Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Sun Jun 18 02:00:57 CDT 2000

On Sat, 17 Jun 2000, S. V. Subrahmanian wrote:

> This question that I am posing may not exactly relate to understanding of
> Advaita, but certainly falls within the purview of Vedas.  If knowledgeable
> members deem it fit to be replied, please do.  This question haunts me a
> lot.

Advaita Vedanta is not just a theory but also a practical method of
achieving the goals of that theory.  Therefore any questions about those
practical matters also fall within the purview of this list.  As Vedanta
is firmly based on the Vedas and the Vedas and subsidiary shastras command
the performance or avoidance of various actions, which can impact the
practice of Advaita Vedanta, questions relating to them also fall within
the scope of this list.

> Is there any value/purpose behind the performance of Shraardham (ceremonies
> performed for departed ancestors) ?  If we read sacred texts (I have read
> only English translations), they say that everything  is the projection of
> the self....  the world is nothing but the projection of your own mind ....

Clarification here, the appearance and interpretation of the world is a
projection of your mind.  There is certainly something realgoing on
underneath, what we may think it is is mistaken that's all.

> there is only one God (or only God)...  I am just quoting simple and
> convenient phrases which everyone must have read (I know I am not being
> specific here, but I hope you get my point).
> How does the theory of Advaita answer this ?

In samsara, various actions take place and the Vedas enjoin and prohibit
other actions to enhance or counteract them.  But for the knower of
Brahman actions and their effects are illusinary so there is no need to do
them.  Who is this Knower Of Brahman?  Not someone who just knows the word
but the one who is completely established and immersed in Brahman.  Such a
person is the sannyasi.  By sannyasi, we don't necessarily mean the person
in a orange robe with a staff etc. though I hope they have taken up
that ashram with a view to renunciation in mind, but the person who has
given up all actions.  Such a person even if a grhastha will upon
realizing the truth become a sannyasi.  Conversely any person who is
worried about family, car, mortgage etc. is not a jnani.  Even if they
claim to not be interested in worldly things, as long as they remain in
the world, there is an unbrigeable gap between them and Brahman.  It is
only the sannyasi (actually only the grade of sannyasi called paramahansa
) who can legitmately give forsake duties.  For everyone else the
injunctions and prohibitions of the shastras have full force.  End of

> I know in one of the earlier threads we discussed about idol worship.
> But I know that in South India the performance of these rituals
> extract a lot of effort.

"It's too hard" is not a valid reason to abandon ones obligations,

>  Does it have a sound philosophy

What consists of a "sound philosophy."?

> behind it or is it the accretions of
> dead habits over a period of time ?

You didn't answer the question I posed to you before.  Does experience go
stale after a long period of time?

> Is there any other alternative way of showing our gratitude to our
> ancestors sanctioned by the Vedas ?

No.  If there is one, why would you ned another?

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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