Regarding the Upanishads.

Himanshu Dave hbd at DDIT.ERNET.IN
Mon Feb 7 10:44:40 UTC 2000

Luis Gonzalez-Reimann wrote:

> At 04:58 AM 02/06/2000 +0000, Arun Gupta wrote:
> >
> >  The Upanishads are
> >not museum pieces, to be referred to linguistic and philological experts
> >for precise meanings.  The Upanishads are meant to be applied to living,
> >and require an illumined teacher who can add the benefit of experience.
> >These are not mathematical equations, these are poetry.
> Do all contemporary poets agree on the meaning of ancient poems?
> >With all due respect to the scholars, you would go to learn to box
> >from a boxer and not from a historian of boxing.
> What you learn from a boxer is how "he" fights and, maybe, how his
> teacher(s) fought.  He might be totally ignorant of how a Roman boxer
> fought. For that, a historian can help.  In any case, a good historian will
> also be familiar with how present-day boxers fight.
> Religious and mystical texts have been in the past, are today, and will
> continue to be in the future, interpreted in different ways that are
> colored by the interpreter's cultural, social and personal background.
> This even includes, at least to a large degree, texts that describe
> mystical experiences, for although upon experiencing something one might
> feel that one has "really understood" what an ancient text is describing,
> there can never be absolute certainty that that is the case.
> Philology and a familiarity with the context in which the text was composed
> can be of great help in trying to understand what the author meant, and
> also what the text meant to those who heard it from him (and even these
> last two are not necessarily the same).
> Often, someone is convinced that he (or she) has "really understood" what a
> sacred text is saying.  This can come as a sudden "revelation" or as the
> result of certain practices. This person might then start spreading the
> word, and that is how a new religious movement is born.  If all of these
> interpreters agreed, things would probably be a lot simpler. But that just
> isn't the case.
> Luis Gonzalez-Reimann
> University of California, Berkeley

Spiritual experience is not like learning boxing. It is beyond any language.
I think this discussion is between persons who do not really know the nature
of contents of religious texts. "Yato vacho nirvatante  aprapya manasaa saha
....".  Here is another quote :
" risheh drishtarthasya pritirbhavati aakhyanasamyuktaa" (Yaskacharya in
There also confusion between religion and spirituality (what should be real
content of a relion). A real religion is not a movement or organization. It is
a personal thing.

Prof. H.B. Dave
Co-ordinator for Institutional Development
and Professor & Head of Department
Computer Engineering
Dharmsinh Desai Institute of Technology
College Road
NADIAD   387001 (Gujarat) India
Tel : (O) +91 268 60502
      (R) +91 268 61025
FAX :     +91 268 60501

e-mail : hbd at

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