[Advaita-l] Is study of Vedanta necessary?

Bhaskar YR bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com
Mon Feb 1 22:52:08 CST 2016

Hare Krishna

First of all let me admit that I have not followed this thread and another thread on 'necessity of guru'  and I donot know for what purpose these questions being asked in this forum all of a sudden!!??  I am really wondering are these questions really appropriate and worth asking in this forum in which one of the purposes is to 'discuss the philosophy of advaita' as taught by shankara.  If at all one care to stick to shankara's teaching, one should realize that there are no alternatives/substitutes  for jnAna which is embedded in shAstra and GURU who is none other than the personification of parabrahma.  So, IMHO, those who are familiar with shankara's stand on these issues instead of raising the doubt on importance on shAstra & guru should teach / share the importance and indispensability of gurUpadesha & guru kAruNya and antima pramANatva of shAstra in Advaita jnAna mArga.  With this backdrop let me try to share my thoughts on the questions raised by our Acharya Sri Sadananda prabhuji.  (I know, he must be having something else in his mind before asking these fundamental questions :-) 

1. Is Vedanta necessary

To answer this question, one should first know what exactly is vedAnta!!  Normally, vedAnta refers to concluding parts of veda-s i.e. Upanishads which is part and parcel of whole vedA-s.  So, is this question, in other words asking is veda-s (shAstra) necessary??  My take on this is, YES it is very much necessary, not only necessary it is indispensable in brahma jignAsa.   Anyway, it is true that in advaita we say one cannot teach another the essential nature of Atman / brahman by means of pratyakshAdi pramANa, since it is avAngmAnasa gOchara and aprameya but shAstra / Agama plays an important role in eradicating our avidyA about brahman / svarUpa.  Hence, in a way, it is quite possible to convey the knowledge of Atman through Agama.  Here Agama is meant the sAmpradAyik way of teaching handed down to us through avicchinna guru-shishya parampara.  It is called Agama ( the teaching that which has come down to us through deva mUla, rishi mUla and Acharya mUla) not only because it has come down to us through saMpradAya, but it (Agama /shAstra/vedAnta) alone is able to make the sAdhaka directly to intuit it (AgamayitutvAccha).  In the sUtra bhAshya bhAshyakAra explains this beautifully : shAstra is the final means of knowledge (antyaM pramANaM)revealing the oneness of Atman and nothing else beyond it.  No further enquiry possible like what?? With what?? How?? Etc. (in vidhi-s) once you realize that 'I am brahman' (ahaM brahmAsmi) and very knowing of this real nature of ours takes away the very nature of being a knower (jnAtru) pertaining to Atman.  So, my humble request to the sAdhaka-s in jnAna mArga and who wants to follow shankara kindly donot entertain any doubt with regard to the importance of shAstra/vedAnta in sAdhana mArga.  

2. Is Vedanta necessary and sufficient

Is vedAnta sufficient for doing the brahma jignAsa??  Since it has been decided in the tradition that vedAnta is the ONLY means for the brahman realization (nAnyaH paNtha ayanAya  vidyate) the second question is quite unwarranted. 

3. Is Vedanta necessary but not sufficient - if so what-else is needed?

Some of the proponents of Advaita would  say shAstra is just like an instruction manual, the jnAna enshrined in that should practically be experienced in some other peculiar state like nirvikalpa samAdhi etc. and might suggest subsequent steps for the Atman realization.  Anyway, I am not with it.  IMHO, there is no interval between shAstra vAkya janita paramArtha jnAna and realization of our svarUpa. Since this topic has been discussed earlier also let us not re-kindle it.  In short vedAnta is self-sufficient, an able adhikAri with the help of shrOtriya brahma nishTa guru would realize his svarUpa through vedAnta vAkya janita jnAna.  shrutyavagAhyameva idam ati gaMbheeraM brahma na tarkAvagAhyaM explains shankara in sutra bhAshya.  

Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!


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