Practical Vedanta

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian ramakris at EROLS.COM
Sun May 9 10:58:38 CDT 1999

Sunder Hattangadi <gourish at INTERNET1.NET> wrote:

>Please refer to Swami Vivekananda's series of lectures in London
>(Complete Works, Vol 2), titled "Practical Vedanta".
>The use of an adjective does not always or necessarily imply the
>existence or validity of its opposite. It only means "PRACTISE IT",
>not just have an intellectual grasp of it. In a previous response I

This is exactly what I said. There is NOTHING called intellectual
grasp of vedAnta. Such a thing does not exist.  It's also unfortunate
Swami Vivekananda used this word practical. I had some other people in
mind when I commented about its use.  Perhaps it points out to the
inadequacies of the English language to explain advaita. The stuff you
quote below alleviates it a bit and shows that Swami Vivekanada
realized that it's a misnomer, however I still say it's to be avoided.
Further "practicing" vedAnta is yet another misnomer (although in this
case it is definitely because there are no equivalents to
vedAntaviGYAna in the English language").

>also mentioned "Vedanta is nothing if not practical, but it has to be

Let me explain a bit more. vedAntaviGYAna consists of the process of
shravaNa, manana and nididhyAsana. shravaNa does not mean merely
reading some book or the other. It means listening to teachings from
the mouth of a guru AFTER attaining the proper prerequsites. And
attaining the prerequsites has nothing to do with vedAnta or the
"practice" of vedAnta (if you want to use the word practice!).

mmsudan wrote:

>There are some sat-purusas, good people, who engage themselves in the
good of
>others sacrificing their own self-interests; the samanyas, the
generality of
>people, on the other hand, are those who engage themselves in the
good of
>others so long as it does not involve the sacrifice of their own
>self-interest. There are those others, the manava-raksasas, devilish
men, who

I am afraid these have really nothing to do with vedAnta. Service to
others, etc (if done in the proper spirit) can serve as a prerequisite
to vedAntaviGYAna, but otherwise has nothing to with vedAnta and is
certainly not "practical vedAnta". advaita affirms that the world is
unreal and the best means to attaining moxa is to renounce all acts,
including the service which you talk of above. The jAbAla upanishhad
is very clear on this. sureshvara explains this at great length in his
sambandha vArttika.


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