Saturday, 14 January 2012

Haiku

Haiku

The only grace of the first day of the Film Festival was Nandan Saxena’s Poetry Film ‘Third Removed from Reality’. It was a trilogy of three ‘short’ (adjective) short-films (noun), each one based on three Haikus. It is a pleasure to listen to Nandan. He knows so much about a myriad of subjects, and can present it cogently to his audience, creating natural interest. He was the natural sutradhar of the three-day festival.

My Sanskrit Professor writes Haikus in Sanskrit. Being a dry, and serious research person with an analytical mind, with no room for any kind of imagination, I never showed any interest in any poetry. This time, the filmmaker created an interest on Haiku in me.

So from him, I got to know that of the three lines in a Haiku (always plural), the middle line is the connection between the first and last lines; and unless one understands the middle line, one could be surprised/shocked where one finds oneself to be.

If I understood Nandan correctly, in his trilogy, that was screened, the middle film also was the connection between the first and third. And they (Nandan and Kavita, the Film-makers) had to wait a long time to get the connecting/connectable Haiku to complete the trilogy. Although I enjoyed the presentation, I think it was a challenge to everybody’s grey matter.

So the three films were - ‘I Sit Like Buddha’, O Autumn Winds!, and Nights and Days of the Bamboo Song. The last Haiku that read something like ‘This cold night, -----, the Buddha’s head will make a great fire’, indeed showed the maturity of the religion/culture, that is possible only in Buddhism and Hinduism (as aptly pointed by Nandan). Anywhere else, such a statement will be termed as blasphemy.

In the post-screen discussion, Nirad Mohapatra quoted a familiar Zen - ‘Sitting quietly, doing nothing, Spring comes, and the grass grows by itself’. Wonderful memory, connection and recollection. Mr. Mohapatra is a great scholar besides being a sensitive and acclaimed film-maker.

Coming home/ashram, I Google the famous Zen saying. It appears to have been hijacked by Osho. Finally I source it to ‘Zenrin Kushu’ = An Anthology of Passages from the Forests of Zen’ 134, 222, assiduously compiled by Toya Echi (1428-1504), and published as late as in 1668.

 Anthology "Zenrinkushu" was compiled by Eicho (1429-1504), a disciple of Secco of Myoshinji. The items (4000 in all) are collected from about two hundred books, including various Zen writings:
"The Analects", "The Great Learning", "The Doctrine of the Mean", "Mencius", "The Odes", "Laotse", "Chuangtse", "The Hekiganroku", "Mumonkan", "Shinjinmei", the poetry of Kanzan,
Toenmei, Toho, Ritaihaku, Hakurakuten. The first 73 of the following are taken from the book:  R.H.Blyth, "Haiku", vol.1, pp.25-33.

Enough research for the day.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Ardhanäriswara

Ardhanäriswara

The concept of Ardhanäriswara is unique in Hindu religion. It represents the Lord as the  abhinna-nimitta-upädäna-kärana of this manifest jagat. The left side represented by Sakti/Pärvati/Devi is the Prakrti, the upädäna-kärana – the material cause of the jagat. The right side represented by Siva is the nimitta-kärana – intelligent cause of the jagat.



Ardhanäriswara, Stone
Khajuraho, Chandella, 11th century

Ardhanäriswara, Stone
Däraäuram, Tamil Nadu
(Photo - Author)



In Advaita Vedänta, mäyä is not an independent or parallel entity. She is ‘brahmäsrayä mäyä. Hence, the female form is shown integrated into the male form.

 

Ardhanäriswara, Chola Bronze,
11th century, Govt. Museum, Chennai
Ardhanäriswara, Bronze,
Vijayanagara, 16th century,
National Museum, New Delhi



Ardhanäriswara
Calendar Art





There are Puränic stories/explanation of this form. However, my understanding is as above.

***

Plagiarism and Research, Adaptation and Inspiration



Plagiarism and Research, Adaptation and Inspiration

‘To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.’

Good definition. Yeah!

