Thoughts 57-59

57: The world is a huge chunk of quicksand.

58: Lying is a sin, they say; but they forget that reality of the world is a first lie! Of course, the zeroeth lie is One's individuality.

59: When the goal is dear, the path is clear. But if the path is dear, the goal remains mere.

Thoughts 56

56: When the thoughts are crowded, the mind gets clouded.

Correspondence chess!

Move the pawn every dawn
Walk the rook on every nook
Slide the bishop every stop
Hop the knight every night
Keep the queen on the scene
While the King is in the ring
Play a game of correspondence chess
And avoid the worldly mess!

Thoughts 55

55: Chess is a philosophy, a way of life... nay, its even better than (real) life!

Thoughts 54

54: There are four states: waking, sleep, dream... and the state of chess.

Blue Billion at World Cup 2007

Apart from my take on our performance, Radha/ Rags linked me up to Sidin's sattire. But the perfect article, that Sriram pointed me to, is what Suresh Menon writes here; the extracts that must drive home the point are:

Quoting Suresh Menon(emphasis mine):

"... to term India's departure from the World Cup a tragedy is ridiculous. Tragedy is when a coach is murdered. Tragedy is when a world champion driver is killed on the circuit. Tragedy is not to understand what is tragedy. Dropping a catch is not a tragedy, being thrown out of the World Cup because batsmen can't score runs is not a tragedy. In fact, it is a farce."

"If a team with nearly 40,000 runs among them cannot chase 255 on a good batting track, they have no business to remain in the World Cup. And that has to be the bottom line. The economic and marketing reasons for India to advance cannot take precedence over the cricketing ones. On the field India were found wanting, and it does not matter how much of the money generated for the game comes from India."

" Before the tournament began, Bishan Bedi had said, "I don't know which will be worse - India winning the tournament or not winning it." Winning would have been great for the team, but bad for cricket; losing would have been good for cricket, but bad for the team. It will take a few months before the effigy-burners fully understand the wisdom of that point of view."

Fallen ideals

The goal forgotten
Drives life rotten

With the wind wayward
Mind no more a free bird

Stuck in an outer thought
Unplanned plans now naught

The grace still strong
Corrects all thats gone wrong

Awaiting the right time
When life's worth more than a dime

Airtel too a sick service

I've been using Airtel for almost 6 yrs now and was happy with them, although expensive, till 2 yrs back. But the service went drastically bad in a short span of time and since then, it has neither recovered nor do they care any more! In fact, now they use as many cheap tactics as their competitors, if not more.

The recent problem is roaming support. I've a Karnataka connection and I'm in Maharashtra now, using only their mobile office (MO). They claim that there are no roaming charges on MO, but every time I request the service, it costs me anywhere between 7 to 15 rupees over and above the MO charges! An incoming SMS costs me 7 rupees, where I do not have a choice to receive; I hope TRAI does something about it! An easy recharge SMS claiming full talktime on 251, no taxes, returns only 223! If I call 121, I don't get through the line. If I do go through, it cuts me when I press 9 to speak to support personnel. If I do get through to the support, they ask me to call 9845098450, thats Karnataka support no. And yes, that will cost me STD plus roaming charges, they say! I'm stuck!

Recently, one of these bunch of cheats was fined following a customer's complaint. The fella had happily dialed a *free-tune download* as advertised by the service provider. He was charged for that, since although they had advertised it as FREE, they did have a small note that said it will cost!!! Whatever the heck did the ad mean then?

Here's an email that I shot off to

I'm your prepaid customer from Karnataka Circle. I've the following things gone wrong with my connection.

i) On March 13, 2007 and today, March 27, 2007, I received an sms that said easy recharge for Rs. 251 and get full talk time. Both times, I did an e-recharge and got only 223 odd rupees!

ii) Currently, I'm in Maharashtra and use mobile office (MO). Each time I subscribe to MO for a week, I lose Rs. 114 instead of Rs. 99. Your website says there are no roaming charges on MO.

iii) Your 121 number is not easily reachable in roaming. When I get through, it gets disconnected on pressing 9 to speak to a CSE! Today, finally I was able to speak to the CSE and he asked me to call 9845098450 for Karnataka support, but he added that it would cost me roaming charges, for *support*!

Finally, I'd like to ask you clarifications on all of the above ASAP by email *only*. Any incoming call from you will cost me an additional Rs. 1.75 perhaps, while SMS Rs. 7!

Being an Airtel user for around 6 yrs who's switched from postpaid to prepaid but stuck on to the company, it saddens me that Airtel has also followed unethical business policies to make money!

The name of the game is blame!

First, I'm not a cricket freak. But what interests me is the fact that, not very unlike life, cricket too is a blame game. With shattered hopes about our recent performance in World cup 2007, we've already begun picking on some individuals to point fingers at, having lost a concept called collective responsibility.

These are times when its also difficult to find out the root cause, per se, since its been a downward spiral for a while. If you watch a kid grow up, you don't know he's growing up on a daily basis. Similarly, if things keep on worsening with the team, especially on multiple fronts, its difficult to realize so, till a shock reveals that. Collective responsibility is somewhat like a company or social culture. Who's responsible for a good or bad culture? Everyone involved is. In cricket, that is right from players through to the board.

