Dwaraka Math website

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Tue Jul 31 22:28:46 CDT 2001

On Wed, 25 Jul 2001, Rob van Dijk wrote:

> Concerning this issue, my friend dr.Paul van Oyen wrote the following
> personal letter to His Holiness, hereby published with permission. While
> some "leave the issue aside with a shrug", which I can understand, Paul van
> Oyen places this matter in a broader perspective.
> Please take good notice of his letter and remember that the subject is NOT
> really Shankara's birthdate.
> It is all about a-dvaita and about nivritti THROUGH pravritti.

Advaita-l isn't officially aligned with any math.  Rather, we pay our
humble respects to all those who uphold to the fullest, the eternal
siddhantas of Advaita Vedanta.  In that sense this type of question is not
important.  But as you point out, the real issue is not about dates at
all.  In the north of India the Vedic tradition is weak.  (I'm not placing
any blame, there are historical reasons for this.)  Now after 50 years
of independence, people are throwing off the shackles of slavish adherence
to foreign ideas and there is a renewed interest amongst many to reclaim
what they had lost.  But when eminent leaders do not provide a united
front it adds confusion and difficulty to a subject which is already
difficult and this will cause people to turn away altogether.  The Dwarka
Math has some ambitious plans but they will be hard to acheive if they do
not build upon what other people are doing.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
>From ADVAITA-L at LISTS.ADVAITA-VEDANTA.ORG Wed Aug  1 00:08:19 2001
Message-Id: <WED.1.AUG.2001.000819.0400.ADVAITAL at LISTS.ADVAITAVEDANTA.ORG>
Date: Wed, 1 Aug 2001 00:08:19 -0400
Reply-To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
From: "Jaldhar H. Vyas" <jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM>
Subject: Re: New member introduction: Sanjay Srivastava
In-Reply-To: <OF2EF0CB66.48210F48-ON49256A9A.0007C357 at i2.com>
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> After that I had brief encounters with some
> traditional advaita teachers at Rishikesh. While some of them outrightly
> rejected to teach to a Kayastha ( which does not exactly fit anywhere into
> a four varna model) others were evasive. Presently I am studying Vedanta
> under guidance of Sri Uday Acharya and Sri Ram Mohan- both disciples of
> Swami Dayananda Saraswati.By the way, I would like to know traditional
> stand regarding learning of Vedanta by someone who has not had his
> Upanayana.

Fact 1:  Brahman, the goal of Advaita Vedanta is the underlying
consciousness which pervades all living beings.  Thus the knowledge of
Brahman is always there.

Fact 2:  However due to avidya, thae knowledge and experience of Brahman
is hidden and some method (namely Advaita Vedanta) is needed to uncover
it.  That method is governed by worldly principles.  The shastras declare
(and the Brahmasutras uphold this interpretation) that the non-dwijas are
not entitled to study the Vedas of which the Upanishads form a part.

These two facts appear to be contradictory and there appears to be whole
classes of people who wish for knowledge and indeed have eternally
posessed that knowledge but can't "unlock" it.

One solution would be to say,  "Yes this is the case, tough luck."  Or to
be a bit more charitable, we could say that those non-dwijas who are good
will be reborn in swarga or as Brahmans etc. in their next life and will
be able to get Mukti then.  The problem with this view is that Advaita
Vedanta beleves that liberation is not just something that happens after
death but Jivanmukti, liberation while still alive is possible too.

Another possible solution that some modern wouldbe-Advaitins have adopted,
is to simply ignore the rules and teach whatever they fancy to whomever
they run across.  The problem here is it is very clear that such actions
are against Vedic teaching and it is hypocritical in the extreme to claim
to follow the Vedas on one hand and turn a blind eye to its' teachings on
the other.

Instead Advaita Vedanta has a better solution.  Maharshi Veda Vyas, the
earthly founder of Vedanta and the avatar of Bhagawan Himself, took the
essence of the Vedas and compiled the Mahabharata (which incldes portions
such as Bhagavadgita and Mokshadharma) and the 18 Puranas.  Together with
ither Smrtis such as Ramayana, Yogavasishta etc. written by Vedic Rshis,
these are the means of knowledge for those who are outside the Vedas.

So yes you can study Vedanta as can anyone who posesses the desire for
liberation (Mumukshutva)  But the process by which you do so will be
different.  Actually you (and me, and even the most learned Vedic scholar)
face a bigger problem.  We are not Sannyasis and vairagya is an
indispensable quality for one who would seek Brahman.  (In fact even more
than caste, some of the strictest acharyas will look at whether a
prospective student has taken sannyasa or not and refuse to teach him if
he hasn't.)  In this case, the Gita recommends Karmayoga, the diligent
performence of your own Dharma without regard for reward.  So for you, you
would actually advance further on the Vedantic path if you didn't study
the Upanishads than if you did!

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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