The Nature of Enlightenment in Advaita

Dear Harsha:

In many Eastern traditions it is believed that once a person is fully Self-Realized or Enlightened, he or she attains complete perfection and becomes omniscient and all knowing about three periods of time (past, present, and the future) anywhere in the entire universe. What would be Sri Ramana Maharshi’s view on this? Was Sri Ramana really all knowing and perfect in every way?
_______

Dear Friend:

To such a question, Sri Ramana would say that first you become Self-Realized and then you can see for yourself what that state of fullness of Self is. Like Buddha in the old days,  Bhagavan Ramana was generally silent in face of such questions and did not encourage them.

In the way that he acted, spoke, and lived, Bhagavan Ramana did not give any impression of being all knowing or made such claims for himself. Even when devotees attributed miracles to Bhagavan, he was indifferent. Once Bhagavan did say that the “Self is the infinite eye.” But he was always very keen to point out that Self-Realization is not knowing anything special, but simply being your Self.

You rightly point out that that in many Eastern and yogic spiritual traditions, a fully Self-Realized person is thought to be perfect and “all knowing”. However, Advaita philosophy views such issues to be moot in relationship to Self-Realization.

In Advaita, a Jnani (Self-Realized person) does not acquire any external knowledge or expertise in quantum mechanics, physics, other sciences, art, literature, or anything like that. To have knowledge of something, we must presume an object of knowledge that is separate from the Self. However, in Advaita, Self is One without a second. Therefore, knowing something other than Self does not make any sense.

Great Yogis can know anything through concentration, meditation, and Samadhi. This is the process of samayama explained in the ancient Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. However, when the mind of a Yogi is bent on Self-Realization alone, and turns inward to its source, the mind along with its powers is resolved in that source, which is the Heart. That is Brahman.

The great Advaitic Mahavakya, “Aham Brahmasmi” means, “I Myself Am Brahman”, One without a second. Therefore, the question of “knowing” something truly becomes moot in Advaita.

The scriptures say, “Know That by which all else is known”. There is very deep meaning in that. We know the entire reality of perceptions only through our own consciousness. We could travel trillions of light years to other galaxies and universes, but the fundamental issue of perception and how we “know” the “other” would still remain.

I have tried to explain the difference between the Science of Self-Realization and the other physical sciences in the following article.

https://luthar.com/2007/06/29/self-inquiry-the-science-of-self-realization/

Also, I have attempted to explain the difference between meditation and Self-inquiry as taught by Bhagavan Ramana in the following article

https://luthar.com/2007/06/30/meditation-self-inquiry-and-self-realization/

Possibly, you will find these articles to be useful.

Namaste

Harsh K. Luthar

13 thoughts on “The Nature of Enlightenment in Advaita

  1. Wonerful, wonderful explanation Harsha ji. Something so close to what we all instinctively know but fail to identify. That all this is actually not really relevant.
    “Know That by which all else is known”.
    Thank you for introducing me so closely to Ramana.

    Like

  2. I would really like to read those other articles, but it seems like the links are broken or maybe pointing to the wrong place. . . have you edited those articles since you wrote this one? That could cause the date element of the post to change.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “In Advaita, a Jnani (Self-Realized person) does not acquire any external knowledge or expertise in quantum mechanics, physics, other sciences, art, literature, or anything like that. To have knowledge of something, we must presume an object of knowledge that is separate from the Self.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Then who is the knower.Not me.Me is not there.
    Yet while we interact with a realized master,you clearly know that he knows what thought is rising in your mind.
    He will not reveal your future,yet some very useful hints to help you are given to you. Yet you are treated with complete dignity of independence and freedom to take your own decisions.
    At time master may say I will also listen to the recorded pravachan,which he himself has given.strange and mysterious yet so simple and affectionate is the feeling you get.
    Other beauty is your near thoughtless state in the presence of such master.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on Luthar.com and commented:

    Dear Harsha: In many Eastern traditions it is believed that once a person is fully Self-Realized or Enlightened, he or she attains complete perfection and becomes omniscient and all knowing about three periods of time (past, present, and the future) anywhere in the entire universe. What would be Sri Ramana Maharshi’s view on this? Was Sri Ramana really all knowing and perfect in every way?

    Like

  6. Reblogged this on mira prabhu and commented:
    I spent years studying Buddhism and my notion of enlightenment was different than the simple beauty of Ramana Maharshi’s teachings on the Self…not that there were not powerful similarities. While a Buddha is considered to be omniscient, the sage (in Advaita) has no need of “knowledge” for everything is already included in the Self.
    “The great Advaitic Mahavakya, “Aham Brahmasmi” means, “I Myself Am Brahman”, One without a second. Therefore, the question of “knowing” something truly becomes moot in Advaita.” Thanks for an enlightening post, Harsh Luthar!

    Liked by 1 person

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