[Advaita-l] Karma yoga: the kinder, softer preparation for self-inquiry and surrender
ventzu at yahoo.co.uk
Fri Mar 19 15:20:25 EDT 2021
The foremost commentators on the GVK verses I quoted had this to say:
Muruganar on 829: Since vairagya, the firm determination to put an end to birth and death, in the correct sign of maturity, one should take to renunciation as soon as a disgust arises in one for the body and world, no matter to which of the four ashramas one may belong at that time. The ascending order of ashramas is applicable only to ordinary seekers and not to those mature aspirants who have intense vairagya.
Sadhu Om on 830: If the prarabdha of such a mature aspirant is to remain at home, it will obstruct his outward renunciation, yet he will remain in his family with complete inner detachment, Since prarabdha controls one’s outer life, the ashramas come only according to prarabdha; but since prarabdha cannot obstruct one’s inner renunciation, true non-attachment can arise in one no matter to which of the ashramas one may belong.
So as I said previously mental renunciation is the pre-requisite, and physical is a likely (but not necessary given prarabdha) corollary. Therefore of course Bhagavan would focus on emphasising mental detachment - the latter would happen like a ripe fruit, as / if appropriate.
And yes, I fully agree that Ramanamaharishi's teaching was entirely focused on self-enquiry = self-surrender, and implicitly therefore ego-body-mind renunciation. His teaching - and that of Advaita as I understand it - is that the world-body-mind is unreal, like a dream; and for Bhagavan it is a projection of the ego, which is only strengthened by the clinging to the objects in the projection.
His suggestion - as is advaita in general - is to turn one’s attention away from external attachments and objects (neti, neti), and focus on the ‘I’-thought, such that it ‘dies’. He emphasised utter detachment / desirelessness, because only then can one overcome thoughts, and go to the root I-thought. When that ‘I’-thought is no longer there, arguably Bhagavan’s teaching can be interpreted to mean that there is no world to be seen, and no one to see it.
Alternatively, if the jnani continues to see the world, I’m not sure - in the absence of ego, disidentification with the body, and consequential desirelessness - what would motivate him to act, apart perhaps from actions for 'the benefit of the world' (because for him, there are no others, just him). Because he sees no difference, he cannot logically have ties to his body, his family or friends, apart perhaps of those of duty.
> On 19 Mar 2021, at 16:09, Akilesh Ayyar via Advaita-l <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
> On Fri, Mar 19, 2021 at 10:30 AM Ven Balakrishnan via Advaita-l <
> advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
>> Hi Akilesh,
>> Two points:
>> 1. If SINCERE mental renunciation has happened, then discussion about
>> physical renunciation is a moot point. The likelihood is that with mental
>> desirelessness and renunciation, everything else falls away, unless, as
>> Bhagan says, one unfortunate prarabdha dictates otherwise. I’m always
>> bemused by people implying that mental renunciation is different from
>> physical - unless one is trying to convince oneself that 'I have mentally
>> renounced and have gained knowledge, and so I can still hang on to my
>> desires / possessions, because I have renounced (really!)’. Seems like
>> self-deception to me, but that is for each to work out.
> As Ramana mentions in several places, physical sannyasa is also a set of
> vasanas. Self-deception is equally possible in any ashrama as respects
>> Physical without mental is pointless; mental without physical may be
>> theoretically feasible but if one if being honest. That seems to me to be
>> the gist of GVK’s verses.
> If that were the case, it's surprising, again, that there is *no* mention
> of physical renunciation at all in Self-Enquiry, Who Am I, Forty Verses and
> Supplement, or Upadesa Saram, and that it contradicts all the recorded
> statements of Maharshi's to seekers on the question. Maharshi's position is
> that sannyasa is a good thing for those who are suited to it, if that is
> the way one's karma is oriented, but it is far from necessary for the
> Again, in another dialogue recorded in Upadesa Manjari, Maharshi says:
> *22. Is asceticism (sannyasa) one of the essential requisites for a person
> to become established in the Self (atmanishta)?*
> *The effort that is made to get rid of attachment to one’s body is really
> towards abiding in the Self. Maturity of thought and enquiry alone removes
> attachment to the body, not the stations of life (ashramas), such as
> student (brahmachari), etc. For the attachment is in the mind while the
> stations pertain to the body. How can bodily stations remove the attachment
> in the mind? As maturity of thought and enquiry pertain to the mind, these
> alone can, by enquiry on the part of the same mind, remove the attachments
> which have crept into it through thoughtlessness. But, as the discipline of
> asceticism (sannyasashrama) is the means for attaining dispassion
> (vairagya), and as dispassion is the means for enquiry, joining an order of
> ascetics may be regarded, in a way, as a means of enquiry through
> dispassion. Instead of wasting one’s life by entering the order of ascetics
> before one is fit for it, it is better to live the householder’s life. In
> order to fix the mind in the Self which is its true nature it is necessary
> to separate it from the family of fancies (sankalpas) and doubts
> (vikalpas), that is to renounce the family (samsara) in the mind. This is
> real asceticism.*
> *23. It is an established rule that so long as there is the least idea of
> ‘I-am-the-doer,’ Self-knowledge cannot be attained, but is it possible for
> an aspirant who is a householder to discharge his duties properly without
> this sense?*
> *As there is no rule that action should depend upon a sense of being the
> doer it is unnecessary to doubt whether any action will take place without
> a doer or an act of doing. Although the officer of a government treasury
> may appear, in the eyes of others, to be doing his duty attentively and
> responsibly all day long, he will be discharging his duties without
> attachment, thinking ‘I have no real connection with all this money’ and
> without a sense of involvement in his mind. In the same manner a wise
> householder may also discharge without attachment the various household
> duties which fall to his lot according to his past karma, like a tool in
> the hands of another. Action and knowledge are not obstacles to each other.*
> Here he acknowledges that sannyasa can be a useful tool for those who are
> fit for it, but again, it is not necessary -- nor even recommended except
> for those whose nature and karma is bent in that way. Action & knowledge
> are not opposed.
