[Advaita-l] ***UNCHECKED*** Re: [advaitin]

Michael Chandra Cohen michaelchandra108 at gmail.com
Fri Feb 23 09:58:55 EST 2024

Pranam Bhaskar ji, Thanks for the response - quite disappointingly, yours
was the only response from either Advaita-l or Advaitin to this worthy

Traditionalists justifying these findings with deflecting rationales
doesn't dismiss the finding itself. None of the three options suggested,
diverse teaching to fit the status of the student,  talented linguistic
versatility and unassailable authority, address any of the underlying
observations of these various studies beginning with SSSS. For a time, the
rationales you suggest might suffice for a simple devotee or dogmatist but
cannot possibly satisfy a proper adhicari who seeks truth alone. Satya eva

The issue here can be discussed as differences between emic and etic
perspectives on spiritual teachings. I asked Chat GPT about misgivings of
each view.
Emic and etic perspectives are terms used in anthropology and
cross-cultural studies to describe different approaches to understanding
and studying cultures. These perspectives can also be applied to religious
dialogue. Here are some misgivings or challenges associated with both emic
and etic perspectives in religious dialogue:
Emic Perspective:
Cultural Relativism: Emic perspectives emphasize understanding a culture
from within, using its own categories and concepts. One challenge is the
risk of cultural relativism, where one may become so immersed in the
cultural context that they are hesitant to critique or evaluate certain
practices or beliefs that may be harmful or oppressive.
Subjectivity: Emic perspectives heavily rely on the experiences and
interpretations of the insiders of a particular religious tradition. This
subjectivity can lead to a lack of objectivity and may limit the ability to
recognize and appreciate the diversity of beliefs within a given tradition.
Overlooking Power Dynamics: An emic perspective may not adequately address
power imbalances within a religious community. Certain voices or
perspectives might be marginalized, and issues related to hierarchy, gender
roles, or social injustices may be downplayed or overlooked.

Etic Perspective:
Cultural Insensitivity: The etic perspective involves an outsider's
analysis, which can sometimes lead to cultural insensitivity or
misinterpretation. The risk here is that external observers may impose
their own cultural biases and fail to grasp the nuances of the religious
beliefs and practices they are studying.
Oversimplification: Etic perspectives might oversimplify complex religious
traditions, reducing them to easily understandable categories or concepts.
This oversimplification can lead to misunderstandings and
misrepresentations of the richness and diversity within a particular
religious context.
Loss of Context: An etic perspective might strip away the cultural and
historical context that is crucial for understanding religious beliefs and
practices. This can result in a superficial analysis that fails to capture
depth of meaning within a given religious tradition.

In religious dialogue, a balanced approach that incorporates both emic and
etic perspectives can be more fruitful. This involves understanding a
religious tradition from the insider's point of view while also recognizing
and critically analyzing it from an outsider's perspective, taking care to
avoid ethnocentrism and cultural bias.


On Wed, Feb 21, 2024 at 11:13 PM Bhaskar YR via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> praNAms Sri Michael Chandra prabhuji
> Hare Krishna
> Thanks for sharing this.  But fact remains that (according to tradition /
> traditionalists) shankara being a ‘jagadguru’ can write differently in
> different style in different works to cater the needs of different
> ‘adhikAri-s’ and their respective taste and temperament and we cannot
> expect him to stick to any particular style and limited terminologies.
> So, if the argument takes this direction, you don’t have any other option
> but to ‘accept whatever believed in tradition’.  Another justification we
> often hear from them is, bhagavatpAda was like a great musician /composer
> and has the absolute control and mastery over various rAga-s and he can
> sing the same song in different tunes and compose the different songs with
> same meaning by using his wide range of vocabulary.  And the final claim
> from sAmpradAyavAdins is,  if any one questions authenticity of authorship
> of any particular work and that work if commented by any later Jagadguru
> without raising any doubt about the authorship, then irrespective of any
> logical arguments,  you have to close the doubt then and there because of
> the simple fact :   do you (or any western thinkers who hardly have any
> exposure to orthodox tradition) know something more than these
> Jagadguru-s?? Have faith in tradition and traditional stand lest get out!!
> In these scenarios, no meaningful debate is possible on these issues when
> sentiments sway over the rationality.
> Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!
> bhaskar
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