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Re: superstitions

It is somewhat amusing to see that while on the one hand, people are  
arguing that Sankara was a Vaishnava, on the other hand, they find fault  
with anything and everything in his works. 

As all Vaishnavas accept each other, as per Vijay's claim, then they  
should also accept Sankara's school. Of course, when it comes to a pinch,  
they would not, because for followers of Sankara's school, it is  
distasteful to draw a hierarchy between Vishnu and Siva. In any case, let  
us see how much Sankara agrees with the Vaishnavas. 

In article <3945qi$l85@ucunix.san.uc.edu> vijaypai@rice.edu (Vijay  
Sadananda Pai) writes:

Regarding Madhva and Ramanuja, 

> 1) Both accept the supremacy of Lord Vishnu

So does Sankara. You quote his own Gita bhashya and claim on that basis  
that he is a Vaishnava. So shouldn't you be accpeting him too? I know why  
you don't. He differs where sectarian Vaishnavas call one Supreme and the  
rest "demigods". Obviously, Sankara is a "Vaishnava" who wears ashes, and  
he cannot be acceptable to you. 

> 2) Neither accepts the quantitative equality of jiva and Paramatma

Nor does Sankara as such. All the criticism of the rivals is based on a  
fundamental misunderstanding of Sankara's explanation. The explanation of  
"tat tvam asi" the fundamental mahavakya, is clear on how the two are  
different as seen in themselves, but are in essence not different from one  
another in moksha. The very important qualification here, "moksha" is lost  
sight of in all these criticisms. I can dwell on Sankara's explanation in  
detail in a later post, if need be. 

> 3) Neither ascribes more than minute independence to the jiva
> 4) Both accept the material world as real, but temporary

What is temporary is not The Real. which can only be the eternal. So  
Sankara's conclusion does follow after all.  

> 5) Both accept distinctions between matter and matter,
> 	matter and jiva, jiva and jiva, matter and Paramatma,
> 	and jiva and Paramatma.

So does Sankara. The distinction between jIva and paramAtmA vanishes only  
on moksha. This is based on sound scriptural evidence that says "For him  
who makes the slightest distinction here, there is no release." This  
scripture relates to the distinction between jIva and paramAtmA at moksha.  
Thus, inspite of your claim 8 below, it is Sankara who values scriptural  
evidence far more than anyone else. 

> 6) Both accept bhakti as the supreme path and the perfectional
> 	stage of development of all other paths
> 7) Both accept the doctrine of spiritual variegatedness and
> 	the existence of transcendental qualities
> 8) Both consider scriptural evidence superior to evidence
> 	gained by sensory observation or by argument

So does Sankara. However, not even scripture can say that which is  
contradictory to reason. Thus that which is thrown up has to come down,  
even if someone quotes something that is claimed to be scripture against  
it. Scripture has little to do with that which can easily be obtained by  
sensory observation and logical processes. It's only purpose is to tell  
you that which cannot be touched by logic. Inspite of your claim, all your  
philosophical criticisms against advaita are based on nothing but  
argumentation. For scriptural evidence, you concoct a few verses and claim  
that it is found in the Padma Purana. In any case, Puranic evidence is  
sublated by the Upanishadic basis of advaita. 

> 9) Both accept the Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, & Itihasas

So does Sankara. 

> 10) Both say that the Supreme Absolute Truth is a Person
> 11) Both sampradayas chant the holy name of the Lord,
> 	though their mantras are different

So does the advaita samopradaya. Except that the advaita sampradaya is not  
sectarian so the Sri Rudram and Chamakam, (which have greater claim to be  
Vedic literature, by the way) are also chanted by advaita sannyasis, in  
addition to the Vishnu sahasranama. 

> Shall I continue? Note that they also agree on many other
> issues, but these are the primary issues that most
> distinguish them from non-Vaisnava groups. 
> -- Vijay

What really distinguishes them from non-Vaishnava groups is the sectarian  
putting down of Siva with respect to Vishnu. Some Vaishnavas are more  
interested in putting down Siva, rather than singing the praises of  

S. Vidyasankar

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