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Re: The Ultimate sharaNagathi and personal beliefs ...

From: Vidyasankar Sundaresan (vidya_at_cco.caltech.edu)
Date: Thu Jul 24 1997 - 15:55:37 PDT

With respect to Sri Krishna Kalale's recent post,

1. Yes, the prasthAna trayI bhAshyas are considered the most important
within advaita tradition too. The minor works are taught as introductory
teaching only. Nobody can claim to have learned advaita without having
read the prasthAna trayI bhAshyas.

2. All advaitins hold that nArAyaNa is bhagavAn. There is no question
about that. Siva is also held to be ISvara and as a guru. Similarly,
kRshNa is also regarded as a guru. However, ultimately, from the
standpoint of advaita, we are not interested in drawing devatA-tAratamyas
or describing deities other than vishNu as cillarai devataas, and so on.
This is because our standpoint is abheda at the end, and there is no point
in emphasizing bheda all along the way, beyond the minimum necessary. Even
if one has some sort of hierarchy in one's own mind, for example, if one
can regard Siva only as a guru, then one should always respect the guru
equally with God. 

3. If you read a very recent advaita work, the commentary to
vivekacUDAmaNi by SrI candraSekhara bhAratI swAmigaL, right at the
beginning, he describes moksha as "tad vaishNavam padam," and throughout
the commentary, there are references to nArAyaNa when the verse talks of
bhakti or ISvara-anugraha. But then, this AcArya was not an exclusive
vaishNava. In fact, he often advised people not to fight over names and
descriptions of God when they haven't even seen His feet, and he always
taught that holding that vishNu is superior to Siva or the other way round
are unnecessary stances that don't help you. In spite of various
historical changes, a very similar situation could have held true for Adi
SankarAcArya too. 

With best wishes,
Vidyasankar