[Advaita-l] nitya karma

S.N. Sastri sn.sastri at gmail.com
Sat Jan 14 22:58:27 CST 2006

Ravisankar Mayavaram wrote on 13 Jan 2006:--

"I understand the part that not doing is a sin (akaraNe pratyavAya
janakam), but I don't understand the "brings no specific reward" part,
especially for sandhya".

Statements in SrI Sankara's bhAshya and other works relating to various
aspects of karma have been collected and put on website http://
www.geocities.com/snsastri under the heading "Terms and Concepts in Vedanta"
and sub-heading 'karma', which may please be seen. The statements relating
to nitya karma are given below:

*Br.up.3.3.1.S.B--- tasmaat saabhisandhiinaam--- ------- phalaani*

*Therefore the obligatory rites (nitya karma) and rites like
sarvamedha and aSvamedha
performed with desire for the fruit lead to the attainment of oneness
with hiraNyagarbha,
etc. *

*Br.Up. 3.3.1. yeshaam punaH nityaani nirabhisandhiini------------*

*But in the case of those who perform the nitya karma without desire for the
fruit, merely for the purification of the mind, the rites help towards the
attainment of Self-knowledge.  *

*B.G.18.9.S.B--- nityaanaam karmaNaam------ phalam cha iti---*

*We said that the Lord's utterance is proof of the fact that nitya and
karma also yield fruit. Or, even if these are considered to be devoid of any
fruit on the ground that no fruit is mentioned in the sruti, still the
ordinary, unenlightened man does certainly think that these produce a result
in the form of purification of the mind or avoidance of evil. The Lord
indicates by the words 'giving up the fruit' that even this thought should
be given up. *

*Br.up.4.4.22.S.B--- vedaanuvachana-yajna-

*The words 'study of the Vedas, sacrifices, charity and austerity' refer to
all obligatory rites (nitya karma). Thus all the obligatory rites (that is
all those other than kAmya karma) serve as means to liberation through the
attainment of Self-knowledge. Hence we see that the ultimate purpose of the
two parts of the Vedas, that dealing with rites and that dealing with
Self-knowledge, is the same, (namely liberation). *

*taitt.up.1.1.S.B--- nityaanaam cha akaraNam--------  The mere
non-performance of the obligatory duties cannot give rise to a positive
demerit (pApa), because something positive cannot arise from a mere negation
(abhAva). The failure on the part of a person to perform obligatory duties
(laid down in the scriptures) is merely an indication that he has
accumulated sins resulting from past actions. *

*Anandagiri says: A future sorrow is called a pratyavAya, which, being a
positive entity, cannot have a non-entity as its cause. For, according to
Br. Up. 4.4.5, sorrow is caused by the performance of prohibited actions.

*(The performance of the obligatory duties eradicates accumulated sins,
while, by their non-performance, the sins continue. Thus the view of Advaita
VedAnta in this matter is opposed to that of the MImAmsakas who hold that
non-performance produces a new sin). *

*  I believe the above statements answer the doubt raised.*


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