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

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Tue Jul 15 23:49:44 CDT 2008

On Tue, 15 Jul 2008, Bhaskar YR wrote:

> Based on this, can we conclude bhagavatpAda's meeting with vishNu rUpi 
> vyAsa, discussion about his sUtra bhAshya with him & his realization 
> from *shiva rUpi chAndAla (outcast)* & his darshana of shAradAmAta 
> etc.etc. as accounted in his biography are questionable!!. Or should we 
> assume these episodes happened after writing sUtra bhAshya or should we 
> say, in the above bhAshya vAkya shankara making his comments keeping 
> general public in his mind (by not including himself)....

I think the last option is more likely.  Immediately after this section 
he quotes the Yogasutra svAdhyAyAyAdiShTadevatAsamprayoga.h (2.44) The 
argument was about pratyakSha (perception) of the Devas.  The mystic 
insight of the Yogis is not the same as ordinary perception.

Small digression: often in accounts of Indian philosophy you will read 
things like "the Mimamsakas were atheists."  As you can see the Mimamsaka 
view of Gods is markedly different from most religions Eastern or Western. 
However it is incorrect to call them atheist as they do not deny the 
existence of God or Gods altogether.  Rather they insist that shastrokta karma
and only shastrokta karma is the medium by which we can relate to the 

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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