muktika upanishhad (was Re: Brahmana)

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian rbalasub at ECN.PURDUE.EDU
Tue Feb 25 09:43:21 CST 1997

Jaldhar H. Vyas wrote:

> > So my point
> > was, statements like: "smriti texts like the Padma prohibit the worship of
> > Vishnu, the authors cannot be wrong and hence shruti praising vishnu is
> > are quite ridiculous.
> Then I agree with you.

Thank you.

[ ... ]

> Take for example "Tat tvam asi".  Different thinkers have different ideas
> about what exactly this means but all agree it means _something_ important.

No. The mAdhva-s find fault with the advaitins for telling that this sentence
is important. It is explained by the presence of a silent "a" like the p in
psychiatrist. It is just another sentence in the shruti (all of us of course
know that _all_ sentences explain bheda only).

> > Again not applicable. I have quoted two mImA.nsA scholars who _do_ accept
> > muktika,
> However considerably more than two are silent on the matter.

Negative remarks and positive remarks can be interpreted. Silence can only be
ignored since arguments can be given both ways. Since none of them condemned it
it may or may not be accepted, but that cannot be decided on the basis of
anyone's silence.

> which lists the vajrasuchi. The mainstream tradition _does_ accept
> > the muktika, as can be seen by the acceptance of HH and Up. brahma yogin.
> Do you think His Holiness believes that ones caste is based on anything
> other than birth?  If as I suspect the answer is no, then he doesn't
> accept the Vajrasuchi literally.  Perhaps he has some way of reconciling
> the words and the tradition but he definitely does not accept it as it is
> written.  And if the muktika accepts this not to be taken at 100% face
> value upanishad what does that mean?  What is that endorsement worth?

What do you mean by face value? Each interpreter thinks his interpretation is
the "face value". Even "(a)tattvamasi" is taken as the face value
interpretation by some. So one cannot argue against the muktika on basis of
this. If you noticed something, I never commented about the interpretation of
the vajrasUchi. I only objected to your methodology of comparing with smR^iti
texts to claim that this is a forgery. There may be a straightforward way to
reconcile the smR^iti texts and this upanishhad for all I know.

> > If you accept the views of critical scholars you might as well accept that
> > veda-s were "written" etc. You can't take some things in both, whatever
> > pleases  you. Since this is the advaita list, let's stick to vedAnta.
> >
> This is that either-or mentality you were previously warning against.
> Between tradition and critical scholarship there is an amorphous zone of
> ideas both sides take from.

No. Here we are talking vedAnta or not. This is not a teaching for different
kinds of students based on their competence.

I am also not interested in what the mAdhva-s or the shrI vaishhhNava-s have to
say about the 108 upanishhads. I merely said that _in_ the advaitic tradition
these have been handed down as shruti and count as such. Ananda tIrtha quotes
passages from things like the brahma tarka, parama upanisshad etc. I don't care
two hoots for any of these texts and similarly I will stick to the principal
upanishhad-s if I am talking to any non-advaitin. The mAdhva-s are welcome to
consider those (brahma tarka etc) as shruti, but they cannot quote those texts
to prove something to advaitins. Similarly no advaitic teacher will quote
anything other than about 15-20 standard upanishhad-s which everyone seems to
accept. The point here is what the advaitic tradition accepts as shruti.

> Why not?  It's true.  I am but the latest link in our parampara.
> Certainly as a Brahman it is my duty not only to learn all these things
> for myself but to teach them to the next generation and to do that I have
> to understand them.  The difference between me and Shankaracharya or
> Upanishadbrahmayogin is only one of quantity not kind.  As for the muktika
> I'm rejecting it as a basis for accepting an "upanishad" that expresses a
> view contrary to Dharma.  If that basis is wrong it may well be possible
> to accept the muktika.  We'll have to see.

?!!! Let me clarify. I am _not_ interested in hearing your ad-hoc statements and
they certainly don't count as tradition. After the misunderstanding you
displayed about brahma loka (your exchange with Giri), you can hardly call
yourself even a scholar. The "te brahma loketu parAntakAle parimuchyanti sarve"
is in fact one of the most famous statements, in fact. That being the case,
claiming that the "difference between me and Shankaracharya ... is only one of
quantity ... " is ridiculous, to say the least.

> > Again, if you want to be a critical scholar you might as well drop all
> > of aparusheyatva and then talk.
> But who says I want to be one!  I bring their arguments up where I think
> they are germane but that doesn't imply I endorse everything that has been
> said and done in the name of critical scholarship.
> > One can be an "advaitin" even then I suppose,
> That isn't how I feel.  A Vedantin is a Mimamsaka.  I just think a
> Mimamasaka can make use of modern scolarship.

Really! Then who is the modern jaimini who gives us how much of "modern
scholarship" we should accept and how much we shouldn't? Of course the part of
the "modern scholarship" which calls the veda-s as written will be avoided.
Pray, is it you by any chance, who is going to take up the monumental task of
forming this navya pUrva mImA.nsA?

> > It's
> > now incumbent upon you to produce a valid teacher in the advaita tradition
> > (like Up. brahmayogin or HH) to corroborate your view that the muktika is
> > shruti.
> As I said above I need not produce any such thing.  Rather the silence of
> the majority of the Advaita tradition is my proof.

No. As I said, silence is never a proof for anything (as per mImA.nsA at any
rate). If you can talk some sense, quoting relevant authorities like a
traditional advaitin, I am willing to discuss. But most certainly not to the
delusions of grandeur which you have been displaying.


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