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Criticism of Self-Knowledge & Swami Dayananda by Raj Singh

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Criticism of Self-Knowledge & Swami Dayananda by Raj Singh

Postby georgschiller » Tue Jan 03, 2017 11:53 am

Hi everybody,

here is an interesting perspective which I want to share with you (just to make sure, I do not share the claims made but nevertheless found them very interesting and helpful to understand the tradition and the process of purification better). The author of the claims is called Raj Singh:

Raj Singh claims that with the start of Swami Chinmaya Vedanta changed dramatically. He claims that Chinmayananda's guru, Swami Tapovan, was a real guru who lived not only in austerity but actually cleaned up his mind and lived in total freedom.
With the start of Chinmayananda this tradition changed as he did not live the traditional way and did not clean up his mind completely.

Chinmaya being a modern Westernized mind did not agree with the gruel austerity of Tapovan. If you read his dairies you can see his disappointments when his guru Tapovan threw away some Ladoos his devotees brought, into the Ganga. He felt that kind of austere lifestyle was unnecessary and thought some moderate comfort is OK but still thought sahdana was necessary.
He missed the point though. This world is Maya, the problems of this world are also Maya, and one who has vivek realizes this dedicates themselves only to the goal of liberation. They shun all sense objects, all wordly pleasures, all worldly duties.

His disciple Swami Dayananda went even further than him and did away with the Sadhana aspect altogether, for him only the knowledge is important. Do you know what our Swami said to us on one of these 3 year Vedanta courses, "Meditation is only for those who have dull intellect" My objection is this, you cannot decide yourself what level of austerity is good or not or how much Sadhana do you need. The Shastras very clearly say "Shun all sense objects, they are more poisonous than a black cobra, because the poison of the cobra first has to get into you to poison you, but sense objects poison you by just looking at them" It was hilarious in my ashram to see my peers chanting this verse while munching on chocolates(that the Swami gave to them!)

Furthermore, Swami Dayananda continued in this way by turning away from the "Yogic" idea of cleaning the mind and claimed that only intellectual knowledge is necessary for self-realization. Raj claimed that Swami Dayananda never actually cleaned up his mind and achieved - what is traditionally considered - a clean mind such as the one of Swami Tapovan, Ramakrishna or Ramana Maharshi.

He supports this argument by quoting Swami Tapovan who gave both - Chinmaya and Dayananda - the advice to continue meditating instead of going public.

Additionally, he claims that this is the reason why Swami Dayananda said:

that even realized people get angry etc to justify his own claim to being realized, because he himself gets angry and sad like us mere mortals, so he needs to justify it. By doing so he also deluding his disciples, who have personally told me "Yes, I also get angry, sad, experience lust etc....BUT"

But nothing my deluded friend. You are just like every other mortal on the planet then. There is no longer any distinction between a sage(muni) and a normal person(samanaya purusha) Rather, our scripture and shastras tell us the measure to show that you are spiritually developing is that you experience less anger, sadness, lust and disturbances(vrittis) in the mind. The mind becomes pure, still and serene and eventually 100% sattvik, so that it becomes like a clear crystal that reflects the pure Self and such a pure Self becomes Brahman. Such a pure Self attains all of Brahman intrinsic qualities: omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence etc - verily they become a God.

Mr Dayananda is not realized, enlightened, liberated or whatever. He is a nice guy though.

Basically, apart from criticizing individuals like Dayananda, Raj claims that in earlier times Yoga/purification of mind played a much more important role in Vedanta then it does apparently today:
"It a long, arduous cleansing process that Shankara himself says takes lifetimes. Dayananda completely subverts this process by teaching that merely hearing the truth causes self-realization to happen straight away. He explains this by saying on hearing the truth "Tat Tvam Asi" explained by a qualified teacher(like him) the Brahma-vritti arises in the mind immediately and knowledge takes place instantly. This is tantamount to deluding people. Did Krishna in the Gita say to Arjuna, "Arjuna my dear, you need to find a guru well versed in the scriptures, to teach you the truth" No, instead he said to Arjuna what Tapovan said to Dayananda -- Meditate. (Find a comfortable seat, put your attention on the tip of the nose)

Today Swami Dayananda and his disciples have become the biggest pushers of the cognitive only school of Advaita Vedanta, that simply by listening to scriptures one becomes enlightened. He makes fun of Yoga and meditation and has criticised great spiritual masters like Ramana Maharishi. The version of Vedanta that Dayananda and disciples teach is a modern fabrication which is completely at odds with the Vedanta of Ramana Maharishi, Sri Aurobindo, Swami Vivekananda, Swami Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Swami Sivananda, Swami Rama Tirtha, Swami Vidyaranya all the way back to Adishankaracharya. He has reduced Advaita Vedanta to mere scholasticism.