> Akilesh Ayyar
> Spiritual guidance - https://www.siftingtothetruth.com/
>>> On 19 Mar 2021, at 13:38, Akilesh Ayyar via Advaita-l <
>> advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
>>> Namaste Venkat,
>>> On Fri, Mar 19, 2021 at 6:57 AM Ven Balakrishnan via Advaita-l <
>>> advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
>>>> Apologies, I am joining the discussion late. But I noted that someone
>>>> asked where has Ramanamaharishi ever stated that renunciation is
>>>> In Guru Vachaka Kovai, the most authentic collection from his talks,
>>>> he himself proofed:
>>>> 828: The path of sannyasa is like treading on slippery ground. Even if a
>>>> slip only occurs in the mind, great harm is still sure to result. It is
>>>> therefore the duty of the person who Is walking on the slippery ground
>>>> sannyaa to ensure, by vigilance, that the perfidious pramada does not
>>>> clandestine access into his heart.
>>> Yet Maharshi has defined, in this very same book, what sannyasa actually
>>> 162: "He who has destroyed the ego is alone the true Sannyasin, and the
>>> true Brahmin; but, hard indeed is the complete destruction of the heavy
>>> burden of the ego borne by those Sannyasins who feel “I belong to the
>>> highest ashrama” and by those brahmins who feel “I belong to the highest
>>> It is not defined by ashrama, it is defined by mindset.
>>>> 829: It is impossible for anyone to determine definitively his lifespan.
>>>> Therefore for the jivas who are trying hard to attain the powerful
>> state of
>>>> kaivalyam, it is most beneficial to renounce the world without delay, at
>>>> the very moment that aversion to the body and the world arises.
>>> Maharshi has defined in this same book the real meaning of renunciation,
>>> 840: "Know that, rather than one’s thinking in the heart ‘I have
>>> 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
>>>> 830: Just as a ripened fruit separates effortlessly from the tree and
>>>> falls, when a sadhaka who is aiming to merge his mind in the supreme
>>>> attains maturity, he will definitely renounce family life as unsalted
>>>> unless his unfavourable prarabdha stands in the way
>>> "...*unless his unfavourable prarabhda stands in the way*." Meaning
>>> a) it will not necessarily happen, even for the most sincere seekers
>>> b) it is not required for realization
>>>> 831: Only those who have extricated themselves from the multitude of
>>>> things that, like a dream, appear within them, by regarding those
>> things as
>>>> mere imagination, will root out the deception, the illusory corruption.
>>>> None of the others willl know the means to put an end to that
>>> And 837: "For those who have made the rarest renunciation, that of the
>>> nothing remains to be renounced."
>>> Again, the real renunciation is the mind.
>>> Look at all of Maharshi's other texts: his 40 verses and supplement, his
>>> upadesa saram, and all of his many talks, and you will find the views
>>> consistent with what I have said.
>>>> And he goes on with further verses.
>>>> For Ramanamaharishi, who viewed the world as entirely unreal,
>>>> would natural - like a ripe fruit falling - as understanding
>>>> However for him, there was no point in mere physical renunciation
>>>> mental renunciation as well. Hence if someone had to ask whether to
>>>> renounce, then the mere fact of asking showed that s/he was not ready
>>>> renunciation - so why confuse or add to the mental burden of such a
>>>> seeker. And as Krishna notes in BG, only the very rare seeker attains
>>>> jnana - hence for the majority of us, we still have to perform sadhanas
>>>> best as possible . . . until we are ready.
>>> That's a distortion of Maharshi's views. Maharshi would say what was true
>>> if someone asked him directly. People asked him if being vegetarian was
>>> good. He responded that it was. People asked him if inquiry was good --
>>> would say that it was, whether or not they were "qualified" to do it per
>>> "traditional" advaita guidelines.
>>> Maharshi didn't lie about his positions for the so-called "benefit" of
>>> seeker when asked directly. And he was asked directly about physical
>>> sannyasa several times, and responded in each case in the same way, that
>>> was not necessary, that the mental thing was what was essential.
>>> Spiritual guidance - https://www.siftingtothetruth.com/
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