Disciples of Ramana Maharshi

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian rbalasub at ECN.PURDUE.EDU
Fri Oct 25 16:48:23 CDT 1996

egodust <egodust at DIGITAL.NET> wrote:

>The methods of devotion, pranayama, etc. neither have anything to do with

True enough. Let's get something clear here. Either

1. We are talking of advaita as a philosophical system, in which case it has to
explain based on logic and/or vedas what the truth is and how the vyavahaarika
and the world as we see it fits in
2. We are talking of advaita in a broader sense as a "path" which leads to
chitta shuddhi and finally to the "truth".

What have we had till now? Neither, only assertions like "there is no birth/etc"
or "everything is maya" or something like that when the context did not warrant
such an answer. For eg, sha.nkara takes great pains to explain what gauDapaada
really means by the "there is no birth" etc. In fact that verse has one of the
longest explanations in the kaarikaa bhaashhya.

If you think the answer to any/every question on the list, even to those
directed at the vyavahaarikaa level is "all is maya" and/or "mind is a
deceiver" and so on, why discuss at all?

>I beg to differ.  Not only did Bhagavan *vigorously* adopt this method, He
>rarely *didn't* apply it to the people who questioned Him.  And the few times
>He didn't was when someone was, to site an example, in the Lecture Hall
>enquiring from a dvaitic point of view, He wouldn't disturb their position;
>and when they left He was sure to clarify His statements to the ashramites
>and others.  It's well documented.

Let's get things clear here. When bhagavan was asked how to control the
mind, the answer was invariably praaNaayaama, bhakti and so on though it was
also pointed out (usually) that mano naasha was more important. Of course
bhagavan advised self-enquiry to every one. What I was talking about was the
situation here. Viz, if some one asks a question at the vyavahaarikaa level the
answer given is like that of the most eccentric, self-realized Zen master
(namely the question and the answer have no connection). Ramana Maharshi did
not indulge in such things. In fact Ramana Maharshi used to give _proper_
answers to questions directed at the vyavahaarikaa level as long as the
questioner was sincere or if the questioner was not sincere, kept quiet. This
is also well documented. What Ken said about false masters and they not knowing
when to philosophize and not to holds. This was what Ken and I were trying to
point out.

Giri said:

>        Even when i met poonjaji (we called him papaji), there was some
>"controversy"  surrounding him, but controversies always surrounded Shri

No dis-respect was meant to Shri Poonjaji or any one. I have no idea of the
controversy surrounding him or any one else and my remark was not prompted by
such considerations.

It was also said:

>Though Ramana Maharshi may have denied any disciples, there are hosts of
>people : Sadhu Arunachala, Balaram Reddy, Kunju Swami, Ganapati Muni etc
>who claim Ramana to be their Guru and that includes Poonjaji. I don't
>think Poonjaji has ever claimed that he was the sole lineage of Ramana

I never said that Ramana Maharshi did not have disciples. The question was
about a "lineage". There is a distinct difference. What is meant by a lineage
usually? A lineage in our tradition _implies_ that the guru has passed over his
"baton", so to speak, to one disciple or a few to carry out spiritual work.

I'll give two examples. I consider dakshiNaamuurti as my guru. But I can't
start saying that I belong to the "dakshiNaamuurti lineage" and start asking
people to buy my books, tapes etc since I belong to the "dakshiNaamuurti
lineage" in an effort to buy myself legitimacy through dakshiNaamuurti.

Say there is a person who considers H.H abhinava Vidya tiirtha, the previous
pontiff of Sringeri as his guru, say, since he was transformed by his books,
lectures etc. Now he can't go around saying that he belongs to the "abhinava
vidyaa tiirtha lineage".

The objection was to the word "lineage" or "paramparaa" only, since it would
give a wrong impression. Since, the usage of "lineage" or "paramparaa" has some
other significance associated with it. Namely someone merely _considering_
himself the disciple of a master is not proper grounds for calling himself as
belonging to the master's lineage and even worse disciples of this person
claiming to be in the original master's lineage.

 A says that he has no disciples and people can call themselves as they wish.
 B says he was awakened by A's teachings and that A is his guru.
 C is a disciple of B and goes around claiming that C is in the A -> B ->

Could anything be more patently ridiculous and misleading?

Utinam logica falsa tuam philosophiam totam suffodiant (May faulty logic
undermine your entire philosophy)           -- strong Vulcan curse

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list