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Re: superstitions

:From: Jaldhar Vyas <jvyas@ritz.mordor.com>
:Cc: editor@rbhatnagar.ececs.uc.edu
:Subject: Re: superstitions
:On the contrary, Shankaracharya is the only Acharya who bases his 
:teachings on the actual teachings of the Brahma Sutra and not the 
:teaching of the Sutras as filtered through the Vaishnava and Shaiva tantras.

Shankaracharya elaborate unlimitedly upon the Vedanta-sutras when they
are crystal clear. Sriraka-bhasya has clouded the actual sutras.

I dont know of all that has been said by Vaishnavas on/about Vedanta-sutras, 
however I *feel* filteration (if there is any) is still better than clouding.

:: Actually, the Brahma-sutras are so clear that they dont need any 
:: interpretation, therefore any interpretation is misinterpretation. 

If you can make your question a little more specific, I'll try to answer.

:: Amazingly, this is the same Shankaracharya who said: 
:: 	bhaja govindam bhaja gOvindam  bhaja gOvindam mUdamathE  
:: 	"Worship  Govinda,  worship Govinda, Worship Govinda, foolish one!" 
:: and 
:: 	"I desire to be in Vrindavana so that I may sit on the 
:: 	 bank of Yamuna and pass each long day of my life in the 
:: 	 twinkling of an eye, meditating on Lord Krishna." 
:: 					--Abhilasastaka 
:He also said "Tat pranamami Sadashiva Lingam" and "Bhavani Stotum Tvam" 
:which you neglect to mention.  Do I take it you consider yourself to be a 

There is a  BIG  difference between 'bhaja' and 'pranama'.

While offering respects (pranama) to demigods including Shiva and Bhavani
(Durga) is mentioned in the scriptures, only worship (bhaja) to the 
Supreme Lord is authorized. People due to their ignorance and desire
for material benifits worship demigods. Since I was dealing with spiritual
topic (I thought), I left out mundane stuff.

FYI, Shankaracharya also said, "narayano paro 'vyaktat", that the material 
world is caused by 'avyaktat (impersonal) manifestation of matter and 
Narayana is transcendental to that material conception. 

and yes, I follow Gaudia Vaisnavas, and I sincerely hope you will base your 
response/opinion on the logic of my argument and not my belief. 

:: Actually, Shankaracharya was very clear in his mind and so he always 
:: praised the path of bhakti as the best, 
:While he certainly thought Bhakti was good, In no way did he consider it 
:to be the best.  Bhakti can secure many material and spiritual benefits.  

This is  -outrageous-  unless you consider worshiping 'demigods' as 
'bhakti', which Lord Krishna clearly declares in B.G. as 'avidhi purvakam' 
- - WRONG WAY  - B.G. 9.23

:However only Jnana can give Moksha.  While worshipping God can help you 
:get Jnana it cannot cause it.

hmmm. The Bhagavad Gita must then be wrong as per your definition? 
give a clear answer, *please* 

and in the meanwhile, here is something on Moksha, 

B.G. 18.66	sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja 
		aham tvam sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami ma sucah 

And the question really is what is this 'Jnana'?

B.G. 10.8	aham sarvasya prabhavo mattah sarvam pravartate
		iti matva bhajante mam budha bhava samanvitah

aham - I, sarvasya - of all, prabhavah - the source of everything, mattah - 
from Me, sarvam - everything, pravartate - emanates, iti - thus, matva - 
knowing, bhajante - become devoted, mam - unto Me, budhah - the learned, 
bhava-samanvitah - with great attention. 

	"I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything 
	 emanates from Me. The wise who know this engage in My devotional 
	 service and worship Me with all their hearts."  

B.G. 7.3 
	"Out of thousands among men, one may endeavor for perfection, and of 
	 those who have achieved perfection, hardly one knows Me in truth." 

[from Bhagavad Gita As It Is, by HDG A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada]

So the point is that jnana will actually lead one to bhakti. Site ref. to 
something reasonable which says otherwise. 

