Antiquity of Advaita Vedanta (was Re: An Open Letter to All)

Rajiv Malhotra rajiv.malhotra at WORLDNET.ATT.NET
Fri May 19 12:57:22 CDT 2000

What are the Vedas if not the recorded experiences of the Rshis?  The
Brahmasutras and other interpretative works fit your definition of
framework but the Buddhists did not just reject (or ignore) that but the
Vedic experience itself.

If Buddhists reject that the Vedas are based on first person direct
experience, then I emphatically disagree with their statement. I would like
to know which Buddhist sect say this, because it is probably not universal.

> Ramana Maharshi does not use any classical textual framework to describe
> direct experience; he has his own framework to describe. That does not
> it a different experience.

Actually members of this list have mentioned sayings of his which show
considerable knowledge of classical Advaita Vedanta.  I haven't read him
myself so I can't comment on the veracity of that.

Our foundation just completed a project to get Ramana's complete talks
published in the American edition, by a California publisher. He used terms
such as Brahman, Nirguna, Saguna, Jiva, Atman, Maya, etc. But I do not
recall him specifying readings of scriptures as prerequisites or even as
necessary. Not did he denounce any scriptures. He simply taught from his own
original experience, in the true spirit of a rishi, which is what makes our
tradition great as compared to those with one single exclusive prophet's

1. Why is a textual framework any less of a direct experience than
anything else?

Direct experience gets appropriated by the linguistic framework, and hence
turned into textual. But before textual is the primary experience.

2. One should not confuse any old vague mystical notions with Advaita
Vedanta.  In fact mysticism need not imply non-dualism at all.

I agree. Mysticism is an unfortunate term from Western exalted experiences
that were not the result of any Sadhana or scientific methodology such as
meditation, but were explained as miracles. The rishi experience should not
be so casually explained.

Concentrated in large viharas under royal patronage, they could not survive
the Muslim
invasions.  Hindu movements were also affected but were able to rebound
due to their base of popular support.

This is true.


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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