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

Praveen R. Bhat bhatpraveen at gmail.com
Thu Sep 22 07:56:59 CDT 2016

Namaste Kripaji, Venkatraghavanji,

Although the originator of the thread has closed arguments from his side, I
could only get to respond today, so I will try and keep it brief while also
clubbing replies...

On Wed, Sep 21, 2016 at 6:54 PM, Venkatraghavan S via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> > Ramana taught what he taught. Those who want to believe it ‎believe it.
> > Ramana, a true saint or not is irrelevant. The only contention is that
> his
> > teachings cannot be considered as orthodox Advaita because :
> >
> > 1) By his own/Ramanashram  admission

Wrong. As I already quoted, Bhagavan has said that he quotes from
experience what has been found inline with Shankaracharya's teaching. As
for Ramanashram, as clarified by someone else, there is no disciple of
Maharshi to make any admission per se! Moreover, when two seemingly
contradictory statements are made by the same person/ person, they have to
be reconciled as by following tons of examples in the Shruti. Wikiquotes
and Rajiv Malhotra are definitely the worst sources. Mr. Malhotra has a
different goal to his books, talks, than proving authenticity of someone
being traditional Vedantin or not. I am not sure he claims it, but he
doesn't even have the qualifications to do so, BTW.

> > 2) His words are not shruti (paurusheya)‎

Irrelevant, no Vedanta teacher's words are Shruti, be it
Bhagavatpadacharya's, unless he quotes Shruti; what about the explanation
that follows? In fact, those who don't study Vedanta as is in Sanskrit
itself, will that be consider Shruti then?! We don't throw the baby with
the bath water.

> > 3) He cannot be considered a Guru in orth‎odox sense, for he was
> > illiterate of Shastras, outside the lineage

He was more literate of Shastras than most of us self-styled ones who have
not studied in the sampradAya! Ganapati muni, a chaturveda vidvAn of the
highest order of his time didn't conclude so and ended up titling the
Maharshi as Bhagavan. By an account he studied quite a lot of books of
shAstra in multiple languages later whether to explain it as a question
from someone or just because someone gave them.

> and mostly maintained silence
> > when asked about anything.

What he mostly did is irrelevant in comparison to what he said when he
talked. There are at least three authentic (recorded and verified by
Bhagavan) decent-sized books that have cropped up as Talks (not Silence :),
Letters from Ramanashram, Day by Day with Bhagavan that prove this. This is
apart from gem of works Upadeshasaram and Satdarshanam that are not only
inline with traditional Advaita Vedanta, but taught by many traditional
Advaita Vedanta teachers!

> > 4) Judging by the affairs of the Ashram
> >
Completely irrelevant to his teachings.

> My view is that Ramana Maharshi's teachings are not meant for the lay
> reader - it requires a high level of sAdhana chatushTaya, and an
> understanding of shAstra already. His teachings are really meant for those
> that have already completed shravaNa (and maybe manana). The true value of
> his teaching is for those doing nidhidhyAsana in my view,


It was interesting to read your take on असम्प्रदायवित् मूर्खवत् उपेक्षणीयः।
Thanks for the same. On the above note, I had and more or less have the
same conclusion as you, but here's another further thought, which convinces
me that Bhagavan Ramana was more of a traditional Advaita teacher than many
others! Why? Since he didn't quite throw around the phrase "tat tvam asi"
to all and sundry, but he suggested self-inquiry which is tvam-pada
vichAra, without which most of them understand the mahavAkya completely
wrong amounting to Neovedanta. A similarity is also seen among Upanishads
initially in Bhriguvalli. Most of his core teaching seen in Upadeshasaram,
for example, where chitta shuddhi is talked about by karma is completely
inline with gaining adhikAritva in the orthodox sampradAya, as you would
already know and agree with. How this goes amiss among those calling the
Maharshi Neovedantin is beyond me! Neovedanta, as I understand, is pretty
much anything-goes under the garb of ahaM brahmasmi on the receiver's side
and anyone is eligible for jnAna on the giver's side. By that account,
Bhagavan did none of that.


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