Householder (and related topics)

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian rbalasub at ECN.PURDUE.EDU
Sun Aug 24 15:48:59 CDT 1997

Gummuluru Murthy wrote:

Since I have some free time now, here is my reply.

[long passages from various shruti texts snipped]

atha hainaM janako vaideho yAGYavalkyaM upasametyovAcha, bhagavan.h sannyAsaM
brUhIti: sa hovAcha yAGYavalkyaH brahmacharyaM parisamApya gR^ihI bhavet.h
gR^ihI bhUtvA vanI bhavet.h vanI bhUtvA pravrajet.h yadi vetarathA
brahmacharyAdeva pravrajet.h gR^ihAdvA vanAdvA ** atha punar avrAtI vA vratI vA
snAtako vA asnAtako votsannAgniko vA yadahar vA virajettad ahar vA
pravrajet.h ** (jAbAla, 4)

Once Janaka of Videha approached Yagyavalkya and said thus "O Bhagavan, teach
me (about) sannyAsa"

Yagyavalkya said "One should become a householder after brahmacharya, having
become a householder one should become a forest dweller, having become a forest
dweller one should renounce. Otherwise should renounce even from brahmacharya,
or householder or forest dweller. Whether one has or completed the injunction
or not, whether he is a student or not, ** even if he has not completed the
sacrificial rites, on whatever day he has the vairAgya, he should renounce
** ".

The meaning is rather clear now. Interpretations (read wishful
misinterpretations) like "renounce in the above stanza means only mentally
renounce" cannot be given since in the very next paragraph Yagyavalkya says
that the renouncer should wear Orange robes etc. He also _explicitly_ says that
if one is physically unfit he can renounce by means of speech and mind only,
otherwise one should _NOT_ do this alone. He _has_ to embrace the physical
sannyAsa also.


1. The above paragraph shows that if one has the vairAgya, he should renounce
_at once_ and become a parivrAjaka. One cannot attain vairAgya and say that he
will remain as a householder. shruti _explicitly_ states that vairAgya is
enough to take up sannyAsa, one need not complete all the injunctions.

2. Yagyavalkya says by doing this one can attain brahman. But he does _not_ say
brahman is never attained unless one does this. shrI sha.nkara also makes this
clear. By prArabdha one may attain brahman while being a householder like
vidura or dharmavyAdha (his occupation is given as a butcher in the
mahAbhArata). However quoting this to remain as a householder is rather
ridiculous. I didn't get from Jaldhar's mail whether he agrees that in some
cases GYAna maybe obtained even if physical sannyAsa is not taken up, but I
never claimed so.

3. If one is realized he need not necessarily take up physical sannyAsa. It's
of no significance for one who has attained brahman already. H.H abhinava
vidyAtIrtha mahAsvAmigaL has also made this point clear. sannyAsa is a must for
those who have attained vairAgya, but are not realized yet.

4. The JU has been used by shrI sha.nkara in his sUtra bhAshhya and it is quite
clear that he did not invent the practice of brahmachAri-s becoming sannyAsi-s
as you alleged.

5. The sa.nskR^ita is rather simple (even I can follow it).

>young age. Shri Ramakrishnan uses only part of the sentence in coming to
>his accusation. I am quite aware of JAbAla and NAradaparivrAjaka

It should be rather clear now that I did not. There are other `jAbAla
upanishhad-s' also, like the bR^ihajjAbAla, bhasmajAbAla and the rudrAxajAbAla,
but these are all classified as shaiva upanisshad-s. Perhaps you read one of
them and got confused.

Please note that you can hold whatever view you please. But please don't make
statements like "Maybe sha.nkara said so to hold of the influence of buddhism"
and stuff like that. Such a statement strongly suggests that shrI sha.nkara was
dishonest enough to mis-interpret the veda-s to suit his own purposes.


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