[Advaita-l] Questions regarding Adwaita vedanta.

srikanta srikanta at nie.ac.in
Mon Oct 4 10:02:18 CDT 2010

I am following with interest the Emails on the above topic.
There was one Email that in Padma Purana it is said that one must giveup
one's duty,whereas Shankara in his Gita Bhashya says,one must perform
one's duty as advised by Krishna to Arjuna.

It must be remembered that In the Bhagawadgita Arjuna is in delusion,and
asks Krishna whether Sanyasa has to be taken rather than performing his
duty.As against this confusion Krihna says:Svadharme nidhanam sreyah!
But this doesnot mean that Karma is greater than Sanyasa.To Arjuna who is
deluded without clarity the Lord advises him.
As regards the statements in PadmaPurana much has been introduced by the
later writers.The blasphemous statements against Adwaita and Shankara has
been introduced between original texts by anti-Adwaitins.In fact,I have
studied a book which was written in 1930's about a debate with Adwaitins
vs Dwaitins(followers of Madhwacharya) presided by the Uttaradhimutt chief
Satyadhanatheertha.There we see a brilliant exposition and defense of
Adwaita by the Vedanta scholars of Yesteryears.It may come as a shock to
the present generation of followers of Adwaita,but this debate has been
going on ever since.We need to eschew shallow scholarship of the kind
mentioned in the Emails to understand Adwaita vedanta in its proper
perspective and in its pristine glory.

For instance Madhwacharya interprets the Mahavakya,"Sa atma tattvamasi" as
sa atma atattvamasi"Do we require a statement from the Sruthi to
understand "Thou art not that"?.A sruthi is required to make one
that we donot know.

The ISCON which follows Sri Chaitanya criticises Shankara because what
Adwaita says goes against their creed.They confuse Mayavada with Shankara's
Brahmavada which is based on the Upanishads.Buddhism also uses the word
Maya,but without substratum(Niradhistana) tattva,where as Adwaita is based
on Svadhistana tattva.There is a substratum for the world
appearance.Infact, in the Bhagawadgita Krishna says that there are only
two paths:Jnana Yogena Sankhyanam,Karma yogena yoginam",He doesnot mention
Bhakthi Yoga as a path.The Suddhadwaita of Vallabhacharya came much before
Ramanuja and Madhva.
The Vishishtadwaita of Ramanuja and the Dwaita school of Madhwacharya have
come much later.The early Meemamsakas who were against Shankara came much
later in the garb of these later schools to criticise Adwaita.In the olden
days ,only Adwaita was understood by the word,"Vedanta".These debates
continue till present day.
Bhava Shankara Desika me sharanam.                      N.Srikanta.

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