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New Member: P.Srinivasan

From: psrinivasan99 (psrinivasan99_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Wed Dec 05 2001 - 02:37:01 PST

Dear bhagavatas:

My name is P.Srinivasan. I work in Singapore. I hail from a 
srivaishnava family with roots in Srirangam and Trichy. 

In my earlier days, I was attracted and influenced by the Advaita 
philosophy, especially its ability to accommodate all philosophies, 
religions and systems of thought (albeit at a lower level). But 
later on, I found the Brahman of Advaita not too satisfying to the 
heart. I also found that the Brahman of the Upanishads is not too 
correctly portrayed in the Brahman of Advaita. I found the Brahman 
of the Upanishads a lively, dynamic yet changeless, substratum of 
all existence, the self of all that exists, far too close to 
everyone that anything else. But the Brahman of Advaita was (atleast 
in the overall depiction of That in the advaitic texts) causally 
unconnected to the universe, attributeless and in fact "worldless", 
despite being the self of all. Advaita also distinguishes 2 
Brahmans, a higher nirguna and a lower saguna (which is the God of 
religions) making a distinction between God and Absolute. When 
advaita talks of God, it talks of God mostly as sakara (formful) 
being alone, without discussing the "Being" (or substantive nature) 
of God, for any such discussion on the substantive nature of Brahman 
is usually done in the context of nirguna brahman only. I was 
looking for the truth on the substantive nature of Brahman and its 
relation to the universe. I could not find, in advaita, a 
satisfactory explanation of Brahman and its relation to the universe 
and particularly to us - selves.

I then turned to visishtadvaita partly because of my srivaishnava 
upbringing and partly because I always felt Ramanuja (and also 
Sankara for that matter) was a great thinker after Truth and had a 
good balance of Truth-seeking and God-loving. (Personally I consider 
this balance important because otherwise we find this phenomenon of 
more God-loving and less Truth-seeking causing some philosophers to 
make too very exclusive statements (and even claims) on Truth.) I 
should admit I was amply rewarded by a study of Ramanuja's works. 
Here in visishtadvaita, I get a Brahman who is the ultimate 
efficient and material cause of the universe, who is the abode of 
infinite auspicious qualities of unsurpassed excellence, who is the 
one non-dual existence besides whom nothing exists, who is causally 
connected to the universe as its self and lord, who pervades all 
existence in and out and above all, a Brahman who is the very Self 
of all that exists. 

I should admit that I don't agree with all of visishtadvaita. But 
the central issue of visishtadvaita (or any vedanta for that matter) 
is Brahman and that is well described in visishtadvaita. I am glad I 
had this association with the bhasyakara. I only pray that all this 
leads to the direct and everlasting experience of Brahman.

I hope to enjoy this experience of being and sharing with like-
minded pilgrims tredging along the way to Bhagavan.

adiyen,
P.Srinivasan




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