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Re: superstitions (1 of 2)

In article <387n3m$jkg@ucunix.san.uc.edu> manish@cadence.com (Manish  
Tandon) writes:
> In article #1356, vidya@cco.caltech.edu (Vidyasankar Sundaresan) writes:
> |> In article <37k0tr$p9t@ucunix.san.uc.edu> manish@cadence.com (Manish
> |> Tandon) writes:
> <deleted>
> |> You seem to know a lot about Sankaracharya that even his closest  
> |> Suresvara and Padmapada didn't. : -).
> No I don't know a lot but I know some of the *good* stuff that he said.
> Lord Krishna tells in the B.G. to use one's intelligence to discriminate
> between what is good and what is not good. I just try to follow it  
> (mis)interpretation.

Well, since you trust your own intelligence, let me see some argument  
based solely on your own intelligence. All you have done so far is show  
your own preconceived notions, not your intelligence. I'm sorry to be so  
rude, but I can't be any different to a person who does not hesitate to  
call everybody in sight a moron and an idiot. 

> |> Sankaracharya's interpretations of the Brahmasutras and the  
Upanishads are
> |> extremely orthodox. He does not interpret scriptures any which way he
> |> wants.
> Now you definitely seems to be knowing about Sankaracharya more than he
> knew about himself.

???!! How did you come to that conclusion? I thought you claimed to use  
your intelligence. Could you please let this stupid idiot that is me, the  
process of your inference? 

> O great advaitan scholar, greater than the great Shankacharya, please  
> some references. I have dealt with several great scholars like you in  
> past and unfortunately there are many more still around.

Again, when did I claim to be a great advaitin scholar, greater than  
Sankaracharya himself? Or is it your intelligence that tells you so? You  
may have dealt with many scholars in the past. Unfortuantely for you, many  
will still always be around, by your own argument. All the jIvas are  
different and eternal, right? Then why not just let the advaitins alone as  
the most eternally incorrigible, different jIvas of all? You may as well  
give up - try as you might, there will always be advaitins around.  
Unfortunately for you! My sympathies. 

> What people like you do is that say eihter,
>         1. the refs. I sited are simply bogus and give no reason,
>         2. I am misinterpreting the ref. that I have sited, again no
>            justification nor the correct _interpretation_
>         3. I am siting selective ref. (and you have done it in the
>            following sentence and my answer follows)

I have not seen any reference from you except from the Padma Purana. Here  
is my reason for refuting that. First, out of all the umpteens of Puranas,  
please give me a list of the 18 Puranas that Vyasa wrote. If you include  
the Padma Purana in that list, here is my argument for why I think it was  
not written by Vyasa. It refers to the advaitic philosophy in a derogatory  
sense. Secondly it intentionally misinterprets what advaita says, so as to  
show it in a bad light. Advaita as known today was systematized by  
Sankaracharya in the 8th century A. D. Therefore this Purana is  
necessarily later than the 8th century A. D. This strongly suggests that  
some dvaitin philosopher "created" the Padma Purana, or at least the verse  
in question and foisted it on Vyasa. 

That is my reason for telling you that your reference is bogus. If you  
tell me that I cannot look at the Purana critically, tell me why. After  
all, the Puranas are not sacrosanct like the Vedas. They have been  
tampered with so many times in the past by vested interests such as yours.  
The Meemaamsa Sutras tell us what is Sruti, and what differentiates it  
from Smrti. Puranas are not Sruti. Whenever there is an apparent conflict  
between Sruti and Smrti, Sruti is paramount. Hence I would rather rely on  
the strong advaitic bent of the BrhadAraNyaka upanishad's "aham  
brahmAsmi", than the bogus reference you quote to "disprove" advaita. 

Also, please explain crystal clear advaitic statements like tat tvam asi,  
ayamAtmA brahma, and sarvam khalvidam brahma etc. in the Upanishads  
according to the bheda doctine of yours.  

> I have yet to receive ONE single scriptural ref. from ANY of you great
> advaitan scholars to counter what you call lame ref. sited by me.

There, I have given you several. I also told you to track down my previous  
articles from a few months ago, for upanishadic references that uphold  
advaita. I do not have the time to repeat myself. Please do not hold me  
responsible for your laziness. 

