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Dark Warrior

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  1. Um, isn't Bhagavad Gita part of Prasthna Trayam? And apparently, you are defining a concept of Vaishanavism I have never even heard of. Who told you that we think mukti is more in Pancharatra? For the record, the Chandogya and Kaushitaki Upanishads give a pretty detailed account of the Archiradi Marga, which is the Vaishnava concept of mukti. We are not fools to claim a Vedantic backing without Upanishadic knowledge, you know. Just honest Vaidikas who have many decent commentaries on the Upanishads. As usual, you are making assumptions without understanding the facts. Can you please tell me exactly how Vaishnavas rely too much on Puranas and Pancharatra? We use them as ancillory texts and not as primary texts. Dude, we accept texts ONLY if they do not contradict the Veda. The Pancharatra does not contain anything that is absent in Vedas. The Vyuha theory is accepted by even Adi Sankara. And there is no concept of Vaishnava liberation in PT? You have gotta be kidding!! 'Om Tad Vishnoh Parama Padam Sada Pashyanti Suriyah' is indeed implying that there is an abode of Vishnu that is to be achieved. Purusha Suktam calls the Purusha as the Husband of Lakshmi. Bhagavad Gita clearly mentions an abode to be achieved, as Lord Krishna mentions that His abode is not lighted by fire, sun or stars, etc. Even according to Advaita, the abode of Vishnu exists and is conveyed by Veda. Adi Sankara however, thinks that all this is just vyavaharika, and that Nirguna Brahman is the ultimate reality. The next point is this - What makes you think the Puranas and Pancharatra are unvedic? Because a bunch of indologist nerds in the 19th century came and dated these scriptures? If you must know, I have read some of the works of Max Muller, Gavin Flood and Friedhelm Hardy on dating of scripture. However, Indology is not the subject of the thread. Vedantins have always accepted Puranas as Vedic. Chandogya Upanishad calls them 5th Veda. Sri Sankara and Sri Ramanuja show a great reverance for Vishnu Purana, and Sri Madhva has proven the authenticity of Bhagavata Purana. If you are of the opinion that the Puranas contain mundane, fantastical stories, please read the commentaries given by Sri Krishna Suri or Sri Madhva. Every word of Vishnu and Bhagavata Purana has a deep meaning. Pancharatra is also mentioned by Satapatha Brahmana. Sankara rejects it based on his interpretation. He accepts the philosophy propounded by Pancharatra, but thinks the text adds some material that isn't in Veda. Your bias against Puranas is your own business. I have no problems with it. However, no Vedantin harbors the view that Vishnu Purana is unvedic, or that Bhagavad Gita is composed by some 'Krishna cult follower'. While you can express your views (and I respect them), please don't cite them as reasons for criticising Sri Ramanuja or Sri Madhva. If it is so obvious that Krishna is a nonvedic god and that the Puranas are unvedic, I do not know why every Vedantin (including Sankara) hails Brahman as the Son of Devaki. There are clear pramanas in veda that says that the form of Brahman is eternal. Want to see? yat te rUpaM kalyANAtamaM tat te pashyAmi ~ IshAvAsya Upanishad yadi manyase suvedeti daharamevaapi nuunaM tvaM vettha brahmaNo ruupam ~ Kena Upanishad. Chandogya also says the eyes of Brahman are like two lotuses blossomed by the sun. Rig Veda makes a reference to the navel of the unborn. In my first post itself, the vakya 'Yada Yada Pashyate Rukmavarnam' from Mundaka Up. conveys my point, which says that Brahman is golden (luminiscent). This signifies a rupa. Once again, Advaita relies on its own assumptions and relegates this to 'Saguna Brahman' category. However, the Shrutis are clear that the world is real on all counts. Does it make sense to say that all 32 Brahma Vidyas of the Upanishads are unimportant because they are also ultimately unreal? Your belief that Sankara interpreted things well is indeed an 'illusion'. Anybody can write a commentary based on his own imagination. Sankara struggles with the Isa Upanishad, Gita and Brahma Sutras, which all emphasise on Savisesha Brahman and reality of the world. Nice sarcasm. Can you give me a reason why the omnipotent Brahman CANNOT have a dhoti or, take an avatar in Bharatavarsha for no reason at all? Have you actually read the Bhagavad Gita, part of the PT? Where Arjuna asks Krishna, show me your rupa with the conch, lotus, disc, etc. Sankara certainly accepts it. And Krishna was not 5 foot 8. In the Dwapara yuga, people were taller. He was probably 7 feet tall. And can you accuse the Lord of being partial to humans? He has not just come in a human like form. He has come as a fish, a boar, a horse, a tortoise, etc. Sounds silly to you? Well, to me, it verifies what He says in Gita, 'I am equal to all'. All would include animals, who are also jivatmas. Of course, I believe you maintain a unique stance that the Bhagavad Gita was written in 200 BC by some guy who invented a god....however, that isn't the opinion of even traditional advaitins. You are, of course, welcome to your opinions if you are an outsider/atheist. Can you fall in love with a cube or a cone? Don't you dress up, put on some scent, etc. to take a girl out on a date? Well, Narayana is the Purushottama who wishes to make Himself attractive to the Jivatma. It makes no sense because you do not understand why He assumes this form. Why does Bhakti Yoga sound inferior to you? It is the same meditation as prescribed by Yajnavalkya 'Meditate lovingly on Brahman' in the Brihadaranyaka. After all, an object of meditation is loved by the meditator and this is nothing but bhakti. First of all, the Svarupa of Brahman is formless. He is indescribable, except that He has the attributes of Satyam, Jnanam, Anantam, Anandam, etc. It is this Svarupa that pervades and is present in every living entity. At the same time, this Svarupa is present inside a divine body. This body is not made of material elements. This body is insentient, but completely divine. If you read the JitantE stotram of Rig Veda, it says 'Brahman's form is not for Himself, but for His devotees'. This piece explicitly says that Brahman does nt need eyes to see, or ears to hear. He merely manifests them for the pleasure of His devotees. Read the Ramayana. Lord Rama's wide lotus eyes were the object of much adoration. Who can resist them? Not even Arjuna. Can you meditate on a formless svarupa? Nope. But Brahman has enough jnanam to realise that His devotees need Him with a rupa. Both Rupa and Svarupa are nityam, because time is eternal and has no beginning. It is to look attractive to Jivas that Lord NarayaNa has donned this four armed form. As Arjuna says 'Padma Patra Vishalaksha...' which means 'Oh Lord with the wide lotus eyes, you make your devotees fall in love with you intensely'. This is the commentary of Adi Sankara himself (Vishnu Sahasranama) where he himself admits that the Lord's form (Saguna, according to him) is to please His devotees. This is the beauty of it - He does not need these Lotus Eyes. He does not need this flute, or these beautiful limbs. But who can't help falling in love with such a rupa? Even Adi Sankara, the great advaitin, shows much bhakti when he commentates on the Sahasranama. He has come in this form for us, and not because He needs them. Nirguna Brahman is logically untenable. Brahman means 'to grow', 'pervade'. That means, beng Brahman itself implies that He has an attribute, eh? The Vishnu Sahasranama also has the words 'Nirguno Mahan'. This gives rise to two meanings, 'He who has no attributes' or 'He who is beyond all attributes'. The first meaning is illogical, as the Sahasranama describes Vishnu gloriously. Then, the second meaning is close to the Vaishnava definition of 'beyond sattva, rajas, tamas'!! Too bad Sankara does not think of using the same 2nd definition in the Veda as well. Read Sankara Bhashya for Vishnu Sahasranama. Shvu, I understand your atheistic stance. But first understand that Vaishnavas do not jump to Puranas without clarifying the Veda. We have no need to read the Veda or interpret it with Puranas by our bedside. The Veda itself houses the concept of an eternal form, gives a decent description of it, and provides means of meditation. Secondly, do not come to hasty conclusions about Vedanta just because Advaita is 'popular'. Bhagavad Gita condemns the theory of falsity of the world in one sloka. Advaitins dodge it by saying they believe in the reality of the world as long as they are not liberated. However, it is evident what the sloka addresses. Now, I really bow out of this thread. Mind, I don't care if people criticise Dvaita or VA. After all, Advaitins would never accept Dualism and hence, you can bash our philosophy all you want. I just don't want people making assumptions about Sri Ramanuja and Sri Madhva without understanding the basics.
