What I realize this – just as so many people claim to be doing “Vedic astrology” but really cannot quote a single shloka from any jataka shastra or hora shatra (they cannot quote a single verse from any Vedic book) – similarly everyone thinks they know what Vedic spirituality is all about – without being able to even quote a single sutra or shloka from any Vedic scripture.
In Kali Yuga everyone will consider themselves an authority, without giving reference to any authority.
Here are the essential facts:
1) There are six visions (darshans) of Vedic philosophy.
– Nyaya: logic (which is expressly dedicated AGAINST the “absolute oneness” theory of Shankaracarya)
– Vaisesika: science (a subset of Nyaya)
– Samkhya: scrutiny (which differentiates 24-26 parts of existence to help us understand and become free from misery)
– Yoga: application (a subset of Samkhya, applying the principles for the sake of linking the individual soul to the personal godhead, Ishvara)
– Mimamsa: ritual (pristine performance of ritual as the means of salvation)
– Vedanta: philosophy (also called uttara-mimamsa because it focuses on the PURPOSE of ritual)
2) The theory of absolute oneness propounded by Shankaracarya and made famous by his parampara disciple Vivekananda is a SUB-BRANCH of Vedanta.
Therefore the following statement is undeniably, objectively true: It is a wild misconception that Vedic culture supports the absolute destruction of ego in favor of merging with a spiritual oneness or nothingness. This is a vastly minority opinion, held only by the relatively few followers of Sankar-acarya and some of the followers of Shakya-Muni (Buddha). The vast majority of Vedic philosophy completely opposes the idea that there is no eternal individual ego.
The indisputable fact is that the vast majority of Vedic philosophy holds that the individual is an eternal being, with an eternal individual identity – temporarily placed into illustion and thus obtaining a debased form of disconnection with the divine and an illusory life and ego.
I know this is facebook, but please have the courtesy and humility to defer to facts and more importantly to the authority of the Sastra.
Here is the VERY BEGINNING of the essence of the Upanishads – Gita Upanishad, Bhagavad Gita – the 12th verse of the 2nd chapter – the very BEGINNING of the philosophy of the Gita:
na tvevAhaM jAtu nAsaM na tvam.h neme janAdhipaaH .
na chaiva na bhavishhyAmassarve vayamataH param.h
Here are the meanings of the words:
na — not
tu — emphatically not
jAtu—at any time
nAsaM—was I not
na ime —–nor these
na cha —- and not
eva – emphatically not
nabhaviShyAmaH —-shall we cease to be
sarve vayaM—- all of us
Here is a translation into English: Certainly there was never, ever a time where there was not I, you, and all these kings. And certainly there will never, ever be a time that any of us cease to be.
I = Krsna, who represents brahman, bhagavan – the enlighened being, Godhead.
You = Arjuna, who represents the jiva, the soul.
Kings = All the kings on the Kurukshetra battlefield, representing multiplicity among Jivas.
Thus the clear and direct meaning is that there has always been a difference between godhead and the soul, and that there has always been invidivuality. And there allways well be, in both the conditioned state (represented by Arjuna and the kings) and the enlightened state (represented by Krsna).
This fundamental, basic, simple verse is one which completely SHATTERS the conclusions of Shankaracarya and the advaita-vadi school. Shankaracarya dealt with this and similar verses by stating that the author of the Vedas, Srila Vyasadeva WAS IN ILLUSION! There is no other way around it. However if the author was in illusion, than no part of the Vedas (not tat-tvam-asi or any other so-called “maha-vakya”) is of any merit so Shankaracarya has no basis of authority.
Shakaracarya has no fault whatsoever, for he is Mahadeva Shiva and was ordered to perform these tasks as part of the gradual reformation of understanding. However those who insist on sticking with these conclusions even after the reformation has moved forward, are unfortunate.