The second of a two-part article by Philip Renard, about the Direct Path master, Atmananda Krishna Menon.
*** Read Part 1 ***
And so it goes on, in a sense, throughout the book. Is this confusing? At first it may seem so, but by really reading what the teacher says, really understanding what the meaning of the distinction is, and what is true in the ultimate sense (which means not being able to separate anymore because the ‘substance’ that makes up the objects being noticed as such), you will be able to see the value of this dance. If you never have noticed consciousness itself (often rightly capitalized as ‘Consciousness’) because it is never an object, it is very useful that you are being pointed out that consciousness itself can indeed be recognized and realized. Without being pointed out, it is possible that you keep looking over consciousness itself because of your habituation to objects. Atmananda himself says the following about the apparent two approaches:
During the period of preliminary investigations in the study of Vedanta, you are asked to try to separate body and mind from the ‘I’-Principle. It is only to make you understand the relative values of the terms. Such a separation is not really possible; because, separated from the ‘I’-Principle, the other two do not exist at all. Therefore they are really nothing but the ‘I’-Principle. Vedanta asks you only to recognize this Truth.
From the position of Consciousness one can say that everything else is not. But from no position can you say that Consciousness is not. Because one has to be conscious of the Truth of that very statement before making it. Therefore Consciousness stands as the background of even that statement.
Hence even the statement that ‘Consciousness is not’ only proves that Consciousness IS. Therefore Consciousness is self-luminous and permanent.8
One of the greatest teachers of the twentieth century
by Philip Renard
I am pleased to present the first of a two-part article from Philip Renard, about the Direct Path master, Atmananda Krishna Menon. See Philip’s lineage at https://www.advaita.org.uk/teachers/atmananda_parampara.htm
It is a pity that until this day the great Advaita teacher Shri Atmananda (Shri Krishna Menon, called Gurunathan by his disciples) remains a rather unknown figure to many people. With this article I hope to contribute to the recognition of the importance of him as a Source for direct understanding of ultimate Truth.
Two small books written by him, Atma-Darshan and Atma-Nirvriti, form together in fact a modern Upanishad. Upanishads are classical texts that have been added to the Vedas as concluding parts since about the eighth century BC. The term Vedānta (Veda–anta) indicates this; it means ‘the end (anta) of the Vedas’, and is a reference to the Upanishads.1 A modern Upanishad is a collection of statements so definite that the Vedanta tradition begins again, as it were. Not a commentary on something existing, but a text that has emerged from current, ‘ever fresh’ Consciousness.
Philip Renard appears in the ‘Teacher Lineage’ charts in Advaita Vision under Nisargadatta Maharaj but he has also been significantly influenced by both Ramana Maharshi and Atmananda Krishna Menon. In his first English language book, Philip writes about Advaita as communicated by all of these modern sages.
An extract from the book (about Atmananda) can be read here.
I have not yet read the book, which has just been published. It has a chapter devoted to each teacher, followed by a summary chapter, short biographies, extensive ‘Notes’ and bibliography.
It is available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats:
Paperback: Buy from Amazon US ($14.00) Buy from Amazon UK (£11.00)
Kindle: Buy from Amazon US ($6.06) Buy from Amazon UK (£4.59)