Jivanamuktiviveka of Swami Vidyaranya

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Sat Feb 19 15:02:32 CST 2000

[Having explained that the Paramhansa type sannyasa is the only direct
 path to Moksha and that it it is of two types, that of the seeker
(vidvisha) and knower (vidvana) Swamiji explained the nature of the
vidvisha sannyasi.  Now I shall paraphrase his description of the Vidvana

Now we shall describe Vidvatasannyasa.  Renunciation by those who
have realized Truth by means of Shravana, Manana, and Nidhidhyasana[1] is
called Vidvatasannyasa (renunciation of the Knower.)  This was achieved by
Bhagavana Ygnavalkya, the crown of scholars. After having defeated in
debate Ashvalayana and other learned Brahmans by various demonstrations of
the truth, and having enlightened Janaka by various conversations long
and short on vitaraaga[2], he set himself to teach his wife
Maitreyi of Truth and told her sannyasa was the objective he had in his
mind for himself.  Having taught her, he became a sannyasin.  All this is
explained in the beginning of the Maitreyabrahmana[3]:

  Yajnavalkya about to enter another stage of life spoke to her thus:
  "Dear Maitreyi, I am about to retire from this stage."

and at the end:

  "...for truly this retirement leads to true immortality."  Saying thus
  he renounced.

In Kaholabrahmana[4] we find sannyasa mentioned like this:

  Having realized that atman [just described], Brahmans renounce all
  desire for sons, wealth, and worlds and go about as beggars.

[Question:  does this describe vidvisha or vidvat sannyasa?]

This [text] should not be taken to describe vidvisha sannyasa because the
suffix ktva in the word "having renounced"[5] and the word "knower
of Brahman"[6] disallow that assumption.

[Question:  Why take brahmana to mean "knower of Brahman" and not "a
member of the Brahman caste"?]

Nor should it be supposed that the word Brahman refers to the caste so
called for the word Brahman for it is used to refer to the realization of
Brahman by Shravana, Manana, and Nidhidhyasana in the next part of the
text under discussion where they are described as panditya, balya, and

If it is argued that the word Brahmana here refers to the seeker still
devoted to learning etc. and this is supported by the text:

  The Brahmana having achieved scholarship  must then remain in

We reply, it is not so because otherwise the use of the word "atha"[8] at
the beginning of the passage which implies that after all the previous
necessary conditions have been fulfilled, will be out of place.

[...to be continued]

[1] study, contemplation, and meditation.

[2] complete detachment

[3] Brhadaranyokapanishad 4.5

[4] Brhadaranyokapanishad 3.5

[5] The suffix (pratyaya) ktva in viditvaa signifies past tense.

[6] Brahman.  An unfortunate source of ambiguity especially for the
people who like to draw unwarrented conclusions by picking lines at random
is that the word Brahman (more correctly transliterated brAhmaNa using
the ITRANS scheme)  has at least four meanings in Sanskrit

1.  The supreme consciousness.  This is the main sense used in Vedanta.

2.  The portions of the Shruti explaining the mantras.  E.g. the
individual chapters of the Brhadaranyakopanishad are called Brahmanas
because it is part of the Shatapathabrahmana of the Shuklayajurveda.

3.  A knower of sense 1.  Normally this relationship would be expressed in
Sanskrit by guna (elongation of the first vowel) but as it is long to
begin with this is not apparent here

4.  A member of the Brahman caste.

[7] learning, childhood, and silence.

[8] The nipata (particle) atha is usually translated in English as
"now" or "thus".  Cf. "also" in German.  It signifies the beginning of a
new topic.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

Archives : http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l.html
Help     : Email to listmaster at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
Options  : To leave the list send a mail to
           listserv at lists.advaita-vedanta.org with
           SIGNOFF ADVAITA-L in the body.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list