Advaita and Christianity

T Swaminarayan tvswaminarayan at YAHOO.COM
Tue Apr 4 21:25:32 CDT 2000

Dear Anand, It is a very interesting point at which
this discussion is moving and I would like to share my
views with both of you, Anand and Kartik. Before I
start doing that I would require a little bit of
instructions as to how I can extract portions of what
you have said in your text and give my view on it
without having to  re-post your entire text. On
hearing from any one of you I will continue.

--- Anand Hudli <anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:
> On Tue, 4 Apr 2000 13:15:28 -0500, Sankaran Kartik
> Jayanarayanan
> <kartik at ECE.UTEXAS.EDU> wrote:
> >This will be my last posting on this thread.
> >
> >I only want to re-iterate something I said in a
> prior posting of mine, and
> >explain why:
> >
> >-----------
> >I only claimed that the *Bible* was strongly
> leaning towards the
> >philosophy of advaita *as taught by Ramana*, in the
> opinion of Ramana
> >Himself.
> >-----------
> Let me say something at the cost of being
> misunderstood as arrogant.
> IF (this is a big IF) Ramana indeed made the
> identification of the Bible
> and advaita his *main* teaching, I will have no
> hesitation to disagree
> with him. I feel that his teachings are not being
> interpreted fairly if
> the gist of what you say includes a claim that
> Ramana's *main* teaching
> was to study the Bible for advaitic realization. I
> very much doubt this
> is the case. He could have advised Christian
> disciples of his, about the
> advaitic interpretation of the Bible but the way you
> have presented this
> issue makes it appear as if the Bible is equivalent
> to vedanta in every
> way and that this was  a *central* message of
> Ramana.
> Another important thing that is missing in this
> whole discussion is that
> any Indian philosophy is not just an armchair
> philosophy. When you compare
> Vedanta with another system, you cannot divorce the
> practice of Vedantic
> discipline from  what is said in the Vedanta texts.
> The practice and
> theory go together hand in hand always. This is the
> pitfall in making
> comparisons with other religions/systems. The
> correct way to compare
> Vedanta with any other system, say the teachings of
> the Bible, should
> also include the comparison of practices. I don't
> know how one goes about
> practicing the teachings of the Bible, but I know it
> is going to be very
> very different from the practice of the teaching of
> Vedanta. On this
> ground alone, one can categorically reject the
> notion of the equivalence
> of the Bible and Vedanta.
> Still, assuming that Ramana made a strong case for
> the complete
> identification of advaita and the Bible, something
> that is yet to
> be shown, I can reconcile it with Shankara's
> tradition.
>   Let us remember what Sureshvara says in his
> Sambandha vaartika:
>   tvamasyaaditastasmaadaagamaadeva naanyataH |
>   aikaatmyavastunaH saakshhaadvyutpattiravichaalinii
> ||
>  Therefore, from scriptural sentences such as "tat
> tvam asi" *alone*
>  and not from any other source, arises the direct
> knowledge of the One
>  Self, in an unwavering manner.
>  Note that Sureshvara's categorical remark on the
> exclusive ability
>  of the shruti to give us the *direct* experience of
> the Self does leave
>  room for other scriptures to give us *indirect*
> knowledge.
>  So if Ramana said the Bible is an advaitic text, it
> can only mean that
>  the Bible, like other texts such as the ashhtAvakra
> gItA, the
>  avadhUta gitA, etc., can give us the *indirect*
> knowledge of the Self.
>  The (direct) sAxAtkAra can come from Vedanta and
> Vedanta alone.
>  In my opinion, his remarks on the Bible, should be
> interpreted in this
>  way. It does not mean we should all start studying
> the Bible!
>  If you say that Ramana himself realized the Self
> without Vedanta, the
>  reply lies in his own teachings which you quoted in
> connection with
>  J Krishnamurti. Ramana said that effort such as
> meditation is required
>  and no one can realize the Self effortlessly. Even
> if someone realizes
>  it with doing anything, that person should be
> assumed to have
>  undergone some practice of "chitta-shuddhi" in his
> previous life. The
>  same applies in Ramana's own case. He must have
> studied Vedanta in a
>  previous life.
> Anand
> --
> bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam
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