I feel that so-called fans idolize the cricketers placing them high enough to pressurize them, adding to a breakdown too. If he's really a fan, he should stand by the thick-and-thin of the Indian team, akin to a friend through the good and bad phases of your life. I'm sure that the Indian team feels more painful of what happened and individuals will work on themselves and as a team to correct things, moving on, be it rebuilding an entire team. However, catching some *individual* by the neck, burning effigies, attacking his house because he failed to deliver a good game is sheer stupidity!

Thats not to say that the Indian cricket team is to be let loose on their own. The only sensible statement I heard as response to the match was that players in form should be allowed to play, those who are not should take a break and return when they improve. Although I rarely watch cricket, I feel that the earlier days were better. Even now, if cricketers spend less time advertising and play counties instead, apart from their regular net-practice, they'd make better players.

Well, just a thought.

Thoughts 52

52. You're not ready till you're ready, even if you think and feel you're ready!

What grace is

I've, in various blogs, put in the word *grace* as I felt it, in theory and practice. Today, I take grace itself and explain purely from my experience of what it has come to mean with me.

Example 1: If I feel helpless about something, looping into questioning whether I am doing the right thing or whether I have blessings and it suddenly starts working out, its grace. Then if I submit completely to the higher realm, everything goes smooth as per grace. Now this would be in sync with my want.

Example 2: If I do not want to do something, but a thought occurs that if I could just get the result of it to aid me, that could be wrong. Then, even if I do not want to do that something and it starts happening, then I shouldn't avoid it. Because there's grace there.

I wanted to blog this since two days but not in detail for reasons that I do not want to mention. If those examples are not clear enough, try reading them as: getting a piece of land, and (earning money towards) building a house, respectively.

Thanking that very personality of divinity
that makes my life tick, taking its turns,
in more-than-i-deserve way!

To him who has become One with brahmaN,
who still walks with me, carries me carefully,
towards his own Self, albeit with his play!

To him I eternally bow, who chalks my path,
and puts me in comfort, so that I may walk it well,
and that tomorrow I may have no say!


Indian Ocean

Sometime back in 1999-2000, one evening, I was playing billiards or snooker at my the-then office. Manas had left some song playing on his PC and I just went out in search of it at the first touch of soul-stirring music... okay, enough exaggerated stories, you may say! :)

It turned out that the unbelievable combination of classical Indian music and western rock playing was of Kandisa, an album from a band called Indian Ocean. I was introduced to the group as: they don't believe in making videos. Ah, I thought, here's something!

It seemed that their earlier album was a recording off some live show that was low quality (obviously) and not easily available. It turned out to be the first live album released by an Indian band, although a record company had to be formed after many a refusal. However, Kandisa was a studio-recorded release of a perfect fusion of tabla and guitar that I'd ever heard. Apart from the instrumental presence that outdoes the vocals temporally, even the mix of Sanskrit, Indian folk, Aramaic, yodeling, etc, strike you. I continued listening to the album in loops for a long time thereafter, voicing out that Indian Ocean is the best band ever formed in India.

Just as great bands are, Indian Ocean too have had their failure and success stories, with the struggle starting with Susmit selling his electric guitar to raise money for a demo recording. Later on, Indian Ocean went on to release Jhini, IndianOcean and music for the movie Black Friday, apart from numerous shows across the world.

The endless debate: 3

Debate 3: Jnana Yoga means recognition of Lord in human

Purvapakshi 5: Jnana Yoga means recognition of Lord in human (... blah blah blah)

prb: Self-acclaimed swamiji, pls keep your definitions of jn~Ana yoga to yourself. Its not even close by the most lenient standards of Advaita.

All that junk that you copy paste here from your website is uncalled for. I've read it there, find it unfruitfully boring, cooked-up stuff, to misguide innocent masses, perhaps to end in calling you or your master an avatar purusha or something of the sort! This is not a spam community that you can copy paste unrelated stuff here!

The true followers of Shankara are not interested in whatever it is that you're selling in the name of incarnation-swami. So kindly find yourself a better place for your marketing.

Purvapakshi 5: Ayama atmaa... Veda says that individual soul is Brahman (Ayama atmaa..) or God. Is it correct? ... Advaitin says that the whole universe is made of awareness (sarvam khalvidam brahma..). But you find inert stones etc. in this universe.

prb: From Shankara's Brahma Sutra Bhashya, where He refutes Samkhya, the insentient is felt by the sentient being; it exists for the sentient! Thats how sarvam khalvidam brahma is to be understood. An advaitin views the presence of an inert stone as being reflected off the Self that is brahmaN. So there's no difference between what an Advaitin understands from Shankara or Krishna via the Gita.

Purvapakshi 5: ... but the interpretations of the present advaitins are wrong.

prb: Thats an unqualified blanket statement, pls give examples to explain what you mean.

Purvapakshi 5: He should really enjoy even his defeat in the argument.

prb: Get your basics straightened first, Mr. You should know the difference between "he that argues" and "He that stays unaffected" with the body-mind-complex doing whatever it does due to karma/ prArabdhA. na hanyate hanyamAne sharire! Thats the first lesson in any spiritual philosophy. If we were to judge people on their behavior alone, its easy to pinpoint a realized person, but its not so, never was, never will be. Now just because you're attacking people here and calling fellow Advaitins as wrong, I'm going to say the following:

I've seen your website too that itself claims to be of the highest order of equality and indirectly also claims to call yourself or whoever you're posing for as an avatar! It also puts theories of utter nonsense like real and false avatars! Pls spread your message elsewhere and fool deluded people!

