[Advaita-l] The Advaita Tradition of Shankara

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu Dec 15 00:27:57 CST 2011

On Thu, Dec 15, 2011 at 4:05 AM, subhanu saxena <subhanu at hotmail.com> wrote:

> Sri Bhaskar wrote:
> Pls. clarify whether his 'association' with upAdhi
> (antaHkaraNa/mind) is avidyA or 'operation/utilization' of his antaHkaraNa
> is avidyA??
> Namaste, and as you may guess my answer will frustrate you, as it is posed
> from the standpoint of an ignorant observer regarding notions of mind,
> seeing , hearing etc that have no meaning for a jnani (Sri Ramana Maharshi
> makes this point repeatedly in his "Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi"-see
> talks 513, 256 as examples). Liberation as conceived by us only makes sense
> from the standpoint of ignorance. Remembering we only figuratively can
> speak of the person who is released and who is in bondage, we say that the
> jnani ever abides in unbroken awareness of Self as the only reality , even
> though we may describe him/her as seeing, talking, thinking  "as it were"
> etc. You will remember Karika III.32 amanastAm tadA yAti, how the mind
> becomes no-mind for a jnani.
> If you have access to them I would recommend you read Sri Ramana
> Maharshi's talks 578 and 610 where, full of compassion, he tersely warns
> the questioners away from asking such questions as the above, and whether
> the jnani is liable to pain etc. Just two excerpts:
> 578: "Their questions are endless. Why worry oneself in so many ways? Does
> liberation consist in knowing these?
> Therefore I say to them 'Leave Liberation alone. Is there bondage? Know
> this. See yourself first and foremost' "
> 610: "Take care of your self and the Brahma-jnani will take care of
> Himself. If you know your true nature you will understand the state of
> Brahma-jnana. It is futile to explain it now. Because you think that you
> see a jnani before you and you identify him with a body just as you have
> identified yourself with yours, you also think that he feels pains and
> pleasures like yourself".
> I hope the above is helpful not in a way to directly answer your question
> but to throw you into a different awareness of the issue you seek to
> understand. Take care of your own Atma-vichara, as enquiring into the state
> of a jnani will not aid your own liberation.
> Regards
> Subhanu

While what Sri Ramana Maharshi says //If you know your true nature you will
understand the state of Brahma-jnana.// is not disputed, the teaching of
the scripture, Veda Vyasa, Krishna and Shankaracharya go against the rest
of it. In the BGB 2.55 introduction Shankara says:

sarvatraiva hi adhyAtmashAstre kRthArthalakShaNAni yAni tAnyeva
sAdhanAnyupadishyante yatnasAdhyatvAt ...

I/ In all the scriptural works dealing with the Self t*he marks/behaviour
of the JnAni alone are admitted to be the means to Self-realization* since
this state is something that is possible of attainment by effort.  And
these effort-possible means which are also the marks of the Jnani are being
delineated by the Lord in the sequel...//

It should be noted that Shankara does not say the above in the section
dealing with the nature of the Self:  'acchedoyoyam adaahyoyam.....na
jaayate mRyate vA....nityaH sarvagataH sthANuH...'  The emphatic words of
Shankara with the 'eva' kAra come ONLY in the section dealing with the
Jnani's lakShaNa-s.

Consistently Shankara says again in the BSB 4.1.15:

बाधितमपि तु मिथ्याज्ञानं द्विचन्द्रज्ञानवत् संस्कारवशात् कंचित्कालमनुवर्तते
एव । अपि च नैवात्र विवदितव्यं ब्रह्मविदा कंचित्कालं शरीरं ध्रियते न वा
ध्रियत इति ।
कथं ह्येकस्य स्वहृदयप्रत्ययं *ब्रह्मवेदनं देहधारणं *च अपरेण प्रतिक्षेप्तुं
शक्त्यते । *श्रुतिस्मृतिषु स्थितप्रज्ञलक्षणनिर्देशेनैतदेव निरुच्यते ।*
*// *For how can one contest the fact of another possessing the knowledge
of Brahman – vouched for by his heart’s conviction – and at the same time
continuing with the body?  This very fact is elaborated in the Upanishads
and the SmRtis in the course of determining the characteristics of 'the man
of steady wisdom'. //

The Gita abounds in the statement of marks of the Jnani and Shankara has
specified the purpose behind the scripture doing so.  In fact in one's
adhyAtma sAdhana it is the constant verification of one's own reactions
with the benchmarks provided by the scripture, especially the Gita, that
forms the core content of the sadhana.  Knowing the nature of the Self as
different from the anAtma is only the starting point but the path to be
treaded and the culmination lies in the effective practice of the
sthitaprajna lakshaNas.

Even while quoting Sri Ramana Maharshi what we are unconsciously doing is
to follow a Jnani's words alone.  If a Jnani cannot say or behave there is
no way Ramana could utter those words and such words would not have been
available for one to read and quote from.  Further it is important for
Advaitins to remember that what is not contradictory alone is to be taken
from non-scriptural sources.  If someone's statements patently differ from
the method of Shankara and the scripture there is not much point in
accepting it.



More information about the Advaita-l mailing list