[Advaita-l] Dayanand Saraswathi interview - Very interesting stand taken by Swami

Kripa Shankar kripa.shankar.0294 at gmail.com
Fri Jan 13 17:05:35 CST 2017

I concede that your assessment of Dayanand Saraswathi's statement is more appropriate. Let me just clarify that I didn't take a condescending tone towards housewives, in case if I have come across like that. 

As for the western academicians, I wouldn't trust them even if they were to tell the truth. Such is their credibility. ‎But my focus was on the statement given by Mahasannidhanam. 

Now my doubt is just this : There is a lot of difference between what you are saying and what Rama said. I just want to know, if it is possible, as to what is the exact verbatim of Mahasannidhanam to this question. Because Rama said Gurugal even made comparisons to his own Guru HH Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha and even Vidyaranya. ‎

Kripa ‎

AchArya ghAtinAm lokA na santi kulapAmsana ~
There is NO region, O wretch of your race, for those who seek to slay an AchArya
  Original Message  
From: Vidyasankar Sundaresan
Sent: Saturday 14 January 2017 3:59 AM
To: Kripa Shankar
Cc: Balasubramanian Ramakrishnan; A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Dayanand Saraswathi interview - Very interesting stand taken by Swami

On Fri, Jan 13, 2017 at 3:03 PM, Kripa Shankar <kripa.shankar.0294 at gmail.com> wrote:

Thanks a lot  for this reference. Really fascinating. I glanced through a few pages of the book that's available online. From it, I could gather that, the author classes RM somewhere between traditional and Neo-Advaita(he explicitly says so). ‎It however seems to me, like a politically correct way of asserting that RM cannot be aligned with the traditional school. Just to give an example, if there is a fruit, it has to fall under a specific category / family. It is either an Apple or an Orange. Here we are certain that the fruit is not an Apple. Whether it is Orange or not is irrelevant. This reaffirms my opinion. 

If we consider the statement given by Mahasannidhanam, Gurugal * is certain * that RM was * not a jivanmukta *. That is a strong statement in my opinion. ‎There is no other way to interpret it, is there? This is in alignment to what Dayanand Saraswathi Swamy ji said that he was a mystic not a Vedantin. 

I would urge you to be more cautious in interpreting this report by Andrew Fort. Western academics don't quite appreciate the mImAMsA influenced ways of speaking adopted by our Acharyas in such one-on-one conversations. It is a very different context as compared to when an Acharya gives a public discourse intended for a bigger and more general audience. Fort is faculty at Texas Christian University and he goes with an expectation of a Sankaracharya being like the Catholic Pope or an Anglican Archbishop, institutions which are in the business of canonizing and formally conferring sainthood upon dead people. Our pIThAdhipatis stay away from such things and if you think about it, that is the real strength of our traditions.

When Fort asked, "was RM a jIvanmukta?," the Sringeri Mahasannidhanam gave the technically precise answer, "we cannot say whether he was a Jivanmukta" and then added "we can indeed say that he was a mahAn." There is a world of difference from this and a statement, "RM was NOT a Jivanmukta." I hope you see the huge and qualitative difference between these two statements. 

The truth is that no one person can (or should) certify or deny another's Jivanmukti. Within a close guru-Sishya lineage, people can make their conclusions. When Swami Abhinava Vidyatirtha wrote SrImukhas describing Swami Chandrasekhara Bharati as a Jivanmukta, that should be seen within the context of the traditional guru-Sishya relationship. With respect to other great people whom they haven't interacted directly with, and in the hearing of people whom they don't interact with regularly, they won't really venture to say much. In a position as a pIThAdhipati, with a traditional custodial role over the transmission of old traditions and texts, they definitely won't go around proclaiming things about others. 

Like Rama said, RM is a rare case. Yes, the then Sankaracharyas contemporaneous with him viewed him with respect, but they also didn't try to force fit him into the traditional types of Sannyasis.

As for as the Gurugal's remark that he was a mahant, I am not sure why you seem to attach so much importance. It is certainly in line with what Dayanand Saraswathi Swamiji said that there are millions of housewives in India who are engaged in taking care of their family, but have the same level of understanding. What does swamiji mean by this?

Swami Dayanada Saraswati's statement should not be taken that way. What he meant was, there could be many people whom we don't even hear about, who are actually jnAnIs, but their external lives are ordinary, like anybody else. Including housewives, who are taking care of ten children at home. This is a restatement of a very old theme that recurs in our SAstra texts. We should never presume to comment upon the AtmajnAna of another person without intimate knowledge of that person's life.
Everyone knows that RM was ignorant of Shastras.

He wasn't. He had quite a good acquaintance with the texts. His way, however, was not to engage in the standard methods of SAstra-pANDitya. 
Further, an average woman in our tradition will not engage ‎in scriptural studies but rather engage in devotion to rituals and hymns. So Swamiji's comparison implies that, RM is, at best,  as good as an ajnani. 

Again, that isn't so at all. Some of those average women in our tradition, who engage in their rituals, may well have a high level of jnAna of various adhyAtma related matters. We just can't deny that possibility. Such women may be keeping up their normal lives for the sake of lokasangraha. We just don't know otherwise.  


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