[Advaita-l] Ramana Maharshi - Advaitin or Neo Advaitin?

Praveen R. Bhat bhatpraveen at gmail.com
Sat Oct 1 00:52:02 CDT 2016

Namaste Swamiji,

On Fri, Sep 30, 2016 at 12:08 PM, श्रीमल्ललितालालितः <
lalitaalaalitah at lalitaalaalitah.com> wrote:

> Please, don't reply to this for at least 2 days. I'm trying to rAghava and
> bhAskar, both in that time.
 I see that you've already replied to others, so I am taking the liberty to
respond to this mail.

This doesn't convince me about his understanding. It just gives credit to
>> shrautaikyaGYAna for making understand importance of AtmA(whatever that
>> means) to remember self whenever one is distracted. This is not the use of
>> aikyaGYAna or shruti. Moreover, what is this turning to self? Why is it
>> needed? - We must think about that.
>> The sentence does not say "importance of AtmA", but *import*, which means
>> what it really is, which is brahman. Then "reverts to it" would mean revert
>> to the lakShyArtha of self being brahman as learnt from Shruti. That would
>> be gaining niShThA.
> These are not ramaNa's words. You, a person who knows about shruti and who
> is trying to bring him to advaita-sampradAya(if I can say that),
I really have no intention of bringing anyone who is outside into the fold
of the sampradAya. I never said that Ramana Maharshi was part of the
sampradAya, but that his teaching is not divorced from it. I was only
pointing out that there is a difference between the word "import" used in
the book vs the word "importance" that you thought it was. The word
"import" itself means "that which has to be implied". So when Ramana
Maharshi says "import of Shruti statement" it does mean "the implied
meaning of the Shruti statement". My guess is as good as yours as to what
that implied meaning is. I can give the benefit of doubt while you can
doubt the benefit given.

> is interpreting that. The meaning which we gain from shakti of pada and
> which confirms to his teaching, is not same.
If his teaching was only "who am I?", which I don't think was, then I do
agree with you that it was only tvampada vichAra and it was just a
padavichAra not vAkyavichAra. And thereby, one who stops there may reach
only sAMkhya conclusions.

> You may do that, but it's not enough for those who know that he always
> emphasised on 'knowing AtmA', and not anything else.
> I also know that, he also heard the same thing, which you are trying to
> tell now, from scholars of his time. It is also known that some scholars of
> his time, who were in his contact, tried what you are doing now.
That is quite possible. And hypothetically considering that not only did
they do that but even the Maharshi himself came across these Shruti
teachings only via them, I don't see any harm in it. It may have helped him
go beyond the tvampada, that you suspect he reached, into tat and asitvam.

> But, that's not enough for me.
> There is no way to know that he actually had firm conviction of aikya as
> something which can't be known without a pramANa, shruti.
> I have already said that his prAtibha-GYAna(samAdhija-praGYA) can be of
> any other nature, but he may be sometimes defining it otherwise, just
> because he came in contact with shAstraGYa-s.

The latter is an assumption you are making, since you say that Maharshi
himself did not make a statement that he learnt from Shruti. Wherever he
did compose exactly what Shruti says, beyond the tvampada into
jiveShvaraikya, you say that is due to the influence of others who were
doing some kind of samanvaya. So its impossible to establish either way!

> It is common tendency of people to try to validate themselves with
> established norms, and if they can't do that then they create a separate
> sampradAya, which is based on their samAdhija-praGYA. This samAdhija-praGYA
> is not acceptable to me, if it didn't originate from pramANa.
> I've always said on other threads, that samAdhi can't generate any type of
> GYAna, since it is not a pramANa. It is just cessation of mental
> modifications. That may help you find that you exist even without those
> vR^itti-s and in this way it helps you to understand that you are separate
> from body. Nothing more than that is acceptable. This was for
> nirvikalpa-samAdhi.

I agree.

If you are not yet convinced about limitation of samAdhi, you may need some
> reading of portions of naiShkarmya-siddhiH and bR^ihadAraNyaka-vArttika,
> vArttika-sAra and pa~nchadashI.
I am convinced of the limitations of samAdhi. However, other than removing
doubt in the form of one's being different from anAtma, samAdhi also helps
in vAsanakShaya.

>>> Praveen, I know that there are occurrence where he mentions brahma and
>>> negates bheda, but was that based on shruti(which must be known as pramANa)
>>> or was just added later because someone told him that he is talking similar
>>> to upaniShad-s. We have to decide that he understood that part. Mere
>>> repetition to confirm to shruti is not enough.
>> I don't have such a doubt since this can be raised about anyone in the
>> sampradAya itself and I do not know how this would ever be proven.
> There is a difference between him and other sampradAyavit-s - he didn't
> study mImAMsA or any other shAstar-s which support validity of veda-s.
> Without that it is impossible to understand what that is, and how much
> important that is. shAstravit-s study those shAstra-s which help them reach
> the conclusion that veda-s are pramANa and that how they are important for
> dharma and brahma GYAna.

I would myself argue on these lines and even to those who say that
sampradAya is irrelevant placing words of anyone above Shruti, I still do.
That is because one may misunderstand what the words of the person who is
not a shrotriya, but with sampradAyavit, its less likely to go off the path.

Even with the study of mImAMsA, nyAya, vyAkaraNa et al, there are quite a
lot of people who do not have prAmANyabuddhi in shruti. eg, naiyyAyikAs who
place tarka above Shruti. Even with prAmANyabuddhi, one may end up a dvaiti
like many other sampradAyas. My argument, ergo, was that even if one who
has studied these claims the anubhava of whatever Ramana Maharshi claimed,
another cannot prove that. That is, another can still entertain doubt that
you do. The only benefit of doubt you would give is that since he studied
shAstras, maybe he really knows. I am giving the benefit of doubt that
maybe Maharshi studied in earlier life.

> I seriously doubt that those who are supporting ramaNa, has the
> understanding of the same.

I can talk of myself that I do understand the importance of shAstre
prAmANyabuddhi. There cannot be more than one pramANa for any knowledge.
However, w.r.t., I have a question. In a response to someone else, you said
that prAmANyabuddhi in earlier life does not help in this life. This is
something I am unable to understand as to why that is. In conclusion, I
completely agree with your analysis, except for the knowledge gained with
prAmANyabuddhi in earlier life not helping in this one. Please clarify.

Kind rgds,
--Praveen R. Bhat
/* Through what should one know That owing to which all this is known!
[Br.Up. 4.5.15] */

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