  2. I am a bit tired of debates at the moment, so I think I will pass. Let others carry it on. However, I just want to clarify one thing - there is a difference between Madhvas and Sri Vaishnavas regarding moksha. The Madhvas maintain that even in Moksha, there is taratamya, ie, bheda between individual souls in terms of bliss experienced. This is however, based on a faulty understanding of the Taittiriya Upanishad. I, being a Sri Vaishnava, believe that there is a state of oneness. The Jivatman is similar to Paramatma in many ways - both are incomprehensible, omnipresent (Jivatma's consciousness pervades the body, just as Paramatma pervades the whole world, which is His body), immutable, conscious, possess infinite Jnanam and Anandam. Jivatma in Samsara has its attributive consciousness expanded or contracted due to karma, but its substantiative consciousness remains intact (just like a flame is radiant, but the pervasiveness and reach of the radiance varies). However, the Jivatma has some basic differences - It is mentioned as anu in Svetasvatara Upanishad (misinterpreted by advaitins) and it cannot create, preserve or destroy (Brahma Sutra 4.4.17). It is dependent on the Paramatma at all times. It also cannot become Lord of other entities, or control them. In Moksha, we get a beautiful body, equal in grandeur to the Lord. We get Jnana and bliss equal to Him. We are able to be omnipresent and even take avatars like Him. We get just about everything by His grace, but we still maintain individuality, ie, we are separate and dependent on Him. Just like a guru raises a sishya and the sishya gets jnana equal to the guru, we become equal to Paramatma, yet we remain indebted to Him. So, that is the meaning of Shruti vakya when it talks about a 'state of oneness', or 'He who knows Brahman becomes Brahman'. The pramana for SamyApathi Moksha is taken from the Mundaka Upanishad: yada pasya pashyate rukmavarnam kartaaram isam purusham brahmayonim tada vidvan punya pape vidhuya niranjana paramam saamyam upaithi.( Mu Up 3.1.3) When the jnani realizes the Lord, he attains highest equality with him. The word 'paramam' emphasises 'for the most part', or 'highest possible'. I shall debate no more in this thread. I just wanted to point out the difference between Madhvas and Sri Vaishnavas. In any case, whether you are a monist or a dualist is a personal choice. If you feel monism is correct, then there is nothing wrong in trying to progress in your beliefs.
  3. In the first verse itself, Krishna differetiates between Himself and the Jivas, 'Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor did you'. First of all, you seem to think Krishna is a normal human. Sorry, doesn't work. That He is Paramatma is the content of the Gita. Hence, to equate Him with Jivas, you need to produce a vakya that explicitly denies the reality of the world. However, Gita verifies that the world is real, creation is real, God is real and souls are real and distinct from Him. When Krishna says 'I', He is simply referring to Himself - the Svarupa with the attributes of Satyam, Jnanam, Anantam. When He says He is the Self in everyone, He means 'I am the Self dwelling within the Atman'. The Atman is the body of Brahman, hence Brahman and Atman can be identified together on the basis of their inseparability. Krishna says, 'Everything is strung on me, like pearls on a thread'. Hence, pearls and thread are different, yet inseparably linked together and identified by One name 'Necklace'. Similarly, Krishna is the Self, indweller of Atman in everyone and distinct from your atman. This, in brief, is the difference between Jnana Yoga and Bhakti Yoga. Jnanis will meditate on their own atman (Akshara) and realise themselves (ie, their atman) to be the body of the indwelling paramatmA. Ayam Atma Brahma is one such example of a meditative vakya - First the AtmA, then Brahman is realised. Arjuna asks Krishna, 'which is better, meditating on atmA as the body/mode of ParamatmA, or meditating on you?' Krishna replies, 'Such an upasana is very difficult, hence, meditate on My divine body (which is real and eternal), consisting of 2 hands, a flute, made of suddha satva, with lotus eyes, etc. I have come in this wonderful form just for your sake (read JitantE stotram) and hence, meditate on my gunas'. For instance, take one Vidya in the Upanishads where the seeker is to meditate on NarayanA within the sun. This Brahman is described to possess a golden complexion, lotus eyes and a moustache too!! This uninterrupted meditation on Brahman is Bhakti Yoga, and it is differentiated from normal Bhakti. An entity cannot be both active and non-active. It is attested by Krishna that He is the doer and the Atman is the non-doer. He also makes a clear difference between atman and paramatman (convieniently relegated to the 'lower level' of reality by Sri Sankaracharya). Sorry. This definition is not supported by either Gita or Upanishads. The Lord abides in the Self and provides the power to execute action, making Him the doer. The Atman only has the power to choose the action. That much is clear frm the Upanishads. Advaitins have the habit of equating 'AtmA' with Jivatman and then terming it as Brahman everywhere. Actually, Shruti itself refers to AtmA as ParamatmA in some places (Mandukya, for instance) and JivatmA in others. The context is never taken into account by advaitins, and everything indicating Bheda is 'unimportant'. Action happens while in samsara and is determined by Karma. This Karma is independent of, and yet controlled by the Lord, who doesn't interfere in its results. The exact nature of this is beyond the scope of the topic. No offense, but you are not even speaking classical advaita here. Sankara does not say Maya is Brahman. To say Maya is Brahman, or Avidya is Brahman is lending impurity to Brahman. The doctrine gets downright nonsensical. If Brahman is knowledge and Brahman is Maya/Avidya, then Brahman knows Himself by His own knowledge. If Maya or Avidya is Brahman, it covers the knowledge, which is Brahman itself. This leads to a complete collapse. There are many places where it is stated to rise above duality. Typical advaitin interpretations overlook the real meaning. Krishna Himself talks about His abode as the highest goal for Jivatmas, then what is this 'Dvaita is a myth' theory? A true jnani realises that he, the jivatman, is the body of the indwelling Superself, ParamatmA. Thus, due to the inseparability of two entities, he can say, 'Ayam Atma Brahma'. The word 'Srikanth' signifies your body and soul - two distinct entities as one. The 'pearls on a string' example shows that pearls and string, when properly comprehended, become expressible as one entity 'necklace'. There is no loss of duality, rather, the seeker comprehends the qualified monism, ie, 'Not two in a special way'. Thus, like Krishna tells Shiva in the Vishnu Purana, 'You are fit to comprehend that you are not distinct from Me, and neither is the world'. A Jnani sees that all beings are identical to himself, ie, they are all Jivatmas with ParamatmA as indweller. He also sees Himself as an inseparable attribute and the body of Brahman. This does not imply total identity, as advaita says. Number one, there is no pramana for classifying the world as unreal. The VyavaharikA and ParamahartikA classification finds no mention in Gita, Vedanta Sutras, and Upanishads. The Pramana provided by advaitins is 'One without a Second', implying jagat is an illusion. However, the Rig Veda, Mandukya Upanishad and Brahma Sutras say the world is real, Sankara says, 'On account of some pramanas like one without a second, we can dismiss this as unimportant'. That is why I said his interpretation is far-fetched. After interpreting one vakya as advaitic, he dismisses 90% of shruti as 'unreal' or 'unimportant'. This is the wrong approach. His Brahma Sutra bhashya itself speaks volumes about how he struggles to get his philosophy together. Since, everywhere else reality is stressed, and since shruti does not mention explicitly that the world is unreal, the vakya should be reinterpreted to fit the rest of Shruti. 'One without a Second' therefore implies that Brahman, who has Jivas and Jagat as His body, is the sole reality. Body (Jagat and Jivas) and Soul (Brahman), together are referred to as 'Brahman', just like the necklace analogy, which makes explanations easy.
  4. Srikanth, I am not against Advaita. I regard it as a great mental exercise, but logically and scripturally in my opinion, it falls way short. Nobody can deny that Sankaracharya has formulated too many of his own ideas instead of relying on pramanas. That is why the later debates between Dvaitins/VAs and Advaitins were more on logical grounds rather than scriptural grounds. Sri Vedanta Desikar calls them disguised Buddhists. However, I have great respect for the scholarly abiities of Adi Sankaracharya and Madhusudhana Saraswati. Coming to the Avidya query posed by Shvu, I checked the Advaita site. And I do not see any pramana for Avidya. It is clear that Advaitins rely on logic and experience to explain Avidya. All that this site says is - Brahman is indescribable and beyond words, and hence the Upanishads raise the question of how this Brahman can be known. Sankaracharya opines that Atman is Brahman that has covered itself by Avidya, etc. So, Avidya, according to advaitins, does not need an pramanas and nor is there a pramana in scripture...it is just a natural and logical conclusion according to them, as I explained earlier. Thus, the site does not give any sort of pramana for Avidya. Rather, they explain that as Brahman is unknown, and that it is impossible to get proof of anything existing apart from the Self, Avidya can be inferred. Sureshvara tries to use logic and experience to establish the truth of Avidya. And as my earlier post conveyed, logically, VAs have refuted Avidya. For instance, one Upanishad says Brahman is beyond words. However, the Purusha Suktam and Chandogya describe Him as brilliant, auspicious and lotus eyed. Isn't this contradictory? Sri Ramanuja avers that there is no pramana for Nirguna Brahman or for the unreality of the world in Veda. Hence, the contradiction is resolved thus - Brahman's svarupa is formless and has the attributes of Satyam, Jnanam, Anantam, etc. This Svarupa is beyond words. However, Brahman's Rupa Gunas like brilliance and lotus eyes can be described. This is due to His accessibility. Now, if we differentiate between Svarupa gunas and Rupa gunas, what about the vakya that says Brahman is partless? Well, He is everywhere and since He is everywhere with everything as His body, nothing can be distinctly seen as part of Him. Chit, Achit and Isvara are inseparably linked together,thus they become Sarvam Khalv Idam Brahma. Simple. In the Gita, Krishna says there is nothing higher than Him. Thus, He cannot be Saguna Brahman. He cannot be Nirguna, as Nirguna Brahman is not capable of action (being attributeless). Krishna talks about how He deludes with the help of Maya. Sankaracharya interprets this maya to denote the unreality. So, if Krishna is Nirguna Brahman, Maya can neither be an attribute nor an entity distinct from Him. If Krishna is Saguna Brahman, then Maya too is unreal, which becomes illogical. To resolve this, Advaitins claim Mithyavada is neither existence nor non-existence. Again, no pramana, just logic. This has been refuted. In which case, Sankara should have commentated on them, or atleast, he should have mentioned that he was quoting from these Upanishads. However, he gives these examples as his own views in his bhashya. The Upanishads present these views as integral to scripture. Shvu - Your basic premise is that the Vedas can be interpreted anyway, and every school claims victory, but advaita is popular hence we have been unsuccessful. Understand that even after defeat, there need not be mass conversions. The tradition of polemics makes it clear that conversion is a personal choice. To date, Advaitins have not been able to answer the Tarangini or the 66 existing points of the Satadhushani. Advaita is not in Veda. It is like the Gaudiyas saying Krishna is above Vishnu - a few vakyas, mixed with a lot of stress on experience and logic (the logic has been refuted). Popularity is not a measure of success. The average hindu has no idea of philosophy and even Sri Sankara is mistaken to be a Shaivite nowadays.
