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Thread: Can I follow the vaishnava customs as one accepting advaita over dvaita?

  1. #1

    Can I follow the vaishnava customs as one accepting advaita over dvaita?

    Why is it happening to me? What shall I do in this case?

    I have been reading the teachings of Ramana Maharshi for years and I do like them. In other words I accept advaita as one of the many paths. I choose advaita over dvaita etc. I have also been to the holy place of Arunachala (holy place in shaivism). So in my heart I prefer Ramana's teachings, which is advaita.

    BUT on the other hand, I have been unable to identify myself with that 'culture', meaning with its songs, chantings style, not mentioning the naked yogis or the phallus-formed shivalingam (sorry for these two latter ones, but in fact, these are the points that all my heart, soul and mind oppose). I prefer the vaishnava style, the form of Krishna (avatar of Vishnu), the chanting style etc. But as far as I know Vaishnavism is dvaita, right? Or is there a place for advaita philosophy in vaishnavism or is that pure dvaita?

    So what shall I do if I accept advaita over dvaita and like Ramana's teaching (Ramana rather belongs to shaivism) but I can identify myself more with the customs of vaishnavism regarding chanting, worship and clothes' style yet knowing that the teachings behind them are mainly dvaita?

    I am confused sooo much, which is very bothering.

    Thank you for all helpful answers.

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    Re: Can I follow the vaishnava customs as one accepting advaita over dvaita?

    Dvaita and A-Dvaita simply denote dualism and non-dualism (a.k.a monism). Dualism as used by Dvaita school simply means that there are two order of reality - Svatantra (independent) and Paratantra (dependent).

    Whichever theology subscribes to the principle above is a dualistic philosophy (as defined in the Indian philosophical context) - be is Shaivism or Vaishnavism or other popular forms of worship.

    So, do not conflate Vaishnavism with Dvaita and Shaivism with Advaita. You need to understand what these entail and what the underlying philosophies mean.

  3. #3

    Re: Can I follow the vaishnava customs as one accepting advaita over dvaita?

    Quote Originally Posted by wundermonk View Post
    Dvaita and A-Dvaita simply denote dualism and non-dualism (a.k.a monism). Dualism as used by Dvaita school simply means that there are two order of reality - Svatantra (independent) and Paratantra (dependent).

    Whichever theology subscribes to the principle above is a dualistic philosophy (as defined in the Indian philosophical context) - be is Shaivism or Vaishnavism or other popular forms of worship.

    So, do not conflate Vaishnavism with Dvaita and Shaivism with Advaita. You need to understand what these entail and what the underlying philosophies mean.
    Thank you for your answer.
    Then, as far as I can understand, dvaita, advaita etc are phases...and advaita says that the Ultimate Reality is One. And the different paths such as shaivism, vaishnavism etc are ways to approach/reach the One. Is that right?

    Or could you explaine your answer in a bit more details, please? Thank you.

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    Re: Can I follow the vaishnava customs as one accepting advaita over dvaita?

    Dvaita and A-Dvaita simply denote dualism and non-dualism (a.k.a monism). Dualism as used by Dvaita school simply means that there are two order of reality - Svatantra (independent) and Paratantra (dependent).

    Whichever theology subscribes to the principle above is a dualistic philosophy (as defined in the Indian philosophical context) - be is Shaivism or Vaishnavism or other popular forms of worship.

    So, do not conflate Vaishnavism with Dvaita and Shaivism with Advaita. You need to understand what these entail and what the underlying philosophies mean.
    Namaste Wundermonk-ji

    I appreciate the wisdom of the point, and the overall point of my post will be much the same. However, I would like to add a clarification - not disagreeing with you, but not wholly agreeing either.

    If we take the philosophy of Hinduism in a vacuum, as it appears on ink and paper, we are still given to see that Shaivism is far more often associated with advaitic or at least, less dvaitic philosophies (note 1).

    Note 1: Shaivism is not monistic in its whole, although often made out to be. There are many different shaiva sects. Some are monistic, some are dualistic, but in a distinctly different way than the Vaishnava schools tend to be dualistic. One is said to rise to the equal of Shiva, and even in these schools, nondual meditation (identification of the self as the deity and/or part thereof, the deity as the self and/or part there of[Note 2] is a key practice, though without the ultimate aim of being Shiva, but being as Shiva. Being equal, or as Shiva, is not always clearcut, if in terms that means one also functions as does Shiva. The idea of 'many Shivas - or near equivalents' shows the mark of samkhya (infinite purushas) deeply in its agamic yoga - archetypical example is Shaiva Siddhanta.

