"Jagat satya!"

Ashish Chandra ramkisno at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Jul 29 09:29:30 CDT 2002

On Mon, 29 Jul 2002 08:50:15 -0400, Jaldhar H. Vyas
<jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM> wrote:

>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
>> sense that his views differed from the early teachers.
>> The opposition ... faced from orthodox
>> vaishnavites (because Sri Ramakrishna claimed to be a reincarnation of
>> Chaitanya), the brahmins (for Swamiji being a kayastha and daring to be
>> authority on Hinduism) and the tantrics (who claimed Swamiji had hijacked
>> their plank).
>I don't think anything further needs to be added here.

You should really ask why, and how, Jagannath thinks Swami Vivekananda's
views differed from the early teachers. Why do you take his word for it
without your own enquiry?

>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.

But the VHP also quotes Shankaracharyas. What does that prove? People who
follow Vivekananda today do so because he was made famous by his speech in
1893 in the Parliament of Religions. If he had not made that speech, would
Vivekananda have thought differently even though no one followed him?
People follow whoever is famous, whoever is attractive. At the time of
Vivekananda, the "colonial servant class" was gaining power. It is they
that made him famous and it is they who followed him. If they had
shortcomings, how are Vivekananda's teachings to blame for that. If those
that followed him were not ready, what is to be said then about him? And
you should always keep in mind thet Vivekananda taught nothing that Sri
Ramakrishna did not tell him to. The reason I mention this is that
following a saint is one of the most mystifying and difficult of things and
all sorts of things are said one way or another. Those who know, know.
Those who don't know, talk.

>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.

What I meant was that they have been there since at least Sri Chaitanya
Mahaprabhu and winning converts ever since then. They have always attacked
and opposed Advaita but they were not "noticed" till Sri Prabhupada went to
America. You should not forget that the Padma Purana references against
Advaita were not written by Sri 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.

It is a great thing if you always know what to do.

>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.

So it does not matter to you "why" we should be compassionate? Where is the
automatic acceptance coming from if not due to faith in the words of the
Vedas and/or the Guru? Where is the logic? I am not against logic but there
are certain things that we just cannot know right now, today. It is upto us
whether or not we accept them on faith in the words of the Guru or we just
keep running around in circles. That is what I had meant to convey.

Logic is for today. It is not for tomorrow. There is no logic in following
what the Guru says. However, you *feel* you want to follow him. Can there
be logic to explaining this feeling? It is only His grace purifying your
heart that you feel what you feel. There is no logic in looking at a
saint's picture and breaking down and crying. But it happens all the time.
What is it but His grace? How would you explain that?

>> I don't make a conscious decision of when and how
>> to aim further. I think it happens automatically and it should.
>Vedanta may have a mystical goal but there is nothing mystical about the
>practice itself.

I am not so sure that practice itself can be explained at every stage. In
the perfect state, everything is known but prior to that, I am not quite
conviced personally that I can explain everything.

>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
>> 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.
>and then tell me if you feel the same.

Among the first things I did, about four years ago, was to go through these
websites. In almost every one of them, there is mention of Adi Shankara and
the debates between them and Advaita. Dvaita.org has a failry good list on
these. All of them had to "disprove" Shankara before they could talk of
their own philosophy. That is what I meant by Advaitized - there is a
flavor for or againt it in every philosophy since Adi Shankara. On the
other hand, you will not hear of Vishishtadvaitins giving too much emphasis
on trying to disprove the doctrines of Kapalikas.


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