Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Mon Feb 17 13:08:04 CST 1997

On Sat, 15 Feb 1997, Pannirselvam Kanagaratnam wrote:

> Your statement above implies that Swami Vivekananda and Paramahansa
> Yogananda are not Self-Realized saints.


> My Paramaguru, Swami Sivananda,
> will also fall under this category since he went to Malaysia for some time
> to practise medicine and his teachings are almost identical to the 2
> saints you have mentioned.

Maybe maybe not.  What I said about the other two is based on biographical
information they or their followers themselves provided. Perhaps
Shivananda had some rationale for what he did or perhaps he didn't.
Without further information I cannot say.  I haven't met any of those
people myself so I have to go by their followers.  And if their followers
seemto be mostly idiots I have a low opinion of their teacher.  If on the
other hand they are wise and pious, I have a higher opinion of their

> I would like to know how you came to such a
> conclusion.
> How do you decide if a person has  knowledge in Dharmic matters?

"Chodanalakshano'rtho dharmah" as Maharshi Jaimini says.  The main
characteristic of Dharma is action."  I didn't have to read books to
know you're supposed to eat with with your right hand, or fast on an
ekadashi day or say "Jai Ambe" when you sneeze.  These are all things I
picked up just by looking at the people around me.  The various shastras
are records of what wise elders of previous generations taught.  Together
with what we see our own elders doing, they form the standard of behavior
to which we must adhere.  To test if someone has knowledge in Dharmic
matters just requires seeing if his behavior matches the standard.

> Whatever I know about our religion is based on books I have read by Swami
> Sivananda (I can't thank him enough for expounding the essentials of the
> Vedas in simple English so that people with inferior intellects and no
> knowledge of Sanskrit like me can understand a little about our Indian
> philosophy).

It is unfortunate that in the present era things have gotten sufficiently
disrupted that people don't always have a "Shishta" around to guide them
and they have to rely on books but this is an aberrent state of affairs.
It's not that we're against books whether in Sanskrit or any other
language but texts are subordinate to tradition.  By all means study the
Bhagavadgita and Bhaja Govindam etc. but don't stop there.  Look at the
meanings in their proper context not as isolated fragments.  I know Kansas
is a little off the beaten track but surely there is some kind of Indian
community thereabouts?  If not you should first chance you get move to
somewhere where there is one and proper people to guide you.

> From what I understand from my Paramguru's teachings on
> Advaita, God is present in every speck of space in this Universe. If that
> is the case, how is it possible for one who knows God to be everywhere to
> become impure when one moves from one location to another? Where there is
> God, no impurity can exist.  Since God is everywhere, no place is impure.

We were discussing the suitability of crossing the ocean for Brahmans. A
sannyasi is beyond all notions of caste etc. so this doesn't apply to him
personally but if he is advising Grhasthas he has to follow their rules.

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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