Post for Giri

Ravi Mayavaram msr at REDDY20.TAMU.EDU
Fri Apr 17 08:51:02 CDT 1998

15 April, 1998.

namaste mitraH

        All glories to Lord Ganesha ! I would like to rejoin the
advaita-L. Please put me so that I receive the emails in the DIGEST

        Though many of the list members know me because of my postings on
the list, I will introduce this body-mind complex briefly ! I am an
assistant professor working in India, having returned from USA. I maintain
a site on yoga/hinduism at
        and also contribute to the sanskrit site at

        Please visit those sites for more information. That's it for the
introduction. I also request my old friends to note down my new email

        But, I would like to say the following without hurting anybody's
sentiments. I was not a member of this list the past month. But in the
last few months previous to that, I have not contributed to the list
mainly because I felt topics like "fate versus free-will" "buddhism" were
all discussed by the majority with no references to traditional advaitic

        As the list members know, I am a "fan" of Shankara and quote Him
extensively in preference to "modern" non-traditional advaitins (Ramana
Maharshi is a notable exception), who have cheapened the process of atma
vichara. For every question, replies like 'Ask who is asking the question'
'There is no one to ask questions' are given. In reality, there is no
individual, but as long as the person thinks (the very presence of thought
indicates duality)  so, he has to study vedanta, practice it and remove
his avidya. Only a person who has no "contact"  with the body and mind,
can claim that there is no avidya, no one to be liberated and all that.
The dreamer thinks the dream is real till he wakes up and thus there is an
immediate need to differentiate between vyahavarika and paramarthika
satyam. One also needs to understand the requirements for a person fit for
atma vichara.

        I request members to kindly read the FAQ on advaita by Vidya, and
focus on the teachings of traditional advaitins. This is for members who
are really serious about sadhana, and not for dry philosophers, who have
no need for karma-kanda, bhakti etc. Questions on advaita by anyone need
to be discussed and explained by quotes by Shankara or some one in his
lineage. In that way, we can avoid our own opinions coming in the way and
distort the authentic tradition. To quote an example, the head of Sringeri
Math has talked extensively on the need of self-effort, and how the
present effort influences the future (in his essay 'fate versus
free-will). Since I am versed in vedic jyotish, I can easily concur with
this and also understand how free will operates only till individuality
exists. But even if I had a different opinion, I should respect Shankara's
tradition and understand their viewpoint completely before commenting on
it. Of course, there may be minor differences between the philosophy of
Shankara and His followers and we can even discuss this, but to throw out
the traditional opinion in favour of our own with no basis is hardly
beneficial and the purpose of the advaita list would be lost.

        There are numerous works by Shankara that can be taken up for
discussion, especially in this list which has a lot of knowledgable
members like Vidya, Rama, Anand, Ravi, Govind, sadananda, jaldhar, gummu
.... who have studied these works and would clarify others doubts. Simple
philosophical works like vivekachudamani, vakya vritti, atma bodha,
upadeshasahasri etc., complex works like the upanishhad bhashya-s, brahma
sutra bhashya or beautiful devotional works like shivanandalahari,
saundaryalahari etc. can be taken up depending on the taste of the
aspirant ! Give me a month or two, and I will also contribute my share.

        It is only the beauty of Shankara's works which changed me and I
feel that everyone needs a share of the nectar flowing His divine lips.
His words are verily Shruti to me and my desire to see His works discussed
may have resulted in me speaking some harsh words above. Ultimately
whatever we do, wherever we are and whatever we post are quite dependent
on the prarabdha karma. However, that should not be used as an excuse to
indulge in sense-pleasures, or hurt others since todays' karma becomes the
prarabdha for future lives. Thus, let me invoke the Lord's name and His
feet and ask for forgiveness if the above words have hurt someone.

        Since some of the list members have asked me, let me respond about
the advantages of being in Bharat. In the morning everyday, thousands of
us watch television to hear the present shankaracharyas (either the kanchi
or sringeri) speak on some advaitic topic. We can even write and ask him
questions. My difficulty almost every evening is between deciding whether
I should attend the lecture on naishhkarmya siddhi or the one on
upadeshasahasri or to just attend temples, bhajans or just walk in to one
of those lectures on bhagavad gita. So that gives one an idea about
vedantic resources available here.

        May the Lord reveal His ever-present grace !

AUM shaantiH

Giridhar Madras, Assistant Professor    Email: giridhar at
Department of Chemical Engineering      TEL     : 91 80 309 2319 (Work)
Indian Institute of Science                     : 91 80 338 4680 (Home)
BANGALORE 560 012, INDIA                FAX     : 91 80 334 1683
      Department home page address:

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