When I was struggling in 2009, to complete my Ph.D. dissertation/thesis within the deadline, my Vedänta/Pänini/Chanting-student (who was earlier my classmate, while I was doing my Masters in Sanskrit) said, ‘All this is fine. But, where is your own input/conclusion?’ I said, ‘My dear Horatio! There is nothing original in our area of interest, except Rgveda. Even the other three Vedas are repetition of Rgveda.

Rgveda (Säkala-säkha) has 10,552 mantras.




Krshna-Yajurveda (Taittiriya-säkhä) has 700 hymns from Rgveda-Samhitä.

Sukla-Yajurveda (containing 2,085 mantras) is in fact Krshna-Yajurveda made easy by Rshi Yäjnavalkya (by separating the mantra and brähmana portions) for you and me.

All but 99 of Sämaveda’s (Ränäyaniya-Säkhä) 1,875 verses (sämans) are borrowed from Rgveda.

About a fifth (20%) material of Atharvaveda (Saunaka-Säkhä) is from the Rgveda, with variations in reading.

So why do you want to undermine/belittle my composition skill, the ability to put things more cogently, so that it is easily understood by average readers?

***
Now within the Rgveda, if I have to show the repetitions, this blog itself will become a mini-research, and I may lose some of my readers.

Äpri-Suktam
Most significant is the repetition of three consecutive verses of the Äprisüktas RV-III.4.8-11 seen by Visvämitra Gäthina, in VII.2.8-11 seen by Vasishtha Maiträvaruni. This is considered the longest repetition in Rgveda.

I innocently asked one Sanskrit Professor (Veda), how did this happen. His reply was, ‘Vasishtha did tapas, saw the mantras. Visvämitra did tapas, saw the same mantras.’ I keep my understanding/conclusion to myself.

Sauri-Rk(RV-IV.40.5)
The famous Sauri-Rk (RV-IV.40.5) addressed to Sürya in the fourth mandala – ‘hamsah sucishad, vasur-antarikshasad, hotä vedishad, atithir-duronasat—is repeated in Sukla-Yajurveda-X.24, XII.14, SYV-Känvasäkhä XIII.5.18, XV.6.25, Taittiriya-Samhitä-I.8.15.2, IV.2.1.5, Aitareya-Brähmana-IV.20, Taittiriya-Äranyaka-X.10.2 in toto.

Süryä Sävitri-Suktam (RV-X.85)
Süryä Sävitri (daughter of Sürya) is the seer of RV-X.85 containing forty-seven rcä, conventionally used in the wedding. This Süktam contains the complete description of her wedding ritual. Hence, this is known as Süryä-Süktam or Viväha-Süktam.

Of the 47 mantras of this Viväha-Süktam, at least 42 are repeated in to to, or with some changes, and in different sequence in the fourteenth (31 mantras repeated) and fifteenth (11 mantras repeated) kändas of Atharvaveda credited to Süryä Sävitri. Both the kändas are about her/Vedic wedding, the seer also being Süryä-Sävitri.

Mantras X.18 and 19 with minor modifications are also repeated in Atharvaveda as AV-VII.86.1 and 2, the Rshi being Atharvä, and the Devatäs being Sävitré, Sürya and Candramä.

Bhägya-Suktam (RV-VII.41)
Then there is Bhägya-Süktam ÅV.-VII.41 containing seven åcä, where Vasiñöha has invoked all the Devatäs and Bhaga for prosperity and well-being. This is repeated in Taittiréya-Brähmaëa-II.8.9.

Source/s of Mantras of Navagraha-Süktam
Navagraha-Süktam available in popular texts and regularly chanted in temples is not available in Rgveda, since the grahas (celestial bodies) were not yet treated as devatäs. They appear to have been compiled later in post-Vedic period being adaptations of various rcä. Their source has been identified.

