[Advaita-l] Why can't it be done by some learned scholars?

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Sat Apr 4 01:51:37 CDT 2015

On Sun, 29 Mar 2015, Santosh Rao via Advaita-l wrote:

> NamaskR,
> What were these 72 sects? it is my understanding that sankaracharyas
> philosophical opponents were mainly buddhists, jains, and mimamsikas not
> muslims. Is this incorrect?

Most of the polemics in the Brahmasutrabhashya are against purva mimamsa 
Bhedabhedavadi Vedantins and samkhya.

If one accepts the 788-820 AD date for Shankaracharya it is conceivable 
that he could have come accross Muslims as they are known to have begun 
trading with Western India including Kerala by that time.  However they 
(or Christians) are not mentioned anywhere in his writings.

> What is the answer to the assertion that advaita vedanta is a philosophical
> "compromise" with buddhism? Does this claim hold water?

The primary source for this assertion is the fact that Gaudapadacharyas 
Mandukya Karikas use a lot of Buddhist concepts and terminology.  But a 
careful reading shows that he is using those things in a markedly 
different way than the buddhists.  It is more like the way some expositors 
of today might use "quantum physics" to explain Vedantic concepts.  That 
doesn't make Advaitins scientists.

Here are some differences between the Buddhists and the Advaitins.

1. Advaitins like all astikas consider the Vedas as an authoritative 
source of knowledge.  The Buddhists don't.

2. Buddhists (especially idealists like the Vijnanavadins) think the 
phenemonal world is an illusion.  Advaitins think it is a _delusion_. 
There is really "something" underlying all but it is not comprehended 
because of Maya.

3.  chitta (consciousness) for Buddhists is kshanika (momentary) whereas 
for Advaitins it is Brahman itself and therefore pure, continuous and 

4.  Self for Buddhists is the ahamkara (ego) only.  For Advaitins it is 
Brahman the only true reality.

5.  The end goal for Buddhists is nirvana (extinction) whereas for us it 
is mukti (liberation) the perfect knowledge that all is one.

Given this, it is difficult to understand what compromise with Buddhism 
Advaita Vedanta is supposed to have made.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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