On Sun, 23 Oct 1994, H. Krishna Susarla wrote:
> Well, yes, you may be right in the sense that these new Hindu groups are
> definitely not as strict as the original advaitists. However, the point I
> want to make is that they, too, believe God to be impersonal, and thus, their
> philosophy agrees more with Advaita than any other school of thought.
But as I demonstrated, they do not agree with Advaita. And laxity is
hardly a monopoly of impersonalists. A good many so-called Vaishnavas
believe chanting "Rama, Rama" excuses them from following the shastras.
> Karma yoga literally means
> performing you duties as a sacrifice to the Supreme Lord. Only when the
> duty is performed as sacrifice does the yogin remain free of sin. Because
> the work is being performed for Krishna's pleasure, the karma yogin must
> do his best at what he is doing, since he is doing it out of devotion to
> Krishna. It's not the result that counts, but the devotion and the resulting
> seriousness with which the yogin carries out his duties.
No. Karma yoga simply means performing your duty without desire for
results. It is the action that counts, not the result or the devotion.
Love of God can encourage you to be more diligent in your duties but it
> You are of course, referring to the Rig, Yajur, Sama, and Atharva Vedas.
> Remember that these texts are primarily for people at lower levels of
> spiritual realization
It is interesting that you are using an argument popularised by Vivekananda!
Certainly no orthodox teacher would ever make such a nastika suggestion.
> than those who study the Gita and Upanishads.
The upanishads are part of the Veda. The Gita is part of the Mahabharata
which was written by Veda Vyas as the essence of the Vedas.
> is because many of the sacrifices prescribed within these four vedas are
> meant for regulation of materialistic practices,
According to the Mimamsakas, who are the authority on these matters, the
Vedic rituals are of three kinds. Nitya ("daily" such as bathing etc.)
Naimittika("occasional" such as marriage or Diwali etc.) and Kamya ("for
pleasure" such as praying for a son etc.) Only the the third kind can
possibly be considered materialistic. One who performs the first two
kinds only commits no sin.
> No! This is exactly what i find so offensive about advaitist philosophy!
> According to advaitists, bhakti is for weaker or less intelligent people.
> Thus, those who are devoted to a personal God are supposedly less ignorant
> of the shastras!
Whether you find something offensive or not is irrelevant. The shastras
declare that Bhakti is recommended for the people of the Kali yuga
because they are ignorant and weak.
> Nothing can be further from the truth! All of the great
> devotees of Krishna were bhaktas, not impersonalists.
Which proves nothing. It is possible to attain moksha without Krshna who
is only one of the saguna forms of Brahman.
>If we are to interpret
> the scriptures literally, then we have to believe that God is personal.
> is a conclusion that is easily evident from reading Srimad Bhagavatam or
> Bhagavad Gita.
Or from the Vedas, or the Vedangas, or the Upavedas, or the Mahabharata or
the Ramayana or the Puranas or the Dharmashastras. I do not deny that
God can be personal. The trouble is that while some shastras proclaim
that Vishnu is supreme, others proclaim the glories of Shiva or Devi or
Ganesh. If the Personal aspect of God is all their is, some of the
shastras contradict each other. The Bhagavat is only one of 18 puranas.
The Gita is only one small part of the Mahabharata. One has to look at
the whole picture rather than small pieces.
> If you call yourself a follower of the Vedic shastras, then
> where do you get off expressing an idea that is so obviously in conflict with
And where do you get off expressing ideas in conflict with the other
puranas? (Which were also written by Veda Vyas.)
> In the Gita, Krishna very clearly tells Arjuna "Worship Me, Be completely
> absorbed in Me, and then you will reach my abode." (paraphrase, I don't have
> my Gita with me, but I can look up the exact verse later if you want) He
> doesn't tell Arjuna that devotion will get him to merge into impersonal
That's because devotion won't get him to merge with the impersonal
Brahman. Only Jnana can do that.
> Furthermore, the great sages like Narada Muni are all devotees engaged in
> transcendental loving service, or bhakti. Am I to believe that great
> personalities like Narada Muni are less intellectual or less learned in the
> shashtras? Come on. The conclusion that bhakti is the best is reached by
> all of the devotees, intelligent or otherwise.
I did not suggest that all Bhaktas were ignorant and week. I said Bhakti
is neccessary for those who are ignorant and week. For those who are not
it is optional.
>Even Lord Krishna, the
> Supreme God confirms this in the Gita. Why would you want any other opinion
> than God's opinion?
In Gita 12:4, he says that the path of those who are not bhaktas is
much harder than bhakti. He doesn't say it is impossible.
> The Pandavas became renounced (maybe this makes them official
> sannyasins, i don't know) only because their only desire was to go to Krishna.
> It is confirmed in the Bhagavatam that they do indeed, go to Krishna's abode.
> The Bhagavatam does not say that they went to an impersonal God. So the
> impersonalist theory is not supported by Srimad Bhagavatam.
The mere fact that they went to Krishnas abode does not prove there is
nothing beyond Krshnas abode. Bhakti is good becaus it encourages people to
persue Moksha. But it is not the cause of Moksha. Only jnana is.
> No, look back at the point I made about the word nirguna, which means
> "without estimation of qualities" (having all unlimited qualities).
Nirguna means nothing of the sort. Look in any Sanskrt dictionary.
> Again, you have failed to understand the importance of my argument. Yes,
> vegetarian food can be eaten for sense enjoyment. This is why it should be
> offered first to Lord Krishna, thus making it prasadam. Despite the fact
> that eating prasadam is sense-enjoyment, no sin is incurred because the
> process of offering purifies the food (assuming you prepared it properly and
> offered only foods which Krishna will accept).
And again you fail to understand my argument that this only applies to
Vaishnavas and other people whose customs are vegetarian. For Bengalis
who offer their food to Durga before eating it, there is no sin either.
> According to Swami Prabhupada, meat eaters are supposed to offer their food
> to Kali.
> This supposed to be a regulatory practice for people who are too
> ignorant to give up meat.
Then he doesn't know what he is talking about. There is no requirement
that meat-eaters offer their food to Kali. It just so happens that
certain (not all) Kali Bhaktas eat meat.
> Krishna would never accept such an offering. And
> the conclusion of the Gita is that Krishna is the Supreme God.
And the conclusion of the Chandi Patha of the Markandeya Purana (also
written by Veda Vyas.) is that Durga Mata is the supreme God.
> Nowhere in the Vedic literature does it
> say that meat-eating is sinful for one ethnic group and not another.
Look at the Bhakshabhakshya Prakarana of the Yajnavalkya Smrti. It
doesn't condemn meat-eating for Grhasthas. The Mitakshara on this
Prakarana says exactly what I said. Whether it is forbidden or not
depends on caste and region.
> Most people in this age are irreligious, and thus
> if you see meat-eating, it should be understood that this is part of the
> aformentioned moral degeneration.
But the Bengalis in question eat meat after offering it to Durga. This
is not irreligiousity unless you consider the worship of Durga to be
irreligious. Do you?