I have spoken to many of Dayananda's deluded disciples in his Ashram and also attended workshops by "Swamis" he has trained on Advaita class who were full of arrogance(and nobody really liked them). I can see why though, wouldn't you be a bit arrogant, if you were told you "You are perfect, infinite, supreme being"?
Shankara actually reprimanded those by saying "If you are, then put this burning hot coal in your mouth"

What I gathered from Raj's writing is that direct experience is necessary for cleaning up the mind and self-realization (as he calls it).
Direct experience from his perspective is apparently achieved by scripture but mostly through Yoga and meditation.

You will continue to see this world as long as your mind is conditioned to seeing it and it is only through the act of physically purifying the mind(chitta shuddhi) will you be able to see reality as it really is. This is a long, arduous process of spiritual cleansing self-control, discipline, austerity(tapasya) meditation, which Advaita says takes millions of lifetimes. Can you see why new-age people leave that bit out?

Advaita is not for impatient, lazy, deluded or wordly people. It is for people who are very serious about spirituality and are willing to dedicate their entire life to spiritual pursuitt(moksha or liberation) That you know you are progressing on the spiritual path is indicated by your attainments(siddhis) which result due to the mind becoming progressively more pure. Such people can enter into Samadhi very easily(like Ramakrishna and Ramana Maharishi) they have a spiritual aura or glow. They are people of stable and steady consciousness(stithya prajnana)
Last edited by georgschiller on Tue Jan 03, 2017 3:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Criticism of Self-Knowledge & Swami Dayananda by Raj Sin

Postby georgschiller » Tue Jan 03, 2017 3:09 pm

Tapovan vs. Chinmaya vs. Dayananda according to Raj Singh:

Chinmaya's guru Swami Tapovan did not agree with the idea of popularizing the teaching of Advaita Vedanta, and just wanted him to focus on a monastic spiritual life.
Chinmayananda himself admits in his writing he did not have any of the spiritual attainments of his guru Tapovan. Tapovan was the real deal, he dedicated his entire life to not only studying Advaita Vedanta but also to living it, alone wandering in Tapovan in the Himalayas. He lived an austere and dedicated life just as traditional Vedantins did. Chinmayananda was however a sincere student and tried to remain as true to his gurus teaching as he could. He was an erudite and charismatic English speaker, and popularized the ideas of Advaita Vedanta among the upper class Westernized English speaking Indians. However, he did not popularize the way Vedantins lived, their spiritual practices etc, because modern Western minds could not hack that lifestyle. This created many people with a false sense of spirituality. They felt just by studying these 3 year courses they can become swamis.

Swami Dayananda was one such swami, who took it one step further, he believed that enlightenment was purely intellectual and cognitive, and that we don't need to undergo any spiritual practices or Yoga. Swami Chinmayanana did not agree with his interpretation, so Dayananda parted ways with him and started his own rival institute "Arsh vidya"
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Re: Criticism of Self-Knowledge & Swami Dayananda by Raj Sin

Postby Mira » Tue Jan 03, 2017 4:22 pm

Hi Georg,

Since Swami Tapovanam has been brought up, I wanted to say that recently I was reading a cool little book of his letters to a husband and wife who were his disciples. I would like to quote from the last letter that Swami Tapovanam wrote in that book since that quote might be relevant to this thread:

Guidance from a Guru by Swami Tapovanam, page 56
"Pay no attention to such controversies. If you are already engaged in Pranavopasana either according to somebody's advice or your own choice, why doubt it's propriety? Do it with firm resolve. If you listen to each and every adviser, the result will be doubt and confusion, leading to slackening of your performance. It is your mind that the inner being tests and it is your sincere love that pleases Him. Whether you repeat the holiest of mantras 'OM' or the meaningless 'mara' the results will be the same, provided you have full faith in what you do. What pleases God is sincere devotion. If you have real love in your mind, all these rules, injunctions and prohibitions will lose their relevance....."

