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

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian rama.balasubramanian at
Thu Jan 25 16:35:08 CST 2007

On 1/25/07, asad mustafa <asad.mustafa at> wrote:

>   Dear Mr. Amuthan and Mr. Ramesh:
>   I may be mistaken about mainstream beliefs of hinduism, but my observation was not without any basis. I personally know quite a few hindus. When I got curious about Ramana Maharishi, I first asked them about him. Frankly, they were as clueless as me. Some of them had vaguely heard Ramana's name, some showed a namesake respect but most of them did not know anything at all about him.
>   Mind you, I am not talking about irreligious atheist type hindus. I am talking about mainstream, God fearing, temple going hindus. In my circle of hindu friends, I do not know anyone who knows about Ramana Maharishi's teachings. Though it is possible that I might have met a seriously biased sample of hindus yet not very likely. I have a pretty large circle of hindu friends.
>   It makes me wonder if advaita vedanta is really as prominent in hinduism as you say it is.

Most gurus are popular only regionally in Hinduism. For example, it's
unlikely any one outside Tamil Nadu, pockets of Andhra and Karnataka
would have heard of Ramana. One Swami Satchidanandendra Saraswati is
very popular in Karnataka, but I hadn't even heard his name, though I
had been studying advaitic texts for a good 10+ years before I came
across his books (through this list). Ramanuja is hailed as a great
philosopher in the south, especially in Tamil Nadu. But go to UP, and
you'll probably meet with blank stares.

But you are right, the popularity of advaita or any other
philosophical system, and especially advaita, is usually greatly
overstated. Most Hindus follow some basic rules and that's pretty much
it. But I am pretty sure that is the case in many religions. How many
Catholics would have made an in-depth study of Aquinas? Sunday mass is
probably the limit for most even religious ones.


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