[Advaita-l] Some comments on "practical" Advaita Vedanta

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Mon Nov 8 00:23:43 CST 2004

This is an excerpt from an introductory work by the 17th Century scholar
Dharmaraja Adhvarindra called VedAnta ParibhaShA.  It has been published
and translated into English by the Ramakrishna matha.  I've made use of
this edition but in many cases the translation is my own.

taccha GYAnaM pApakshayAt.h sa cha karmanuShTAnAditi paramparayA karmaNAM
viniyogaH | ata eva tametaM vedanuvachanena brAhmaNA vividiShanti yaGYena
dAnena tapasA.anAshakena ityAdishrutiH kaShAye karmabhiH pakve tato GYAnaM
pravartate ityAdismR^itishcha sa~Ngachchhate |

[After describing the nature of knowledge...] That knowledge comes from
the exhaustion of sin and that happens on the basis of actions so those
actions ordained by tradition are the cause.  Therefore Shruti says, "The
Brahmanas seek it by means of sacrifices (yajna), charity (dana), and
austerity (tapa), with dispassion." and also the Smrti, "when impurity has
been burnt by action, knowledge manifests"

evaM shravaNamanananididhyAsanAnyapi GYAnasAdhanAni maitreyIbrAhmaNe aatmA
vA are draShTavyaH iti darshanamanUdya tatsAdhanatvena shrotavyo mantavyo
nididhyAsitavyaH iti shravaNamanananididhyAsanAnAM vidhAnAt | shravaNaM
nAma vedAntAnAmadvitIye brahmaNi tAtparyAvadhAraNAnukUlA mAnasI kriyA |
mananaM nAma shabdAvadhArite.arthe mAnAntaravirodhasha~NkAyAM
tannirAkaraNAnukUlatarkAtmakaGYAnajanako mAnaso vyApAraH | nididhyAsanaM
nAma anAdidurvAsanayA viShayeShvAkR^iShyamANasya chittasya
viShayebhyo.apakR^iShya aatmaviShayakasthairyAnukUlo mAnaso vyApAraH |

In the same way, listening, understanding, and meditation are also means
for knowledge whose purpose, the Maitreyibrahmana says, is realization
"the Atma should indeed be realized my dear [Maitreyi]" and furthermore it
"should be heard of, understood, and meditated upon"  Thus listening,
understanding, and meditation, are also ordained. "Listening" (shravana)
is defined as the mental activity that results from hearing the statements
of the Vedanta describing Brahman as non-dual.  "understanding" (manana)
is the logical process by which doubts and contradictions [of the truth of
the Vedantic statements], caused by other sources of information, are
resolved.  Meditation (nididhyasana) is the reflection [on the
implications of the Vedantic words] which concentrates the mind on the
atma only and away from objects which it naturally is drawn to by the
effects of an infinite series of bad impressions (vasanas).

Note even this description is somewhat vague.  There cannot be one fixed
recipe for mukti because every seeker is the result of a different bundle
of vasanas.  This is why one is advised to seek the guidance of a guru.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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