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

Kripa Shankar kripa.shankar.0294 at gmail.com
Mon Oct 3 11:43:53 CDT 2016

Dear Subramanian 

I have already responded to Praveen and I am not sure what exactly you are referring to. Can you please elaborate if you don't mind? The comments within brackets were my own and not translation of the text. In any case it is pretty straight forward statement. ‎When Shankara is explicitly saying Sarva shastravidapi, I am not sure what is that you don't seem to get from this assertion. 
‎When you are comparing the case of Ramana and Vāmadeva, you are comparing Apples and Oranges. It's like comparing a kindergarten teacher with a university professor. Vāmadeva * claimed * that he knew about his past incarnations while Ramana did not make such claims. Thus Vāmadeva had a different level of perception (supra human) but Ramana had only limited perception although his name indicates otherwise. So Shankara has not quoted him out of context but you have. Thus the rest of your argument fails.‎

Kripa ‎
Vyasaya Vishnu roopaya Vyasa roopaya Vishnave 
Namo vai Brahma nidhaye Vasishtaya namo namaha 
  Original Message  
From: V Subrahmanian
Sent: Monday 3 October 2016 9:15 PM
To: Kripa Shankar; A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Ramana Maharshi - Advaitin or Neo Advaitin?

On Oct 3, 2016 3:53 PM, "Kripa Shankar" <kripa.shankar.0294 at gmail.com> wrote:
> ‎Namaste Subramanian - I hope you can read my comments (with >>) 
>> I will address just the above point that Praveen ji did not choose to:
> Shankara is making the ShastrArthasampradAyarahitatvam, that is the absence
> of ShastrArthasampradAya, as the hetu, cause for someone doing ShrutahAni
> and ashrutakalpanAm, the two defects that make a person an
> asampradāyavit. By saying this, Shankara is implying that one who does not
> do ShrutahAni and ashrutakalpanAm is ShastrArthasampradAya-sahitaḥ. Thus
> ShastrArthasampradAya does not have anything to do with lineage but *only*
> to the teaching-content.
> >> I respectfully disagree. Here Shankara says ShastrArthasampradAyarahitatvam is the * only cause * for ShrutahAni(how can it be shruti if there is no successive order? And hence ShrutahAni by definition , ) , which * by default or by definition * becomes Ashrutakalpana. This is ascertained as Shankara goes on to say * Sarva shastravid * which means fully versed in Vedanta etc, who imitates Vedanta to the word, *api* even if that be the case, *Moorkhavat eva*, still only a fool (should be regarded as such) . ‎

Dear Kripa ji,

Praveen ji pointed out the hetu and how it is to be related to the rest of the sentence. It appears you have not got it right. The meaning you give above to shrutahāni is not at all the one in which it is used. Pl. check any good translation. I will leave it here.

> >> I wish to point out that you are quoting almost every example that features in the classic texts and thereby you are quoting it completely * out of context *.

Let me explain with examples that your above charge is unreasonable:

The Vamadeva case appears in the Br.up. 1.4.10 to show his realization of sarvatmabhava. 

तद्धैतत्पश्यनृषिर्वामदेवः प्रतिपेदेऽहं मनुरभवं सूर्यश्चेति । mantra.

bhashya: अस्या ब्रह्मविद्यायाः सर्वभावापत्तिः फलमित्येतस्यार्थस्य द्रढिम्ने मन्त्रानुदाहरति श्रुतिः । कथम् ? तत् ब्रह्म एतत् आत्मानमेव अहमस्मीति पश्यन् एतस्मादेव ब्रह्मणो दर्शनात् ऋषिर्वामदेवाख्यः प्रतिपेदे ह प्रतिपन्नवान्किल ; स एतस्मिन्ब्रह्मात्मदर्शनेऽवस्थितः एतान्मन्त्रान्ददर्श — अहं मनुरभवंसूर्यश्चेत्यादीन् । तदेतद्ब्रह्म पश्यन्निति ब्रह्मविद्या परामृश्यते ; अहं मनुरभवं सूर्यश्चेत्यादिना सर्वभावापत्तिं ब्रह्मविद्याफलं परामृशति ; पश्यन्सर्वात्मभावं फलं प्रतिपेदे इत्यस्मात्प्रयोगात् ब्रह्मविद्यासहायसाधनसाध्यं मोक्षं दर्शयति — भुञ्जानस्तृप्यतीति यद्वत् । 

In the above bhashya Shankara says nothing about the possibility of Vamadeva having had completed sādhana in the previous life. The above mantra simply reports that Vamadeva realized the truth even while he was in his mother's womb.  