> |> ...And for the sake of polemics against
> |> Sankara's school, you intentionally misinterpret Sankara too. You  
> |> Sankara whenever it suits you (read, whenever you want to demonstrate  
> |> orthodoxy of your views :-) :-))     ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> I very _clearly_ said in my post that I believe Shankaracharya said lot
> of *wrong* things based upon the advaita philosophy  HOWEVER  he also
> said *good* things which are outside of the advaita philosophy, and to
> substanciate this statement, I sited some such *good* things.

Good for you. Praise be unto you that finds good things *even* in  
Sankaracharya's writings. 

> Your charge _does not_ hold.
> Btw, what are the smilies for? 
> laughing on the shallowness of your own words to boost you morale? 

Ooh. Getting angry, are you? 

> |> and revile him at other times. I have already followed up to your  
> |> on s.r.e. on the Chinmaya mission, but you haven't cared to respond  
> |> them. Maybe you have some answers here?
> The only people who responded to my messages on s.r.e. were Sri  
> <svg4j@kelvin.seas.virginia.edu>  and srinivas@Glue.umd.edu (Nagulapalli
> Srinivas). I responded to both, srinivas@Glue.umd.edu (Nagulapalli  
> responded back once but he hasn't replied to my response to his response  
> (however he did responded to this thread and I'll also responding to his
> equally *bogus* response here).

I specifically remember chiding you gently for sharing your private  
correspondence with the Chinmaya mission swami without his assent. I  
specifically remember telling you that I could quote any of the Saiva  
Puranas or the Sakta Puranas to refute your quotation from the Padma  
Purana. I specifically remmeber telling you in that post that the Vishnu  
Purana starts with a clearly advaitic statement. You did not respond to  
that, because you could not. Maybe you are pretending  as if you haven't  
read it. But I give you the benefit of doubt. Please ask the moderators of  
s.r.e, Aaron Nabil or Toshi Takeuchi to send you copies of that post, if  
you really haven't read it. 

> I will be more than happy to respond to any and all.
> FYI, I have made a habbit to even post responses to my personal emails
> so that _cowards_ like you don't get a chance to do what you tried to
> do here.

Name calling is the last resort in a debate, when pushed into a corner. 

> |> How blind can one get? Mr. Know it all, please show me how the
> |> Brahmasutras are so crytal clear that they need no interpretation? Do  
> |> mean to say that Sankara, Ramanuja, Bhaskara, and even Madhva who
> |> interpreted these were all fools? Of course you will say that Sankara
> |> created all the misunderstanding, and the others after him only tried  
> |> clear up the mess he created. In that case, why do all of them also
> |> disagree among themselves?
> _All_ here includes Shankara.

I thought you were intelligent and logical. "ALL" includes only the other  
commentators after him as clearly stated. If even simple English is not  
crystal clear to you, what of the Brahma Sutras?!!

> Shankara, Ramanuja, Madhava all disagree with each other.
> Your argument has no value to your own claims.

No. My claim is that the Brahma sutras are not as crystal clear as you  
make it out to be. Hence it follows that different people will have  
different interpretations. Hence they disagree with one another. 

> |> Your pride really carries you away. Try giving a literal translation  
of the
> |> Brahmasutras and see if you can understand  them without any  
> |> explanation. Remember, you are not to use any of the bhashyas  
> |> so that you can be free of any "mis"interpretations.
> Since you are slinging baseless charges of pride on me, which shows the  
> of your consciousness, let me give you this simple puzzle of mine which  
> of the great advaitan scholars has solved yet.
>         Shankararya accepted that Vedas, Vedanta-sutras, and Mahabharat  
>         written by Veda Vyasa, so I hope you will also accept it.

Shows how much you know of Sankara's works. The Vedas were not written by  
any man. They are "apaurusheya". That is why they are Sruti, while the  
writings of Vyasa like Mahabharata are itihAsas etc. i.e. Smrti. Sruti  
takes precedence over Smrti in Vedic exegesis, without any disrespect to  
Vyasa. This is the time honored tradition, and if you want to break it, do  
so with strong reasons. Let me know. Maybe I will even see your point.  

