"Jagat satya!"

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Thu Jul 18 13:02:21 CDT 2002

On Mon, 15 Jul 2002, Ashish Chandra wrote:

> This is a very simplistic view, in my opinion.

Perhaps, but the question you should be asking is, is it true?

> A jivanmukta cannot be
> branded this way or that way. Sri Ramkrishna was a jivanmukta.

Note I did not address this topic one way or the other but I want to point
you are just making an assertion here.  Words have to have agreed upon
meanings otherwise we cannot have rational conversations only shouting
matches.  There has to be a standard for what is Jivanmukti.  The body of
knowledge, arguments, and speculations that has developed over the
centuries known as Advaita Vedanta is such a standard.  I have no personal
animus against Ramakrishna (or for that matter Jesus) but Advaita Vedanta
gives me an objective yardstick against which I can measure there claims.

> What he
> taught his close disciples was *an* approach to mukti, not *the* approach.

And we should examine that approach to see how it measures up.

> The question of mithyatva confounds only the seeker, not the knower.

If the knower considers himself a teacher, he has a responsibility to see
the seekers are not misled.  (And more importantly, the seekers have a
responsibility to not allow others to mislead them.)

> We can
> second-guess all our lives whether Sri Ramkrishna was Tantric or Advaitin.
> Thing is, and again in my opinion, it does not matter - He was/is God
> revealed to us at a time and place, in human form.

Another assertion.  For Indias uneducated villagers it doesn't matter if a
particular saint follows this philosophy or that.  he just sees a sadhu in
kesari and does "je-je"  If that is the level at one wishes to remain,
they may.  But then they shouldn't complain when ignorance turns out not
to be bliss.

Remember last year there was a flap about a book "Kali's Child" I think it
was called which really was a misrepresentation of Ramakrishna?  How would
you respond to authors like that?  (And you can't just foist the task off
onto scholars or acharyas.  Defending and advancing our religion is
everybodies responsibility.)  If you were to complain about distortions it
would be easy for them to come back at you and say, "You are a hypocrite.
You also distort Ramakrishnas teachings when it suits you."  But a
satyavadi is morally unassailable.  That's why even on Indian money it
says satyamevajayate.

> If it helps a seeker to
> follow Sri Ramkrishna, he/she may do so. If it does not, he/she may not.

Again how do you know what "helps" and what doesn't unless you have some
standard to follow?  Or if you mean a seeker should follow whatever "feels
good" regardless of what is right then isn't that just another form of

> But no one should be under the impression that he/she will reach a
> different "destination" by following Sri Ramkrishna than by following Sri
> Adi Shankaracharya. Both were liberated souls and both proclaimed several
> time that All is One. It may be good for some to get bogged down in details
> while for some others, it may be best to leave them alone, for now.

So what you are saying is that it doesn't matter what Ramakrishna said,
you are just going to put him up on a pedestal?  I think this is more
disrespectful than anything I have said.  If Ramakrishna said the world is
satya then it must have been for a good reason.  Don't you want to know
why?  Saying the world is satya versus saying it is mithya makes a
hell of a lot of difference in its implications for sadhana.  And if it
turns out that he was a tantric instead of a Vedantin, would that be such
a horrible thing?  Much as I would like it to be otherwise, Advaita
Vedanta is not all there is to Indian civilization.  There have been other
important strands which also have interesting and useful things to say.
To ignore them is not mysticism it is illiteracy.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
It's a girl! See the pictures - http://www.braincells.com/shailaja/

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list