[Advaita-l] Ramana's method

vinayaka ns brahmavadin at gmail.com
Tue Oct 9 06:39:33 CDT 2012

On Tue, Oct 9, 2012 at 10:26 AM, Sanjay Srivastava <sksrivastava68 at gmail.com
> wrote:

> Bhagwan Ramana gave minimal emphasis on any text.
>  In Sri Bhagwan's scheme, shravaNa and manana were almost
> dispensable. All efforts were to be focused towards nididhyAsana only
> and that too in a very specific manner.



nidhidhyAsana is the most important sAkshAt sAdhanA in the tradition. The
following remark of Kanchi Maha SwamigaL makes it clear:

"Remember our Acharya is one who gave the noblest status to the hearing
(shravaNa) of the teaching from the guru. If the same Acharya says "Let it
be understood that mananaM is a hundred times greater than shravaNaM".
*shataguNaM vidyAn-mananaM*, then at how really a high level should
shravaNaM be counted? And he doesn't stop there. If mananaM is a hundred
times greater than shravaNaM, he says nidhidhyAsanaM is a hundred-thousand
times greater than mananaM: *mananAdapi nidhidhyAsaM lakshha-guNaM* (the
sentence appears in vivEkachUDAmaNi by Shankara). MananaM is not just dead
information; it is knowledge full of life. But even that knowledge becomes
tiny little in the face of experience. You may know everything about sugar,
you might have bales and bales of high class sugar, but they are not
equivalent to that experience one gets from the taste of a little pinch of
that sugar. That is why he says nidhidhyAsaM is one hundred thousand times
greater than mananaM."

(Translated by Prof. V.K. from Tamil)

> I have found Sri Bhagwan's method nothing but vedanta though with very
> different emphasis on shravaNa, manana and nididhyAsana components.
> Among contemporary vedanta teachers with whom I have had any contact
> (esp. English speaking teachers), the emphasis is almost entirely on
> shravaNa. Sri Bhagwan would have disagreed with this approach. In his
> view shravaNa of even one text was more than enough. Any more efforts
> on shravaNa would have been considered shAstra vAsana.

In this context the following note by the Bhagavan on the Shankara's
methodology is of relevance:

Talk 349.


(A Note By Sri Maharshi (In the current issue of  The Vision is published
the following note, being

the translation by Mr. S. Krishna,  M. A., of Sri Ramana Maharshi’s preface
to his translation of Sri Sankara’s  Viveka Chudamani  or “Crown-gem of

Every being in the world yearns to be always happy, free from the taint of
sorrow; and desires to get rid of bodily ailments which are not of his true
nature. Further, everyone cherishes the greatest love for himself: and this
love is not possible in the absence of happiness. In deep sleep, though
devoid of everything, one has the experience of being happy. Yet, due to
the ignorance of the real nature of one’s own being, which is happiness
itself, people flounder in the vast ocean

of material existence forsaking the right path that leads to happiness and
act under the mistaken belief that the way to be happy consists in
obtaining the pleasures of this and the other world.

A SAFE  GUIDE: But alas, that happiness which has not the taint of sorrow
is not realised. It is precisely for the purpose of pointing out the
straight path to happiness that God Siva took on the guise of Sri
Sankaracharya, wrote the commentaries on the Triune Institutes ( Prasthana
Traya ) of the Vedanta, which extol the excellence of this bliss; and
demonstrated it by his own example in life. These commentaries, however,
are of little use to those ardent seekers who are intent upon realising the
bliss of absolution, but have not the scholarship for studying them.

It is for such as these that Sri Sankara revealed the essence of
the commentaries in this short treatise, “The Crown-gem of
Discrimination”, explaining in detail the points that have to be grasped by
those who seek absolution, and thereby directing them to the true and
straight path.

LEARNING WON’T DO: Sri Sankara opens the theme by observing that it is hard
indeed to attain human birth, and one should (having attained it) strive
for the realisation of the bliss of liberation, which is verily the nature
of one’s being. By  jnana or Knowledge alone is this bliss realised,

and  jnana is achieved only through  vichara  or steady enquiry. In
order to know this method of enquiry, says Sri Sankara, one should seek
the favour of a Guru, and proceeds to describe the qualities of the
Guru and his  sishya  and how the latter should approach and serve his

He further emphasises that in order to realise the bliss of
liberation one’s own individual effort is an essential factor. Mere
book-learning never yields this bliss which can be realised only through
enquiry or vichara , which consists of  sravana or devoted attention to the

of the Guru, manana or deep contemplation and  Nididhyasana or
the cultivation of steady poise in the Self.