  5. This is wrong. Firstly, let us assume that Akshobhya was arguing with the Atat Tvam Asi logic. Vishishtadvaitins do not disagree at all on this one. Our opinion is also the same as that of the dvaitins - that this vakya proclaims Bheda and not Abheda. So, Akshobhya would argue based on the 9 examples that there is no identity at all. Vedanta Desikar would not disagree with this. Atat Tvam Asi is gramatically correct. Secondly, Madhva did not just say Atat Tvam Asi is the only way to put it. His main aim was to defeat the advaitic interpretation. So, what he did was - first, he took the vakya as Tat Tvam Asi and proved that it wasn't proclaiming identity. The method he used is termed as 'Vishesha' by Dvaitins (read it up). Then, he suggested that this vakya could ALSO be taken as Atat Tvam Asi. Thus, Akshobhya argued with Vidyaranya based on Tat Tvam Asi, and not Atat Tvam Asi, as Dvaitins have an explanation for both. And Vishishtadvaita does not disagree with the idea of 'Vishesha', hence we have no problems with it. However, we merely feel Sarira/Sariri bhava explains it better than Vishesha. Thirdly, Vedanta Desikar was himself a friend of Vidyaranya. He was neutral to the debate. Even if both the debators had nothing to do with VA, he would still judge it as a neutral refree. Vedanta Desikar's biographer did not meet Akshobhya Tirtha's biographer. Yet, both describe this debate. I do not think there is any doubt. I did not say Vidyaranya was unable to provide an explanation. I said, his explanation was defeated on logical grounds by Akshobhya. To see whether the vakya proclaims identity, you have to critically examine it properly. You do not understand. Let me explain. Sri Ramanuja says 'Tat tvam Asi' addresses the inseparability of Atman and Brahman. For this, he provides proof from the Brihadaranyaka which actually mentions that Atman is the body of Brahman (making them inseparable). Thus, this is an interpretation that resolves contradictory statements. However, Sankara provides no pramana for avidya from Veda. He simply assumes that it is inferred from experience (refer Sureshvara's explanation I gave earlier). The Sutras do not say the world is unreal, or that Avidya is present. They simply say 'Brahman and Jivas are real and different'. If you think this is due to avidya, then you should give a pramana from Veda that actually mentions that there is Avidya to show that there is a contradiction that needs to be resolved. Sankara does not do this. Take this example - vakya says 'Eko Narayana Asit, Na Brahma Na isana'. Srila Prabhupada translates ths as 'there is only Narayana before creation, and this Narayana is a 'plenary expansion of Krishna'. Note, the vakya makes no mention about Krishna being the source of Narayana, it only talks of Narayana being Brahman. But Srila Prabupada adds this line about a 'plenary expansion' as he operates on the assumption that 'Krishna is superior to Narayana/Vishnu'. Rather than finding a direct pramana that says 'Narayana is an expansion of Krishna', Prabhupada relies on a distorted translation from the bhagavatam and uses it for vakyas describing Narayana. Same with Sankara. Brahma Sutras say 'Brahman and Jivatma are real and different'. He adds his own opinion here, 'We know this difference is due to Avidya'. But Vyasa does not say it is due to Avidya, nor is there a pramana in shruti that talks of avidya. Sankara simply assumes this concept based on his own ideas and gives no pramana for it. When there is no contradiction at all and when you are unable to provide a single pramana describing avidya as the cause, then why inject it into the sutras? Shvu, this is not 'interpretation'. This is just forcing your opinion on a relatively straightforward statement. This is against the rules of Vedanta. Now, about Madhva. His interpretation is actually acceptable because - there is a pramana in shruti that calls Lakshmi as 'Akshara'. Krishna does say that the tamo gunis suffer eternally (VAs take it as aupacharika, just like a mother threatening a child, but Dvaitins take it seriously and literaly). Thus, Madhva quotes Lakshmi-Akshara as pramana in support of his points, but Sankara does not provid any pramana for avidya. He simply assumes that the difference is due to avidya. The key word is 'Akshara'. Sankara takes it to mean 'Nirguna Brahman'. Sri Ramanuja takes it to mean 'Jivatma Upasana (meditation on the Jivatma)'. Madhva takes it to mean 'Lakshmi'. 'Akshara' means 'Unmanifested', 'All Pervading', 'Immutable', etc. All these terms refer to the Jivatma as well (Atman pervades by virtue of its subtlety and consciousness). Atman is imutable because it is the non-doer. It is also incomprehensible, etc. Shruti also calls atman as Akshara in places. Option 1) is not tenable, because it involves text torturing. Krishna says 'there is nothing higher than Me'. Then, He says, 'Rather meditating on Akshara, meditate on Me'. Sankara takes this to mean 'Saguna Brahman Upasana'. But is Saguna Brahman higher than Nirguna Brahman? No. Such a classification (Nirguna/Saguna) is not even in the Gita. Krishna does not speak like that at all. Akshara cannot be Nirguna Brahman because Krishna makes it clear that He is above the Kshara and Akshara. Kshara refers to Prakrti, I believe and Akshara cannot be Nirguna Brahman because Krishna is above it. It ca only be the Jivatma (Or Lakshmi, according to Sri Madhva). Sankara also says it is not possible to meditate on Nirguna Brahman. Yet, Krishna apparently describes 6 chapters of Nirguna Brahman meditation, and then says 'don't do it'. Furthermore, look at these verses, 'See everyone in Me, and Me in everyone' and 'Although everyone is in Me, I am not in them'(implying the existence of a creator god sitting aloof), which isn't advaitic at all. The concept of Maya as ureal is also not in Gita, but Maya is simply mentioned to be a deluding force. Madhva's interpretation is gramatically correct. But in the context, it does not appear as though Krishna is talking about Lakshmi. Sri Ramanuja is gramatically correct and also contextually correct as well. Krishna, for the first 6 chapters according to Sri Ramanuja, talks about 'kaivalya', ie, realisation of Atman alone, before realising the Paramatma within Atman. Krishna advises the seeker to not get absorbed in meditation of Atman, but to meditate on Him as well. Akshara is not Nirguna Brahman by any stretch of the imagination. This is an unfounded accusation. Sri Vaishnavism is Veda + Pancharatra. We use the pancharatra as an 'ancillory' and not directly. Without the Pancharatra, we would still have Lakshmipathi Narayana, and without the Vedas, we do not have the jnana of the Brahma Svarupa of Lakshmipathi Narayana. Hence, it makes no sense to say we rely wholly on Pancharatra. Without the agamas, Vaishnavism still thrives. The Vyuha theory occurs in the Vedas itself. In any case, are you aware that the Satapatha Brahmana actually mentions the name 'Pancharatra'? That is why, it is strange that Sankara denies it. Pancharatra is very much a part of Veda. Read Sankara's Upanishad Bhashyas. He makes grammatical mistakes (maybe purposely) even. Advaita is not criticised for its success. The Veda has no advaita. Don't you think its strange that we have so much literature talking about difference between Gods and Rituals when all this is unreal? Why devote so much time to the unreal? Advaita is criticised because it is VERY loosely based on Vedas. And yet, it claims to be a Vedic philosophy. That is the main reason every philosopher has targeted it. It is a dry philosophy with no vedic backing (although the tradition is Vedantic). Of course. Mandana would try to argue about how the Veda is more important for Karma Khanda. Sankara would try to use pramanas to show that Brahma Jnana is more important than rituals. Sankara may even talk about Atman=Brahman, but there is no need for him to show extensive proof, as Mandana does not accept the Upanishads. He would use logic as a tool. AFTER Mandana accepts the importance of the Upanishads, he becomes an advaitin. I will check it out later and edit this post with an explanation (can't open it now). Rest assured, the only pramanas advaitins can give is their interpretation of 'Maya', or some random vakyas like 'One wihout a Second'. All these vakyas are not advaitic, and by reading the context, one can easily make it out. The terms Nirguna/Saguna (as used in Advaita), Jivan Mukti, Classicification of Reals, Avidya and Mithyavada are not in any scripture. Brahma Sutras say World is Real. Sankara struggles to get around it. In another place, Brahma Sutras say Jivatma will never have the power to create, destroy or preserve. Sankara again struggles to get around it (I believe he uses Jivan Mukti in some way here). I believe, even Jivan Mukti is denied by a Satapatha Brahmana quote which says that even the Gods long for death, as only by death can one be liberated and not otherwise. Nobody accuses Madhva of quoting bogus texts. If you must know, his Bhallaveya Shruti and Paingi Shruti have been quoted by later Sri Vaishnavas themselves. Look, Madhva's reputation as a Vedantin is legendary. He and Sri Ramanuja were perfectly honest. Appaya Dikshitar could not refute the Tarangini and started blaming Madhva for fabricating scripture. For the record, the current version of Narayana Suktam used by Advaitins itself has an interpolation 'Sa Hari' to make it look like Vishnu is a lesser deva. In any case, these Upanishads were most probably rejected because it was too easy to identify them as spurious. But they are ALL monistic, showing that monists deliberately fabricated them. Dude, Advaita/Dvaita debates have often been more on logic than scripture. Advaitins lay too much stress on experience, logic, etc. because they lack scriptural credibility. I did not say Dvaita is not there in Vedas. Sri Madhva and Sri Ramanuja agree on most points, except a few minor details. I said, Dvaita and VA are so closely matched that either of them have the ability to defeat the other and yet, no outcome would be conclusive. However, Advaita is so far fetched that it is not even in Veda. It is accepted that the fake Upanishads are monistic. And some of them contain examples from Sankara Bhashya. Atma Bindu upanishad, current version of Mahopanishad, etc. Who else but Advaitins could have done that?
