Study of Vedas

Sankaran Kartik Jayanarayanan kartik at ECE.UTEXAS.EDU
Thu Apr 11 18:56:21 CDT 2002

On Wed, 10 Apr 2002, Vaidya Sundaram wrote:

> Namaskaram.
> From: "kuntimaddi sadananda" <kuntimaddisada at YAHOO.COM>
> > My opinion ahout the study of the Veda-s.
> >
> > Study and practice of the ritualistic
> > part is not the only way to acquire those required
> > qualifications for a sadhak.
> My understanding tells me that what you state is definitely not the view of
> the sastras and the fundamental tenets of Shankara's teaching. Please refer
> to the second verse of the vivekachUdAmani. tasmad vaidikadharmamArgaparatA
> vidvatvam asmAt param| In His commentary, HH Chandrasekhara Bharati notes
> specifically  that this above verse means "being inclined to the path of
> dharma prescibed in the Vedas. THis means that mere vipratA by itself will
> not help to attain what is to be attained. It means, having been born a
> brahmana, one should engage in the observance of the prescribed dharmas"
>  The logical introspection that causes the removal of ignorance is done
> using the antahkarana. This antahkarana can have the strength and resources
> needed for such high level of reasoning only when it is totally pure; such
> purity comes only though the performance of karma. karma is bad. karma is
> dirty. but it the is the only means of removing the dross that covers the
> pure ... you don't use gold to clean a dirty gold vessel do you? you use
> dirt to remove it. karma is the THE only way.

Taking into account everything that you've said above, when you say
"karma", I presume that you mean "vaidika karma". I also take it that you
hold that performance of vaidika karma with upAsana is the ONLY way to
attain purification of the mind.

I'm not too sure that Ramana Maharshi was advocating similar sAdhana for
all of his disciples. In any case, here's a sample of his opinion from
"Talks," No. 27:

An examination of the ephemeral nature of external phenomena leads to
vairagya. Hence enquiry (vichara) is the first and foremost step to be
taken. When vichara continues automatically, it results in a contempt for
wealth, fame, ease, pleasure, etc. The "I" thought becomes clearer for
inspection. The source of "I" is the Heart-the final goal.

If, however, the aspirant is not temperamentally suited to Vichara Marga
(to the introspective analytical method), he must develop bhakti
(devotion) to an ideal-may be God, Guru, humanity in general, ethical
laws, or even the idea of beauty. When one of these takes possession of
the individual, other attachments grow weaker, i.e., dispassion (vairagya)
develops. Attachment for the ideal simultaneously grows and finally holds
the field. Thus ekagrata (concentration) grows simultaneously and
imperceptibly-with or without visions and direct aids.

In the absence of enquiry and devotion, the natural sedative pranayama
(breath regulation) may be tried. This is known as Yoga Marga. If life is
imperilled the whole interest centers round the one point-the saving of
life. If the breath is held the mind cannot afford to (and does not) jump
at its pets (external objects). Thus there is rest for the mind so long as
the breath is held. All attention being turned on breath or its
regulation, other interests are lost. Again, passions are attended with
irregular breathing, whereas calm and happiness are attended with slow and
regular breathing. A paroxysm of joy is in fact as painful as one of pain,
and both are accompanied by ruffled breaths. Real peace is happiness.
Pleasures do not form happiness. The mind improves by practice and becomes
finer just as the razor's edge is sharpened by stropping. The mind is then
better able to tackle internal or external problems.

If an aspirant be unsuited temperamentally for the first two methods and
circumstantially (on account of age) for the third method, he must try the
Karma Marga (doing good deeds, for example, social service). His nobler
instincts become more evident and he derives impersonal pleasure. His
smaller self is less assertive and has a chance of expanding its good
side. The man becomes duly equipped for one of the three aforesaid paths.
His intuition may also develop directly by this single method.

He seems to be saying something like this:

karma --> yoga --> bhakti --> Atma vichAra --> GYAna

If you see what he's saying about karma marga in the last paragraph, he's
not merely recommending the "ritualistic portion of the Vedas ONLY".
Instead, he broadly takes it to mean "doing good" so as to develop one's
nobler instincts. In fact, he says that this could even develop to an
extent when it would be possible to rise to Atma vichAra with noble deeds

Doing noble deeds --> Atma vichAra --> GYAna

Interestingly, it is also decisive about whether or not social service by
itself is helpful in spiritual development. The answer is yes, when done
with the right attitude.


> > I feel that we should stop all economic and social
> > discrimanations on the basis of birth.
> neglecting ones duty and stopping ones own practice (of studying and
> reciting the vedas) is not the way to go about doing it.

I was reading in "reminiscences" about how in the Ramanasramam, there was
a separate dining hall for the Brahmins and non-Brahmins. One young
Brahmin man stubbornly sat in the non-Brahmin's section to have his meal.
His parents requested him to sit with them and he replied loudly with
conviction, "Caste distinctions are not valid in Bhagavan's presence."

He thought that Bhagavan would be on his side. Guess what? Bhagavan said
with a tinge of anger, "Oh, has he really transcended all limitations?
Does he always sit with non-Brahmins at home? To be natural is the best
form of spiritual discipline!"

> bhava shankara desikame sharaNam
> Vaidya.


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