    Note 2: This has to do with the subtle 'cosmology of the body.' The subtle (sukshma) and causal (karana) bodies of man are seen as a microcosm of the universe, or alternately - as a reordering of the universe in the imprimatur of the atman.

    The sampradayas each have their own canon of texts to buttress their particular views, with its approved and disapproved theologies/philosophies. The major accepted Vaishnava sampradayas (laid down in the padma purana, for instance, those this may be an interpolation) are all dualistic, though shuddhadvaita and vishistadvaita are quite similar to the soft dualisms expressed in some of the "Shaiva approved" philosophies.

    There are minor Vaishnava sampradayas - some would term them asampradayas, which are nondualistic in nature, often agamic as well, such as vaishnava-sahajiya.

    As well as syncretic philosophies such as the shanmata/smartha system (which is advaitic), in which one, or one's family, has as istha-devata one of 5 or 6 deities (Devi, Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesha, Surya, Kumara), are all acknowledged to be viable swarups of Brahman, with the choice being a matter of personal or family preference.

    I have read in passing about a "nondual Kashmir Vaishnavism" and am quite curious to learn more about this should the opportunities arise.

    Beyond the ink and paper Hinduism, a paper tiger which cannot hold the weight by itself of the inaccessible one, there are the paramparas as the pillars of these traditions; the lineages of gurus and shishyas. Through them the essence of Hinduism is brought forth, like Bhagiratha summoning the Ganga for the purification of humanity in its blemished age.

    Gurus who teach dvaitin ideas, may be advaitin. Gurus who teach advaitin ideas may be dvaitin. Gurus who teach both may be between and or beyond both.

    To understand the role of deities and our relationship exoteric accounts of this or that are useful, but not the essence. The true relationship, and nonrelationship of the self and the gods take place in an internal alchemy.

    The universe is held to be composed of deities, spreading their tanuu (presence) through the various elements which make up both the universe and the self. Ultimately, all ensouled individuals are deities functioning in particular roles at particular times. Subtly, all beings exist arrayed in a particular pattern unique to that atman, through the subtle bodies - that is to say, one contains in oneself, all other beings, in a particular pattern. On a subtle level, one's own awakening consists of the awakening of the deities as kundalini, traversing up through the different universes and dimensions, empowers and purifies the deities dwelling there, revealing them in their true form, conveying the transmission of their unique wisdoms like rivers pouring into the mirrorlike ocean of Self. Kundalini does not exist in the vacuum of the individual, its context its universal. The individual awakening is the realizing of its awakeness in all deities.

    In the heart of the subtle body, beyond the koshas, is paramatman, the supreme soul, the supreme consciousness that is within and without, taking all forms, eternal and perfect and those subject to maya.

    The goal of all the philosophies is to realize the paramatman.


    Thsi can all be gleaned through the ink and paper form of Hinduism. Hinduism is of course, much beyond that, being composed of worded (oral) transmissions and, more importantly, the wordless transmissions that are the thread the guru of the paramparas are, like beads in a mala, strung upon - descending through the ages, tending the fire that was sparked in man aeons ago, awaiting the time it spreads its blazing splendor across the earth, and man truly discovers fire a second time.

    Therefore the real question, in my mind, is not "which darshana?" or "which sampradaya? or even "which ishta-devata?" but "who is my guru? who is qualified in this age of fakes to be my guru? who am i qualified to discipline my own fakeness by the grace of?" One's guru may point one down many different paths, sequentially or simultaneously. One may end up being a shaivite, a shakta, an advaitin, a dvaitin, a paradvaitin, a vishisthadvaitin, all at the same time, by virtue of having entertained multiple viewpoints at once, multiple sets of practice at once, in one's overall commitment for the viewless gaze of brahman in which all viewpoints are given up as conceited claims to the truth. One need not wander through the endless maze of contradictions that exist like brambled wilderness between roads of sight, all clearly converging on the city of the infinite, each beholding a gate of dharma.

    Why wander then, when the ways of each are marked out clearly on their respective maps of the infinite, showing the forkings of the road and the ultimate destination.

