Request : Digest form

Ravi Mayavaram msr at REDDY20.TAMU.EDU
Fri Apr 17 13:33:03 CDT 1998

On Fri, 17 Apr 1998, Kamal Kothari wrote:

>Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 22:35:42 +0530
>From: Kamal Kothari <kamal at>
>Subject: Request : Digest form
>Dear Ravi,
>I am new to the list and enjoying the posts and learning as well. A
>small request. Can you please make my subsription to "Digest" mode?
>Thanks,    Kamal

namaste Kamal

Since you wrote this to the list, I thought I will reply here itself.
I receive few requests like this once in a while. It is very easy to
change the options by yourself.

1) When you subscribe, you will get a file with all the necessary
information to set your options like this. Please preserve it and read
it when need arises.

2) All such "changing options" request should be sent to the
listserv at and not to the list itself.

3) To change to digest mode, please send a mail to
listserv at with body of the message containing


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

>From  Fri Apr 17 19:14:24 1998
Message-Id: <FRI.17.APR.1998.191424.0400.>
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 19:14:24 -0400
Reply-To: ramakris at
To: "Advaita (non-duality) with reverence" <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
From: Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian <ramakris at EROLS.COM>
Subject: Re: ShrIrAma instructs tArA -2 (conclusion)
Comments: To: "Advaita (non-duality) with reverence" <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
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Jaldhar H. Vyas wrote:

> I had a question about this.  I have the Lalitasahasranama with the
> Saubhagyabhaskara of Shri Bhaskararaya.  This also claims to be part of
> the Brahmanda Purana and contains many of the names Ravi is posting
> although in a different order.  Do I take it from your words above that
> these are two different works not the same?  The Lalitasahasranama is
> just over 300 shlokas.

Some more info other than what Ravi posted (you can find this in my
introduction to the transliteration I posted on srh).

The pa.nchadashAxarI comprises of 15 letters and is given by

ka e I la hrIm.m, ha sa ka la hrIm.h, sa ka la hrIm.h.

(A note to all: Please DO NOT chant this mantra without initiation. I
myself haven't had initiation and don't. This is ONLY for information)

There are 20 names for each bIjAxara and hence 15 x 20 = 300 names. They
are more powerful than the sahasranAma. Anyone, even without initiation
can chant this stotra. There is an important detail to know if you want
to get the benefit by chanting this stotra. The axara-s ka and ha are
shivAxara-s and hrIm is a ubayAxara. The rest or shakti axara-s. shrI
hayagrIva says:

ye ye prayogAs tantreshhu taistair-yat.h sAdhyate phalam.h |
tatsarvaM sidhyati xipram nAmatrishata kIrtanam.h ||

[ Whatever methods are there in the tantras, whatever fruits are
obtained by them, all of them accrue quickly from chanting of the
three-hundred names ]

The main reason I am replying to this mail is your comment about
bhAskararAya. He was _NOT_ a proponent of vaidika tantra. He has
defended vAmAchAra in his works. However, that need not mean we should
throw out all his opinions.


>From  Fri Apr 17 17:58:53 1998
Message-Id: <FRI.17.APR.1998.175853.0500.>
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 17:58:53 -0500
Reply-To: niche at
To: "Advaita (non-duality) with reverence" <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
From: Parisi & Watson <niche at AMERITECH.NET>
Organization: Knitters Niche
Subject: Questions
Comments: To: Advaita Posts <advaita-l at>
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As I stated in my self introduction, I have been troubled by certains
doubts about the philosophical tenets of Advaita, and a short
description of them follows below. I hope that everyone will receive
these thoughts in the same constructive mode in which I offer them: as a
chance for me to learn by seeing my doubts addressed by others who have
more knowledge than I do. I may be accused of being 'merely a dry
philosopher,' but my doubts will not be dimished because I ignore them,
and surely commitment to any doctrine has to be secondary to a
fundamental position of integrity and honesty with oneself. I hope to
see my points addressed in depth, but if the consensus is that they are
inappropriate for this list, then I will withdraw without any ill will,
and look for other ways to resolve them.

