[Advaita-l] What does "Hare Krishna" Mean?

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Sun Jan 4 16:47:39 CST 2004

On Sat, 3 Jan 2004, Aravind Mohanram wrote:

> This is what I meant when I wrote that repetition of mantras in itself
> falls short of the mark without understanding.
> >>> Agree.

So then what are we arguing about?  I'm getting confused by your constant

> >>> Yes, I agree this is a controversial topic. But, at this point you
> >>> cannot conclude one way or another. Even Kanchi mutt has problems
> >>> establishing its authenticity as one of the mutts established by
> >>> Sankara himself (this comment is based on the book that I purchased
> >>> at Kanchi mutt).

I also don't believe the Kanchi matha was not one of the original ones yet
I have the utmost respect for it and its leaders because they teach
nothing but pure Advaita Vedanta.  This is something we can determine for
ourselves by objective standards.  In the same way if we compare ISKCON
teachings with other more mainstream vaishnavism we see obvious

To get back to Advaita Vedanta, its truth depends on not on the
personality of Shankaracharya or his being an avatar of Shiva Bhagavan or
anything but on logical conclusions based on clear premises.  It would
still be true if Shankaracharya never existed.

> >>>the goal of life is not to follow a parampara, but to search the
> >>>truth. A bonafide parampara is the way to access that truth and as
> >>>long as results are seen (that take you toward the eternal truth and
> >>>away from the miserable material existence) I don't see any reason
> >>>doubting any parampara for that matter. Also, one can see advancement
> >>>in the process by seeing the qualities a devotee develops. Krishna
> >>>outlines these qualities in the Gita.

This is the bone of contention Advaita vedanta has with other darshans.
At best they can only bring you somewhere near Bhagavan.  Only Advaita
Vedanta can lead you to the knowledge of your essential identity with

> >>> What claims you are talking about?

If someone claims they have things like sampradaya, mantra, understanding
of the true purport of the shastras etc. then we should be able to put
them to the test.

> >>> I can direct the same questions
> >>> to you.

And you should!  That's exactly the method you need to take to advance in
spiritual understanding.

> >>> You seem to be misinterpreting what I said. One has to understand
> >>> sastra with the help of a guru (Gita 4.34) and sadhus, not by other
> >>> means. Ofcourse, we have to question intelligently and use our
> >>> intellect to understand finer points, but we also need faith in the
> >>> acharya's words and other sadhus. For example, to learn mathematics
> >>> from a math professor, one first needs faith that he is an authority
> >>> on the subject and will lead you properly. Ofcourse, the individual
> >>> also has to make effort using his intelligence wisely - no one is
> >>> disputing that.

Shankaracharyas comments on the word pariprashnena in this shloka
illustrate how he feels this process should occur:

...tena kathaM bandhaH kathaM mokshaH kA vidyA cha avidyA iti
pariprashnena |

by asking questions like "whence comes bondage? whence liberation?  What
is knowledge and ignorance?

Saying "I love Newton, I have full faith in Leibniz" won't do a bit of
good in learning mathematics if you don't open up a textbook and do some
problems.  In the same way faith is the beginning but it is not going to
be enough.  Nobody can give you moksha, it is something you have to take
the initiative for yourself.

> >>> I forgot what meaning you provided. Can you pls provide it again? (I
> >>> don't seem to have your earlier email). I'll see if I can come up
> >>> with a better explanation to convince you.

That it is just different combinations of the names Hari, Krishna, and

> >>>No, the mantra is already there in the upanishad,

The so-called "upanishad" which no one prior to Chaitanya seems to have
heard of.

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

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