This community is for people who want to share their learnings from Jagadguru Bhagavan Adi Shankaracharya. And for God's sake, pls do not attribute your (mis)behaviour to God or avatar or whatever!


Purvapakshi 5: Veda says that individual soul is Brahman (Ayama atmaa..) or God. Is it correct?

prb: As it is, the first line of this thread as quoted by you is utter nonsense! Veda vAkya are considered as shruti and shruti is considered as pramANa. All the 6 theistic Indian philosophies are based on Vedas. Yes, Advaita Vedanta goes on logic undoubtedly, but in all of Shankara's works, opponents are also directed back to not go against shruti vAkya. So, if you question the vedas as correct, you don't belong to any of the Indian theistic philosophies, ergo, the question of God or faith in Him itself seems bogus coming from you!

(after Purvapakshi 5 started talking of a lot of things on avatars and saying that in a decade, all the other philosophies will go surviving only some avatar, etc... I can't find the post, must have been deleted by the moderator)

prb: Excuse my mortal existence, since I can't make head or tail of Swami's quotes that he attributes to Bible, Vedas, Shankara Bhashya, whatever. So pls give references of all that has been based on Shankara's bhashyas at least; the Bible references carry no weight in *proving* explanations of Vedas and brahmaN. So avoid those as *proofs*; I'm sure, we don't care abt that even if the most revered Swamiji quoted it.

If it interests you though, Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi quoted *Jehovah* or "I am That I am" as the best explanation of Atman, which itself comes from the Old Testament. It does hold a lot of value for me (since Ramana said it, not because of Bible), but it doesn't prove Advaita vAkya, instead it just helps Christians understand Advaita better!

In a decade's time, as I see things going now, we'll have more deluded people, more fake gurus, more sects, etc. Truth will always remain the same.

Much later...

prb: You're just copy pasting across threads or even in the same thread! When will you stop this nonsense? If you try to read, understand and/ or think, you'll probably know I'm asking for references about things that you fake to be as Shankara's quotes!

Try to understand the tone of the moderator, if nothing else gets in your fanatic approach! Even the owner of the group has voiced that the kind of *wrong* preaching that you're making is not needed in this group.

As for your ill-motivated posts, here's the boomerang:
--parabrahmaN is not a word *coined* by Shankara; the least you can you do is look up the list of Upanishad names and you'll know why that is!

@moderator: I think we're just wasting our time with psychotics!

Purvapakshi 5: Krishna told in Gita that 'vasudeva sarvamiti..', which means He is only Lord

prb: wrong! "All is vAsudeva" is the meaning, which throws off all the junk you wrote later on!

Purvapakshi 5: ...and asked Arjuna to worship Him only (ahamtva sarva paapebhyo..).

prb: wrong again! I think you should think even before you cook up things, Swamiji Maharaj, since half knowledge is dangerous! Look up what "sarva dharmAn parityajya" means.. it goes against your missionary activity too, although thats a-dharma, not dharma!

Purvapakshi 5: All the human beings are not the sons of Vasudeva. Also anybody's son is not Vaasudeva. Hence Lord Krishna clearly stated that He is only the Lord and there is nobody above Him whose permission is required if He wants to grant a boon or punish a sinner. Lord Krishna in general is referring to human incarnation who is only God.

prb: Thats extreme lunacy. I think all the people here have their nonsense-buzzers ringing to such statements! Thats because human incarnations are government servants for permissions, etc, perhaps? Yeah, thanks, guess your reaction is I'm your regular sinner who'll go to hell for that?

Purvapakshi 5: If everybody is Lord, why Arjuna has to fall on the feet of Krishna?

prb: Why do we do namaskar with folded hands to even an unknown person? My dear Sir, keep the "Bhagavadgita-and-Bible-bhel" aside for a while and get yourself a basic Sanathana Hindu Dharma book and do your homework please. For starters, we bow down to the so-called individualized soul within.

Purvapakshi 5: Krishna preached bhakti yoga, karma yoga (service to Lord) etc. Why Shankara supported them?

prb: This is a little difficult for fanatics to understand, so better read Shankara Gita Bhashya if really interested. Shankara glorifies Jnana any which way you try to interpret it.

Purvapakshi 5: Creation started long back some thousands and thousands of years.

prb: Can you give the date when it started for you? A ballpark figure +/- 10000 yrs?

Purvapakshi 5: "sofar these advaitins could not become God. How can they become God in future?"

prb: Nonsense buzzer ringing again, Sir! No Advaitin thinks of becoming God; God being a part of creation for an Advaitin. As long as a person is withing Maya, he is required to worship God and a dharmic follower does it religiously.

Purvapakshi 5: If they claim they were already God, now let them exhibit atleast one divine characteristic as declared by Veda.

prb: Ask a stupid Q and get a stupid reply: Did Krishna exhibit His divine characteristic(s) always?

Nonetheless, the most divine characteristic of any human being is his existence itself!