Seeds of Upanishadic Mantras in Rgveda
Many Upanishadic mantras have their seed in Rgveda.

dvä suparnä sayujä sakhäyä samänam vrksham pari shasvajäte,
  tayor-anyah pippalam svädvatti-anasnan-anyo abhi cäkasiti’
                                                                         - RVS -I.164.20 = Mun. Up.- III.1.1

‘asatah sad-ajäyata’
- AVS -X.72.2, 3=Ch. Up.-VI.2.1




Vikramorvasiya is based on Purüravä-Urvasi-Samväda (RV-X.95).
Kälidäsa’s famous drama Vikramorvasiya is based on Purüravä-Urvasé-Samväda (RV-X.95).

Bhagavad-Gitä has many slokas adapted from Kathopanishad. (please see my third article on Kathopanishad.

Rämäyana
There are around 300 versions of Rämäyana.
(Wiki) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Versions_of_Ramayana

Mändukya-Kärikä on Mula-Madhyamaka-Kärikä
Mändukya-Kärikä of Gaudapäda (6th century CE) is based on Mula-Madhyamaka-Kärikä of Nagarjuna (1st century CE)

Kathä Literature
The famous Panchatantra is available in different recensions and recasts, the best-known recast being Näräyana’s Hitopadesa. Hitopadesa was an adaptation of Panchatantra (around 3rd century BCE). Panchatantra is the most frequently translated literary product of India.

Brhat-kathä-manjari by Kshemendra (1025-1075 CE), and the famous Kathä-sarit-sägara of Somadeva (1063-1081?), both from Kashmir, are in metrical Sanskrit, being translation of the original ‘Brhat-kathä’ of 100,000 sloka written in Paisachi language by Gunäditya (1st-4th century CE).

Dance
‘Odissi is a poor imitation of Bharatanätyam’, so said Rukmini Devi Arundale in 1960s!

Paintings
How many Sunflowers I have seen based on Van Gogh’s, and how many adaptations of ‘Last Supper’?

Bollywood
Of the many adaptations in Bollywood, one good one was Dil Diyä Dard Liyä, a remake of Wuthering Heights.

Bollywood Music
The famous Song (or Kafi) ‘Merä Piyä Ghar Äyä is a Punjabi Sufi song written by noted Punjabi Mystic Poet Baba Bulleh Shah alias Abdulla Shah (1680-1757 CE). He composed this poem at the return of his spiritual guru Inäyat Shah. This song is part of most of the Qawwali performances. It is one of the best known songs of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and part of his album ‘Qawwali:The Essential Collection’. The Song was cleverly and quickly adapted by Anu Malik on Mädhuri and became an instant hit, before the general public could identify the source of lyric or music. Qawwalis are Sufi devotional/love songs dedicated to the Divinity in Islam, popular in Punjab and Sind regions of Pakistan and India.

The above is based on what I have studied/read/glanced through/listened/seen. What I have not read/listened/seen must be endless.

And they say, ‘I am inspired by the concept’. So am I.

Bibliography
  1. Saraswati, Ätmaprajnänanda, Nomenclature of the Vedas
  2. Saraswati, Ämaprajnänanda, Rsikas of the Rgveda
  3. The Cultural heritage of India, The Ramakrishna Mission, Institute of Culture
  4. Wikipedia
5.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Versions_of_Ramayana

***
Did you read this in Indian express on 7th ?

Shakespeare borrowed from Boccacio, T S Eliot shored up his work with plundered fragments, and Disney, the most zealous enforcer of copyright, freely filched from myth and fairytale around the world. Would Joyce’s own Ulysses have been possible without the great wellspring of the Odyssey?
- (Free at last, Editorial, Indian express, 7th January 2012)

and this today on 8th ?

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Interpretation of Dharma



Interpretation of Dharma

Dharma is a dynamic thing. Dharma cannot be kept in a museum like a manuscript. Dharma can be maintained only by dharmis – one who adhere to dharma, s/he a living human being. That is why ‘dharmo rakshati rakshitah’ meaning ‘rakshito dharma (alone) rakshati’; meaning ‘to get protection from dharma, one has to practice dharma’.

So dharma has to be interpreted by scholars and dharma-sästra-käras. What if they cannot and will not for whatsoever reason. Well, it is bad for the religion/faith/cult/group.