FYI, Shankaracharya also said: 

	bhagavadgItA kincidadhItA gangAjalalavakaNikA pItA
	sakrRidapi yasya murArisamarcA tasya yamah kim kurute carcAm ||
	By reading the Bhagavad Gita, by drinking just a drop of water from 
	the Ganga and by worshiping Murari (krishna) once, all fears of 
	death (Yama) will vanish.  -- Bhaja Govindam  

:Actually Vedic Dharma is also agnostic in the sense that practice of the 
:vidhis enjoined in the Karma Kanda are what actually cause the attainment 
:of heaven etc.  Of course as most rituals involve worshipping God, it is 
:theistic too.  But the emphasis in our Dharma is primararily on rites and 
:duties and secondarily on God.

Vedas include both Jnana kanda (for spiritual elevation) and Karma kanda 
(for material benifits). The original Sanatana Dharma (not the present
corrupted Hinduism) unequivocally say that the main responsibility is to 
attain to the Supreme abode of the Lord. Karma kanda is for people in lower 
stages of consciousness 'cetana'. From my personal experience in dealing 
with Indians, I have found that a lot of them uphold the belief that the 
Bhagavad Gita is a treatise in Karma Yoga, strange but true. Lord Krishna 
does entails Karma yoga in the Gita, but He clearly tells that only if you 
cannot fully surrender to Me, then engage in Karma yoga (verses 12.8 - 12.12)

Also, Lord Krishna says, "Men of small knowledge are very much attached to 
the flowery words of the Vedas (karma-kanda section), which recommends 
various fruitive activities for elevation to heavenly planets, resultant 
good birth, power and so forth. Being desirious of sense gratification and 
opulent life, they say that there is nothing more than this."  -B.G. 2.43-44  

Can I now safely assume that you like to make generalizations??  

:: Unfortunately, the later followers of Shankaracharya blindly got attached 
:: to the other half of his teachings, almost completely missing bhakti,
:Not true.  Swami Madhusudan Saraswati is an influential figure who comes 
:to mind who combined Vedanta and Bhakti.  And Smarta householders perform 
:the panchayata puja to Shiva, Devi, Vishnu, Surya, and Ganesh.
			^^^^^^^^^^^          ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ avidhi purvakam 

As I already said, this is a big misconception. There is no such thing as 
-- combining Vedanta and Bhakti --  Vedanda clearly says surrender to the 
one Supreme, people out of ignorance see it somehow different than bhakti and 
some try to combine them. First you take the eyes out of a person's body and 
then somehow try to retrofit them. Not very intelligent, imo. 

:The modern "Hindus" are ignorant, lazy people who are actually looking 
:for ways to shirk the duties and responsibilities enjoined in the Shastras.


:: the very idea of God turns meaningless as soon as one thinks 
:: there is more than one Supreme, because if so, neither would be Supreme. 
:But this is not the Vedantic view.  There is only one Supreme it is Maya 
:and Avidya that says they are different.

I think you are confused here, because I said there is only one Supreme
and you said that's not the Vedantic view and then repeated what I said!

:: Moreover, vedic scriptures descrive Bhagavan as the Absolute Truth, and 
:: everything cannot be Absolute Truth. 
:Everything can be truth if Bhagavan is everything.  However the true 
:understanding of this fact is only possible to  a few great men.  For those 
:who are less advanced Bhakti is recommended.

Please read B.G. verse 7.3 again.

And yes, everything is true! but there is one Absolute Truth. 

It was Shankaracharya who _interpreted_ 'maya' as MITHYA -- False. 

We take maya, atma, paramatma, brahman, and bhagavan as True, only that
matter which is 'maya' is non-permanent, i.e. keeps changing in shape/form, 
which is very different than saying that it is False.

:: The fact that Bhagavan has form is only an evidence of Omnipotence because
:: if He didn't have a form, He wouldn't be omnipotent. 
:Why not?

Here is a mundane example to show why not.

An automobile manufacturer comes up with an ad. "new XX car with unlimited 
power/capabilities".  The customer asks: what is the max. speed?  Sales 
guy: 240 mph.  and what is the min. speed? Sales guy: 240 mph. What??  How 
will I drive it?  Why can't I also drive it at 5 mph when I need?  Sorry,
It DOESN'T has unlimited capabilities as you claimed.  

Do you perceive God as one with _limited_ capabilities (not-omnipotent)??

:-- Jaldhar

I look forward to your response.


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