[Advaita-l] [advaitin] Understanding Srimad Bhagavad Gita from the perspectives of Visishtadvaita and Advaita - an exposition

Bhaskar YR bhaskar.yr at hitachienergy.com
Wed Jan 24 06:55:13 EST 2024

praNAms Sri Vikram prabhuji
Hare Krishna

To clarify, my intent is not to strike a common ground between the two schools. The sampradhayams are quite distinct, with distinct goals and paths. One will not do justice to either sampradhayam by diluting them to arrive at a common ground.

  *   Yes, mata traya samanvaya I think really a futile exercise not at all palatable to the official flag holders of these siddhAnta-s 😊

My intent is to appreciate the sampradhayams as what they are, and then more importantly, demonstrate that the other sampradhayam too is valid in their own right.

  *   This is typical catholic approach or RK mission like approach.  But orthodox saMpradAyavAdins argue in such a way that ‘my daddy is strongest’ ofcourse with all sorts of tarka and shAstra justification.

This is not meant as a research work or for deeper seekers, but just meant to provide enough information to keep the context accurate and clear for discussion amongst common people on the two perspectives.

Ø     If it is not for a deeper epistemological analysis of some delicate and complicated doctrinal issues  then IMO, instead of finding the alignments between two different schools of thought,  it is better to keep it within the boundaries of shishtAchAra, dhyAna, upAsana aspects as these sAdhana-s and AcharaNa-s are quite common in all three-matastha followers.

Indeed. Hence my opinion that prior to any comparative discussion one has to be clear about the fundamentals and context of each school. For instance, Swami Sankaracharya teaches in SBG that jnana alone (without any karma associated) is capable of overcoming ignorance. Swami Ramanujacharya, on the other hand, teaches through SBG that jnana with karma (in the form of upasana or prapatti) is essential for overcoming ignorance. When one reads the SBG shlokas with both bhashyas, it is possible to view that the teachings are at a direct conflict, and consequently conclude with the one explanation that 'seems' more logical and relegate the other. But this is not accurate and appropriate in a comparative study. A brief deeper analysis will point out that the two distinct means (jnana alone or jnana with karma) have been arrived at because of the difference in the fundamental understanding of the nature of ignorance. Once the starting point is understood, the respective directions will be clear. This firm understanding of fundamentals & context is essential for any sampradhayam study, more so for a comparative study. The same is applicable to all scriptures, not just SBG.

Ø     I agree but when there is no attempt here to strike the common ground, don’t you think it is better to leave the fundamentals and contexts (as it is) which are essential for the particular traditional study without bringing in the other schools’ perspective and contextual endorsement of some concepts which seem to be similar ??

Bhaskar ji, on a side note, as part of our earlier discussion, the reason I shared fundamentals points on Advaita and the rope-snake analogy is precisely for this - ensuring that we are clear and aligned on the foundations before venturing deeper into the discussion. Otherwise we are talking apples vs oranges.

Ø     Yes, perhaps the mOksha concept when talked from the perspective of dualists Vs nondualists its like above.  But it is also to be noted Advaita in the form of krama-mukti could accommodate sAlokyAdi mukti but dualists never ever entertain the thoughts like ahaM brahmAsmi or tattvamasi 😊

To re-clarify, the intent is not to strike a common ground or to dilute the sampradhayam standpoints or establish superiority of one over the other. The intent is to clearly state the respective positions, as-is, prior to a comparative study.

  *   Sorry your intention is not yet clear to me, if your intention is to leave the sampradaya and its doctrine ‘as-is’, just leave it ‘as-is’ why comparison and explanation like agreeable in Advaita in vyavahAra etc. which you have written in your article.  Don’t you think this is an attempt of striking the similarity between two schools!!??

Having done that, it is not hard to see that Advaita does not actually stand in conflict (avirodha) against Visishtadvaita.

  *   This has been already clarified, Advaita can embrace everything if it is shrutyukta from different standpoints (paramataM apratishiddham anumataM bhavati says bhAshyakAra).  So, obviously Advaita is not against vishishtAdvaita but the question is how far vishshtAdvaita is in alignment with Advaita??

One doesn't have to switch schools to see that the other school too is valid. One's nishta to their school (IMHO, based on one's temperament) can still be retained.

Ø     This broader perspective allowed only in Advaita and I don’t think thoughts like this would be entertained in dualistic schools.

Bhaskar ji, just curious, and not to be mistaken in any other sense, did you read through this article? If so, I would appreciate your feedback on the stated points.

Ø     Yes prabhuji, I read it with interest particularly your attempt to explain certain concepts in VA which is also agreeable in Advaita.  But lot of things need to be clarified before saying both schools are saying the same thing and accepted in both schools.  If possible I would like to highlight some of points tomorrow.

Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!

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