Nisargadatta writes (paraphrased) that only 'I-am' is certain; 'I am
this or that' is inference. We begin with the 'I' which is the Witness
or Subject, and all other objects of our experience are just that:
objects, rather than subjects. Since not only our bodies, but also our
minds, thoughts, and feelings are experienced by us as objects of our
awareness, they are fundamentally different from the 'I'. From this he
concludes, not only that we are not our bodies or minds, which are mere
objects of the experience of the 'I', but also that we are not in the
world, but the world is in us. Since we know anything only by
experiencing it as part of the contents of our field of consciousness,
and since the field of consciousness is not the 'I' but is rather
perceived by and contained in it, the 'external' world exists only by
virtue of the 'I'. Therefore only the 'I' is real, being unitary and
without attributes or action; all else is transitory and ephemeral,
being only passing contents of the experience of the 'I', which is the
substrate of all Being.

My reservations about Advaita begin here, for the simple reason that all
of the above remains equally true even if we assume for the sake of
argument that the Western view is correct, and consciousness is a
biological function of the physical organism. Descartes pointed out
three hundred years ago that only 'I am' or 'I exist' is certain, and
that all else is possibly mistaken inference. So the basic impulse
behind Advaita has been aired in the West (obviously much later than in
India), but without drawing the same conclusions. Why? Because the same
premises can support multiple conclusions. It's a given that we can
perceive ourselves. We can look at our own bodies, and we can even
observe our thoughts and feelings in an uninvolved, detached way. But
under the so-called materialist (a misnomer) assumptions, these facts
would obviously remain. Does the fact that a camera can take a picture
of itself via a mirror prove that it has some essence that can't be
photographed? Similarly, even if consciousness is a biological function,
we would not only admit, but would also expect that the mind would be
capable, not only of perceiving external objects, but also of
experiencing its own workings, at least in a partial and superficial
way. In other words, the mind may not know or perceive 'how' the mind
works, but we would still expect it to experience directly 'that' it
works, even in the materialist view.

It may be objected, "We are not talking about the mind, since the mind
is not the 'I', but rather is experienced by the 'I'. We are talking
about consciousness itself. The mind is a portion of the contents of
that consciousness." Obviously there must be a valid distinction between
medium and contents; when I change my mind about something, I don't
thereby become a different person (although it could be argued that I am
a changed person). But here again, the same distinction is valid under
the materialist view, however without ascribing to the medium a
radically different nature than everything else in the world.
Consciousness, instead of being a totally different substance, is seen
as the high level result of extremely complex and intertwined organic
functions interacting both with each other and with the rest of the
world. There is still an important distinction between medium and
contents, despite the fact that the medium is in a sense also part of
the contents.

Beyond these considerations, there is a mountain of evidence that not
only the mind, but also consciousness itself is affected by changes in
the physical organism. It's a well known fact that certain drugs can
produce altered states of consciousness, ranging from the terrifying to
the quasi religious. We also know that various kinds of damage to the
brain, both from injury and disease, can not only affect the way we
experience the world, but also the quality of our own sense of self. And
last but not least, damage to the nervous system can destroy the
capability even to sustain consciousness itself. Why would this direct
dependency, which anyone can easily demonstrate with a hammer, exist if
consciousness were prior to the physical organism?

It may also be objected, "All that may be true, but it is inconceivable
to me that my immediate sense of self and self awareness is merely the
result of organic processes. Such things are innately devoid of
consciousness, which is an intrinsically different order of reality." If
the fact that people find something intuitively inconceivable made it
untrue, then the evolution of life could be disproved in some U.S.
states by taking a popular vote. As another example, when we are
interacting with advanced artificial intelligence software, it may seem
inconceivable that everything we observe can be reduced to layers of
silicon crystal containing logic gates. And while it is pointless and
invalid to equate the conscious human mind with computers, still it
seems that there could be a valid nalogy here in principle. A final
example of something that is
widely considered inconceivable and yet is true would be the fine points
of relativity and quantum mechanics in physics, much of which is
drastically counter intuitive. Other examples could be cited, and I
would think they might give us pause in basing truth on conceivability.
What is true can also be startling.

These thoughts describe in brief the doubts that I harbor about Advaita.
I present them here in order to see the addressed by others in the hope
that I can learn from the responses. Only be offering them in a
vigorous, detailed way can I get full advantage from this exercise.


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