Advaita and Christianity

Sankaran Kartik Jayanarayanan kartik at ECE.UTEXAS.EDU
Mon Apr 3 18:43:01 CDT 2000

On Mon, 3 Apr 2000 Vaidya_Sundaram at I2.COM wrote:

> namaskAram.
> 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

Let me just quote Apastamba dharma suutra (prashna 2, paTala 9, khaNDa 21)
13. satyAnR^ite sukhaduHkhe vedaaniM lokamamuM cha
parityajyaa.atmaanamanvichchet.h .

  Renouncing truth and untruth, pleasure and pain, *the Vedas*, this world
  and the next, he (the saMnyAsin) shall enquire into the Self.

When one seeks the Self exclusively, the Vedas MUST be renounced.

> 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
> step:
> study of VedAnta --> Self-enquiry --> GYAna --> confirmation of vedantic
> teachings.

I'm not sure if I understand you correctly, but are you trying to imply
that VedAnta itself (as in end-of-the-Vedas-shruti) remains after GYAna?
This is not correct. The knowledge of the Self completely sublates the
Vedas. On the attainment of GYAna, there is no such thing as the Vedas.

Shankara says in his Brahma suutra Bhaashhya, "We admit the absence of all
the shAstras on the attainment of GYAna."

If there are no Vedas on the attainment of GYAna, by your own definition
of VedAnta, there can be no VedAnta either.

> >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
> >VedAnta.
>  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.

Let me explain:

Ramana's teachings in general: NOT VedAnta. He himself said that he was
teachings from his own experience ONLY, but that his teachings *tallied
with Shankara's*, and in that sense and IN THAT SENSE ALONE, he taught the
philosophy of VedAnta.

However, in order to avoid confusion on your part or others, any
philosophy that is _in line with the essential teachings of Vedas_ I
shall from now onwards call "S-Veda philosophy." I could give Ramana's
teachings as an example of S-veda philosophy.


> >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)

Sorry. Correct "VedAnta philosophy" in my statements above to "S-Veda

> >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.

Sorry again. I hereby correct "constructed" to "preached" and "philosophy
of VedAnta" to "S-veda philosophy."

> bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam
> Vaidya


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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