    It is the territory that they take one to that is important, and they all are vehicles in which the archer, by the sacrifice of his lower mind, places the reins of senses in the hands of the satguru in between the armies of ignorance and knowledge, overwatched by all the gods.

    Bowing to his elder brother and preceptor, he sees them, the tree, the forest, the river, in the eye of the bird. He strike's the mark by winning Draupadi, uniting the five pranas in the central channel, and withdrawing from manifestation the sons of Dritarashtra - who represent the nadis which lead away from the truth.

    It is the guru who is of paramount importance in this equation, it is the guru who cleansed sleep from the eye of Om, the beat of whose wings are the unstruck sound, its sight magnified by the lenses adorning the sushumna, so that even in the infinitesimal hair of a hair is revealed as infinite It is the guru who invokes all the gods in their respective temples housed in the consciousness of the disciple's cosmic being by the power of his samhit hotrin. Fire is kindled in the hrid hotriya - hearth of the heart.

    It is the guru who reveals the path by the light of this all-consuming fire, it is the guru who reveals the self by means of this self-consuming fire, it is the guru who spreads the ashes of knowledge into the world to fertilize the lotuse rising forth from the mud.

    This great god is seated in the heart of all things, all subjects, and all subjects. In the human esoteric sense, He is seated in the heart, and far above the top of the head beyond the voids simultaneously. He is the whole form itself, the transcendental form that was always manifest, hidden in plain sight, in the seemingly material world, made illusory by the delusion of ahamkara (egoic consciousness, which conditions consciousness into this or that, into filtering the infinite into the finite by obscurations, of creating the separation necessary for biological survival , but also necessary for the highly advanced organisms to discard if they wish not to ultimately bring about their own demise, as we are now doing).

    But in order for these forms of his to be revealed, those paragon above the above, beyond the beyond and centered in all things, it is expedient that the forms of the other, the subsidiary deities who subdue the vrittis (natural qualities of fragmented consciousness, through the engagement of which energy is passed through the wrong channels, missing the mark of the sushumna), the guru's blessings are needed to affect the churning of the gunas to their equilibrium, drawn apart by the conflicting breaths.

    It is the guru who reveals the means, it is the means that reveals the unspeakable.

    The sampradayic teachings, the darshanic teachings, and the different theological stances on the matter of dualism, are none of them medicines to heal some wound of the self, but poisons to subdue the ego. The ego of the dvaitin is sacrificed on the altar of eternal selfless servitude, the ego of the advaitin is sacrificed by being the sacrificer, the sacrificed, and the sacrifice - so completely that the ego is dissolved into oneness. The ishta-devata absorbs the self, and what is revealed is inconceivable and ineffable, actionless yet the source of victory in all fields of action.

    [Disclaimer: Some, who might see fit to judge merely by superficial characteristics or activities, might say that due to my sadhanic use of ganja, I am a substance abuser hiding behind a comforting religion, and thus that the above has no value. Batteries not included, some restrictions may apply, objects are closer in the mirror than they appear.]

    My ad-hoc sanskrit grammar is terrible too, I'm sure, and corrections are much appreciated.

    Nonetheless, there are those far greater than I to speak of such things, speaking subtly where I speak grossly.

    Thus we have yogis who, though deeply instilled in a Vaishnava tradition like the Varkari, are also of the Nath, and say such things as:
    Though one, He appears as Shiva and Shakti. Whether it is Shiva joined to Shakti
    Or Shakti joined to Shiva,
    No one can tell.
    I bow to these parents of the worlds,
    Who, by revealing to each other their oneness, Enable me also to know it.
    I make obeisance to Shambhu (Shiva), That perfect Lord who is
    The cause of the beginning, Preservation, and end of the world; The manifestation of the beginning, Middle and end of the world;
    And the dissolution of the three as well.

    ...

    So long as Unity is undisturbed,
    And a graceful pleasure is thereby derived,
    Why should not the water find delight
    In the floral fragrance of its own rippled surface?
    60. It is in this manner, I bow
    To the inseparable Shiva and Shakti.
    61. A reflected image vanishes When the mirror is taken away; The ripples on the water vanish When the wind becomes still.
    62. A man returns to himself
    When he awakens from sleep;
    Likewise, I have perceived the God and Goddess By waking from my ego.
    63. When salt dissolves [in the ocean], It becomes one with the ocean; When my ego dissolved,
    I became one with Shiva and Shakti.
    64. I have paid homage to Shiva and Shakti By uniting with them;
    Just as, when the outer covering
    Of the hollow banyan tree is removed,
    The inner space becomes united with the outer.


