[Advaita-l] The safe way

Aditya Kumar kumaraditya22 at yahoo.com
Thu Sep 14 09:17:59 EDT 2017

    Ø  Yes, though this sweeping generalization is done with all good intentions to bring all these prakriya-s under the single banner Advaita, the naked truth of disagreements and personal animosity among vyAkhyAnakAra-s  stares at us differently. 
A : In my opinion, even by saying that these are mere prakriyas do not give any advantage to Advaita. Our focus should be to understand Vedanta and not to establish Advaita. Otherwise it may be dishonest.        Ø  I think this example was used by paramahaMsa.  If you want to taste the sweetness of sugar candy (brahman)  be like a bhakta dont become a sugarcandy lest you will not get the chance to taste the sweetness of sugar candy J A good one though not palatable to some thinkers J 
A : Thanks. Didn't know that.  
    Ø    I have not read SLS and other works of Sri Appayya Deekshitar.  But as far as my understanding  goes about his works, he has not made any attempt to settle the discripancies instead he just listed (siddhAnta saMgraha) out the various stands of various vyAkhyAna-s existing in Advaita saMpradAya, it seems he has not taken any side to prove the validity of one particular prakriya over another.  His intention was just to show all prakriya-s can be accommodated under the single banner Advaita.  I may be wrong here.
A : You are right he didn't. He also didn't justify why he thought that all views were mere prakriya bedhas as he has declared while summarising. Yet another fact is that he was never a Shankara's follower but Neelakanta's. He remained as a Shaiva till the end. He only tried to reconcile Shiva-Advaita with Shankara's.     
    Ø    Traditionally we have the belief that (and no doubt in that ) all the vyAkhyAnakAra-s are scholars, venerable and teachers of sAmpradAyik way of teaching,  But when these vyAkhyAnakAra-s themselves who are the upholders of flag of tradition, do not accept one another’s interpretations or opinions and engaging themselves in a street- fight like refutation making all sorts of derogatory  below belt comments in the name of shankara vedAnta, before we follow any one of these vyAkhyAna, it is quite rationale to seek the consent and confirmation of mUlabhAshyakAra.  
A : Can't agree with you more! At least, we should have an open-mind to admit the possibility of such an approach. Else there will be no difference between Vaidikas and pamaras/mlecchas (not being derogatory, just a fact). Holding onto one single passage in one particular book (SLS) with such a weak argument (not even an argument), can we afford to sit in denial when there is a mountain of evidence as clear as day and night? Should we consider appalling remarks such as 'prushta sevaka' as some gimmick used in an argument? Should we rather be naive or sit in denial instead of admitting the truth? The best part of this matter is that any Advaitin will inevitable seen to be following either Vivarana line of thought or Bhamati. Even more baffling is that there are many more different views like that of NS and Vidyaranya. 

And again, we cannot rely completely on Advaita works (which solely and exclusively dedicated for refutation of rival school with the help of mere logical devices) to deduce the siddhAnta as propagated by shankara.    
A : Fully agree with your first statement. How can we put a spin-off on the forefront and say this is the flagship work which establishes Advaita? The type of works which you are hinting at assumes a lot of pre-determined conditions and uses an entirely alien paribhasha. Some of the spin-offs relies on logical formalism, syllogism and other modern techniques which are far away from the original Vedantic framework.    Some of the famous works which attracts the attention of some of rigid Advaita scholars are of the nature of this.

A : Again rigid does not mean better. For me knitting a sweater is rigid but for my grandmother it is very easy. It's all about personal liking/priorities. 
Instead of relying too much on polemical  works, it is better to try to understand the opinion or interpretation of the commentators belonging to the bonafide Advaita saMpradAya.  And no need to say, better than all others’ opinions, the opinion expressed by mUlabhAshyakAra in his authentic works is of the utmost value.  If someone says this openly then he / she has to face the wrath of socalled traditionalists.

A : True. Whatever is found in sub-commentaries can be found in the bhashya. Afterall, we have the prasthana traya which is sufficient to establish Advaita. But yes, works like Bhamati certainly helps us to focus on subtle issues we overlook in the original Shankara's works. In fact, Bhamati seems to be the most accurate/honest representation of Shankara bhashya but this is just my own feeling.       
 Ø  Prakriya bheda is there to accommodate the different level of students within the Advaita saMpradAya.  As an example, SDV, nAnAjeeva vAda, brahma jagatkAraNavAda etc. are for the maNdamati-s like me and DSV, EJV, avidyAkalpita srushti and ajAtavAda etc. are meant for uttama adhikAri-s in jnana mArga.  
A :  Hahaha. Hilarious. Got to say, this sarcasm is as good as it gets. 
But ultimately these various methodologies of teaching conveying the single homogenous truth i.e. Atmaikatva vAda.  So says those who want to bridge the gap between two different vyAkhyAna-s or different theories.  But IMO, this type of catholic approach has not been adopted by vyAkhyAnakAra-s themselves and this is an desperate attempt of patch-up work  by the modern day broad minded advaitins, of course without any justification from the post shankara vyAkhyAnakaras’ worksJ   To the extent, it is good as it would help us to tone down the quarrels within the tradition.
A : Yes but all this is either sheer ignorance or dishonesty. Doesn't help anyone in the long run.     
   Ø  Yes, some of the differences existing in the vyAkhyAna-s with the label  of ‘same goal’ is practically irreconcilable.   Hari Hari Hari Bol!!! bhaskar    

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