foreign travel by a sanyasin (forwarded message)

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Feb 10 16:24:12 CST 2000

In all this discussion, it seems to me that people are simply reiterating
their opinions, and not offering reasoned arguments.

1. That one should live in the region where the black antelope roams freely
was never a limiting factor even a thousand years ago. In India, this animal
is not found in the southern peninsula, nor in the Himalayan region. A
little reflection will show us that at the time texts like Manusmriti were
written, the most eminent brAhmaNas lived in what is called Aryavarta. In
later times, brAhmaNas came south at the invitation of southern kings, and
east into Indo-China. If an independent Smriti text had been written in the
14th century, only southern India would have qualified as the place where
the best brAhmaNas lived. Nowadays, people have moved everywhere in the
globe. The motivation of each individual person is different, but that is
the complexity of life.

2. I know that our Sringeri Sankaracharya will not travel overseas. However,
it would be better to directly ask for his opinion about it, rather than
second-guessing it.

3. Swami Bharati Krishna Tirtha, who was Sankaracharya of Puri from
1925-1960, had first spent eight years as a vidyArthI at Sringeri, and
studied directly under Swami Saccidananda Sivabhinava Narasimha Bharati,
before he became a Sannyasin. I'm sure he was aware of all the Dharmasastra
texts, and in a much more comprehensive manner than any of us on this list.
If he made a trip outside India, for what he estimated to be a Dharmic
reason, I don't think we have much right to judge that.

4. This takes us back to point 1 above. Granted that the notion of India
being the Karmabhumi and Punyabhumi has much strength behind it, but we
should also ask what it is that makes it so. Clearly, no one place is
intrinsically more sacred or less sacred than any other place on this earth.
What distinguishes a particular place is the character of its people and its


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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