Antiquity of Advaita Vedanta (was Re: An Open Letter to All)

Rajesh Venkataraman rajesh_venk at YAHOO.COM
Thu May 11 18:56:29 CDT 2000

Hi Bhaskar,

I have just tried to explain from whatever I know.
Learned members, I would be happy to be corrected if I
am wrong. As Ashish said, it is just a process of
testing my own knowledge. Ok, here we go...

> dear rajesh
> It is not I said that  the Lord incarnated as
> Acharya Sankara to wean the people
> away from the hold of Buddhism by introducing them
> to the "lower" philosophy of
> advaita  this Lord Shiva himself said in Padma
> Purana, i think you have not read
> my mail fully.

As far as all your quotes about Padma Purana goes, I
don't know about the authenticity of this purana. Also
*some* of the verses that you have quoted may be
relevant in the context that they occur and should not
be quoted out of context. Always remember never to
take a verse and quote it out of context. The Bhagavad
Gita will be an ETERNAL confusion that way.

If Lord Shiva had said that then we are better off not
worshipping him as there is no guarantee that he will
not choose to mislead us in the future.

> ISKCON tells that YES we do have to  condemn
> Kindergarten and all lower classes
> just because they are pretending like big
> universities.

You can never *condemn* Kindergarten anyway. EVEN if
they pretend like big universities. It is absolutely
relevant at one point of time in everyone's life.
People should only be helped grow out of it. If a
child is precocious we just admonish the child and
never condemn it. Then affirm that it is also just a
matter of time before it grows.

Btw, what ISKCON means by kindergarten is totally the
opposite of what advaita says which is - the worship
of personal God as elementary and the worship of the
formless as the ultimate. We will come to that in due
course. I was just questioning the attitude.

> you asked me Y would the God take so much pains to
> incarnate to MISLEAD people.
> What does he gain by doing that? If he is a really
> compassionate lord why
> doesn't he guide
> the errant ones on to the right path? Is he not
> sadistic otherwise? Doesn't he
> have anything better to do? How better is he than
> the Asuras?
> Answer:  It is all his LEELA, who are we to ask
> him?? he is the supreme god head
>  he can do whatever he likes to do in his creation.
> don't you have right to
> place things as U like at your home??   This
> universe is his home / play ground,
>  he can do so as per his will and wish, who are we
> to question him??

Do you mean that we should not think at all or is it
meant to be kind of Selective Amnesia?
If God didn't want us to think then why did he give us
the intellect at all in the first place. Because he
could have as well created puppets who can/would never
think and would always behave according to his whims
and fancies.

It doesn't work like that. Isvara is just a karmaphala
dAtA that is, he just doles out the fruits of our
actions and he does not have a will of his own. This
is Advaita's explanation.

> We ourselves cannot read our own minds and its
> turbulent  emotions ,
> how can we expect to read the mind of minds??

No. You should never try to read the 'mind of minds'
because from the ultimate sense mind does not exist at
all. We can NEVER *fully* understand our mind. The
scriptures give us the guidelines to understand some
basic principles on which the mind works that we can
use to purify it. As you yourself say that it is
turbulent we can only calm down the turbulence. Even
in the worldly context whenever there is turbulence we
only try to attack the cause of the turbulence and
never the turbulence itself. When the cause is cured
then we can rest in peace.

Advaita says that the cause turbulence is ignorance of
the fact that we are all Brahman. Attacking the cause
is the solution.

> He is the only person can reveal
> his true nature and intentions  to his true
> devotees.  Our duty is to surrender
> unto the lotus feet of paramatma, render
> self-less service to all and beg for his mercy.  So,
> please dont label him
> Sadist, that & this O.K.

Sadist is the only word that I could think of to
describe a God who *misleads* people. In our everyday
life people who engage in nefarious activities are
thought to require psychiatric treatment. If the Lord
himself needed that then who will he go to??

I am sure none of our dharma sastras would condone
'misleading'. The argument that the Lord is above
dharma is not acceptable because only people who are
sufficiently mature enough can go beyond dharma
because by then they would have lost the capacity to
do anything adhArmic.

> Regarding  MAMEKAM :  ISKCON goes clearly by the
> plain meaning of it.  It will
> not try to turn and twist the meaning of it.
> Sat-Chit-Ananda Vigraha that is
> Sri Krsna himself.  I donot want to give elaborate
> answer to this.

It is not so simple and straightforward. There are
many verses in the Gita which clearly indicate that
Krishna himself does not refer to himself as a
physical entity but rather as the para brahman. For
example take the verse

aham AtmA gudAkesa sarvabhUtASayasthitah|
aham Adischa madhyam ca bhUtAnAm anta Eva ca||

O Arjuna, I am the Atma abiding in the heart of all
beings. I am also the beginning, the middle, and the
end of all beings. (10.20)

Then he goes on to say he alone is Vishnu, Marici,
Sama Veda, Indra etc.

Just try to understand this.If a=b then b=a. So if
Krishna = Indra then Indra = Krishna. Now, how can
Indra become Krishna? Indra, the physical entity can
and will never become the physical entity Krishna. But
he was and will always be equal to Krishna from the
standpoint of the Atman which is what is explained in
the above verse. It is just due to ignorance that we
consider ourselves to be just physical (and hence
mortal) beings when in essence we are eternal. Again
Krishna himself says he AND ALL OF US ARE eternal in
the following verses from the Bhagavad Gita. Note
especially 4.05 and 4.06.

The Supreme Lord said: I taught this imperishable
(science of right action, or) Karma-yoga to (King)
Vivasvaan. Vivasvaan taught it to Manu. Manu taught it
to Ikshavaaku. (4.01)

Thus handed down in succession the royal sages knew
this (Karma-yoga). After a long time the science of
Karma-yoga was lost from this earth. (4.02)

 Today I have described the same ancient science to
you, because you are my sincere devotee and friend.
Karma-yoga is a supreme secret indeed. (4.03)

Arjuna said: You were born later, but Vivasvaan was
born in ancient time. How am I to understand that You
taught this yoga in the beginning (of the creation)?

The Supreme Lord said: Both you and I have taken many
births. I remember them all, O Arjuna, but you do not
remember. (4.05)

Though I am eternal, imperishable, and the Lord of all
beings; yet I (voluntarily) manifest by controlling My
own material nature using My Yoga-Maya. (See also
10.14) (4.06)

> If you want
> pls. let me know i shall try to send Srila
> Prabhupada's interpretation on this
> verse in his Book "Bhagavad Gita As It Is" in my
> next mail.

Don't bother. Thanks for the offer anyway.


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