Suggested Reading List

Vivek Anand Ganesan v_ganesan at YAHOO.COM
Mon Apr 20 16:41:31 CDT 1998

   I kindly request ShrI Ravi Mayavaram to include a suggested reading
list along with the FAQ for this list.  Quite a few seminal works have
been mentioned in the past in the discussions on this list and I
thought it would be helpful if we can collect them all at one place.
Also, an indication of the level of the work like beginner,
intermediate, advanced and a topical index like historical,
philosphical etc. ( like the one seen on ShrI Vidyashankar's page )
will also be beneficial for beginners like me.


Get your free address at

>From  Mon Apr 20 19:45:39 1998
Message-Id: <MON.20.APR.1998.194539.0500.>
Date: Mon, 20 Apr 1998 19:45:39 -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: Reason and Experience
Comments: To: Advaita Posts <advaita-l at>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

I have been very impressed with the high quality and helpful nature of
the responses that have been offered to my questions, but I confess to
being a little confused on one point. Almost everyone has reminded me
that an understanding of the ultimate nature of things cannot be had
from reasoning or the intellect alone, and yet I have been given a long
list of Advaita texts to read. Is there not a discrepancy here? Could I
not spend, say, the next ten years learning Sanskrit and studying
Shankara and the Upanishads, only to remain in the end as divided and
confused as I am now?

I do understand the importance of having a correct foundation from which
to proceed, and so would never question the value of learning and study
in general. But as I stated before, I have come, perhaps mistakenly, to
think of Advaita Vedanta as being at once a startlingly simple and
profoundly radical idea, which is both timeless and totally universal.
Beyond conveying the basic concept, how much can academic study really
add? And can we not, like the medieval Christian Scholastics, spend our
whole life energy on scholarship without ever reaching a truly deeper

I suppose in a sense I'm repeating the same question as before, except
from the opposite side now (which reflects my ambivalence). Earlier I
asked how the intuitive or xxperience related aspects of Vedanta could
be reconciled with intellectual doubts. Now I'm asking how the intellect
can ever take us to anything of real and lasting significance, and
whether we should spend much time on it. I don't know where the best
balance is between the two, but I do feel fairly sure that the deep
inner thirst for understanding and fulfillment can never be quenched
primarily by study and thinking, because ideas that are arrived at by
this sort of effort can and will eventually be displaced by a
continuation of the same process.

So maybe my best course for now is to stop asking questions, and focus
more on meditation. If the process of laying the groundwork doesn't stop
at some point, then it becomes just digging up the foundation and
relaying it endlessly, often with a new design. Actual practice may be
agonizingly slow and without apparent result, but if it's the only well
that potentially has water, then the most effort should probably be
spent there.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list