Advaita 1001

Anand Hudli ahudli at APPN.CI.IN.AMERITECH.COM
Wed Nov 13 09:42:01 CST 1996

                 Ken Stuart wrote:
> >   True.
> >   In the giitaa bhaashhya, Shankara makes it clear that karma done
> >  with renunciation of fruits thereof acts as a great purifier and leads
> >  one to jnaana. However, he is quite emphatic in saying that it is jnaana
> > alone, not a combination of karma and jnaana, that results in mokshha.
> > He makes the same argument in the upadeshasaahasrii also, regarding the
> > combination of karma and jnaana. But the Achaarya does recognize that not
> > everyone is fit for sannyaasa, citing Arjuna as an example, and points out
> > that Krishna prescribes karma yoga (and bhakti) to such persons.
> Could you please provide some specific quotes from Shankara on this
> subject?

  See for example,  Shankara's Giitaa bhaashhya 3.5:

   ajnaananaameva hi karmayogaH, na jnaaninaaM| jnaaninaaM tu guNaiH
   achaalyamaanaanaaM svataH chalanaabhaavaat.h karmayogaH na upapadyate|

   Karma yoga is (prescribed) for the ignorant alone, not for the jnaani's.
   Since the jnaani's, who are not affected by the guNas (sattva, rajas, and
  tamas), do not act of their own accord, karma yoga is not suitable.

   yastu anaatmajnaH choditaM karma naarabhate iti tat.h asat.h

   If one, who is not a knower of the Self, does not perform the enjoined
   duties, then it is wrong.

   tasmaatsvaabhaavikyaiva avidyayaa yuktaaya raagaadidoshhavate
   yathaabhimatapurushharthasaadhanaM karma upadishatyagre |
    ( Commentary on Brihadaranyaka upanishad 5.1.1)

   For one who is naturally associated with ignorance and has defects
   of attachment and the like, karma (Vedic) is prescribed so that he
   may achieve his personal purushhaarthas.

   praagaatmajnaanaat pravR^ittyupapatteH
   (Commentary on Br. Up. 4.5.15)

   Before the dawn of Self-knowledge, actions or rites are appropriate.

   na hi avikaare anante brahmaNi sarvaiH puMbhiH shakyaa buddhiH
   sthaapayituM mandamadhyamottamabuddhitvaat puMsaamiti |
   (Commentary on the Brahmasutra  3.2.33)

   Not all persons are capable of fixing their mind on the infinite
   Brahman, devoid of all transformations. This is because people are
   of inferior, middling or superior intellect.

   There are other quotes, but I will stop here for brevity's sake.

> I hear this type of dangerous comment quite often, and find it hard to
> believe that Shankara was really proposing it in quite such a way as
> this.
> The reason it is dangerous, is because it is totally circular and
> totally relative.   Two example will suffice to make clear what I am
> saying:
> 1) Some Vaishnavas on the net say that Shankara was actually a
> dvaitistic worshipper of Vishnu, based on a single bhakti tract that
> he wrote, and that all the advaitistic writings were merely for the
> less advanced people who couldn't understand devotion.

   How would the Vaishnavas explain the above quotes and other such
   writings of Shankara? While I see no reason why Shankara was not
   a Vaishnava, I have problems in accepting that he was no real
   advaitin. Even Gaudapaada, Shankara's paramaguru was a worshipper
   of NaaraayaNa. To say that he was just that, ie. a worshipper of
   NaaraayaNa (in a dvaitic sense), is a gross distortion.

> 2) A Buddhist on the net once argued that all the statements that
> Ramana Maharshi had made that contained any Hindu content, including
> references to Shankara, were made merely to be nice to all the Hindus
> who came to see him, but in reality, he was really a Buddhist !  :-)

  Considering the fact that Shankara and other well known advaitins
  have criticized Buddhism, it is not appropriate nor even rational to
  speculate that they were really buddhists.
> Namaskar,
> Ken


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