Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The strange demise of Advaita ...

Devotee: Is Maharshi’s teaching the same as Shankara’s?

Ramana: Maharshi’s teaching is only an expression of his own experience and realisation. Others find that it tallies with Sri Shankara’s.

Devotee: Quite so. Can it be put in other ways to express the same realisation?

Ramana: A realised person will use his own language.

[No.189 of Ramana Maharshi's Talks]

Ramana Maharshi's realisation was based on experience and was nothing to do with the revelations of Advaita Vedanta. Advaita (consolidated by Shankara) is a calcified, redundant expression of life in liberation. Ramana's legacy is an enigmatic Cheshire cat's smile that stirs our imagination like a whisper in the wind. Ramana inspires but what he speaks of eludes us because religious traditions try to formularise and capture that which can never be expressed. Primordial freedom has no crossed legs or straight posture. There is no truth to enunciate and no lineage to claim (that's Mooji, Madhukar, Spermananda and other itinerant carpetbaggers down the drain!)

All religious teachings are the progeny of power, manipulation and corruption.

Likewise Shankara's philosophy, which is simply a product of its time. Shankara was a Upanishadic philosopher who aimed to provide the correct meaning of the ancient Indian texts at a point when both the Buddhist and the Hindu communities in India were showing signs of disintegration, corruption and decay. Shankara lived in the 8th and early 9th century, born of Brahmin parents in the village of Kaladi on the Malabar coast (today's Kerala, South India). He mostly frequented Varanasi however, the stronghold of Brahminical Hinduism and was taught within the lineage of Gaudapada, a Upanishadic teacher strongly influenced by Buddhism.

This period of Indian history saw immense religious conflict and social change. Hinduism was disunited and had split into many groups and sects, each with their own views. Buddhist philosophy appeared pessimistic to the general populace. According to Shankara, literalists and ritualists alike had missed the spirit of the Upanishads while even worse, nihilists and iconoclasts were contradicting the sacred scriptures. He accused Buddhism of teaching non-existence and even portrayed the Buddha as an incarnation sent to lead the wicked astray and hasten the end of the Kali Yuga.

Meanwhile in Varanasi, Buddhism was gaining popularity with the local elite: new ideologies of renunciation were emerging in Northern India which opposed ritualism and superceded Brahminism with its accent on caste inequalities and the privileged position of priests. Fierce competition broke out among the Indian philosophical schools for royal benefaction and economic security. To secure his survival as a spiritual teacher, Shankara assimilated Hindu and Buddhist ideas into a new form of Vedantic Absolutism which continued to endorse the authority of the Upanishads and his lineage teacher, Gaudapada.

The Upanishads speak of an ultimate reality named Brahman which is eternal. This was also the teaching of Gaudapada. However Gaudapada (who lived in the 8th century too) was also strongly influenced by Yogacara Buddhism and Madhyamaka Buddhism. Since the Upanishadic Brahman was ultimately real, he readily accepted the Yogacara teaching that by contrast the world was unreal and illusory (māyā) being a projection of the mind. However whereas Madhyamaka Buddhism taught the doctrine of non-origination (anutpāda), which said there was no ultimate reality (like Brahman) to ever come into existence, Gaudapada decided to keep the Upanishadic Brahman and say instead that it was 'unoriginated' (ajativāda). He did this to avoid contradicting the authority of the sacred texts.

As a result Shankara argued for Gaudapada's "unoriginated Brahman" stating that Brahman was unchangeable, infinite and imperishable. This continued to uphold the authority of the Upanishads since Brahman remained the supreme reality but it also pandered to new fashionable Buddhist ideas since the Upanishadic Brahman was recast as nirguna or "without attribute": that is, formless and indescribable. But Shankara's Brahman was also non-dual. This reinvented the traditional Hindu concepts of jiva, Atman and Brahman and reconfigured their relationship, which once again put the Upanishads head and shoulders above the rest. Shankara had sidestepped the literalists by sweeping away the theism of early Vedantins (which later culminated in Ramanuja and Madhva). He had countered the Hindu ritualists because he had embraced the Buddhist idea of non-violence (ahiṃsā) and its rejection of animal sacrifice. Shankara also continued to distance Hinduism from Buddhism by vehemently criticising the Buddhist doctrine of emptiness (śūnyatā). This reiterated the popular perception that Buddhism was pessimistic and conveniently disguised the fact that he and Gaudapada had borrowed ideas from the Yogacara and Madhyamaka schools.

