[Advaita-l] Pratyavaaya paapam

Ramanathan P p_ramanathan at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 29 11:12:39 CDT 2008

I came to the conclusion since after mentioning the generic statements of Sri Krishna, you mentioned of those with "prescribed nitya karma" as follows:
"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. "
This suggested that the outsider has one obligation but the insider has *both*. Actually the "parallel paths" statement that followed was misleading, since I understand that the insider cannot choose one over the other --- must do both. I think I follow your statements below but am not sure if it is the orthodox traditional interpretation, or the rest for that matter. I am interested in what the Shankara matha's ideologically uncompromising stand in all this is.
In this sense, my last question to Sri Vyas was very serious. It was not meant to be pointed against him or others in this particular list although I did not resist the suggestion; unfortunately there has been no response.


--- On Wed, 10/29/08, Krishnamurthy Ramakrishna <puttakrishna at verizon.net> wrote:

From: Krishnamurthy Ramakrishna <puttakrishna at verizon.net>
Subject: RE: [Advaita-l] Pratyavaaya paapam
To: p_ramanathan at yahoo.com, "'A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta'" <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Date: Wednesday, October 29, 2008, 10:05 AM

Sri Ramanathan P. Wrote on 10/27
Dear Sri K. Ramakrishna,

The strength of this discussion was in the insistence of karma
"prescribed" to the individual. The argument that applies to one
outside of the lineage based varnas does not apply to one born to a
varna. That person is obligated to the nitya karma; by your statements,
though the outsider can aspire for chitta shuddhi and moksha without
becoming part of the varna-dharmas, the insider cannot. 

I wonder how you came to this conclusion! It appears to me that you are 
Considering one life span. However, we need to look at this from the
perspective of several life spans - hundreds or even thousands. During this
span covering several lives, it is not inconceivable that one may come in
and step out of varNa dharma (let us call this "Order")or even
dharma for that matter. One may be an atheist in one life and a theist in
another life. How does this individual be on track for moksha or liberation?
If you came to your conclusion from my statement -"parallel paths", I
understand. The parallel paths refer to two individuals (one in the Order,
the other outside the Order contemporaniously). But to the same individual
hopping in and out of the Order, the Paths are serial - he builds on his
achievement of chitta shuddhi from life to life with either of the paths
plus following both paths when he is born in the Order. How can the person
born in the Order be excluded from the karmayoga, which is universal? In
fact this is the biggest strength of Advaita philosophy! If you look at the
Dwaita or VishiSTAdvaita models, the path to moksha is through sanAtana
dharma only - nArAyaANa is the supreme entity, reaching whom is moksha!
The Advaita model confers moksha or realization to any one, inside or
outside the Order, because moksha is realizing yourself - tat tvam asi! 

How is the tradition suggesting this obligation? The basis (it seems to me)
is Ishvara's will that some are born in the tradition, one way or another,
and His wish (as per Krishna's statements) that they abide by those
specific svadharmas. 

It is not Iswara's will that some are born in the Order and some outside
Order - individuals propel themselves to their future birth by their own
actions in the current birth (gIta - 5.15). If it is Iswara's will that one
is arbitrarily born to a lesser or higher environment, then that Iswara is
not worth much or for that matter is not worth anything at all, for He may
be accused of prejudice. It is abiding by one's svadharma that one elevates
himself to more conducive environment. Let me make an example of our
business life to make this clear.
Let us say it is the svadharma of every employee to show up at work for
eight hours, apply his/her skills to solving the problems of the business.
If he does this diligently and shows progress, he may be promoted to a team
leader, wherein he is required to help other employees, in addition to his
eight hours of diligent work. This, if you will, is the additional
responsibility, akin to nitya karma of an individual in the Order.

And if one is to accept the argument, then to add further that due to
this or that difficulty, I will deviate from Ishvara's wish, seems
paramount to disowning the tradition. So we 'all' are doing that and
should try not to do so (completely), or accept a less orthodox
position (as Sri Sadananda does) and follow the remaining general
guidelines of Sri Krishna.

Each individual decides what his/her goal is and follow the dharma that
takes him/her towards the goal - some choose the expressway, while most seem
to choose the scenic route.

K. Ramakrishna.


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