what is the minimum?

Ravisankar Mayavaram miinalochanii at YAHOO.COM
Mon Nov 18 13:51:31 CST 2002

On Sat, 16 Nov 2002 10:21:38 +1300, Steve Wray <steve.wray at PARADISE.NET.NZ>

>It has often occured to me that there are some
>interesting patterns in the worlds faiths etc;
>In Christianity and Islam, for example, one must
>be possessed of a fairly large body of geographical
>and historical knowledge before one can *be* a Christian
>or a Moslem.

I can not resist it. To become a christian, one has to either poor,
ignorant, or confused. Then the ministers of that religion can scare the
heck out him about burning eternally in hell and make him accept Christ has
his savior. This is how christianity was preached/harvested and still being
done. If one is poor, then additional gifts such a sewing machines and
clothes may help. I am merely stating the reality.

>I am curious as to the lists perceptions of the
>minimum requirement for Advaita Vedanta; is knowledge
>of specific historical facts, specific geographical
>knowledge, exposure to specific writings and so forth a
>Or is it based more on ones understanding of the
>'way the world works'?

It is easy to convert and claim that one belongs to that tradition, if that
tradition ties the supreme being to a particular form. Take rAmanuja's
v.advaita. It clearly identifies the supreme being as nArAyaNa and any one
can undergo certain steps and claim he is v.adviatin as well as a

It is not so with advaita-vedAnta. By large smArta-s associated themselves
with advaita-vedaanta tradition.

a. Source of this knowledge is vedAnta. Hence, you have to study vedAnta
and understand it. Then accept its view point, based on your analysis and

b. Typically #a happens by more by faith (with some reasoning) and
culminated with *simulataneuos* practice.

c. This is a two fold path. It encompasses both pravrtii maarga and nivrtii
marga. If you are qualified and desire liberation, you have little choice
but to take sannyAsa. Then you can pursue the study of vedAnta -- with
shravana, manana, and nidhidhyAsana of vedantic statements.

d. If you do not qualify, you have NO option but to pursue vaidika karma

for #c and #d see shankara's commentary on iishavaasyopanisha verse 1 and
2. Overall, this ideas is repeated later in the same work. He also states
this in the preface of giita.


1. Who can claim they are smArta? Those who follow smrti - in principle. In
practise, people associate with birth even if they do not practise what is
said in smrti.

2. Who can claim that they believe in advaita vedanta? Those who have done
#a and possible #b.

3. Can some one claim that they accept advaita vedAnta and follow whatever
theistic system they do (for attaining chitta suddhi)? Yes. As long as your
religion does not conflict with advaita-vedAnta. Most popular ones
including christianity and islam do have things that object it. Also you
should remember that one has to practice vaidika karma maarga, if one is
not a sannyAsin.

4. Then what religion one can follow?  There is atleast one answer.

i) One can accept advaita-vedAnta as correct and his/her philosophical

ii) One can assume that his status is shuudra or even outcast (believe it
is a blessing in disguise). Then one has no specific karma to follow.

iii) Spend you time on devotion to God in the form of your choice, shiva,
vishhNu, Christ or allah. Worship him/her in line with vedAntic ideas.
contemplate on verses like "aham aatma guDakesh sarva bhuuta ..." etc.

iv) You can even borrow some friendly ideas from other traditions such as
v.adviata's ideas on sharaNagati to reinforce your bhakti.

Life will be simple and quiet. And specifically do not waste time on topics
such as who is a brahmaNa and who is not? It is more important we spend
time to find out who we are. For that it is better to accept traditionally
held position on many things, and strive to practise what we can.

My 2c. Flames are welcome -- agnaye idam na mama.

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