The Supreme Goal

Allan Curry acurry at UVIC.CA
Tue Oct 28 15:01:00 CST 1997


Gummuluru writes:

>The particular "challenge" posed by Allan Curry brings the early
>statements of the Br^hadAraNyaka upanishhad to mind. King Janaka
>in his court asks the assembled scholars and r^shis "If any of you
>think that you have the perfect knowledge of the Self, you can claim
>the prize [1000 cows with gold rings attached to each cow]". YAjnavalkya,
>the famous r^shhi of the upanishhads asks one of his disciples to drive
>the cows home implying that he (YAjnavalkya) has the perfect knowledge
>of the Self. The discussions and the challenges that ensued, led by the
>famous lady scholar GArgi forms the text of this major upanishhad.
>I do not think there are any modern YAjnavalkyas. I would interpret
>Allan's question, not as a challenge to the List members, but in this way:
>We are all jnanis, except we are covered by different thicknesses of
>layers of avidya. As each layer of avidya gets removed (by sAdhana through
>divine grace), our Self shines through. I would take Allan's question as
>who thinks that his/her layer of avidya cover is thin enough that the Self
>shines through. If the individual has a thought that binds the thought to
>that shape, then there is still avidya. Thus, no one can claim that I,
>presently bound by this body am the enlightened one [I bow before
>YAjnavalkya who made such a claim without attributing that claim to that
>particular shape of his in contrast to the other assembled scholars].

    Exactly right. I too bow to THAT which is not covered by
    any layer of avidya whatsoever. I was not saying that
    anyone has *claimed* to be Brahman without any avidya,
    but they may have *implied* as much and some of us may
    have believed them. I am not a perfectly realized being
    so I am unable to assess the realization of others with
    certainty. That is why I asked such egoless incarnations
    of the Divine to announce themselves, if indeed there
    are any on this list. I wasn't "seeking an easy answer"
    to the question "how to attain jnanihood". I wanted to
    clear the air of any intentional or accidental
    misunderstandings as to the source of comments appearing
    on Advaita-L. In the abscence of such self scrutiny, our
    subject matter can easily lend itself to very serious
    cases of mistaken identities with potentially dire
    consequences, IMO.

    The Upanishads may not accept anyone's claim to be a
    jnani unless perhaps one *is* a jnani as in the case of
    YAjnavalkya. So if any of you are as enlightened as
    Ramana Maharshi or Krisha or YAjnavalkya please say so.
    If you do not, then I suggest the rest of us interpret
    your silence as an honest admission that you are *not*
    the equal of these truly realized beings and we
    therefore consider your respective opinions accordingly.


- Allan Curry

>From  Tue Oct 28 16:10:37 1997
Message-Id: <TUE.28.OCT.1997.161037.0500.>
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 16:10:37 -0500
Reply-To: chandran at
To: "Advaita (non-duality) with reverence" <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
From: Ram Chandran <chandran at TIDALWAVE.NET>
Organization: Personal
Subject: Re: The point
Comments: To: Gummuluru Murthy <gmurthy at>
Comments: cc: ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU
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Gummuluru Murthy wrote:
> On Tue, 28 Oct 1997, Nanda Kumar wrote:
> > Both Murthy and Allan have raise the question on the mode of attaining
> > jnanihood. I've objections to this line of thought:
> >
> > For all the Upanishads, the Gita, the Dhammapada and works of theology
> > and philosophy, one may read, in the final analysis, all these are useless
> > if one doesn't delve deep inside and understand oneself. So in a nutshell
> > : "All the answers lie within you". When one understands oneself or his
> > true nature, one will attain jnanihood. For each person with differing
> > natures, problems and obstacles to overcome might be vary. True that
> > it's hard work, but to ask for an easy way or a ready to order and
> > generic method doesn't make sense.
> >
> Shri Nanda Kumar is moving from the intellectual frame(... For each
> person with differing natures.... ) to the Absolute frame(... When one
> understands oneself or true nature, one will attain jnanihood....) of
> reference and vice versa rather freely in his discussions.
> I agree with him that readings of the Bhagavadgita, and the upanishhads
> are not really necessary in understanding the true Self (Shri Ram Chandran
> may not agree.). They are aids in understanding what we are. Readings of
> the scriptures are there to satisfy the intellectual curiosity but the
> true nature of the Self is beyond the intellect.
> Shri Nanda Kumar says "When one understands oneself or true nature, one
> will attain jnanihood.". But, how to understand one's true nature ? We
> need a pure mind, divine grace, sAdhana chatushhthaya and much more. If
> there is Self-enquiry without proper mental readiness, roaming of the
> mind cannot be controlled and the enquiry will lead to nothing. There are
> many, many instances of aborted enquiries. Further, as Katha upanishhad
> says, the Self has to reveal itself to Itself. However much human effort
> with an impure and unready mind will not lead to anything. While the
> general statement by Shri Nanda Kumar that we need to understand our true
> nature to attain jnanihood is correct, still the path is unknown.
> Regards
> Gummuluru Murthy
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Yadaa sarve pramucyante kaamaa ye'sya hr^di shritaah
> atha martyo'mr^to bhavatyatra brahma samashnute   Katha Upanishhad II.3.14
> When all the desires that dwell in the heart fall away, then the mortal
> becomes immortal, and attains Brahman even here.
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------


        The messages in the scriptures (that includes the Upanishads and Gita)
are subtle.  I do not remember that I have stated that reading of the
scriptures are essential for self-realization. Scriptures are not for
recreational reading material for appreciating the beauty of the
sayings! The most important part is to practice what is being said in
the scriptures.  Gita is not for reading pleasure but only for
undertaking implied spiritual life. This possible only with great faith,
dedication and with an attitude of total surrender!  The Hindu
scriptures do not propogate "Do nothing attitude!"  Realization is not
something poured from heaven like a rain fall. One has to earn it
through Sadhana! We can not change our attitude instantaneously and it
takes time and efforts! The journey of self-realization is a
long-journey without any known path. However, the scriptures are
valuable guides which can help not fall into traps of dead-end streets!

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