Swami Tapovanam was a very broadminded Mahatama. As you know, there are two books that he has written:
Wanderings in the Himalayas and Kailash Yatra. There is also a lovely book called Himalayan Hermit which describes his life and his relationship with Swami Chinamayananda.

I would strongly recommend that if some one is interested in what Swami Tapovanam has to say, they read his own words via his books. Plus, he is delightful writer.

I would like to provide another quote, which I love very much, from Guidance from the Guru: Here Swamiji is emphasizing to his disciple that a householder does not need to become a sanyasin to gain self-knowledge.
Guidance from the Guru, page 20:
"Sri Yagnavalkya and Vashishta [famous ancient sages] were householders. Full as they were of Jnana and vairagya, they continued to perform a householders duty without relaxation. Confronted with agitation, Yagnavalkya used to say; "To how many persons have I taught Brahma-vidya, how many of them have I converted to jnani's!. How many of my disciples are immersed in bliss in deep Brahma Samadhi as sanyasins, avadhutas, stark naked vairagis! Yet my prarabhdham is to be subjected to agitation as a householder." Were there ever greater jnani's than Vashishtha who was the author or Yoga Vashihstha or Yagnavalka, the seer of Sukla Yajurveda?. Oceans of wisdom and vairagya as they were, Vashishtha lived with Arundhati performing the duties of a householder and Yagnavalka lived with Maitreya and Katyayani. To them, it was all lila or sport.

This is my favorite quote from the whole book! I just love this quote, as it shows that with vairagya (dispassion), self-knowledge is possible for even the busiest householders :D.

Anyway, thanks for the opportunity to mention Swami Tapovanam and the reminder to re-read some of his lovely books :D.

There are so many opportunities to read his own words that I would not rely on interpretations of others.

Similarly, after actually reading the works of Swami Chinmayananda and Swami Dayananada, who can doubt that these are great Jnani's and Mahatamas?

We should all reach our own conclusions :D.

And that is the confidence that self-knowledge gives us. Once our self-knowledge is firm, then people can say whatever they want about Vedanta or its proponents, but we have solid confidence in our own understanding, and therefore, we can reach our own conclusions.
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Re: Criticism of Self-Knowledge & Swami Dayananda by Raj Sin

Postby georgschiller » Wed Jan 04, 2017 6:24 am

Hi Mira,

Yes, with real love we can not really take all these arguments so seriously.

I think Raj arguments boil down to sattva vs Rajas. For him a mahatma is supposed to be nearly only sattvic. And since chinmaya and Dayananda did not live a life of austerity and yoga they could not achieve this level of purity.
I think that is what the argument boils down to.
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Re: Criticism of Self-Knowledge & Swami Dayananda by Raj Sin

Postby Mira » Wed Jan 04, 2017 11:13 am

Georg wrote; I think Raj arguments boil down to sattva vs Rajas. For him a mahatma is supposed to be nearly only sattvic. And since chinmaya and Dayananda did not live a life of austerity and yoga they could not achieve this level of purity.

Interesting perspective, Georg.

If you look at the Vedantic scriptures, particularly, the Purana stories, they do not laud austerities for the sake of it. If you think of Krishna and Rama, they were both princes, who lead busy lives and of course they were the embodiment of self-knowledge.

I think whether you lead a life of austerity or not just depends on your swadharma. It does not have anything to do with enlightenment or self-knowledge. As long as you have the qualifications in place and a proper teacher, then it should not matter if you perform austerities. In fact, I would say that austerities might become a distraction (like the Buddha found).

Are you in India? Did you decide to go? :D
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Re: Criticism of Self-Knowledge & Swami Dayananda by Raj Sin

Postby kpitsim » Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:24 am

To all:

This new thread was a great New Year gift. Thanks Georg for positing Raj Singh comments to get it started, and Mira thanks for your responses together with the Tapovanam quotes that shed so much light. Your bringing up the other literature about the householder sages was also really interesting. I find myself shaking my head in agreement with everything you write.