THE THREE PATHS: The three bodies - physical, subtle and causal -
are non-self and are unreal. The Self, or ‘I’, is quite different from
them. It is due to ignorance that the sense of the Self or the ‘I’ notion
is foisted on that which is not Self, and this indeed is bondage.
Since from ignorance arises bondage, from Knowledge ensues liberation. To
know this from the Guru is sravana. To reject the three bodies consisting
of the five sheaths (physical, vital, mental, gnostic and blissful) as not
‘I’ and to extract through subtle enquiry of “Who am I?” - even as the
central blade of grass is delicately drawn out from its whorl - that which
is different from all the three bodies and is existent as one and universal
in the heart as

Aham or ‘I’ and denoted by the words  Tvam (in the Scriptural dictum -
‘Tat-tvam-asi’ - That thou art). This process of subtle enquiry is manana
or deep contemplation.

THE BEATITUDE: The world of name and form is but an adjunct of Sat or
Brahman, and being not different from it is rejected as such and is
affirmed as nothing else but Brahman. The instruction by the Guru to the
disciple of the Mahavakya,  Tat-tvam-asi, which declares the identity of
the Self and the Supreme, is  upadesa.  The disciple is then enjoined to
remain in the beatitude of  Aham-Brahman - ‘I’ the Absolute. Nevertheless
the old tendencies of the mind sprout up thick

and strong and form an obstruction (to that state of beatitude).
These tendencies are threefold and egoism, which is their root, flourishes
in the externalised and differentiating consciousness caused by the forces

of vikshepa  or dissipation (due to  rajas) and avarana or envelopment (due
to tamas ).

CHURNING  THE  MIND : To install the mind firmly in the heart until these
forces are destroyed and to awaken with unswerving, ceaseless vigilance the
true and cognate tendency which is characteristic of the Atman and is
expressed by the dicta, Aham Brahmasmi (I am

Brahman), and Brahmaivaham (Brahman alone am I) is termed nididhyasana or
atmanusandhana ,  i.e ., constancy in the Self. This is otherwise called
Bhakti, Yoga and  Dhyana.

Atmanusandhana has been likened to churning the curd to draw forth butter,
the mind being compared to the churning rod, the heart to the curd and the
practice of constancy in the Self to the process of churning. Just as by
churning the curd butter is extracted and by friction fire is kindled, even
so, by unswerving vigilant constancy in the Self, ceaseless like the
unbroken filamentary flow of oil, is generated the natural or changeless
trance or  nirvikalpa samadhi,

which readily and spontaneously yields that direct, immediate,

unobstructed and universal perception of Brahman, which is at

once Knowledge and Experience and which transcends time and space.

LIMITLESS  BLISS: This is Self-Realisation; and thereby is cut asunder the
hridaya-granthi or the Knot of the Heart. The false delusions of ignorance,
the vicious and age-long tendencies of the mind, which constitute this
knot, are destroyed. All doubts are dispelled and the

bondage of Karma is severed.

Thus has Sri Sankara described, in this “Crown-gem of

Discrimination,” samadhi  or trance transcendent, which is the

limitless bliss of liberation, beyond doubt and duality, and has at the
same time indicated the means for its attainments. To realise this state of
freedom from duality is the summum bonum of life; and he alone that has won
it is a  jivanmukta  (the liberated one while yet alive), and not he who
has merely a theoretical understanding of what constitutes  purushartha or
the desired end and aim of human endeavour.

FINAL  FREEDOM: Thus defining a  jivanmukta , he is declared to be
free from the bonds of threefold Karmas (sanchita, agami and
prarabdha). The disciple who has reached this stage then relates his
personal experience. The liberated one is free indeed to act as he pleases,

when he leaves the mortal frame, attains absolution, and returns not to
this “birth which is death”.

Sri Sankara thus describes Realisation that connotes liberation
as twofold,  i.e.,  jivanmukti and  videha mukti  referred to above.
Moreover, in this short treatise, written in the form of a dialogue between
a Guru

and his disciple, he has considered many relevant topics.

Best Wishes,


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