>         In the Bhagavad Gita 15.15, Lord Krishna says,
> 	vedais ca sarvair aham eve vedyo vedanta-krd veda-vid eve caham
> 	"By the Vedas I am to be known, indeed I am the compiler of 
> 	 Vedanta and I am the knower of the Vedas."
>         So that that leaves us with three options,
>         1. Bhagavad Gita is wrong, since it contridicts with the  
>            philosophy. That Veda Vyasa was a fool since he wrote both  
>            and Mahabharata and they are contridictory, as per the  
>            philosophy applied to this case. This automatically renders  
>            whole sruti and smriti as simply work of fiction. Which in  
>            renders Shankaracharya, who was based on Vedanta-sutra, 
>	     meaningless.

Vedanta is philosophy, Mahabharata is itihasa (history). The two serve  
different primary purposes. Your so called contradiction vanishes into  
thin air. 

>         2. Accept the _interpretation_ of the word "aham" put forward by
>            Shankaracharya, this automatically says that accept Shankara
>            as a higher authority than the original writer, Veda Vyasa.

Why does that make Sankara a higher authority than Vyasa? This whole  
exercise of yours is only geared towards establishing your own ideas  
opposed to tradition. How do you know Vyasa's intent better than Sankara  
did? Are you prepared to interpret the "aham" in aham brahmAsmi similarly  
(literally) and accept that advaita is right? 

>                                 OR
>         3. Accept the literal meaning of "aham" AND that Lord Krishna is 
>            right, AND that Veda Vyasa is perfectly sane AND  
>            is WRONG.

Answer my previous objection first. Krishna, Vyasa and Sankaracharya are  
all correct. You are wrong. 

> Dont be a HYPOCRITE. Take a stance, prove your worth.


> |> A few months ago, we had a major discussion on alt.hindu regarding  
> |> and visishtadvaita. I am sure you can get copies of all articles from  
> |> moderator. Convince yourself that you can explain away all the  
> |> passages quoted therein without recourse to advaita.
> I read several of those and also noted the strong advaita bias among the
> people who carried that thread.

Well, if you did, you would know that there were only two people involved  
- Mani Varadarajan and I - for the most part. It was only I that had the  
strong advaita bias, as you call it. 

> I can also site several of upanisadic refs. to show the Supremacy of the
> Personality of Godhead over everything including the impersonal Brahman.
> Srila Prabhupada has quoted enough of those in his purports. 

So you accept the Impersonal Brahman as an entity, although not ultimate? 

> |> Note that none of those passages talk of a personal God, let alone
> |> Krishna. Both the Personal and the Impersonal are parts of our  
> |> and neither of them is a "superstition".
> Are you a part of those hypocrites who say that both dvaita and advaita
> are correct?
> or do you have a clear position?

Surprise, surprise. I thought you were intelligent. Let me make myself  
clear once again. I previously said that the dvaitins twist the meanings  
of scriptures to suit their interpretations. Obviously dvaita and advaita  
connot both be right for me, can they? 

> |> It is surprising how people can still be like ostriches with their  
> |> buried in sand. It is sad that you people would jump on some  
> |> question about superstitions, to conduct your petty diatribe against  
> Not quite as unfortunate as people like you who keeps beating on their  
> you are wrong, you are wrong.
> Substantiate what you say with either scriptures or logic, not with  
> like "ostriches with their..." or "How blind can..."

I have done all the scriptural substantiation I need to do, with the  
upanishadic statements like "aham brahmAsmi" and "tat tvam asi". I do not  
rely on partisan and sectarian Puranas, unlike you. I have quoted the  
Vedic literature that is called Sruti. Please read my earlier articles  
again if you wish to see many more scriptural quotations that I have made.  

> Shows your intellectual and moral level, I would however not generalise
> this as the intellectual and moral level of advaitans.

Great. Your concern for my intellectual and moral level is indeed amusing.  
Thanks. You still haven't proven either by logic or by scripture, how  
advaita is nothing more than a mere superstition. I repeat my earlier  
statement. Your diatribe against advaita, as a response to an innocuous  
query on superstitions is totally unwarranted, to say the least. 

S. Vidyasankar

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