    ...And...

    A wise person is aware
    That he, himself, is the Lord, Shiva; Therefore, even when he is not worshipping, He is worshipping.
    50. Now the lamps of action and inaction Have both been snuffed out,
    And worshipping and not worshipping Are sitting in the same seat,
    And eating from the same bowl.

    In such a state,
    The sacred scriptures are the same as censure, And censure itself
    Is the same as a sweet hymn of praise.

    52. Both praise and censure
    Are, in fact, reduced to silence;
    Even though there is speech, It is silence.
    53. No matter where he goes,
    That sage is making pilgrimage to Shiva; And, if he attains to Shiva,
    That attainment is non-attainment.
    ...

    And...


    55. No matter what his eyes fall upon At any time,
    He always enjoys the vision of Shiva.
    56. If Shiva Himself appears before him, It is as if he has seen nothing;
    For God and His devotee Are on the same level.
    57. Of its own nature,
    A ball falls to the ground,
    And bounces up again, Enraptured in its own bliss.
    58. If ever we could watch The play of a ball,
    We might be able to say something About the behavior of the sage.
    59. The spontaneous, natural devotion Cannot be touched by the hand of action, Nor can knowledge penetrate it.
    60. It goes on without end, In communion with itself.
    What bliss can be compared to this?
    61. This natural devotion is a wonderful secret; It is the place in which meditation
    And knowledge become merged.
    62. Hari and Hara (Vishnu and Shiva) Are, of course, really the same;
    But now, even their names and forms Have become identical.
    63. Oh, and Shiva and Shakti,
    Who were swallowing each other,
    Are now both swallowed up simultaneously.
    64. And even the subtlest speech, Eating up all objects
    And drinking up gross speech, Has now taken its rest in sleep.
    65. O blissful and almighty Lord!
    You have made us the sole sovereign In the kingdom of perfect bliss.
    66. How wonderful
    That You have awakened the wakeful, Laid to rest those who are sleeping, And made us to realize
    Our own Self!
    67. We are Yours entirely! Out of love,
    You include us as Your own, As is befitting Your greatness.
    68. You do not receive anything from anyone, Nor do You give anything of
    Yourself to anyone else.
    We do not know how You enjoy your greatness.
    69. As the Guru, you are the greatest of the great; But You are also very light,
    Capable of buoying up your disciples,
    And thus saving them from drowning in the world.
    Only by Your grace can these dual qualities Of Yours be understood.
    70. Would the scriptures have extolled You, If, by sharing it with Your disciple,
    Your unity were disturbed?
    71. O noble One!
    It is Your pleasure
    To become our nearest and dearest By taking away from us
    Our sense of difference from You.


    And:

    Now I offer salutations to him
    Who is the well-spring of the garden of sadhana, 1
    The auspicious conduit of divine Will, And, though formless,
    The very incarnation of compassion.
    2. I offer salutations to him
    Who comes to the aid of the Self Which is suffering limitation
    In the wilderness of ignorance.
    3. I bow to my Guru, Nivritti,
    Who, by slaying the elephant of Maya, Has made a dish of the pearls
    Taken from its temple.
    4. By his mere glance, Bondage becomes liberation,
    And the knower becomes the known.
    5. He distributes the gold of liberation to all, Both the great and the small;
    It is He who gives the vision of the Self.
    6. As for his powers,
    He surpasses even the greatness of Shiva. He is a mirror in which the Self
    Sees the reflection of its own Bliss.
    7. It is by his grace
    That all the moon-phases of sadhana Culminate in the full moon of realization.
    8. All the sadhaka’s efforts cease When he meets the Guru.
    He is the ocean in which the river of activity has ceased to be.
    9. When he is absent,
    One wears the lovely cloak of appearance; When he appears,
    The cloak of diversity vanishes.
    10. The Sun of his grace turns the darkness of ignorance
    Into the light of Self-knowledge.
    11. The water of his grace Washes the soul so clean
    That he regards even Shiva as unclean, And does not wish to be touched
    Even by him.
    12. He abandoned the greatness of his own state To save his disciple,
    Yet his true greatness has never been abandoned.

