[Advaita-l] Re: [advaitin] Dharma Shastra & its applicability

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Mon Feb 7 12:34:51 CST 2005

--- bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com wrote:


> Are the injuctions
> in dharma
> shAstra-s *out dated* & need amendments suitable to present
> day life style
> of saNyAsi-s?? Is this the reason saNyasi-s of traditional
> circle breaching
> the barriers with regard to their life style??    We see
> dharma shAstra-s
> imposing some rules & being a smruthi text we do accept it as
> one of valid
> pramANa-s in prasthAna traya...But as you say even in orthodox
> traditional
> circle, saNyAsi-s who are supposedly upholders of our sanAtana
> dharma
> comfortably  violating the teaching of dharma shAstra-s!!!
> inspite of that
> can we say they are the strict & religious  followers of
> vaidika dharma??
> or dharma shastra-s are flexible enough to interpret
> differently at
> different point of time according to our convenience??  that
> is what the
> main question I have in my mind.

This discussion has occurred a couple of times in this mailing
list. The "conclusion" (if it can be called a conclusion at all)
is that in this respect, shishhTAchAra has a higher authority
than smR^iti! This would be vehemently opposed by orthodox
scholars on dharma like KumArila BhaTTa, who emphatically assert
that shishhTAchAra can NEVER over-rule smR^iti. So long as the
injunction in smR^iti does not explicitly contradict shruti, the
smR^iti injunction reigns supreme in matters of dharma!

IF shishhTAchAra can over-rule smR^iti in this respect, what
prevents it from doing so on other occasions as well? For
instance, I happen to know orthodox brAhmaNas associated with
the Sringeri Math who've actually taught the Vedas to those who
were not born BrAhmaNas -- including WOMEN! There are other
organizations that trace their lineage through the Sringeri Math
(I think Chinmaya mission is one) that have permitted the
chanting of the Vedas by everyone. It's not clear why we should
accept shishhTAchAra over-ruling smR^iti in one aspect but
reject it on another.

The problem becomes all the more complex when it comes to
discerning who is a shishhTa and who is not. This is precisely
why KumArila questions whether people who act contrary to
smR^iti can be called shishhTas at all!

> What is the precise quote from our dharma shAstra-s with
> regard to
> saNyAsi's crossing of sea?? 

(DS stands for dharma sUtra):
quote ---
"One who crosses the sea (samudrasaMyAnaM) loses his caste,"
according to the BaudhAyana DS 2,1,2,2. Govinda, a commentator
on this shAstra explains that whosoever makes voyages by sea by
means of a ship to another island loses his caste and needs to
perform a prAyashchitta (penance) in order to re-enter the caste
unquote ---

> whether there is any explanation
> provided
> there for this injuction?? 

If there were always reasons behind injunctions, one could
easily "derive" the dharma shAstras using only logic and
experience. Since dharma is not amenable to this means of
knowledge, shruti and smR^iti are the chief means of knowing

> if yes, is this explanation holds
> water
> universally forever without any time bound restrictions or
> else whether  it
> needs some amendments to suite the present day requirement of
> saNyAsi-s &
> householders...

Well said!

> Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!
> bhaskar


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