Practical Vedanta

Anand V. Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri May 14 16:53:16 CDT 1999

On Fri, 14 May 1999 12:07:24 PDT, nanda chandran <vpcnk at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:

>>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.
>But why must it be interpreted this way?
>Karma is action. JnAna is cessation of karma ie action.
>When you sit in meditation, abiding in yourself, one without a second, then
>you're practicing jnAna yoga.
>But if you're not a samnyAsin and cannot sit in meditation the whole day
>have to attend to secular duties, then karma is inevitable. When you
>duties without any attachment, then it is karma yoga.
>It is thus, Karma and jnAna cannot be practiced together. And the reasons
>are obvious.

 I would say the interval of time has little to do with the contention
 that one cannot practice karma and jnAna simultaneously. While
 it is not possible to meditate and do some other work at the same
 time, this is probably trivializing the whole issue. Because, if
 this were the interpretation, then even a person whose "antaHkaraNa"
 (mind) is yet to become "shuddha" (pure) can be engaged in jnAnayoga
 during some part of the day and karmayoga during some other part of
 the day. But this is what is not possible as per Shankara.

 So the criterion regarding whether one must take up jnAnayoga or
 karmayoga has more to do with the background, preparation, and
 motivation, than with simple time constraints.

 The best way to interpret this prohibition of mixing of karma
 and jnAna is by realizing that jnAna is meant for pure sannyAsins
 while karma for others. Just as no one can be a real sannyAsin during
 part of the day and a gR^ihastha during other times, it is not possible
 to mix jnAna and karma.


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