Ashish Chandra ramkisno at HOTMAIL.COM
Sat May 6 03:52:21 CDT 2000

Hello Sandesh,

I will attempt to answer your questions not because I know the correct
answers but because I think this will be a good way for me to test what I
have learnt here, and of course, any mistakes I make can be pointed out by
the senior members.

>What is the ultimate purpose of human life ?

To realize one's true self, that is the same as Brahman.

>Some say that it is realisation that we are absolute

That is the teaching of Advaita Vedanta.

>But  according to advaita this world and Jivas in it
>is an illusion .

Its strictly not an illusion. It is mAyA, which is anirvAchanIya and anAdi
and subject to the four fold negation of neither being, nor not being, not
either nor both.

>Prakriti never existed .

True, but it is *known* to never having existed only when one's true self is
realized. However, because of our implicit faith in the Mahavakyas and the
words of Gurus, we may accept, and believe, the world to be ultimately
false. But we cannot just pretend the world doesn't exist. There is a famous
incident that happened when Adi Shankara was in Kashi. An elephant ran amuck
in the streets of that city and rushed towards the Acharya. Upon this, the
Acharya jumped out of its way and took cover. When the elephant had passed,
an old pandit, who used to listen to Adi Shankara's lectures, questioned him
that since he teaches that world is mAyA, why did he duck for cover at an
illusary object supposedly threatening him. At this, the Acharya replied
that just was the elephant's charge towards him was mAyA, so was his ducking
for cover.

>So isnt it that our becoming one with brahman also an illusion?

No. There is no becoming. We already are Brahman so there is no "becoming
one with Brahman". Anand had posted selections from Advaita Siddhi of Swami
Madhusudana Sarasvati. Something I recall from that is the example of a pot
on a floor. One sees the pot and one sees the floor (well, in reality, none
of us really sees the floor :-) ). After a while, the pot is removed, and
what we percieve now is the absence of the pot and we see the floor. After a
while, we forget all about the pot and all that we see is the floor. After
we percieve only the floor, its immaterial that there ever was a pot or that
we miss the pot. The only permanent entity in all this is the floor, whereas
the pot, as well as its absence, is ephemeral.

>Because "We" are actually non existing.Only brahman is existing
>who is eternally free.So who is the one who gets knowledge as there
>is no one except brahman?

Perhaps, the jIvA "realizing" that it was Atman, the same as Brahman, all

>So isnt it true that all philosophies including that of  even the purest
>is limited by human intellect which is non existant and isn't it so that
>advaita is also an illusion?

Advaita tradition traces to Lord NArAyana Himself. It was made the dominant
Indian tradition by Adi ShankarAchArya. It is true that it still falls under
the vyavahArika level of knowledge, but, as it has been said here before, it
acts the same way on an aspirant as a leaping tiger in a dream waking you up
and your then realizing that neither was the tiger ultimately real, nor was
your fear, and it was all a dream, hence unreal.

>And even when we know that it is futile effort to put in words or even
>out something which is  beyond reason how much are this philosophies true?

Advaita was propounded by men firmly established in Brahman, their true
self. It is not a false doctrine but a "vastu-tantra", a doctrine based on
facts, as opposed to "purusha-tantra", a doctrine based on the knowledge of
an individual.

One can easily stand in a corner and say "I don't believe anything".
However, that does not make everything false. It does require effort to make
progress along any path. One does, though, need a starting point. In my
opinion, that is determined by your character and temperament, something
coloured by your past karmas and your environment. For most people, bhakti
serves an excellent starting point.

>Some say that till the rise of true knowledge of brahman we must accept
>as true that means that the only way we can describe brahman is "neti
>neti".just that much
>there cannot be i feel any other way to express brahman.

Why bother with esoteric words and ideas when we are not ready to recieve
them? Lord himself will let us know what all this means when the time is
ripe for us.

>Sometimes I feel that  I get entangled in this intelluctual
>seems to be no
>answer especially when I try to think how different ways of religion like
>etc are related.Please advise

I can tell you from experience, because my understanding of our own dharma
is fairly raw, and relatively new, that I too was tempted to "eat from every
plate" :). However, a simple routine of pooja and gayatri jaap is serving me
just fine. When the time ripens for me, I will make the necessary progress.


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