[Advaita-l] The Evolution of Advaita from Sankara till Date

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Fri May 16 01:18:29 CDT 2008

On Thu, 15 May 2008, Bhaskar YR wrote:

> So, I think prabhuji, paramahamsa was highly influenced by Bengali 
> bhakti panth (propagated by chaitanya etc.) & achieved what he has 
> through that means ...Kindly clarify your stand on this observation.

One problem is that we don't know if the biographer is giving the full 
picture.  As I mentioned before, one of the goals of the 19th century 
reformers was to prove to the British that Hinduism was not "primitive" or 
"superstitious" so there may have been some whitewashing of inconvenient 
facts.  (and why do you think the biography was called the "Gospel" of 
Ramakrishna?)  Unfortunately the eyewitnesses are no longer available so 
we cannot say one way or another.

It is certainly possible though.  Gaudiya Vaishnavism is also a powerful 
current in Bengali culture and there is a lot of syncretism between it and 
tantrism.   But think about it.  A female guru?  Called Bhairavi no less? 
That doesn't seem very Vaishnava.

> And coming back to Swamy Vivekananda.  His experience of Nirvikalpa samAdhi
> (which is considered as absolute non-dual state of advaita  by some
> advaitins)

...and also by some non-advaitins.

  at Kashipur Garden House, it is said that it is  the result of
> rigorous practice of meditation.  He also taught during the short span of
> his life only vEdAnta, vyAkaraNa, tarka etc. nowhere there is a mention
> that he advocated Bengali vAmAchari Tantric methods for the spiritual
> progress..

No.  In his youth he was a member of the Brahmo Samaj which practised a 
"reformed" hodge-podge of ideas from Vaishnavism, Tantrism, and 
Christianity.  They were vehemently against "superstition" but it was 
still part of their cultural background.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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