[Advaita-l] On Ramana

Kuntimaddi Sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Sat Jun 26 12:25:06 EDT 2021

Venkatraghavanji- PraNAms


Firstthanks for the relevant post in view of the current discussion on BhagavanRamana Maharshi.

A word ofcaution, though.

1. Whileanubhava is important from the individual point, it is not anubhave of triadtype.  

2.Experience of others cannot be validated nor dismissed as it is subjective.

3. Henceit follows that to follow a teacher based on his personal anubhava alone willrequire lot of faith. 

4. HenceShankara defines the faith or shraddhaa  

shaastrayaguruvaakyasya satya budhyaavadharaNa - Faith is that the scripture statementsas interpreted by teacher are indeed true. 

5. Hencethe scriptures declare - tat vijnaartham sa gurum eva abhigacchet samitpaaNiH, shrotriyam brahmanishTam - He should be Shrotriya.

6.Bhagavan's Ramana Maharshi's texts Upadesha saara and Sat Darshanam are in tunewith Vedanta. Only one has to be careful in explaining the slokas like

maanasantukim maargane kRite, naiva maanasam 

Hari Om!




    On Friday, June 25, 2021, 03:41:34 PM EDT, Venkatraghavan S via Advaita-l <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:  
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
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
‘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 can 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

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,

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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