Now, in the Brahma sutra bhashya  3.4.51: ऐहिकमप्यप्रस्तुतप्रतिबन्धे तद्दर्शनात् 

Generally knowledge arises in the same life when the means to it is complete. Yet, this is on the condition that there is no obstructing factor, karma, to prevent knowledge from arising. In such cases, after the obstructing karma is exhausted, knowledge arises. 

श्रवणादिद्वारेणापि विद्या उत्पद्यमाना प्रतिबन्धक्षयापेक्षयैव उत्पद्यते । तथा च श्रुतिः दुर्बोधत्वमात्मनो दर्शयति — ‘श्रवणायापि बहुभिर्यो न लभ्यः शृण्वन्तोऽपि बहवो यं न विद्युः । आश्चर्यो वक्ता कुशलोऽस्य लब्धाऽऽश्चर्यो ज्ञाता कुशलानुशिष्टः’ (क. उ. १-२-७) इति । गर्भस्थ एव च वामदेवः प्रतिपेदे ब्रह्मभावमिति वदन्ती जन्मान्तरसञ्चितात् साधनात् जन्मान्तरे विद्योत्पत्तिं दर्शयति ; न हि गर्भस्थस्यैव ऐहिकं किञ्चित्साधनं सम्भाव्यते । स्मृतावपि — ‘अप्राप्य योगसंसिद्धिं कां गतिं कृष्ण गच्छति’ (भ. गी. ६-३७) इत्यर्जुनेन पृष्टो भगवान्वासुदेवः ‘न हि कल्याणकृत्कश्चिद्दुर्गतिं तात गच्छति’ (भ. गी. ६-४०) इत्युक्त्वा, पुनस्तस्य पुण्यलोकप्राप्तिं साधुकुले सम्भूतिं च अभिधाय, अनन्तरम् ‘तत्र तं बुद्धिसंयोगं लभते पौर्वदेहिकम्’ (भ. गी. ६-४३) इत्यादिना ‘अनेकजन्मसंसिद्धस्ततो याति परां गतिम्’ (भ. गी. ६-४५) इत्यन्तेन एतदेव दर्शयति । तस्मात् ऐहिकम् आमुष्मिकं वा विद्याजन्म प्रतिबन्धक्षयापेक्षयेति स्थितम् ॥५१ ॥  

One can see Shankara citing the Vāmadeva case (of Br.up.1.4.10) to solely explain the situation where means for jnana are not to be seen to have happened in the life where the jnana arises actually. 

So, according to you, Shankara is taking the Vamadeva case of the Br.up. 'out of context' in the BSB!! There are several other examples where such things have been done. One is: It is known that Nala, Yudhishtira and Rama underwent untold miseries in their lives.  This is recorded in those respective texts. Yet, when the topic of prarabdha is discussed by Advaitins, in Panchadashi, for example, these three personages are cited to show that if only one could prevent destiny from taking effect, these three would not have undergone what they did. 

The case of Swami Chandrashekhara Bharati is also similar to Vamadeva in the sense that he was not known to have undergone jnana sadhana in this life since even before that he was known to be a Jnani, as reported by his own disciple Acharya. 

Also, you must remember the Bhagavadgita: aneka janma samsiddhaḥ tato yāti parām gatim and bahūnām janmanām ante jnānavān mām prapadyate teach that the spiritual journey, the building up, is spread over innumerable lives; not just three or so as you might think in the case of Jadabharata.  Thus it is impossible for anyone to divine how many births have taken for one to become a jnani, even if the arthāpatti in the case of Vamadeva is considered according to the BSB shown above, where it is arthapatti is what is explicitly done by Shankara. Nor is there a need to know all those lives to conclude one is a jnani who has completed his jnana sadhana in earlier lives.  

Since Brahmasutra bhashya and other upanishad bhashyas are there to instruct aspirants about how they can acquire knowledge and become liberated, they are not closed texts confined to only the cases discussed in the upanishads; they are only examples based on which we have to decide our life situations. Thus, to apply the case of Vamadeva in the BSB to Swami Chandrashekhara Bharati which is what the disciple Acharya did and to apply the same to Jadabharata and to Ramana are quite in order. 

In Soundarya lahiri, Shankara says Shivakare manche. So should we conclude that Shiva is in fact a helper in the house and not Ishana mentioned in the Upanishads. Or should we conclude that one diety is inferior or superior to another? No! It is used in a poetic sense to highlight the greatness of the subject (Devi). Here too in Manishapanchakam, Shankara is trying to highlight the greatness of Atmavidya (anyone can have Atmavidya is the inference ). 

Else, he would be contradicting his own statement made earlier about Moorkha. 

The above inference and conclusion only confirm that you have not got the BGB sentence on asampradayavit correctly. I can't say more than this. Praveen ji too has pointed out that your understanding of that sentence is not in order. 




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