It happened not very long ago. In August 2011, a Buddhist nun was violated in Nepal. And the dharma-sästra-käras said, she cannot be taken back into the sangha. The judgment shocked the world. These are the one of many things, which create detest against any religion among thinking people.

Thankfully, the Singing Nun who gave her shelter in her school, was not a ‘vinaya teacher’. She empathized with the victim, and was bold enough to shelter her. Now between the dharma-sästra-käras and the singing nun, who represents Buddhism? Of course the Singing Nun.

The issues that BBC correspondent Surendra Phuyal identifies are -

  1. Will the nun get justice?
  2. Will she be integrated back to the society?
  3. Will she be reinstated as the Buddhist nun?

I feel,

  1. No justice can be done. Even the vindication of Draupadi was not enough. However, history will blame legal authorities (police and judiciary), if they fail in punishing the guilty, and rehabilitating the victim in the community/society.

  1. She should be integrated back to society. Here the responsibility falls on the society to be proactive and provide support. In this, Choying Drolma’s steps is exemplary. I am proud help came from another woman, another nun. All of us must shake ourselves from our smugness, and contribute whatever the situation demands.


  1. So who causes more pain? Those men who violated her, or he/they who are deciding her fate after the abuse. What is more shocking, inhuman; the abuse or the decision of the sangha, that she cannot join back the sangha. Of course the sangha’s decision. Men and women join the sangha after being disillusioned with the world. If the sangha lets them down, s/he will have no other refuge. They why the mantrasangham saranam gacchämi?’ This is a situation where dharma has to be interpreted. How can Norbu Sherpa say, ‘Such a thing never happened in Buddha’s lifetime, so he did not leave any instruction about how to deal with the situation---’. Buddha did not leave any instructions in the possibility of Chinese taking over Tibet either. Why there are so many voluntary self-immolations by the Buddhist monks and nuns to protest, to highlight the Tibet issue. And for his statement that ‘A vessel that is damaged once, can no longer be used to keep water’, well, it can surely be used to keep rice, sugar, anything solid, or may be as a paper-weight. Male chauvinism!!!

The accident does not reflect the Buddhist society or Nepal’s society. It can (but should never) to anybody. As I said, dharma is dynamic. Life can put anyone in any situation. One must know to write one’s script and follow, and not dig into sästra and say, ‘Oh, such a thing never happened in Buddha’s time, so we cannot decide in her favour.’

I feel privileged to publish the Singing Nun’s pictures. I am her ardent admirer since that incident/accident.














You may also like to know more about her. What it takes to be what she is!
I am told in the Mahäbhärata, when Bhisma was delivering the knowledge of administration to Dharmaräja Yudhisthira, Draupadi laughed remarking, ‘O! You know so much! What happened to your knowledge and prowess when I was being humiliated in the Kuru-sabhä’!’ Wrong interpretation of dharma. Non-use of free-will.

Hinduism in spite of its many orthodox rules, practices, customs, conventions has survived because; periodically there have been reforms movement. Great religious leaders and social reformers have spoken and acted against gross injustice, and have eradicated abominable practices. We still have a lot of cleaning up to be done. We have enough cases in India of the Khap Panchayats’ decision. Since, educating these decision-makers will take a long time, only legislation with more teeth can help. In these areas, I feel various Women’s Groups working at grass-root level are doing tremendous work.

***


Incidentally, our dharma-sästra-käras have spelt out the rehabilitation of violated women. With a broadmindedness that is admirable, a number of Smrtis and Puränas declare that women, who had the misfortune of being made prisoners, or of being assaulted criminally, should be treated with sympathy, and not with contempt, and should be accepted back by their families after they had performed certain purificatory rituals.

