New member introduction: shrI Hari K. Tadepalli

Ravisankar Mayavaram msr at ISC.TAMU.EDU
Mon Nov 23 16:56:07 CST 1998

Welcome Hari:

On Mon, 23 Nov 1998, Tadepalli, Hari K wrote:

>               What is the relation between the teachings of Advaita &
> those of the "popular" saints like Ramakrishna, Sai Baba, Sivananda &
> Yogananda ?

I assume that by Yogananda, you mean shrI paramahansa yogananda.
Their organizations both SRF (Self Realization Fellowship) in the
U.S. and YSS (Yogoda Sat Sangha)  in India emphasize a lot on the
kriya yoga. I have taken their three years correspondence course
on Raja Yoga. The teachings and the ashram emphasize more on
meditation. And SRF in the U.S. is more directed towards the
Christian Audience. YSS has an active link with the Puri
Govardhana Matha and once in a while they ask the
shankarAchArya-s of pUri Ashrama to initiate their brahmachAri-s
into sannyAsa. Their link will be obvious from the fact that in
1950s, pUri shankarAcharya visited SRF honoring svAmi yogananda's
invitation. In fact that was the first time in the recent
history, a shankarAcharya travelled across the seas.

On the whole, even though the SRF/YSS accepts advaita-vedanta,
but they do not teach it using shrI shan.kara's works. They teach
only Raja yoga. There is an excellent commentary on shrImad
bhagavad gItA by shrI paramahansa yogananda (it a large one
running to 1000+ pages). Besides bhagavad gItA, they do not
discuss any other Hindu scriptures (like upaniShad-s). There
approach is more theistic. However, God's nature (not explicitly
called brahman) is emphasized as sat-chit-Ananda. And it is
unambiguously pointed out in SRF lessons that buddha was
incorrect in philosophy (for he denied the substratum).

Initially I was very dissapointed that they do not refer to shrI
sha.nkara's works. But later I understood the purpose of their
teachings and their mission. In fact, as I started learning more
vedAnta, I realized that their teachings represents its very
faithfully, but in a very christian language.


Besides this, my personal opinion about shrI rAmakR^iShNa
paramahamsa is, he is an avatara and a manifestation of shrIman
nArAyaNa. This is my personal belief. Many will disagree with me.
My life was greatly influenced by Gospel of shrI Ramakrishna
Paramahansa (edited by M. If you want learn more about M, the
great Master mahAshAya, you should refer to chapter 9 of
Autobiography of a Yogi).  I have heard many saying that shrI
rAmkR^iShNa is bridge between advaita-vedAnta and vishiShTAdavita
(philosophy alone).

All these stem from the misunderstanding that advaita-vedAnta has
very little bhakti element in it. I think it is wrong. Many
forget that great devotional hymns composed by shrI shankara. In
addition, when you talk to a LKG student, you will not describe
quantum mechanics. IMHO, many are not qualified to hear the great
truths of advaita-vedanta and understand it. It is better to
speak to such an audience only about bhakti towards Ishwara.


I do not know much about svAmi shivAnanda. If you want, I can
write to you in private about shIrDi sAii bAbA.

> I find that contributions to this list tend to make more frequent references
> to the source works of Hinduism than those in the  other list on Advaita
> managed by Sri Ram Chandran (this is not to compare the merits of the lists
> in any way) & find it personally useful.

Advaita-L was started more than two years ago. If you see the
archives, lot of different topics were discussed. Only in the
recent past the list is more focussed on shrI shankara's
teachings.  The other list was started recently two/three months
back protesting against the restrictive policy of advaita-L.
Personally, I support the owner of Advaitin, Ram Chandran for
starting a new list and I am very happy about that.

There are two more lists related to advaita-vedanta started by
shrI AtmAnanda sarasvatI. I am not a member of those lists (due
to lack of time). In one svAmiji discusses naishkarmya siddhi and
in the other he discusses tattva bodha.

With respects,

AUM namo bhagavate vAsudevAya

"bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam"
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