    ...

    When knowledge discovers him within, He swallows up the knower;
    And still he does not become impure.
    16. With his help,
    The soul attains the state of Brahman; But if he is indifferent,
    Brahman has no more worth than a blade of grass.
    17. Those who faithfully endeavor, Regarding his will as law,
    Obtain the ripe fruit of their efforts.
    18. Unless the well-spring of his glance Waters the garden of knowledge, There will be no fruit in the hand.
    19. By casting a mere glance,
    He makes the world of appearance Recede and vanish.
    Though his conquest is great,
    He does not call it his own.
    20. He has attained the great status of Guru By possessing no status.
    His wealth is his ability
    To rid us of what does not exist.

    ...

    To the Sun, there is no night;
    To pure water, there is no salt;
    To one who is awake, there is no sleep.
    42. In the presence of fire, camphor cannot remain;
    In his presence, name and form cease to be.
    43. Though I try to bow to him,
    He does not remain before me
    As an object of my worship.
    He does not allow any sense of difference.
    44. The Sun does not become something else In order to serve as a means for its rising; Neither does he become an object for my
    worship.
    45. By no means may one place oneself before him;
    He has removed the possibility
    Of his being an object of anyone’s worship.
    46. If you mirror the sky,
    No reflection may be seen;
    Neither is he an object
    Which someone may worship.
    47. So what if he is not an object of worship! Why should it seem so mysterious to me? But he does not leave any trace
    Of the one who goes to worship!
    48. When the outside of a garment is opened, The inside is opened as well.
    49. Or, as a mirrored image must vanish When the object of reflection is gone, So must the one who worships vanish When the object of worship disappears.
    50. Our vision is worthless where there is no form.
    We are placed in such a state By the grace of his feet.
    51. The flame of a lamp is kept burning continually By the combination of the wick and the oil;
    A piece of camphor cannot keep it burning.
    52. For, as soon as the camphor and flame are united, Both of them vanish at the same time.
    53. When he is seen,
    Both worshipper and the object of worship vanish, As dreams vanish at the moment of waking.
    54. By these verses, I have made a finish of duality And also honored by beloved Sri Guru.
    55. How wonderful is his friendship! He has manifested duality
    In the form of Guru and disciple
    Where there is not even a place for one!

    56. How does he have a close relationship with himself When there is no one other than himself?
    He can never become anything other than himself!
    57. He becomes as vast as the sky,
    Including the entire universe within himself. Within him,
    Even darkness and non-existence dwell.
    58. An ocean fulfills the needs of all,
    Yet it cannot be fulfilled itself.
    Also, in the Guru’s house
    Such contradictions happily live together.

    ...
    60. Although the supreme Reality is one, Differences arise within It;
    But how does differentiation detract From the unity of the whole?
    ..
    Just as the awakened and the awakener are the same,
    The Guru is both the receiver of knowledge
    And the one who imparts it as well.
    Still, he continues to uphold the relationship of Master and disciple.
    68. If one could see his own eye without a mirror, There would be no need of this sport of theGuru.
    69. Therefore, he nourishes this intimate relationship
    Without causing duality or disturbing the unity.
    ...
    -Dnyaneshwar (Amrtanubhav, , translation by Swami Abhayananda, available on request from his site.

    And yet, in his Haripatha he will say such things as:

    Hari is equally in everyone 
    He’s as much in all our souls as He is in the gods; He’s the inner Self of all.
    Therefore, don’t weary your mind with strange
    practices;
    Jnanadev says: You will experience heaven Just by chanting Hari’s name.
    Everywhere you look, you’ll see only Him.

    This insubstantial universe, this web
    Of interacting qualities (gunas),
    Is but His superficial form;
    His essence is the formless ‘I’
    Which is always the same,
    Unaffected by the interplay of the qualities.
    If you discriminate in this way, you will understand That the continual remembrance of Hari
    Is the supreme goal to be attained.
    Hari is both the Formless and the changing forms;
    Remember Him, lest your mind wander idly
    He, Himself, has no form;
    He cannot be seen.
    He cannot be bound to a single form;
    He’s the Source of all forms,
    Both the animate and the inanimate. Jnanadev says: Rama-Krishna, the Lord,
    Has pervaded my mind;
    He is all I meditate on.

    ...