Thus Vasishtha declares that if a woman is taken into captivity by an enemy, or spirited away by thieves, or ravished against her will, she ought not to be abandoned by her family. Vasishtha Dharma Sutra- XXVIII.2-3

The same is the view of Atri, who points out that, one such misfortune ought not to be allowed to ruin the whole life of a woman. An ordinary penance ought to be quite sufficient. – Atri-Smrti - V.35

Paräsara advocates a similar considerate treatment. – Paräsara-Smrti-X.26-27

The Matsya-Puräna points out that, it would be absurd to condemn such a woman, because she is overpowered and ravished; in such a case the assaulter alone is guilty, and ought to be punished with death. – Ma.Pu. - 227.126

Brhaspati avers that even if defiled in the worst manner, a woman should not be abandoned; there is always an appropriate penance for her proper purification.
Brhaspati-Smrti-Asaucha Ch. - 53-54

Reference
Atelkar, A. S., The Position of Women in Hindu Civilization, Motilal Banarasidass, Delhi, Reprint 2009

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Religion and Spirituality


Religion and Spirituality

People are shy of using the word ‘religion’, hence the new word spirituality. It has become a fashion statement, if u r going to AOL classes. So, we use words like spirituality, culture, tradition, customs, way of life, faith, belief, but not religion. Even I have started using these words so as not to be branded as a saffron brigade.

They say there is no atheist in the battle-field.

Faith is something that u r born into. Rarely can one develop sraddhä. Nevertheless, I deeply admire people who go along with their life searching for the truth, with their reasoning alone. I also admire people who go by their own understanding of value system of right and wrong, without resorting to scriptures.

For me, I was fortunate to have been born into an ästika family, which put in a surrounding where I could practice my religion/practice/culture. Much later in life I started studying the scriptures (still do), and am overwhelmed at the genius, foresight and infalliability of the Rshis who wrote the Upanishads, and the dharmasastrakaras who wrote the Dharmasästras. Our Dharmasästra/s are dynamic based on time and space/place, subject to interpretation.

I see lot of research work being done on Hinduism, Vedas, Temple Architecture, Buddhism, Jainism, our way of life. May be and for sure, these scholars have made in-depth studies, have followed the universal research methodology, and have reference for all their statements and conclusions. However, why do I feel better? Because, nobody knows my religion better than me. I live this life. How can any foreigner ever know what Satyajit Ray is trying to convey when Sharmilä’ face is alternated with Durgä’s face in Devi. Why in our Bollywood films the wronged female protagonist is seen killing the villain with a trisula (like Durga). Why even some of Aurobindo’s disciples could not accept/digest when he declared Mirra Alfassa as the mother (an incarnation of Sakti). Why do we do namaskär to a one-rupee note, even it is full of amoebas and fifty times namaskärs f it a $ bill. Why do we thank God when something good happens in our lives, and blame our karma when something undesirable happens. It is taking responsibility for whatever is happening in our life.

Spirituality is self-introspection, and striving to grow. There is no perfect person. A perfect person is only in the scripture, say Naciketä (in Kathopanishad). Even Svetaketu (in Chändogya) had to listen to the teaching nine times. U and I are average people, continuously striving.

Here I must tell about self-acceptance. Many gurus criticize and denounce, so that the victim becomes emotionally dependent on the guru. It is very important to validate oneself. Otherwise, one cannot survive; learning sästra is bahu-duram - far off. I am a product of my family’s parvarish, surrounding community, society, peer-group, teachers; I am trying to grow, u wait.

Not getting deep into the scripture, I feel if somebody is looking after the family, dependent parents, children, neighbours, friends, community; it is enough. This by itself is enormous. Who told u that life is easy? To have my daily meal, it is work, and work, and work, even when I don’t have to think about earning money. Think of those who have to earn money. If everybody did only what is expected of him or her, there would be less issues. If everybody did a little more than what s/he can do, the community would be a little better place.

Someone asked me, ‘If today is my last day, what should I do?’ I have been harping on this. If today is my last day, what should I do? Shall I read another book, or arrange the library? Shall I pray, or clean up the Puja room? Cook a meal or spring-clean the kitchen?

Naturally I have been reading a book, praying, cooking, and my life has become LOC. Thinking that today is my last day, I have been able to upload most of my Vedic/Sanskrit chanting in UTube, and write about Temple-architecture in my blog. Prioritising one’s priority is also a big thing.


