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