    When one receives the grace of a saint,
    His ego-consciousness dissolves;
    Eventually, even God-consciousness will dissolve. If you light a piece of camphor,
    It produces a bright flame;
    But after awhile, both camphor and flame disappear. In the same way, God-consciousness
    Supplants ego-consciousness at first,
    But eventually,
    Even the awareness ‘I am He’ dissolves.

    ...
    One who comes under the influence of a saint
    Has arrived at the gates of Liberation;
    He will attain all glory.
    Jnanadev says: I delight in the company of the saints! It is due to their grace that I see Hari everywhere  In the forest, in the crowds, and also in myself.

    ...
    If our minds incline us to the company of the saints, Then we’ll acquire the knowledge of God.
    Let your tongue be ever chanting His name;
    Let your hunger be ever for Him.
    Even Shiva, who is absorbed in His own Self, Loves to hear the repetition of God’s name. Those who single-mindedly chant His name Will realize Him, and be freed from duality; They’ll revel forever in the awareness of Unity.


    ...
    Those lovers of god who drink the nectar of His name Enjoy the same sweetness that yogis enjoy
    When their Kundalini Shakti awakes.
    Love for the Name arose early in Prahlada;
    Uddhava won discipleship to Krishna
    Through his love of the Name.
    Jnanadev says: The way of Hari’s name is so easy; Yet, see how rare it is!
    Few indeed are those who know
    The infinite power of His name.

    ...
    Fundamentally, in order to establish faith in the path, those who are to be disciplined must be convinced of the superiority of that path, as reason to follow it, as they must be convinced of the superiority of men, in order to follow them, or the supremacy of gods, in order to bow to them.

    Thus, the varying messages for varying minds, which too often result in minds at odds rather than at peace.

    Namaste
    Last edited by Shuddhasattva; 12 July 2012 at 02:39 AM.

  5. #5
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    Re: Can I follow the vaishnava customs as one accepting advaita over dvaita?

    Vannakkam Elizabeth: It's never fun to be confused, that's for sure. Then sometimes listening to a bunch of advice from all sorts of people just makes it worse, because there are so many different answers.

    I remember at a wedding where some old Aunt gave this advice to the newlyweds, "Never listen to anyone's advice."

    I have been at Arunachala as well, but most likely on different purpose ... mainly to see the magnificent Siva temple there, even though circumstances made it impossible to go. You most likely went to visit Ramana's ashram. There is no doubt His vibration more or less permeates the place.

    The bhakti of Vaishnavism is also in Saivism, most easily seen ion Murugan bhakti. There is little philosophy in Murugan bhakti, and the devotee are pretty hard core. The songs and styles will differ, but bhakti being the central focus is quite similar.

    Ramana was a realised jnani of superb quality. One of the confusions I see arising for many is what I recently heard termed colloquially as 'lip Vedantist' ... in other words someone who can state the philosophy, but doesn't have the jnani's experience to back it up. In other words the true realisation of Vedantic truths are not found by reading, but by meditating. You don't get to Edinburgh by reading the map, you have to get in your car, or on a bus and travel there.

    I pray Lord Vigneswara (Ganesha) may remove some obstacles to your personal clarity on the matter.

    Best wishes.

    Aum Namasivaya

  6. #6

    Re: Can I follow the vaishnava customs as one accepting advaita over dvaita?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eastern Mind View Post
    Vannakkam Elizabeth: It's never fun to be confused, that's for sure. Then sometimes listening to a bunch of advice from all sorts of people just makes it worse, because there are so many different answers.

    I remember at a wedding where some old Aunt gave this advice to the newlyweds, "Never listen to anyone's advice."

    I have been at Arunachala as well, but most likely on different purpose ... mainly to see the magnificent Siva temple there, even though circumstances made it impossible to go. You most likely went to visit Ramana's ashram. There is no doubt His vibration more or less permeates the place.

    The bhakti of Vaishnavism is also in Saivism, most easily seen ion Murugan bhakti. There is little philosophy in Murugan bhakti, and the devotee are pretty hard core. The songs and styles will differ, but bhakti being the central focus is quite similar.

    Ramana was a realised jnani of superb quality. One of the confusions I see arising for many is what I recently heard termed colloquially as 'lip Vedantist' ... in other words someone who can state the philosophy, but doesn't have the jnani's experience to back it up. In other words the true realisation of Vedantic truths are not found by reading, but by meditating. You don't get to Edinburgh by reading the map, you have to get in your car, or on a bus and travel there.

