advaitam and Kashmir shaivam

Gregory Goode goode at DPW.COM
Thu Jul 31 00:27:18 CDT 1997

Martin Gifford said:

> >The physical universe is Brahman - so says Ramana Maharshi. He said
> >that he only denies it's reality for beginners. I think what he is really
> >denying is the imposed ideas on physical reality that dualistic thinking
> >people have; not the reality itself.

To which Ramakrishnan said:
> Please! He said no such thing. brahma satya, jagat mithyA is agreed upon
> by all advaitins. It is quite clear from RMs writings also. RM merely
> said if the physical world of name and form is removed, the substratum
> behind it, i.e., brahman alone is reality. Only in this way the world is
> brahman and not otherwise.  Otherwise what is the point in saying that
> brahman does not undergo any change (which RM has amply elucidated
> countless times)? If a physical world of name and form is perceived,
> then it is a superimposition on brahman by mAyA only. The former
> approach is sarvaM khalvidaM brahma and the latter is the neti, neti
> approach. They have nothing to do with the maturity of the student ...
Martin was pretty close to the mark, from what I could find in RM's
writings.  Below is a quotation where RM explains how he tells seekers
that the world is illusory based on the level of his questioner,
the questioner not yet having realized that all is Brahman.  So the
maturity of the student is relevant.

You also attribute something to RM that I can't find anywhere.
You say that RM explains the relationship between the physical
world and Brahman the substratum by way of removing the world of name
and form.  Nowhere could I find this method of exposition, in terms of
removing the world of name and form.  Can you provide citations?
Instead, RM seems to emphasize SEEING the world as Brahman, not
removing the world and having Brahman left over as substratum.
Big difference.  In the method you attribute to RM, the world is
not seen.  In what I could find in the RM quotes below, the
world is seen, but seen as Brahman.


Various Ramana Maharshi quotes on Brahman and the world:
Q: So the world is not really illusory?
A: At the level of the spiritual seeker you have got to say that
the world is an illusion.  There is no other way. ... When he
once realizes his own Self he will know that there is nothing
other than his own Self and he will come to look upon the whole
universe as Brahman. ... Take a paper.  We see only the script,
and nobody notices the paper on which the script is written.
The paper is there whether the script on it is there or not.  To
those who look upon the script as real, you have to say that it
is unreal, an illusion, since it rests upon the paper.  The wise
man looks upon both the paper and script as one.  So also with
Brahman and the universe.

     --Letters from Sri Ramanasramam, p. 94

Q: Should I not see the world at all?
A: You are not instructed to shut your eyes to the world.  You
are only to 'see yourself first and then see the whole world as
the Self'.  If you consider yourself as the body the world
appears to be external.  If you are the Self the world appears
as Brahman.

     --Talks With Sri Ramana Maharshi, p. 228

Q: All are said to be Brahman.
A: Yes, they are.  But so long as you think that they are apart
they are to be avoided.  If on the other hand they are found to
be the Self there is no need to say 'all'.  For all that exists
is only Brahman.  There is nothing besides Brahman.

Q: _Ribhu_Gita_ speaks of so many objects as unreal, adding at
the end that they are all Brahman and thus real.
A: Yes.  When you see them as so many they are asat, i.e.
unreal.  Whereas when you see them as Brahman they are real,
deriving their reality from their substratum, Brahman.

     --Talks, p. 269

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