[Advaita-l] Ramana Maharshi - Advaitin or Neo Advaitin?

Raghav Kumar raghavkumar00 at gmail.com
Tue Sep 20 12:54:29 CDT 2016

More on Maharshi's view on reincarnation and his conformity with the
orthodox Advaita tradition from his book Self-enquiry.

'Self-enquiry is the first work the Maharshi ever wrote. It was written
about 1901, that is, when he was a young man of about twenty-two. At that
time he was living in  Virupaksha Cave on the hill of  Arunachala. Although
he had not actually taken a vow of silence, he seldom spoke, and so WROTE
his replies to certain questions put to him by Gambhiram Seshayya, one of
the earliest devotees.  The latter copied them in his diary.  After his
death this diary was obtained from his brother.  The questions and answers
were edited by Natanananda and published with Bhagavan’s approval under the
name of Vichara Sangraham, or  Self-Enquiry'

In that authoritative book we find the following on pages 10 and 11 he
talks of past lives -

'But the mind, which has got rid of its defilement (sin) through action
without attachment performed in MANY PAST LIVES, listens to the teaching of
scripture from a true guru, reflects on its meaning, and meditates in order
to gain the natural state of the mental mode of the form of the Self, i.e.,
of the form ‘I am  Brahman’ which is the result of the continued
contemplation of  Brahman.'

Kripaji, I would suggest that the above is pretty much par for the course
of orthodox Advaita Vedanta and certainly not neo-advaita.

We could argue that maybe the above book has interpolations. But in that
case, we should altogether stop quoting the one to one conversations of Sri
Ramana Maharshi as a way of arriving at whether he held this view or that
view. It becomes a wild goose chase.

Instead a more fruitful approach would be to see what a shrotriya Guru
would teach using a work like upadesha saram or satdarshanam which are two
of Maharshi's canonical works. I suggest you please listen to Swami
Paramarthananda teach upadesha saram or satdarshanam. Or you can request
Swamis Haribrahmendrananda ji or Swami Sharvananda ji of the Kailash Ashram
Uttarkashi tradition from whom i was fortunate to learn for a short time.
They are shrotriyas and teach these granthas as a direct means for avidyA
nivRtti.  I feel that should settle decisively show  that Sri Ramana
Maharshi was an advaitin since the Maharshi's works and teachings in verse
form sufficient for advaita pratipAdanam by several shrotriya Guru-s.

Sri Ramana Maharshi more often than not spoke from a dRShTi-sRShTi-vada
perspective as can be seen here. Its not as if he just went on
monotonically asking people to repeat who am i. That is a popular
misunderstanding. Please see the following

'D: If the entire universe is of the form of mind, then does it not follow
that the universe is an illusion? If that be the case, why is the creation
of the universe mentioned in  the  Vedas?
Maharshi:  There is no doubt whatsoever that the universe is the merest
illusion.  The principal purport of the Vedas is to make known the true
Brahman, after showing the apparent universe to be false. It is for this
purpose that the  Vedas admit the creation of the world and not for any
other reason.
Moreover, for the less qualified persons creation is taught, that is the
phased evolution of  prakriti  (primal nature),  mahat tattva  (the great
intellect),  tanmatras  (the subtle essences),  bhutas  (the gross
elements), the world, the body, etc., from  Brahman; while for the more
qualified simultaneous creation is taught, that is, that this world arose
like a dream on account of one’s own thoughts induced by the defect of not
knowing oneself as the Self.  Thus, from the fact that the creation of the
world has been described in different ways it is clear that the purport of
the  Vedas rests only in teaching the true nature of  Brahman after showing
somehow or other the illusory nature of the universe.  That the world is
illusory, everyone can directly know in the state of Realization which is
in the form of experience of one’s bliss-nature. '

As far as i am able to follow, the above does indeed represent sound
advaita teaching.

