[Advaita-l] Re: GITA - 2.12: part 3

Rishi Lamichhane rishi.lamichhane at gmail.com
Tue Nov 29 15:20:22 CST 2005

I tracked down a nice story I had found in a website which tells many
short stories involving Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati of Sringeri. I
think it is extremely clear and answers Ramanuja's objection

"Once a gentleman from Bengal who had heard of His greatness came to
Sringeri. He had expected that His Holiness would be engaged in
Samadhi for most of the time, completely oblivious of the world.
Consequently, he was astonished and disappointed when he saw His
Holiness performing His morning Anushthana and worshipping the Divine
Mother later on. However, he did not doubt the greatness of His
Holiness but found it hard to accept that a Knower would engage
Himself in ritualistic worship of images. He desired reconciliation
and at an appropriate occasion mentioned this to His Holiness Himself
in an indirect manner, "If a person has Atma realization as propounded
in the Advaita Vedanta, can he properly engage himself in rituals or
in image worship?" His Holiness asked in answer, "What else do you
except him to do?" Had the gentleman answered this question with any
other alternative then that would have been equally inconsistent with
the state of the realized soul. He therefore replied by saying, "I do
not mean to say that he should do anything else. My difficulty arises
this way. Doing anything, be it rituals or image worship or even study
of scriptures implies the sense of doer-ship. Are not these two
attitudes inconsistent with each other and, if so, how can they exist
at the same time in the same individual?" His Holiness said, "Quite
true. Two things, which are mutually contradictory, cannot exist at
the same time in the same entity. Can you tell me, who the non-doer
is?" "Of course, the Self." "Quite right. You have studied our system
well. Will you now tell me, who the doer is?" "Certainly, it is the
body, the senses, the mind and the intellect." "Quite right again. The
Self is the non-doer; and the doer is the non-Self. Is it not so?"
"Yes." "Where is the inconsistency now? Doer-ship and non-doer-ship do
not inhere in the same entity." This line of simple reasoning made the
gentleman realize the absurdity of the question in the first place and
when he parted from His Holiness he was more devoted to Him than ever



On 11/29/05, Rishi Lamichhane <rishi.lamichhane at gmail.com> wrote:
> Dear Amuthan and everyone else,
> I do not think it is at all difficult to respond to Ramanuja's argument
> here
> (at least the non-scriptural one). There might be some cases where
> questions
> themselves are not appropriate, but if Advaitins start using this fact to
> answer to all objections, then it could easily be a coverup for irrational
> arguments.
> When we say Krishna teaches Arjuna, we have to consider what we mean by
> "Krishna." Krishna, truly, is Brahman (not just Krishna, but also Arjuna,
> and everyone else). Brahman does nothing (it is actionless), so it is not
> Krishna (ie: Brahman) who is teaching Arjuna, it is rather that body that
> is
> teaching Arjuna.
> The jivanmukta has no sense of doership and there is no link between the
> Atman and any particular body.  The only reason why the body that is
> associated with Krishna acts in an enlightened way and the body associated
> with Arjuna does not is because the body associated with Arjuna has not
> undergone manonasha and so Arjuna's body (so to speak, truly Arjuna is
> Brahman and has no body) is still controlled by a mind.
> So basically Krishna does not think he is teaching; Krishna does not think
> at all, he is just Ananda and the body acts how it will, he just has to Be.
> Since there is no mind with raga and dwesha, the actions are always
> compassionate and appropriate.
> I hope this makes sense, if there is some fault, please do inform me.
> Regards,
> Rishi.
> On 11/29/05, Amuthan Arunkumar R <aparyap at yahoo.co.in> wrote:
> >
> > namo nArAyaNAya!
> >
> >   in this post, we will discuss possible ways of addressing
> > shrI  rAmAnuja's objections to advaita. since i don't know any possible
> > way  to refute these objections, i've made the discussion quite
> > general.  it's upto the learned members to provide any possible
> solutions.
> >
> >   it appears to me that shrI rAmAnuja's arguments are too strong to
> > be  directly refuted. they are very genuine objections and cannot
> > be  answered by advaitin-s without introducing additional
> > complications.  while on the one hand we see the incompatibility of an
> > Ishvara or a  jIvanmukta with advaita, we also have many instances of
> > 'jIvanmukta-s'  who teach advaita. this is a really tricky problem. IMO,
> > however, the  objections raised are sound and cannot be refuted. for, to
> > refute it,  one has to assume the existence of avidyA in the first place,
> > which is  unacceptable to advaita. the above argument can be countered
> > only  indirectly by using ajAti vAda. the solution is to deny the
> > objection  itself. if the objection is accepted, it cannot be answered.
> > strictly  speaking, this can be done only by one who has realized the
> > advaita  satya. but for others, it is only a way of escaping from the
> > objections  :-). one must accept the limitations and contradictions that
> > arise by  accepting
> > avidyA to be real, i.e. by accepting a  vyAvahArika satya.
> >
> >   thus, advaita can  only push away objections like these. it cannot and
> > need not answer  them. this can be  explained in the light of an analogy.
> if
> > someone says that he saw a  hare with red horns, it is not necessary to
> > prove that a hare's horn  is not red. that can never be done. it is
> > sufficient to know that  there is no horn for a hare  in the first place.
> > similarly, all objections to advaita can be  answered satisfactorily only
> by
> > denying the existence of vyAvahArika,  i.e. by being  established in
> one's
> > own self. to put it differently, advaita cannot be  established on a
> purely
> > rational basis or based on the shAstra-s; it  has to be understood by a
> > direct perception of one's own self.
> >
> >   i would like to mention one more point here though it does not
> > fit  exactly in the present context. for an unbiased student of
> > the  shAstra-s, it is definitely true that there is a lot of room
> > for  contrasting points of view on a subject as profound as this. IMO, it
> > is  not possible to establish advaita, or any doctrine for that
> > matter,  based on the shAstra-s alone. the absolute truth does not
> require
> > the  help of any shAstra to establish itself. hence, the validity of
> > any  doctrine can be ascertained only after knowning the absolute
> > truth.  until then, the content of all doctrination is just
> > void.  (incidentally, this is also the classic 'shUNyata' argument
> > of  nAgArjuna.) if one follows a doctrine, one has to accept it on
> > faith  and once one accepts something on faith, there is no room for
> > any  unbiased  arguments.
> >
> >   i don't know if my arguments are correct. right from the time i came
> > to  know about advaita, these questions have popped up every now and
> > then  and i haven't found a satisfactory solution to this. so, my way
> > of  arguing may well be a reaction to my mind's inability to answer
> > these  objections. in case i'm missing something or in case there is
> > an  alternative argument against these objections, i kindly request
> > the  learned members to bring them to light.
> >
> >   vAsudevaH sarvaM,
> >   aparyAptAmR^itaH.
> >
> >
> >
> > Amuthan Arunkumar R,
> > Final year, B.Tech/M.Tech Dual Degree,
> > Dept. of Aerospace Engg., IIT Madras.
> >
> > ---------------------------------
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