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

Ramesh Krishnamurthy rkmurthy at
Thu Jan 25 23:40:18 CST 2007

Dear Sri Asad,

You wrote:
<<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>>

My response:
So by mainstream Hinduism, you essentially mean popular Hinduism that
the average Hindu practises. It is true that the average Hindu would
not know much about Advaita, but that is because it is a philosophical
school and not a set of popular religious practices. Traditionally,
Advaita-Vedanta and other such schools were well known only among
scholars and advanced practitioners. Nowadays, you can add people like
the members of this list who read books & exchange notes on the

In one of your earlier posts, you wrote:
<<Islam works at several levels. At the base level, it is an ethical
guide. At the highest level, it is a direct experience of divine

The same is true for Hinduism too. Schools like Advaita represent the
highest teachings of Hinduism. Several popular teachers like Sri Sri
Ravi Shankar are also advaitins, but their teachings are tailored for
the general public and so the teaching of non-duality per se is not
emphasized. But Ramana Maharshi pretty much taught only Advaita to the
exclusion of everything else. So it isnt surprising if the average
Hindu doesnt know about him. Pl ask your friends if they know anything
about Advaita-Vedanta and I am sure you will only get vague responses.

But among people who have some background in Advaita, Sri Ramana is
extremely well known. On this list, you will find fairly frequent
references to him, along with older teachers like Sankara, Vidyaranya
and the Upanishadic Rishi-s. And Advaita-Vedanta per se is a well
established tradition since the Upanishads with a huge amount of
classical literature (mainly in Sanskrit but also in other languages).
Any discussion on Hindu philosophy today is likely to center around


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