[Advaita-l] Dayanand Saraswathi interview - Very interesting stand taken by Swami

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at gmail.com
Fri Jan 13 16:29:18 CST 2017

On Fri, Jan 13, 2017 at 3:03 PM, Kripa Shankar <kripa.shankar.0294 at gmail.com
> wrote:

> Namaste,
> Thanks a lot  for this reference. Really fascinating. I glanced through a
> few pages of the book that's available online. From it, I could gather
> that, the author classes RM somewhere between traditional and
> Neo-Advaita(he explicitly says so). ‎It however seems to me, like a
> politically correct way of asserting that RM cannot be aligned with the
> traditional school. Just to give an example, if there is a fruit, it has to
> fall under a specific category / family. It is either an Apple or an
> Orange. Here we are certain that the fruit is not an Apple. Whether it is
> Orange or not is irrelevant. This reaffirms my opinion.
> If we consider the statement given by Mahasannidhanam, Gurugal * is
> certain * that RM was * not a jivanmukta *. That is a strong statement in
> my opinion. ‎There is no other way to interpret it, is there? This is in
> alignment to what Dayanand Saraswathi Swamy ji said that he was a mystic
> not a Vedantin.

I would urge you to be more cautious in interpreting this report by Andrew
Fort. Western academics don't quite appreciate the mImAMsA influenced ways
of speaking adopted by our Acharyas in such one-on-one conversations. It is
a very different context as compared to when an Acharya gives a public
discourse intended for a bigger and more general audience. Fort is faculty
at Texas Christian University and he goes with an expectation of a
Sankaracharya being like the Catholic Pope or an Anglican Archbishop,
institutions which are in the business of canonizing and formally
conferring sainthood upon dead people. Our pIThAdhipatis stay away from
such things and if you think about it, that is the real strength of our

When Fort asked, "was RM a jIvanmukta?," the Sringeri Mahasannidhanam gave
the technically precise answer, "we cannot say whether he was a Jivanmukta"
and then added "we can indeed say that he was a mahAn." There is a world of
difference from this and a statement, "RM was NOT a Jivanmukta." I hope you
see the huge and qualitative difference between these two statements.

The truth is that no one person can (or should) certify or deny another's
Jivanmukti. Within a close guru-Sishya lineage, people can make their
conclusions. When Swami Abhinava Vidyatirtha wrote SrImukhas describing
Swami Chandrasekhara Bharati as a Jivanmukta, that should be seen within
the context of the traditional guru-Sishya relationship. With respect to
other great people whom they haven't interacted directly with, and in the
hearing of people whom they don't interact with regularly, they won't
really venture to say much. In a position as a pIThAdhipati, with a
traditional custodial role over the transmission of old traditions and
texts, they definitely won't go around proclaiming things about others.

Like Rama said, RM is a rare case. Yes, the then Sankaracharyas
contemporaneous with him viewed him with respect, but they also didn't try
to force fit him into the traditional types of Sannyasis.

As for as the Gurugal's remark that he was a mahant, I am not sure why you
> seem to attach so much importance. It is certainly in line with what
> Dayanand Saraswathi Swamiji said that there are millions of housewives in
> India who are engaged in taking care of their family, but have the same
> level of understanding. What does swamiji mean by this?

Swami Dayanada Saraswati's statement should not be taken that way. What he
meant was, there could be many people whom we don't even hear about, who
are actually jnAnIs, but their external lives are ordinary, like anybody
else. Including housewives, who are taking care of ten children at home.
This is a restatement of a very old theme that recurs in our SAstra texts.
We should never presume to comment upon the AtmajnAna of another person
without intimate knowledge of that person's life.

> Everyone knows that RM was ignorant of Shastras.

He wasn't. He had quite a good acquaintance with the texts. His way,
however, was not to engage in the standard methods of SAstra-pANDitya.

> Further, an average woman in our tradition will not engage ‎in scriptural
> studies but rather engage in devotion to rituals and hymns. So Swamiji's
> comparison implies that, RM is, at best,  as good as an ajnani.

Again, that isn't so at all. Some of those average women in our tradition,
who engage in their rituals, may well have a high level of jnAna of various
adhyAtma related matters. We just can't deny that possibility. Such women
may be keeping up their normal lives for the sake of lokasangraha. We just
don't know otherwise.


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