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

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at
Thu May 11 20:46:10 CDT 2006

--- Amuthan <aparyap at> wrote:


> for instance, unlike bhagavatpAda who makes it a point
> to state that vedAnta shravaNa is a sine-qua-non for
> mukti in all his works, RM doesn't in most of his. it
> seems that RM's position is not as rigid as
> bhagavatpAda's. to RM, a guru's upadesha (whether it
> is a shruti vAkya or not is irrelevant, but their
> contents should match) carries as much weight as
> vedAnta shravaNa. and even a casual reading of RM's
> works would show that he discourages us from getting
> into unnecessary manana based on the shruti vAkyAs,
> but rather states that the ego creates all these
> endless problems and that the solution is to find the
> source of the ego. but bhagavatpAda does give
> sufficient room for manana. on the whole, it appears
> as though RM places lesser emphasis on shruti and
> greater emphasis on a guru's / AtmA's grace. 

Although RM does not place much emphasis on manana, he does consider
intellectual understanding to be an important step. e.g.

"Talks", 7th January, 1935
Talk 13.
"D.: It is understood intellectually only. Is not intellect a help for
M.: Yes, up to a certain stage. Even so, realise that the Self transcends the
intellect. the latter must itself vanish to reach the Self."
"Talks", 22nd September, 1936
Talk 40.
D.: Is intellectual knowledge enough?
M.: Unless intellectually known, how to practice it? Learn it intellectually
first, then do not stop with that. Practise it.

> --- S Jayanarayanan <> wrote:
> > 
> > RM would instead say:
> > 
> > shravaNa, manana, nididhyAsana --> Atma-vichAra
> > --directly--> GYAna
> > 
> not exactly. RM agrees that a lot of qualifications
> are required before one can start Atma vichAram. but
> it can be inferred from his works that these
> qualifications are very similar to the sAdhana
> chatuShTaya requirements according to bhagavatpAda.

Of course, I took it as granted that shravaNa presupposes sAdhana-chatushhTaya.
In other words, I meant:

sAdhana-chatushhTaya --> shravaNa, etc. --> Atma-vichAra --directly--> GYAna

> accordingly, RM's Atma vichAram is very close to the
> traditional nididhyAsanam in spirit.

RM is firm on this point:

Atma-vichAra --directly--> GYAna

But Sankara speaks of shravaNa-manana-nididhyAsana as the path to GYAna. That's
the reason I take the path as I mentioned previously, so that there is no other
"direct route" to GYAna except Atma-vichAra. Hence even nididhyAsana eventually
culminates in Atma-vichAra.

One may suppose that nididhyAsana is nothing but Atma-vichAra. But AFAIK,
nididhyAsana is continuous meditation on the mahAvAkya. RM has never at any
time said that Atma-vichAra requires a vAkya. This is the reason why I
personally feel that nididhyAsana is different from Atma-vichAra, and that the
former must eventually culminate in the latter.

> but it is not
> correct to state that RM presupposes a mastery of
> nididhyAsanam to start Atma vichAram.  

The way I understand it: when one is a beginner studying a certain subject, one
first learns the ideal, and then the deviations from the ideal. e.g. When one
is studying geography, one first learns that the earth is a sphere, and only
later that the earth is a geoid.

Similarly, the "ideal" path is one where sAdhana chatushhTaya and
shravaNa-manana-nididhyAsana are all done preliminary to the "final
Atma-vichAra that directly results in GYAna". But in non-ideal situations, one
can even attain Brahma GYAna without sAdhana chAtushhTaya (examples in the

> --- Sanjay Srivastava <sksrivastava68 at>
> wrote:
> >
> > Atma-vichAra. It is not simply asking in vacuum "Who
> > am I?" , which by 
> > itself can't lead to anything. It is not simply
> > repeating "Who am I?" 
> > but constantly trying to understand the nature of
> > "I".  And how do we 
> > understand the nature of "I"? Through the only
> > pramANa by which it can 
> > be understood viz. shruti. 
> >
> while i agree with the fact that RM's Atma vichAram is
> similar to traditional  mahAvAkya based Atma vichAram,
> it would be a gross misreading of RM to say that they
> are identical. Atma vichAram as taught by RM is very
> similar to the analysis of the 'tvam' padArtha in
> mahAvAkyAs like 'tattvamasi'. but the similarity ends
> there. RM's Atma vichAram is the simple enquiry into
> the source of the ego. nothing more, nothing less. the
> lesser the number of other thoughts, the better.
> according to RM, the understanding of the true nature
> of the 'i' occurs when the ego vanishes and in it's
> place, the ahaM sphuraNa manifests. there is simply no
> room for the traditional shruti based manana here. 

IMHO, Atma-vichAra is not nididhyAsana, for the latter requires a mahAvAkya
while the former does not.

> vAsudevaH sarvaM,
> aparyAptAmRtaH.


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