***

Did you read about Sahar Gul of Afghanistan? A child-bride of 15 years. How did she put up with the physical torture and did not break up? Her photo is heart-wrenching. There is so much violence against, women, especially children. And the perpetrator is another female! Whom to blame? The religion? Her in-laws? Her parents who sold her? Or poverty, which could have forced her in-laws?

Shirin Ebadi, during her visit to Kolkata/Mumbai’s RLA in December 2009 remarked, ‘It is poverty that forces the women into ------.’ I was amazed (a dropped word now) then at her understanding the root problem. I understand better now, and empathise with the victims.

You may care to read these, in case you have missed on what atrocities are is happening around us -

Monday, 2 January 2012

Sannyäsis, Sädhus, Sants, Gurus, Rishis, Äcäryas



Sannyäsis, Sädhus, Sants, Gurus, Rishis, Äcäryas

People have no clarity about sannyäsis, sädhus and gurus. They have their own ideas how a spiritual person should be. And we have many contemporary spiritual gurus, who run their empire like a corporate office.

Sannyäsi/s – Sannyäsa is a scripturally designated äsrama (a slot in everybody’s lifetime). Hindu scripture/s divides a person’s life into four distinct stages – brahmacarya, grhasta, vänaprastha, and sannyäsa. In old times, everyone eventually graduated to sannyäsa-ashram. Now days, very few, the ones who have the purpose of life (purushärtha-niscaya) clear to them take to Sannyäsa.











Sädhus – The best definition of a Sädhu is one that I heard in one of those channels. One Kathäkar (I recognized him as a Sädhu immediately) said, ‘Sädhu woh häi, jise dekhne se khud sädhu ban jane kä man kare.’ There cannot be a better definition. Nevertheless, sädhus do not ill-will anyone, and live by causing least disturbance to others. Negative examples perhaps will provide some clarity. As a contemporary example, I would consider Anna a sädhu every inch. Description of a few prototypes should clarify:

Yajnavalkya – a Srotriya Brahmanishtha, Caturvedi Äcärya
Sankara Bhagavdpäda – a great philosopher and Äcärya  (Advaita-Äcärya), and of course a Sannyäsi
Meera – a great consummate devotee, a Poet-Saint
Tulsidas – a great devotee, and Poet/Translator/Historian-Saint
Surdas – great devotee and Poet-Saint

Sant/s – ‘Sant’ is a designation given to many devotees, Poet-Saints in the 14th century, during the Bhakti movement that swept India. ‘Sant’ is an honorific title spontaneously given by the people; there is no official cannonization. (Even in Christianity, for centuries, saints were chosen through public opinion. In 10th century, Pope John XV developed an official canonization process. All this btw.). In India, some of the Poet-Saints recognized even by the Government of India are – Surdas, Narasimh Mehta, Mira, Tulsidas, Tukaram, Kabir, Haridas, Tukaram, Samarth Ramdas, Bhadrachal Ramdas, Jnaneswar, Vidyapati and more.







And from the south all the Alwars (including Andal) and Nyanmars. And of course Tyägaraja, Dikshitar,  and Syäma Sästri.

Godman – The scripture/s has/have no definition for this term. So, one who coined the word to describe the self has the responsibility to explain.

Rishis/Seers – are visionaries. There are around 600 Rishis in the Rgveda, (around 27 of them are females). ‘rshati jananti iti rsi’. A Rishi may not be spiritual or an intellectual. He/she visioned some mantras/some thing. A Seer is being able to see something that other people cannot see. Seers did not cease to be after Rgveda compilation was finalized. Pujya Swamiji considers Einstein, Carl Jung (however, not Sigmund Freud) as modern Rshis. All scientific inventors can be termed as Rshis, even if they arrived many discoveries by serendipity. Everybody has this power to see to some extent, and I feel it can be developed to some extent.

Guru – Means a Spiritual Guru, one who shows the path to moksha – freedom. Guru is a co-relative to the term Sishya. Like husband-wife, father-child, mother-child. Therefore, a person is a Guru to his/her disciples only. When a jnäni (wise person) is approached by a jijnäsu (seeker of knowledge) a Guru-Sishya relationship is established. There is no universal Guru, although many carry such a title in their sleeve.

