Ramesh Balasekar

nanda chandran vpcnk at HOTMAIL.COM
Sun Jan 26 16:17:43 CST 2003

>Would you be able to recommend a good sequence of texts, in view of what
>have mentioned below?  It might benefit some of us who though might have
>heard of the texts or even read some of them, but not know the

Just three works would suffice what you need for a practical Advaitic
understanding/practice : 1. Gaudapaada Kaarikaa, 2. Upadesha Saahasri and 3.

The last is IMO probably the most effective exposition of Advaita and
sufficient for any saadhaka - specifically commented upon by Ramana himself.
For any serious aspirant, this only work itself will do.

Certain other works which complement the above three can be useful : 1.
Naishkarmyasiddhi of Sureshvara which teaches the importance of non-action,
2. Kandhanakhandakhaadhya of Sri Harsha or the Citsukhiyam of Citsukha both
of which deal elaborately with negative dialectic in the vein of Gaudapaada
- useful for understanding maya and 3. Bhamati of Vaacaspati which contains
a brilliant exposition of adhyaasa.

Sadananda's Vedaantasaara is a very useful introduction on Advaita.

IMO other Advaitic literature (including the above four) is more for
scholastic value than serving any practical purpose - ofcourse most of these
can themselves stand alone in their worth - but if you have the first three
the later literature is not necessary. The bulk of wisdom they have to offer
is already taught by Gaudapaada and Shankara. They sometimes do have
something new in terms of understanding to offer - but at a very marginal
level, for which IMO it is not worth the effort to wade through these texts
trying to understand them - unless ofcourse you have scholastic interests.

Brahmasiddhi of Mandana is best avoided by aspirants since it teaches
certain things which are clearly not accepted by Shankara.

But even on this list I've seen people express views as Advaitic which are
infact closer to Saamkhya or Vijnaanavaada or even Visishtadvaita. Many of
these views are actually quite reasonable in spirituality - but such views
have been specifically refuted by Advaita aachaaryaas at higher level of
understanding. So unless you have a decent grasp of Indian philosophy as a
whole (you can study Madhava's Sarva Darshana Samgraha to understand the
views of other schools), you could well end up confusing a non-Advaitic
concept as Advaitic. It is important to know what views aren't Advaitic.

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