Tradition (was Re: muktika upanishhad (was Re: Brahmana))
Jaldhar H. Vyas
jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Tue Mar 4 02:05:36 CST 1997
There is nothing more pathetic than seeing a person whose arguments have
so run out of steam he is reduced to name calling and wilful misquotation.
I've defended my views (and secured your agreement on most of them.) and
you've made your own position clear. The results are in the list archives
for those who wish to take a look. If you want to continue your diatribe
feel free to email me I shall confine my remarks to the parts of your
post which have something new to say.
On Mon, 3 Mar 1997, Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian wrote:
> I thought that we were discussing the advaitic tradition. But apparently we
> not. We seem to be discussing the opinions of you/your grand father etc.
> This forum is mainly for discussing the advaita as
> established from shruti and reasoning by shrI gauDapAda, shrI sha.nkara et al.
So the question at hand is what constitutes the Advaita tradition? Who or
what is the et al you refer to? You give your view below.
> This is what is known commonly as advaita, not your opinions formed from half
> baked study of shruti. So any of the successors of shrI gauDapAda (Sringeri,
> Puri, Dvaraka, Jyotir Math, Kanchi etc) or people recommended by them (like
> shrI ramaNa maharshhi, shrI sadAshiva brahmendra etc) are fair game. That is
> traditional advaitam.
So it would seem your view is the Advaita tradition consists of the Guru
parampara starting from Gaudapadacharya and continuing to the present day
and anyone they've recommended along the way. Reasoning is not mentioned
at all and study of Shruti is considered half-baked. (Or is it only my
study of Shruti which is half-baked? If so how do you come to this
There are several things unclear with your view as expressed above.
Earlier you've said this parampara have based their view on Shruti and
reasoning. What in your opinion is the role of Shruti. Do you assume
that because the acharyas of the past have studied Shruti it isn't
incumbent on us to study it ourselves? Similiarly have the acharyas of
the past done all the thinking for us or is there any scope for us to use
our own brainpower? You also mentioned that the acharyas "recommend"
other people as authorities. On what basis do they do this?
The tradition I grew up in was of people who attended pathashalas, did
sandhya and panchayata puja but were mostly engaged in laukika occupations
for their livelihood. Occasionally one became a purohit or a purani (The
name Vyas comes from Jagannathji Dada about 12 generations back who was a
great preacher of the Bhagavata Purana.) And occasionally one became a
Sannyasi. Then he would learn Vedanta in depth otherwise it was a subject
people generally knew the outlines of but not to any great degree. My
reason for mentioning all this is that kind of background is far more
typical of Smartas whether in the South or anywhere else than your
idealized version. Most of the Smartas even today have never come into
close contact with a Jagadguru let alone become their disciples. Yet they
also consider Sharira Mimamsa their Shastra, Chandrashekhar their God and
Shankaracharya their Acharya. To suggest that they are not part of the
Advaita tradition because they don't quote books (remember until
recently the vast majority of Indians were illiterate) or they quote the
"wrong" books is silly. For it is their traditions that the books are
based upon. Gaudapadacharya didn't pull his karikas out of a hat, there
were many generations of Vedic teachers before him and it is right and
proper to judge his work in light of them. It's what people have been
doing all along. And these generations didn't just freeze when the four
piths were started they continue to this day and will continue for
thousands more years. Their view should also not be dismissed simply
because they are new.
To summarize my views, The goal of astika people should be fidelity to the
Sanatana Vedic Dharma as our ancestors practised it. It should not on the
one hand become a sloppy capitulation to every fad that comes along. It
should also not veer to the other extreme and become a sort of
fundamentalism that replaces the real past with a fictional one. As I'm
sure you'll agree for followers of smriti it is important to follow our
Jaldhar H. Vyas [jaldhar at braincells.com] And the men .-_|\ who hold
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