[Advaita-l] Traditional Scholarship vs Modern Pseudo-Intellectualism

Raghav Kumar raghavkumar00 at gmail.com
Mon Nov 14 11:35:14 CST 2011

>> > Omkar ji wrote : Unlike A, B thinks that each of the traditions he has studied have good
>> > rational arguments in favor of their respective interpretations, and it's
>> > impossible to say that one school got it right everywhere, and others
>> > didn't.
>> LalitAlAlitaH ji wrote  :So, it comes that good study of B has led him to a state of lack of
>> conclusion. And it also comes that a neutral person as B either lacks
>> capacity to decide or can't understand those all texts. He has just read
>> them.
>> It also appears that B studied without any motive to acquire determination
>> according to one school and he didn't bother to reach it even if he was
>> able to understand them. Here he differs from traditional people.
> Vidyasankar ji wrote: Not necessarily so. With the right attitude and the right inputs, B can > come to  a state of personal conclusion, but still possess the ability to teach others what
> they need to know and to let others come to their own conclusions at their own
> pace. He or she can see perfectly well what the determination is according to
> one school. In Indian intellectual history, we have had many master scholars
> who were capable of doing just that. For example, vAcaspati miSra, who wrote
> with as much authority on nyAya and yoga as on mImAMsA and vedAnta.

I am not too sure what exactly you meant Vidyasankar ji.
vAcaspati miSra never said "it's
>> > impossible to say that one school got it right everywhere, and others
>> > didn't." His (vAcaspati miSra's) position is surely the traditional position that the conclusions of Vedanta on Advaita etc are true and the rest of the schools are only provisionally true (for some adhikArI-s) to the extent that they fill in the details of various sAdhana-s (yoga) and upAsanA (mImAmsa) and nyAya (yukti-s employed in various contexts).

 It does not seem maintainable to say that "there are places or
contexts where Vedanta gets it wrong and some other school gets it
right. " which would be the implication of the first position of "B".

This does not imply that a Vedantin is doctrinaire ; it only means
that a Vedantin simply subsumes/absorbs whatever is tenable in other
systems, in to his own system, lock, stock and barrell. "paramatam
apratiShiddham anumatam bhavati" - whatever in that other system does
not conflcit with the overarching vision of Advaita can be accepted as
Vedanta's own position on that matter keeping in view some particular
context and adhikArI.

 I would suggest that we can say - "Vedanta gets it right everywhere ;
other systems get it right sometimes and at such places, Vedanta and
that other system converge." This is most evident in the way Vedanta
subsumes yoga and mImAmsa particularly through Vedantic categories
like adhikArI-bheda (differences in temperament) etc.

This process can of course be extended to any system today or in the future.

The statement "it's impossible to say that one school got it right
everywhere, and others didn't.no one tradition gets it right
everywhere" is problematic - it suffers from the fallacy of
composition. Let that very statement be called V.  Now if we take this
school/tradition called "V" seriously, that would imply that V itself
is flawed.

The only way out is to say that V is a meta-tradition commenting on
other traditions and is therefore exempt from the judgement that V is
passing on all other "traditions".

On a more specific note, I am certainly curious to know any specific
issue/idea where Vedanta gets it wrong and some other tradition be it
Indian or non-Indian, gets it right.



P.S. Should we not be a little cautious lest we buy into the
"post-modern post-structural"  kind of semi-nihilistic position ?

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