Advaita and Christianity

Vaidya_Sundaram at I2.COM Vaidya_Sundaram at I2.COM
Mon Apr 3 17:26:20 CDT 2000


Sankaram Kartik Jayanarayanan wrote on 03 April 2000 wrote:

>The verse speaks of the knowledge *produced* by the Vedas and not
>knowledge *of* the Vedas.
>It says:
>practising any religion --> purification of the mind --> study of VedAnta
>--> Self-enquiry --> GYAna

 Hmmm. My first confusion is on the words and implications there-of of "
*produced* by the Vedas" - if "produced by the vedas" here means "complete
understanding of the teachings of the Vedas" (which may be one single
non-dual Brahman, I dont know yet!) - fine, no confusion. If not, what is
the Vedas trying to produce, and how does it acheive it?
 To me, the link

 study of VedAnta--> Self-enquiry --> GYAna

 does not mean that Vedanta goes out of the picture after self enquiry
begins or even ends for that matter. Vedanta is fully confirmed and
understood in its entirety at the stage of Gyana. So, vedanta cannot be
severed from the picture/link at the stage of gyana. Rather, it adds a

study of VedAnta --> Self-enquiry --> GYAna --> confirmation of vedantic

>Here the "study of VedAnta" must be taken in a broader sense to mean the
>study of the *essence of VedAnta philosophy* and not literally the books
>that constitute the end of the Vedas. To make my point clear, it does not
>mean that one who knows only Tamil and not Sanskrit cannot achieve GYAna
>since he cannot study the Sanskrit books constituting the end of the
>Vedas. If he is taught by a Guru like Ramana who is essentially teaching
>the philosophy of VedAnta in Tamil, it is the same as studying the

 I seem to be confused (again!) here - when "vedanta" itself stands for the
"essence of" or "end of" (to use a literal translation) of the vedas, what
does it mean to say "*essence of vedanta philosophy*" ? Where does this
"essence of (- end of) - essence of (- end of)" argument lead one? - also,
how do you make a broader study of the vedic teachings (in vedanta) when
all you have today is the books that tell you what it (vedas) is talking
about?  To me "study" by itself has no meaning unless you say "a study of
something" + "with some thing". With vedanta, the "study of vedanta" is the
study of vedanta *with vedanta* !! If not, what do you study vedanta
"with"? If then it is said that the study is "with vedanta" - then what is
the study "of" ? If the "of" means Brahman, how did you know what to study
if the vedanta did not tell you about it (brahman)? How do you read a
bigger (or deeper) meaning into a work as grand and as big as the vedas
themselves with out taking its words (i.e. vedanta which is also part of
the vedas) literally? Hence, to me atleast, this "philosophy of the
philosophy" argument is going nowhere.

>In this sense, if the Bible is read from the perspective taught by Ramana,
>I don't see how it is any different from the essence of VedAnta philosophy
>itself. OTOH, if one reads dualism into it, it's no different from the
>dvaitins' reading of the upanishhads (which can also be called "VedAnta").

  To analyse your quote: "read [the bible] from the perspective taught by
Ramana" - you are reading (i.e. gaining your own understanding) the bible.
The guideline for this self understanding is the "perspective" of Ramana,
about which you know from a book as well. And this book giving the
perspective of Ramana was not written by Ramana Himself, but by a devotee.
However faithful this devotee was (to the perspective and teachings of
Ramana), and howmuch ever perfect the devotee's understanding of Ramana's
perspective, without the direct clarification from Ramana Himself, you
would not know if you got the perspective right, and in the next step (i.e
if you got the perspective right), if you got the "interpretation" [of the
bible] right.

The only substitute to actually studing the words of the veda is to get the
meanings and teachings of the veda *directly* from the guru - reading the
words of a different book (different from the veda) with the "perspective"
of the Guru learnt from a book written by some one else who heard it from
the Guru is too far away from the truth! Better stick to the original truth
which the Guru perviously confirmed in his own words. Also, substituting
the direct initiation from a Guru with a second or even third hand reading
& understanding from a book is down right demeaning (to the guru - shishya
parampara) !

>I think you're keen on maintaining an exclusivity insofar as the VedAnta
>philosophy goes, restricting it to the study of the upanishhads and
>related works.

yet again, I am confused - exclusivity of the philosophy of the "vedanta"
to the vedic passages such as upanishads is some thing I have always taken
literaly for no other reason than the fact that the word "vedanta" means
"end of" (essence of if you will) of the "vedas" - I would be surprised if
Vedanta (being part of the vedas) talks of some thing other than (and not
in) the Vedas. If there is similarity between vedic teachings or philosophy
(i.e vedanta) and other non-vedic texts, they are just similarities to me
and do not point to a more fundamental truth being common unless I
understand them all. So, until such time, why even say that the philosophy
of the Vedas is the same as that of some other philosophy. Why go to the
extent of saying that they not just same, but are also non-different? Why
not treat them as two distcit philophies?
(ofcourse, this over riding faith in the teachings of Vedas is the bias I
bring to the discussion)

>If someone else has constructed the necessary framework of
>the philosophy of VedAnta in Hebrew quite independently from the Vedas,
>"it just cannot be because it cannot be."

I am probably committing a mistake by taking your words literally (since in
such an impersonal medium of communication as a list over the internet,
that is all I am able to :( - ). But, saying "someone has constructed a
framework" is attributing authorship. If you then compare the teachings of
(or the philosophy behind) this "framework" with that of the vedas, you
are comparing two very different things.

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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