[Advaita-l] Incorrect comparisons?

Shrisha Rao shrao at nyx.net
Sun Dec 18 04:10:25 CST 2011

El dic 17, 2011, a las 6:50 p.m., Rajaram Venkataramani escribió:

> In satasloki, Sankara compares the guru with the sandalwood tree saying
> that like the sandal wood tree which makes the nearby trees also fragrant
> with its own good fragrance, the guru also makes those around him free from
> sorrow. As you know, sandal wood tree does not emit any fragrance in its
> natural state but only when it is cut and made in to a paste.  So, how is
> this correct?

I don't know if it is, but then I don't know much about the properties of sandalwood.  

I have heard it said by people trained as medical doctors that the description of the human body given in the Vivekachudamani is not only inaccurate per modern medical science, but also does not approach the level of understanding seen in classical sources like the Charaka Samhita, etc.  However, an obvious defense on this is that the Vivekachudamani is not intended to be a substitute for Gray's Anatomy; the incorrectness if any (in describing the properties of sandalwood, or the structure of the human body) is germane only when the illustration pertains to a contested point (rather than the glory of a guru, or the difference of body and soul, which are accepted by all seekers).  For instance, the chArvAka-s claim that life spontaneously arises in the universe (without the agency of a Creator) just as spiders spontaneously arise in animal dung, and that consciousness spontaneously arises in the living body (without the agency of a soul) just as fermentation spontaneously happens in a sweet liquid like fruit juice.  The Astika response to this (a precursor to Pasteur) is of course that the illustrations themselves are off the mark and show something other than what they are claimed to.

> In Swami Vidyaranaya's Sankara Digvijayam introduction, he says "those who
> are proud due to the wealth that is attained by the dancer of unsteady
> mindlakshmi, who appeared in the milk ocean". Lakshmi devi cannot be said
> to be of unsteady mind because when the milk ocean was churned and the

It would be best to look at the actual words used in the original before attempting to reason in this regard.  The translation (or recollection of it) may not be correct, and a different parsing of words/phrases ("those who are of unsteady mind are proud due to the wealth of Lakshmi," etc.) would easily resolve the issue.


Shrisha Rao

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