[Advaita-l] On Ramana
Raghav Kumar Dwivedula
raghavkumar00 at gmail.com
Thu Jun 24 11:11:39 EDT 2021
We observe that
1. Many scholarly Acharyas of Advaita vedanta today who are outstanding
sAmpradAyavits such as Swami Paramarthanandaji and Swami Tattvavidanandaji,
Swami Haribrahmendranandaji etc., unequivocally regard Sri Ramana Maharshi
as a GYAnI.
2. Moreover, these acharyas actually teach RM's works like upadesha sAram
and saddarshanam as prakaraNa granthas to *convey brahma GYAna* through
their (these sAmpradAyavit's) talks. Now when a mahAtma's (RM's) written
canonical sanskrit compositions are employed by the advaita sAmpradAya
today to communicate brahma GYAnam, there's no doubt that as far as the
advaita sAmpradAya today is concerned, RM was a GYAnI and his ultimate
tAtparya as Advaita teaching is adequately conveyed by his sanskrit
Any other reading of his (RM's) words and views based on his informal
conversations to a wide variety of people, can only be contextualised as
specific to that particular adhikArI at that particular time.
The other (contrived) alternative is to say that these sAmpradAyavit
Acharyas who teach RM's works as conveying brahma GYAnam don't actually
believe that RM's words can be unfolded to convey brahma GYAnam but are
only teaching RM's works due to the preferences of their audience. I don't
think such a view makes any sense in trying to second guess the intentions
these well-known sAmpradAyavit Acharyas.
Therefore its hazardous to do random *independent* reading (based on one's
own preexisting biases) of the conversations of RM to reach conclusions
about what RM sought to convey. That he made mistakes or that he should
have said this instead of this etc etc. That approach itself is faulty and
so will be the conclusions.
Once RM has been understood by the teaching of RM's works by a
sAmpradAyavit acharya, then the hazard is not much of an issue and we can
read any conversation of RM without loosing one's bearings. Until then,
RM's words would still be inspiring and illuminating but we cannot reach
conclusions about RM's tAtparya by stray reading of his words in paperbacks.
Just as, if someone tries to "read" the shankara bhAShya or "read" the
brahma sUtras, it can pretty much convey anything we want to (due to
implicit or explicit biases), including conclusions that Shankara was a
sectarian vaiShNava. Or the well-known thesis of the early translators of
the brahma sUtras in the late 19th century who felt that the brahma sUtras
leaned more towards vishisht Advaita. The right approach thetefore is to
approach one or more Advaita sAmpradAyavit Acharyas and ask them about RM,
rather than reach hasty conclusions from our own "independent" analysis.
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