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Re: superstitions

In article <37uu9g$bah@ucunix.san.uc.edu>  
susarla@great-gray.owlnet.rice.edu (H. Krishna Susarla) writes:
> Manish Tandon (manish@cadence.com) wrote:
> : Actually, Shankaracharya was very clear in his mind and so he always 
> : praised the path of bhakti as the best, but he had to counter the 
> : more agnostic views of soonyavad propogated by Buddha. Unfortunately, 
> : the later followers of Shankaracharya blindly got attached to the  
> : half of his teachings, almost completely missing bhakti, and some of 
> : them like the Chinmaya mission to this date continue to miguide and be 
> : misguided.   
> It is also my understanding that Shankracharya is supposed to be an 
> incarnation of Lord Shiva, and the purpose of his appearance was to
> reestablish respect for the Vedic authority. Because people at the time
> were too materialistic to understand that God is personal, Shankracharya
> did not try to refute Buddha's teachings, but rather tried to show that
> they had their basis in Vedic thought. 

Shows how little you know about either Shankaracharya or Buddhism.  
Clearly, you haven't read anything about these topics, yet you think you  
can sit in judgment over them. 

> my interest in impersonalist philosophy. Despite their best of 
> intentions, Chinmaya mission is an advaitist school of thought. 

I hold no brief for the Chinmaya Mission, but what do you mean by "despite  
their best intentions"? You and Manish never cease to amaze me by your  

> An additional point that is worth mentioning: Buddhists and advaitists
> interpret the the word nirguna, which is used to describe God, as 
> meaning "without qualities." Actually, Swami Prabhupad points out that 
> the word nirguna really means "without estimation of qualities" and this 
> indicates that God is the reservoir of all qualities, and is therefore 
> not impersonal.

Again you patently exhibit your ignorance about both Buddhism and advaita.  
Buddhists don't even talk about a God to begin with. As for advaita, you  
guys yourselves quote the various hymns of Sankara, so reconcile  
yourselves first with that, and then try to evaluate what exactly it is  
that you are finding fault with. 

> My response to this is that if he really did attain self-realization, 
> why did he even *want* to eat meat? Furthermore, swamis like him seem 
> more interested in propagating pride in Hindu culture rather than 
> encouraging adherence to Vedic culture. I think Swamis like him are more 

Though I would never prefer meat-eating myself, why is it a philosophical  
problem for you? I am not a big fan of Vivekananda myself. However, it is  
not a question of Vivekananda "wanting" to eat meat. It is your faulty  
pride in *wanting* "not to eat meat", and expecting others to conform to  
your ideas, that is a sign of your attachment. What did you expect? That  
he also die because of lack of any food when he visited the US? Just like  
Srinivasa Ramanujam who withered away while in London, because of his  
steadfast refusal to eat meat? Before you sit in judgment over  
Vivekananda, remember that it was because of his path-breaking work that  
Prabhupada could even think of coming to the US in the first place. Also  
recollect the Rg vedic verse where a poet confesses to cooking the  
entrails of a dog and eating it, when he was in dire straits. I can give  
you the exact reference if you want. 

> influenced by materialistic, political concerns. In fact, i remember 
> some quotes from him that go something like this:
> "You will get closer to Heaven by your biceps than by the Gita."
> and
> "How dare you work for your own moksha when there are starving people in
> the streets."

Of course, Vivekananda was motivated by nationalistic and political  
concerns. Many of his statements were calculated to rouse the social and  
political consciousness of his followers. At the time in which he lived,  
it was necessary not to escape from the harsh political realities of  
British colonial rule. While this has nothing to do with his religious  
philosophy, at least give him credit for what he deserves. 

Isn't it strange that you people who seemingly uphold the "reality" of the  
world preach an escapist surrender?  On the other hand, it is the  
advaitins like Vidyaranya and Vivekananda, (who supposedly say this world  
is mithya), who are the ones who have tried to change the political  
scenarios of the times they lived in. 

S. Vidyasankar

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