Devayana and Pitriyana

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Mon Apr 6 12:07:03 CDT 1998

On Thu, 2 Apr 1998, Vivek Anand Ganesan wrote:

> Namashkar,
>    I thank all the members of this list who responded to my question.
>    Because of my lack of knowledge of the Vedas and my ignorance of
> the beautiful Sanskrit language, I have to content myself with reading
> books like "Introducing Hinduism", "Teach yourself Hinduism in 21
> days" etc.
> As Shree Vyas pointed out, foreigners do distort meanings.

Let me also point out that "foreigner" does not merely refer to those who
aren't of Indian origin but anyone who does not agree with or
appreciate or understand the context in which the shastras occur.
Unfortunately that includes a lot of Indians too.

>  In fact,
> that is the main reason I joined this forum.  I want to remove any
> misconceptions I have regarding Vedanta.  I am also trying to remedy
> my deficiencies but Self-taught Sanskrit, Vedanta can only take one so
> far.  I believe that the correct way to study any Darshana is at the
> feet of an able guru.  But, until I do so, I hope to gain as much
> learning and insight as possible from the sAdhakas in this forum.  In
> that spirit, I seek clarification on certain concepts presented in our
> scriptures which I feel I have not understood and/or misunderstood.
> Please bear with me.

There is nothing to apologize for.  The concepts expressed in the shastras
_are_ difficult to understand.   Even for people born in the most orthodox
circles with the best education things don't make sense just like that.
They have to be analyzed, mulled over and it is inevitable that
disagreements and misunderstandings will occur.

It is better that you ask questions and dispel ignorance than let it

>    Could someone please explain to me what "DevayAna" and "PitriyAna"
> mean?  I understand that these terms are dealt with quite extensively
> in the vedas.  Is this true?  Also, I have heard explanations that
> these  -"yAnas" are the precursors of the -"Yogas", -"Margas" like
> Bhakti-Yoga, Jnaana-Yoga etc., which came later.  Can this be justified?

There is a distinction made between worship of Devas and Pitrs and what is
the result of doing each but I don't think they have anything do with the
"three yogas" theory which is a baseless invention of Vivekanand based on
a misinterpretation of the Bhagavadgita.  Looking at the Gita it is obvious
that Bhakti is given overriding importance and is in no way seperate or
optional.  Karma and Jnana are seperate paths. (But they don't match up
to Devayana and Pitrayana both of which Advaita Vedanta would count as
karma.)  Of these two "karmayoga" has nothing to do with Vedanta at all
according to Shankaracharya.  Only Jnana is the correct method of
achieving Moksha.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

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