  6. I am aware that you hold this view. However, consider this example - Chaitanya Mahaprabhu defeated Tattvavadis. Do you believe it or not? Simply saying that every religion makes such a claim, thus, we don't know what is right cannot be an adequate explanation. Proper examination of such claims is needed to find the truth. That is how I examined just about every world religion before I hit upon Vedanta. The theory of illusions is itself illogical, as take the Snake/Rope example - If the snake is an illusion, then the snake should have existed in reality elsewhere for the rope to be misconstrued as a snake. Thus, you can't have a dream without a basis in reality. Even if you dream of a monster with a 100 eyes, then the 'eyes' and the 'body' of the monster are objects that exist in reality. Similarly, no matter what Advaitins claim, their interpretation is far fetched (just like Sri Chaitanya, no offense to Gaudiyas). In any case, - There is a historical proof of Sri Vidyaranya's defeat by Akshobhya Tirtha (inscriptions, etc.). He was unable to prove the advaitic interpretation of Tat Tvam Asi. - There is no Advaita in Gita or Brahma Sutras. Refer Sankara's commentary. When he sutras say 'Jivas and Brahman are real and different', Sankara adds a line ther, 'This difference is perceived due to Avidya'. There is no mention of Avidya anywhere by Vyasa in the Brahma Sutras, yet Sankara seeks to add that in his commentary. Similarly, there is no mention of the classification of realities, classification of Nirguna and Saguna Brahman, Mithyavada, etc....thus, advaita relies on too many assumptions and less scripture. However, we play the same game and refute it by logic. <o:p></o:p> <o:p></o:p> <o:p></o:p> <o:p></o:p> Amazing. You actually thought that every term Sankara used is in Veda? Not even Advaitins say that!! According to advaitins, the abheda vakyas are more important (some flimsy reason given, but shruti does not say this), so they believe that one must relegate all bheda to a lower rank.Therefore, they argue that Avidya, Nirguna/Saguna Brahman, classification of reals, are all just logical outcomes as one cannot perceive anything byut the Self. According to Advaitins, there is no need to substantiate these terms with scriptural pramana, as it can be experienced. This is why advaita is heavily criticised. Too much assumption, and lack of pramanas. It is quite astonishing that you did not know of this at all. Heck, there is not even a pramana to say that abheda vakyas are more important than bheda vakyas in Veda!! You know, I pretty much get the feeling that you think a 'debate' basically almost always has to do with the entire purport of Vedas. That is why you thought that the Mimamsa school had 'interpreted' the Veda to atheism earlier, or that Srikantha 'interpreted' Brahma Sutras to Shaivism (btw, the Brahma Sutras contain information about nature of Brahman and Jiva, they do not even have much about the supremacy of a god!!). Understand - that schools like Mimamsa do NOT interpret the Vedas, nor is a study of Vedas needed to debate with them. The Mimamsa position is that the Vedas are primarily for karma/duties pertaining to material life. They consider the Upanishads as unimportant and ignore tem. Hence, to defeat them, we have to prove that Rituals are not as important as Jnana, or that all rituals serve the purpose of satisfying Brahman. Thus, there is no question of scriptural debate here. Sankara debated with Mimamsakas, Buddhists, Jains, Pasupata sect, etc. These sects do not require much in the way of scriptural pramana. Mimamsas do not pay much attention to Upanishads, so, Sankara's task would be to convince them of its importance. And of course, he certainly did not use the Veda for Buddhists, but logic. As for the Shaivites, most likely he debated with them on the authenticity of Shaiva Agamas, which are unvedic according to him. The only religion that Sankara could have argued based on scripture (in whole) with is the Bhagavata (Vaishnava) Sect. However, Sankara himself mentions in his Brahma Sutra bhashya that he has no arguments with them and considers them Vedic, though he rejects the Pancharatra. Thus, it is quite possible that Sankara never cared to debate with Sri Vaishnavas (who were the Bhagavatas existent at that time). Sankara pretty much forces his opinion on the texts. That he breaks all rules of interpretation in his Gita Bhashya and Brahma Sutras is self evident. The claim comes not from me, but from the Site owner of Advaita-Vedanta.Org. I, too, have not read Sureshvara's works (except for some brief summaries), but here is what the owner of the site has posted somewhere: avidyA is not established by any of the means of knowing (pramANA-s).Sureshvara says that the person who would want to establish avidyA by any pramANa would also see the darkness in the interior of a cave with a lamp (TUbhVa 2.177). avidyA does not stand the scrutiny of the pramANa-s (SVa 2.181-182). According to Sureshvara's example of a blue lotus/sky, ether is colorless, but when we see the sky, we think it is blue. And same goes for Avidya. No need for pramanas, just experience. However, this sounds more like Vishishtadvaita in my opinion. The fact is, perception should be given validity completely as far as its influence goes. Furthermore, some modification has occured to make the sky look blue, and the blueness of the sky is not an illusion, but a real thing. Hence, Avidya becomes Knowledge, and according to Sri Ramanuja, all Knowledge is real. Calling Avidya as neither existence nor non-existence is untenable, and the explanation of a 'third state' C which is neither A or B falls flat because both states of non-existence and existence need to be assessed with respect to the object. Thus, rather than A,B,C, we only have 'Either A or Not A', 'Either B or not B' or 'Either C or not C'. There is no in-between, and hence, Avidya becomes perception, ie, real. See, I agree that one should not trust biographies belonging to individual schools to understand if they are defeated or not. But scrutinise it. Is it possible that Gaudiyas vanquished Dvaita? Is it possible that Mimamsakas defeated Advaitins? Hence, it is obvious to see how some claims are not valid, and how some are. Similarly, the advaitin claim of being undefeated is invalid. The Tarangini was an answer to Advaita Siddhi. However, not even Appaya Dikshitar has attempted to refute the Tarangini. Hence, in the history of Dvaita/Advaita debates, the Madhvas have had the last word. Appaya Dikshitar admits in his own works (check them out, if you wish) that he was unable to get past the NAkaara in Narayana. Yet, Shaivites claim he defeated many Vaishnavas. So, this claim falls flat considering he himself has admitted his failure. Still, Appaya remains popular. Hence, popularity is not a sign of being undefeated. Sri Ramanuja defeated many Jains, but most of them were so attached to Mahavira that they preferred to stick to their faith rather than convert even after being defeated. Similarly, the VA school is also undefeated by Advaita. Recently, the Kanchi Mutt tried to answer Sri Desikar's Shatadhushani, but it was once again answered by the mordern scholars. Just assuming that Advaita is right because every Hindu follows it is correct? I can reverse it and say that all this idea of 'interpreting Veda to advaita' exists in your mind too!! No offense. The average hindu nowadays worships all Gods and calls himslef a follower of Sankaracharya. Popularity contests do not count. Nope. As I said before, defeat of Vidyaranya is based on historical records. Both VA and Dvaita attest to the defeat and hence, it is reliable. Vedanta Desikar refereed the debate. The defeat of an advaitin by a dvaita scholar is mentioned the historical records of Vishishtadvaitins because Vedanta Desikar was the judge. It is a pretty unique debate in that sense, and hence, it is most conspicuous in history. Why should Sringeri Mutt convert just because of Vidyaranya's defeat? For that matter, many Jains and Buddhists did not convert even when beaten. There is an attachment. For instance, take the 1900s. The Kanchi Mutt was repeatedly claiming that Vishnu is not supreme as per Vedas. Sri PBA Swami and Sri Puttur Swami, a great scholar of the mordern times, gave them such convincing proof that theMutt has not replied to these refutations yet. However, the Kanchi Mut has not 'collapsed' or 'converted' to Vaishnavism despite being beaten. This event can be easily verified as genuine...check the appropriate sources for Sri Puttur Swami's answer to Sri Chandrasekhar Saraswati. Therefore, the claim that Advaita is correct because it is popular nowadays, or because every school falsely claims victories is as bad as believing that Gaudiyas defeated Tattvavadis. Because one look at the scripture is enough to show how convincingly advaita has been refuted. I do not consider popularity as an equation. Advaita is popular because of two reasons - 1) Neovedantins like Vivekananda, 2) Hindus today have no idea of Philosophy. Take two options - Advaitins nowadays say 'worship any god/be secular'. Vaishnavism says 'we worship only Vishnu'. Hence, it is obvious that the average hindu would choose option 1) if he was unaware of philosophy. Furthermore, Adi Sankara condemns Shaivism as Unvedic. That hasn't stopped Shaivism from becoming a majority, has it? As I told you before, VA and Dvaita do not have proof to claim victories over each other. But Advaita is too far fetched. For the record, you have the following proofs: - The defeat of Vidyaranya, a historical event. - The defeat of Madhusudhana Saraswati's Advaita Siddhi by Tarangini. - Lack of pramanas, as admitted by Sureshvara. - Fabrication of many bogus Upanishads shows the advaitins were under great pressure. <o:p></o:p> <o:p></o:p> <o:p></o:p> <o:p></o:p> I did not say Sankara fabricated texts. He was honest and to his credit, undefeated. But the later day advaitins certainly did. We have 108 Upanishads, of which 13 are authentic. The rest are all predominantly monistic. Heck, some of them look like exercepts from Sankara bhashya. Conclusion - later day Advaitins fabricated texts because they were unable to defend their position properly with authentic texts, and caved to pressure. None of the fake Upanishads lean towards VA or Dvaita, which shows that these schools were capable of defending their philosophy honestly. The Vedas talk of either VA or Dvaita, and that is clear. In my opinion, it is VA. However, there is no doubt that Advaita is not the correct philosophy of the Veda.