‘gu-käro andhakära vai ru-kära tan-nivartakah’
‘andhakära nirodhitvät gurur-ityabhidhiyate.’

Thus the definition of Guru is ‘gu = darkness’, ‘ru = remover of darkness’. One who removes the darkness (of ignorance) and shows the vastu (the Absolute) alone is a Guru.

Guru title has been adapted by many teachers in dance, music, yoga, marketing, various crafts; and they do not even use the adjective nrtyaguru, sangitaguru, yogaguru, silpaguru. They celebrate ‘Guru Purnimä’ which is in fact ‘Vyäsa Purnimä’ who authored the ‘Brahmasutra’ and is our connection to ‘Brahmajnäna’ sourced to Lord Dakshinämurti. Management people use the adjective. How much of this definition, can be applied to the other fields, one does not know. And to use the sloka  

‘gurur-brahmä  gurur-vishnu gururdevo maheswarah’
‘gurureva parambrahma tasmai srigurave namah’

for all, let the readers decide.

Äcäryas are great scholars in the paramparä, who have commented on the Sruti. Some of the great äcäryas area – Sankara Bhagavadpäda, Sureswara Äcärya, Rämänuja Äcärya, Vedänta Desika.


Sankara Bhagavadpada
Advaita Acarya



Ramanujacarya
Visishta-Advata-Acarya
(Image - Wiki)

Madhvacarya alias Ananda Tirtha
Dvaita Acarya
(Image - Wiki)

Sri Chaitanya
Acintya Bhed-Abheda Acarya





Scripture/s has categorized three types of Gurus/Äcäryas. In brief they are,

i) Srotriya and Brahmanishtha – One who has listened (not independently studied. ‘ätmaväre srotavyah, not pathitavyah) the Sruti/revealed scripture/s from a Guru/ Äcärya, and who has no doubts about the vastu, and can make another person see/know the vastu. Usually he/she is a Sannyäsi. Sästra directs a seeker to go to a Srotriya-Brahmanishtha. (Mundaka).

ii) Srotriya – One who has listened to the Sruti thoroughly, has much clarity about what Sruti means, and what it does not mean. However, he/she has not been able to own it up. Usually a great non-Sannyasi-scholar, a householder. Sastra recommends going to him/her, in the absence of a Srotriya-Brahmanishtha, since he/she will never misguide the student.

iii) Brahmanishtha – He/she knows the oneness, however does not posses the technical methodology (prakriyä/s) to pass it on to another person. Sästra instructs to revere such a person, get inspired, nevertheless going to a Srotriya-Brahmanishtha, or at least a Srotriya to know the vastu.

I don’t have to tell you who gets the maximum number of following.

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 Post Script
--- Some of the crafts taught and still being taught, by a teacher to his disciples, for the learning of a craft requires watching the teacher at work, starting by doing odd, little jobs assigned by the teacher, and then the long practice, abhyäsa, on one’s own. Only after considerable experience, the learner refines his/her art, and then may set up his/her own. We can see this even today in Indian dance, music, and even automobile repair, which must be counted among crafts. The traditional lists, as the Sribasavaräjendra’s list enumerate, history, poetry, calligraphy, metrical compositions, dancing, evaluating precious stones, wrestling, cooking, magic, shoe-making, thieving, iron smithery, painting, gardening, carpentry, hair-dressing, hunting, trading, agriculture, animal husbandry, making medicines, leather work, driving, fishing, speech-making among the crafts.

Other lists add singing, playing musical instruments, preparing manuscripts, garland-making, dyeing, body-care, use of weapons, making moulds, performing pujä (daily worship), inlay work, arranging flowers, preparing scents, bangle-making, stitching, making ornaments, making sweets, home-planning, training animals, training birds, coding, making instruments/machines, training memory, physical exercise and yogic practices. It is easy to see their close relationship with ordinary life. C.f. Indian Knowledge Systems Vol. 1, pg -19, article Indian Knowledge Systems – Nature, Philosophy and Character, Kapil Kapoor, D K Printworld (P) Ltd., New Delhi, 2005


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