[Advaita-l] [advaitin] How “Neo” is Swami Vivekananda‘s Vedānta: A Response to Rambachan.

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu Jul 8 09:24:45 EDT 2021

Dear Raghav ji,

It is a post of a person 'Jataayu' that I had posted in the group with the
FB link. I found him articulating well and hence shared it here.


On Thu, 8 Jul 2021, 6:26 pm Raghav Kumar, <raghavkumar72 at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Namaste Subbu ji
> Thank you for that interesting article on Swami Vivekananda and Rambachan.
> And your lucid comments on it.
> The links sent by you are not opening, except for the introduction.
> An illustrative example of how Indologist narratives are built was a
> passage in the introduction where Rambachan quotes Vivekananda partially in
> a passage while culling the later part of the same passage where the
> Swamiji quotes the Upanishad. Rambachan goes on in this vein to
> substantiate his thesis that Swami Vivekananda's project was political and
> that Swamiji distorted traditional Advaita (because Advaita does not
> attempt any samanvaya and  is unsparing in doing khanDana of opposing
> views) intended to show Hinduism is more inclusive than Christianity.
> Rambachan understandably wishes to debunk any claims of Hinduism's
> inclusiveness vis-a-vis the purely faith-based historical religions.
> Rambachan's need to present Hinduism as no less dogmatic than Christianity
> is obvious given his being embedded in the "indological" (read:
> hinduphobic) academic establishment and other commitments towards
> 'ecumenical dialogue' with the Vatican. This is easy to accomplish by
> selectively presenting Advaita sAmpradAya as being starkly in disagreement
> with all other darshanas while glossing over the paramata maNDanam of
> eulogizing other darshanas by Shankara in his bhAShyas *without diluting
> Advaita* of course.
> The author Hejjaji has missed the other lines of argument mentioned by you
> of countering the Rambachan type of narratives from 'Indology' by showing
> the later mainstream Acharyas of the 1500 CE etc., adapting yoga practise
> and jargon without compromising Advaita. This may be because other authors
> mentioned by your reference like Maiodi (2018) and Maharaj (2020) have
> dealt with the significant continuities between mediaeval developments in
> vedAnta epistemology through VidyAraNya and Madhusudana Saraswati in
> Jivanmuktiviveka and gUDArtha-dIpikA (Gita 6th chapter bhAShya by Sri
> Madhusudana is cast in pAtanjala yoga phraseology) and Swami Vivekananda's
> ideas.
> The author Hejjaji does not seem clear enough about laxaNA vRtti and about
> svaraHprAmANyam of advaita but his scholarly rebuttal to Rambachan is a
> noteworthy effort.
> Swami Vivekananda's idea of four yogas can easily be amplified to show
> divergence with Shankara. There are obvious differences in articulation and
> emphasis. Or they can be accommodated without compromising Shruti as a
> pramANa the way Gita shlokas like 13.24 are handled by Shankara.
> For example an modern Indologist who is interested in amplifying
> intellectual faultlines within Advaita to subserve his own agenda of
> showing how Hinduism lacks any coherence being merely an amalgamation of
> sects, would likely read gitA 13.24 as neo-vedAnta; if taken out of the
> larger advaitic samanvaya of gitA by shankarabhAShya etc. That is because
> advaita is a living and dynamic tradition which is exemplified and embodied
> in shiShTAchAra as much as it is a textual tradition. That is why Ramana
> and Ramakrishna are advaitic even though the western Indologist
> establishment is loathe to admit that.
> Om
> Raghav
> Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android
> <https://go.onelink.me/107872968?pid=InProduct&c=Global_Internal_YGrowth_AndroidEmailSig__AndroidUsers&af_wl=ym&af_sub1=Internal&af_sub2=Global_YGrowth&af_sub3=EmailSignature>
> On Thu, 8 Jul 2021 at 1:17 pm, V Subrahmanian
> <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com> wrote:
> Here is a post on the above topic:
> https://www.facebook.com/jataayu.blore/posts/1930086813811175
> How “Neo” is Swami Vivekananda‘s Vedānta: A Response to Rambachan.
> A wonderfully written and well researched article by Vinay Hejjaji
> <https://www.facebook.com/vinay.amaranath?__cft__[0]=AZWfEnasiX_bUnK3-UEjZpYC577UwL4lblerWUYq3fKOBed1Sgvp1isVQOOMqPcFxhLVNzjE9mcFJx0NQi7K_-P0kIJyRXjE2P0ZC7k3ZVbCiA&__tn__=-]K-R>.
> It is a good rebuttal not just to the likes of Rambachan in the academic
> arena, but also to some adamant "textbook" Advaita adherents or folks in
> the orthodox and traditional molds with a sectarian, narrow view of
> Vedanta.
> Link: https://www.researchgate.net/.../351448454_How_Neo_is...
> <https://www.researchgate.net/publication/351448454_How_Neo_is_Swami_Vivekananda's_Vedanta_A_Response_to_Rambachan?fbclid=IwAR34hM-bZvK7S1jPEwdnmpScYIsIbeiNbPnOEUQxMbFbNmelkEbnkVwZ05k>
> "In this article, I show that Vivekananda, while rooted in the Upaniṣads,
> builds on the teachings of texts such as the Patañjali Yogasūtras and
> Vivekacūḍāmaṇi, and adopts a pluralistic attitude taught by his Guru Sri
> Ramakrishna to present a "cosmopolitan" Vedānta. Granted that Vivekananda
> deviates from Śaṅkara on certain issues, I argue that Rambachan belittles
> the scriptural and logical underpinnings of Vivekananda‘s teachings by
> needlessly attributing Western influence and political motives as the
> principal reason for the deviation. Secondly, I show that many of the
> "problems", "contradictions" and the charge of being "neo" raised by
> Rambachan are superficial and drawn from a selective and out-of-context
> reading of Vivekananda‘s works..", says the author in the introduction.
> I would go a step further. The "cosmopolitan" Vedanta that the aurthor
> identifies Swami Vivekananda with - even that is not a modern creation, but
> the continuation of a historical process. In fact, the integration of Yoga
> Sutra and Advaita started with the seminal text Yoga Vasishta in the 10th
> century itself. We see the articulation of it in Vidyaranya, particularly
> works like Panchadasi. It gets even more traction in the works of
> Madhusudana Saraswati, who sees Gita as a scripture that unites Karma and
> Jnana with Bhkati & (Raja) Yoga as the bridge. I was expecting that the
> paper will cite this point somewhere, but it didn't. But even without this,
> the paper is complete in itself. The point that I mentioned above can
> actually be another subject for research and articulation by interested
> scholars.
> 2You and 1 other
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