Upadesha panchaka of Shankara (Re: Advaita 1001)

Anand Hudli ahudli at APPN.CI.IN.AMERITECH.COM
Fri Nov 8 10:55:43 CST 1996

   Consider what Shankara says in the upadesha panchaka

   vedo nityamadhiiyataaM taduditaM karma svanushhThiiyataaM
   teneshasya vidhiiyataamapachitiH kaamye matistyajyataaM  |
   paapaughaH paridhuuyataaM bhavasukhe doshho .anusandhiiyataa-
   maatmechchhaa vyavasiiyataaM nijagR^ihaattuurNaM vinirgamyataaM ||

   Study the Vedas constantly; perform the karma's (rituals, at least
   the nitya karma's) mentioned in the (vedas) well; by the performance
   of those karma's, worship the Lord; abandon attachment to desire-driven
   action; wash away the accumulated sins; reflect on the defects of
   happiness derived from samsaaric existence; be firm in desiring the
   (realization of) the Self; quickly leave your house (ie. take to

   Note that Shankara does not condemn the Vedic karmas at all. Many
  people misinterpret his teachings as being critical of the karmas.
  What Shankara objects to (quite obviously) is treating the karmas as
  an end in themselves. In his Gita Bhaashhya, he makes it abundantly
  clear that the karmas, when done without attachments to the fruits
  of those karmas, will purify the mind and will lead to Self-realization.
  Similarly, Shankara finds a place for worship.

  Near the end of the stanza, Shankara asks us to reflect on the defects
  of happiness derived from the external world. Whatever material happiness
  is gained is after great effort, and even after having achieved it, it
 is only fleeting. It ends in sorrow. Reflecting on this again and again,
  the mind is to be turned towards the Self. When one has a firm conviction
  that he/she desires the Self and nothing else, one should renounce
  the world.

   A notable difference between classical advaita and some of the more
  recent "neo-advaitic" systems is the emphasis on Vedas, especially
  the karma's and  Vedanta. According to classical or (Shankara's)
  advaita, Brahman realization is possible only through the upanishads.
  The other systems do not take this stand or if they do, it is not clear.

  I know very little about Ramana Maharshi to comment on his flavor of
  advaita, but I do respect him as  a foremost advaitin of this
  century. Perhaps I will have the fortune to study his teachings sometime
  in the future.


  Gummuluru Murthy <gmurthy at MORGAN.UCS.MUN.CA> wrote:

> I teach and do research in Physics of the Earth for a living. I read and
> think a lot about Advaita because of my interest in the subject.
> My readings about Shri Shankara's and Sri Ramana's approach to Advaita
> suggest a vast difference in their approach. So I pose this question to
> a hypothetical class in a hypothetical introductory course in Advaita
> 1001: Compare and contrast Sri Ramana's and Sri Shankara's approaches to
> Advaita and their insights into true Advaitic experience.
> self-contradictory in Advaitic philosophy. But this is an introductory
> Advaitic course, where history is as important as the philosophy. The
> question is on the approach of two great individuals (who are one and the
> same) toward Advaita.
> Sri Shankara had a missionary zeal in spreading Advaita, started
> monastories, appointed successors, travelled all over India in search of
> opponents of Advaitic thinking, and vanquished them all in debates.
> On the other hand, Sri Ramana stayed in a place, is a recluse, experienced
> true Advaita, and enjoyed the bliss, did not take sishyas, did not appoint
> successors. His is an experience of Advaita, while Sri Sankara had a
> different mission.
> Any comments, additions, suggestions, opinions ?
> I am putting this question also, after reading and fully agreeing with
> Sri Chuck Hillig's recent posting on Positions. He suggested a very good
> point that one can have opinions, positions etc and yet not become
> attached to them, so that we can see our own opinions from a distance.
> Regards
> Gummuluru Murthy
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Adau ante ca yan nAsti vartamAnepi tat tathA !
>                                 GaudapAda in Mandukya kArika
> What did not exist at the beginning and what is not going to exist at the
>  end is as good as non-existent even in the present.
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

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