[Advaita-l] Ritambara Prajna

Raghav Kumar raghavkumar00 at gmail.com
Fri Aug 19 05:04:55 CDT 2011

PraNams to all
On RtambharA prajnA (lit. Truth-conveying Consciousness) as a state of mind
which is the stepping stone to Self-knowledge - aparokSha brahmajnAnam.

the discussion till now was that - Sriramji indicated that Gayatri Japam
confers (eventually) RtambharA prajNa which gives clear, penetrating insight
in to the words of the shAstra including the tattvamasI mahAvAkya; this
insight conveyed by this prajnA is more than mere information or
ordinary/academic knowledge of vedanta.

For the best type of spiritual aspirant, shravaNam alone is enough because
they are stalwarts in upAsana meditation and possess a ready mind.

But, (for others viz., the middling spiritual aspirants) they do attain some
clarity and understanding of "aham brahmAsmi" during their sincere study of
vedanta, but there are still serious obstacles and a lack of penetrative
insight which renders such "jnAnam" born of shravaNam as something
which cannot be called 'aparokShAnubhUti" or aparokSha jnAnam.

In this context, the word parokSha jnAnam includes any jnAnam which
is unstable, where there is no niShThA or that which is
called sa-pratibandhaka-j~nAnam, i.e., obstacle-ridden j~nAnam,- , a
knowledge which still has some instability and "ifs" and "buts" associated
with it - all such varieties of jnAnam are all "parokSha jnAnam" alone.,

And for such aspirants, RtambharA prajnA is unequivocally given a place in
sAdhana by such respected vedantins like Sri VidyAraNya svAmI in texts like
the jIvanmukti viveka (manonAsha prakaraNam). He says - (after quoting Gita

"jnAnam prati antarangatvAt chitta-vishrAnti-hetutayA cha, jnAnadapi
adhikaH,  ...samyak-anuShThita samadheH adhyAtmaprasAde sati RtambharA
prajNa udeti.....(prior statement of Sri VidyAraNya SvAmI)
....nirodha-samAdhinA ....nirvighnam AtmAnubhUyate.")
Meaning: (Yoga sadhana ) being innermost or closest to Self-knowledge, it is
even more significant than (mere) academic knoweldge (parokSha-jnAnam of the
Veda and Vedanta).  By practise of samadhi, the mind is purified and (this
special condition of the mind called) RtambharA prajNa arises which leads to
the highest nirodha samAdhi whereby AtmAnubhava takes place."

This YogAbhyAsa is not regarded in vedanta as an independent pramAna which
confers Brahma-jnAnam. Patanjali Maharshi and Buddha Bhagavan regarded it
like that for certain plausible reasons (that is a separate matter for
debate). Most schools of Buddhism regard "svAnubhava" (self-experience) as
an independent pramAnam, but not Vedanta.(since Vedanta sees the danger
that anyone can claim anything as true and say this is my own experience,
svAnubhava. Such personalized whimsical-sounding experiences are not
recognized as a means of valid knowledge.)

As far as Vedanta is concerned, RtambharA prajnA is "harnessed" for arriving
at the true meaning of the mahAvAkya. This prajnA merely refers to the
condition of the purified mind which converts, so to speak, the middling,
obstacle-ridden parokSha jnAnam obtained by the middling spiritual aspirant
during his shravaNam, which is unstable (in which there is no spontaneous
abidance in the Self) into aparokSha-jnAnam upon which there is no more need
for any sadhana like nidhidhyAsana or further shravaNam etc.

Thus RtambharA prajNa helps us unravel the meaning of the words of vedanta
in ways which merely reasoning, discussion, logic etc do not succeed. This
is needed for the middling spiritual aspirant but not needed for an
idealized excellent aspirant. (Do they exist today?) Thus the words of
vedanta heard and studied during the course of shravaNam become truly
insightful and penetrating and life-changing when RtambharA prajnA arises.
There is no independent status for RtambharA prajNa as a pramANam.

