New member: Introduction

Ravi Mayavaram msr at REDDY20.TAMU.EDU
Thu Apr 30 22:41:49 CDT 1998

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 27 Apr 1998 19:30:49
From: oli at
To: msr at
Subject: mailing list

Dr. Mr Ravisankar Mayavaran

I had notice of the advaita discussion list, and I would like to
subscribe to it, what shall I do?
My name is Olivia Cattedra, and i'm professor of indian and chinese
philosophies at the university of Salvador, here in Buenos Aires.
Also I have done some research, from 1982 up to now,  on Gaudapada and
the earlier advaita,
then I was working with the Upadesasahasri, then some comparisons
with Plotinus, and recently with the developmnt of the yoga pre and
post Patanjali.
I deeply appreciate the information you cand send to me.

Sincerely, Olivia Cattedra---
E-mail: oli at
Buenos Aires - Argentina
>From giridhar at Fri May  1 14:18:59 1998
Message-Id: <FRI.1.MAY.1998.141859.0530.GIRIDHAR at CHEMENG.IISC.ERNET.IN>
Date: Fri, 1 May 1998 14:18:59 +0530
Reply-To: "Dr. M. Giridhar" <giridhar at>
To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
        <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
From: "Dr. M. Giridhar" <giridhar at CHEMENG.IISC.ERNET.IN>
Subject: Bhakti, Sadhana etc.
Comments: To: advaita-l <ADVAITA-L at TAMVM1.TAMU.EDU>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII

namaste mitraH

>> "Today is aShTamI", "today is navaMI", "today is chaturdashI",
>> saying thus and with faith in the words of the astrologers, people

        Today is "shankara jayanti." On this day, many festivals
honouring the great saint has been held in this country. Let us pray
to His lotus feet so that we can understand His nectarine words !

>> fast with all sincerity. But when the shruti says, "Thou Art That
>> (Brahman)", people do not trust these words! Oh! This is indeed
>> wonderful!

>Well, certainly, at least, it seems that a contrast is being drawn
>between the essential (the "purport") and the inessential.

        Inessential ? Oh ! This is indeed wonderful! When Lord Rama and
Lord Krishna say that fasting on ekadashi is extremely useful, are their
words untrue ? Or when Devi says that Her bhaktas should fast on
"aShTami," is She emphasizing the inessential ?

        Such observances are essential for most people to control their
minds. Of course, if we satisfy Shankara's basic requirement that we
should have viveka, vaigraya and be a wandering monk, we may have crossed
the stage where we require fasting to control the mind. But for most
people it is essential to do such preliminary sadhana.

        In most of the religions, Christianity and Islam, fasting is a
part of sadhana. So it is with our dharma also. Just because we can mouth
a few words on Brahman and talk on aham brahmasmi does not mean we can
throw out all the nitya karmas (like sandhya) and naimittika karmas (like
fasting on ekadashi), unless we are wandering monks. And even if we think
we have crossed the stage where we require such methods like pranayama,
fasting etc., it is foolish to call this inessential for everyone. As
Ramana Maharshi said 'Just because it is not required for you does not
mean it is not required (or useful) for anyone.'

In an another mail, Nanda wrote:

>My main basis of argument is that I *who am being affected by the realm
>of Maya* can in no way be the Eternal Absolute. If an Eternal Absolute
>exists in me (1) it cannot be the "I" nor (2) can't form a part of the
>"I" (as a substratum) or (3) even be remotely associated with the "I"

        Sure. The snake is never part of the rope. It is only the mind
which is being confused between the snake and the rope. When the knowledge
that it is only a rope dawns, the snake will be denied. But until then,
the snake is very much "real." While dreaming, you might feel thirsty and
look for water. It is all real then. But on waking up the thirst is
dismissed as unreal.

        Instead of being confused and raising numerous questions on what
is avidya, how did avidya arise etc., it is better, imho, to understand
that 'Yes, there is avidya, let me remove it.' When a house is burning, do
not ask who started the fire but put it off first. Then you can enquire
who started the fire. Similarly, though you think of 'I' may be under
maya, if you properly enquire (not just intellectually), you will find out
it is not. Just like the snake and the rope. The rope may appear to be
like a snake, but it is never a part of snake or anything to do with it.
The confusion exists only in one's mind.

        I agree that certain amount of intellectual curiousity and
reasoning is essential before one starts any sadhana, but numerous
questions and answers only leads to more confusion. I am not telling you
this to stifle your enthu to understand advaita, but only to make sure
that your questions are accompanied by proper sadhana. Because
intellectually understanding "I am That" is a great deal different from
realizing That. As you wrote so beautifully sometime back :

        "I, who am always full of questions, at his presence realized the
futility of all such questions! What should I ask - Should I take
Samnyaasa? Is Brahman, Saguna or Nirguna? Is a Guru necessary?  Are the
non-Brahmins not eligible to study the Shruti? Or the Paul Brunton
question! - Futile, because in my own heart I know the answers or question
the necessity of my knowing the answers or even my right to ask such
questions! For I realize that, until I've full control of my senses and
steadied my mind against the troika of lust, jealousy and anger, there's
no point even asking such questions!"


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