[Advaita-l] Re: Question: Swadharma

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Wed Feb 15 13:48:26 CST 2006

Responses to several posts below:

--- Ram Garib <garib_ram at yahoo.co.in> wrote:

> --- S Jayanarayanan <sjayana at yahoo.com> wrote:
> > I think that Swami Vidyaranya in his
> > Jivanmuktiviveka permits
> > everyone including Shudras to take up Sanyasa. I'm
> > not able to find
> > the quote offhand though.
> Are you referring to 1.10 where he quotes from Suta
> Samhita? I think his reference to Suta Samhita is to
> establish that the one who has this knowledge is
> beyond caste and orders (not the reverse).

This is not the verse I had in mind. There is a verse either in the
Jivanmuktiviveka (or perhaps the Panchadasi?) where Vidyaranya speaks
of all four orders being eligible for sannyasa, only their garbs must
be different.

--- Ram Garib <garib_ram at yahoo.co.in> wrote:

> --- S Jayanarayanan <sjayana at yahoo.com> wrote:
> > This doesn't seem correct. The Kovilur Math (
> > http://www.kovilur.com/
> > ) teaches Vedanta in Tamil to virtually any good
> > human being, and one
> > of the past Sringeri Acharyas has actually visited
> > the place and
> > commended them on their practice and studies. Many
> > of those initiated
> > into Sannyasa from this Math may not be dvijas,
> > IMHO.


> I have no doubts that in every age there have been
> mahatmas who have considered the official line
> invidious and imparted the vedic knowledge beyond
> caste considerations.

I did not mean to say that the Sringeri Acharya had overlooked
"official rules", but that the "official rules" themselves
accommodate eligible non-dvijas taking up Sannyasa. The Kovilur Math
for example has the approval of Sringeri for their non-dvija
Sannyasis, so your claim that Sudras have not been given Sannyasa in
the traditional way does not hold water.

You have also mentioned "Vedic knowledge" being imparted without
caste considerations. Even in the Kovilur Math, the *Vedas* are not
taught to non-dvijas, but only texts of Shankara such as
Vivekachudamani. The Sankara Maths have always been on the opinion
that secondary Vedantic texts such as Shankara's independent works or
the Yoga Vasishtha can be studied by anyone, but have always insisted
that the Vedas are to be learned only by Brahmins.

--- Ram Garib <garib_ram at yahoo.co.in> wrote:


> I am afraid this is not advaita stand. Unlike
> maadhwaas and sri vaishnavaas, in smaarta tradition,
> liberation is available only to a renunciate. This is
> how taittiriya verse "na karmanaa, na prajayaa.." and
> the shwetashwatara “atyAshramibhyah..”, have been
> interpreted by advaitins. In advaita, there is no
> possibility of moksha without sannyasa. In
> jivanmuktiviveka, Swami Vidyaranya argues that even
> the knowledge of self cannot bring moksha without
> sannyasa. 

However, Vidyaranya also specifically says that the *external marks*
of a Sannyasi such as saffron robe, Danda, etc. are superficial
requirements for Sannyasa, and that the real requirements are Viveka
and Vairagya. The meaning is that it is possible to be a true
Sannyasi without the "official robe and Danda", but one cannot be a
true Sannyasi without Viveka and Vairagya.


> But the result is also different for dvija-s and
> shudra-s! By following swadharma, dvija-s gain
> eligibility to study vedanta while shudra-s do not.
> Not having to go through the self-discipline is no
> consolation if it bars one from the pursuit of the
> highest goal.
> Note that while some commentators permit shudra-s to
> gain vedantic knowledge through gita etc., others
> including shankara do not.

Shankara does say that the Shudras have eligibility to study the
Smritis and Itihasas, which includes the Gita. Vide the Brahma Sutra
Bhashya 1.3.38: "shrAvayet.h chaturovarNAn.h iti chet.h
itihAsapurANAdhigame chAturvarNyasya adhikArasmaraNAt.h ."

--- "S.N. Sastri" <sn.sastri at gmail.com> wrote:

> S.Jayanarayanan wrote:
> I think that Swami Vidyaranya in his Jivanmuktiviveka permits
> everyone
> including Shudras to take up Sanyasa. I'm not able to find the
> quote offhand
> though.
> ---
> What Swami Vidyaranya has said in Jivanmuktiviveka is that women
> also can
> take Sannyasa. This is in chapter 1, almost at the beginning. It is
> on page
> 182 of the English translation in the Adyar Library edition of
> Jivanmuktiviveka. He does not say anything about SUdras being
> allowed to
> take Sannyasa. The Sankara Maths do not give Sannyasa to women.

As I said above, I was referring to a different verse where all four
orders are mentioned.

As to Sankara Maths giving Sannyasa to women, there is some evidence
for this. There is an old posting by Vidyasankar at
http://www.hindunet.org/srh_home/1996_4/msg00177.html about women
given Sannyasa in Sringeri. I have also personally heard about some
women Sannyasis at Sringeri, so I'll try to find out more about this



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