[Advaita-l] On Ramana

Venkatraghavan S agnimile at gmail.com
Fri Jun 25 16:02:08 EDT 2021

One sentence corrected on second reading.

On Fri, 25 Jun 2021, 20:41 Venkatraghavan S, <agnimile at gmail.com> wrote:

> Namaste
> In fact, Shankaracharya also concedes that while shAstra is the primary
> pramANa for brahmajnAna, there is room for anubhava as a pramANa too.
> 1) In the janmAdyadhikaraNam he makes a far-reaching comment.
> न धर्मजिज्ञासायामिव श्रुत्यादय एव प्रमाणं ब्रह्मजिज्ञासायाम् । *किन्तु
> श्रुत्यादयोऽनुभवादयश्च यथासम्भवमिह प्रमाणम् ,*
> अनुभवावसानत्वाद्भूतवस्तुविषयत्वाच्च ब्रह्मज्ञानस्य ।
> Unlike knowing dharma, shruti etc alone  is not the pramANa for knowing
> Brahman.
> Rather, shruti etc and experience etc are pramANa-s as far as possible,
> because brahmajnAna must culminate in anubhava. Further, brahmajnAna is
> revealing an object that is existent at the time of knowledge, (unlike
> dharma which does not exist at the time of dharmajnAna).
> 2) And later, in the samanvayAdhikaraNam, he expounds how shAstra serves
> as a pramANa for Brahman - its prAmANya lies not in revealing Brahman, but
> in denying what Brahman is not.
> न च विदिक्रियाकर्मत्वेन कार्यानुप्रवेशो ब्रह्मणः —
> Nor can Brahman be part of an action as it is the object of the act of
> knowing,
> ‘अन्यदेव तद्विदितादथो अविदितादधि’ (के. उ. १ । ४) इति
> विदिक्रियाकर्मत्वप्रतिषेधात् ,
> Because the shruti "It is other than the known, and the unknown" denies
> Brahman being the object of the act of knowing.
> ‘येनेदं सर्वं विजानाति तं केन विजानीयात्’ (बृ. उ. २ । ४ । १४) इति च ।
> So also "By what instrument can That be known, by which all this is known".
> तथोपास्तिक्रियाकर्मत्वप्रतिषेधोऽपि भवति
> Similarly, it being the object of the act of upAsana also is negated,
> — ‘यद्वाचानभ्युदितं येन वागभ्युद्यते’ इत्यविषयत्वं ब्रह्मण उपन्यस्य, ‘तदेव
> ब्रह्म त्वं विद्धि, नेदं यदिदमुपासते’ (के. उ. १ । ५) इति ।
> Having stated that its not being an object through the statement "That
> which cannot be stated by speech, but because of which the speech is
> uttered", the shruti says "Know that alone to be Brahman, not that which is
> being meditated upon as this". It is not the object of meditation, because
> speech which reveals all *cannot* reveal Brahman. In fact Brahman is that
> which reveals speech.
> Isn't it a contradiction though? We had first said that Brahman was the
> object of shAstra in the shAstrayonitva adhikaraNam. Now it is said that
> Brahman cannot be known by shAstra. This question is raised and answered:
> अविषयत्वे ब्रह्मणः शास्त्रयोनित्वानुपपत्तिरिति चेत् , न ;
> अविद्याकल्पितभेदनिवृत्तिपरत्वाच्छास्त्रस्य ।
> If it is said that if Brahman can never be objectified, it would be
> inappropriate to argue that shAstra is the means to know it - no. The
> import of shAstra lies in removing the difference (between me and Brahman,
> which was the obstacle in knowing Brahman) that has been imagined as a
> result of ignorance.
> Brahman is aviShayam. But shAstra is not redundant, because it serves to
> remove erroneous notions about Brahman.
> न हि शास्त्रमिदंतया विषयभूतं ब्रह्म प्रतिपिपादयिषति ।
> The shAstra does not wish to convey the Brahman as some object denoted as
> "this".
> किं तर्हि ? प्रत्यगात्मत्वेनाविषयतया प्रतिपादयत् अविद्याकल्पितं
> वेद्यवेदितृवेदनादिभेदमपनयति ।
> What then? By conveying that Brahman is the very inner self, not an
> object, shAstra serves to remove the differences between the known, the
> knower and knowing that are the products of ignorance.
> 3) And later on in the same chapter, he goes on to explain what do
> shravaNam etc really mean in relation to the Atma.
> किमर्थानि तर्हि ‘आत्मा वा अरे द्रष्टव्यः श्रोतव्यः’ (बृ. उ. २ । ४ । ५)
> इत्यादीनि विधिच्छायानि वचनानि ?
> Why then is there the appearance of injunctions in sentences such as "The
> self dear one must be seen, heard etc", etc.?
> स्वाभाविकप्रवृत्तिविषयविमुखीकरणार्थानीति ब्रूमः ।
> We say that that is so to turn one away from those actions that are
> instinctively undertaken.
> By saying Atma va are draShTavyah, the intent is to turn the person away
> from going after anAtma.