    I pray Lord Vigneswara (Ganesha) may remove some obstacles to your personal clarity on the matter.

    Best wishes.

    Aum Namasivaya

    Namaste,

    Right, being confused is never fun... well-written.
    In fact, I can't let go of Ramana and Arunachala or they don't let me go, I don't know. In fact, a friend of mine belonging to the ISKCON began telling me about worshipping the Shivaling etc. What I have learnt about it so far are much more different than her views. Her views of it and shaiva yogis are really rude.

    For example,
    I have learnt that the shiva "lingam" means a "symbol" / "mark" of Shiva - eg Arunachala is the Fire lingam of Shiva.
    But my friend has just referred me to such articles where the shiva lingam is degraded to the unity of male and female organs, etc.


    But if I get back to the teachings of Ramana, it is beyond wordly things so to say. It is also said that Shiva once appeared as a culomn of light in front of Vishnu and Brahman and that is also a kind of shiva lingam.

    Furtheremore Ramana did not really pay much attention to these symbols, yogis etc. So if I really follow his teachings then I also have nothing much to do with such...in certain ways.



    On the other hand following vaishnava customs and the teachings of Ramana contradicts at certain places and it just leads me to further confusions. Oh my God.

    You may be right saying "Never listen to anyone's advice" except for this one.
    Maybe the best is to pray to Ganesha to remove these obstacles and bring clarity. I love Ganesha, too.

    Arunachalam

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    Re: Can I follow the vaishnava customs as one accepting advaita over dvaita?

    Vannakkam Elizabeth: I view the lingam as a mark, and ignore what anyone else says. My intuition is strong enough, and my confidence in what I believe is strong enough to do that. Listening to many POVs just brings confusion, so I don't listen. That may sound arrogant, but its what works for me. I've been down the pondering this and that path, and it just went in circles.

    I would love to be at Arunaleswara, or Arunachala at Sivalaya Deepam night.
    My path is Saiva bhakti, fully knowing it will eventually lead to advaitic truths, but not without internalising the worship in a very real way.

    Our next India pilgrimage, if indeed it ever comes to pass, will be the 5 elemental Siva temples, which can be found in the mantra, na - earth, ma - water, si - fire, (Arunaleswara) va - air, and ya - ether.

    Best wishes for Ganesha's guidance. I'm sure he'll do a great job, wither the goad or the noose. (sounds more like the noose from here.)

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: Can I follow the vaishnava customs as one accepting advaita over dvaita?

    Namaste,

    Different people interprete one thing in many ways.

    So it is left to you to imagine Shiva Linga as something related to male-female union.

    But for a subtle mind / intellect devotee, it is a symbol of Lord Shiva - the formless one i.e. it does not have a form of any thing. Just a natural shape. Similarly Vishnu's stone Shaligram is a natural stone is egg like or oval shaped.

    What matters is how to interpret things. If you think of it as :

    Divinity or lord Shiva is manifesting through this linga and that you have faith that Shiva Resides in subtle form, then entire perception will change.

    You grasp according to your mindset, so does people have different interpretations and understandings.

    Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa worshipped Maa Kali's idol as though she is physically present and finally he had Maa Kali's divine vision. He talked to her like we talk to each other. Same idol is still present and lacs of people are visiting and even worshiping same idol, then why are they not getting divine vision?

    It all depends upon amount of faith and surrender. So just ignore that male-female union. and no need to discuss about it. Let others waster time in discussing,

    Now, Regarding Bhakti and jnana i.e. duality or non-duality,

    If you are of emotional nature, then you will find dvaita (duality) easier and if you are of intellectual character i.e. your emotions do not change your decision, then advaita (non-duality) will suit you.

    If you want scientific explanation of everything, go for Yog

    For the ones who has zeel and spirit of doing some work like seva or open school, etc, then Karma suits them best.

    Ramana Maharshi's teachings are very direct, advaita is also a direct path. So once your intellect accepts it's logic, it's hard to stay away from it. Then practising it and applying or living advaita life is another question.

    In simple words, Advaita is for pure minds and for ones who only want moksha and not anything else. He/she is ready to leave everything in this world for moksha.

    such a person prefers to stay neutral to likes and dislikes and even does not perform seva. Seva is for extrovert mind, since extrovert mind is not fit for meditation.