Shankara's philosophy - just as all spiritual philosophy - was political. This is now having serious implications for today's Advaita:

Advaita is outmoded and does not recognise modern theoretical physics. Because Gaudapada and Shankara accepted Yogacarin ideas that the world is illusory (being a creation of the mind), Advaita argues that ultimate reality is experienceable, non-illusory, and eternal. This rules out by definition the existence of theoretical entities such as electrons, protons and neutrinos since they cannot be directly experienced or perceived.

It is stuck in absolutism. In subverting the Madhyamakan theory of non-origination which states there is "no birth", Gaudapada and Shankara taught instead "there is an unborn" in the form of an unoriginated Brahman. Madhyamakans suggest that an ultimate reality is impossible because existence is co-dependently originated (pratītyasamutpāda). If all things arise interdependently, they can have no independent essence of their own, in which case they cannot be said to have ever arisen. Advaita however argues for an ultimate reality and says instead that it is this which is unoriginated. This is where Shankara's teaching short-circuits. Shankara stated that all levels of reality culminate in Brahman as the substratum of anything we experience. For him the world is an illusory appearance in Brahman. All things are therefore unreal and subject to change but due to ignorance (avidyā) we mistake them for being real - an ignorance which must be destroyed. Here the Advaitic Brahman is something "that is already there" despite us being unaware of its existence. Shankara turns his Nirguna Brahman into an absolutely existent object skulking in the shadows. The problem with objectifying anything is that it is then found not to truly exist - because like all phenomena - it is subject to change. This is a circle which cannot be squared ...

These absolutist ideas manifest in the ridiculous schism between Traditional and Neo Advaita, which is the legacy of the weaknesses of Gaudapada and Shankara's political philosophy. In recent times, Dennis Waite and James Swartz have initiated an acrimonious attack on those who dismiss methods and focus on the non-existence of the "I". Waite and his cabal call themselves "Traditional Advaitins"; they insist that a method is necessary for realisation; and they accuse their critics of the heresy of nihilism, labelling them "Neo Advaitins". This is the same argument that Shankara had with the Buddhists. Shankara rightly accused Buddhism of nihilism: the Sarvastivada and Yogacara schools taught the complete non-existence (as well as the total existence) of phenomena. But here Shankara was guilty of exactly the same absolutism. While the Sarvastivadins and the Yogacarins argued for the complete non-existence of something, Advaita was arguing for the complete existence of something (that is, Nirguna Brahman). This is nihilism and eternalism respectively. Advaita and Buddhism were playing off the same chess board, just positioned at opposite ends ...

In exactly the same way there are now modern Advaita teachers who say either "no method" or "no I" (e.g. Papaji, Karl Renz) - and also - "there is only the Self" or "there is only Consciousness" (e.g. Lakshmana Swamy, Nisargadatta). These statements are absolutist too since they insist that the Self and Consciousness completely exist (eternalism) or something like a method or the "I" completely don't exist (nihilism). Dennis Waite and his cronies are culpable of exactly the same crime they are accusing their critics of. Traditional Advaita's criticism of Neo Advaita is the song and dance of separation still playing to the same ill-starred tune: a Greek chorus of personae acting out the sequel to the Gaudapadian drama! The conceit of Traditional Advaita has become a mirror image of their consumerist cousins the Neo Advaitins. They are locked together in an eternal struggle which neither can win. This is like a still from the opening of the Russian movie Nightwatch where the forces of polarity - light/dark, order/chaos and eternalism/nihilism (call them what you will!) - are locked into a Mexican standoff of epic proportions. Traditional and Neo Advaita are both purveyors of a dogma/anti-dogma which is stale and strangely irrelevant - and their only contribution has been to add a new historical layer of mental confusion over a complete absence of any spiritual realisation whatsoever. They are engrossed in a petty, factional fight and their day is done.

Traditional and Gaudapadian Advaita have failed to address the arguments of Madhyamaka Buddhism. This too is the legacy of Gaudapada's political formulation of Advaita. We know that Gaudapada borrowed from the Madhymakans and reinterpreted their thesis of non-origination without crediting them. Unlike the Sarvastivadin and Yogacarin positions, the Madhyamaka teaching of non-origination was not nihilist. Its main teachers Nagarjuna and Candrakirti - now classified as Prasangika Madhyamaka - rejected outright both nihilism and eternalism. They advocated instead a new interpretation of the Buddha's Middle Way which says (as modern theoretical physics confirms) that absolutes are impossible. There cannot truly be any enlightenment, Self or Brahman to attain - nor can there truly be any jiva, "I" or method to attain it. This position does not say "no I" or "no method". It says all things including the person exist as empty, co-dependent arisings which are neither totally existent nor totally non-existent. Methods may happen, methods may not - what happens simply happens - and whether someone practises a method or not is completely irrelevant ...