Purvapakshi 5: Cursing of lord is a sin and is called Bhagavat Apachara. Cursing the co-devotees is called Bhaagavat Aparchara. Both will have serious consequences.

prb: I don't think anyone here is cursing the Lord! I don't even know what co-devotees means!

Purvapakshi 1: "But the modern day Advaitins misinterpret it by saying "when we realize the Brahman, we will get out of the Birth and Death Cycle"

prb: I do not know who you're indicating here, but an Advaitin's defence here is that its a figure-of-speech only! Considering that one is bound by mAyA, realization figuratively puts one out of the cycle of birth and death (in a vyavhArik view). But as you rightly said, it is to realize that such a thing never existed (in a paramArthik view). praNAms.

Purvapakshi 5: The bare minimum ethics of satsanga is not to make personal attacks but can always present counter argument based on scriptures with quotations.

prb: Agreed. But it doesn't remain satsanga when one starts blabbering unrelated topics outside the boundaries of the specific community goals, even after being warned by moderator. So, exchange between you and me is not satsanga.

Purvapakshi 5: Probably, many here don't like this. They want statements praising their logics, depth of knowledge etc. only and do not want to hear any counter argument.

prb: Is that your counter-argument? That people is, perhaps, you! All that people here want is some sane satsanga so that all progress towards a common goal: moksha. Nah, not through present day avatArs, but through the immense knowledge left behind by great achAryAs of yore.

Purvapakshi 5: How come everybody is Vaasudeva?

prb: Not *everybody*, Maharaj, sarvaM means *all* or *everything*, (everybody being a subset of all) doesn't it? If so, what would vasudeva sarvaM iti mean?

Purvapakshi 5: Krishna only preached Gita. What did the other vaasudevas (as per you) have done?

prb: Moot point, if at all a point!

Purvapakshi 5: Krishna exhibited His divine characteristic 'Satyam jnanam anantam brahma.. Veda' by preaching excellent divine knowledge through Gita.

prb: Pls don't twist Qs to suit the answers you have! I asked "did he do so *always*?" like an identity card? He did not, thats why the Mahabharata, isn't it? Do we ask nonsensical Qs such as "inspite of the divine character being present, why was history's most ruthless war fought?" here to make useless points?

Purvapakshi 5: If everybody is Lord, Duryodhana also becomes Lord which is definitely not acceptable to anybody.

prb: That anybody too would mean you. An advaitin has no problem in accepting duryodhana as vAsudeva, thats brahmaN thats all there is. Did you ever get to Vishwarupadarshana in Gita?

Purvapakshi 5: ...
but it clearly proves that He supported bhakti marga (duality). Even Ramana Maharishi wrote a bhajan on Lord Arunachala praying Him to help his mother.

prb: There are lot of things attributed to Shankara, *including* what He did not write. But more importantly, Shankara may have written crores of hymns, but *none* of them are considered as a philosophy, per se. On one hand if you quote bhajagovindam, you can't ignore nirvANashaTkam. Thats why, Shankara's most important works are the prasthAna trayA and there are no two opinions (from advaitins) about that!

Ramana did not write Arunachala hymns for His mother alone, He wrote it for masses, including Himself. But you're missing the point (if at all you know so) that Ramana never preached praying to Arunachala *alone* and He *never* said that Arunachala can grant moksha or anything like that, if at all your belief has a concept of moksha!

The endless debate: 2

Debate 2: "Bhagvadpadacharya Adi Shankara suggested most effective Sadhana of Chanting in his work 'Bhajagovindam'."

prb: Oh, no, Sir, not at all! He didn't call it as most effective or anything. Else he wouldn't have spent the entire life refuting other philosophies. Its one of the paths! Contrary to that, Shankara said that *only* jn~Ana can give mukti/ moksha.

Purvapakshi 3: "Chanting is a Sadhana which leads us to God, Bhagvatam says Chanting is only way remaining in KaliYuga, which leads us to our God."

prb: This community's called Vedanta. So accordingly, shruti vAkya-s hold more value (pramANa) than purANa-s. With all due respect to Bhagavatam, a purANa, its not true; why else would you bring up the following that you mention in another thread?! May I also add that Hare Krishna Mahamantra has been "made-up" by a certain cult that I do not want to point fingers at, which was originally beginning with "Hare Rama, Hare Rama..."

Purvapakshi 3: "Please Suggest Sadhana... any true devottes of Lord here, Please suggest me a fruitful Sadhana."

prb: My 2 cents follow pls...

"I do Chanting often."
prb: Great, don't leave that. It sure works wonders. IMHO, nAmasmaraN as japa should turn into ajapa, as in it should continue effortlessly in all of one's waking hours, if not in sleepiness too!

Purvapakshi 3: "Any Other Fruitful Sadhana which was suggested by Bhagvatapada Shankaracharya?"

prb: All sAdhana-s are considered fruitful as long as the aspirant is an honest seeker and considers them as paths till they graduate into gaining jn~Ana that alone can result in moksha.

Purvapakshi 3: "Please share the Actual methods of realizing the God explained by Sri Bhagvatapada Sankaracharya."

prb: Shankara's path involves shravaNa-manana-nidhhidhyAsana, meaning listening shruti from a guru, contemplating on it and then meditating on it.


