[Advaita-l] How can one claim to know Brahman?

praveen.r.bhat at exgate.tek.com praveen.r.bhat at exgate.tek.com
Mon Mar 21 02:52:18 CST 2005

praNAm all,


I agree with your viewpoint on this matter of learning at the master's
(though a master, read Guru, may be the *most* difficult to find!) feet,
since I'm of the same view that one needs to have restraint in, if not
renounce, worldly matters! And if all goes well, with God's grace, I may be
able to live up to some of these in a few years time.

Still, as usual, I'm going to say the same things that you know of, but its
only for you to reconsider your views *if* they say: reading/studying on
your own doesn't bring anything and living with the masters brings

Now, you yourself say that:

> Since, only a few are blessed with this
> luck, we must resort to books and probably lists like this to clarify
> our understanding of the subtleites of Vedanata.

So we're in unison.


Maheshji wrote:
> Say, one day, you deeply read Vedanta from morning to evening and then
> go out with a bunch of good friends in your car for a night out. While
> driving, your give in to anger at some pedestrian misdemenor that
> obstructs your smooth travel. At a resturant where you eat, you
> indulge the senses in good food and then follow that with a movie
> exciting the senses even more, then all your efforts so far have fed
> your brain about Vedanta but your spirit is right where it was before
> you started. So, to truly understand the essence of Vedanta (and
> thereby elvate your spirit), you need to live like a Vedantin. And
> that can be only leaned at the feet of the Masters.

First of all, anger and things like that need not wait for a rash drive to a
night out party, that you'd agree. Next, being in a secluded ashram, the
mind may still wander, causing all sorts of things. I'm reminded of a story
that most of us may have heard, but its hopefully worth another reading. It
goes something like this... One day, while a master and a disciple were
walking to their ashram they saw that a beautiful young lady was struggling
to cross a stream. The master offered to carry her and did so, helping her
across the stream. Back at the ashram, the disciple, disappointed, asked the
master on why was he not following the restraint he himself taught, of
staying away from women? The master said thus: "I dropped her at the other
end long back, why are you still carrying her?"

Therefore, the idea suggested is that one needs to have a focused mind
whether or not at the feet of the master. Ramana says a similar thing in "Be
as you are". These lessons are learnt at the feet of the masters, as well as
reading about them, while being elsewhere in society. Its called by Sathya
Sai as "Hands in the society, head in the forest" principle. Not all may
agree with it or be able to do so, but there is no saying that they may be
able to do so even at the master's feet! Perhaps, you've read a lot of
Ramakrishna's works; you may remember atleast an instance when the disciple
was even *thinking* of something else and the master slapped him :)

Respecting your stand and agreeing again that there's no replacement for a

jai bajrangabali,

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