Traditional Advaita does not even faithfully represent Shankara's teaching. Waite and Swartz are likely unaware of the precise historical currents they are shaped by. But even if they are aware of them, they don't understand them. For example their dogmatic insistence on "rigorous practice" flies in the face of the fact that Shankara, rather ironically, didn't really advocate a method for realisation! Because Gaudapada and Shankara theorised the world as unreal, the jiva in its ignorance was in need of unification with Brahman. This meant the jiva and Brahman were two separate entities and something was needed to connect them. Shankara therefore suggested the new idea that Brahman resided as Atman within the jiva, stating that Brahman could not be attained. Rather, the jiva could only hope that their ignorance would be destroyed by the jnana of an enlightened guru. Giving up desire for worldly pleasure and reflecting on the meaning of Atman as identical to Brahman would help but it could not bring about liberation itself ...

Traditional Advaita is a 21st century White-supremacist, post-colonial cult. Waite and Swartz are arch-conservatives, patriarchs of the Church of Advaita who have come to set us all right. They are Biblical Pharisees who have contrived a debate with self-created opponents in order to assert the "correct" reading of Advaita. This is no different from the civilising project of the British Empire whose Christian missionaries led the moral rectification of India.

Advaita has become a Trojan Horse of monstrous proportions hiding ill intent and murderous deceit within its liturgies and traditions. Its ancient and modern forms are the product of a self-promoting fixation on comprehending and formularising liberation so it can be controlled, taught and sold. The Gaudapadian lineage and its modern bastard Traditional Advaita are shallow, politico-religious, economic philosophies devoid of integrity, which are intellectually designed for EGOIC survival.


  1. indian-based teachings are of the earth frequency .. there are many newer teachings that include galactic and universal energies, with quite different models of what is a human being, of what consciousness is, or is capable of experiencing.

  2. Where there is liberation, there can never be a teaching.

  3. James Schwartz thinks he is better than everyone else and he has been boring us to death with his mental masturbation for decades. He says it is incorrect to see Shankara as a philosopher and that Vedanta was not a school of thought. Of course Shankara was a philosopher! He was actually a spiritual politician. The notion of "sampradaya" is a lineage of power conjured up by the Vedantins themselves to assert their ultimate authority and to forbid discussion or criticism.

  4. Jimmy got very fat since he got married. Some renunciant!

  5. All religions including Buddhism and (Neo) Advaita seek a meaning or value in life, a way out or in, or a belief in existence somehow. Even if they claim they don’t, they do ...

    As an Absurdist I say that looking for existence in a non-existent objective world or trying to give meaning to a meaningless universe is utterly futile. It is bound to fail and is therefore ABSURD.

    Values such as “true” or “real” are just concepts and as do not actually exist.

    We cannot know whether existence exists or whether non-existence doesn’t ... whether Reality is real ... whether there is or isn't such a thing as an I or Self that has to be realised or not ... if we are awake or asleep ... These are just meaningless words floating in meaningless space and time.

    So are all the words in this (I have to admit) beautifully crafted post. They come from a maybe existing mind and since there might be no objects or subjects in this maybe possible world, they therefore have no meaning.

    Even acknowledging that we don’t know anything ... is absurd.

    By embracing the Absurd as being absurd, you can find something you might call freedom, even if that also is absurd and is devoid of any meaning.

    I recommend watching Monty Python’s ‘The Meaning of Life”, David Lynch's short film “Rabbits” and on top of that, a continuous reading of "Finnegans Wake". Also reading the works of Kierkegaard and Camus might amuse you.

    Finally I declare that all my writing is absurd.

  6. What about Alfred Jarry's Père Ubu and Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman?

  7. Schwartz on his website: "My vasana load was quite light ... I worked out my worldly desires … sex, money and power … by my late Twenties." Also:

    Interviewer: When did you first experience nirvana and what was it like for you?
    Schwartz: If you mean nirvikalpa samadhi, it was in my thirtieth year.


  8. Merchants go when the truth appears,
    for the truth needs no merchanting.
    Behold thy temple cleared of merchants.

  9. the world we see, is it a projection of our own minds?

  10. Real and unreal, a conundrum within an enigma, it's a bloody paradox. GEDDIT!

  11. gregory, you old fart, don't ask silly questions..... you make very nice art, stick to that, be happy and leave the nonsense to the mindfuckers of a world we don't see, with most probably non-existing minds........
    or in other words -quote- "there is a possible world in which there are no objects at all, so even if every possible world contains some objects, there is at least one that contains only abstract objects".