  7. No offense to you, I respect your views. But this is interesting. I don't apply logic? The fact is, Advaita or Monism is neither a scriptural nor a logical premise. I am not interested in discussing things outside of scripture because of one simple reason - There are too many people, millions, in fact, who do not accept the Vedas. I can give good reasons for accepting scripture, but seriously, its too much trouble. I'd rather focus on showing hindus the greatness of their own religion, rather than convincing outsiders or neutral monists. It isn't my job, and I am not here to do it. Rest assured, I was an agnostic (despite being born in an orthodox family) in my early days. I did a great job of researching just about every religion from Wicca and Paganism to Buddhism and Christianity before I arrived at my own roots - Vedanta. It is futile to state that we lack Logic. If you must know, both the schools of Vishishtadvaita and Dvaita have not just attacked monism one way. First, we prove that monism is not in scripture. Next, we prove that it is not logically tenable. For the record, even Advaitins admit that they lack scriptural proof. Sureshvara, for instance, clearly says Avidya concept is not in scripture and is based on experience alone. Hence, the attack on monism is only by using strict logic and not just by quoting a few verses. It is due to the unsurpassed rigor of Sri Ramanuja, and later on by Sri Madhva, that Advaita has been completely vanquished. 100 points of refutation by Sri Vedanta Desikar in Shata Dushani and the Nyayamrta of the Dvaita school. And if some people think this is a false claim - look at the proof. First, there is an authentic record of the defeat of Vidyaranya, the great advaitic scholar by Akshobhya Tirtha, as this debate was refereed by Sri Desika. Then, look at the number of false Upanishads - These are all monistic, proving that advaitins have been dishonest enough to attempt to fabricate scripture, when all else failed. I have also read the Advaita Siddhi of Madhusudhana Saraswati. Before you accuse me of sticking to 'books', rest assured, this work tries to primarily use logic to estabish monism. However, one look will suffice to show that his logic has a lot of holes. For instance, his explanation of Mithyavada as neither non-existence nor existence by saying that negation of existence does not imply non-existence is completely based on faulty logic and is easily refuted. In fact, the Advaitins have not been able to reply to the Tarangini, a refutal of Advaita Siddhi. Advaita gets into multiple tangles. As I said before, Maya is not an attribute of Brahman, or an entity distinct from Brahman. Which means, Brahman itself is Maya. If the theory of 'Mithya' it is said to belong to a substratum of neither existence nor non-existence based on the fact that negation of existence does not imply non-existence (It can be said that A is not B, B is not A, but C is neither A nor B), you get yourself into the muddle of accomodating multiple levels of reality, and also being unable to explain how something in the third state can impact the Vyavaharika and Reality (As C cannot be linked to A or B, the example falls flat). If Maya is unreal, it becomes totally illogical. If the Jiva itself is an illusion, then how come it is suffering in illusion? Avidya itself is real, as Sri Ramanuja argues that all perception is real. And so on... However, I won't argue that here. The point I am trying to make is, people like Vivekananda are too egotistical to see the logic and rationality with which the followers of Sri Ramanuja and Sri Madhva have demolished Advaita. And as for the 'all paths are same' theory, use logic here - One religion says God created souls and another says souls are as eternal as God. Could both texts have been given by the same God? No. Experience needs to be verified before its accepted. I do not want to argue with people who don't accept scripture because there are too many of those around...how many can I convince? And indeed, what do I achieve even if I defeat someone here? Nothing. Hence, I leave that to the Lord.
  8. This can be explained with help of Vyuha concept. Sriman Narayana (Vishnu) manifests as 4 Vyuhas - Vasudeva, Aniruddha, Pradyumna and Sankarshana. All the Vaibhava avatars (Rama, Krishna, etc.) proceed from Aniruddha. So, the equation reads - Narayana ---> Aniruddha ---> Krishna. Hence, Krishna is the amsa of the amsa of Vishnu. However, the Lord is infinite, so any amsa of His is also infinite. As conveyed by the Vedic Purnamadam Purnamidam mantra (which talks about the manifestations of Narayana), anything arising from completeness is also complete. Thus, one hair of Vishnu (Aniruddha) is also Vishnu, and even an amsa retains all the Kalyana Gunas of the Lord. The Harivamsa says that Lord Narayana left His serpent bed in the Ocean of Milk to descend to Mathura. This, again, should not be taken to mean that Vishnu was not there in His abode while He was present as Krishna in Mathura. These statements simply emphasise that Krishna is Vishnu, complete in all respects. However, sometimes the rishis and manus are also called 'Amsas' of the Lord. Since these sages have also been differentiated from Paramatma elsewhere, one needs to reinterpret the 'amsa' here to mean the indweller of these beings, viz., the Antaryami Brahman.
  9. Had to come back for this...it made me laugh because that is a typical Max Muller opinion. Vedas say that Brahman is the Creator, Maintainer and Destroyer. That Being who creates, maintains and destroys is Vishnu. Shruti (Satapatha Brahmana, Mahopanishad, Rig Veda, Mahanarayana Upanishad) is overflowing with vakyas of NarayaNa creating Brahma, and Brahma creating by virtue of his indweller (NarayaNa). NarayaNa Suktam hails NarayaNa as Para Brahmana and says 'NarayaNa is Brahma, Siva, Indra' (Sarira Sariri Bhava/Sarva Shabda Vachya should be used here). That ought to be enough. The word 'NarayaNa' can only denote Brahman, as Appaya Dikshitar admitted. For instance, when we say 'Gita', we only think of Bhagavad Gita although other Gitas exist. When we say RamayaNa, we don't think of a guy named 'Ram Kumar', but only about Lord Rama. Hence, NarayaNa alone is Brahman. There cannot be any 'stronger thesis' because NarayaNa cannot be relegated to a lesser deity. In fact, no need to go to Veda. Look at the Bhagavad Gita sloka wher Krishna talks about the vulnerability of Brahma. Now, I shall really go. This debate is endless, and doubtless more people will come with new theories. It is to be hoped that they study Vaishnava Literature, formulate some constructive criticism, if possible, on the proofs provided by Sri Ramanuja's Vedant Sangraha and Sri Madhva's Vishnu Tattva Vinirnaya, and THEN, put forth their opinion.
  10. Yep, I will no longer post in this thread. So far, in this forum, I have debated with covert Shiavites who called themselves Vaishnavas, a guy who claimed to be a manifestation of Narayana, a guy who believed that scripture is full of contradictions and is man-mde, a guy who believed that scripture is full of contradictions but is still divine and a guy who has realised a mysterious Brahman, a tattvavadi and many Hare Christnas. So, I guess that's enough variety for me. I sign off from this thread. One request - Please try to come back to the topic of the thead which is, 'Mayavadis and Vaishnavism'. If you can't do this, please do not start unnecessary debates.
