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Re: Justification for posts on the elements of the metaphysics of Vis'istAdvaita

From: Venkat Nagarajan (NAGARAVE_at_fin.gov.on.ca)
Date: Sun Apr 25 1999 - 12:39:07 PDT

Dear Bhagavatas,

I was going through some old archives on the Bhakti Net and 
found some rather disturbing postings, where people were
expressing doubt about (not questioning) the validity of 
some the fundamental axioms of Vis'istAdvaita.  People were 
presenting their own interpretation of scripture; in fact, someone 
went as far as labelling these axioms as being based on blind faith! 

Please note the following:
1. We are all subject to domination by avidya karma (karma that 
causes delusion), to varying degrees of course.  
2. Most of us, in general,  have a dearth of humility.   
3.  That which is infinite cannot be described in perfection
(but only in a most perfect manner) using finite tools.

Thus, there will always be questions, but all questions of 
significance will get answered in time. Answers to these 
questions, which are part of the universal set of knowledge, 
will manifest as we come into contact with objects 
(not just physical) through our mind and senses.  This is the 
process by which a mere faith becomes a conviction, and
the conviction becomes clearer as the domination of avidya 
karma dissipates.  To come into contact with objects, however, 
we need to use our free will and make avail of the ever-present
grace of God.  

We are not capable of interpreting scripture on our own (due 1 and 2.) 
However, due to the fact that all of us are ignorant of the 
nature of reality (to varying degrees),  scripture is an
important object.  It acts as a catalyst for the self manifesting knowledge.
 Thus, instead of trying to read and interpret 
scripture in an improper manner, we should first educate 
ourselves on the fundamental elements of the metaphysics of
Vis'istAdvaita Vedanta (theory of knowledge, subject object
relationship, nature of jiva and Is'vara and do on) and then 
proceed to read the exposition (on scripture) by our great 
Acharyas.

In essence, a strong conviction (as opposed to mere faith) about
the siddhatam, is the first milestone in the process of spiritual 
progress.  At this point one develops the following knowledge
manifests.  Nature of reality is independent of everything and is
immutable (i.e, it does not change over time.)  The nature of 
reality has been expounded upon by those who are capable 
of it.  As an ardent (one cannot be an ardent seeker until one
develops a conviction) seeker of the truth about the nature
of reality, the goal in life is to confirm this truth via experience 
and not to define or reinterpret the exposition, or even worse 
go directly to scripture (doubting the exposition.)


I want to work on a series of posts on the elements of the 
metaphysics of Vis'istAdvaita.  I will try to be thorough, terse,
and explicit, to the best of my ability.  I will not be providing my 
own interpretation but merely a detailed summary of what has 
already been written.  I hope bhagavatas will augment the posts 
with additional information and raise questions whenever 
something is unclear.  My justification for working on these posts
was as detailed above. 

****Post one: Some preparatory definitions and axioms****   
****Post two: Purpose of life 

Adiyen,
Venkat