[Advaita-l] Skepticism in Advaita?

Aditya Kumar kumaraditya22 at yahoo.com
Fri Aug 25 07:05:12 EDT 2017

There are and have been much better thinkers in Advaita sampradāya than the asampradāyik thinking displayed above:Sureswara Acharya pointed out in the Brhadaranyaka Vartika that ‘no one size, as the saying goes, fits all’ towards that end. He writes,यया यया भवेत्पुंसां व्युत्पत्तिः प्रत्यगात्मनि ।
सा सैव प्रक्रियेह स्यात् साध्वी सा चानवस्थिता ॥(Meaning: By whatever means the knowledge of the inner Self arises in seekers, that construct itself is appropriate here; it is not absolutely unique.)Shankara has said: 'he who has arrived at a view not based on sampradāya is to be rejected as a fool.'

A : I am not talking about mere difference in prakriyas. I am talking about fundamental difference wrt some basic tenets such as locus of Avidya/ paroksha and aparoksha jnana karana etc.

There is no basis for the above thinking. It is Sureshwaracharya's above logic that Sri Appayya Dikshita has appreciated and followed. At the beginning of his 'siddhāntaleśasangraha', a work that collects the myriad views in Advaita, Sri Appayya Dikshita says in that verse:Just as the Ganga that issued forth from Vishnu's feet came down to the earth and branched out in myriad forms, so too, the nectarine bhāṣya that issued forth from the mouth of Shankaracharya, came down and has given occasion to very many views. It is only these views, all of which have their origin in Shankara's bhāṣya-s, that is collected in this work. He further says: The apparent differences between views is not a fault but only an adornment. In his Kalpataru-Parimala Dikshitar gives an analogy: Just as there are differences among the various non-Arundhati stars that people first point to, with a view to arrive at the identification of the real Arundhati star, is not a fault.  The various views collected by him, all of them aim at arriving at the Advaita tattva and not anything else. 

A : We can extend the same logic to Ramanuja and Madhva replacing Shankara with Vyasa. I didn't see anything extra-ordinary in this. Even SN Dasgupta feels the same way. He says : "He(Appayya) was just a compiler and not an original thinker. Even though he had the occasion to judge which view is correct, he did not do so". This is classic skepticism btw. It is also evident that all views in SLS can never be reconciled. 

The above is completely baseless. That he gave a 'Shaiva hue' is also far from truth. Sri Appayya Dikshitar  has made the unnegatable statement:
  // viShNurvA shankaro vA shruti-shikhara-girAmastu tAtparya-bhUmiH
na-asmAkam tatra vAdaH prasarati kimapi spaShTam-advaita-bhAjAm |
kintu-Isha-dveSha-gADhAnala-ka lita-hRRidAm durmatInAm duruktIH
bhanktum yatno mama-ayam nahi bhavatu tato viShNu-vidveSha-shankAm ||
The meaning of the above beautiful verse is:
'I have not the slightest objection, to anyone coming to any conclusion, that the spirit of the Vedas and the Vedantas, declare either Vishnu or Shiva as the First God. I am a follower of the Advaita doctrine. I have no difference between Shiva and VishNu. But if in order to establish Vishnu as the main God, if somebody starts abusing Shiva or hates him, I cannot bear it. (There are as many proofs or pramanas in the Vedas, Vedantas, Puranas and Agamas to establish that Shiva is a mighty God, as there are to prove that Vishnu is a powerful one.) However, I am propagating my religion and indulging in debate and disputation, only to persuade everyone not to hate Shiva. Let no one have the slightest doubt that I either hate or wish to denigrate Lord Vishnu simply because I praise the grace and greatness of Lord Shiva.'

A : Again nothing new. Any Advaitin would say the same thing. Even Shankara has criticized Pancharatra but he also did not accept Pashupata view as a reaction to it. He simply upheld the correct view which is neither Shaiva nor Vaishnava. It seems like Appayya is rather dramatic in this verse.

The sublime devotion of Dikshita to Lord Vishnu is fully seen from his great work 'Varadaraja stava' where he has sung in ecstatic poetry about Lord Varadaraja of Kanchipuram. Vaishnavas declare that Vishnu is the supreme being and that Shiva has a lower status, being a mere jiva. Sri Dikshita however proves in his 'Ratna-traya-parIkShA' that Shiva, Vishnu, Ambika, all the three are the same, viz., the supreme reality,(*) and proves it with the pramanas taken from the puranas, vedas and agamas. //
At the beginning of his 'nyāyarakṣāmaṇi' he inovokes the blessings of both 'Mukunda' and 'Shiva.'

A : All this is goody good but In Shivarka Mani Dipika, his commentary on Srikanta's Shaiva commentary to Brahma Sutras of Vyasa, he upholds (or reconciles?) the views of Srikanta (HOIP vol 2).

Also there is no rule that the Vedantin should comply with the Vaishnava theological schools. 

A : Of course not.

All these misunderstandings are born of resorting to self-study by discarding and dishonoring the traditional method of study of the bhāṣyas.  

A : You always talk as if you are the flag-bearer of Traditional Vedanta and quick to judge other views as illegitimate. You can say my argument is puerile or even delusional but what is 'un-traditional'? By wearing a saffron robe, taking a diksha, learning some Sanskrit if I give a lecture for an hour and talk about Pizzas will it become traditional? For once, think about this - even Ramanuja, Madhva why even Kumarila and Bhaskara etc all had different views although they were 'traditional'. I think your error is in that you merely copy/paste verses from a library of books, unable to comprehend it's context. ctl+f,ctl+c,ctl+v. If the keyword matches, it has to be pasted in response whether or not it makes any sense. All this is due to your over-enthusiasm and child-like understanding. 
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