Swami Vivekananda and Sri Ramakrishna

Parisi & Watson niche at AMERITECH.NET
Sun Jul 25 18:00:34 CDT 1999

-----Original Message-----
From: Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian <ramakris at EROLS.COM>
Date: Sunday, July 25, 1999 12:58 PM
Subject: Re: Swami Vivekananda and Sri Ramakrishna

>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

If that is so, then it's a Western trait of which I don't approve. For
instance, at the risk of sounding unctious, my respect for the members of
this list has been untouched by the current discussion.

>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?

I don't believe that's the point. It is (or should be) more a matter of
having the humility to concede that no one teacher or tradition encompasses
all truth, so that every tradition and culture can make its own contribution
in its own way. Doubtless some traditions are much more rich and profound
than others, but there is no monopoly. If 'I am That,' then everyone else is
also, and others may realize it, approach it, and express it in very
different ways. When we're dealing with the essentially inexpressible, then
surely there is room for multiple approaches. I see nothing in this point of
view that insists on rigid conformity to one point of view... anything but.
And it's not a matter of corrupting or abandoning one's own approach, but
more just having the patience and tolerance to find the value in someone
else's while continuing to follow one's own. At least that's my take on what
the followers of Ramakrishna are getting at. Certainly I'm no expert.


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