doubt on the role of shruti vAkyAs ( was Re: [Advaita-l] advaita and vedas)

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at
Wed May 10 19:10:07 CDT 2006

--- Amuthan <aparyap at> wrote:


> thus, it seems as if there is a complete identity
> between the teachings of bhagavatpAda and ramaNa
> mahaRShi. but they (apparently) diverge on the means
> by which Atma j~nAna is attained. according to
> bhagavatpAda, Atma j~nAna can arise *only* because of
> vedAnta shravaNa from a guru who is both a shrotriya
> and a brahmaniShTha whereas according to ramaNa
> maharShi, a constant enquiry into the source of the
> ego leads to the manifestation of an ahaM sphuraNa
> which is the same as akhaNDAkAra vRtti or Atma j~nAna.
> from whatever ramaNa maharShi has taught, it seems
> clear that the rise of the ahaM sphuraNa is not
> necessarily contingent upon hearing shruti vAkyAs
> though it is necessarily due to the 'grace' of a guru
> (read AtmA).
> while there is no doubt that mahavAkya shravaNa can
> lead to Atma j~nAna, is it the only way? bhagavatpAda
> would say yes and ramaNa maharShi would say no. 

Actually, RM would say yes.

This is a common doubt that occurs to anyone who reads RM's books on
Atma vichAra, for he repeatedly says that it is the only direct path
to GYAna. There is however one occasion where RM quite emphatically
says that Self-realization can begin only after hearing the VedAnta

"Talks", 15th March, 1939
Talk # 647
"Each one knows the Self but is yet ignorant. The person is enabled
to realise only after hearing the mahavakya. Hence the Upanishadic
text is the eternal Truth to which everyone who has realised owes his
experience. After hearing the Self to be the Brahman the person finds
the true import of the Self and reverts to it whenever he is diverted
from it. Here is the whole process of Realisation."

Here's my "personal resolution" to the teachings of RM and Sankara on
the role of scripture in attaining Atma GYAna, someone else will have
a different perspective:-

As mentioned above, RM completely accepts the claim of VedAnta that:

shravaNa --eventually--> GYAna

RM was however not of the view that:

shravaNa, manana, nididhyAsana --directly--> GYAna

RM would instead say:

shravaNa, manana, nididhyAsana --> Atma-vichAra --directly--> GYAna

As far as I can tell, the last sequence above resolves to a certain
extent the "differences" between RM and Sankara on the role of

There are very few instances where Atma-vichAra (of the kind
expounded by RM) is emphasized in shruti and smR^iti. I had once
posted a reference at:



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