Yoga sutra bhashya vivarana

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Fri Feb 21 00:00:46 CST 1997

On Mon, 17 Feb 1997, Giri wrote:

>         What do you mean ? Are you saying YSBV has never been quoted by
> others till it was published in paper in 1931 or so ?

I'm saying there are a great many places where it should have been quoted
and wasn't.

>         May I then ask you why His Holiness Abhinava Vidyatirtha of the
> Sringeri Math, who is more learned than all of us put together, took much
> interest in the translation of YSBV and felt YSBV is of great importance
> in the study of Adi Shankara ?

He must have his reasons and no doubt they are good ones.  However
stressing this work is his innovation.  It is not an authority of the past
and should not be presented as one.

>         Anyway, it is upto the individual to finally decide whether YSBV
> or any other work is an authentic work of Shankara. Therefore, this will
> be my last post on this subject.

You're right.  We've taken this subject about as far as it can go.

Jaldhar H. Vyas [jaldhar at]   And the men .-_|\ who hold
Consolidated Braincells Inc.                          /     \ -)~~~~~~~~  Perth->*.--._/  o-
"Witty quote" - Dead Guy   /\/\/\ _ _ ___ _  _ Amboy       v      McQ!
>From ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU Fri Feb 21 03:41:52 1997
Message-Id: <FRI.21.FEB.1997.034152.0500.ADVAITAL at TAMU.EDU>
Date: Fri, 21 Feb 1997 03:41:52 -0500
Reply-To: "Advaita (non-duality) with reverence" <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
To: "Advaita (non-duality) with reverence" <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
From: "Jaldhar H. Vyas" <jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM>
Subject: Re: muktika upanishhad (was Re: Brahmana)
Comments: To: "Advaita (non-duality) with reverence" <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
In-Reply-To: <199702180256.VAA08554 at>
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On Mon, 17 Feb 1997, Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian wrote:

> Really, you should really check up before making such statements, especially
> when you accuse me of behaving like ISCKONites :-). Here you go:
> `Second, the fact that a purana is classified as belonging to a particular
> does not prevent it from paying attention to other Gods. Conversely even the
> aggressively sectarian statements, such as those collected by Wilson, may,
> within the same purana, be directed at different deities.

It is this which leads us to conclude the sectarian statements aren't to
be taken literally.  If it were simply a matter of a Purana contradicting
the Vedas an opponent could explain the situation away by saying the Vedic
worship is lower knowledge while worship of Vishnu Bhagawan is higher
knowledge.  (In fact this is what Vallabha does though with a lot more
sublety.)  He is deprived of that argument if we show that one and the
same purana is self-contradictory.  (Oh and this can't be rebounded back
against Advaita which also speaks of higher and lower knowledge,because
the Vedas explicitely admit to having two topics, Karma and Jnana, and
the statements proclaiming the superiority of one over the other are not
meant to be universal.)

> So my point
> was, statements like: "smriti texts like the Padma prohibit the worship of
> Vishnu, the authors cannot be wrong and hence shruti praising vishnu is bogus"
> are quite ridiculous.

Then I agree with you.

> Any way, you are engaging in similar justification of your condemnation of the
> vajrasuchi and the muktika by citing (some) smR^iti texts as proof, which is
> also patently ridiculous and against all tenets of mImA.nsA.

Not so.  I'm arguing the negative side so it is sufficient for me to prove
my point to show that the shastras _don't_ cite the Vajrasuchi and
Muktika. This is abhava pramana and it is perfectly acceptable for
Mimamsakas.  Now one problem is I don't have access to every Dharmashastra
but I do have the ones which are in use today by the learned Brahmans in
Gujarat, Mitakshara, Hemadri, Dharma Sindhu, and they don't mention the
Vajrasuchi, Muktika, or any text that has the notion that Brahmanhood is
based on anything other than birth.  If you like, the next time I go to
the library I'll check other famous texts but I'm willing to bet they
won't mention it either.

> > Right but the bone of contention in this case is what constitutes Shruti.
> > There are some texts in the Vedas which are sufficiently unclear that
> > people can disagree on their meaning yet mainstream enough to be accepted
> > by everyone.  Then there are some statements which are so off the wall it
> > becomes more reasonable to reject them outright than to stretch and warp
> > ones theories to accommodate them.
> ?!!

Take for example "Tat tvam asi".  Different thinkers have different ideas
about what exactly this means but all agree it means _something_ important.

Then there are texts such as the various sectarian upanishads where there
isn't unanimous agreement and one party or the other feels there is
downright incompatability and is prepared to simply throw the text out.
The Vajrasuchi belongs in this second group.

> No, non-sequitur. Both the mANDUkya nd the shvetAshvatara had no recitation
> tradition at the time of shrI sha.nkara and he did not hesitate to accept
> them.
> So as long as the upanishhad-s have been passed down as shruti, it's enough.


> This is exactly the case with the muktika and has been accepted by upanishhad
> brahma yogin and HH abhinava vidyAtIrtha mahAsvAmigaL.

And I said before I accept the authority of these two great teachers.  But
it's not enough.  Where are the 14th century authorities who vouch for
this work?  The 11th century?  The 9th.  And it would not be remiss to ask
what do the followers of Ramanuja, Madhva, and Vallabha think about the
worth of this work?  After all, they may be interpreting it wrong but they
are no less the inheritors of Vedic tradition.

