[Advaita-l] varNAsharama system at the time of shankara

Anand Hudli anandhudli at hotmail.com
Mon Jul 7 06:39:35 CDT 2008

The words strI, bAla, etc. may also have to be considered figuratively. For example, annaMbhaTTa, an exponent in nyAya, in his tarka-saMgraha uses the words "bAlAnAM sukhabodhAya kriyate tarkasaMgarahaH". 

Here, one could hastily conclude that the work was composed for the benefit of little children, which would make annaMbhaTTa a Dr. Seuss of sanskrit literature. On the contrary, the commentary clarifies what a "bAla" means - "adhIta-vyAkaraNa-kAvya-kosho .anadhIta-nyAya-shAstro bAlaH". A child (boy), as per this work, is one who has studied grammar, lexicon, and poetry but not nyAya (logic).  One who has the physical appearance and biological characteristics of a man but lacks the knowledge of logic is a mere boy! Even while considering the other terms, strI, etc., we should not judge by physical appearances alone. These terms stand for certain qualities. Anyone who has such qualities should be considered as belonging to that category, even if he is apparently a man.


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