Dvaita and Sophistry - Part 3(Inherent natures of jivas)

Shrisha Rao shrao at NYX.NET
Sat Mar 15 13:18:49 CST 2003

On Sat, 15 Mar 2003, kalyan chakravarthy wrote:

> >He further adds (XVII-3)
> >that in line with one's own nature does one's shraddhA form, and that
> >whatever a person's natural shraddhA, that verily is he (i.e., a person
> >with sAttvikI-shraddhA is a sAttvika, one with rAjasI-shraddhA is a
> >rAjasa, &c.).  In defining what the natural states of behavior for these
> >types of jIva-s are, Krishna adds that they worship differently, the
> >sAttvika-s worship deva-s, the rAjasa-s worship yakSha-s and rAxasa-s,
> >whilst the tAmasa-s worship ghosts, spirits, and other low entities
> But the natures are not fixed for eternity. That should mean a lot for
> dvaita.

They certainly are; in fact, that is Krishna's explicit word on the
subject.  There is no getting away from the adjective `svabhAvajA' in
reference to them.  Overlaid qualities (or qualities relating to the body)
can and do change, but a destruction of the self-same quality is
tantamount to destruction of the jIva itself, which no Vedantin accepts.

> >so on.  There is no statement in the BG conveying the impression that the
> >foods cause the qualities in the persons;
> The foods act differently on a person who eats them, thus indicating the
> heterogenous action of nature on jivas. The proof follows from the
> BG.(Chapter 17)
> Foods in the first category promote life, vitality and give strength,

Foods are themselves not classed into categories, except by reference to
the type of jIva that likes each.

> jIva; Krishna first says (BG XVII-2) that there are three types of
> >shraddhA in the jIva-s, born of their self-same natures (svabhAvajA), and
> By experience we see that shraddha in a person is not constant. That means
> the individual nature does not remain constant as shraddha is born of
> individual nature. Proof once again that the individual natures are not
> eternal. That should mean a lot for dvaita.

To take the reductio ad absurdum route, if, as you say, a person's
shraddhA is not constant, then ultimately all spiritual labor is
meaningless.  A person is ultimately just like a weather-vane that will
point whichever way the prevailing winds do.  Even changes made in
improving spiritual or good conduct do not constitute progress, as the
individual's character essentially is only doing a random walk and will
regress later.  No true seeker of any stripe will look upon such a
possibility with anything but extreme dread.

What you are attempting is essentially a refutation of the 'Gita, which a
dyed-in-the-wool Vedantin would find shocking.  It is all right in terms
of being intellectually honest to question all premises including
adherence to the BG's word, but it does leave your own position rather

In regard to what you said, anecdotal experience is never a good empirical
tool, and is not so considered even in terms of the scientific method.  I
would also add that it certainly has not been my experience that a
person's shraddhA is inconstant: I have never seen the person who prefers
to worship deva-s one day and prefers ghosts and demons the next, or so
on.  In my experience, preferences for purity of behavior and conduct are
rather remarkably constant; sometimes one sees stunningly good qualities
even in very young children, and in other cases even old people who should
know a lot better do not refrain from preferring bad behavior.  Of course,
a lot of deceipt is attempted, but the old adage, "A man's character is
what he does when he thinks no one is looking," comes to mind.

The Vedanta and its associated mythology does speak of good people who
wander from the right path or temporarily get overlaid with bad qualities
(because of sins, curses upon them, etc.), but even in such cases the
person does eventually gravitate toward a position reflecting the nobility
of his own nature, as the BG has said elsewhere (chapter 6).


Shrisha Rao

> Kalyan

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