RES: [Advaita-l] New member introduction: Asad Mustafa Rizvi

Ramesh Krishnamurthy rkmurthy at
Thu Jan 25 11:39:12 CST 2007

Dear Sri Asad,

You wrote:
<< AFAIK, neither are non-dualist teachings of Ramana Maharishi
considered mainstream hinduism. And if I am not mistaken, they are
considered heresy by followers of Vishnu god>>

My response:
You are thoroughly mistaken on the above. Ramana Maharshi was a
teacher in the tradition of Advaita-Vedanta (which is why you have
come to this list). The word 'Advaita' is sanskrit for 'not-two' i.e.
non-duality. Advaita-Vedanta is very much a part of mainstream
Hinduism. In fact, if Advaita-Vedanta isnt mainstream Hinduism,
nothing is. Non-duality is an ancient and very well-established
tradition in Hinduism, starting with the Upanishads. It is also the
most widely accepted philosophical position in modern Hinduism, though
several other schools also exist.

The core of the Advaita-Vedanta tradition consists of sannyasi-s
(monks). Ramana Maharshi lived the life of a sannyasi, even though he
was not formally initiated as one.  Also, Sri Ramana was intimately
familiar with the Upanishads and other classical Advaitic literature
such as the works of Sankara.

Not only Bhagavan Ramana but several well-known Hindu teachers in
modern times such as Swami Vivekananda, Swami Chinmayananda, etc have
been Advaitins. The same holds for hugely popular contemporary figures
such as Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Satya Sai Baba, Mata Amritanandamayi,
etc. Like Sri Ramana, many of these were not formally initiated, which
goes to show that formal initiation does not always carry much

However, for most of the above-mentioned teachers, Advaita
forms/formed only a part of their overall teachings (i.e. their
teachings operated at different levels, starting with ethics, etc).
But Sri Ramana focused only on Advaita to the exclusion of almost
everything else. In that sense, he was the foremost representative of
Advaita Vedanta in recent times.

Formal representatives of the Advaita tradition such as the Acharya-s
of Sringeri & Kanchi have expressed their agreement with Sri Ramana on
numerous occasions.

Also there are several schools of Hinduism that have different
philosophical views. Some of these schools have a Vaishnava (followers
of Bhagavan Vishnu) orientation. The philosophy of these schools
differs from Advaita-Vedanta to varying extents. To that extent, they
would also differ from Ramana Maharshi, but the issue here is one of
having a philosophical position different from that of
Advaita-Vedanta, rather than accepting or not accepting the teachings
of Ramana Maharshi

If you read "Talks with Ramana Maharshi", you will come across some of
his comments on other schools of Hinduism, notably the Vishishtadvaita
of Ramanuja (a Vaishnava school) and Saiva Siddhanta (a Saiva school).

You will also easily note that Sri Ramana was deeply familiar with the
"technical details" of Advaita-Vedanta, including the Upanishads and
the works of Sankara, and used them extensively in his explanations.
See for example Talks 256, 383, 391, etc. You may also wish to have a
look at the book "Maha Yoga" which clearly explains the Maharshi's
teachings in the context of the Upanishads.

It is also noteworthy that Sri Ramana was born into a family that had
traditional links with Advaita-Vedanta.


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