Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Mon Jul 17 23:51:05 CDT 2006

On Tue, 18 Jul 2006, Ramesh Krishnamurthy wrote:

> You are just shooting off your mouth to show how orthodox you are.

Having met  Abhishek in person let me tell you he walks the walk as well 
as talks the talk.  He is more qualified to "shoot his mouth off" than 
some people I could mention.

> What is a christian lifestyle anyway? If you are talking about social
> work, then many sannyAsI-s do it. The Kanchi Math also does it. I
> think the Sringeri Math also supports some hospitals, schools,
> libraries, etc.

Eh I wouldn't call it a christian lifestyle but lets be honest, all these 
"missions" were founded in reaction to facets of modern culture.  They 
seek to provide a watered-down version of dharma to people outside of a 
dharmic lifestyle.

And I'm not even condemning that.  Evidently there was a need for that at 
some point and perhaps in some circles there still is.  But for many other 
people there is not.  Someone like Madhava who is already doing sandhya 
and svadhyaya and reading Shankaracharya has already gone far beyond 
anything the chinmaya and ramakrishna missions could teach him.

> If you are expecting all advaitin sannyAsI-s to behave in exactly the
> same way, thats unreasonable. The tradition is not a bunch of parrots.
> Different organizations have their own ways of doing things. The core
> tradition is the same; peripherals vary.

A difficulty with applying this to reformer types is that they rarely have 
a coherent ideology and even what little they have is rarely followed by 
all their followers.  So are there individual scholars, sannyasis and 
laymen, in those organizations who are within the parameters of 
tradition and worthy of respect?  Yes indeed.  But are the organizations 
themselves traditional? No and they are proud of it.

> In any case, why should a sannyAsI bother about karma-s? Does
> SankarAcArya teach karma-s in his writings? All he says is that if you
> are not a sannyAsI, you should practise karma-s. But to learn those
> karma-s you have to go elsewhere, not to a sannyAsI.

Turning this around, why should a 19 year old bother about sannyasis?  As 
he will most likely not be practising "practical" Vedanta for many years 
to come the kind of Vedantic knowledge he needs is that which is 
sufficient for karma yoga.  And that can be learned from grhasthas just 
like we do here.  So why bother with any kind of "missions?"

> Translations/commentaries produced by the Ramakrishna Math say the same 
> thing.
> Sadananda-ji was talking about learning vedAnta, not karma-s. I am not
> saying that karma-s are unimportant, but there are other sources from
> where one can learn them.

Same for Vedanta if we are just talking about a body of factual knowledge. 
And for a non-sannyasi that is all that can be achieved.

> Another thing to be kept in mind is that the audience of the
> Ramakrishna Math is different from that of Sringeri or other older
> maTha-s. Only a small fraction of our population has a family
> tradition of doing nitya karma-s, etc. What about the rest?

Only a small fraction of our population has a family history of literacy. 
What about the rest?  Shall we counsel them to not read?  We have to aim 
high.  If we don't, we should not be surprised if all we can acheive is 

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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