  12. Ramana Maharshi's great spiritual breakthrough resulted in the shaking of his head and his hanging onto a walking stick back to the early days. These were the marks left on him by the stupendous experience of 'atmanubhuti' in Madurai! When asked about this condition, Bhagavan remarked "What do you think would happen to a small thatched hut inside which a big elephant is kept tied up? Wouldn't it be shattered? Same is the case here!" Now you get all these pretentious teachers saying they have reached enlightenment. They trot out the same old rhetoric. They present themselves as attractive and unscathed. Wearing floating garments in pure white or brazen orange with embroidered caps and even a fez thrown in. The dishonesty, the deceit is laughable!


  13. Nowadays, of course, the teachings of Vedanta have slipped away from this kind of social control. People encounter Vedantic or Advaitic teachings on the Internet in text, audio, video and chat form, as well as in books available for overnight delivery. People hop from one teaching to another, and create mixtures and combos of anything they like.False teachers abound. It's all rubbish; it's not authentic. It's all been watered down!

  14. Have you seen Schwartz's website? It's extremely consumeristic and commercial. 1500 pages of e-satsang, "Take the enlightenment quiz", and words and words and words like a gush of verbal diarrhoea. Check out the "Dreams" section. Oh dear it seems as though James is not enlightened after all (as if we hadn't realised) - because he dreams. On this page he even refers to his ego, which is quite obviously intact. Poor James he is a closet Freudian as well as a tortured intellectual professor. I wonder what his mother would say??!!

  15. Galactic Gregory: the world we see is not just a projection of our minds. This is an ego-constructed theory which places the "I" at the centre of everything - and has given rise to the crass consumeristic belief in creative manifestation. The world is generated between all objects, human, plant, animal an mineral - animate and inanimate - and is without beginning or end. This is what recent advances in science now also say. The world and us who perceives it are all phantom apparitions, of no substance, arising (and disappearing) simply because they do ... Any spiritual theory or teaching who starts with the person perceiving - instead of seeing the person as part of the perception too - is a fake. And by that time it becomes clear it's not a matter of perception either because there is no omnipotent force there behind the scenes doing any perceiving ...

  16. The other distinction between Trad & Neo is gradual & sudden. Why can't it be both?

  17. These teachers are fleecing us but so are some of the restaurants as soon as they sniff the western influx. Take alook at the Amman rooftop cafe, the prices are over the top. I'd say they are the most expensive eatery in Tiru. I won't be going back.

  18. Dennis Waite is the real monster. He divided things into classical advaita as representing the level of appearance and neo-advaita as denying this level. It was his own dualism which saw this division!

  19. Advaita is a teaching of Oneness, not two. It is liberation through Supreme Knowledge which is not intellectual but experiential on behalf of the Master. A Guru is essential. Philosophy is not.

  20. Advaita itself is a philosophy that states it is not a philosophy. Very cunning! It teaches a Oneness (which is not a "one"). This is an OBJECTIFICATION: so it is still mired in separation and therefore deeply dualist.

  21. One of the true marks of progress on the spiritual path is renunciation. You can see that even in ordinary people. They will want fewer things, talk less, eat less, dress very simply.

  22. Classic mistake. Renunciation can be the sign of a very strong ego - just as much as an advanced seeker. Anyone can wear a dhoti, sit crossed legged, parrot the scriptures, change their diet or withdraw into the wilderness but it doesn't necessarily indicate one's level of spirituality. Renunciation can be extreme seeking and unrestrained spiritual ambition. Or it can be a sign of non-attachment but these things are not written in stone.

  23. If someone says, "This book is the truth, you can buy it from me," Take your money and buy grapes and roses. If someone says, "He’s talking tonight, thousands will be saved," Go for a walk … listen to the birds and watch the clouds, and leave your backpack, your Bible and your Buddha under a tree and hope they will be gone when you return. Where we are going you can't carry anything, not even your name.

    J. Squadra

  24. well, i was sort of wondering, the qualities we ascribe to another, are they telling us more about ourselves and the eyes we see through, than they are the person described? technical, i know

  25. Depends what school of thought you ascribe to! If you are a Yogacarin, it's all about you, the one who projects the world from your mind! If you're a Madhyamakan, there's no one for the qualities to be about and nothing to be such a quality! Take your pick!

  26. So forget the Absurd for a minute and follow your argument ...

    In your story of Sankara’s life you omit one significant detail, which is more important then your whole argument. The Rishis complained to Lord Shiva about the religious chaos in India and asked him to revive the world. Shiva agreed and told that he would be born in this world in the form of Dakshinamurthy. Sankara was allowed a short time on earth to fulfill his duty, but when his time was up ( some say at 12, others say 16 years) and his mission was not fulfilled, he was granted 16 more years, till he died age 32, in that time he walked over the whole Indian subcontinent, defeated Buddhists and orthodox vedic scholars in debates and established Advaita Vedanta, as it was accepted by Gaudapada. And Dharma was restored according to Lord Shiva’s plan. So if you think you can fool around with Shiva and His work and dare to say that His work is outmoded and compare Him with some foolish modern physics you are light-years away from any possible Truth. I do not think that the Lord will be pleased with your tomfoolery and you’ll have to face the consequences.

