neti neti

Anand Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Mar 26 10:40:27 CST 1998

  Govindarajan wrote:

>On Wed, 25 Mar 1998, Gummuluru Murthy wrote:
>> 5. Anand brought up the matter of mumukshutvam as a necessity. I
>> every vedanta student is a mumukshu (aspirant of moksha). If he/she
>> not a mumukshu, then there is no point in following vedantic studies
>> the ego would have forced the jeeva to give up vedanta studies long
>> and would have forced the jeeva to follow the so-called worldly
>> It has to be accepted that every vedanta student is a deeply
>> sincere aspirant of moksha. Even the aspiration for moksha would die
>> in a committed vedantin and perfect vairAgya settles in.
> [...]
> I am not so sure about every student of vedanta being a mumukshu.
> [...]

 I thank Govindarajan for his thoughtful reply on this. Adding to
 what he said, I would say it is a good idea to find out what
 is meant by mumukshhutva in standard advaitic works. One such
 definition that is illuminating is:

  saMsaarabandhanirmuktiH kathaM me syaat.h kadaa vidhe |
  iti yaa sudR^iDhaa buddhirvaktavyaa saa mumukshhutaa ||

  O God! How and when shall I become freed from the bonds of
  saMsaara (the transmigratory existence of births and deaths
  in the phenomenal world)! A strong desire of this kind is called
  Mumukshhutaa (or Mumukshhutva).
                                  (aparoxAnubhUti of Shankara)

  One thing that follows from this verse is that the aspirant must
  recognize that he/she is suffering in this saMsaara or duality or
  ajnaana. After recognition of this fact, he/she must aspire to
  get freed from such meaningless existence. Another thing that is
  brought out is that this aspiration must be of the form a strong
  or burning desire (tiivra-ichchhaa) for liberation. Nothing short
  of such a burning desire is called mumukshhutva. Govindarajan's
  story also illustrates this point well.

  Analyzing why such a strong desire is needed, I would say that
  because the senses are so strong and can pull even a wise man
  towards indiscriminate acts, the desire for liberation must be
  equally strong. A story comes to my mind. There was once a person
  walking in the forest who felt a little thirsty. He happened to
  see a well nearby and tried to find out if he could get some water
  from it. But in the process, he slipped and found himself hanging
  on desperately to a rock near the top of the well. Below him,
  at the bottom of the well, there was no water but some poisonous
  serpents hissing and waiting to get their fangs in him. Another
  snake had, in the meantime, come from outside the well and was
  now close to his face, ready to strike. In this most dangerous
  condition, the man saw that there was a beehive just above where
  he was hanging. Drops of honey were dripping from the beehive.
  But even in such a dangerous situation, when the most prudent thing
  to do is to save one's life, the foolish man  opened his mouth and
  tried to catch a few drops of honey in his mouth to quench his

 Such is the nature of the strength of the senses. Even until death,
 the senses will always pull the mind towards the objects of
 sense enjoyment. To counter this strong pull from the senses, is
 needed an equally or greater desire for liberation combined with
 viveka, vairaagya, and the other qualifications insisted upon by
 the AchAryas.

>PS: Not quite related, but there were some mention of jnaanaa/
>ajnaana, and other schools of vedanta. In vishishhTaadvaita,
>bhakti is placed supreme, and complete surrender to naaraayanaa is
>considered the best path to Him, and indeed moksha is possible
>for everyone regardless of caste, etc.

 I was not referring to VishishhTa-advaita there. There are some
 other schools which hold that duality (in our words ajnaana) is
 eternal, and give up all hope of overcoming it.


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