[Advaita-l] 'End' not 'Means'

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Wed Apr 12 14:04:18 CDT 2006

On Wed, 12 Apr 2006, Viswanathan N wrote:

> Parnams to all memebers
>   May I request everyone to concentrate more on the " end" rather
>   disucssing about just " means" like this.(women & vedas...etc)

The ends are the most intensely personal things you can imagine.  What
would be the point of discussing them on a list at all?  You could just
sit at home and do it.  The ends cannot be refuted; they are beyond reason
and words themselves.  What would you have us do?  Write endless messages
congratulating ourselves about how mystical we all are?  But the means are
varied.  all the theories about means are not equally valid and do not
lead to equal results.  We can however judge them based on reason.
Thus means are a problem an Internet discussion group can actually do
something about.

Also let me add this is a list about Advaita Vedanta.  It says so in all
the web pages and welcome messages.  We go to elaborate lengths to ensure
that new subscribers understand this is a list for Advaita Vedanta.  Not
generic mysticism.  Advaita Vedanta.  So we make no apologies whatsoever
in sticking to the topics which have been the traditional concern of
Advaita Vedanta.

>   Let us discuss what is ultimate and how to acheive that goal,

Brahman is the ultimate.  Jnana is the way to acheive that goal.

All done.  Discussion over.

But an intelligent person would want to discuss: what is Brahman?  How is
jnana acheived?  In fact this is exactly what we are doing on the list.

> I feel one need to quote any authority or scripture as long as they
> believe in advaitic philosophy.

And how do you know what is "advaitic philosophy?"  You know, I am a jnani
and I think jnana consists of stopping random people in the street and
punching them in the face.  In fact any so-called saint who doesn't punch
people in the face is not advaitic.  Do you accept my authority
and philosophy?  Why?  Why not?

I understand why to you things like pramanas might seem obscure or irrelevant.
But how we know what we know, what is truth, what is authority etc.  These
are all essential questions for any philosophy worth the name.

> As some one was mentioning neither " Ramana" or " Ramakrishna" ever
> attained expertise in scriptures nor discussed them, but even today they
> are still milestones in this advaitic route and swami Vivekanada is no
> lesser.

Actually it is quite clear from the writings of Ramana that he had
expertise in classical Advaita Vedanta.  That he chose to keep that
knowledge hidden is a different matter.  It is not an excuse for other
people to remain ignorant.

And based on my knowledge of the history and doctrines of Advaita Vedanta,
I consider Ramakrishna and Vivekananda to be marginal figures in the
"advaitic route"  Other people disagree and they have their reasons.
Whether people decide to believe them or me depends on their rationally
considering the arguments not just "because."  Again, mysticism should not
be confused with ignorance.

>    I always felt that the bane of our people is taking the means more
>   serious than the end itself. Though some learned memebers has objected
>   for my suggestion looking into ones innerself (ofcourse after basic
>   understanding of the tatva) for answers, I still feel thats more
>   beneficial than mere theoritical discussions.

No please continue looking into yourself.  There is no objection to that
at all.  But what is the point of telling us what you found in yourself?
It is personal and private.  It will not clarify anything for us and we
cannot imitate it.

> After that kind of
> explorasions ,we can discuss our experiences and seek clarifications/
> further guidance from the forum.

What guidance?  Your innermost self shines forth without externalities.
They cannot be added to or taken away by any God or guru or shastra and
certainly not any internet mailing list.  This is way even at the same
time Shankaracharya affirms that women etc. have no right to study the
Vedas, he also affirms they are able to be jnanis.  Because Brahman is the
core within all beings.  But when we talk about how to access that core,
again we come into the public realm, where logic, shastra etc. are the guide.

>    See one of the members stated talking about Maundukya upanishad and
>   another one about some verses of Geetha....These are could be really
>   helpful.

Ok, now I'm confused.  After a big long argument against theoretical
knowledge you are now saying shastras are helpful?  That's fine with me.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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