  27. Sister are you on acid or what? The one significant detail is that Sankara manipulated everything to suit his own ends - including the story about the Rishis asking him to revive the world! He made this up to claim authority for his new philosophical formulation. All philosophers do this. They have a legend which justifies the authority of their invention. Every major spiritual figure has a justification myth which puts them on top of the pile: the Buddha, Krishna, Jesus, etc etc. This myth is contrived, usually fictional and always POLITICAL.

    As for the retribution of Shiva, how could it compare with the earth-shattering Advaita Fatwa of the mighty Madhukar who condemned us for all eternity!

  28. Didn't mean renunciation for show. Meant real renunciation that comes from inside. I don't claim to be an advanced spiritual seeker but already I feel like I want less of everything.

  29. Swami are you kidding me, how do you know who made this all up? You are sadly mistaken. I do not need a justification myth or a legend. I leave that to the historians who make a mess of history. You trot along on your political horse as if it is the only truth. I can refute all of that very easily. My information comes direct from Shiva himself! Did you forget that He and I melted in Arunachala some time ago and Sister K became the Holy Hermaphrodite, locally known as Ardhanarishvara?! So that is how we share everything: as the One and Only. So the information about Sankara and the re-establishing of Dharma cannot be disputed. Sorry!

    You can keep your belief in silly modern scientists and manipulating historians. You probably also think that Arunachala is just a heap of stones and Ramana a dead bag of bones. But do not compare Shiva with that miserable, pathetic, slimy creature Madhukar (fuck him), you obviously don’t know what you are talking about. So on what funny drugs are you on?

  30. Sister now I geddit! You've been snorting ketamine again! Remember it's horse tranquiliser not hermaphrodite fuel! I suppose you've been writhing around in the dirt and speaking in tongues at the entrance to the Ramana ashram!

  31. "Surrounded by desires that led me astray, my heart was hardened and my understanding was tricked by the illusion of a personal self. Hail to the Lord who through his love refreshed my heart, banishing my deluded attachment to land ownership, wealth and women."


  32. When the listener has become thirsty and craving,
    the preacher, even if he is as good as dead,
    becomes eloquent.
    When the hearer is fresh and without fatigue,
    the drunk and mute will find
    a hundred tongues to speak.


  33. Isn't it amazing how people rely on texts so much instead of their own experience and crave a figure of authority? Why do we need one? Who told us anything was wrong with us? Why those spiritual figures of course!

  34. Even if the Rishis did ask Sankara to revive the world, this is hardly the point. They were interested in keeping the Upanishads and their ancient traditions in place! The more interesting question is what Ramana was doing with self-inquiry. Before him it was just a means of reflection (e.g. Valmiki in the Yoga Vasistha) and no further details are given in the texts. Ramana presents a very concrete "method" for self-inquiry which is new and seems to build on Sankara's Atman-as-Brahman residing within the seeker. But it is only since Ramana that Advaita has started talking about self-inquiry as its own method. Advaita has stolen self-inquiry in Ramana's name, once again proving its manipulative and synthetic nature ...

  35. Ignoring the punch below the belt from Kevji, I ask what is this argument all about. It is about methods! But then all methods are absurd because they need a beginning, a path and a result.

    Ramana’s main teaching is …..(in short): "Whatever is destined not to happen will not happen, try as you may. Whatever is destined to happen will happen, try what you may to prevent it. The best course therefore is to remain silent". This is of course pure fatalism.

    Silence has no beginning and no end. You might say that it IS but even that is questionable. For people who do not understand, Ramana offered this simple method but in the end it always comes back to Silence. There is no such thing as free will, no person, no time. Silence is a state which can not be described. There is actually nothing to say.

    So the only relevant sentence in this post is: “Methods may happen, methods may not - what happens simply happens – whether someone practises a method or not is completely irrelevant …” All the rest is nicely written filling of paper ...

  36. So the Sister is a closet Buddhist!

    I know you've been in a few closets in your time but this one really is kinky. But remember, Madhyamaka is still a philosophy and the Buddhists got up to all sorts of dodgy antics and they still do. Nagarjuna definitely had his hand caught in the cookie jar: according to the Chinese "a devilish young adolescent using magical yogic powers to sneak, with a few friends, into the king’s harem and seduce his mistresses. Nagarjuna was able to escape when they were detected, but his friends were all apprehended and executed, and, realizing what a precarious business the pursuit of desires was, Nagarjuna renounced the world and sought enlightenment."

