[Advaita-l] Advaita Vedanta, religion, and science

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Sat Jan 10 19:50:51 CST 2009

On Sat, 10 Jan 2009, prabha wrote:

> Is it required that one belive in (and practice?) Hinduism to be an advaiti?
> Given that Hinduism itself has may parts/aspects that are in conflict at
> times, which aspects of the religion does one have to believe in?

Notice I did not use the word "Hinduism" but the religion "of the Vedas 
and the shastras dependent on them."  Shankaracharya refuted Buddhism and 
Jainism because they were anti-Vedic but also Samkhya for exactly the same 
reason.  Yet Samkhya is considered "Hindu" nowadays.  We have seen in a 
recent thread how Advaita Vedanta accepts many tenets of Purva Mimamsa yet 
rejects others.  Similiarly Shankaracharya established the panchayata puja 
of Shiva, Shakti, Vishnu, Surya, and Ganapati but also took issue with 
Shaivas, Vaishnavas etc. (who would today be classed as "Hindus") who he 
felt deviated from Vedic tenets.  A good example of his approach is in the 
bhashya on Brahmasutra 2.2.42-45 which is a critique of the 4 vyuha 
doctrine of the Pancharatra Agamas.  He takes pains to note that his 
refutation is of Vaishnava philosophy _not_ practice such as worshipping 
the murti in mandirs etc.  The standard in each case is the same, does 
this theory or sect confirm to Shruti, Smrti, and shishtachara or not?

It is true a jivanamukta does not need to practice the same rituals and 
duties of a householder but this not due to lack of belief.  If a person 
worships Shiva Bhagavan on Shivaratri it is not because he is anti-Vishnu. 
It is simply not the appropriate occasion for worshipping Vishnu Bhagavan. 
If he then worships Vishnu Bhagavan on janmashtami, he has not suddenly 
become anti-Shiva.  It is simply not the appropriate occasion for 
worshipping Shiva Bhagavan.  In this manner the realized person has come 
to a point where there is simply no occasion for worship outside the Self. 
No emnity or condescencion is intended.  Even then, because of his 
benevolence for the whole world (lokasangrah), he may continue to 
demonstrate external worship to set a good example for those who are not 
as far along.  (See Gita 3.21-26)

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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