[Advaita-l] RE: Advaita-l Digest, Vol 37, Issue 11

Amuthan aparyap at yahoo.co.in
Fri May 12 12:25:06 CDT 2006

namo nArAyaNAya!

dear shrI vidyAsha~Nkar sundareshan,

--- Vidyasankar Sundaresan
<svidyasankar_at_hotmail.com> wrote:
> Personally, I see a pretty close similarity between
> the Atma vicAra that we 
> read about in Ramana's talks and the thrust of
> Sankara's works.
> [...] 
> In this context, I would pay especial attention to
> the third prose chapter 
> of upadeSasAhasrI, where Sankara teaches
> parisaMkhyAna. It is all about 
> analyzing the "I" and rejecting various
> mis-identifications in stages. The 
> only sentence to directly connect this analysis with
> Sruti is the one 
> sentence at the end of this chapter. 

IMO, there is a definite difference between
bhagavatpAda's parisa~NkhyAna and ramaNa bhagavAn's
Atma vichAram for reasons given below. (i know that
you are very busy, but it will be very nice if you can
find time to correct my understanding if it is

to state it briefly, RM's Atma vichAram does not
necessarily presuppose the nature of the self. it is
rather something to be found out directly at the end
of the quest. bhagavatpAda's parisa~NkhyAna
presupposes a knowledge of the self based on the
upaniShad-s (and the gItA). 

now to the detailed reply. first, the nature of
bhagavtpAda's parisa~NkhyAna and RM's Atma vichAram
and the adhikArI to whom they are taught is discussed.
a comparison is then made to show that they are indeed

a careful study of the parisa~NkhyAna prakaraNa
reveals that it is addressed to a viduSha / vidvAn.
the term vidvAn may refer either to a brahmavit or a
mumukShu. in the very beginning of the prakaraNa,
bhagavatpAda makes it clear that parisa~NkhyAna is
prescribed for a mumukShu. hence, the vidvAn under
consideration is not a brahmavit, but only a mumukShu.

parisa~NkhyAna presupposes a (theoretical)
understanding of the nature of the self based on the
shrutIs. it is NOT an independent analysis of the 'i'.
in fact, one can say that the entire parisa~NkhyAna
prakaraNa is a detailed commentary of the phrase
'shrutimatastarko.anusandhIyatAm' in bhagavatpAda's
sAdhanA pa~nchakam. 

parisa~NkhyAna is essentially a form of yogAbhyAsa
wherein the mumukShu superimposes upAdhIs such as
asparshatva, asaMsargitva, avikriyatva, achalatva etc.
on the 'i' in order to eliminate the natural tendency
of the 'i' to be identified with the body which is
vikriya, chala etc. thus, it is a process of
redirecting the 'i' from the body to the self as
taught in the upaniShad-s. the perfection of this
parisa~NkhyAna naturally leads to akhaNDAkAra vRtti. 

(parisa~NkhyAna is a deliberate form of
superimposition since the adhikArI under consideration
is not a brahmavit, but only a mumukShu. any thought
about the nature of the self, whether or not it is in
accordance with the shrutIs, is a superimposition of
some upAdhIs on the 'i', the ego. see also RM's verse

on the other hand, in RM's Atma vichAram, there is no
necessity for a mumukShu to have an 'a priori'
knowledge of the nature of the self. accordingly, the
mumukShu does NOT think that the self is of a
particular nature. rather, whenever any thought (be it
regarding the self or otherwise) arises, he constantly
restrains it by first turning his attention to it's
root, namely the 'i' and then enquires into the source
of the 'i'. this enquiry does NOT require a
parisa~NkhyAna like understanding of the nature of the
self based on the shrutIs. in fact, any such tendency
of the mind to think so is also is also seen as an

ramaNa bhagavAn Himself clearly states the difference
(and superiority) of His method of Atma vichAram from
what can only be understood as parisa~NkhyAna in the
following verse (uLLadu nARpadu 32):

'adunIyenRu ammaraigaL ArttiDavum tannai
 yeduvenRu tAn tErNdirAdu **adunAn
 iduvanRu enRu eNNal uran inmayinAl** enRum
 aduvE tAnAy amarvadAlE (aduvumalAdu)'

(in the above verse, sandhi rules have been
deliberately ignored for the sake of easy

'the vedAs (conclusively) declare 'you are that', but
if instead of knowing oneself through enquiry and
abiding as that, **one thinks 'i am that, not this',
it is due to lack of mental strength**, for that
always abides as our self.'

parisa~NkhyAna is precisely an elaborate form of the
'i am that, not this' type of thinking that ramaNa
bhagavAn talks of in the above verse.

from the above, it should be clear that ramaNa
bhagavAn's Atma vichAram is NOT the same as
bhagavatpAda's parisa~NkhyAna. they are quite
different. the similarity lies only in the very
beginning when by simple enquiry, the true self is
inferred to be different from all that is known since
the knower is different from the known. but after
this, they diverge.

vAsudevaH sarvaM,

Yahoo! India Answers: Share what you know. Learn something new. 

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list