    This is a much more funky legend that all the bullshit you spouted about the Rishis!

  37. Errrm Kevji I think the news is much worse than this. I suspect the Sister is a closet Neo Advaitin with Traditional Advaitic overtones. Maybe she has been strapped in the chair down in her dungeon a bit too long this weekend. "No person" and "no free will" is Neo Advaita because both indicate the total non-existence of something (i.e. the person and free will). That's nihilism. Meanwhile "fatalism" presumes a person with a destiny which is Traditional Advaita ...

  38. Sister Klaus you have been accused of the heinous crime of philosophical cross dressing. Any excuses or are you gonna run to the medicine cabinet, snort some evil concoction and then manically babble nonsense. All that Trad Advaitin lingerie must be like wearing a horse hair shirt!

  39. In liberation there is no need to contest anything. Love rains down all of the time on all who are willing/able to feel it. All this philosophy is utter distraction. Humble yourself before God and the rest will come - guru, texts and practices regardless.

  40. All sounds very Christian to me, Truth Lover. Do agree with you but you have to believe in a God. I'll take the love but not your book of fear and vengeance or the centuries of murder & morality, thanks all the same!

  41. As an Absurdist I can put on any dress I like, just because I enjoy it. This world, you and I is just pure nonsense.......

  42. Sister Klaus,
    Sure you can dress the way you want but what you don't want to do is dress-up like a poor woman and line-up for free food outside Ramanasramam. Then the watchman will beat you. What the humble President of Ramanasramam and Chi-Ting Master don't know is that you could be Arunachala in disguise.
    But that will be our little secret.

  43. Today this morning I saw how Sister Klaus was beaten up by some of Mooji's bodyguard gorillas and left the poor woman (?) bleeding heavily, half-dead in the ditch. It seems that Mooji was not happy with her comments.

    I don't think that she alone should get the blows ... Kevji take some responsibility. I think a suicide bombing in the presence of His Sillyness would be sufficient. The heavenly virgins will be yours.

    Coraggio !

  44. It's serious. The poor women are treated very badly in Ramanasramam. The owners are rich (with our money) and there is no one to hold them accountable. Even the death of a son hasn't brought about the awareness to stop bad mouthing people behind their backs and stop ill treating the poor. Chi-Ting Master I pray for your grace.

  45. Kevinanda better stick to your tits'n'tarts format where you make more sense and leave matters of scholarship to the more learned Swartz and Waite. Flawed as they are, they make more sense than you. Wonder who put all these things in your head. Clearly putrid. Lolarka

  46. Learning is for fools and philosophy is for clever fools, that is what the post says. If you don't get that then you REALLY deserve Waite and Swartz. Happy mind fucking!

  47. The Prasangikas made Nagarjuna's work into a philosophy. For Nagarjuna, all teachings are merely conventional. He critiqued reason and avoided taking a sectarian position. Nagarjuna repeatedly and emphatically states that to make a "fixed view" of any teaching is to miss its point. Instead he aimed to demonstrate the fallacy of clinging to views (or any standpoint whatever, however valid or true) and, in so doing, to remove an obstacle to enlightenment.

  48. some Europeans meet at hill top residency roof top to engage in what they call rhythmic boogie dancing.kevji kindly state if this activity may border on sordidness, so as to clash with our local customs,also if this pastime is compatible with decent conduct in the midst of this ancient culture.kindly state if this sport has spiritual overtones in Europe-Amrica. Prasad

  49. I guess the infamous Goa crowd have infiltrated Tiruvannamalai to boogie up and down the stairwell. Yelling and shrieking from the roof top. They're just waiting for Mooji to arrive then they'll laugh hysterically and act out absurd rites. Maybe they'll even get hefty to boogie with them?

  50. The Advaita war started in London.

    When Jean Klein died and Francis Lucille failed to get his post at the School of Economic Science, Tony Parsons was chosen as the in-house representative of remote Shankaracharya of Jyotirmath in India.

    I suspect that Dennis Waite and James Schwartz are involved in a turf war to wrestle back profitable punters from Tony Parsons camp.

    The die has been cast. It's war!

  51. Ramana's only mission was to bring forth the question of WHO AM I; not to regurgitate Advaita which is mainly crudely repackaged Buddhism.

    If you do your research you will find the origin of the Vedas to be Reptilian.

    You people need to re-read the first comment by Gregory so each can answer Ramana's question correctly.

  52. Defining Ramana as this or that is for suckers and swindlers.

    For Christ sake leave Ramana alone. He wasn't the Pope of Advaita, just a crazy kid who went to a mountain.

