"Jagat satya!"

Vidyasankar vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Jul 31 19:14:32 CDT 2002

My small input on this discussion -

>Definitely Swamiji had drawn new meaning from the
>Upanishads, Veda's and Bhagavad Gita. Swamiji did not
>invent the altruistic approach, he only rediscovered
>it from the sources mentioned above. He did differ
>from Sri Shankaracharya when he led stress on seeing
>the self in all and serving them as such. Swamiji

There is only a small philosophical issue to be clarified here. In
traditional Advaita, seeing the self in all is tantamount to not seeing any
multiplicity at all. In that situation, the question of serving the other
does not arise at all, because there is no "other" to speak of. Perhaps, it
would be better to think of helping all, in the hope of eventually seeing
the self. Certainly, the mental qualities that have to be first cultivated,
according to Shankaracharya, can be intensified by Vivekananda's concept of
social service. Indeed, it is because of these aspects that although
Vivekananda -

>praised Sri Shankaracharya to dizzying heights but he
>also accused him of distorting the scriptures to
>project his own brand of advaita.

- the order of the Ramakrishna Math monks has gained much acceptance within
the tradition.

>1. His catholicity in accepting the inherent truth of
>all religions and sects. Ekam sad vipra bahudha

That is fine, but what has happened in the century after Vivekananda is that
most of the other religions, which we think of being inherently true, do not
reciprocate. Indeed, they resent being told that their claim to exclusivity
is an illusion. And socially, there is an increase of an us-versus-them
attitude. So, what is the point of reiterating this over and over again? It
is perhaps time to just stick with the inherent truth of our own religion,
rather than bother about that of other religions and sects.

>2. His concept of the monks staying out of politics
>and serving the masses without any hope of return.

That is a good feature, which should be emphasized nowadays, especially the
part about staying out of politics.

>3. His strong opposition to the Brahministic class who
>did nothing but exploit the poor in the name of

Now, this is not so true for all places and all times. The state of society
in Bengal in the end of the 19th century was very different from that in
other parts of the country then, and all over the country now.

>Regarding certain quasi-religio-political
>organisations, they are an oppurtunistic lot.
>sometimes they fall at the feet of Swami Vivekananda
>and sometimes they hold closed door meetings with the

Not with all, only with some Shankaracharyas.


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