Later, after a lot of personal abuse from Purvapakshi 3, deleted by the moderator...

prb: Take your fanatic lies and get lost. YOU HAVE READ NOTHING. Acharya Bhagavadpada's biography does not contain any of the things that you mention. Next, why ask a question (about sadhana) just for the sake of asking and commenting on something you don't believe and/ or understand? You're clearly here with an ill-intention and thats just pathetic.

Finally, I'm going to say this, having avoided it this far: This is not your ISKCON community for you to spew venom on other faiths and people. Its a typical attitude problem of you people to do missionary activities and this is how your virus starts.

Much later, after Purvapakshi 3 quoted from Shankara's Vivekachudamani to someone in favour of Advaita!

prb: Let me clarify at the offset here that, AFAIK, none of the Advaitin members here are claiming that "only they have knowledge of Advaita". You have brought out very good points from Shankara's vivekachuDAmaNi. This is all I intended in my earlier postings too. And that is precisely what I'd like to mention again: 62-64 contradict with what you said earlier on "Chanting is a Sadhana which leads us to God, Bhagvatam says Chanting is only way remained in KaliYuga, which leads us to our God". It helps undoubtedly, but its definitely not the only way and as per Shankara, it cannot give us moksha.

Thanks once again, for bringing the thread back to Shankara.

Purvapakshi 4: "... and goswami tulasidas actly says "kalyug keval naam aadhaara" what ever was immposible in other yugas, can b attained in this yug by chanting the maha mantra."

prb: This one is a little off the mark as per Vedanta. "keval nAma Adhara" from a purANa holds no weight in comparison to shruti-based vedAnta. Also, the mahAmantra has been modified from the original one beginning with "hare rAma hare rAma...".

btw: on a related note, does anyone know since when was this called as a mahAmantra and why? Thx

Purvapakshi 4: the vedanta is a mystery. its is not fully understood or smtimes takes a long time to b understood or 1 may not understand a little bit of it throughout his life, ...
then his case will b "na maaya mila na ram"... that is y chanting the name is as good as hearing to the vedanta or chanting it..

prb: Even so, it holds no weight :)

Watching the wheels

Since a few days, maybe weeks or months, even years, perhaps, I was thinking of writing a post on what my state of mind is. But somehow I just didn't feel like writing anything. Then, out of nowhere, a song came to mind: John Lennon's Watching the Wheels. I'd to search the lyrics to know why it came to my mind. Surprisingly, its *exactly* what I want to say:

People say I'm crazy doing what I'm doing
Well, they give me all kinds of warnings to save me from ruin
When I say that I'm o.k. well they look at me kind of strange
Surely you're not happy now... you no longer play the game

People say I'm lazy dreaming my life away
Well they give me all kinds of advice, designed to enlighten me
When I tell them that I'm doing fine watching shadows on the wall
Don't you miss the big time boy? You're no longer on the ball

I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go

Ah, people asking questions lost in confusion
Well I tell them there's no problem, only solutions
Well they shake their heads and they look at me as if I've lost my mind
I tell them there's no hurry
I'm just sitting here doing time

I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go
I just had to let it go
I just had to let it go

Thoughts 51

51. The ego feeds on the thoughts...

The endless debate: 1

A more suiting title from the worldly perspective is: The boiling point!

Knowingly, I participated in an endless debate with Advaita Vedanta on one (my) side and rest of the world on the other. I even announced beforehand that I know the entire activity is unfruitful. :)

And so, it went as expected, surprisingly after only one post in every thread: the opponent got personal and started mudslinging! Having avoided personal attacks for as long as I could, I cracked up and started to step out of the threads, since it was no longer a logical debate, since there wasn't any logic involved nor a debate left from the other side. Soon, I unsubscribed from the group as well, since I definitely have no patience with nonsense!

I'm going to call the opponent as a Purvapakshi for the sake of tradition, not because of my ego, since I care more for the tradition than the pea-sized ego that *seemingly* bloats in the following lengthy (thats also why *endless*) debate ... perhaps, thats my ego saying so too! :)

1: Advaita(Sankara) Vs Vishishtadvaita(Ramanuja)
Purvapakshi: "Let me see, if a single person among you can answer these questions posed by Ramanuja" against Advaita

prb: Humble praNAms. I wonder why you start the thread so "let me see..."! Before even starting an attempt to answer what you ask, I'd like to say that all that Ramanuja questioned has been answered by Shankara beforehand itself! Shankara said that mAyA is anirvachaniyaand that in itself puts all the discussion brought up later, including this one, to a category of a wasteful exercise. Nonetheless, I'm into it too, by choice :) Sw. Vivekananda said that our rishis boldly declared that "we do not know" and that takes courage. All of Ramanuja's questions beat around the bush of mAyA, ergo, they just boil down to one question, which was answered "as that which cannot be explained". With all due respect, if it were possible to *explain* mAyA, Shankara would have done it. In that case, it'd have been very easy to understand and cross over the ocean of mAyA, that we all know of not being so.


I. The nature of Avidya. Avidya must be either real or unreal; there is no other possibility. But neither of these is possible. If Avidya is real, non-dualism collapses into dualism. If it is unreal, we are driven to self-contradiction or infinite regress.

prb: Must be? I do not think things can be put categorically so. A dream cannot be called as real and it can't be called as unreal. Why? Because when we are dreaming, thats all the reality there is. That makes it real, but it vanishes on waking up, making it unreal. So its both and neither! Thats absurd, is it not? But we all *know* it to be so. Similar to a snake that is seen as real as a snake, but is a rope when clearly seen as a rope. The rope was a rope, is a rope, will be a rope, for one who is seeing the rope as real and snake as unreal, but one who sees it as a snake and is scared by it, will call it real and the rope as unreal. Such avidyA is called as mithyA or loosely translated as illusion.


