Truth in Dvaita/Advaita ( was Re: Agony of the soul (?) etc )

M Suresh msuresh at INDIA.TI.COM
Tue Jan 7 02:59:10 CST 1997

On Mon, 6 Jan 1997, Gummuluru Murthy wrote:

> On Sun, 5 Jan 1997, Jaldhar H. Vyas wrote:
> > On Sun, 5 Jan 1997, Gummuluru Murthy wrote:
> >
> > > The Advaita List is very quiet for the past few weeks. May be, the members
> > > are following the dictum of the last thread "Silence is best" too
> > > literally. I am sure, all of us interpret Shri Ramana's teaching "Silence
> > > is best" as the silence of the mind that is to be strived for.
> >
> > Call me uncharitable but it's more likely due to lingering embarrasment
> > over the inability to answer Shrisha Rao.  At least some good has come out
> > of it.  I have begun reading Advaitasiddhi of Swami Madhusudana Saraswati
> > which answers those criticisms in detail.
> >
> I beg to differ. I have followed the arguments in that thread closely. I
> have no intention of re-opening the arguments or participate in that
> thread. But, allow me to make the following general comments.
> In any arguments or discussion, the motives can be of various types and
> they were mentioned in some other context. They, roughly, are
> (a) to gain some knowledge and learn something
> (b) to defend one's position
> (c) to find the weak points of the opponent and try to vanquish the
> opponent
> (d) to completely not hear the others' arguments and to go on one-sided
> track.

Usually in such arguments the motives start with (b) and end with
(c) mentioned above both of which are not very useful to either
party or the persons following the discussions.

Discussions within the group and informative postings are more

> The only objective of a true practitioner of Advaita is to gain stillness
> of the mind by seeing oneness in all. There is no need of one-upmanship by
> vernacular juglery. [Shri Shankara is excluded from this definition
> because His mission is different.]. If a person gains peace of mind by
> being dvaitin, so be it.

Another objective of philosophy of any kind is the urge to know the
ultimate cause of one's own existence and that of creation. This
can also be mapped to a quest for peace of mind because by knowing
one gets some satisfaction.

> I clearly remember and try to practice Shri Chinmayananda's explanation
> (which might have followed Shri Ramana's teachings). Every argument is
> correct at the level of understanding of the person who makes it. Leave
> it to the person to recognize the Truth in his/her own time. At that time,
> the person will see for himself/herself the fallacy of the arguments that
> were made.

This explanation will not be recognised by dvaitins because they treat truth
as a framework having an objective existence into which other entities like
Brahman, Jiva, Jada etc. fit into.

According to them one may accept, reject or be ignorant of the
truth but the truth itself remains.

Because of this their world view sounds more like a story.

Many stories start off as "Once upon a time there was a king ...".

In dvaita philosophy the story is something like:

"There always has been and there always will be a Narayana & there
always were and there always will be innumerable jivas. Narayana
has such and such qualities and the jivas have such and such
qualities. The jivas very subordinate to narayana are expected to
behave in such and such way failing which they will find themselves
in bondage and so on ...".

Only thing this story has been covered by an extensive logical
framework and presented as a philosophy.

Another thing to be noted in the dvaita story is that Narayana is
supreme only to the extent the story permits him to be. He for
instance cannot extinguish a jiva because each jiva is independent
and eternal. He is labeled with various attributes to which he must
stick on. So he is a mere actor in the leela and not the author of
the leela. The leela is given by the truth as expounded by the
dvaita story which is eternal ( which is why the eternity of vedas
is so important in dvaita philosophy since it bases itself on
vedas? ).

But in advaita there is no truth apart from and independent of the
knower of the truth. The truth is beyond knowledge and ignorance.
So it can afford to accept dvaita as a viewpoint which when refined
further will lead to the non-dual enternal Brahman.

> [ rest deleted ..]
> Regards
> Gummuluru Murthy


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