Monday, 2 August 2010

Paul Brunton And Major Chadwick's primary criticism of Ramana Maharshi

Brunton felt that Ramana took no stand on issues like the coming war. Brunton seems
particularly upset by an incident when news was brought to the ashram that Italian planes had gunned undefended citizens on the streets of Ethiopia (the Italians invaded Ethiopia in October, 1935).

Brunton reports that Ramana said:

The sage who knows the truth that the Self is indestructible will remain unaffected even if five million people are killed in his presence.Remember the advice of Krishna to Arjuna on the battlefield when disheartened by the thought of the impending slaughter of relatives on the opposing side.

Brunton’s criticisms of Ramana are quite different from what he said in Search:

But perhaps it maybe good for us to have a few men who sit apart from our world of unending activity and survey it for us from afar (Search,289).

Chadwick also made some criticisms of Ramana. He says that Ramana used to chew snuff(A pinch of smokeless tobacco inhaled at a single time), and that when Chadwick knew him he still chewed betel nut (Chadwick, 35).

A more serious ethical shortcoming is that caste was observed in the ashram dining room.On one side the Brahmins were seated, on the other side the rest. Ramana insisted on it (Chadwick, 34).

And Ramana seemed unconcerned regarding World War II. He is reported to have once remarked, “Who knows but that Hitler is a Jnani, a divine instrument.” (Chadwick, 35).

Ramana seemed to believe that a realized person was above ethical obligations of right and wrong. For the jnani there is no good or evil, only spontaneous activity or actionlessactivity of Tao:

What is right and wrong? There is no standard by which to judge something to be right and another to be wrong. Opinions differ according to the nature of the individual and according to the surroundings. They are again ideas and nothing more. Do not worry about them. But get rid of thoughts. If you always remain in the right, then right will prevail in the world (Talks, 428; Feb. 8, 1938).

It is this lack of ethical concern for others that was Brunton's primary criticism of Ramana, and the reason that he chose V. Subrahmanya Iyer as his guru instead of Ramana.

Source: Paul Brunton and Ramana Maharshi by Dr. J. Glenn Friesen Book In another of his books The Hidden Teaching beyond Yoga, which was published in1941; Brunton complains that he didn’t get the guidance he wanted from Ramana Maharshi. He also seemed very disgruntled with everything to do with Ramana and Sriramanasramam. Source:


Timothy said...

While it may be true that Paul Brunton criticized Sri Ramana's 'lack of ethical concern' regarding WWII, that was definitely in the greater context of his life-long reverence for him. And while he did study with other people in India, I know that he did NOT take them as his guru(s)--though he had hoped to take HH Shankaracarya for his guru prior to coming to Ramana.

Later in life Brunton felt he had arrived at a point where the Atman alone was his Guru, and at that point 'broke' with Ramana, if you will. As his last secretary, I can tell you that he had a photograph of Ramana in a position of honor in his study in his final years.

Prasanth Jalasutram said...

Thanks a lot Timothy garu for commenting and allowing us to know the truth.