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

Bhaskar YR bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com
Wed Sep 21 04:34:07 CDT 2016

Hare Krishna

Before writing anything below I would like to clarify that I am not a follower of ramaNa’s teachings and I have very moderate knowledge of his teachings.  For that matter I had been to Tiruvannamalai ramaNAshrama long time back, only once  during the transition period of my journey from Hari sarvOttama to AtmaikatvaM  ☺ So, kindly don’t think I am an official and authorized representative of ramaNa’s teaching and promoting the methodology of his teaching during the course of this discussion.  I am just impartially  sharing my thoughts on this issue.

It appears that there are few options available:

1.      Ramana was a GYAnI

Ø    Yes, according to his close associates and most of the advaitins (advaitins from traditional background too)  would accept that ramaNa was a sahaja brahma nishTa jnAni.

2.      He was not a GYAnI

Ø   Yes, according to some others who are doubting his traditional background and asaMpradAyik way of teaching.  Since shankara himself says asampradAyik teachings from anyone should be deserted as it is from an idiot!!

BTW, why not make it clear that what do we mean by the word GYAna here and what are it's means?

Ø     Here jnana means Atmaikatva jnana , ekatva jnana as enshrined in Upanishads and as propagated by Advaita vedAnta.  And the means to achieve / realize it, is, sharvaNAdi direct sAdhana after getting the sufficient purity (chitta shuddhi)  through sAdhana chatushtaya.

We have to think about the proof of him being GYAnI or signs of the same.

Ø     Can there be a universal signs of the jnAni??  Can it be possible to ascertain whether one is brahma jnAni or otherwise through his external appearance and behavior that too when prArabdha and avidyA lesha having the strong hold on bhautika shareera of  this jnAni??  There can always be a little deviation  from sthita prajna lakshaNa in the socalled jnAni-s.  And shankara asks us in sUtra bhAshya : kathaM hi ekasya ‘SVAHRUDAYA PRATYAYAM’ (caps my choice) brahma vedanaM deha dhAraNaM cha apareNa pratiksheptuM shakyeta??  So, whatever we the ajnAni-s think as sign of jnAni is kevala adhyArOpita from our part due to our avidyA.  He might be a bAla sanyasi like shankara, a king like janaka, a rishi like yAgnAvalkya, a devata like yama dharma, a shUdra like dharmavyAdha.

Once we establish that he was indeed a GYAnI, we can go further to think about his teachings, either vague or clear.

Ø     Yes, but establishing this is indeed purely subjective and may vary to one individual to another or one follower to another.

Till now we have one person telling that he was not a person endowed with brahmaGYAna, while others are assuming that he was indeed because someone showed some respect to him.
To me respect from other is not a sign of GYAna, but is common for any good quality. Ramana had many good qualities, including tyAga which maThAdhIsha-s don't possess. So, respect from one of maThAdhIsha-s, who is a sannyAsI and who is expected to be sarva-tyAgI but can't do, may be just a sign of greater degree of aparigraha in respected.

Ø     Here in this case of ramaNa, those people who respected him (example kAnchi paramAchArya) not only respected him, they have given the advice and guided somany mumukshu / jignAsu-s to ramaNa to pursue the jnana mArga.

Whatever signs you see in him, are not essentially signs of GYAna.

Ø   Kindly tell me what are the definite signs of jnAni to know that he has the highest realization.

They can be found in a dvaitI who posseses bhakti and it's means. Don't we see many vaiShNava-s tyAgI-s or calm as sea?

Ø     So calmness is not a sign of Advaita jnAni, as it is there in vaishNava bhakta-s and tyAgI-s also.  Now kindly educate what are all the other signs that would determine an Advaita jnAni??

I'm sure that in advaita-l group, we talk about GYAna of oneness which is generated by shAstra only. I'm quite sure that just asking who am I is not enough to ascertain nature of Atman, although it helps us do anvaya-vyatireka to decide that Atman is not dRshya. This discrimination is not enough to help us decide that we are not tainted by relation of dRshya. We may imagine that we are not tainted, but that is not a proof. So, I think that Ramana stands close to sA~Nkhya-s, and yogI-s compared to advaitin-s.

Ø     If possible I would like to have more details about conclusion about ramaNa that he was close to sAnkhya and yOgI-s when compared to advaitins.  If I am right ramaNa did not ask for mere repetition  of the question nAn yaar?? Nor asked to meditate on this question.  It is vichAra pradhAna enquiry unto the root cause of the self and I think that is what he did at his uncle’s house after posing question himself about his ‘death’.

Unless GYAna of Ramana is ascertained, we can't imagine that he had done any sAdhana in previous births.

Ø     And again, what are the measures we have to take to ascertain the jnana of ramaNa please be specific.

Mere hearing of praNava or some mantra-s which eulogise knowledge of oneness, is not enough to generate GYAna - as is evident in our case. So, we can't claim that they caused the brahmaGYAna in his case too. Once the existence of result, GYAna, is decided; we should run to find it's cause, ignoring how much small or ineffective it may be for us, so called ashama-adhikArI-s.

Ø   Yes I agree in our case, even after doing adhyayana of veda / vedAnta, quoting memorizing shruti, smruti, bhAshya vAkya-s, observing sandhyAdi nitya karma-s we are still that mundane  laukika-s.  svetaketu needed tattvamasi sentence to realize that there is only one, arjuna had to hear geeta from the lord in somany shloka-s to get rid of his saMshaya.  And an uttamAdhikAri may require just one ‘shock’ to awaken to that reality.  We cannot push aside that  possibility.  If that is not the case then we have to ask how much shAstra one should study apart from saNdhyA mantra-s, how many hours needs to be dedicated to sAdhana, sva-shAkha adhyayana, vedAnta shravaNa, etc. etc.   Anyway, I have clarified my stand that doing saNdhyAvandana by ramaNa might not be the cause of his realization as it is not accounted and acknowledged by ramaNa himself.

Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!

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