Georg you wrote:

What I gathered from Raj's writing is that direct experience is necessary for cleaning up the mind and self-realization (as he calls it).
Direct experience from his perspective is apparently achieved by scripture but mostly through Yoga and meditation.

Bob: Here is my question:

There is no dispute that James would agree that Yoga and meditation are important for cleaning up the mind (purification) to prepare the mind to assimilate the knowledge of the self. Would not James also say that the direct knowledge appears when the mind is totally dissolved through Yoga and Meditation? And that what takes place when the Mind is not totally dissolved, which by the way is not possible to constantly be the case, is an indirect knowledge, which essentially is just as good as direct knowledge? And it is the indirect knowledge therefore that is most important for Moksha/Liberation, since it alone is constant and not the direct experience?

I think also what is involved in this somehow is related to Arlindo additional question he posed in another thread which unfortunately I do not remember clearly enough without reading again, which I am afraid to do without losing this reply post. But as I remember, the query had to do with the fact that the Self is beyond words and the mind, so how is self-knowledge different from regular object knowledge? The point being that my answer to that is that self-knowledge can consist of indirectly knowing that which is beyond the mind and words, because there can be an experience of the most subtle thought, the I am limitless consciousness thought, which while an object, effectively provides the sense and feeling of freedom and limitlessness that the dissolution of the mind provides.

Appreciate any comments on this. Thanks.

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Re: Criticism of Self-Knowledge & Swami Dayananda by Raj Sin

Postby calonxy98 » Fri Jan 06, 2017 7:25 am

This Raj Sin guy sounds like he's got a bit of either a little green eyed monster for having to miss out on regular life while knowing that he's always free of it. Or either some sort of Vendetta. His quotes you posted here sound like attacks rather than intonation geared towards helping people. And that begs the question, if he's intent was to help people, then why is he even bothering as his prescription for the porblem is to retreat from normal life completely. I'm sure he knows that there are only about 1% of any generation even willing to do that, so why is he even bothering with a critique? Seems pointless to me. :shock:

Re: Criticism of Self-Knowledge & Swami Dayananda by Raj Sin

Postby calonxy98 » Fri Jan 06, 2017 7:42 am


The problem is it's best to take the yoga sutras with a large handful of salt because Pantajalis claim is that all thoughts have to be eliminated for moksha to happen.

Vedanta seems to refute this claim by saying that only thoughts that bind you to form need to be gotten rid of. If you followed the yoga sutras to a t you would have to eliminate all of Ishwaras thoughts too, which is impossible. Vedanta has cherry picked just enough from the yoga sutras to make realisation stick in the mind. Apparently this is all that is needed.

It's not difficult for anyone to understand that the I is awareness. The issue comes from the habitual identification with arising phenomena, which means the understanding is not hard and fast. Vedanta is object knowledge but it points to the obviousness that is mostly overlooked by all jivas - that they are the witness and not the objects. Identification with the body gives rise to the belief that the objects of perception arise in a world outside, identification as the non experiencing witness gives rise to the belief that the objects arise in said awareness. It's all belief, but what belief frees you from suffering? Belief you are the body, or belief you are awareness? All happens in the mind because the mind is needed to record the knowledge. You're enlightened in deep sleep, the bummer with that is however is that the waking state intellect is not there to record it.

Re: Criticism of Self-Knowledge & Swami Dayananda by Raj Sin

Postby Andrew » Fri Jan 06, 2017 10:02 am

To borrow a phrase from occult author, Lon Milo Duquette "You are ALWAYS someone else's idea of a chicken qabbalist".

Although in his book he was talking about qabbalah, the point he makes applies, that is: "You are always going to have a target on your back because someone, somewhere will accuse you of being inauthentic, wrong, etc".

So here we are....a bunch of 'chicken Vedantins'. We are following the wrong teachings and we are all flapping around in darkness and ignorance because some guy on the internet didn't have his expectations realized when he met Swami Dayananda. "Oh noes!!1...he wasn't filled with warm, fuzzy, radiance like Ramana. He must be fake! He is only a 'nice guy'."

A nice guy who happened to be a great Vedic scholar. What an awful disappointment! How terrible that we only be aided by 'nice guys'. Tragic.

Bockety bock!

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