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

Sunil Bhattacharjya sunil_bhattacharjya at yahoo.com
Thu Jan 22 17:40:05 CST 2009

Dear Bhadraiahji,
May I add a few lines as supplement. Manu Smriti was for the Satyayuga, Gautama and Yajnavalkya smritis are for the Tretayuga, Sankha and Likhita smrit  / upasmritis are for the Dwaparayuga and the Parashara smriti is for the Kaliyuga.
Sunil K. Bhattacharjya

--- On Thu, 1/22/09, Bhadraiah Mallampalli <vaidix at hotmail.com> wrote:

From: Bhadraiah Mallampalli <vaidix at hotmail.com>
Subject: [Advaita-l] Advaita Vedanta, religion, and science
To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
Date: Thursday, January 22, 2009, 3:25 PM

Dear Michael Shepherd
If you check the dictionaries, the word religion is born from the root re-legio
which means a super-natural constraint meant to hold back or restraint a
follower to a set of beliefs, faith and observances.
Throughout his works Adi Sankara proclaimed and encouraged people to get freed
from bondages and attain liberation. So the word religion is not applicable for
This is not to say that observances do not exist in Hindu "religion".
There is a practice called 'vratam' which a person takes up at some
point of time, practices for a period, and then concludes it. Vratam is meant to
impart a kind of rigor to practice (call it a boot camp). But in Hinduism a
vratam is taken up only to discontinue at some point of time in future, and not
meant to be followed forever because no law would help forever. Adi Sankara
proclaimed that ultimately all tenets have to be renounced to achieve the
highest truth. 
Manusmriti can be called a law book for people but it is not a universal law
book. For it to be It was valid a contemporary king has to adopt it as a law. 
For the high level subjects he was discussing Adi Sankara had to necessarily
reject many lower level subjects and the arguments contained in them, but he
never meant to reject any thing in the absolute sense, because local rules would
always apply for people living wihtin some given constraints.   
As for contemporary and universal explanations, well, any philosopher or
reformer will practically apply the highest principles to ground realities and
interact with locals and contemporaries. However these arguments must be seen in
that light only; whereas universal principles must be held at all times. There
is no confusion whatever with regard to Hindu books, though some people may be
under misconception that manusmriti is still valid for whole Hindu society and
such people may even try to apply it on others. However for some people who
honestly think manusmriti is still applicable they apply it only for themselves
and follow it sincerely but when it comes to applying it on others they do apply
the limitations imposed by current local laws (which effectively override
manusmriti in all respects even to the extent of invalidating it but some parts
of the rules in manusmriti may still be valid like Hindu property successoin
rules as adopted by British).  
As for other religious textbooks please evaluate them yourself. They may not be
organized in the same way using the nomenclature of Hindus. Otherwise you may be
comparing apples to oranges and coming to wrong conclusions. If in doubt please
post a reply.  
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