  53. "just a crazy kid who went to a mountain" Now how cool is that!
    Stop the drivel. Sounds like you wanna rap with Snoop Dogg.
    If you can only find a stone instead of a jewel.... so be it!

  54. Maybe a bit off-topic, but anonymous mentioned Francis Lucille.
    Any thoughts about this teacher?
    Seems pretty sincere and no-nonsense.

  55. Dennis Waite boasts 5,000 years of Advaita but he cannot even get Ramana's lineage right!

    Waite lists all the usual suspects who claim a link to Ramana via Papaji even though Jimmy "Swagger" Swartz castigates these neo-advaitins.

    Ramana did not have a lineage and anyone who claims that he did is a conman.

  56. My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and
    yet I'm Happy. I can't figure it out. What am I doing right?
    ~Snoopy (from Peanuts)

  57. He is the Lord of Annamalai
    who appeared as a column of fire,
    infinite in length,
    both to him of deathless fame,
    the Lord of the Vedas
    who dwells upon an upraised lotus blossom,
    and to him whose body is dark like the ocean.
    He is the slayer of the demon who masqueraded
    as a fruiting wood-apple tree.
    He is the consort of Uma,
    She of the firm breasts and sweet smile.
    His feet alone are our sanctuary.

    ......... by Tiru Jnanasambandhar, written a very long time ago.

    Yes, inevitably the Demon(s) will be slayed ........ Rejoice!

  58. I watched Jimmy on Youtube and he sounded like you! Yikes! He also has the same criticisms of the Tiru tourists and their Ramana-lite approach. You guys are on the same side. Is the mountain not big enough to accommodate all longer-term western residents? Wonder why?

  59. hello everybody, i am new in tiru, and want to ask if anybody has informations about a man called kalibaba. he is an elderly man and offered me a shamanistic course/ treatmant that would cost me 50000 rupees. has anybody expierences with this ? is it worth the money ? greetings susan

  60. By Jimmy you must mean Ram James Swartz. If you set yourself up as a teacher and talk, talk, all those squandered words! I'd like to see him teach not through his words but by his example. Otherwise the whole message is just watered down drivel.
    Just another mouth from the south!

  61. Hi Susan
    Kali Baba is an ageing conman who claims to be Russian but has an English accent and is a compulsive liar. All he wants is your monies and to put his hand down your crutch!

  62. hahaha, he´s still angry with me, believing I exposed him many years ago...although it was more a humurous get together of a dozen women.(kalibabs)lots of talk about his life with the elite haha..now when he sees me he gives me a sarcastic look and asks me how the cheese is in Holland ,lol.

  63. Master!
    In the preface of his Mandukya Upanishad, Swami Nikhilananda argues that there is no evidence that Gaudapada was influenced by Buddhism and that he has lived even before Nagarjuna and other Buddhist sages. Any resources that say something different? Would be interested in those.

  64. Swami Nikhilananda (1895-1973) was a disciple of Sarada Devi and founded the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center in New York. He had a vested interest in asserting a pure type of Hinduism, as have many 19th and early 20th century Indian nationalists who were essentially Hindu reformers. So they would have had strong reasons for denying any connection between Buddhism and Gaudapada. There are actually many sources which argue that Gaudapada was not influenced by Buddhism. And there are even more which argue that he was. Regardless, all you have to do is look at the Gaudapadakarika (the main work attributed to Gaudapada). The evidence is clear. Meanwhile the dates of Nagarjuna's life are extremely tricky to place - even exactly who Nagarjuna was (and if he even lived). But we know the texts attributed to him originate somewhere between 100 and 300 CE. Therefore Gaudapada must come after since he is the spiritual grandfather of Shankara by lineage (which is very well documented), whom we know lived in the 8th century himself. There has been a lot of scholarly debate about when Shankara lived incidentally ... some suggest the 6th, 8th or 9th century and even 509-477 BCE and 44-12 BCE. However the BCE dates have been found to be impossible. Meanwhile there is a caveat here. Don't get too distracted by the small print. The point of the post (regardless of the historical figures involved or when they lived) is to say that Advaita/Shankara's teaching is stuck in absolutism and the belief in an ultimate reality ... i.e. the Upanishadic Brahman or Self.

  65. Thank you for the clarifications. Quite helpful :-)

  66. Then who am I?

    If this me is not I, then
    who am I?
    If I am not the one who speaks, then
    who does?
    If this me is only a robe then
    who is
    the one I am covering?


