Swami Vivekananda and Sri Ramakrishna

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian ramakris at EROLS.COM
Sun Jul 25 12:57:10 CDT 1999

Parisi & Watson <niche at AMERITECH.NET> wrote:

> I was disappointed that no one took up my question about Swami
> My impression from his speeches and writings is that he did not
> take an absolute stance with regard to the Vedas as unauthored,
> all possible wisdom, and totally without error. Or if he did, it was
> something that he chose to emphasize publicly. Does Swami
Vivekananda, as
> the foremost follower of Sri Ramakrishna, stand outside the circle
of true
> followers of Advaita Vedanta? And what about Sri Ramakrishna
himself, who
> openly advocated the "many paths" idea? If they do, then I think

Yes, Ramakrishna cannot be called an advaita vedAntin. The "many
paths" idea does find a place in advaita, but not in the way
Ramakrishna, or at least his followers interpret the "many paths"
idea. I'll try to post some excerpts from the sUta sa.nhitA which
talks about this within the next week. As I can see it, Vivekananda
tried to intepret Ramakrishnas mystical experiences and chose advaita
to do it.

> admirers around the world of these two figures would be shocked to
> that the prophet is without honor in his own land.

I am myself very fond of Vivekananda and Ramakrishna  have lot of
respect for both. But, that does not mean Sri Ramakrishna was an
advaita vedAntin. Similarly, I greatly respect Ramanuja who was a
teacher in the vishishhTAdvaita tradition, but that doesn't mean I
accept his philosophy wholesale. I would like to point out that
respect should not be due to someone only if he subscribes to ones'
own view of things. That is a Western concept and adopted by modern
Indians influenced by Western ideas. The latter especially try to
twist everyone's teaching such that it fits their own ideas, e.g,
Radhakrishnan, and come up with an awful hodge-podge. IMO, this is the
height of egotism and disrespect you can show to anyone. One may
imagine that he is being "broad-minded" by doing this. But, if you
scratch beneath the surface you'll see that it is very narrow minded.
Why not accept the differences in philosophies as they are instead of
being so narrow minded as to think that no one should deviate form our
own world view?


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