On 20-Sep-2016 10:37 pm, "Raghav Kumar" <raghavkumar00 at gmail.com> wrote:

> On 20-Sep-2016 5:49 pm, "Kripa Shankar via Advaita-l" <
> advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
> >
> > ‎Namaste
> >
> > Interesting article about Ramana. This mig‎ht explain so many aspects
> about Neo-Advaita and the confusion around. Further, this corresponds to
> the recent campaign of Rajiv Malhotra.
> Can you please clarify whether you broadly agree with Rajiv Malhotra's
> approach or not? Yes or No?
> >This may also explain why Ramana is saying there is no reincarnation.
> >
> The above statement that Sri Ramana Maharshi denied reincarnation is not
> true. Sri Ramana Maharshi either denied both incarnation and reincarnation
> together; or he accepted both as provisionally true. Please see the extract
> below from 'A Sadhu's Reminescences'. By Sadhu Arunachala pages 54 and 55.
> Extract begins "As I have stated above, for an Advaitin there is no such
> thing as re-incarnation. Egos being completely impermanent, what is there
> to re-incarnate? Bhagavan would always deny that anybody is born now,  so
> how could such be re-born? “Search and find out if you are born now,” he
> would instruct us. However,  for such as believed in the actuality of the
> ego he did concede re-incarnation. One night in the Hall there was some
> talk about reincarnation. Just as Bhagavan was getting up from his couch to
> go for his evening meal, I, as a joke, said, “But Alan Chadwick has not
> been born before.” “What, what did he say?” asked Bhagavan sharply. “He
> said that he had never been born before,” someone wrongly interpreted. Of
> course I had not said that at all. I had meant that whatever form the ego
> took formerly it had never had the name and form Alan Chadwick, but had
> been some entirely different person. But Bhagavan replying to the wrong
> interpretation quickly replied, “Oh, yes he had been, for what has brought
> us all together here AGAIN?” He never asked us what had brought us to him,
> but what had brought us AGAIN to Arunachala. He had so completely
> identified himself with the Mountain. '
> One of the characteristics of 'neo-advaita' is presumably,  ALWAYS talking
> at the pAramArthika level alone. Then we can say a given teacher has one of
> the neo-advaita traits. Now if a teacher sometimes talks at the vyAvahArika
> level and sometimes at the pAramArthika level that is perfectly fine. Sri
> Ramana Maharshi sometimes says reincarnation is there and sometimes he says
> its not there, therefore we may need to examine the context and the
> adhikArI in which the acceptance and denial of reincarnation are talked
> about. This has already been mentioned by Bhaskar ji. It appears you did
> not follow his explanation.
> >
> > ‎Regards
> > Kripa
> >
> > ‎---
> > Vyasaya Vishnu roopaya Vyasa roopaya Vishnave
> > Namo vai Brahma nidhaye Vasishtaya namo namaha
> >   Original Message
> > From: Bhaskar YR
> > Sent: Tuesday 20 September 2016 4:44 PM
> > To: Kripa Shankar; A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta
> > Subject: RE: [Advaita-l] Ramana Maharshi - Advaitin or Neo Advaitin?
> >
> > praNAms Sri Kripa Shankar prabhuji
> > Hare Krishna
> >
> > My query i‎s simple. There are so many concepts like shrAddha, Creation
> theory, Karma etc
> >
> > > yes, in the shruti, dharma shAstra etc. we will find plenty of
> references with regard to shrAddhAdi karma, creation, karma etc. for the
> jignAsu-s who are yet to realize that ultimate truth that there is no
> creation, no jeeva, nor mukti nor bandha.
> >
> > Why pick up reincarnation, why mix up vyavahara and paramaartha and why
> to take pain to explain again that nothing holds in absolute terms when it
> is said already many times. Kim punaha?
> >
> > > don’t you think shruti and bhAshya themselves an admixture of these
> dual viewpoints?? 're-incarnation' is one of those topics. And in this
> particular context ramaNa might have taken this topic and clarified his
> stand from the highest view point. To do apavAda first we have to know what
> is adhyArOpita, is it not prabhuji. Kindly see kArika maraNe sambhave
> chaiva gatyAgamanayOrapi and shankara bhAshya on that it would clear from
> this that exit, going away, reincarnating are all from the stand point of
> imputation and nothing real in 'real' sense.
> > ‎
> > Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!
> > bhaskar
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