  67. According to Paramahansa Yogananda's "Autobiography of a Yogi" the immortal master Babaji initiated Shankara and gave Lahari Mahasaya's disciples many fascinating details about Shankara.
    Next time I see Babaji I'll ask him to give me the skinny on Shankara and clarify this once and for all. Apparently,though, none of the disciples thought to remember the details that Babaji related.

  68. The very puffy and puffed up Richard Clarke pretending to be even-handed. If you click on his 'rate this' icon he blocks it if it's not favourable to his image and ego.
    Wonder at the cause of his touchiness?

  69. Arunachala Grace blogger (Maneesha) takes us on a tour of the post office street; commenting on the transformation of Tiruvannamalai from the rustic undeveloped place she first encountered.
    While at heart secretly thrilled and favours the developement of the town and its surrounds....along the way collecting handsome commissions.

  70. Mystics and the metaphysics are dead, just as all what they have said, written,or done. The time to stop feeding lies has come. Smell the air, it's so fresh, so clean.

  71. Hi Chiting,

    Interesting take on the whole Ramana-la-ding-dong thing. However one should bear in mind that he was a hermit living on a mountain, rather like the Hermit in Life of Brian: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-isGzfYUZ4.

    Venkataraman whole 'guru' image was a culturally crafted affair by those still embedded in the dream of that culture, such as Ganapati Muni (Gonna party money yeah) who gave him a silly name, and others who built up an Ashram around him. Unlike Palaniswami's pure devotional servitude, without which he probably wouldn't have survived. Once word got out with Frank Humphrey's publications in The International Psychic Gazette in 1913, and Paul Brunton's wankfest his fate was sealed. This is the same for all 'guru's' in terms of how they are cultural constructs made by the followers around them, literally living idols. The perfect modern western example is Rajneesh who sounds like one of the dwarves out of a particularly bad Indian interpretation of Snow White, only to be remade as Ohsho (Oshit?) when things started going wrong.

    As for our own cultural imaginings, the new god of the ego is nothing more than the internalisation of the forces of darkness, a.k.a. the devil, and like most modern constructs has little use, and little to do with anything other than its self.

    My ego, my ego, where for art though ego?


  72. Paths have never agreed on the metaphysical details!
    From my limited understanding: Both camps (Vedanta and Shunyata) are both in the end accusing the other of incorrectness, limited in liberation and assuming the other to be simply wrong.
    I basically come to the conclusion that no teaching can be objectively "right" or "wrong.

    Greg Goode put it in this words:
    "Please be aware of this - that whenever you evaluate a philosophy, you do so from the perspective of another philosophy. And these philosophies always have their implied value systems. According to philosophy A's value system, philosophy A will always come out ahead of philosophy B.

    You are always standing within one of these systems whenever you are comparing. Yet, comparisons present themselves as if they were neutral and impartial.

    To Vedantins, Madhyamika is nihilistic. To Madhyamakas, Vedanta is essentialist. They have never agreed on their teachings, and still debate to this day. "

  73. Salutations,

    Thanks for writing this blog, it's one of the funnier things I've seen on the Internet. I think it's safe to say that your posts are fairly acerbic, but in a good way.

    I wanted to comment on your whole contradiction-between-Madhyamaka-and-Vedanta thing.

    I'm currently reading a book on Indian philosophy ("A Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy" by Chandradhar Sharma). The book presents Buddhism as springing out of the original thought of the Upanishads and Advaita Vedanta as continuing in that same vein.

    The author seems to believe that Buddhism, while appearing to be heterodox, is actually orthodox Upanishadic philosophy, and that the Hinayana Buddhists lost the true spirit of the Buddha's teaching (when they sunk into nihilism and the denial of the self). The Mahayana Buddhists (cue Madhyamaka and Yogacara), sought to revive the original spirit of the Buddha's teachings. Gaudapada and Shankaracharya, therefore, simply continue along this route (Upanishadic philosophy), with Advaita Vedanta and original Buddhism simply being expressions of the same philosophy in different places and times, all of them being complete (by the way).

    The author also seems to address the accusation that Shankaracharya taught no method. It seemed that Shankaracharya did not believe that action alone could bring about liberation, since only knowledge could bring about liberation. The function of knowledge was to remove ignorance, and the validity of knowledge rested on what the known object was (Brahman). Therefore knowledge is liberating in the fact that it knows the truth, and since the truth truly exists, it destroys (true) ignorance.

    According to Shankara, there was no invalidity in using a false means to attain the truth, since the truth is self-existent. Ignorance is a false problem to begin with, and so a false solution to solve a non-problem, is still self-existence (Brahman).

    But if you're arguing that Shankara didn't teach a technique, then we could also argue that the Buddha didn't teach an explicit technique either. If Shankara didn't teaching self-inquiry, then the Buddha certainly didn't teach Vipassana.