[Advaita-l] Questions regarding Advaita Vedanta.

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Fri Oct 1 10:47:13 CDT 2010

Dear Krishna,
Satish has already addressed some of your questions. I will only add the following.
1. The great vociferousness of some group on the internet does not lend legitimacy
to their claims. 
2. Traditional advaitins do not see the need to set up numerous websites with direct
and emotional attacks on the dualists of various shades. 
3. mAyAvAda is a term coined by those who are opposed to the sampradAya of advaita
vedAnta. The only answer to that is advaita is truly brahmavAda, not mAyAvAda. Any
counter-arguments, essentially to the effect that nirguNa brahman is the impersonal
aspect of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, should be dismissed as silly verbiage,
not based on Sruti, smRti and logic.

4. sumadhvavijaya is a text meant to glorify AnandatIrtha. In the mind of poets of
a certain kind, glorification of one's hero necessarily has to come at the expense
of an anti-hero or a villain. They resort to all sorts of hyperbole to enhance that
effect. It should not be taken seriously. 
5. I am not aware of any Sankaravijaya text that gives 60 years as the lifespan of
Sankara bhagavatpAda. Could you give more details of where you read this?
6. Sadly, even within the advaita tradition, there has been a tendency to resort to
poetic hyperbole which then passes off as factual truth. The existence of abhinava
Sankara has not been proved. The Sankara bhagavatpAda of advaita tradition is the
one who wrote the commentaries on the prasthAna trayI - brahmasUtra-s, upanishad-s
and gItA - in addition to a few other texts. It is the same Sankara bhagavatpAda
who is credited with establishing monastic centers and revitalizing the tradition
of vaidika saMnyAsa, through the organization of the daSanAmI saMnyAsin lineages.
It is meaningless to split up this one person into an "abhinava" Sankara as opposed
to an "Adi" Sankara, and to keep adding a few more Sankara-s to the list as and when
convenient. The only true distinction to be made is between the "Adi" Sankara and
the numerous titular Sankaracharya-s over the centuries. The head of every maTha in
the advaita tradition gets to be called "Sankaracharya" but only as a title. You
would do well to steer clear of controversial issues and confusion arising from
claims and counter-claims.
7. Your anuSAsana-parva reference from the mahAbhArata can be easily explained in
advaitic terms, so long as you are willing to give up the idea of supremacy of Siva
over vishNu or vishNu over Siva. kRshNa = nArAyaNa (vishNu) = Siva. The bhagavAn
kRshNa saw no difference between Siva and antaryAmI nArAyaNa. In smArta tradition,
we do not see ourselves as solely Saiva-s or solely vaishNava-s at all. We are both
and we are neither. This does not mean that we should accept all the mutually
contradictory claims of all groups at face value.

8. In the advaita tradition, it is not gauDapAda who is considered an avatAra of
AdiSesha. It is govinda bhagavatpAda, disciple of gauDapAda and guru of Sankara
bhagavatpAda, who is considered an avatAra of AdiSesha. Now, patanjali is also
considered an avatAra of AdiSesha by all. However, considering rAmAnuja to be an
avatAra of AdiSesha is not valid outside of SrIvaishNava circles. In any case,
even if you grant that rAmAnuja was an avatAra of AdiSesha, why should there be
a problem? Different avatAra-s do different things and achieve different aims.
rAma was an eka-patnI-vrata, but kRshNa had aneka patnI-s. Can we question the
tradition that both rAma and kRshNa were avatAra-s of the same vishNu, because
of the mutual contradiction between monogamy and polygamy? 
Best regards,
ps. ISKCON and other gauDiya vaishNava groups see Caitanya Mahaprabhu as an
avatAra of kRshNa and rAdha together, a sort of androgynous conception. This 
need not be accepted by anybody outside of those sects. Today, there are
numerous "avatAr-s" and "bhagavAn-s" around. Should there be an uncritical
acceptance of the claims of all the newly forming groups in the world?

