Various vAda-s in advaita (was Re: A few questions)

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Thu Feb 13 12:05:01 CST 1997

On Wed, 12 Feb 1997, Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian wrote:

> No difference. gauDpAda has shown the way with shruti and reason and hence he
> _is_ the last word. Perhaps since you have not been in India you may not know
> that in the advaitic circles gauDapAda is indeed considered the last word
> precisely because of this very reason. One should not forget to mention  his
> asparsha yoga also.

Let me give you an example of what I mean.  Gaudapadacharya at one point
refers to Jnanis as Buddhas.  If his work is the "last word" why has no
later Advaitin picked up his terminology?  One obvious reason is that
people might get confused and think he was refering to a Tathagata when
really we know he is just using it as a generic term for a wise man.

> Well, pariNAma and vivarta vAda-s are completely different and you could
> hardly call pariNAma vAda a subtle modification of the latter.

I don't believe I was.  For me the issue is quite simple.  The Shruti
explicitly says there are _four_ states of consciousness.  For
Gaudapadacharya  to assert there are  three because two of them are the
same can only lead to two conclusions.

1.  Shruti is wrong.

Which is completely untenable. Or

2.  Gaudapadacharya is wrong.

Which might be ok with some Vedantins but is not acceptable to us who
belong to the Advaita parampara.

So the various theories come up to explain discrepancies and not all come
to the same conclusions.  We do not have to accept every crackpot idea
that comes along but neither do we have to believe in exactly one idea.

>I have no use for the
> views of Western scholars on gauDapAda and buddhism.

Neither do I.  It doesn't mean I want to be ignorant of them though.  And
the charge of crypto-buddhism was hardly invented in modern times.

>The sub-commentary to
> vyAsa's commentary on the pata.njali sutra-s attributed to sha.nkara is
> considered a genuine work, even by the ever-doubting Western scholars.

Who exactly?  Hacker did but I don't think the consensus is in favor of
the works authenticity.  Indians aren't free of doubt either.  The
Yogasutrabhashya isn't in the Vani Vilas edition which was hardly
motivated by western interests.

> In this
> sha.nkara _openly_ disagrees with both pata.njali and vyAsa on some points.
> If he disagreed with gauDapAda he'd have made no bones about it, he has made
> no
> bones disagreeing with the commentary attributed to vyAsa. Before some of the
> non-advaitins think that sha.nkara was against vyAsa's views in general, I'll
> clarify that this is not so. The disagreements are points where the pata.njala
> school and the advaita school disagree.

Then again I ask you why hasn't Shankaracharya adopted the terminology of
his paramguru?  Why is his emphasis on different issues?  One doesn't need
to get into a violent argument to disagree with someone.  There are
subtler ways.  The fact that cannot be ignored is there are differences of
opinion betweendifferent figures in the Advaita parampara.  There can
hardly be differences of opinion if everyone believes exactly the same

> Misunderstandings of the sort like "subtle modification" etc is what happens
> if one has the "either in or out mentality" (criticism of Western scholars
> by a
> Japanese Indologist, thanks to Giri for the quote). The Japanese scholar also
> recognizes, no doubt because he is from the East, that what is said is with
> disciple's capability in mind.

Nothing I've said contradicts the notion that there are different teachings
for disciples at different levels.

Jaldhar H. Vyas [jaldhar at]   And the men .-_|\ who hold
Consolidated Braincells Inc.                          /     \ -)~~~~~~~~  Perth->*.--._/  o-
"Witty quote" - Dead Guy   /\/\/\ _ _ ___ _  _ Amboy       v      McQ!

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