> यो हि बहिर्मुखः प्रवर्तते पुरुषः ‘इष्टं मे भूयादनिष्टं मा भूत्’ इति, न च
> तत्रात्यन्तिकं पुरुषार्थं लभते, तमात्यन्तिकपुरुषार्थवाञ्छिनं
> स्वाभाविकात्कार्यकरणसङ्घातप्रवृत्तिगोचराद्विमुखीकृत्य प्रत्यगात्मस्रोतस्तया
> प्रवर्तयन्ति ‘आत्मा वा अरे द्रष्टव्यः’ इत्यादीनि ;
> As the outgoing person who thinks "may I attain happiness, not sorrow",
> but desires permanent happiness, will not attain permanent happiness
> through the naturally occurring proclivities of the body and mind,
> sentences such as "The self is to be seen", etc serve to turn him away from
> such activities, and to motivate him to be continually attentive to the
> inner self (प्रत्यगात्मस्रोतस्तया).
> तस्यात्मान्वेषणाय प्रवृत्तस्याहेयमनुपादेयं चात्मतत्त्वमुपदिश्यते
> Further, for such a one who has been motivated to seek the self, the
> nature of the self as something that can neither be accepted nor rejected,
> has been taught.
> As we can see from the above passages, the ultimate object of Ramana
> Maharishi's teaching is the very same self established in the Upanishads.
> Ultimately even shravaNam, mananam, nididhyAsanam are only meant to direct
> one away from anAtma and towards the Atma in a continuous stream, in
> Acharya's words, स्वाभाविकात्कार्यकरणसङ्घातप्रवृत्तिगोचराद्विमुखीकृत्य
> प्रत्यगात्मस्रोतस्तया प्रवर्तयन्ति. This is not much different from the
> "Who am I" teaching, where Ramana Maharishi's aim is not to guide the
> student towards the anAtma that is the ego denoted by "I", rather it is to
> transcend the ego by examining the source of the ego.
> It is neti, neti in another form, where the question "Who?" is ultimately
> only serving to reject the conventional notion of "I".
> This is not different from the teaching of the upaniShad-s and
> bhagavatpAda.
> Kind regards,
> Venkatraghavan
> On Fri, 25 Jun 2021, 19:58 Ven Balakrishnan via Advaita-l, <
> advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
>> Dear Bhaskar-ji
>> There is an interesting statement in Sankara’s bhasya to BG18.50:
>> “Therefore what is to be undertaken is only the elimination of the
>> superimposition on Brahman through ignorance, but no effort is needed for
>> knowing Brahman, for It is quite self-evident. It is because the intellect
>> is distracted by particular appearances of name and from imagined through
>> ignorance. . .”
>> So that is the essence - not a new knowledge to be gained, even one that
>> (theoretically) negates ignorance, but the actual elimination of the
>> superimposition, ultimately of the arising of the ‘me/mine’ thought.  Much
>> of what Sankara says - for example in BG13.2 - is that the teacher should
>> be consistent with sruti; and if not, he is unreliable.
>> I don’t think I have come across quite such a definitive pronouncement by
>> Sankara as you imply below.  I would be grateful if you would point me to
>> such a comment.
>> Best wishes,
>> venkat
>> > On 25 Jun 2021, at 18:10, Bhaskar YR <bhaskar.yr at hitachi-powergrids.com>
>> wrote:
>> >
>> > praNAms Sri Ven Balakrishnan prabhuji
>> >
>> > The whole point of sruti is to point out what cannot be perceived
>> through other means.  And that pointing is essentially to the fact that you
>> are not what you think you are, that it is all an unreal superimposition.
>> >
>> >> yes to realize this truth what is the ultimate/only means??  That is
>> shabda pramANa, shAstra is the ultimate pramANa (antya pramANa), and the
>> realization of our true svarUpa should happen through shravaNAdi sAdhana
>> has to be done through shAstra only under the able guidance of shrOtreeya
>> brahmanishTa guru. As per bhAshyakAra  Individual experience and teachings
>> / doctrine based on this experience is  not a valid pramANa.  The
>> traditional teaching insists this method of sAdhana which may not be the
>> version of ramaNa's method of self-enquiry.
>> >
>> > Ramanamaharishi says nothing different from that.
>> >
>> >> I would like to see where BRM insisted that to know who you are, the
>> shAstra is the ONLY pramANa and means.
>> >
>> > Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!
>> > bhaskar
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