Those with avidyA cannot understand shruti directly

Jonathan Bricklin brickmar at EARTHCOM.NET
Tue Apr 21 15:21:33 CDT 1998

 Anand Hundi, on April 17, wrote:

>The following verses occur in the mahAvAkyadarpaNa:

 shrutyA samIritastvartho mohAnnAdrIyate janaiH |
 saMsArAbdhau patantyandhA iva tenaiva doShataH ||

 Out of delusion (caused by avidyA), people do not respect the
 purport of the shruti (Vedas). Due to the same defect (caused by
 avidyA or ajnAna) they fall into the ocean of saMsAra (transmigratory
 existence) just as the blind (fall into a pit).

 Here, Shankara says that people who are in the clutches of avidyA
 do not respect the sayings of the Vedas.>

Anand, Is there not a big difference, perhaps of special relevance here,
between "purport" and "sayings" ?

 >adyAShTamIti navamIti chaturdashIti
  jyotiShkavAchopavasanti bhaktyA  |
 shrutestvaho tattvamasIti vAkyaM
 na vishvasantyadbhutametadeva    ||

 "Today is aShTamI", "today is navaMI", "today is chaturdashI",
 saying thus and with faith in the words of the astrologers, people
 fast with all sincerity. But when the shruti says, "Thou Art That
 (Brahman)", people do not trust these words! Oh! This is indeed

 This verse requires some clarification. It may seem that there is
 a conflict with bhakti yogA here.>

Well, certainly, at least, it seems that a contrast is being drawn between
the essential (the "purport") and the inessential.

>But that is not the case.
 Certainly, bhakti to God is highly commendable, because it can
 enable one to know the essence of God which is nondifferent from
 the Self. The GItA (18.55) clearly expresses the role of bhakti or

  bhaktyA mAmabhijAnAti yAvAn.h yashchAsmi tattvataH |
  tato mAm.h tattvataH GYAtvA vishate tadanantaraM   ||

  Through bhakti, he (the devotee) knows My extent and who I am
  in reality. Knowing Me thus in reality, he then enters (Me, the

   As Shankara explains in his commentary on this verse, the devotee
  who realizes thus actually realizes that 1) the extent of God or
 the greatness, divine qualities, etc. of God is really due to the
 upAdhi's or limiting adjuncts and that 2) God is essentially free
 from all upAdhi's. Becoming a jnAni (in the sense of the four kinds
 of devotees mentioned in the GItA), he then realizes God as
 Consciousness, unending, limitless.
 At this point, he immediately enters God or becomes one with God.
 And this is the same objective as that of one who takes to jnAna.>

Sankara's commentary, as you have explained it, seems to be emphasizing the
result over the process.  Does he anywhere say that the devotee who
realizes could have realized no other way than by being a devotee?




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