[Advaita-l] RM and shaMkara - part 1 (was Re: doubt on the role of shruti vAkyAs)

Amuthan aparyap at yahoo.co.in
Fri May 12 23:19:36 CDT 2006

namo nArAyaNAya!

(to the moderators: i'm sorry for going beyond my
alloted quota of 3 mails/day yesterday. it seems this
may be the case today also! this topic is too
interesting for me to think of anything else. kindly
bear with this inconvenience for just a day or two.) 

dear shrI jayanArAyaNan,

--- S Jayanarayanan <sjayana_at_yahoo.com> wrote:
> Do you agree that RM's basic teaching is:
> shravaNa --> (Some) manana --> AV --> GYAna
> How about we take RM's teaching as:
> shravaNa --> (Some) manana --> (optional
> nididhyAsana) --> AV --> GYAna
i guess both of us may be wrong! i'll provide the
details why in the second part of this mail. here's
what ramaNa bhagavAn writes about sha~Nkara's
siddhAnta. i should have seen this first before
getting into the discussion. too late :( 

(the text quoted below is an extract from bhagavAn's
own introduction to bhagavatpAda's vivekachUDAmaNi. it
is very interesting to see the way bhagavAn interprets
SMN. it also gives a very good picture of bhagavAn's
opinion about bhagavatpAda. 

since i don't have the original tamiz work, i've
reproduced below an english translation of the

\begin quote...........................

... It is precisely for the purpose of pointing out
the straight path to true happiness that Lord Siva
taking on the guise of Sri Sankaracharya, wrote the
commentaries on the triple canon (Prasthana Traya) of
the Vedanta, which extols the excellence of this
bliss; and that he demonstrated it by his own example
in life....

... Sri Sankara begins by observing that it is hard
indeed to attain human birth, and that, having
attained it, one should strive to achieve the bliss of
Liberation, which is really only the nature of being.
By jnana or spiritual knowledge alone is this Bliss to
be realized, and jnana is achieved only through
vichara or steady enquiry. In order to learn this
method of enquiry, says Sri Sankara, one should seek
the grace of a Guru; and he then proceeds to describe
the qualities of the Guru and his disciple and how the
latter should approach and serve his master. He
further emphasizes that in order to realize the bliss
of Liberation, one's own individual effort is an
essential factor. Mere book learning never yields this
bliss; it can be realized only through Self-enquiry or
vichara, which consists of sravana or devoted
attention to the precepts of the Guru, manana or deep
contemplation and nididhyasana or the cultivation of
equanimity in the Self.

The three bodies are non-self and are unreal. The
Self, that is the Aham or 'I' is quite different from
them. It is due ignorance that the sense of Self or
the notion of 'I' is foisted on that which is not
Self, and this indeed is bondage. Since from ignorance
arises bondage, from Knowledge ensues liberation. To
know this from the Guru is sravana.

The process of manana, which is subtle enquiry or deep
contemplation, consists in rejecting the three bodies
consisting of the five sheaths (physical, vital,
mental, intellectual and blissful) as not 'I' and
discovering through the subtle enquiry of 'Who am I'?
that which is different from all three and exists
single and universal in the Heart as Aham or 'I', just
as a stalk of grass is delicately drawn out from it's
sheath. This 'I' is denoted by the word tvam (in the
scriptural dictum 'Tat-tvam-asi', 'That thou art'.)

The world of name and form is but an adjunct of Tat or
Brahman and, having no separate reality, is rejected
as reality and affirmed as nothing else but Brahman.
The instruction of the disciple by the Guru in the
Mahavakya 'Tat tvam asi', which declares the identity
of the Self and the Supreme, is this Upadesa
(spiritual guidance). The disciple is then enjoined to
remain in the beatific state of Aham-Brahman (I - the
absolute). Nevertheless, the old tendencies of the
mind sprout up thick and strong and constitute an
obstruction. These tendencies are threefold and the
ego is their root. The ego flourishes in the
externalized and differentiating consciousness caused
by the forces of projection due to rajas, and veiling
due to tamas.

To fix the mind firmly in the Heart until the forces
are destroyed and to awaken with unswerving, ceaseless
vigilance the true and cognate tendency which is
characteristic of the Atman and is expressed by
sayings: 'Aham Brahmasmi' (I am Brahman) and
'Brahmaivaham' (Brahman alone am I) is termed
nididhyAsana or Atmanusandhana, that is constancy in
the self. This is otherwise called bhakti, yoga and

Atmanusandhana has been compared to churning curds in
order to make butter, the mind being compared to the
churn, the heart to the curds and the practice of
concentration on the Self to the process of churning.
Just as butter is made by churning the curds and fire
by friction, so the natural and changeless state of
nirivikalpa samadhi is produced by unswerving vigilant
concentration on the Self, ceaseless like the unbroken
flow of oil. This readily and spontaneously yields
that direct, immediate, unobstructed, and universal
perception of Brahman, which is at once knowledge and
experience and which transcends time and space.

This perception is Self-Realization.Achieving it cuts
the knot of the Heart. The false delusions are
ignorance, the vicious and age-long tendencies of the
mind which constitute this knot are destroyed. All
doubts are dispelled and the bondage of karma is

\end quote..............................

since this mail is already very long, i'll discuss
this in a separate post.

vAsudevaH sarvaM,

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