Bringing things together, again

In some of my recent debates during satsanga or those that I've seen on the lists, there have been a wee bit of common features. These have more to do with justifying something for the sake of ego or the sect, which is more of a fanatic approach than a logical one. Two topics that come to mind are based on a similar line, a line that says that if one thing is said as true then the other thing around is not! Well, not really, philosophy isn't maths, its logic.

One of the topics that came up is that Bhamati and Vivarana both talk of things not mentioned by the Bhagavatpada in the prasthAna trayA or elsewhere. Therefore, they conclude, that both these systems are contradictory to Shankara advaita vedAnta. Its a really ridiculous conclusion, especially based on something as complicated as avidyA. A system that answers students' questions and clarifies their doubts is what saMpradAya is. That saMpradAya doesn't not go against itself, especially Shankara; it is totally inline. How so? If a shishyA has a doubt on some topic that Shankara described, the saMpradAyic guru uses various examples to clarify such doubts and establish Shankara's words clearly. Another saMpradAyic guru might use some other example to clarify the same doubt. These examples themselves when compared with each other may seem contradictory, but in the context of explaining Shankara to different students, will not. The object of the bhAshyAs, upabhAshyAs, TIkAs and such commentaries is to clarify the main work and establish it clearly. As long as that is done, those works have an extremely useful place in the saMpradAya, in fact so much so as to keep the tradition itself alive. If those are held to be going against the main work because they dared to clarify what the main work said, in words that some category of followers understood, its not only a wrong conclusion, but its also an arrogant one.

There's a book that goes on quoting from dharma shAstras such as Apastamba sutrAs and manu smRti and weighing them against Vedas and concluding that although the former claim to be based on the latter, they say of things not said by Vedas, and so they go against the Vedas; ergo, they must be written by people who hadn't even studied or refered to Vedas! Now, thats not only harsh, its also based on ridiculous logic. Forget the concluding blow and consider the logic that leads to it. There's an example of Apastamba sutrA and Manu 4.220 that asserts that food given by a physician should not be eaten. Against these, Ayurveda and other medicinal sciences are weighed as being a part of Vedas, or vedAngas and physicians commanding respect. Both may be valid statements. Just because Vedas don't mention (or there's no trace of Vedas saying) food from physicians should not be eaten and that shruti says that the knowledge of medicine and the one who has knowledge of medicine commands respect, it doesn't mean that dharma shAstrAs are contradictory to Vedas since they say food given by a physician should not be eaten. They are totally different domains, unrelated statements. eg, Purusha sUkta praises shudrAs as being the feet of the Lord; without them, not even brAhmanAs can stand as heads. But Vedas themselves say that food from shudrA is not to be eaten. They are not contradictory statements at all, they are in fact, unrelated. Such conclusions are equivalent to our godforsaken reservation systems, that go on to erroneously conclude that since a poor student (ridiculously further justified on the basis of caste and not on the basis of economical poverty) didn't have the social opportunity to learn, he should be allowed to get in and pass through with lower percentages, multiple exams, etc! A woman, especially a mother, has a place of annadAtri or even annapoorNeshwari during all days, but dharma shAstrA forbids food cooked or served by a woman in her menses. This example is just to prove that even on the same topic, there are different dhArmic bindings related to one person and field. How then can two totally different topics related to one person and field be mixed up and weighed against each other?
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