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

sivaramakrishnan muthuswamy muthushiv at yahoo.com
Sat May 17 10:59:46 CDT 2008

Jaldarji, The main problem in fragmenting my words so that you can write a response is that you loose the holistic meaning of my message.  What negative out weighs what  positive?  When I say Swami Vivekananda is a product of various schools means that during his search for knowledge he indulged in reading both western and Indian school of thoughts.  It is a known fact he was with brhmao samaj.  But eventually he settled for Advaita after reading Vivekachudamani and other works of shankaracharya.  For the guidance he depended on Sri Ramakrishna as his guru.  Which culminated in his liberation.  His influence with advaita vedanta was so much he named his first ashrama as "Advaita Ashrama" in Calcutta. I insist again Swamiji words has to be understood in total with his contemporaries works which makes the ideology complete.  This includes works of Swami Nikilananda.  His love for Advaitam is so much after the demise of Sri Ramakrishna, Swamiji and his
 brother disciples were living in an old apartment in ocher robs.  At that time, bengalis were used to see Vaishnava saints who dont shave their heads and their looks have matted hairs, he introduced head shaving and other advaitic sanyasi rules in his new ashram.  I am yet to see a non-advaitic stand in some of his core lectures includes three lectures in Madras and mission of Vedanta lecture in Kumbakonam.  Blaming his thoughts and his personality is a simple excuse for the failure of Hindu spiritualists against materialistic modernization in modern India. 

Your thoughts and they way you prioritize the importance in a spiritual life still baffles me.  You said Sanyasi alone can get the jnana while others may have to be satisfied with the textual knowledge.  I am sorry.  When ever I read great books such as Vivekachudamani (Chinmayananda ashram publication) I get a different message althogether.  Practicing Vyavaharika dharma essentially purifies ones mind which qualifies for obtaining jnana.  As praveenji mentioned somewhere, sankalpa makes the most important aspect in obtaining jnana.  The grades herein alone differentiates who is a jnayani who is not.  Sadasiva Brhmendra, Sri Ramana Maharish are some of the most recent contemporaries who obtained jnana without going to the forest.  In the case of Sri Ramana Maharishi the jnana was so instantaneous he never had time to even do sankalpa.  The only moment was he laid don and he said to himself what next as the body looks like cadaver.  He later said the
 knowledge was instantaneous. This incident clearly exhibits that purificatoin of the mind alone qualifies jnana and not prioritizing the "what to do..".  However as per the Varnashram Dharma, it is certainly upholding the vedic knowledge and practice is the prescribed dharma for the Brahmins.  This essentially purifies their mind which eventually will lead to jnana/moksha.  

It is very unfortuante that any service to the poor and needy was essentially attributed to Christianity in the modern India.  First Sri Ramakrishna ashram has two aspects.  1. Sri Ramakrishna Math and 2. Sri Ramakrishna Mission.  The math essentially deals with theological aspects while the mission deals with serving the poor and needy (It is not preachy and exploiting  as Christian missionary in India does).  They are independent and this segregation is well maintained in the ashram. Introduction of mission activities were need of the hour. I would like to to remind you that India had a permanent begging bowl in International Monitory Fund (IMF) office and the people were so poor after british looting India.  I dont know you are aware about the great bengal famine.  Later in 1950s under the able leadership of M.S.Swaminathan who introduced various wheat crop varieties and later rice which eventually freed India.  The hunger, famine, independence
 movement and these prompted Sri Ramakrishna Ashram to start the missionary activities.  Helping poor was an integral part of Indian life.  In periya puranam (A revered spiritual text in South Indian Saiva text 7 -12th century text) we can see the story of Sri Apoothi Adigal who does the service in the name of "Thirunavukarasu".  

All I wish is that you dont see the truth with tainted glass.  It may hinder the original glory of the truth and certainly that is not the way to jnan. 

Hari Om Tat Sat



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