II. The incomprehensibility of Avidya. Advaitins claim that Avidya is neither real nor unreal but incomprehensible, {anirvacaniya.} All cognition is either of the real or the unreal: the Advaitin claim flies in the face of experience, and accepting it would call into question all cognition and render it unsafe.

prb: Same Q, just twisted; nature of avidya is incomprehensibility and incomprehensibility is its nature, ergo, answer too remains the same. Does the dream of a lion fly in the face of experience during or after the dream? A person perspires on waking up. He knows it was a dream and so calls it unreal. But he's perspiring, making it real! There's the cognition rendered unsafe too, if so. But no, the cognition is perfectly fine for the *experiencer*. He felt a lion, got scared and woke up. Thats the dream experience, unreal in the waking state but equally real in the dream. An advaitin's claim remains justified perfectly.


III. The grounds of knowledge of Avidya. No pramana can establish Avidya in the sense the Advaitin requires. Advaita philosophy presents Avidya not as a mere lack of knowledge, as something purely negative, but as an obscuring layer which covers Brahman and is removed by true Brahma-vidya. Avidya is positive nescience not mere ignorance. Ramanuja argues that positive nescience is established neither by perception, nor by inference, nor by scriptural testimony. On the contrary, Ramanuja argues, all cognition is of the real.

prb: Repeat, because its anirvachaniya. avidyA is both real and unreal as mentioned before. Advaita describes it to have two powers, so to say: AvarNa/ power to veil and vikshepa/ power to project, both being parts only in literal usage for us mortals to understand. However, its not two parts, but is *one* whole that causes both. The brahmaN remains hidden as a rope due to AvarNa and the jagat is projected as a snake due to vikshepa. So avidya is not *only* positive nescience and not *only* ignorance. Here's how it is: the removal of ignorance is knowledge. What does that mean? One has to remove the ignorance. It also means one has to know. Are knowing and removing the ignorance two different things? No, they are one. That one removes ignorance of the snake is the knowledge of the rope.

If all cognition is of the real, then where did the dream lion go? If the rope is a rope elsewhere and so is the snake, both equally real, then why are both not seen simultaneously by one but are seen as different by different people simultaneously?

IV. The locus of Avidya. Where is the Avidya that gives rise to the (false) impression of the reality of the perceived world? There are two possibilities; it could be Brahman's Avidya or the individual soul's {jiva.} Neither is possible. Brahman is knowledge; Avidya cannot co-exist as an attribute with a nature utterly incompatible with it. Nor can the individual soul be the locus of Avidya: the existence of the individual soul is due to Avidya; this would lead to a vicious circle.

prb: Again, locus of avidyA is a question on avidyA that is anirvachaniya. The two possibilities exist in the mind of the vishisTa advaitin's, not advaitin's. jivo brahmaiva nA parA for an advaitin means that the jiva is brahmaN. So saying that it cannot be in the individual jiva or in brahmaN is an invalid argument. Consider the reflection of a person in the mirror. Where is its locus? It is in the mirror or the person who sees it? Where is the locus of dream when a person is waking? Where is it when he is dreaming? No one can know this for a fact. An advaitin boldly accepts this so: the unknowable is unknowable; it is not known till it is known; So too with avidyA of the anirvachaniya, mithyA jagat, that which cannot be expressed cannot be expressed. Thats why no one has been able to answer the Q (to everyone's staisfaction, of course), how the world/ universe began, etc!


V. Avidya's obscuration of the nature of Brahman. Sankara would have us believe that the true nature of Brahman is somehow covered-over or obscured by Avidya. Ramanuja regards this as an absurdity: given that Advaita claims that Brahman is pure self-luminous consciousness, obscuration must mean either preventing the origination of this (impossible since Brahman is eternal) or the destruction of it - equally absurd.

prb: same as III above. We don't see a pot as mud though it is mud, do we? When the mud gets shaped up as a pot, it *covers* the mud and *projects* a pot as *one* single activity. The mud remains *as is*, neither preventing the origination of it nor destroying it. So too with brahmaN. Thus its not absurd.


VI. The removal of Avidya by Brahma-vidya. Advaita claims that Avidya has no beginning, but it is terminated and removed by Brahma-vidya, the intuition of the reality of Brahman as pure, undifferentiated consciousness. But Ramanuja denies the existence of undifferentiated{nirguna} Brahman, arguing that whatever exists has attributes: Brahman has infinite auspicious attributes. Liberation is a matter of Divine Grace: no amount of learning or wisdom will deliver us.

prb: Ramanuja may well have denied nirguNa brahmaN, but thats the only way it can be. The argument that brahmaN has infinite (auspicious or not) attributes does not mean that its knowledge cannot remove avidyA. The nirguNa nature of brahmaN also means purNa or infinite in the sense that the infinite attributes are as if they are no attributes of brahmaN. If its undifferentiated consciousness, that makes it full, infinite, complete and purNa inasmuch as its explanation being as if nirguNa. For liberation to be a matter of divine grace, that bestower or God or ishwara must have a wish to grant a wish. That wish in itself will make him apurNa! So, ishwara as a creator that bestows grace is a part of the creation (that too a contradiction and absurdity, just like this mithyA anirvachaniya creation). Such knowledge that delivers may be seen as grace too, of course.


