Trescott K. Smith
Kimmerjohn at AOL.COM
Sat Nov 9 07:54:13 CST 1996
Shankara was interested in philosophical descriptions of why and how things
exist. He was a devastating polemicist predisposed to the path of jnana yoga,
which is using the intellect to overthrow the intellect, leaving awareness
unshackled by the ego. He served informally as a spokesman for the doctrine
of unqualified nondualism, explaining, defending, and clarifying it publicly.
Shankara used his highly developed intellect to destroy myths and
misconceptions about how we exist and served like an ambassador of advaita.
In so doing, he hoped to guide others from their knowledge of Hindu scripture
to direct knowledge of the true nature of Self.
A spiritual child prodigy, Ramana Maharshi realized freedom as a teen. Only
later did he learn to understand, explain, and express himself in scriptural
terms. Ramana particularly liked to teach us to ask Who am I? He felt this
search for the person behind the person was the most direct way to see that
what we call self is essentially a sense of undifferentiated, unqualified
being. He said, Self-inquiry leads directly to Self-realization by removing
the obstacles that make you think the Self is not already realized. Ramana
was specific and personal, preferring to work like a counselor with small
groups or individuals. When he was attacked, he was content to remain silent
rather than argue. Ramana was a beautiful, poetic figure who insisted the
Self is always complete and in need of nothing. Thus, we do not attain
freedom we surrender to it.
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