[Advaita-l] The safe way

Aditya Kumar kumaraditya22 at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 13 11:19:09 EDT 2017

Pranams Bhaskarji,    Ø  I am not really able to understand this master key ‘prakriyA bheda’ stuff and slogan that  finally each and every different prakriya –s lead to same goal !! 
A : It is due to mediocrity I reckon. Sweeping generalisations, arm-chair Vedantins. There are so many of such views. I remember this from long ago that Dvaita was for inferiors, Vishishtadvaita was for mediocre and Advaita was for the pristine sadhakas! Yet another one - Dvaita was like eating a sweet and Advaita was like becoming a sweet or something like that which didn't even make any sense. Some run-of-the-mill scholar/swami says something and that spreads like fire in all households. Just because Appaya Dikshit said so, what makes it a valid view? what distinction does Appaya Dikshit enjoy which makes his view unquestionable? Has he himself attempted to defend his declaration? Clearly not. A one-line closure of all arguments without caring to defend such a radical view should only be considered as his own personal bias/opinion. Nothing more. 

if that is the case at the time of shankara there were no dvaitins  ( like dvaitins / tattvavAdins of  today or vishishtAdvaita vAdins) and who were there at that time were all advaitins!!  And  there was an unanimous acceptance among vedAntins with regard to the identity of individual and the supreme self.  bhagavadpAda himself categorically say this in bruhad bhAshya I reckon.  So, why he choose to write bhAshya despite the fact that his contemporaries were advaitins??  In geeta introduction he says there are various different interpretations and there is a need to interpret it correctly hence he is taking that task.  Why shankara not allowed various interpretations  to flourish by  citing the prakriya bheda and SAME final goal  statement !!??  Instead he opted to write whole lot about advaita vedAnta itself despite the fact that advaita was the sole philosophy existing at that time among Upanishad followers.  He could have easily reconciled various interpretations and concluded, don’t worry about different  interpretations, follow any Advaita interpretation you will land on the same platform ultimately. 
A : You are absolutely right. Philosophical differences existed from times immemorial. At some places we often notice that even the gods do not fully comprehend everything in it's entirety. So it is pretentious to assume that 'traditional views' could never go wrong from time to time. Afterall the tradition is as good as those who follow it. I was surprised to note that there was absolutely no difference between what the 'traditional pundits' said from what the German indologists said. However, there are rare exceptions to this but they are hard to find. 

Na…it is not like that he gave utmost importance to saMpradAya and sAmpradAyik way of interpretations.  And asked us to ignore the asampradAyavAdi as an idiot.  So, now the question is what is the correct interpretation of Advaita siddhAnta which shankara himself acknowledge as saMpradAyic way of correct  interpretation??  For panchapAdika vivaraNa followers, vAchaspati  of bhAmati is maNdana prushta sevi, and for the bhAmati followers vivaraNa vyAkhyAna is kevala ‘gArdabha gAna’…No amicable reconciliation between these two schools in the name of ‘prakriya bheda and Same goal’.  Why this fight when various road maps  lead to same place!!??  The answer is god only knows. 

A : Sir, the answer is that it is not merely a prakriya bedha. Prakriya if I understand correctly means a model. But the difference between Bhamati and Vivarana is in fundamental tenets. For eg: The locus of avidya. As per Bhamati, Jiva is the ashraya of avidya and brahman is the vishaya. As per Vivarana, brahman is both the ashraya and vishaya of avidya. How can these two views be fit into the same model? If we insist on doing so, we should either say the ashraya of avidya is both Brahman and Jiva at the same time or we should say it doesn't really matter in which case both sub-commentaries become pointless. Even the charlatans insist that they belong to a great tradition and may as well trace it back to Brahma! But as you rightly put, what is sampradayik interpretation? who can speak on behalf of tradition? I feel this is where the 'Brahmanishta' part comes in to save the sampradaya for after all, the proof is in the pudding. Because Sampradaya is mostly anushtana. Not all are interested in the interpretation of the vedas. So even if anushtana may survive, the interpretations may be lost. The other way around is also possible.        Ø    J but  with this we cannot generalize all sanyasi-s as mere crowd pullers,,,and it is at the same time  true that it is very difficult to find the true guru who is shrotriya and brahmanishta who breaths only vedAnta.  And there is always a caution that :  don’t expect your guru to live as per your expectation !!??  So difficult and tricky is the situation.  Nevertheless, fortunately we still have revered Acharya-s in the tradition though it is subjective acceptance for the outsiders.
A : I am definitely not generalising. As a Vaidik, I respect that order of life highly. My point was all that glitters is not gold. Just because someone hailing from a good lineage, smearing the body with vibhuti, dressing up like a mendicant or a brahmachari, learning from a personalised guru means absolutely nothing if what he says is not in the spirit of Shruti.    Hari Hari Hari Bol!!! bhaskar 

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