[Advaita-l] Pratyavaaya paapam

Krishnamurthy Ramakrishna puttakrishna at verizon.net
Mon Oct 27 10:23:11 CDT 2008

Ramanathan P wrote on October 26, 2008....

-----Original Message-----
From: advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
[mailto:advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org] On Behalf Of Ramanathan
Sent: Sunday, October 26, 2008 4:19 PM
To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Pratyavaaya paapam

On this topic, it would be useful to make clear what the nityakarmas,
etc.  of non-Brahmanas are. Since I take it that the Brahmanas are
primarily discussing here, and have in mind their duties, it should be
one of their 'duties' to tell others how they fit, if at all, in the
orthodox view of such things. If the discussion does not apply to them,
for this is primarily about ritualistic duties relevant to Brahmanas,
then that should be made clear. The reason is that we are linking a
universal philosophy with particular dharmas of the individuals.

Are those from foreign countries who are trying to learn Advaita here
relevant to this discussion?

Another point in this regard: if the duties of the Brahmanas are
different from others, and yet is a necessary svadharma for them alone,
then what exactly is the basis? To be logical, must we not insist that
we are born Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, Shudras due to specific
prarabdha karma and with tendencies that makes us best fit in that
varna? It has more to do with Ishvara's decision (on our
work-tendencies, hence our birth) that was presumably seen and made
into shastras by our sages, than with the idea that the sages thought
this approach works best for society. In the latter case, the
individual is free to take up another's work by rejecting the
psychological insinuations: it is possible depending on adhikara
(Drona, for instance); in the former case, we surrender to Ishvara's
decision and abide by the svadharma as our path to cleansing the mind,

Dear Sri Ramanathan,

Sri Krishna provides a guide in the Bhagavad gIta for your question
regarding the obligations for those, to whom nitya-karma is not prescribed,
as follows;

svE svE karmaNyabhiratah samsiddhim lahatE narah |
svakarma niratah siddhim yathA vindati tat shruNu || - 18.45

Each devoted to his own duty, man attains perfection; please listen to me as
how one attains highest good by engaging in his own duty.

Yatah pravrittir bhUtAnAm yEna sarvam idam tatam |
Sva karmaNA tam abhyarchya siddhim vindati mAnavah || - 18.46

>From whom this manifestation and evolution of beings is orchestrated and
By whom all this is pervaded, worshipping Him by one's own duty, man attains

And the famous and most often quoted instruction...
karmaNyEvAdhikAraste mA phalEshyu kadAchana |
mA karma phalahEtubhUh mAtE sangOstu akarmaNi || - 2.47

You have the right to work only and not to the fruits of the work. Let not
the fruits of action be your motive, nor let thy attachment be to inaction.

Now, as much as the nitya karma is intended for chitta shuddhi (purification
of the mind), the above teachings of Sri Krishna are also intended for
chitta shuddhi. However, in the business environment that we operate,
achieving the instruction in 2.47 is a very tall order. But we are thrust in
to environment by our own past karma and consciously striving for living up
to the instruction is our best hope. 

Please note that even those who have a prescribed nitya karma are not exempt
from these instructions of Krishna. They have both obligations, if they are
engaged in a work environment for making a living. We may also consider them
as two parallel paths for  us to attain the chitta shuddhi.

K. Ramakrishna.

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