"Jagat satya!"

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Tue Jul 23 08:54:54 CDT 2002

On Thu, 18 Jul 2002, Ashish Chandra wrote:

> I don't know what the truth exactly is but I can tell you that there was no
> race to brand everything and anything as Advaita in Bengal of the 19th
> century.  So your assertion is not entirely correct.

No not everything but there is no doubt there was a considerable
"advaitizing" streak.

> How true it is
> partially,  I don't know. It is your opinion and let us leave it at that.

My opinion is at least based on some attempt to look at the evidence.
Shouldn't we at least try to know?

> >From my side, I think the strongest anti-Advaita philosophical movement
> started in Bengal as well.

If you are refering to  ISKCON then yes.  But in the 20th century.

> Yes, that is sort of what I am saying. And no I don't think that would be
> sensualism because the path is hard enough to frustrate the best of us.

Well the best of us did manage it so why shouldn't we take the challenge
of being the best?

> So I don't think anyone follows a saint for a feel-good factor. If so, that
> saint rejects that person.

I hope you are right.  The cynic in me wonders if sometimes the modern
gurus deliberately encourage their followers to stay ignorant to avoid
them realizing how bogus their teachings are.

> Perhaps you wish to extract the reason and logic
> out of every single teaching you come across. That is niether good nor bad.
> That is simply your way.

No it is THE way.  This is the literal meaning of Mimamsa--the logical
analysis of Karma (in Purva Mimamsa) and Brahman (in Uttara Mimamsa or
Vedanta.)  This is exactly what all the acharyas (not just Advaita ones)

> I am really satisfied with believing first and
> then asking the questions. Because I have tried asking the questions first
> and then believing and it wasn't getting me anywhere.

I am not arguing for logic only.  On the contrary I am saying it is your
faith which should impell you to aim further and further.  My background
is only a little less humbe than yours.  I certainly wasn't born knowing
all this stuff.  But I did learn from my parents that Hinduism was a way
of life.  It is not so much about believing but _doing_ and spiritual
progress comes in perfecting what you do.  There have been many times when
I have done the wrong thing or misunderstood what to do but faith drives
me to try and correct the mistakes and make things better and better.

> Tantric practices may be good for some people and not good for others. In
> either case, it does not make Tantra bad or good. To some it may be exactly
> what Advaita is to you and for others, it may be what Advaita is to
> Bhedabhedavadins.

Right but which people?  Am I one of those people?  Are you?  how can you
tell?  These are some of the questions you should ask yourself.

> What I am saying is there is no one way for everyone. You never choose your
> Guru. He chooses you. And you just don't know what you have to do to get
> Him to do that apart from following the basic dharmas of being good and
> speaking the truth. That is what my experience has been so far. There is no
> need to debate the heck out of whether Sri Ramakrishna said the world was
> real or not. He could have said it in passing or as a joke or to teach
> someone a specific lesson.

What if YOU were the someone he was trying to teach a lesson.

> Maybe if you meet Sri Ramakrishna one day, he will tell you what will help
> you.

If I do I will not refuse to listen for dogmatic reasons.  On the
contrary I will have a lot of questions for him. :)

One must not be afraid of jijnasa (enquiry.)  That is the only path to
mukti.  And one shouldn't think it is disrespectful to ask questions of
gurus.  The reverence we give to them is not just a cult of personality
but in homage to the knowedge they give us.  That is what they are here

Now that Shailaja is almost about to start talking, I was thinking about
my own childhood.  Almost as soon as I could talk my mother taught me some
prarthanas.  There were about six shlokas that we would say together every
night.  Now I know a lot more but do you think I consider my mother
inferior because she only taught six shlokas?  On the other hand if at the
age of 31 all I knew were those same six shlokas, wouldn't that be
backward of me?

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

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