  11. I won't interfere in your debate with Narasingadev, but here, you are wrong. Lord Rama clearly revealed His divinity in the Valmiki Ramayana. Since debates are pretty much causing the death of this forum, I will just clear this up and post no more in this thread. Lord Rama essentially wanted to act like a human being. But being Brahman, He accidentally revealed His true identity in many places. In the Vali Vadham for instance. So many people think Rama killed Vali by hiding because He was afraid. Do they know the basics? Point 1 - Rama sought Sugriva's help to defeat Ravana. Point 2 - Vali is stronger than Sugriva. Vali is stronger than Ravana. Point 3 - To gain Sugriva's trust, Rama showed that He was stronger than Vali. He uprooted seven trees with one arrow. Vali could not even uproot a single tree. This convinced Sugriva that Rama was stronger than Vali. See the contradiction? Vali is stronger than both Sugriva and Ravana. Rama showed He was stronger than Vali. Then, why did He seek the help of weak Sugriva, to defeat weak Ravana, when He was stronger than Vali, who could defeat both Ravana and Sugriva single-handedly? Answer - Sugriva had collected the jewels of Sita when She threw them. By doing so, Sugriva had forged a connection, quite accidentally, with Goddess Lakshmi. The Lord becomes duty bound to protect those who surrender to Lakshmi, whether accidentally or purposefully. Now, why did the Lord hide and kill Vali? After all, he had already shown that He was stronger than Vali. Because, Sugriva, who had obained the grace of Lakshmi (through Her jewels) had wanted Rama to kill Vali. If the Lord had engaed Vali in direct combat, there is a chance that Vali may ask the Lord's refuge and surrender to Rama before Rama gets a chance to kill Him. Vali tells His wife that He knew Rama well, before going off to fight. the Lord had promised Sugriva He would kill Vali for his misdeeds and did not want to give Vali a chance of survival. If Vali surrendered to lord Rama, then the Lord would be unable to kill a surrendered soul. He needed to fulfill His promise to Sugriva. Read Ramayana closely. The Paratvam of Rama is mentioned in many places. Vishvamitra mentions that He meditates on Rama. And Rama Himself makes many such contradictory decisions that reveal His divinity. For instance, take the incident where Rama tells the Vanara Sena that He does not even know whether He is capable of defeating Ravana. But when Vibhishana surrenders to Him, Rama immediately says that Vibhishana will become next King of Lanka!! How does He know that, if earlier, He was unsure of even winning the war? Because, the Lord is omniscient. Hindus do not worship Rama or Krishna without reason. Srimad Ramayana is a divine text with many hidden gems.
  12. Srirangam, I guess. It is the largest functioning temple. Only Angkor Wat is bigger than this one. Its a mind boggling temple. You could completely get lost in there. There are a hundred shrines dedicated to many mahatmas. And when you reach Lord Ranganatha, you will be requested to hold two pillars nearby while getting His darshan. The reason is that, He is an ocean of mercy, and by holding onto the pillars, you make sure that you don't get washed away by His mercy!! Lord Ranganatha is believed to be the family deity of the Ikshvaku clan and was worshipped by Lord Rama Himself. Rama then gave the deity to Vibhishana, who installed Him here. Lord Ranganatha is seen to be facing Sri Lanka, as He had promised Vibhishana that He would always be looking towards his bhagavata's land. His consort is Sri Renganayaki. A close second would be Tirumala (Tirupati), the abode of Lord Venkateswara. The 7 hills are considered to be the avatar of Adi Sesha, and the Lord resides at the top of the hill. Ambience is fantastic on top of the mountain. I have received His darshan many times in the company of the Jeeyar Sevai (Pointiff of Mutt). Before you get a darshan of Venky though, first, you have to visit His consort, Lakshmi. Her temple is not on top of the mountain, but in the town below. She is called 'Alarmelmangai Devi' there by the local people, meaning, 'Lady sitting on the Lotus Flower'. There is also a famous temple of Lord Govindaraja in this town. Yeah, Srirangam and Tirupati, two of the best Vaishnavite shrines. Hailed by Rishis, Alvars and every Acharya, whatever school he belongs to. And two of my favorite pilgrimage sites. EDIT: Oh, didn't see the part where you wanted to exclude mountain temples. In that case, Srirangam and Srivilliputhur would qualify. The latter is the birthplace of Sri Andal.
  13. Well, looks like the mods have deleted a rather long (and abusive) post of mine, which I addressed to this loser named Brahmoham (and his bogus guru). Oh well, he and his guru can both get out of here. Here is an answer (without the insults): Dude, I never get offended by anything. Least of all by a Ph.D touting non-entity like you. Aren't you the sweet little prodigy? Well, then, you must know that it is impossible to say Brahman isn't NarayaNa as it would violate Panini's laws (The 'NAkaara' makes it a proper noun). So, I could care less about your Ph.Ds. As I have mentioned countless times before, I too come from a lineage stemming to Sri Yajnamurthy and Sri PB Anna, stalwart Sri Vaishnava acharyas. I have learned Sri Vedanta Sangraha from my acharya, as well as the different systems of interpretation, Srimad Ramayana and Divya Prabandham. Unlike you, I have some knowledge of philosophical systems. And no Vedantic sect accepts your views. Quite true. I have studied Vedanta Sangraha and the Upanishads under a superior acharya (miles better than your guru), rather than the Veda. So, considering that you are unwilling to accept the simple fact that every Vedantin accepts NarayaNa as Brahman, I'd say I know more than you. Why should I be 'original'? The object is to be faithful to the purport of Veda, and not to show your 'creativity'. Dude, nobody cares who your guru is. Fact is, he didn't teach you anything about Vedanta. Rather, he apparently taught you to be 'original' and make foolish conclusions about subject matters that have been expounded admirably by true acharyas. First of all, the primary criterion to be a Vaishnava is to accept NarayaNa as supreme. Your guru did not do that, so he is neither a guru, nor a Vaishnava. The Hare Krishna Mantra is not a Vidya, in case you do not know. It is not found in any canonical text, but in one 'Kali Santarana Upanishad' which isn't authentic. It is however, a sweet mantra. Yep, I suppose Vedantins over the years have been 'blindly groping' whereas some obscure guru has hit on the answers. Dude, this same claim has been made by Sai Baba, Jesus, Leher Baba and many more swamis. The Vedic Brahman is not 'mysterious' and the Vedas should not be tortured like you are doing to it. Brahman is NarayaNa, as affirmed by many great sages. There are 32 Brahma Vidyas that emphasise meditation on NarayaNa in an uninterrupted manner. The seeker will then experience Brahman. 'Mysticism' is a misnomer. The sages of the Upanishads were well learned in the Veda, yet, they believed that a study of the Vedas is not sufficient. As Yama revealed to Nachiketas, Atman reveals itself to those whom Atman chooses. Hence, grace of NarayaNa is paramount and no personal effort or 'Mysticism' will reveal Him. So, I suggest you stop deluding yourself and really get your act together. I see. Dude, basically you are saying that every Vedantin in history is wrong and you are right. This type of nonsense is really rampant nowadays. Vedas should not be interpreted, people can get on with spirituality according to their whims and fancies. Just about anybody can become a guru, etc. Your ignorance is appalling. Interpreting the Vedas in the right way, instead of sticking to delusions and fancies, and false gurus is the need of the hour. I am far superior to you and your guru. Because, unlike you or your pseudoswami, I actually follow an authentic tradition, solidly based on pramanas, that has interpreted the Veda as it should be. You do not even know one kalyana guna of Sriman NarayaNa. And you have the cheek to advice others. I am certainly arrogant!! And during my bad old days, I was called much worse than that. Number one, it is you who has nothing to do with spirituality. True Spirituality is following the tenets laid down by authentic gurus, who have insisted that NarayaNa is Brahman, and to follow the words of Lord Krishna. Secondly, you and your guru are not Vaishnavas (or 'Vishnavas', if that is a new cult!!) and hence, I have scant respect for such frauds. Secondly, your 'experience' is nothing more than a product of maya. Anyone can get an 'experience'. However, the experience needs to be verified as genuine. You have pretty much shown how uninformed you are, because every Vedantin believes in the right interpretation of Veda. So, despite your 'creativity', rest assured, NarayaNa is Brahman. Thirdly, I have a lot of bhakti. By the grace of Sri Ramanuja, I hae experienced and enjoyed the kalyana gunas and the lilas of Brahman, rather tha claiming to have some 'mystic view of the mysterious Brahman'. NarayaNa is incomprehensible, but He certainly isn't mysterious. His soulabhyam (accessibility) is immense. Do you know why He came as a fish and boar in Matsya and Varaha Avataras? People would find it silly, that God could come as a fish or boar. But that is His accessibility. He lowers Himself to ridiculous levels so that we can atleast reach upto Him and understand Him a little. I suggest you stop lecturing people on spirituality. I assure you, any Vaishnava would rip your thesis apart. No amount of Ph.Ds, or fathers teaching 'Bhashyas', or gurus teaching 'Vidyas' can cover the lack of knowledge you have exhibited here. --- <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:" /><o:p></o:p> Just to keep it clean, I will reiterate that Brahma's birth is mentioned in Rig Veda and Mahanarayana Upanishad. Mahopanishad also talks about his birth from NarayaNa. Krishna also mentions in Gita about Brahma's life span and him disappearing during pralaya. So, no doubts there. And no amount of Ph.Ds will change that. I addressed this as well earlier, but it was deleted too. Basically, my point is that, Mimamsa has not interpreted the Vedas anyway. They merely focus on the Karma Khanda section, performance of Sacrifices, etc. Their quest is primarily concerned with Dharma, and hence, they do not pay attention to Gods. Arya Samaj and Brahma Samaj are Christian-oriented, I believe. They reject what they call 'idol worship'. I suppose, another group that loosely falls under the all-inclusive banner of Hinduism.
  14. Dude, not just me, but all Vaishnavas do not consider any of those people as 'realised'. Not just my opinion, trust me. The average VA or Dvaitin would certainly consider them to be below their level. I agree that our beliefs are different. Hence, I shall not argue with you. Of course, I certainly respect your beliefs.
