Practical Vedanta (fwd)

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian ramakris at EROLS.COM
Sun May 23 12:06:13 CDT 1999

Kartik wrote:

>> What is social service?
>There are apparently two different questions involved here:
>1) Serving, with humility, the people of the world.
>2) Reforming the system of the world with a zeal to revolutionize.
>There is nothing wrong with the first, and in fact the scriptures
>strongly FOR it.

Did I say that wasn't the case?

>>  Further note that
>> it's not from the stand point of a GYAni that the Maharshi is
>> speaking. It's from a sAdhakas viewpoint.  Bottom line: The state
>> no distinctions can be arrived at only by self-realization. If you
>> think it's a cop-out, so be it. Then, it's for you to realize that
>> advaita is NOT, I repeat *NOT* for you, and move on to something
>No one has suggested that the state of no distinctions can be arrived
at by
>someone who has not realized the Self. The above statements are quite

Not sure if you followed the entire thread. Let me summarize.

1. Ganesh wrote whether it was acceptable to renounce society and
become a sannyAsi etc, without doing "social service", taking the
words of realized people that the world is unreal.
2. Madhavan Srinivasan went so far as to say that without reforming
society first, if one aspires for realization he CANNOT get it.
3. The day one attains enough vairAgya he can renounce and become a
sannyAsi. This is for the person who has NOT realized advaita tattva.
There is no question of him going into social service or any such
thing. This is a FUNDAMENTAL idea in advaita (Re: the jAbAla
upanishhad) and arguing against this contradicts fundamental notions
of advaita. I quoted a few conversations with Ramana Maharshi in this

My point to Ganesh was this: My sincere suggestion is to examine the
premises and fundamental tenets in advaita and see if they agree with
his world views. If it does not accept that advaita does not offer a
satisfactory system and move on. There is no need to accept advaita
just because one was born into it. One cannot accept sha.nkara and
then claim that one cannot become a sannyAsi without doing social
service and improving the lot of society. Such a reconciliation is not
possible and is in fact completely absurd.

Re: Social service. IMO, a true sannyAsi who renounces after attaining
vairAgya and spends time in shravaNa et al is doing more "social
service" than any one else. And again, what is this argument ad
infinitum about whether one should help others or not according to
smR^itis? Of course one should, within ones capabilities. It's plain
common sense and human beings all over the world do so. Is it even
worth talking about? Isn't it a plain enough fact?


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