"Jagat satya!"

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Tue Jul 23 08:14:08 CDT 2002

[Whoops this was meant to be sent to the list.]

---------- Forwarded message ----------
On Tue, 23 Jul 2002, Jagannath Chatterjee wrote:

> 1. Swamiji was never apologetic in his defence of
> Hinduism.

Apologetics is a technical term in theology. My dictionary says:

       n : the branch of theology that is concerned with the defense of
           religious doctrines

I meant nothing negative by it.

> Rather he blasted Christianity for its
> 'Churchianism'. His anguish was that the Christians
> (read Americans) did not take to the path of
> renunciation as advocated by Christ.

Because of course Christ advocated no such thing.  If you examine
Christian theology the reasons for celibacy in those churches that
practice it (not all of them do) is totally different from ours.

> 2. I would not refer to Swamiji's lectures as an
> introduction to vedanta. He was a reformer and his
> attempt was to open new avenues (serving Nara Narayana
> for example) and broaden the ambit of the vedanta
> philosophy by including other approaches ( dvaita,
> vishistadvaita, dvaitadvaita ) as well.

This is the kind of thing I meant when I said to Ashish the program of the
19th century intellectuals was to "advaitize" all of Indian culture.  They
were creating something altogether novel and needed a fig leaf of
continuity with the past to give their program respectability.  Again this
may not have been a bad idea but it bears further scrutiny don't you

And common sense ought to tell you that dvaita cannot be a different
approach to advaita anymore than standing still can be a different
approach to running or gluttony another approach to fasting.

> His attempt for social service (he would not call it
> that!) must be seen in the context of his pilgrimage
> all over India and seeing/feeling the misery of the
> masses which led him to declare that "religion is not
> for empty stomachs".

And yet it is the masses who keep to the traditions (empty stomach or not)
and have turned their backs to the reform movements.  Why do you think
that is?

As you can tell I have some definitive views on the subject but my goal is
not necessarily to make everyone think as I do (though that would be a
good thing :) but to think more deeply about our philosophy.  The world is
growing ever more complicated and only by understanding where we came from
can we know where to go.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
It's a girl! See the pictures - http://www.braincells.com/shailaja/

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