    Entire karma kaand is for chitta shuddi, then according to ones nature, one shifts to either bhakti (idol worship) or Jnana (formless brahman)

    All paths requires grace of God.

    Duality has an advantage. You can complain, get angry, vent frustration to your deity.

    In advaita, to whom will you vent our frustration. Formless God is everywhere, where should is catch God? You need some adhara (support) which you need for emotional outlet.

    Even complaining will bring closer to god and will help one calm down, as after emotional outlet, mind calms down. In this case you un-consciously begin to treat God as a living being and not just as a stone statue. This is important. You are getting attached to God.

    In advaita, you have to find the source of thoughts or mantra.

    Sri Ramakrishna says, dvaita, visista dvaita and Advaita are not contradictory. They compliment each other. They are steps to Self Realization. From duality to non-duality.

    Self Realization is the ultimate State and necessary to be free from cycle of birth and death.

    In dvaita, Divine vision of God is considered to be highest and devotee is ready to take thousand birth to experience this divine state and be at lotus feet of God. Devotee will not say I am Brahman, but will treat him/her as a servant of God.

    though divine vision of any form of God is not final state, still one can reach the final state.

    how?

    simply by God's grace. If you have surrendered everything that you have to God, is it not God's duty to make you Self Realized?

    You have left everything. God is your only refuge. You accept whatever comes to you - good or bad as prasad of God. Then Gods takes your responsibility.

    Sri Ramakrishna never went to Hid advaita guru Sri Totapuri, Totapuri came to him and asked him to be his disciple. Sri Ramakrishna asked Maa Kali and Maa Kali gave him permission to learn under Sri Totapuri.

    Similarly, Narsi Mehta was a devotee of Sri Krishna, but one day, while doing pooja, he realized that who is giving inspiration to do pooja. Answer can 'Sri Krishna' So he realized and went beyond Dvaita singing (in Gujarati) 'Brahma latkaa kare Brahma saame' meaning Brahman is worshiping Brahman.

    He then shifted to advaita.

    I think this will make things clear.

    The only difference in dvaita and advaita is that In advaita the goal of moksha from beginning, while in dvaita, goal may keeping changing from asking personal favours to divine vision to moksha.

    In the end destination is one. So the best path is the best that suits you.

    The key is - things are all symbolic. Gita and advaita is said from mental level.

    And please do not think that you are posting stupid questions and bothering others. No question is stupid. It is appreciable that you are opening your mind.

    I hope this is helpful.

    and .. thanks for reading such a long post.
    Only God Is Truth, Everything Else Is Illusion - Ramakrishna
    Total Surrender of Ego to SELF is Real Bhakti - Ramana Maharshi

    Silence is the study of the scruptures. Meditation is the continuous thinking of Brahman which is to be meditated upon. The complete negation of both by knowledge is the vision of truth – sadAcAra-14 of Adi SankarAcArya

    namah SivAya vishnurUpAya viShNave SivarUpiNe, MBh, vanaparva, 3.39.76

    Sanskrit Dict | MW Dict | Gita Super Site | Hindu Dharma

  9. #9

    Re: Can I follow the vaishnava customs as one accepting advaita over dvaita?

    What should be done ?

    Go to a proper teacher who knows the scriptures well and listen to Bhagavad Gita lectures throughly. I would suggest you to listen to Swami Dayananda Saraswati of Arsha Vidya gurukul [not arya samaj].

    Then come back and listen to Ramana . There wont be any problem.
    The confusion comes from lack of understanding. Its not about belief. its about being able to Be the Truth. Customs etc are insignificant.

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    Re: Can I follow the vaishnava customs as one accepting advaita over dvaita?

    namaste

    No, you can not become part of both vaishnab and advaitavad. because there are some basic differences for which you will feel uncomfortable. to a vaishnab, there is no such brahma who is nirguna nirakara and nirvishesa rather to them sri krishna is the bhagavan who is sagun sakar and savishes. advaitavad never accepts brahma is sagun sakar savishes.depending on this basic defference some more differences appear. to a vaishanav it is bhakti which is required for getting the seva of lotus feet of sri krishna. vaishnab never desires moksha. vaishnab desires krishna prem. I do not think these basic differences can be mixed up in one solution .

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