Raman Maharshi (was Re: RES:[Advaita-l]Newmemberintroduction:AsadMustafa Rizvi)

Ramesh Krishnamurthy rkmurthy at gmail.com
Tue Feb 6 12:21:03 CST 2007

Namaste Sriram-ji,

Sorry I could not reply earlier. These kind of debates run the risk of
becoming a case of my opinion versus yours, which is why I had written
the previous message in point-by-point fashion in response to your
earlier post. Unfortunately, you have gone on a totally different
track in  your latest post.

Anyway, here goes:

Sriram wrote:
> kindly refer to vivekachudamani verse 31, 32 for the clarification about the
> essence of Jnana and Bhakti Margas and the difference between self enquiry
> and enquiry into the nature of Atman and also verse 570 of vivekachudamani
> about the repose of Adi Sankara that srutih does not permit
> duality

** I have read the verses in question. When it is said that advaita is
a jnana marga, what is meant is that jnana & jnana alone is the
proximate means of moksha. This does not mean that conventional bhakti
(devotion to a personal deity) is of no use. Indeed it is very helpful
but it has to culminate in jnana at some point.

The bhakti that the Vivekachudamani is talking about is not
conventional bhakti. It is advaitic bhakti or parabhakti which is the
same as jnana. The Paramacharya of Kanchi, among others, has talked
about this while differentiating bhakti of the jnana marga from bhakti
of the bhakti marga. In fact, what verse 32 says is that true bhakti
is nothing but Atma-vicAra or self-enquiry. I dont understand your
notion of "inquiry into the Atman" vs "self-enquiry". Traditionally,
there is only one word - Atma-vicAra. This what Sri Ramana also

I dont see how verse 570 is relevant to this discussion.

> Advaita is a State and to attain it there are verily numerous
> paths...Bhakti, Jnana and other paths to that state of advaita!

As far as Advaita-Vedanta is concerned, jnana & jnana alone is the
proximate means to moksha, for the simple reason that the fundamental
human problem is ajnana. And advaita is not a state to be attained. It
is the truth to be realized. This is a very basic point in the
tradition and Sri Ramana agrees with it 100%.

> know that kaivalya or oneness is the requisite to Brahman according to
> Vedanta and that many have embarked upon the paths, many paths themselves
> and many are the levels at each path before the attainment of the final
> stage.

Agreed. This is what I indicated in my very first response to you.
This does not support your contention. What we call Advaita Vedanta is
a vast tradition, stemming from the Upanishads. Because of his wide
ranging writings, Sri Sankara is historically regarded its most
important teacher, but the scope of the tradition neither starts nor
ends with Sri Sankara.

Sri Sankara's writings do provide a sort of framework for the
tradition, but there have been many great advaitins before him and
many after him, and each of them contributed to the tradition in his
own way. If you dont accept this you might as well close the tradition
with Sankara and say that whatever anybody else said or did is of no
consequence. You can even forget Gaudapada & Suresvara.

Sri Ramana was one of the greatest, or perhaps the greatest,
representative of Advaita-Vedanta in recent memory, and made his own
contribution in the context of his times.

> this is a forum for discussing advaita, or non duality. and therefore i
> thought it correct to present to you that while the essence of all Sages and
> their teachings may be the Truth that is One, we cannot quote them out of
> context nor can we allude their teachings in an interchangeable manner.

I am not talking about all sages and their teachings but only advaitin
sages & their teachings. The tradition is not exhausted by the
teachings of any particular sage, but each of them contributed to it
in his own way. Trying to nitpick differences between what one sage
said and what another said instead of concentrating on the basic
message is contrary to the spirit of the tradition. The tradition is
greater than any individual, even if the said individual is a jnani.

Sri Ramana translated Vivekachudamani, Atmabodha and Dakshinamurti
Stotram into Tamil. This does not mean that he was a "mere"
translator. Rather, what is relevant is the fact that he chose
Advaitic scriptures, even though he had so other many texts to choose
from. There are hundreds of classical scriptures including more
generic ones like the Bhagavad Gita, and yet Sri Ramana chose texts
from the core Advaitic tradition that teach Advaita directly.

If I say that Suresvara was an advaitin, does it mean that he was a
"mere commentator" on Sankara's writings? Not so. It means that
Suresvara made his own contribution to the tradition and enriched it.


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