[Advaita-l] The safe way

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu Sep 14 12:56:24 EDT 2017

On Thu, Sep 14, 2017 at 6:47 PM, Aditya Kumar via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

>     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.

How did you arrive at the above conclusion calling it a 'fact'? To be a
Shaiva one must believe that moksha is going to Shivaloka, Kailasa and
remain there as an entity different from Shiva. Also that all jivas are
absolutely different from each other. Did Appayya Dikshitar subscribe to
these beliefs in his personal life? Who is Neelakantha? Did you mean
Srikantha? In fact his system is Shiva vishishta advaita. Appayya Dikshita
also wrote concise commentaries on the Brahma sutras as per all the four
schools. Would you call him a Dvaitin, Vishisthadvaitin (Ramanuja),
Srikantha-school and Advaitin all rolled into one? What is the rationale
behind your conclusion?

Shankara and Vyasa are believed to have written works on Patanjala Yoga. Do
you conclude that they are Patanjalas? Vachaspati Mishras works on Nyaya,
Purvamimasa, Sankhya etc. are considered to be authentic works on those
schools. Would you think he was a Sankhya, etc. and not an Advaitin? There
are scholars of Ramanuja school who have written works on Purvamimamsa,
vyakarana ,etc. Are they

>     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.

You are only making much ado about nothing. All the so-called
'street-fight' is nothing but naught. No advaita sādhaka has ever seen
these as fights, nor has he had any tough time with these 'differences.' He
has only seen all these as ideas for manana and nothing more than that. So,
the talk of 'admitting the truth' has zero content in it.

> 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.

All the logical formalism, etc. are eminently found in Shankara's works. It
is only evident that you have neither studied Shankara nor the others'
works in enough detail in order to make a sweeping statement such as the

> 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.

If you think you are justified in making a concession with regard to the
Bhāmati, how can you disallow that with regard to the other works that
others think are required in their appreciating and understanding

>  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.

Has anyone so far proved that all the sub-commentators have ended up
establishing anything other than Advaita? The perception of all rival
schools about all these works is that they are all advaitins. Do you have
the wisdom to say the contrary?



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