VII. The removal of Avidya. For the Advaitin, the bondage in which we dwell before the attainment of Moksa is caused by Maya and Avidya; knowledge of reality (Brahma-vidya) releases us. Ramanuja, however, asserts that bondage is real. No kind of knowledge can remove what is real. On the contrary, knowledge discloses the real; it does not destroy it. And what exactly is the saving knowledge that delivers us from bondage to Maya? If it is real then non-duality collapses into duality; if it is unreal, then we face an utter absurdity.

prb: same as V and VI mixed together. So answers too ditto.

With all due respects, just because Ramanuja put one Q to advaita vedAnta, in as many different ways, it doesn't disprove it. Also, that is no ground to establish that anirvachaniya mAyA becomes Lakshmi and purNa brahmaN becomes Vishnu. Finally, it will have to come to stay that mAyA is anirvachaniya, as Shankara said, since no one has been able to explain it; na bhuto na bhavishyati.



prb: I wish you knew better than to say "where *you all* have been criticising...". If you'd to copy words from the earlier thread, this thread was not needed! I hadn't even seen the thread you mention before I asked that. Anyways...

Purvapakshi: So you want to say that the Brahman is dreaming??

prb: Great conclusion! With my explanation if thats what you've concluded, I congratulate you on your understanding of both Shankara and Ramanuja!

Purvapakshi: There can be no dream ever possible without any previous real experience of the things.

prb: Thats just an assumption without basis. Ramanuja's claim puts his own Q to him then, where does the first real experience come from then for the dream to occur? Thats anirvachaniya!

Purvapakshi: But I again wonder, whence is this semidarkness(avidya), and how could it obscure the Brahman which is verily of the nature of Pure Cosmic Intelligence.

prb: Keep on wondering to reach an infinite regress! Thats what is termed as anirvachaniya.

That semidarkness which causes one to confuse the rope for a snake is the avidyA.

Purvapakshi: Dont just play with the words, try to logically reason out the things

prb: There's no play of words anywhere in what I said. Its plain logical words from advaita vedAnta! Nonetheless, pray tell the logic that justifies Vishnu and Lakshmi.

Purvapakshi: I have to give the Same reply as above.

prb: But of course. Ramanuja's Q was repetitive, so are the answers that follow.

Purvapakshi: Who knows, it is the theory of your Mayavada, why do you ask me about that? Go and ask your Advaita acharyas.

* Rather, I would like to ask the reverse of this question,
First of all how did you dream of a Lion if it were not real and if you did never experience it in reality??

prb: You should know better than just blabber "go ask your advaita acharyas". I'm not asking you, the Q was metaphorical! Moreover, you brought up the idea of all cognitions being real. If it may be *hypothetically* (I mark that since I wouldn't have used your word *controversial* against you to conclude something as weird as "the whole sruti is invalid.", but you could hang me for believing advaita :) assumed that the dream experience comes from the real, that doesn't lead to the dream being real. It just means that recalling the real experience in dream feels real, but is not so. Again, not real doesn't mean unreal. That a person sees water in the mirage doesn't make the mirage as water.

Purvapakshi: Its your own mistake, being in semidarkness, why do you cry out that you are mistaking a snake for the rope ?

* Keep a Snake and a Rope side by side, I hope you can well differentiate between the two

prb: Precisely, semidarkness is avidyA. I'm crying out that I see a snake not knowing its a rope, but you seem to assume that there's no semidarkness and see the snake and the rope, both, as if they were side by side when they are not so. For a mAyAvAdin, the snake and rope can never be side by side. There'll always be the rope, snake being mAyA when in avidyA, and after the dawn of knowledge, snake also a rope. So, talk for yourself on keeping both side by side and dance around that you can differentiate. :)

Purvapakshi: The Mirror and the Person, both are really existing.

prb: Ah, aren't they? But does that make the image in the mirror the person?!!! Who's playing with words here? I'm talking of the reflection and you of the mirror!

Purvapakshi: So, by using the word, "TILL", you want to relate the "TIME" factor to the realization of Brahman. Its very interesting to know that, "it is not known till it is known", What do you mean by knowing?? Can you please tell me using what you will know the Brahman??

prb: No, till need not mean time in the vyavhAric sense! I hope that you do see why Shankara termed it as anirvachaniya then. Time can't be added to eternal brahmaN and nor to the beginning of mAyA. Realization drops the time itself when brahmavid brahmaiva bhavati. The bhavati doesn't mean at a particular moment in time. That is knowing, by knowing which all becomes known. So knowing brahmaN is shravaNa-manana-niddhidhAsana, for me; if you can call it *using* something, if at all.

