manana and Atma vichAra (was Re: [Advaita-l] RE: Advaita-l Digest, Vol 37, Issue 11)

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian rama.balasubramanian at
Mon May 15 15:02:45 CDT 2006

On 5/13/06, Amuthan <aparyap at> wrote:
> namo nArAyaNAya!

> it is for these reasons that i think that RM's Atma
> vichAram is quite different from the traditional
> manana which is characterized by an effort to gain a
> (mere) intellectual conviction regarding the nature of
> the self and the not-self.

Dear Amuthan,

Due to some tight constraints, I am not able to answer in any detail.
I'll try to do that in a couple of weeks. But I think I understand the
source of your confusion.

Manana is *not* an effort to gain "intellectual" understanding
regarding the nature of the self. Neither is shravaNa merely using the
ear to capture the sound waves. Yes, there may be some *similarity* to
gaining "intellectual" understanding with manana, but that's not it.

Some useful references are the upoddhaata to the chaandogya where
bhagavatpaada compares j~naana and upaasana, and especially the 2nd
and 3rd chapters of the naishhkarmya siddhi. These chapters are
masterpieces, rivalling even sha.nkaras writings on this subject! Also
refer to the comments on the nature of the eternality of shruti by
bhagavatpaada in the taittiriiya bhaasya (aanadavallii if my memory
serves me right) and the comments of Sureshvara in his vaartka
regarding the same. I apologizeif this sounds a little too cryptic.
Anyway, I should also point out the narration by mahaasannidhaanam
himself about his gaining j~naana in "Yoga, Enlightenement and
Perfection" to his disciple who has written that book.


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