[Advaita-l] न्यायामृतम् - अद्वैतसिद्धि कार्यशाला (nyAyAmRuta-advaitasiddhi workshop)

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sun Mar 27 04:55:11 CDT 2011


On the 19th and 20th of March 2011 there took place a delectable treat to
followers of Vedanta.  The venue was the Auditorium of the Poornaprajna
Samshodhana Mandiram located at the premises of the Poornaprajna VidyApItha,
Bangalore.  It was called a National Seminar.  This year's program is the
fourth/fifth in line occurring as an annual feature during this time of the

The modus of the workshop is thus:  Two scholars from each of the two
schools, Daita and Advaita, take turns to expound the two books, nyAyAmRtam
and advaitasiddhi, for one hour each followed by a discussion session where
participants/audience, mostly of the Dvaita school, raise questions for a
threadbare discussion on various concepts of Advaita.  The two Advaita
scholars give their explanations to these questions.  The entire proceedings
take place in the medium of Sanskrit only.

This year the scholars who expounded the works are: Dvaita: Vidwan Haridasa
Bhattacharya and Dr. D.Prahladachar.  Advaita: Dr.Mani Dravid Shastri of
Chennai and Vidwan Kuppa Vishwanatha Shastri, Tirupati.  All these four
scholars did their allotted jobs utmost justice.  It is a very joyful
experience to hear the exposition of Vidwan Haridas Bhattacharya.  Dr.
A.V.Nagasampige, the Director of that institution, while introducing Sri
Mani Dravid Shastri said 'he shines as a 'maNi' (a jewel) among scholars.'

During the second day proceedings, the Pejawar Seer, Sri Vishvesha Tirtha
Swamiji, participated for about an hour, interspersing the discussions, in
Sanskrit, with his observations.  It was a lovely sight to see the
participating Dvaita scholars, many of them young in age, putting questions
with great enthusiasm, in chaste Sanskrit. I saw a father - son duo with
great scholarship, the son having trained under his father and both running
a gurukula at their house.

This workshop is an ongoing event where the two Books are taken up for
exposition, as a class (’यथामति पाठयामि’), sequentially.  A portion from the
NyAyAmRtam is first taken up and the portion coming as reply to it from
Advaitasiddhi is taken up next.  The next year's workshop will continue from
where this was left this year.  The entire exposition and the discussion
(चर्चा) are carried out in a cordial atmosphere with no animosity.

>From what I observed, both the schools agree that the world appears/is
experienced owing to mAyA, the meaning of which is said to be different with
both schools.  While it is agreed by both that it is a shakti, advaitins
hold it to be avidyAshakti and dvaitins call it Ishwara's icchA.  At one
stage I found both schools agreeing that in such matters 'one can't say
anything apart from raising one's hands in admitting impossibility of giving
an explanation.'    ’अघटितधतनापटीयसी माया’ is admitted by both, with only
varying explanations.  This year's discussions centered on topics one of
which was 'अनिर्वचनीयत्व not being sufficient ground for declaring the
mithyAtva of the world' as an objection from the Dvaita side.  For example,
even though one cannot express through words the nature of difference
between the sweetness of milk, sugarcane, jaggery, etc. the fact of their
respective sweetness cannot be denied. Likewise, just because one cannot
explain in words the 'adbhuta shakti' of Ishwara in creating and running the
world one should not deny its very existence. The reply to this from the
Advaitasiddhi was on the lines of 'it is bAdhitatva by the appropriate
pramANa that is being held by advaitins as the ground of mithyAtva;
anirvachanIyataa being only a mode of teaching,बोधार्थम्, and not a ground
of reasoning'.  These are just a few of my observations. There was a long
and involved discussion on the method of knowledge arising when senses
contact objects.  It went on and on and no conclusion could come about.

The discussions were very lively and one could not sense the passing of
hours.  Food was provided for all who attended the workshop.  On the 20th
there was a pratiShThA of a beautiful Shivalinga (Rudra Devaru) by the
Swamiji at the Temple area of the VidyApITha .  All the scholars who
expounded the two Books and also several others who participated by way of
posing questions and making the workshop a truly meaningful one were honored
with cash rewards and mementos.  It is needless to say that the scholars who
attended upon invitation were all versed in the Books of their respective

Having gone there just to witness the event, I enjoyed it to the hilt.
Everywhere it was Samskritam raining sweet and cool.


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