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

Aravind Mohanram psuaravind at yahoo.com
Mon Jan 5 20:58:55 CST 2004

Thanks for your reply. I'll try to address your other email in a few days. Here are some answers,

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

>>> You tell me. I'm not backtracking. It is you who misunderstood what I said and so why blame me. Anyway, this is not important. 

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
>>> Yes, exactly - but when I say that I have great respect for Srila Prabhupada and Chaitanya because they teach nothing but pure devotion to Krishna and the process actually yields results, it is somehow not agreeable to you. I don't know why this double standard. I also have utmost respect for the Kanchi acharyas, especially Paramacharya and visit the mutt often. I just made that point because you were trying to show the problem as specific to Gaudiyas. In this age of Kali, there will always be problems and mundane controversies, but these should not affect us from pursuing the Truth. I don't know what discrepancies you are talking about. But, I'm sure you can readily come up with a few. There is increasing cooperation between all the Vaishnavas and this will increase more as ISKCON becomes more mature, as I pointed out in my previous email. 

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.
>>>I agree, the Truth itself does not depend. But, you cannot deny that you needed an incarnation of Bhagavan to explain a highly esoteric philosophy to laymen. You seem to depend too much on logic and as I have pointed out many times, logic ALONE cannot take you to the Absolute Truth. There is always a possibility that a better logician will come and defeat your arguments - and so, pure mundane logic can never access the Absolute Truth. It is only possible by the mercy of guru and Bhagavan. I'm not very surprised to see your statement minimizing the importance of Sankara - after all, even Bhagavan is ultimately disposed of in Advaita. 

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 do you mean "somewhere near" Bhagavan? Do you think He is sitting in a nearby planet and we can reach him easily by a spacecraft. Great sages who meditate on Him for thousands of years find it difficult to understand Him, and I don't understand, how by pure logic and your sanskrit knowledge you aim to go "somewhere near" Bhagavan. Moreover, Krishna clearly says in the Gita that He can be understood as He is only by bhakti. 

I agree to your second statement. Yes, only Advaita can do that. And, only Vaishnavas can make you understand that there is simultaneous difference and identity between jivas and Bhagavan. 

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 have already answered this. The process of bhakti-yoga is a science and it has been put to test and verified by great devotees such as Prahlad, Narada Muni, Maharaj Ambarish etc.,. You just have to be little more open-minded to test them yourself. My claim is simple - just test it with a favorable attitude and use your reasoning and God-given intellect wisely and you will see the results for yourself. 

> >>> 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.
>>> No one said, I love Srila Prabhupada and so I accept whatever he said. Why are you attributing something that I never even implied in my email. Faith is the beginning, but it grows, as you begin seeing results. One cannot understand the Truth just on blind faith. Faith has to be backed by sincere practice of the process and use of intellect to question and understand the words of the acharyas and sastras. And, by serving Guru and Krishna with utmost humility, one will be able to revive Krishna consciousness (as I said before, devotees don't even care for moksha). I don't think I can make it more clear than this. 

That it is just different combinations of the names Hari, Krishna, and
>>>It is obvious that it is combination of the three names, but on what authority are you stating this? If it is your own intepretation, I may as well repose my faith in Chaitanya than a conditioned soul like me. 

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