[Advaita-l] The Human aspect of Jnanis - 3
v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu Jul 15 06:33:22 CDT 2010
The manifestation of any emotion presupposes a difference, bheda-buddhi.
Love for someone is no exception. Anger or desire too have for their roots
the notion of difference: I am different from that/him; the notion of
duality is at the base. And the notion that such a difference is real:
satyatva buddhi in the bheda. The Upanishdad teaches: For a man who has
realized that everything is the Atman, what can he see / hear / smell /
taste / sense / with what? In other words, all duality is extinguished for
a man of realization. He should not be able to see, hear, sense, smell,
etc. anything. This is supposed to be the Advaitic experience. When such a
realization is supposed to be there in a Jnani, how can any emotions arise
in him? A Jnani is understood by some as having no organs such as eyes, etc.
for Brahman is what a Jnani is and Brahman has no eyes, etc. If someone
sees difference he cannot be admitted to be a Jnani.
Here is an instance of 'krodha' (anger) manifesting in a Jnani:
(Reported by Smt.Suri Nagamma in 'Letters from Ramanasramam')
At the time that Bhagavan was to go out in the morning
today, the labourers who had been deputed to gather
mangoes from the tree near the steps towards the mountain
began beating the tree with sticks to knock down the mangoes
instead of climbing the tree and plucking them one by one.
In the course of the beating, the mango leaves also were
falling down in heaps. Hearing the sound of the beating
even while seated on the sofa, Bhagavan sent word through
his attendants not to do so and when he went out as usual,
saw mango leaves lying in heaps. Unable to bear the cruel
sight, he began saying in a harsh tone to the labourers,
“Enough of this! Now go! When you are to gather the fruit,
do you have to beat the tree so that the leaves fall off? In
return for giving us fruit, is the tree to be beaten with sticks?
Who gave you this work? Instead of beating the tree, you
might as well cut it to the roots. You need not gather the
fruit. Go away!”
*Bhagavan’s voice, which was like thunder, reverberated
in the ears of all who were there and made them tremble
with fear. *The bamboos that were held aloft were brought
down and placed on the ground. The labourers stood with
folded hands like statues. They had no words to speak. When
I saw the personification of kindness towards nature *in an
angry mood, my heart beat violently* and my eyes were full
of tears. Can one who is so much moved by the falling of the
leaves of a tree, bear pain in the minds of human beings?
Bhagavan Ramana is indeed karunapoorna sudhabdhi, the
ocean filled with the nectar of compassion.
By the time he returned from the Gosala side, the
devotees had gathered the leaves into a heap and begged
him to forgive the fault. Bhagavan went into the hall, saying,
“How cruel! See how many beatings were showered on the
tree! How big is the heap of leaves! Oh!”
When Bhagavan was in Virupaksha Cave, Echamma,
who installed a picture of Bhagavan and a picture of Seshadri
Swami in her house, decided to do puja with a lakh of tender
leaves, and began it after informing Bhagavan about it. By
the time she had finished the puja with fifty thousand leaves,
summer had set in, and she could not gather any more leaves
even though she wandered all over the mountain. She got
tired, and went to Bhagavan to ventilate her grievances.
Bhagavan said, “If you cannot get the leaves, why not pinch
yourself and do puja?” She said, “Oh, but that will be painful!”
Bhagavan said, “If it pains you to pinch your body, is it not
painful to the tree when you cut its leaves?” She turned pale
and asked, “Why did you not tell me earlier, Swami?” He
replied, “When you know that pinching the body is painful,
why did you not know that the tree will be equally pained if
you rob it of its leaves? Do I have to tell you that?”
Manifestation of anger is discernible from harsh words and other body
language of trembling, tone of the voice, gestures, etc. Should not a Jnani
be a picture of calm and composure? If he gives room for anger, etc., for
whatever motive, is that not a sign of ajnAna? Yet, we see in the above
instance a Jnani shouting at the labourers. This presupposes bheda dRiShTi:
I am different and they are different from me. The trees are different from
All this dvaita darshanam is supposed to have left the Jnani. If he gives
room for anger, is that not a violation of advaita darshana, the hallmark of
upanishadic jnana? A Jnani is understood by some as having no organs such
as eyes, etc. for Brahman is what a Jnani is and Brahman has no eyes, etc.
If someone sees difference such as 'the people before me are different from
me; the trees here are different from me' etc. surely he has used his eyes,
etc. to cognize the difference. And this violates the code of Jnaanitvam,
Brahmatvam. For the AdhyAsa Bhashya says that pramAtru pramANa prameya
vyavahara is due to ajnana and Jnana results in the inability of the Jnani
of engaging in this pramAtru pramANa prameya vyavahara. And without seeing
such difference, as satya, emotions such as the above would not manifest.
Despite the above line of argumentation, the world of sadhaka-s has held
Bhagavan Ramana as a Jnani and such instances as shown above are not viewed
as a mark of ajnana. It is quite human for a Jnani to exhibit emotions such
as these. These do not take away from him the steadiness of wisdom -
prajnAsthairyam. He is indeed a sthitaprajna.
(To be continued)
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