Balaji Hebbar bhebbar at EROLS.COM
Sat Feb 20 02:59:45 UTC 1999

"It¹s true that there¹re some Upanishads which hardly seem to endorse
Advaitam. But again if one were to look at them collectively, Advaitam
represents the most consistent view."

The  last  sentence  in  the  above  citation  is  purely  a  personal  
subjective  opinion.  (B.N.Hebbar)

"Apart from this we¹ve to remember that Shankara lived at a time when 
Buddhism reigned supreme. The  nAstikas were tearing apart theories of 
the astikas for  logically  inconsistency. So apart from the collective 
view, Advaitam also  represents the best possible logical theory for 

The  real  folks  who  defended  AtmavAda  in  the  heyday  of  Buddhism  
were  the  NyAya-VaisheShikas,  MImAmsakas  and  the  Jainas.  Prof.  
C.D.Sharma, the  staunch  Advaitin  like  yourself  himself  makes  a  
point  of  this.  In  fact,  he  gives  great  credit  to  KumArila  
Bhatta  and  goes  to  the  extent  of  saying  "Shankara  merely  beat  
a  dead  horse."  (vide  his  Critical  survey  of  Indian  Philosophy)  
Advaita  does  not  in  any  way  represent  the  best  logical  theory.  
That  again,  is  a  personal  subjective  opinion.  (BNH)

"Ofcourse, we¹ve RAmAnuja and VedAntadesika, two great philosophers,
criticizing Advaitam. But to find faults with a theory, doesn¹t in any
way mean that one¹s own theory is right. Logically, the simplest view is
the easiest to defend. Advaitam, taking its stand on Brahman alone being
real, is on better footing than other schools of VedAnta, who dig
themselves into deeper pits by also endorsing the reality of the world.
If one can find thousand faults with Advaitam, one can find ten times
the number of faults with other theories. The other schools of VedAnta
can consider themselves lucky that they didn¹t exist at the time of
VAsubandhu and NAgArjuna or DignAga and DharmakIrti!"

Again,  to  say  Shankara's  Advaita  is  the  simplest  view  is  the  
understatement  of  the  year.  Even  though  none  of  the  VaiShNava  
VedAntins  had  not  come  into  existence,  their  "realistic"  
predecessors,  i.e.  the  NyAya-VaisheShika  and  MImAmSA  were  indeed  
"lucky  enough"  to  be  the  great  Buddhist  scholars.  (BNH) 

>Each  sticks  to  his  school  of  thought  with
>great  resourcefulness  and  tenacity. However, all  leave  the  sabhA
>in  peace  and  friendship!!!

At  least,  they  all  crack  a  few  jokes  and  share  from  the  same  
SNUFF  box!!!  I  guess  that  qualifies  for  amicability!!!  (BNH)

I¹m glad that such amity still exists, though I¹ve heard things quite to
the contrary. Anyway I don¹t recognize any such warmth in accusations
like "prachanna bauddha" or was it "prachanna mahAyAnika"!

Yes,  Shankara  is  a  prachanna  MahAyAnika.  Anybody,  who  believes  
in  two  levels  of  reality  like  them  certainly  befits  the  
nomenclature.  The  vast  majority  of  the  "Vedic"  systems  are  
realistic.  Shankara  is  the  odd  man  out!!!  (BNH)

"OK, with respect to the debating you witnessed, let me ask you what the
basis of the debate was? Was it based on logic and reason or was it
based on the shruti, interpreted with logic and reason? If it was on the
former, as I said before, all other schools will be in trouble before
Advaitam. If it¹s on the latter, Advaitam can hold itself as well as the
rest, if not better. But if both criterias were used - that¹s the facts
are supported by empirical experience as well as the shruti - Advaitam
will be on a better footing than the rest."

The  rAdhyAnta  sabhAs  have  been  carried  on  by  the  traditional  
community  of  paNDits  of  the  3  VedAntic  schools  for  centuries.  
In  fact  you  can  witness  them  at  many  places  throughout  South  
India.  Sometimes,  it  takes  place  in  front  of  the  pIThAdhipatis  
of  one  of  the  three  traditions.  The  debates  are  based  on  
Shruti  and  reason.  I  am  surprised  that  you  haven't  witnessed  
Advaita  can  certainly  hold  on  as  LONG  as  it  plays  its  usual  
"highland  or  lowland"  game  of  two  levels  of  truth.  It  is  
intellectual  cowardice.  It  is  like  Arjuna  trying  to  shoot  a  
BhIShma  keeping  the  eunuch  ShikhaNDin  in  front.  Let  me  as  you  
BREATH  SPEAK  OF  TWO  LEVELS  OF  TRUTH?  At  least,  we  realists  
may  be  digging  our  graves,  but  you  idealists  arrive  body  and  
brain  dead  in  a  coffin  with  strange  theories!!
The  Advaita  tradition  is  not  all  that  united  as  you  present  
it  to  be.  To  wit,  the  VivaraNa  and  the  BhAmati  schools  cannot  
agree  on  the  locus  of  avidyA. (BNH)      

But again, Advaitam doesn¹t have any problem with the other shools of
VedAnta. There¹re all, right in the relative sense. But only in absolute
terms are they falling short.

There  you  go  again.  Logic  is  fine  as  long  as  it  is  going  
your  way.  The  moment  AdvaitahAni  is  pointed  out  the  dormant  
MahAyAna  two  levels  of  truth   comes  out,  i.e.  relative  reality  
and  absolute  reality.  (BNH)

You say you can¹t accept that VijnAnavAda is prachanna VedAnta - but
fail to give any reasons.

I  cannot  because,  Advaita  begins  at  best  with  GauDapAda.  You  
cannot  just  usurp  the  UpaniShads  to  your  way  of  thinking.  
Afterall,  you  yourself  agree  that  the  UpaniShads  do  NOT  present  
one  consistent  system  of  thought.  (BNH)

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