YogAbhyasa when practised by a person who has already done significant
shAshtra ShravaNam is the same as nidhidhyAsanam Let us say a person
complains, "i am logically convinced that "i am brahman, this world is
mithyA,etc etc.,  but i do not feel it to be true at some deeper level
although i cannot give logical reasons why i hold on to the idea that I am
this finite human being and the World as absolutely real.." All such
viparitA bhAvAnas cannot be dealt with by merely increasing the quantity of
scriptures studied or by using more and more logic and words. More shravanam
and more mananam (reasoning) will not be of much help in such a case.

Rtambhara prajna has to be arrived to address such contrary notions which
are preventing the clear and unobstructed (aparokSha) jnAnam, from arising
in the mind.  VidyAraNya Swami approvingly quotes Patanjali (1.49) "the
knowledge arising through RtambharA prajnA is of a higher order than that
obtained through scriptural study and logical reasoning."

 To sum up - Rtambhara PrajNa, though not an independent pramANam, indeed is
the immediate stepping stone to true Self-knowledge by unravelling and
giving us penetrating insight in to the words of the shAstra; an insight
which is unlikely to arise by merely increasing the quantity of
shAshtra studied. Gayatri Japam etc are sadhanas quite helpful in getting
this prajNa.


On Fri, Aug 19, 2011 at 10:33 AM, Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>wrote:

> On Sat, 13 Aug 2011, Raghav Kumar wrote:
> Thank you for your explanation of the connection between gAyatrI and
>> RtambharA prajnA. My doubt is that you have included "ordinary ...vedanta
>> jnana" as inferior to the insight offered by the RtambharA prajnA. This is
>> quite interesting. Could you elaborate on the difference between "ordinary
>> vedantic jnana" and the deeper subtler jnanam born of RtambharA prajnA ?
>> My
>> personal view is that what you said makes perfect sense. But can we
>> justify
>> the idea of Patanjali's idea of RtambharA prajnA as being crucial in
>> attaining to true mahavAkya jnAnam in the more orthodox vedantic
>> tradition?
>> Has any of the later Acharyas in the Shankara-paramparA also talked in a
>> similar vein? (Given the fact that nirvikalpaka samadhi is not given such
>> a
>> great status in the vedantic tradition as in Yoga.)
> I was wondering the same thing.  In the Samkhya/Yoga the "yogic intuition"
> of perfected (siddha) beings is accepted as a valid means of knowledge
> (pramana) or as the source of pramana.  The Vedas are authoritative because
> their author is Ishvara who being the primordial being is most perfect.
>  Vedanta on the other hand following Purva Mimamsa considers the Vedas to be
> authoritative due to their eternality and precisely because they are not
> authored by any being upto and including Ishvara.  There is no difference in
> kind between Vedic language and laukika language.  Yes it is somewhat harder
> to learn and there are certain non-literal and poetical usages etc.  which
> may not be intelligible to one who has not learned in a paramparagata way
> but the same could be said about a sufficiently advanced book in mathematics
> or any other laukika subject too.
> In fact it is this rtambhara prajna which as presented seems to be
> defective being based on personhood.
> The function of upasana in Vedanta is not to cause or increase jnana (or "a
> more subtle jnana" which is a concept that doesn't make sense.  jnana is
> jnana is jnana) but to annhilate ajnana which allows svayamaprakasha jnana
> to shine forth.  To this end an untainted intellect can be useful just as
> nirvikalpa samadhi can be useful but my point is it is orthogonal to whether
> one understands the shastra or not.
> --
> Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
> ______________________________**_________________
> Archives: http://lists.advaita-vedanta.**org/archives/advaita-l/<http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l/>
> http://blog.gmane.org/gmane.**culture.religion.advaita<http://blog.gmane.org/gmane.culture.religion.advaita>
> To unsubscribe or change your options:
> http://lists.advaita-vedanta.**org/cgi-bin/listinfo/advaita-l<http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/cgi-bin/listinfo/advaita-l>
> For assistance, contact:
> listmaster at advaita-vedanta.org

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list