Practical Vedanta (fwd)

Ravi msr at COMCO.COM
Fri May 21 09:18:38 CDT 1999

---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian <ramakris at EROLS.COM> wrote:
> Sankaran Panchapagesan <panchap at ICSL.UCLA.EDU> wrote:

        >But as
> long as
> >one has not renounced all desires and the world (sannyAsa) such
> reasoning
> >is not valid because dharma includes social service, and as long as
> one is
> >not doing AtmavicAra full time, by slowly conquering and eliminating
> all
> >desires and taking sannyAsa, one has to do social service as a part
> of
> >dharma. Otherwise philosophising at the jnani level would necessarily
> be
> >constred as escapism, as Madhavan Srinivasan did, right? (don't take
> >offense, but such is the perspective from outside).
> What is social service?
There are apparently two different questions involved here:
1) Serving, with humility, the people of the world.
2) Reforming the system of the world with a zeal to revolutionize.

There is nothing wrong with the first, and in fact the scriptures advise
strongly FOR it.

There is an important story in the VishhNu purANam.h about a king who leaves his
kingdom and goes to the forest with only a kamaNDalu of water. After sometime
the king feels tired and is about to take a sip of water when a man (Indra in
disguise) comes to him complaining of thirst. The king offers him the water
saying,"Serving you is the same as serving the Lord." The king thereby achieves
mokshha. He doesn't merely acquire punya-points, but achieves the ultimate goal
of liberation itself ! Service and charity, when done with the right frame of
mind, certainly do aid one on the spiritual journey.

There is some stress on charity in the shruti also (taittiriiya upanishhad):
"shriyaa deyaM, hriyaa deyaM, bhiyaa deyaM, saMvidaa deyaM" -- give with
generosity, with humility, with respect, with love.

>  Further note that
> it's not from the stand point of a GYAni that the Maharshi is
> speaking. It's from a sAdhakas viewpoint.  Bottom line: The state of
> no distinctions can be arrived at only by self-realization. If you
> think it's a cop-out, so be it. Then, it's for you to realize that
> advaita is NOT, I repeat *NOT* for you, and move on to something else.
No one has suggested that the state of no distinctions can be arrived at by
someone who has not realized the Self. The above statements are quite


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