

Turning to the advaita concept of adhyAsa, you would agree, I suppose, that your
current characteristic of being son of so-and-so, living in such-and-such a place,
holder of this-or-that educational degree, employee of such-and-such a company
etc do not really characterize your true nature. I would like you to think about 
how these incidental characteristics of your current situation relate to the jIva
that is in your physical body. How separable are these from jIva-hood? I trust 
that if you can see through this issue, you will be able to understand that each
author in the advaita tradition uses one or the other model of jIvahood, in order
to explain a certain point in a certain way. Some authors use multiple models
in the same text. That one sees an inconsistency is more a function of one's
perspective, rather than a reflection on that particular author or on the tradition
as a whole.
Please do not see my words above as a personal comment. It is easy to say
jIva and objectify the word and talk about it as if it were an entity amenable to
external analysis. Rather than arm-chair theorizing about jIva and ISvara, I think
it is high time we all reminded ourselves that when we say jIva, we are really
talking about our own selves, not some external entity out there.

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