[Advaita-l] References for Atma vichAra in shruti/smriti

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Sat Dec 13 20:15:14 CST 2003

Prof. Krishnamurthy,

Thank you for pointing out the passage from the sanatsujAtIyaM. The
passage does say that the the Supreme Being cannot be known from the
Vedas, but there isn't anything specifically about Atma vichAra. 

AFAIK, Shankara does not say anything about Self-enquiry being
independent of scripture. For him, the mere statement "tat tvam asi"
removes all ignorance, provided the disciple has the qualities of
viveka, vairagya, etc.

RM accepts the ultimate authority of the shruti mahAvAkya in removing
ignorance (Talks, 15th March 1939):
"Each one knows the Self but is yet ignorant. The person is enabled to
realise only after hearing the mAhAvAkya. Hence the upanishadic text is
the eternal Truth to which everyone who has realised owes his
experience. After hearing the Self to be Brahman the person finds the
true import of the Self and reverts to it whenever he is diverted from
it. Here is the whole process of Realisation."

Yet, according to Ramana Maharshi, the shruti mahAvAkyas do not
*directly* remove ignorance, it is actually Guruseva that does so.
Here's a quote from Talks (I'll get the exact reference later):
"Without understanding it properly, people think that the Guru teaches
the disciple something like 'tattvamasi' ('You are That') and that the
disciple realizes 'I am Brahman'. In their ignorance they conceive of
something more huge and powerful than anything else. With a limited 'I'
the man is so stuck up and wild. What will be the case if the same 'I'
grows up enormous? He will be enormously ignorant and foolish! This
false 'I' must perish. Its annihilation is the fruit of Guru seva
(service to the guru). Realisation is eternal and is not newly brought
by the Guru. He helps in the removal of ignorance. That is all."

The RM quotes appear to be contradicting each other, but they could be
resolved if, IMHO: 

shruti mAhAvAkya --> Amta vichAra --> GYAna

It is for quotes of "final Self-enquiry independent of scripture that
leads to GYAna" in shruti/smriti that I'm searching for. 



PS: There is another quote about the upanishads and realization in
Talks, 7 November 1935:
"Objects perceived by the senses are spoken of as immediate knowledge
(pratyaksha). Can anything be as direct as the Self -- always
experienced without the aid of the senses? Sense-perceptions can only
be indirect knowledge, and not direct knowledge. Only one's own
awareness is direct knowledge, as is the common experience of one and
all. No aids are needed to know one's own Self, i.e., to be aware. The
one Infinite Unbroken Whole (plenum) becomes aware of itself as 'I'.
This is its original name. All other names, e.g., OM, are later
growths. Liberation is only to remain aware of the Self. The mahavakya
'I am Brahman' is its authority. Though the 'I' is always experienced,
yet one's attention has to be drawn to it. Then only knowledge dawns.
Thus the need for the instruction of the Upanishads and of wise sages."

--- "V. Krishnamurthy" <profvk at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Namaste, Jayanarayananji
> You wrote:
> "While the advaita VedAnta tradition demands qualifications from the
> disciple who seeks Self-realization and places importance on
> shruti/smR^iti for removing ignorance (of the Self), Ramana Maharshi
> emphasizes the path of Self-enquiry or Atma VichAra (i.e. tracing the
> source of the I-thought) which can be practised by anyone, anywhere,
> anytime, independent of all texts.
> I'm trying to locate references in shruti/smR^iti which treat
> Self-enquiry as being independent of the scriptures,'"
> I do not clearly understand what exactly you are looking for. I
> thought Atma-vichAra has been emphasized everywhere. 
> What about, as a sample, the following quotations from
> Sanat-sujAtIya?
> vidyAt bahupaThaM taM tu bahuvAg-iti brAhmaNaM /
> ya eshha satyAn-nApaiti sa jneyo brAhmaNastvayA // II-40
> Know that Brahmana who has studied many branches of knowledge as only
> an orator. Know him who does not dissociate himself from the Truth as
> the real Brahmana.
> na vedAnAM veditA kashchidasti vedena vedaM na vidur-na vedyaM /
> yo veda vedaM sa ca veda vedyaM yo veda vedyaM  na sa veda satyaM //
> II - 42
> None of the Vedas know Him. For the Vedas do not help us to know Him
> nor the known (the world). One who knows the Knower knows also the
> known. But one who knows only the known knows not the Truth.
> tUshhNIMbhUta upAsIta na cecchen-manasA api /
> abhyAvarteta brahma-asau bahvanantaram-ApnuyAt // II - 47
> One should renounce all action and meditate. One should not desire
> mentally. One realises Brahman and attains plenitude immediately. 
> PraNAms to all seekers of Truth
> profvk
> Prof. V. Krishnamurthy
> My website on Science and Spirituality is
> http://www.geocities.com/profvk/
> You can  access my book on Gems from the Ocean of Hindu Thought
> Vision and Practice,  and my father R. Visvanatha Sastri's
> manuscripts from the site.
> Also see the webpages on Paramacharya's Soundaryalahari :
> http://www.geocities.com/profvk/gohitvip/DPDS.html
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