[Advaita-l] ***UNCHECKED*** RE: Qualifications and Life style choices for a modern educated youth

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Thu Jan 8 12:12:39 CST 2015

Dear Sujal ji,
The inner purity that you highlight is what I described as the capability of meeting the highest
standards of saMnyAsa dharma. Without that inner purity, this capability won't exist. Yes, not
everybody is capable of becoming a Sankaracharya, which is why the successors are chosen
with great care. Scholarship, even in the subtlest details of advaita philosophy, is easier to see,
relatively speaking. It is a much bigger challenge to actually embody that scholarship.
Best regards,
From: sujal.u at gmail.com
Date: Thu, 8 Jan 2015 10:46:37 +0530
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] ***UNCHECKED*** RE: Qualifications and Life style choices for a modern educated youth
To: svidyasankar at hotmail.com; advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org


To add to the above explanation of point #2, I would like to add that for choosing a successor of the peetham, both scholarlyness and inner purity is necessary. Hence the divine intervention is necessary in choosing the successor. I feel that Jagadguru also has divine eyes which help him see the past and may be past lives of his disciples. Afterall not all become eligible to become a Shankaracharya :)

Sri Abhinav Vidyatirtha's guru Sri Chendrashekhar Saraswati III didnt much cared about the activities going on in matha and so his disciple had to take care of it. 



"To disconnect from the self and to become Aware of anything else is nothing but unhappiness" - Bhagawan Ramana Maharshi

He who has faith has all
He who lacks faith, lacks all
It is the faith int he name of lord that works wonders

On Thu, Jan 8, 2015 at 12:37 AM, Vidyasankar Sundaresan via Advaita-l <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

Dear Sri Srikrishna,

I will answer to the best of my ability about specifics.

1. An institution like the Sringeri Peetham, being a highly traditional one with a long history, needs

a leader who combines depth in vaidika learning, SAstra scholarship, high levels of qualification in

the well known sAdhana catushTaya, and nowadays, a bunch of additional secondary qualities as

well. There are so many social, cultural and political expectations that people have on the head of

such an institution, which don't bear much relation to the central traditional criteria for a saMnyAsin

who has also to be a maThAdhipati. Fortunately, in the case of Sringeri, successive AcArya-s have

been very careful in their choice of successor. Through the last century, the AcArya-s have also had

the experience of routine education in regular schools, but have chosen, at a very young age, to

focus their energies outside the usual career trajectories that the rest of us have chosen.

2. At Sringeri, the candidate for succession is chosen from among those who have an aptitude

for traditional SAstra learning at a young age, in addition to standard vedAdhyayana. By that, I

mean those who study saMskRta in depth and go on to study nyAya/tarka before getting into

mImAMsA and vedAnta. Typically, it is someone who has intelligence, discipline and scholarship,

along with demonstrating to the current AcArya's satisfaction that he is capable of meeting the

highest standards in saMnyAsa dharma. Some of the upanishads would have already been learnt,

as part of vedAdhyayana, but indepth vedAnta learning happens after the saMnyAsa dIkshA, which

includes mahAvAkyopadeSa. Think of the rest of the training as part of nididhyAsana, if you will.

3. For people who come to advaita vedAnta without the benefit of a very traditional educational

pathway, but with the benefit of a more modern education, there are multiple choices available.

Most people who get involved deeply with the Ramakrishna Math, Divine Life Society, Chinmaya

Mission and Arsha Vidya Gurukulam have such backgrounds and some among them go on to

saMnyAsa also. In these cases too, it takes an enormous amount of discipline and time to build a

Guru Sishya relationship for adhyAtma learning to mature. (I don't much like to use the English word

spiritual in this context.)

4. Re: technology usage, yes, multiple adaptations to change have been made historically, but

not without other sorts of consequences. Addressing a larger audience than two hundred years

ago using microphones and broadcasting technology or using cars to travel is one thing. Using

email and social media seems like an entirely different thing altogether and the Sringeri AcArya

is very selective about personally using them, and for very good reason. These technologies

require users to become deliberately bahirmukha in everyday behavior, as a result of which we

are all becoming even more entrenched in what the kaThopanishad describes as parAn^ paSyati

nAntarAtman. We are constantly directing our attention outwards, to the multiple objects, actual

and virutal, that attract our attention, to the not-Self. In contrast, advaita sAdhana requires what

sureSvarAcArya calls cittasya pratyak pravaNatA, an inward vision, an orientation that turns away

from external objects. So I'm afraid that our expectations about eager adoption of the latest

technologies with smartphones, email, twitter and facebook can be fundamentally at odds with

the traditional discipline required of a newly initiated saMnyAsin, which is what I can guarantee

the Sringeri AcAryas, both current and designate, will be very concerned about over the next few


 Best regards,Vidyasankar

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