  15. Very good. Seems like everything is beyond understanding, eh? Even sanskrit. <o:p></o:p> Typical pseudointellectual stuff. Vedas describe Brahman as possessing infinite Jnana and gunas. What is indescribable is the limit of His attributes...it is unlimited. The Svarupa of Brahman is indescribable. But His saulabhya causes Him to manifest in a form with 4 hands, as the Lord of Lakshmi. His Svabhava contains some gunas that are describable, thanks to His grace. Words cannot describe the extent of His greatness. But He shows us a glimpse of His greatness. You can never understand who He is. But as the Upanishads say, 'Atman reveals itself to those whom Atman chooses'. His Saulabhya is the reason why. Yeah, I guess your great self has experienced it? You see, a Bhakti Yogin is instructed to undergo an upasana so He can experience the truth. Hence, experience sanctioned by Vedic injunctions is true experience. Shut the clap trap. <o:p></o:p> So now the Vedas become 'just words', huh? Yeah, I guess Paramatma was wrong when He said, 'I am to be known by the Vedas'. And I derive validity from a foremost Vedantin, he calls it useless. However, his guru, who probably herds goats in the Himalayas, is more qualified to impart 'knowledge'. <o:p></o:p> Dude, you open your inner eye, your outer eye, your middle stomach, your 9 gates...whatever you want. I could care less. <o:p></o:p> It is also impossible to understand without mental faculties, which is why you think these 'words' are unimportant. <o:p></o:p> I suppose then, that the likes of Sri Sankara, Sri Ramanuja, Sri Madhva et al. too did not do any good to Vedic Wisdom. Only you and your guru have hit upon something that just about every Vedantin missed. Kudos. Now, we have a moron who talks of Veda as 'words', proposes an idea that has never been thought of by the most proficient Vedic scholars, has a half baked guru that causes him to open his inner and outer eyes, and he calls me 'ignorant'. Oh well, dude, that's your belief. I too see no reason to argue with you. Good day.
  16. How about showing me how, here? From Shruti. And no, don't say 'Satyam Jnanam Anantam Brahma' or 'Brahman is Hiranyagarbha'. It is laughable to think that Brahma is Brahman, because no Vedantin has ever come up with that idea. Stupidity. Brahma's birth is evident. Eko Narayana Asit Na Brahma....itself establishes that. And when even Shaivites accept that Narayana alone is Brahman due to etymological and grammatical considerations, what bringest thou half-wit to suggest that Brahma is Brahman? Heck, Krishna mentions Brahma's vulnerability to pralaya in Gita itself. First of all, people should understand that there are rules to interpret shruti. There is actually one, systematic interpretation that evolves a meaning out of it. It isn't playing 'games' to interpret it correctly. Dude, this shows that your guru lacks any sort of Brahma Jnana. <o:p></o:p> I see. And what Upanishadic Jnana have you understood? Talk about a half wit. A realised guru is someone like Sri Ramanuja or Sri Madhva. Not every street person with a beard is a Guru. EDIT: It seems to be a fashion to say 'Vedas are too difficult to understand' without understanding how to interpret them. The Vedas do not have contradictory interpretations enshrined in them. Only one interpretation resolves contradictions.
  17. Debate is not at all the topic of this thread. The topic of this thread is, 'What is the exact relation between Mayavadis and Vaishnavas?'. Therefore, if you wish to debate, please desist. I have no intention to argue over either philosophy or religion here. Ajaayamaano Bahudaa Vijaayate. It means 'He is unborn, but appears in many ways'. Simple. Vishnu is unborn, but He appears in many ways. He appears as a fish, a boar, the son of Dasharatha, the Son of Devaki, as the Horse Rider Kalki, etc. He also appears in different ways to the person who performs upasanas. To the Rishis and the Devas, the Purusha appears Kingly, as the Lord of all. To a Bhakti Yogin or a Prapanna, He appears as a sweet, accessible, innocent person. To a Karma Yogin, He appears as a boss. To the wicked, He appears fearsome. Purusha Suktam talks a lot about the kalyana gunas of the primordial purusha. The Vedas do not talk of Nirvishesha Brahman. Only Savisesha Brahman, who is gunapurna, full of kalyana gunas, is being talked about. The Svarupa of Brahman is formless, and has all the attributes of Jnanam, Anatam, etc. This Brahman is called Narayana. The whole of existence is the body of this svarupa. Since Brahman has Jnanam, He realises that He needs to be beautiful to please His devotees. Hence, He resides in Vaikuntha and in the material world (Vishnu Loka). By His mere will and omnipotence, the formless svarupa, who has everything as His body, is also present within His own body (viz., existence) as a beautiful Lord. Since time is AnAdi, both form (rupa) and Svarupa are nityam. The whole of Purusha Suktam is tinged with adoration and bhakti for the Purusha: Verse 6 - hreeshca te lakshmeeshca patnyau | ahorAtre pArshve | nakshatrANi roopam | ashvinau vyAttam | Hree and Lakshmi Are your consorts, your Two sides, Day and Night, The stars your form, Healing your words. The Purusha is Sriman Narayana, Lord of Lakshmi and Hree (a name of Bhu Devi). He is Vishnu, the all-pervader. He is Krishna, who gave the Bhagavad Gita. Verse 16 - vedAhametam purusham mahAntam Aditya varNam tamasaH parastAt | tam evam vidvAn amRta iha bhavati na anyaH panthA vidyate 'yanaaya || This great Purusha, brilliant as the sun, who is beyond all darkness, I know him in my heart. Who knows the Purusha thus, attains immortality in this very birth. I know of no other way to salvation. Neovedantins like Vivekananda seem to think of themselves as 'superior' because they believe Nirguna Brahman as the absolute truth. To them, a personalistic view of Brahman appears immature and childish. This is laughable, considering that there is little evidence in the Veda to suggest Nirgunatva. And only by realising how brilliant, auspicious and accessible that Parama Purusha is, can one really know Him. If you know Him, you become immortal in this very birth because your love for Him will override even your desire for moksha or Vaikuntha. Basically, love for Vasudeva becomes unselfish, and thus, you become liberated in this birth itself. To know Brahman is to become Brahman. Meaning, if we know Him through Meditation, ie, Bhakti Yoga, we attain some qualities of Brahman, viz., we get Jnana, Ananda and Vairagya equal to Him, we are free from Karma, Disease, Births and Death, we attain beauty equal to Him (in Vaikuntha). However, we remain dependent on Him, and everything we get is due to His grace and affection. A mumukshu attains equality with Brahman, but not identity (Paramam Samyam).
  18. No mantra in the Veda is tamasic or rajasic. Every mantra is sattvik, no matter what deity is addressed, because the indweller of the mantras is Sriman Narayana. Vedas contain information, though, that will be useful for even rajasic and tamasic persons. The Vedas preach animal sacrifice in some instances. But a bhakta should avoid it. Then what is the reason for the sacrifices? Because, if a person eats animals indiscriminately, he attains a lotof bad karma. So, the Vedas prescribe some proper methodology to allow this person to regulate his consumption of meat. The Vedas acknowledge that not everyone will be able to give up bad habits at once, so they allow some freedom with restrictions and rules. Just like curing a drug addict...you cannot stop his drug intake immediately, otherwise withdrawal symptoms occur. The Vedas hope to discourage meat eating by imposing strict and tedious rules of sacrifice. This is the triguna vishaya of Veda. According to Vaishnava theology, the rajasic and tamasic Puranas are written for those who have not sufficiently cleansed their karmas to worship Vishnu. The devas like Shiva, Brahma, etc. have a role - until a person accumulates sufficient merit to worship Vishnu, the devas will take that person under their care. They will make sure that the person does not become an atheist, but reposes faith in some deity. Vaishnavas believe that one must be a Shaivite for 7 births to attain Vishnu bhakti. Again, don't take it personally if you are a Shaivite...this is just Vaishnava belief based on pramana. Lord Krishna succintly explains that different religions are created due to the trigunas. Worship of Devas is sattvik, and it makes people sattvik. However, sattvik guna is also a cage. It does not give moksha, but only better births. That is why Vedas are given so much importance. Vishnu, being omnipotent, is even capable of lying (as in Buddha avatara or rajasic/tamasic Puranas). Hence,even Bhagavan's words need to be verified by the apaurusheya Vedas (which are unauthored by even God). Krishna is just a butter thief really. Can you trust a playful and mischievous god without understanding His mischief? Certainly, He is lovable, and that very mischievous nature is one of His greatest and most attractive traits a devotee loves.
  19. Actually, no Vedantin has ever flouted the Sattva/Rajas/Tamas classification. As I mentioned before, Sri Sankara, Sri Ramanuja and Sri Madhva abide by them. Even Appaya Dikshitar holds Vishnu Purana in greater esteem, as compared to Shiva Purana. The Rajasic/Tamasic Puranas are not called Rajas or Tamas because of the deity, but because they deviate from the Vedas. Now, as far as the Sattvik Puranas are concerned, they are accepted as pramana. However, some of the more obscure Sattvik Puranas contain verses saying Vishnu=Shiva. If these verses were genuine, the Purana cannot be Sattvik, as the whole purpose of a Sattvik Purana is to show that Hari is superior to all other devas. Furthermore, a Vedantin like Sri Ramanuja or Sri Madhva, who have so rigorously considered every text to prove their points, should have explained those verses if they had been genuine.
