Saturday, 2 April 2011

We say no to AV : pollution of adveita vedanta

STOP PRESS

In case you have not noticed, we are now on twitter with a real avatar built, as the wise man said, ‘on the rocks please’.  Obreption has often been described as the ‘wisest fool in syncretism’.  Obreption is still travelling and suddenly had to divert to India to watch the cricket final.  We regret any loss of twitter feed during the game. 

The editorial board has decided to say no to AV.  Obreption has agreed with such luminaries as those who contribute to Standpoint, apart from one of their religious experts.  The board has commissioned a well-known psephology specialist to undertake a double blind randomised poll of Standpoint, of which more in future posts.  We are sorry to say that we think that adveita vedanta has been sullied by the AV for the stupid stunt of a referendum which you Britishers will have to pay for. 

This presentation has been prepared by Sri Donald Donald MacDonald and the Very Reverend Mousa Kousa MacCuish of Applecross (WA).

Namaste
For background reading we suggest that you acclimatise yourself with the aid of Hinduism: A Very Short Introduction by Kim Knott.  Knot refers to three important approaches to Vedanta: Shankara, Ramanuja and Madhva. 

Hindu philosophy can be very geometric. It has been three dimensional for 32,000 years and invented the multi-storey concept long before the Tower of Babel. 

It is helpful to note that many terms in Hinduism and Buddhism are similar, though spelling changes can be irritating, particularly if your search engine is sensitive to spelling changes and diacritical marks.  Some Hindu terms are usually described in an Anglicised version of Sanskrit, which can often be ‘described’ as an Indo-European language.  In other words, there is an echo of familiarity with some of the Germanic and Romance languages in basic concepts, for example counting.  For more details on transliteration, this link might be useful: http://www.advaita-vedanta.org/avhp/transliteration.html

Vedanta philosophy based on the ancient Sanskrit texts known as the Vedas and Upanishads has three ways of looking at the Self.  There is monist non-dual, modified monist non-dual, and dual.    Hence the terms adveita, which means non-dual and dveita, which means dual.  (Dveita is not too dissimilar from the number 2 in Germanic or Romance languages!)

At this point we would like to refer to the BBC In Our Time programme which focussed on the Bhagavad Gita.  You can find more information about the programme contributors via this link:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00zt235

Obreption’s views regarding Lord Bragg and this series are already well-known and well-documented and we recommend this programme unreservedly.

As noted above, Shankara is written in Western alphabets in different ways, and even within modern Indian languages such as Gujarati and Hindi, there are variations on the pronunciation.  Gujarati’s tend to omit the final ‘a’ in Shankara.  This is also confusing when dealing with the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.  Some care is, therefore, advised when researching Hindu websites.  We’ve chosen a few which show some interesting concepts in the promotion of Hindu philosophy.

If Christianity can be described as a two-dimensional matrix (see Linda Woodhead on Christianity in the Very Short series), Hinduism is really a tetrahedron based on extremes of worship, good works, pre-destination and stage in life. 

We now need some sounds and music with the following link to a bhajan sung by Sharon Janis being particularly evocative:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XngCWYuOdd4

Some of Sharon’s earlier recitals are well worth a visit - not quite Reshma, but pretty good nonetheless.  http://www.spiritual-happiness.com/chanting.html

The spiritual leader of Shankara Vedanta is H.H. the Shankara Acharya - http://www.kamakoti.org/  (NB: the spelling of this varies a lot, but we provide a link to a site which is advert free.) Unfortunately, His Holiness is also beset by legal problems,, like some other Holinesses.  (http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_kanchi-shankaracharya-for-ayodhya-dispute-resolution-through-talks_1461305)

Another interesting site is: http://www.advaita-vedanta.org/avhp/

As is our policy the links are fully written and they have caused us no harm psychologically – unlike some other sites!

For an example of the globalisation of Vedanta we are showing a link to an American blog which has been running for some time, and has some very interesting interviews with practitioners. http://advaitavedantameditations.blogspot.com/

In looking at Hinduism from a ‘western’ perspective, you could say that adveita vedanta was the Calvinism equivalent and that Eastern Orthodox Christianity was the modified version.  Furthermore, that dveita vedanta, with a concentration on Krishna, has some syncretism and mapping equivalence to Roman Catholicism, with a high value on worship, material culture and missionary zeal.  These correlations are of course superficial in the same way that sectarianism is a cancer on world understanding. 

We hope you enjoy this introductory lecture on aspects of Hinduism.  While we are quite happy to investigate adveita vedanta on your behalf in an unbiased way, we are nonetheless committed to saying that alternative vote is a complete nonsense. 

STOP STOP PRESS

For Indian religions questions are being asked about the future of Sai Baba and his institutions.  

This is technically nothing to do with AV, but those who have an interest in Sai Baba should check in with their guru. http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_sathya-sai-baba-stable-says-hospital_1530587

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3 comments:

  1. Thank you for this. Seeing that Hinduism preceded Roman Catholicism, do you think the latter sought inspiration from dveita vedanta to invent all the bowing and scraping that passes for worship

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  2. Now look what you've gone and done - all this talk about AV, shankaras etc etc - have probably given the poor Sai Baba the vapours!! He's got breathing problems, apparently ...

    India spiritual leader Sai Baba 'critical' in hospital
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-12968238

    5 April 2011 16:37

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  3. Obreption says:

    Yes, some people are very worried about succession in this Sai Baba instituion. DNA has been putting values of Rs 40,000 crores. We will see ...

    ReplyDelete