[Advaita-l] RE: References for Atma vichAra in shruti/smriti

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Tue Dec 16 13:45:01 CST 2003

>I'm trying to locate references in shruti/smR^iti which treat
>Self-enquiry as being independent of the scriptures, and have found a
>single reference so far in the Apastamba dharma sUtra
>satyAnR^ite sukhaduHkhe vedaaniM lokamamuM cha parityajya aatmaanaM
>anvichchhet.h .
>"Truth and untruth, pleasure and pain, the Vedas, this world and the
>next, renouncing (all these, the parivrAjaka saMnyAsin) shall seek the

Given that the Apastamba is a very traditional dharmaSAstra author, we have 
to understand this quotation in cultural/historical context. A strictly 
literal interpretation of the word "vedAn" in the above quote would preclude 
even the upanishat mahAvAkya-s. I do not think that is the intention of 
Apastamba. What is meant is probably the renunciation of all karma and the 
veda associated with performance of karma. As sureSvara says in his 
naiShkarmyasiddhi 1. 52, "sarva-karma-tat-sAdhana-saMnyAsaH" is prior to 

Even today, the saMnyAsa manuals state that one who has renounced should not 
do adhyayana (study) of the vedas. This does not mean that the upanishads 
are not to be studied. What is meant is that studying to chant the ritual 
portions of the vedas (mantra) is given up. Consequently, a saMnyAsin cannot 
officiate at or personally perform vedic rituals. On the other hand, various 
upAsanas on brahman are taught in the upanishads and these are meant to aid 
in Self-enquiry. These are not immediately renounced by the saMnyAsin, 
although they are technically actions.

>The above verse is quoted by Sureshvara in his saMbandha vArttika, verse 
>satyAnR^ite sukhaduHkhe iti tathA sarvasaMnyAsapUrvakam.h .
>AtmAno.anveshhaNaM sAkshAt ApastaMbaH abravIn muniH .. 221 ..
>" 'Truth and untruth, pleasure and pain' etc. ought to be completely
>renounced in the quest for the Self, as the sage Apastamba himself has
>so declared."
>Sureshvara lays stress on parityajya (renunciation) rather than
>AtmAnamanvichchhet (seek the Self), but the very fact that he quotes

I do not see any differing stress here, for sureSvara also says 
"Atmano'nveShaNaM ... abravIt". anveShaNa of sureSvara is a noun form, while 
anvicchet pf Apastamba is a verb form. The verb form "parityajya" of 
Apastamba is paraphrased by sureSvara as "sarva-saMnyAsa-pUrvaka".


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