Practical Vedanta

Anand V. Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu May 13 15:15:35 CDT 1999

On Thu, 13 May 1999 13:13:01 -0500, Vaidya Sundaram <Vaidya_Sundaram at I2.COM>

>On May 10 1999 Sunder Hattangadi wrote:
>> Truly speaking, the only one 'qualified' to study vedanta is one who has
>> been initiated into the 'brahma vAkya' by a sadguru.
>> As I do not fall into this category, I shall gladly stay silent.
> I see a catch 22 situation here. When will the guru initiate me into the
>vAkya"'s? Only when i am ready and fit to receive it. That is when, the
spark of
>the Guru's words can itself light the fire and jnAna shines etc etc. But
how do
>i make myself fit? One very common answer is - do your karma correctly, it
>purify you ... while this is absolutely true, if not for a study of
vedanta, it
>is very easy to lose track of the purpose of karma (which is only to purify
>jivA,) and get entangled in karma.  Getting entagled in karma is where we
>already and we want to remove it. but do be fit to study vedanta and get
>bigger picture, we have to cleanse ourselves of the karmic influences by
>itself - and then the initiation into the mahA vAkya's will happen ... but
>vedata is not seen as the end of karma, we cannot realistically expect to
>detached from our action and all that ... see my point?
> and while most of us in this list do not have a personal Guru whom we
>to" and who takes it upon Himself to lead us, we still embark on the study
>vedanta. If we were not qualified in the first place, since we are expected
>do karma, which we probably dont in it's entirety, we would be commiting a
>by studying a "forbidden" topic ... that is not a very comforting thought I
>might add!!
> the only resolution I see to this catch 22 situation is if we abondon the
>premise that there is a qualification for the study of vedanta  -  to be
>initiated into it by a guru who teaches the mahA vAkya's ...
> I hope members will find time to address this aspect of the topic also.
>bhava shankara desikame sharaNam

 Surely, the GItA has the answers to many perplexing questions, so we
 should consult it to resolve the situation that you point out.

 Briefly, Arjuna finds himself in the situation that most of us are in.
 After listening to the description titled "sAnkhya yoga", which is
 explained as "samyagAtmabuddhiH", the right knowledge of the Self,
 by Madhusudana SarasvatI, Arjuna wants to know (the beginning of the
 3rd chapter) why Krishna is asking Arjuna to take to karma.

 Krishna replies that jnAna yoga is for the sAnkhya's who are explained
 (by MadhusUdana) as having among other qualifications, "brahmacharyA-
 deva kR^itasannyAsAnAm.h", acceptance of sannyAsa (immediately) after
 brahmacharya, and shuddAntaHkaraNAnAm.h, purified minds. Those whose
 minds are not purified, will necessarily have to approach the stage
 of the sAnkhya's through karmayoga. And perfection in karmayoga
 will lead to purification of the mind and eligibility for jnAna yoga.
 (antaHkaraNashuddhidvArA GYAnabhUmikArohaNam.h)

 So I see no problem in a person who is sincerely striving for perfection
 in karmayoga/bhakti yoga  and at the same time wants to discuss vedAnta.
 The danger lies in giving up one's duty to karmayoga and falsely assuming
 that one is fit for jnAna yoga, without the necessary qualifications.

 Both Shankara and MadhusudAna very clearly say that one cannot be
 engaged in both karmayoga and jnAnayoga at the same time. But at the
 same time, nowhere do they say that one who is engaged in karmayoga
 must never discuss or listen/read about jnAna. After all, the
 gItA itself is meant for study by all, regardless of the stage in
 life and the gItA is said to be the essence of vedAnta. Discussions
 about jnAna put things in focus and lets us know where we should be

 So there is nothing wrong in studying and discussing vedAnta in an
 semi-academic sense (which is all that is possible in a forum like
 this one), provided that one does not take it in a wrong sense and
 starts behaving as if he is suddenly enlightened, the whole world is
 a dream, and so on!


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