> Again not applicable. I have quoted two mImA.nsA scholars who _do_ accept the
> muktika,

However considerably more than two are silent on the matter.

which lists the vajrasuchi. The mainstream tradition _does_ accept
> the muktika, as can be seen by the acceptance of HH and Up. brahma yogin.

Do you think His Holiness believes that ones caste is based on anything
other than birth?  If as I suspect the answer is no, then he doesn't
accept the Vajrasuchi literally.  Perhaps he has some way of reconciling
the words and the tradition but he definitely does not accept it as it is
written.  And if the muktika accepts this not to be taken at 100% face
value upanishad what does that mean?  What is that endorsement worth?

> If you accept the views of critical scholars you might as well accept that the
> veda-s were "written" etc. You can't take some things in both, whatever
> pleases  you. Since this is the advaita list, let's stick to vedAnta.

This is that either-or mentality you were previously warning against.
Between tradition and critical scholarship there is an amorphous zone of
ideas both sides take from.

> ?!! What constitutes the whole tradition according to you? You still haven't
> produced a single teacher's statement that the muktika cannot be considered
> shruti. I don't suppose you are going to say "I am the tradition" (like Clint
> Eastwood's "I am the law") I hope :-).

Why not?  It's true.  I am but the latest link in our parampara.
Certainly as a Brahman it is my duty not only to learn all these things
for myself but to teach them to the next generation and to do that I have
to understand them.  The difference between me and Shankaracharya or
Upanishadbrahmayogin is only one of quantity not kind.  As for the muktika
I'm rejecting it as a basis for accepting an "upanishad" that expresses a
view contrary to Dharma.  If that basis is wrong it may well be possible
to accept the muktika.  We'll have to see.

> Again, if you want to be a critical scholar you might as well drop all notion
> of aparusheyatva and then talk.

But who says I want to be one!  I bring their arguments up where I think
they are germane but that doesn't imply I endorse everything that has been
said and done in the name of critical scholarship.

> One can be an "advaitin" even then I suppose,

That isn't how I feel.  A Vedantin is a Mimamsaka.  I just think a
Mimamasaka can make use of modern scolarship.

> It's
> now incumbent upon you to produce a valid teacher in the advaita tradition
> (like Up. brahmayogin or HH) to corroborate your view that the muktika is not
> shruti.

As I said above I need not produce any such thing.  Rather the silence of
the majority of the Advaita tradition is my proof.

> As I see it the valid teachers in the advaita sampradAya accept the
> muktika as shruti, since it has been handed down as shruti and has the
> reputation of being so. So if you want to go against tradition, that's your
> wish. I'll also stop my arguments with you. I am still arguing with you only
> because I feel you have respect for tradition (albeit somewhat confused).

No confusion on my part.  It is precisely because I respect tradition that
I don't want to see texts fraudulently attach to it.

> All we can say is that they wrote sUtra-s for parts of the veda-s
> which doesn't fit in with the rules of usual grammar. This does not mean
> shruti of the other type does not exist.

One piece of evidence is usually not enough to clinch a case but it should
make us more suspicious.

> Well, some one may have written the upanishhads 200 years before them. Just to
> carry your brand of skepticism to that time frame. It is quite ridiculous to
> say what was quoted by sha.nkara and some select others are apaurusheya and
> the others (especially one's you don't like) were written. Your application of
> the so called evidence is purely arbitrary.

It is perhaps arbitrary.  But the difference between me and a skeptic is
my choices aren't just the product of my own mind but of all (not just
two) of those who have gone before me and their (arbitrary?) choices.

> Exactly what I was saying. So not being quoted by him is of absolutely no use
> in determining if a upanisshad not quoted by him is "genuine". So we might as
> well dispense with what shrI sha.nkara or any one else quoted since we are
> trying to determine here whether the muktika (not quoted by sha.nkara) is
> indeed shruti or not.

Not true.  We can look at the Upanishads Shankaracharya quotes and compare
them to these other works for content, style, terminology etc. and see if
they match.  If they do we can infer they are real also.  If not we have
good cause to believe they are not.

>That can be done only by seeing if it has been handed
> down as shruti in the advaita tradition.

The _entire_ Advaita tradition.
> OTOH, one or more of these upanishhad-s may not have been handed down as
> in other schools. So as far as discussions with those schools go, it obviously
> make sense to stick to the 10 principal (+shvetashvatara) upanishhad-s, since
> every one accepts those. I have no problems with that. But as long as you
> to be an advaitin and one who follows the traditions to boot, it's incumbent
> upon you to accept the muktika.

The matter of what constitutes Shruti is more important than any darshana.
All astikas must agree on what constitutes the Vedas or none of them will
be able to use it as a pramana.

Once again let me make clear my problem with the Muktika is based on my
problem with the Vajrasuchi (specifically to one sentance in it.)  If some
way was found to remove the problem with vajrasuchi then I would have no
problem with muktika but I cannot accept any work which is contrary to

Jaldhar H. Vyas [jaldhar at]   And the men .-_|\ who hold
Consolidated Braincells Inc.                          /     \ -)~~~~~~~~  Perth->*.--._/  o-
"Witty quote" - Dead Guy   /\/\/\ _ _ ___ _  _ Amboy       v      McQ!

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