[Advaita-l] Commentary on Ramana's Forty Verses
ventzu at yahoo.co.uk
Sat Jun 19 15:50:04 EDT 2021
What is the rationale for that conclusion, given Sankara is pretty unambiguous across his commentaries, especially Aitreya, Brhad, and Chandogya - as is Suresvara in his vartika on Brhad?
> On 19 Jun 2021, at 17:15, H S Chandramouli via Advaita-l <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
> Even among the traditionalists, there is a debate as to whether Sri
> Bhagavatpada enjoins ashrama sanyasa as a prerequisite for Realization.
> Swami Paramarthananda himself takes the view that it is not compulsory even
> as per Sri Bhagavatpada.
> On Sat, Jun 19, 2021 at 9:27 PM Akilesh Ayyar via Advaita-l <
> advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
>> Namaste Raghavji,
>> This is the crux of the matter:
>> *Now, to draw a *doctrinal* conclusion about what exactly was Sri Ramana's
>> categorical position on external renunciation, is not possible by merely
>> quoting what he said to specific aspirants. We will find verses supporting
>> both views about the inevitability of external renunciation or its
>> orthogonality w.r.t GYAnam from the works. But if we choose to regard Sri
>> Ramana as part of the Advaita vedAnta tradition, then the views of all the
>> advaita Acharya's taken as a whole, have to be considered as final. Any
>> seeming divergence between Shankara and RM would in such a scheme be a
>> result of misunderstanding either of them.*
>> What's happening here is that a certain *interpretation* of the tradition
>> as emphasizing the importance of physical sannyasa is being *imposed* on
>> Ramana, when it simply is not there to be observed in his texts.
>> We can look at both what Ramana said to *many* different specific
>> aspirants, plus what he said in his authoritative written works, and come
>> to a very clear conclusion: Ramana did not think physical sannyasa was a
>> requirement, inevitable, or even necessarily heavily recommended for all
>> genuine seekers -- though it might be natural and helpful to some. Neither
>> does it necessarily follow for a jnani upon attainment.
>> Dharma is not comparable: you will not find Ramana anywhere telling people
>> that whether one is dharmic or not is unimportant as a seeker. Not to speak
>> to seekers "at their level" or otherwise. Whereas he consistently asserted
>> that physical sannyasa was merely a subsidiary thing to the real sannyasa,
>> which was mental.
>> Ramana doesn't mention physical sannyasa in the major works that are from
>> his pen -- Nan Yar, Upadesa Saram, and Ulladu Narpadu.
>> And as far as GVK, again, his real point can be seen in GVK 840:
>> "Know that, rather than one’s thinking in the heart ‘I have renounced
>> everything’, one’s not thinking ‘I am limited to the measure of the body,
>> and I am caught in the mean bondage of family life’, is a superior
>> If the tradition does indeed put such an emphasis on physical sannyasa,
>> then Sri Ramana and the tradition put different emphases on these things.
>> On Sat, Jun 19, 2021 at 2:10 AM Raghav Kumar Dwivedula via Advaita-l <
>> advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
>>> thank you all for an interesting discussion.
>>> it is clear that Sri Ramana in GVK of Muruganar indicates external
>>> renunciation (a la Murugunar himself who though not a sannyasi still
>>> adhered to an austere life of a sadhu) is the *default occurrence* in the
>>> life journey towards self-knowledge in as much as a ripe fruit falls.
>>> Unripe fruits hang on. The exception of a black swan event of some rare
>>> over ripe fruits hanging on to the tree, cannot be used to claim a
>>> principle that external renunciation I.e., withdrawal from money and
>>> pleasure pursuits does not occur or is inconsequential for GYAnam.
>>> We can as well say that leading an ethical dharmic life is also not
>>> enjoined. Because Ravana and Sisupala and other demons were granted
>>> liberation (be it even kramamukti). So can we say dharma too is
>>> to GYAnam. No we cannot.
>>> Why do we even need to purify the mind? After all, RM taught that we are
>>> not the mind. Such can be the incorrect logic.
