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Re: outmode forms

skaushik_at_MIT.EDU
Date: Thu Mar 14 1996 - 12:58:06 PST

Mani writes:

*** What then are the outmoded forms? I have not asked
*** my anonymous friend, but I am sure we can come up
*** with some expressions of life that were present
*** during our acharya's time that reflected their cultural
*** viewpoint without having lasting value.  This is all
*** that was meant.

Who is to decided what is outmode and what is not? Who is to
say what is cultural and what is spiritual? Perhaps
historians? Perhaps anthropologists? Is this how we are to understand
our religion? If so, this has never been the tradition of our
religion. Perhaps  in actuality, scholars interpreted the religion
in the context of their times; but, nowhere have they ever stated that
our religion is anything but eternal. Not merely in the philsocophy,
but also in the rituals. The notion that something iin the
Vedas is "outmoded" never arises anywhere in the imporatnt commentaries.

One can reinterpret the scriptures anyway one wants to conform with
the reality of ones life and surrounding.  That is a matter of ones
conscience and personal choice. This can never be questioned. However,
to claim that this is the "way of our ancient seers" is in serious
error. What you describe is the way of an Indologist -- not that
of Ramanuja and Vedanta Desika.


*** The essence is this -- simply quoting pages and pages
*** of some Upanishad, Rahasya Traya Saaram, or other work
*** does one no good, unless one actually engages in the
*** process of sAdhana, using these works as a basis for
*** practical application in modern times.

The first part I agree. The second is inconsisted with 
the ways of our scholars. Ramanuja never used the scriptures of his
era as "a basis for practical application in (then) modern times."

What you say is fine, but just keep in mind that this is not the ways
of our ancient scholars. What you propose is a practical way for one
to resolve the perceived "inconsistencies" with modern outlook. But
was Ramanuja practical? Was Vedanta Desikar practical? I see nothing
in their lives to suggest that. 

I could argue that the solution, I could argue, is not to go read
history books, but to go find a competent Guru and learn at his feet.
That will do a lot more in clarifying one's doubt than years of
solitude and meditation (remember it took Vishmamitra thousands of
years to get the vidya -- how much easier would it have been had he
initially disposed of his arrogance and fell at the feet of Vasistha). 


I feel one should not be too judgemental on "reactionaries." There is
nothing to say a liberatarian viewpoint that suggest it to be 
any closesr to  "Truth." Arrogance and ignorance are found in both
camps. It comes down ultimately to personal choice.

sk