[Advaita-l] Inter Religious Dialogue - Part 1

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Tue Nov 22 11:50:30 CST 2011

On Tue, Nov 22, 2011 at 2:57 PM, Vidyasankar Sundaresan <
svidyasankar at hotmail.com> wrote:

> > RV: CAPEEM and other law suits were based on discriminatory and
> derogatory
> > treatment of Hinduism in the US schools and colleges. If you are
> interested
> > in the evidence for discrimination, Kalavai Venkat will be happy to walk
> > you through that.
> >
> I am perfectly aware of all of these. However, to quote your own words,
> when
> dealing with a complex subject, much care has to be taken to not group them
> and generalize! Your blanket assertions and reiterations clumping all and
> sundry
> together are a clear case (to me) of unwarranted generalizations.

RV:  If you agree that there is discrimination and ploy against
Hinduism but argue that Dr. Clooney is an exception, Kalavai Venkat has
offered to discuss that with you. There are also public domain information
available, which I posted earlier.
> RV: I agree that Brahman transcends even the Vedas. But the term Sabda
> Brahman for the Vedas is used by the Lord in Bh. G. 6.44 to the
> Vedas. Madhusudana explicitly says Sabda Brahman refers to the Vedas.

The gItA reference to Sabda brahman has not made the pUrva mImAMsA
> tradition accept an idealized picture of eternal existence of Sabda
> brahman.
> What they mean by nityatva of the veda is quite different from what the
> grammarians accept as eternal existence of Sabda brahman. And what
> vedAnta says about it is also quite different from both pUrva mImAMsA and
> vyAkaraNa. You are clubbing nityatva and apaurusheyatva together, which
> is not the case for vedAnta at all.

I am at a loss to know what exactly your position is. Perhaps as you develop
clarity on it yourself, you will be able to articulate it better.

RV: Please correct me if my understanding is incorrect. I said Vedas are
eternal and unauthored. I did not say they are eternal and hence unauthored
or vice-versa. An eternal text can be authored by an eternal person. An
unauthored text could have been manifest at a point in time like svayambhu
linga. My understanding of Vedanta position is : 1. Vedas are on apaureshya
because they are not created even by Ishwara. 2. They are eternal because
they are Brahman specially conditioned by Maya (vishistopadhi). As Maya is
eternal being the causal factor of time itself, the Vedas also exist as
long as Maya does. They are eternal also because their statements are
eternally valid. I am happy to be corrected if my understanding is
incorrect.  My understanding of Purva Mimamsa position is that 1. Vedas are
eternal because this world and karma are eternal. 2. They are apaureshya
because they are eternal. My understanding of Vyakarana position is that 1.
Vedas are eternal because the word and its meaning are eternal (also
accepted by Mimamsakas). 2. Vedas are apaureshya because they are eternal.

For example, is your point that Western academic scholars mis-represent
the apaurusheyatva of the veda? There are exceptions to this generalization.

RV: There is infiltration of the academia by religious fundamentalists with
political agendas, which is well documented in history. I agree that there
are quite a few exceptions to the rule. There are many genuine modern
scholars of different nationalities who study a subject genuinely with
respect for the profound teachings without any ulterior motive. I am not
convinced why Dr. Clooney is an exception because a strong faith in
Christianity requires exclusivity and Inter-Religious Dialogue is a Vatican
ploy for incluturation.
My simple proposition is that the school and college texts on different
Hindu traditions should be written by traditional scholars in Nyaya to
Vedanta. Modern scholars, western or eastern, should not club all the
traditions in to Hinduism and get someone who is not a Hindu or anti-Hindu
to write it.

Or is your point that eternal existence of Sabda brahman should be accepted
by every human being on the face of this earth? Then you would differ from a
whole list of illustrious advaita vedAntins.

RV: It is up to an individual to look at the facts and draw a conclusion.
Practically speaking, I do not think every one will accept any thing even
their own existence!
Or is your point merely that if one
accepts Sabda brahman as eternally existent, then apaurusheyatva of the
veda necessarily follows? Not necessarily. Only nityatva follows, but not
in the
sense meant by mImAMsA.
RV: Agreed.
Or is your point merely that you absolutely do not
want to read what academic scholars from a contemporary university setting
have to say about it (which was your reaction when I made a suggestion about
what you could read)? If so, then a fundamental requirement would be to get
a very solid grounding in Sanskrit, its grammar and pUrva mImAMsA in a
traditional manner, before venturing on opinions.

RV: My position is that it is okay to pick up a reliable secondary source
to get the gist of a complex work as long as the secondary source has done
it in accordance with the tradition (e.g. Prof. Lance Nelson's work on
Madhsududana). In the case of Dr. Clooney, his motivation is suspect not
only because he is a Jesuit Priest, whose faith demands missionary zeal but
also because his works aim to help Vaitcan agenda of Inter-Religious
Dialogue for conversion and inculturation. Leaving that aside, I do not
think he has learnt Mimasa from traditional scholars or published any work
on apaureshyatva of the Vedas accepted as authentic by traditional
scholars. So, what is his qualification that I should read him?


>  Vidyasankar
> _______________________________________________
> Archives: http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l/
> http://blog.gmane.org/gmane.culture.religion.advaita
> To unsubscribe or change your options:
> http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/cgi-bin/listinfo/advaita-l
> For assistance, contact:
> listmaster at advaita-vedanta.org

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list