>>> That's a misunderstanding of Advaita Vedanta to suggest that because
>>> was a king etc, so external renunciation is unimportant. External
>>> renunciation is the default course which naturally occurs upon maturity.
>>> Its such a no-brainer.
>>> Also regarding the loka saMgraha idea, its in fact sannyAsa thats more
>>> helpful for loka saMgraha than doing let's say some corporate job while
>>> claiming or silently presuming non-doership to rationalize one's pursuit
>>> desires of artha and kAma.
>>> Sri Ramakrishna's words in a conversation come to mind-
>>> "a man cannot act as an Āchārya without renouncing the world. People
>>> him. They will say: 'Oh, he is a worldly man. He secretly enjoys "lust
>>> lucre" himself but tells us that God alone is real and the world
>>> unsubstantial, like a dream. Unless a man renounces everything, his
>>> teachings cannot be accepted by all. Only some worldly people may follow
>>> him (if there is no external renunciation). Keshab (a well known
>>> spiritual teacher) led the life of a householder; hence his mind was
>>> directed to the world also. He had to safeguard his family interests.
>>> is why he left his affairs in such good order though he delivered so many
>>> religious lectures. What an aristocratic man he married his daughter to!
>>> Inside Keshab's inner apartments I saw many big bedsteads. All these
>>> gradually come to one who leads a householder's life. The world is
>> indeed a
>>> place for enjoyment.
>>> Chaitanyadeva renounced the world *to set an example to mankind*. The
>>> sannyasi is a *world teacher*. "The sannyasi must renounce 'lust and
>>> for his own welfare. Even if he is unattached, and consequently not in
>>> danger, still, *in order to set an example to others*, he must not keep
>>> 'kAminI and kAnchana' near him. The sannyasi, the man of renunciation,
>> is a
>>> world teacher. It is his example that awakens the spiritual consciousness
>>> of men." (So much for people wanting to continue other pursuits for loka
>>> One last point is that as Sri Ven Balakrishnan ji pointed out ,
>>> desirelessness is a concomittant of GYAnam. If avidyA is destroyed,
>>> for artha kAma drop away. The sequence of avidyA --> kAma -> karma is
>>> fundamental. And external renunciation naturally follows.
>>> What about a GYAnI eating etc? The Advaita tradition makes a clear
>>> distinction between those actions that are for bare minimum protection of
>>> sharIra-mAtra such as eating of alms etc. by a sannyasi, particularly
>>> food is available upon making efforts for it in a limited way.
>>> To generalize from that austere maintenance of the body by a GYAnI to
>>> equivalence with another person actively outwardly pursuing wealth and
>>> pleasure is inappropriate.
>>> Sri Ramana lived for years on frugal food, with just boiled rice with no
>>> salt on innumerable occasions. In later years, he would be offered coffee
>>> every day, regarded as a minor indulgence in those times. (1920s). He
>>> say that people offered him coffee, so that they could themselves indulge
>>> in their coffee addiction by saying that after all, even the swami drinks
>>> The modern mind loves the idea that nothing changes externally
>>> lifestyle-wise. Its a purely mental thing. And many modern Gurus
>>> particularly of neo-advaita leanings, are saying what the audience wants
>>> hear. In the case of Sri Ramana, he himself lived like a mendicant and
>>> people not to put the cart before the horse by a forced renunciation
>>> maturity. Thats authentic. RM endorsed his nephew's decision to lead a
>>> nivRtti lifestyle.
>>> Now, to draw a *doctrinal* conclusion about what exactly was Sri Ramana's
>>> categorical position on external renunciation, is not possible by merely
>>> quoting what he said to specific aspirants. We will find verses
>>> both views about the inevitability of external renunciation or its
>>> orthogonality w.r.t GYAnam from the works. But if we choose to regard Sri
>>> Ramana as part of the Advaita vedAnta tradition, then the views of all
>>> advaita Acharya's taken as a whole, have to be considered as final. Any
>>> seeming divergence between Shankara and RM would in such a scheme be a
>>> result of misunderstanding either of them.
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