> Date: Fri, 1 Oct 2010 12:44:38 +0530
> From: cosmonautkk at gmail.com
> To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
> Subject: [Advaita-l] Questions regarding Advaita Vedanta.
> Pranam,
> I am Krishna. I am new to Spirituality. I was an athiest
> but by the lord's gracethe truth dawned on me. I am a smartha brahmin
> and that is why I am interested in Advaita. Well coming to the point I
> have some doubts on Advaita Vedanta which I am hoping to get them
> clarified by the blesses vipras. Please forgive me for my insolance
> and ignorance and if at all some statements may cause Guru Ninda then
> please do forgive me.
> http://nitaai.net/forums/viewtopic.php?id=1670
> 1) Classification of Puranas is found in Padma Purana:
> shAstrANyapi cha sarvANi trividhAni mahAmate ||
> yAni satyavaraM viShNuM vadanti parameshvaram.h |
> tAni shAstrANi sarvANi sAtvikAni matAni vai ||
> prajApatiM kR^ishAnuM cha tathA devIM sarasvatIm.h |
> paratvena vadachChAstraM rAjasaM parichaxate ||
> yachChAstraM liN^gapAramyaM vAmadevamumApatim.h |
> tamaH pravartakaM vakti tattAmasamudAhR^itam.h ||
> Satvic Puranas - Srimad Bhagavatham, Vishnu, Varaha, Garuda,
> Brhad-Nardiya, Padma
> Rajasic Puranas - Brahma, Brahmavaivarta, Brahmananda, Bhavisya,
> Surya, Markendaya
> Tamasic Puranas - Shiva, Linga, Skanda, Kurma, Vamana, Agni
> The ISKON, dwaita, vishishtadwaita n other sampradays state these
> verses we should pray only to Vishnu( dwaita buddhi that shiva n
> vishnu are not the same parabrahman). They say that it is ghora papa
> to equate lord Vishu with other devas. How far this true ?.Please
> provide Pramanas from "sattvic Puranas" so that this can be
> successfully driven in the peoples mind.
> 2) This is even more disturbing..After reading this I felt like I have
> done great Dosha against my guru Adi Shankara. I need clarification on
> these..
> These verses are found in Padma Purana.
> mAyAvAdamasachchAstraMprachchannaMbauddha ucyate |
> mayaivakathitaMdevikalaubrAhmaNarUpiNA || Pa Pur 6.236.7 ||
> The doctrine of MAyA (illusion) is a wicked doctrine and said to be
> pseudo-Buddhist. I myself, of the form of a brAhmana, proclaimed it in
> Kali (age). (padma puraaNa, uttara-khaNDa, 236.7)
> apaarthaMshrutivAkyAnAMdarshayanlokagarhitam |
> svakarmarUpaMtyAjyatvamatraivapratipaadhyate || Pa Pur 6.236.8 ||
> It shows the meaninglessness of the words of the holy texts and is
> condemned in the world. In this (doctrine) only the giving up of one's
> own duties is expounded. (padma puraaNa, uttara-khaNDa, 236.8)
> sarvakarmaparibhraShTairvaidharmmatvaMtaduchyate |
> pareshajiivapAraikyaMmayAtupratipAdhyate || Pa Pur 6.236.9 ||
> And that is said to be religiousness by those who have fallen from all
> duties. I have propounded the identity of the Highest Lord and the
> (individual) soul. (padma PuraaNa, uttara-khaNDa, 236.9)
> brahmaNosyasvayaMmrUpaMnirguNaMvakshyate mayA |
> sarvasyajagatopyatramohanAarthaMkalauyuge || Pa Pur 6.236.10 ||
> vedArthavanmahAshAstraMmAyayAyadavaidikam |
> mayaivakalpitaMdevijagatANAshakAraNAt || Pa Pur 6.236.11 ||
> I stated this Brahman's nature to be qualityless. O goddess, I myself
> have conceived, for the destruction of the worlds, and for deluding
> the world in this Kali age, the great doctrine resembling the purport
> of the Vedas, (but) non-Vedic due to the principle of Maayaa
> (illusion) (present in it). (padma puraaNa 236.10-11)
> 3) It is stated that in Sumadhva Vijaya that Ananda Theertha( Sri
> Madhwacharya) found 32 mistakes in the very 1st sloka that he learnt
> in his gurukul days which is based on Advaita and he defeated and
> converted his GURU to his doctrine dwaita. How are we supposed to
> believe this and interpret this and how that Sri Shankara make
> mistakes which is not possible.
> 4) Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who is an avatar of Sri Krishna paramatma
> said that one who reads Shankara Bhashya of Brahma Sutras will be
> deluded and eventually ruined. But in Madhava-Vidyaranya Shankara
> Vijaya clearly states the episode wherein Bhagavan Ved Vyas and Sri
> Shankara discuss Brahma Sutras and Sri Padmapadacharya discloses this
> event. After this Bhagwan Ved Vyas himself certifies that Sri Shankara
> is the only one who correctly understood the meaning of his Brahma
> Sutras and granted 16 additioanal years to Sri Shankara for the
> propoganda of Advaita.
> 5) There are so many shankara Vijayas written but Madhava-Vidyaranya
> Shankara Vijaya is treated as the official one. In one of the Shankara
> Vijaya it is stated that the Acharya lived up to 60 years ( in other
> editions it is 32 years). Some scholars interpret this as the latter
> one is Abhinava Shankara and not Adi Shankara bhagavatpadacharya. Is
> this true?
> 6) It is clear from the Guru parampara that Gaudapadacharya is none
> other that the great Patanjali maharishi who is an amsha of Adi
> Shesha, but at the same time Srimad Ramanujacharya is also an amsha of
> Adi Shesha. How come the same Adi Shesha who taught advaita to Govinda
> Bhagavatpadacharya deny advaita and form Vishistadvaita?
> 7) In Anushasanaparva of mahabharatha Sri Krishna Paramatma declares
> the supremacy of Lord Shiva by taking Shiva Deeksha from Upamanyu
> maharishi, but in the later part of mahabharatha he states that when
> ever he worships anya devata he is actually worshipping the Antrayami
> Narayana so no problem with that. If this is true then this is dwaita,
> How do we prove this with pramanas this in adviata marga.
> 8) may the lord forgive me for saying this but ISKON, dwaita and other
> sampradayas directly attack advaita by calling it 'Mayavada"
> philosophy and this should be shunned. It is said that a vaishnava who
> even sees such a mayavadi should jump in a nearby river and get
> purified..This is very painful to me. I want some clarification as to
> why so many sampradays have formed when only Advaita was ruling during
> Sri Shankara's period.
> 9) When Acharya went to varansi everyone is familiar with the
> manishapanchakam episode, the other sampradayas say that Adi Shankara
> was deluded and so he asked the chandala( who is lord shiva himself)
> to move aside. How is it possible for the acharya who is always in the
> Atman state be deluded when Adi shanka is none other that Lord Shiva
> himself.?
> 10) It is said that Sri Madhusudhana Saraswati in his classic work
> "advaitasiddhi" cleared all the misconceptions posed by madhvas and
> successfully defeated them. Please provide verses from it which prove
> the truth of "Advaita Vedanta" and how can all the great acharyas of
> other sampradayas who achieved great heights do not accept Advaita?
> Please clear the misconceptions of this ignorant soul...
> Thank You in advance....
> Jaya Jaya Shankara Hara Hara Shankara.!!!
> Bhava Shanakra Desikame Sharanam...!!!
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