  20. Both the traditions of Vallabha and Chaitanya pay more emphasis to Krishna. Therefore, they tend to distinguish between Krishna and Vishnu by saying Vishnu is a bit lesser in potencies than Krishna. Hence, Vishnu is often equated with Shiva. This is due to lack of a proper methodology, as both traditions rely more on Bhagavatam rather than Veda. However, both these traditions are Vaishnavas in the sense that they do not accept anyone other than Krishna as Para Brahman. Vivekananda is not a Vedantin. I am sick of these Neovedantins who act supercilious and advocate the 'all paths are equal' nonsense. One sloka of the Rig Veda is enough to show that the path to spiritual knowledge, according to the Veda, is 'sectarian', as some people call it. Devi Mahatmyam is not an acceptable pramana. Markandeya Purana, I believe, is a sattvik Purana, but unfortunately, it has never been mentioned by Vedantins, hence, it is an interpolated work. The Puranas classify themselves as sattvik (praising Hari), rajasic (praising Brahma), tamasic (praising Shiva). Now, its up to you to accept this classification or not. However, judging by the fact that the Vedas support my viewpoints, I'd say this sloka is genuine. You have the word of Vedantins themselves. And no offense. I am not a follower of Arya Samaj, nor do I have a bias against Shiva. I consider Shiva as an enlightened bhakta of Narayana. Its the truth that matters.
  21. Dude, nobody gives a damn. A Vaishnava is not born one, but practises it. Madhva proved that Hari Sarvottama is the purport of the Vedas. He was a Vaishnava, that's all there is to it. I am quaking and shaking in my boots.... News Flash - Bhagavatam is not the 'base' of Vaishnavism. The tradition of Vaishnavism is solidly placed in the Apaurusheya Vedas, The Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Puranas. The Brahma Sutra itself makes a mention about the Bhagavata, ie, Pancharatra religion and accepts their doctrine of Narayana being supreme, which shows exactly how much validity the Vaishnavas have. Hence, its no biggie even if the Bhagavatam is a recent work. In the Krita Yuga, Vaishnavas attained knowledge of Sriman Narayana by austere penances (Eg: Dhruva). In Treta Yuga, Sacrifices were performed to propitiate Vishnu. In the Dvapara and Kali Yugas, Vaishnavas were Pancharatrins who advocated Bhakti. I could easily prove Shiva's Supremacy in Veda and proceed to demolish it. I am equipped with the knowledge of Srikantha and Appaya's methodology. But I have respect for the Shaivites here, since this is a neutral forum. And Shavism is not really the topic of the thread. Here is a quote from the Shaivite scholar, Appaya Dikshitar's commentary on Ananda Lahiri: veda vibhagarTham ivavatheernena sakala veda tatparyabhijnena sarvajna siromanina veda vyasena pulastya varadana labdha devatah paramarthya videna parasarena anyishcha maharshibih vedopa .............. atho narayanah parabrahma kotireva iti asmakam siddhantah: meaning: Our tongue would not rise to assert in the wake of a few mantras, arthavadas and puranic statements found in some insignificant place that sri narayana is a jiva, since He has been worshipped by sadhus as Godhead and has been confirmingly declared as Parabrahman in Mahabharata, vishnu-purana and other religious works, which were composed solely for bringing out the essence of vedas by eminent sages like Veda Vyasa, who classified and analyzed the vedas and Parasara, who was blessed with the true knowledge about Godhead by Sage Pulastya. If any such attempt were made, our heads would burst into a hundred pieces. We would be guilty of treachery to the vedas, sages and deity itself. Therefore, it is our considered opinion that Narayana alone qualifies for the title of godhead. Strong words from a staunch Shaivite. Should be enough proof for everyone that Appaya himself was unable to push Shiva over Narayana. But of course, he could not bring himself to say he had failed...rather, he goes to say that he will never try to say Narayana is not Brahman. A nice choice of words. However, after admitting this method to be a failure, Appaya tried another way - He tried to prove that NEITHER Siva nor Vishnu were Brahman , and that Narayana was a deity distinct from Vishnu (A case of "If I go down, you rotten Vaishnavas go down too"!!). However, this too backfired due to many vakyas and the chaga pasu nyaaya. The only thing 'Cock and Bull' around here are your posts. Hence, stop kissing the rear ends of Indologists and grow yourself a brain. I see no reason to argue with you, as you are beyond arguments anyway.
  22. The Supremacy of a God does not come into the equation. It is the philosophy of the Veda that is subject to multiple interpretations. Take advaita. If you can prove it is there in Vedas, then naturally, noone will care about which God is hailed as supreme. So, they simply neglect or disregard that portion of the Vedas. However, even Sankara accepts that Narayana is the Brahman of the Vedas. He just doesn't pay much attention to it because that is his philosophy. However, when it comes to superiority of a God, there is absolutely no ambiguity. Look at the names of prominent vedantins - Sankara, Ramanuja, Madhva, Vallabha, Nimbarka, Baladeva...all Vaishnavas. A couple of Shaivas have been mentioned, but as I said before, their arguments do not hold water. I agree that interpretation of philosophy is varied and diverse. This interpretation will have an implication on the way a Vedantin views concepts of Supremacy. However, the interpretation of which God is supreme has absolutely no ambiguity. Hence, Shiva vs. Vishnu does not arise due to the Veda itself. Interpretations are certainly varied. However, some interpretations like Appaya's or Srikantha's are not supported gramatically or logically. Now, take the Gaudiya Viewpoint. Krishna is supreme, Vishnu is anexpansion. This can be called as one way of 'interpretation', but it certainly can be disproved easily. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:" /><o:p></o:p> <o:p></o:p> Certainly, mordern day smarthas don't. But who has the patience to read about the different ways of interpretations like the Sarira/Sariri bhava? Nowadays, one quote 'Rudra is supreme' is simply taken out of context. EDIT: You mentioned Mimamsa. There itself you see the point. Just like advaitins who lay stress on Nirguna Brahman, Mimamsa lays stress on rituals. Hence, they do not care about supremacy of a God and focus on Vedic rites. So, if you find a pramana in Veda saying 'Rituals are more important than gods', naturally, you fail to focus on the 'gods' part. Thus, philosophy influences a Vedantin's outlook and belief. Vishnu Sarvottama does not come as an ambiguous statement in anyway. Hinduism can be divided into two sects - Vedantic and Non-Vedantic. The former sect is entirely composed of Vaishnavas (including Advaitins).
  23. Actually, Vishnu Sarvottama is undefeated. And no, it isn't Vaishnava propaganda. If you are referring to Appaya Dikshitar, he certainly tried to establish the supremacy of Shiva. But the etymology of NarayaNa prevented him from ascribing all names to Shiva. This, and the fact that only Brahman can be the recepient of all names. All his challenges have been answered by Vaishnavas. I believe Srikantha's approach was different. He tried to show that there was a 'Rudra' above the 11 Rudras, and that all of them, including Vishnu, were a manifestation of this Rudra. I am not too knowledgeable about this, so excuse any error. In any case, both these approaches are flawed, and have been refuted. That is why Shaivas do not associate themselves with Vedantic schools, and often rely on non-canonical texts. Only the indologists still assert that the Rig Veda talks about Indra, Yajur Veda about Rudra, Narayana Upanishad about Vishnu, etc. However, that is just without any foundation.
  24. Only one, I believe. Yep. I can provide you Sri Ramanuja's quotes from his Vedanta Sangraha Bhashya, when he is elaborating on who is Brahman, in proper sequence. He proceeds as such: Reference 1. Taittariya Upanishad's 'yato vA imAni' shows that Brahman is the cause of creation, sustenance and destruction of this world. Reference 2. 'brahma eva idamagra AsIt.h' indicates that only Brahman existed in the beginning (by which it should be understood that words such as 'sat' in 'sadeva soumya idamagra AsIt.h). Reference 3. Similarly the word 'Atma' in 'Atma eva idamagra Asit.h' indicates the same being depicted by words 'Brahman' and 'sat.h'. Reference 4. By the shruti 'eko ha vai nArAyaNa AsInna brahma na IshAno', we should understand that words such as 'Atma', 'Brahma', 'sat' refer to Lord Narayana only. If you want to see the actual bhashya in sanskrit, go to http://homepage3.nifty.com/ajunamar/e-texts/skt/vas_txt.html. And see Para (96) - eko ha vai nArAyaNa AsIn na brahma na+IZAno na+ime dyAva-pRthivI na nakSatrANi+iti sad-brahma-Atma-Adi-parama-kAraNa-vAdibhiH Zabdair nArAyaNa eva+abhidhIyata iti niZcIyate. Sri Madhva has also definitely mentioned this quote. For the exact location, ask the Dvaitins.
  25. Both Sri Ramanuja and Sri Madhva have quoted it in their Bhashyas. It is taken from a 'Mahopanishad'. However, the current version of the Mahopanishad is not regarded as completely authentic (barring two or more slokas quoted by ancient Vedantins), due to which this Upanishad has been discounted. Needless to say, only those parts quoted by Sri Ramanuja and Sri Madhva have been accepted. Considering the amount of damage the Mahopanishad has suffered, Vedantins rely on the quotes of the two vaishnava acharyas and on the canonical Upanishads. Similarly, there is a Narasimha Tapani Upanishad that finds reference in the works of Sankara, Madhva, etc. Once again, the mordern version may not be in pristine form.
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