"Jagat satya!"

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Mon Jul 29 07:50:15 CDT 2002

Ashish Chandra wrote:

> As per my present knowledge, he was not a reformer.

Jagannath Chatterjee wrote:

> I referred to Swami Vivekananda as a reformer of vedanta philosophy in the
> sense that his views differed from the early teachers.


> The opposition ... faced from orthodox
> vaishnavites (because Sri Ramakrishna claimed to be a reincarnation of Sri
> Chaitanya), the brahmins (for Swamiji being a kayastha and daring to be an
> authority on Hinduism) and the tantrics (who claimed Swamiji had hijacked
> their plank).

I don't think anything further needs to be added here.

Jagannath Chatterjee wrote:

> But the Mission has today gained acceptance among all classes.

Of course.  Because they "won."  The colonial servent class overthrew
British rule in the end and it is their brand of modernity that prevailed.
Just as if some up and coming religion wanted to show its orthodox
credentials it had to reference itself to the Brahmasutras, in
contemporary Indian society, if you want to show how "modern" you are in
terms of religion, you have to do it in reference to Vivekananda.  This is
why he is invoked by groups as disparate as the VHP and the Communists.
But philosophy has moved on since the 19th century.  My complaint is not
that Vivekananda was too modern but that he was not modern enough.  The
reformers need to be reformed.  How will this be done?  Only be educated
people with a firm grasp of what our shastras actually teach and an
awareness of their context.

Ashish Chandra wrote:

> They have always been there. They just came to be noticed (to be noticed
> you have to be acknowledged in the West) in the 20th century.

Gaudiya Vaishnavism is one of the youngest Vaishnava sects.  As we have
mentioned, it had its origins amongst Dashanamis.  (One important teacher
in their sampradaya is actually called Advaitacharya!)  Sure they share
the Vaishnava opposition to concepts such as Maya but the strident
anti-Advaita tone is only that of Prabhupada and his followers.

Ashish Chandra wrote:

> I am not just talking about Vedic karmas that Mimansa deals with.

Neither am I.  Vedanta is the Uttara Mimamsa.  It follows exactly the same
method as Purva Mimamsa except its' subject is an enquiry into Brahman
while P.Ms' is an enquiry into Dharma.

Ashish Chandra wrote:

> Why should we love, be compassionate, have faith in God and Guru? I don't
> mean blind faith - I mean faith borne out of a pure heart. For that
> matter, why should we purify our hearts at all?

The issue is not why but _how_.  There is nothing compassionate about
ignorance or allowing other people to remain ignorant.  Knowledge should
be pursued regardless of any temporary unease it may cause.  nothing
worthwhile in life comes without sacrifice.

> I don't make a conscious decision of when and how
> to aim further. I think it happens automatically and it should.

Ashish Chandra wrote:

Vedanta may have a mystical goal but there is nothing mystical about the
practice itself.  It is a body of knowledge no different from counting, or
learning Hindi or knitting.  When you are knitting do you just stare at
the ball of yarn and hope it will automatically turn into a pair of socks?

Ashish Chandra wrote:

> You have talked about Advaitization. Pretty much everything has been
> Advaitized after Adi Shankaracharya don't you think? He was the ultimate
> Advaitizer.

Jagannath Chatterjee wrote:

> Today's message from Kamakoti.org says advaita
> opposes the other schools only to the extent those schools oppose advaita!
> There is essentially no enmity between the philosophies.

I doubt very much is a knowledgeable follower of Ramanuja or Madhva would
agree that their philosophies have been advaitized.  They do oppose
Advaita and often their criticism is very trenchant.  To call oneself a
follower of Advaita Vedanta and to not be aware of the ways polemics with
these schools have affected our thinking is to be as if blind in one eye.  See


and then tell me if you feel the same.

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

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