Purvapakshi: So, you accept that Brahman has got itself transformed into this world. Huh? You seem to be a Vashishtadvaitin within and an Advaitin without.

prb: If the mud within the pot is transformation of mud, then congrats again! And with that conclusion of yours, I can only say that you seem to be neither! :)

Purvapakshi: Kudos !! Great play of words. Please dont try to veil my eyes with the Avarana Shakti of your Maya and project before me something else......, with its Vikshepa Shakti

prb: I'll try to explain that in a different way, since I do accept that I should have given an example for it to not seem as "play of words". Pick up a dictionary and read the meaning of *priceless* Whats that mean to ya? :) So what nirguNa means is that the attributes are infinitely many for them to be known, so let it remain as a terming of nirguNa, attribute-less.

Purvapakshi: So you want to delimit the omnipotency of Lord?

prb: Wow, you don't miss an opportunity to get congratulated! Do I? I said "That wish in itself will make him apurNa!" An advaitin's Lord need not be delimited since He has no wishes. Your definition has.

Purvapakshi 2: "The dreaming is real. The (situation in) dream may not be real."

prb: Analyze what you said there. Similarly, "that we see the mithyA world", is real, but the mithyA world itself is not real. (Its not unreal either, of course, else why would you see it!)

I hope I am making sense now?

btw: IMHO, you've not phrased Ramanuja's accusation right.


With all due respect, the end in duality seems absurd to me, ergo, I don't find the need to read works on dualism. I have read on sAMkhyA earlier and Shankara's bhashya on Brahma Sutra refutes sAMkhyA perfectly.

Purvapakshi 2: "Well we will have to read Kapila to see what he really says. The puruSha prakRiti theory belongs to him, I think."

prb: By we, I'm not sure who do you mean! Definitely, I'm not in it. (I've read on Samkhya, all of them based on Ishvarakrishna's kArikA which is the oldest text available on Samkhya. There's no need for me to read Kapila anyway) Next, its not at all relevant to this thread since its neither advaita, nor vishishTa advaita. Pls get your facts right first.

You're not even sure whether purusha-prakriti theory belongs to him! Let me give you a starter: Samkhya theory *is* that of purusha-prakriti! I repeat, Samkhya, aka dualism, was refuted by Shankara and is very well documented in Brahma Sutra Bhashya.

Much later...

prb: Last post
Funnily enough, things will never change with philosophy-attackers; when they have nothing to say or are trapped or proven wrong, they either crack up or make personal attacks. And expecting this very behaviour here, I'd mentioned in my first post on this thread that its going to be a wasteful exercise :) Here's my last post on the thread, only to clarify what I said than reply to the funny-man's personal attacks! :D

I repeated the word oft on purpose, even if I tried some explanation at each instance, so that the meaning of the *word* is understood. No matter how much we try, the mystery of mAyA will never be solved in words. Neither Shankara attempted it, nor do his followers, since its not possible! No explanation of it in any branch of philosophy makes any sense, logically.

--brahmaN or jivA ("or you!!!")
jIvo brahmaiva nA parA.

--pot, mirror, etc
All these are vedantic metaphors, we all know it equally well; there's no need to take them literally and force oneself to be funny! :)

Why empirical examples? What else are examples supposed to be made of, I wonder! (No examples are needed if we were ready for mahAvAkya-s!)

--prasthAna trayA:
The study of the above is a lifelong activity for me. I don't claim to have understood it completely and I stand corrected if I sounded so! My apologies are due here. Bhajagovindam is a beautiful work that I love. However, they are never quoted as a logic in philosophical arguments by anyone. So too, for me, Vishnu and Lakshmi fall in the domain of religion and not philosophy.

--Brahman is both the Material as well as the efficient cause of this Universe.
It sure is and I've not missed that in Acharya's bhashya. But I can never make myself read into it as "jagat is a *transformation* of brahmaN"

Lastly, I'm tempted to quit the game in a lighter mood :)
"Purvapakshi: Please, Iam ignorant and ..."
Quoting you: "Go to your acharyas" :D

Anyway, best wishes on your journey too.

Ano bhadrA kratavo yantu vishvataH

MS bashing

After a long time, I've returned to MS bashing. When I left my job, I exported my pst files off Outlook. Well, till our servers were the earlier version, things worked fine the way I'd used them. Simple: Copy psts, open them back wherever you want with Outlook. (There's the userfriendlyness as some might say and have you believe so too!) Ah, security flaw, some others may say. Yeah, but how did they fix them?

Here's how: now it asks you for a username and password. Well, they don't work. Why? Of course, because you don't have the same office server (name, id, domain, whatever) back home (or elsewhere), do ya?!!! Who the heck puts the server name and God knows what all in the security hash? Idiots at MS do.

As a result of MS' foolishness, GBs of *my* data are useless scrambled files now! In my defence, in advance, I'd like to mention that I'm ignorant of any new developments, or screwups as they're more likely, at MS on this, some screwed up way of *retrieving* data, etc; so feel free to "fix me up"!

Another great example that strikes me now are the songs that are ripped into wma format. Under the pretext of antipiracy, copyright, IP, MS has managed to screw things up again. If you've copied stored files to transfer them to another system, avoiding the necessity to rip them again, they'll not work, since they've something called license files that you need to export as well. I'm not sure that they'll work even after that, but thats what you need to do! Well, decent solution, perhaps, but unfinished business. I'm no longer an engineer-at-work, but here's what I know: if things need doing at the source, they need a mention at the source, especially when they've changed from the earlier way. How can someone even miss that?!!!