Re: The Theism of the Upanishads
Subject: Re: The Theism of the Upanishads
From: email@example.com (Vidyasankar Sundaresan)
Date: 22 Jun 1994 04:55:18 GMT
Organization: California Institute of Technology, Pasadena
In article <firstname.lastname@example.org> email@example.com (Krishna
> Shankara essentially agrees with pancharatra system.
Here you have yet another example of how Sankara finds good in other
schools too! Quite unlike some others who can find no good in Advaita.
> The only point of disagreement
> is the "apparent implication of causation of jeeva "
> as given in the text = sankarshano nama
> jeevo ajaayatha". This statement need not be taken to mean that a jeeva
> called sankarshana was created. Since even statements like "tasmaat
> viraat ajaayatha" of the purusha sookta says from that original purusha
> - a viraat purusha who was born.
> This does not mean that the jeevatma of the viraat purusha was created
> in the beginning of creation.
Is this some sort of Advaitic re-interpretation of Pancharatra, to prove
that Sankara misunderstands that school? Or is it the Visishtadvaitic re-
interpretation, about which it is felt that Sankara should have no
problems with it? In any case, how come there was no Pancharatra scholar
to point out to Sankara his misconception about their system? Why did the
world have to wait for another couple of centuries for this to be properly
explained? Still, by your own quotation, Sankara agrees generically with
Pancharatra inspite of the "apparent implication". So what's the problem
> These ideas are clarified in the texts - Agama praamanyam
> of Yamunacharya and Pancha ratra raksha of Vedanta desika. The
> pancharatra system is upheld by the visistadvaitins based on the
> statement in Mahabharatha - which states the Narayana himself taught
> Pancharathra to Chaturmukha bramha in the
> beginning of the kalpa. I can cite the original quotation if some one
Mahabharata is Itihasa (smrti), not Veda (sruti). Smrti tells us many
different things, some of them quite contradictory to one another and to
sruti. Therefore, the basic principle of mImAmsA (exegetics) is that smrti
is acceptable only where it doesn't contradict sruti. Sruti tells us "yo
brahmANam vidadhAti pUrvam, yo vai vedAmSca prahiNoti tasmai" - Brahma was
taught the Vedas at the beginning. You will agree with me that Pancharatra
is not the Vedas.
And only a few days ago, Mani was vehemently denying that any smrti other
than manuals on temple-construction and other details was relied upon!
Tell me, how is the unhappiness about reliance on smrti misplaced?
> It is general opinion among many scholars back in India that even today
> Vedanta desika's book - satadooshani is un touched by any advaita book
> to date in terms of logical rigor.
That is a subjective opinion. There are many scholars back in India today
who opine that Sankara himself remains untouched by any later writer,
Advaitic or Visishtadvaitic, in terms of logical incisiveness. Pick your
> I do have to accept that Vyasa theertha's "nyaya sudha"
> is a master piece which concentrates on only the Maya vaada portion .
> THis book is from the madhva school point. In the view of logic the
> strongest book to date is "Nyaya sudha" but it concentrates on one
> aspect of advaita only.
I think you are referring to Vyasatirtha's "Nyaya amrita". Nyaya Sudha was
written by Jayatirtha, if I remember right. Vyasatirtha again concentrates
on mAyA, and his objections have been answered pretty easily too, imo. I
could go through the details of this later, if anybody is interested.
> satadooshani concentrates on many aspects of advaita and to date is the
> most comprehensive attack on advaita.
> I feel that one has to read this book with an open mind. IF one can
> answer the objections put forth by vedanta desika to advaita, then it is
> worth evaluating.
Agreed. I only ask that Visishtadvaita followers read Sankara with the
same open mind, and evaluate whether most of the objections to Advaita
As I see it, usually Advaitins have no quarrel with Visishtadvaita, except
in one thing - identity of Atman and Brahman. I have already pointed in my
post on mAyA that if the Visishtadvaitin is unhappy about the ontological
status of the incomprehensible mAyA in Advaita, he himself resorts to
incomprehensibility to explain his ideas. How can he blame Advaita of
saying something he himself says?
> When historical masters of advaita like Vidyaranya have accepted the
> brains of Vedanta desika.... Appayya dikshita, a noted advaitin was so
> deeply influenced by vedanta desika that he wrote a gloss to one of the
> vedanta desika's works - yaadavaaabhyudayam - a drama in sanskrit which
> deals with the leela of Lord Krishna,
This shows you the best Advaitins have already demonstrated their
open-mindedness. Is the converse true?
Also note, Appayya Dikshita was a philosopher with affinities to many
schools, particularly Sivadvaita. He essentially tries to interpret
Visishtadvaita in terms of Advaita. Adherents of Visishtadvaita are not
too happy with that, I'm sure.
> any derogatory comment on Vedanta desika's (known as Kavi (poet)
> Thaarkika simha (lion among logicians) ) logical capabilities have to
> taken as comments based on superficial treatment of philosophical works.
This remark is directed at me, I presume. I have not cast any aspersions
on Vedanta Desika's logical capabilities. If I came across as if I did,
please accept my sincere apologies. Typically I try not to treat any
philosophical work superficially, and I hope I do justice.
In our tradition, we revere all saints, irrespective of their sectarian
affiliations. That is practical Advaita. It only strikes me as somewhat
significant that the sentiment is not reciprocated.