[Advaita-l] Guidance of Guru.

K Kathirasan NCS kkathir at ncs.com.sg
Mon Nov 22 00:42:46 CST 2004

Namaste Amuthanji,

It is a prevalent notion that 'words' are ineffective when it comes
attaining self-knowledge. However, the opposite is only true. Vedanta is
shabda pramanam and therefore the 'words' of the shruti alone can deliver a
seeker from delusion. The Shrutivakyas should not be underestimated. The
words have to be wielded properly to avoid confusion and establish clarity
in understanding. Here comes the value of the Shrotriya who knows precisely
how to employ the words such that it does not lead one to further confusion.
This is what we call the method of Vedanta. However, the value of a
Brahmanishta should not be dismissed either. We need his grace, blessings
and inspiration to seek the freedom he has gained. The silence of a
Brahmanista reminds us we need not do a thing to be happy. 

But of course the ideal is a Brahmanishta/Shrotriya Guru. 
-----Original Message-----
From: Amuthan Arunkumar R [mailto:aparyap at yahoo.co.in] 
Sent: Monday, November 22, 2004 1:55 PM
To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Guidance of Guru.

namo nArAyaNAya,

dear SrI venkat,

i beg to differ. mere words are what a guru who is
only a Srotriya can say. i can even say, if u permit
me, that without realizing the brahman, one who
teaches others about the brahman is necessarily
fooling himself and others (because of the brahman
being of such a nature - "yato vAco nivartante,
aprApya mansA saha" (Tai. Up.) ). 

the reason why a guru has to be a Srotriya and a
brahmanishTha is that he can teach his Sishya what he
has for himself DIRECTLY EXPERIENCED as his
svAnubhavam in the proper and methodical ways of the
Sruti-s. the sampradAya gurus are thus those who can
best give the instructions; but if he himself has not
realized the brahman, there is simply no point in
getting instructions from him. 

the reason why a guru should be a Srotriya is to root
out any inconsitency in the method of teaching (as you mentioned in your
reply, for avoiding the "irritation"!), and the reason why he should be a
brahmanishTha is that he should teach about the brahman AFTER HE HAS
DIRECTLY REALIZED THE BRAHMAN, and never before that. only such a knowledge
is blemishless.

though it may be argued that since a sampradAya guru
teaches what the AcArya-s of yore have taught, one who
has not seen the truth for himself cannot but teach
only within his own limited understanding (limited
because of his non-realization of the infinite). 

again a only brahmavid can teach us what is required
for us, depending on our development, and only that
which is required, not the asAram, not the alpasAram,
not the sAram, not the sArataram but the sAratamam,
which is the brahman. 

again, a Srotriya guru can teach only by words. but, a brahmanishTha can
teach by his mere presence and his actions. i firmly believe that the
language of truth is silence. 

i cite the examples of SrI rAmakr.shNa and SrI ramaNa
maharshi, both of whom were brahmanishTha-s but not

thus, both are important; but when it comes to a
choice, only the brahmanishTha has to be chosen and

i'd like to confirm the statements made by quoting the
"AScaryavatpaSyati, kaScidenam AScaryavadvadati,
tathaiva cAnya:, AScaryavaccainam anya: Sr.noti,
SrutvApyenam veda na caiva kaScit". (SrImad bhagavad
gItA 2.29) 

this verse clearly shows the insufficiency of a person
who is merely a Srotriya and not a brahmanishTha in
imparting instructions about the Atman.

again, i'd like to quote one more Sloka from SrImadhbhagavadgItA with the
bhAshya of SrI SankaracArya to prove the statements made:

"tadviddhi praNipAtena paripraSnena sevayA,
upadeksyanti te jn.Anam jn.AninastatvadarSina:" (SrImadbhagavadgItA 4.34)

the teachers have to be "tatvadarSina:" i.e. they
necesarily have to be brahmanishTha-s. i'd like to
quote AcArya's bhashya:

"....jn.Anavanto'pi kecit, yathAvat tatvadarSanaSIlA:
APARE NA:, ata: viSinashTi tatvadarSina: iti. ye
samyagdarSina: tai: upadishTam jn.Anam kAryakshamam
bhavati, NA ITARAT iti bhagavata: matam."

that the guru has to be a brahmanishTha is abundantly
clear from the AcArya's bhAshya. 

please forgive me if my language was strong. 

nArAyaNa ! nArAyaNa ! nArAyaNA !


 --- venkata subramanian <venkat_advaita at yahoo.com>
> It is understandable that Both are essential, -
> being a Srothriya and a Brahmanishta.  But when the
> question comes, which is the option when left with a
> choice of selecting only one trait, the answer comes
> to aid - Shrothriya.
> Atleast one fact i have observed in my life - The
> confidence that the (mere) Shtorthriyas have.  The
> are clear all the time in what they say, we are also
> clear that we are listening to some one who knows
> what he says.
> While Gurus who have not had the teaching of the
> Sampradaya in the traditional way, and who are not
> aware of the Sampradaya - it is really difficult
> with them.  in my expereince, i have seen them overemphasising their 
> Guruthwa in even mundane things - Faith ALONE is their upadesa and 
> command.
> With due respects, it has many a times irritated.
> have never seen such a trait with a Sampradayavid
> Shorthriya even if he is not a Nishta.  he is
> neverthless cool, aware that he is yet to be a full
> Nishta.  He doesnt command, as he is confident that
> his Knowledge will command better.
> this is my experience.
> Thanks & Regards,
> Venkat.
> Sadgurubhyo Namah.
> ---------------------------------
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Amuthan Arunkumar R,
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Indian Institute of Technology Madras.
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