[Advaita-l] kAmya karma

Ram Garib garib_ram at yahoo.co.in
Sun Jan 15 10:25:31 CST 2006

Sri Sastri wrote:

> What he says
> is that one should not remain satisfied with the
mere performance of kAmya
> karma because that will not lead to the highest goal
of human life, namely,
> liberation. All karmas, including jyotishToma, can
be performed without
> desire, as nishkAma karma, in which case they will
lead to purity of mind
> which is essential for one who aspires for

Ramanuja's views on vedic ritualism are quite close to
sureshwaracharya with one variation. In Ramanuja's
view, the karma-kANDa is useful in two
ways. First, only by actually learning about Vedic
and their limited fruits will the sadhaka understand
the transitoriness of those goals and develop a desire
for something
permament, i.e., Brahma-gyana.  Secondly, since the
Vedas can 
never teach untruths, the rituals must be useful in
way.  Ramanuja concludes that when performed as a
of Brahman, the rituals purify the aspirant's
mind and consist of yet another means of understanding
connected nature of existence.  The Vedic ritual,
then, is 
reinterpreted in the light of the Gita's conception of

abandoning the fruits of action without giving up the

> The stigma, if any, is only that striving for
> such an ephemeral happiness as that of heaven is not
worthwhile for a human
> being who has the potentiality to attain everlasting
bliss through
> liberation from the cycle of births and deaths.

While transitoriness of "heaven" is the standard
argument of vedantins against mimakaska, I have doubt
if this is the same "heaven" mimasakas have in mind.
Doesn't Prabhakara define it as “the absolute
cessation of the body caused by the disappearance of
all dharma and adharma" and Kumarila as "the state of
the self free from pain"? How does the transitoriness
argument of sureshwara or ramanuja fits into this?

On a personal note, I had the opportunity to discuss
nitya karmas with Swami Krisnananda-ji who persuaded
me to give up nitya karmas. His logic was this:
Performance of nitya karmas for a non-dvija would make
sense only if brought some merit, which it does not.
All it does is to avoid demerit of non-performance.
Since no nitya karmas are ordained for non-dvijas, no
demerit can accrue due to non-performance. He compared
nitya karma with nishiddha karma and concluded that
they were exact opposites.

Nishiddha karma- performance brings demerit. Non
performance does not bring any merit.

Nitya karma- non-performance brings demerit.
Performance does not bring any merit.

Hope this is not way off the topic.
With regards,

Ram Garib 

Send instant messages to your online friends http://in.messenger.yahoo.com 

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list