[Advaita-l] Sankara on sannyAsa for Steadiness in GYAna (was Re: Jivanmukti - Jnana plus Sannyasa pt 5)

Sunil Bhattacharjya sunil_bhattacharjya at yahoo.com
Sun Oct 18 17:24:25 CDT 2009

Dear friends,

We have arrived at a critical position.  Can I put the problem as follows. Of course, I request the Vedantic scholars to say if I have put the problem properly. It is as follows:

The Parivrajaka alone gives up fire and thus he gives up the Vedic rituals and this means he gives up the mortal world and does not aim for the Swarga either and his only aim is the Moksha. In other words he rejects both this mortal and the heaven but seeks that which pervades both, ie. the Brahman. It seems Lord  Buddha got an inspiration for his middle path from such a stand of Baudhayana. If this is so then can any of the other three ashramas, who performs the Vedic rituals through fire, transcend Swarga  and get Moksha.

As regards Janaka, it may then be considered as an exception to the above position.

Looking forward to hearing the views of the scholars and with regards,

Sunil K.Bhattacharjya

--- On Sun, 10/18/09, S Jayanarayanan <sjayana at yahoo.com> wrote:

From: S Jayanarayanan <sjayana at yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Sankara on sannyAsa for Steadiness in GYAna (was Re: Jivanmukti - Jnana plus Sannyasa pt 5)
To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
Date: Sunday, October 18, 2009, 9:53 AM

--- On Thu, 10/15/09, Bhaskar YR <bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com> wrote:

> Sri K prabhuji :
> It is from Sankara's Brahma sUtra bhAShya 3.4.20:


>   "Reply: Steadiness in Brahman (brahma-saMstha) is to
> be
>   completely absorbed in Brahman (brahmaNi
> parisamAptiH),
>   with no other occupation (na-anya-vyaapaara) but to
> be
>   established in THAT (tan-nishhThatvam). THIS IS NOT
>   (na saMbhavati) FOR THOSE IN THE FIRST THREE
>   (trayANAmAshramANAM). For by giving up one's
> vocation,
>   one commits sin. It is possible for the SANNYASI
>   (parivrAjakasya tu) to give up all karma
> (sarvakarmasaMnyAsAt)
>   and yet commit no sin."
> bhaskar :


> So 
> it is too much reading between the lines if one conclude
> that other 
> Ashrami-s who are seemingly doing karma with a perfect
> karma yOga is not 
> brahma saMstha-s !! 

You have just proven that Sankara's statements: "brahmasaMstha iti hi brahmaNi parisamAptirananyavyaapaarataaruupaM tannishhThatvamabhidhIyate . tachcha trayANAmAshramANAM na saMbhavati ." or 

"Steadiness in Brahman (brahmasaMstha) is to be completely absorbed in Brahman, with no other occupation but to be established in THAT. THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE FOR THOSE IN THE FIRST THREE ASHRAMAS."

Actually is to be read as "It IS POSSIBLE for the those in the first three Ashramas to attain brahma-saMstha"!

I cannot argue against such a 180° twist of Sankara's words!

> Dear Karthik prabhuji, have you gone through the complete
> commentary of 
> this sUtra??  shankara before saying the above, admits
> the possibility of 
> brahMa saMstha in all the FOUR Ashrama-s. 

The statements you refer to read (translation by Thibaut):

"Even if (to state an alternative conclusion) the passage contains references only to the other âsramas, it must be viewed as enjoining at any rate the condition of being grounded in Brahman, owing to the glorification of that condition. The question here arises whether that state belongs to any one comprised within the four âsramas, or only to the wandering mendicant. If now a reference to the mendicant also is contained within the references to the âsramas up to the Brahmakârin (i.e. the three âsramas the text refers to before the passage about the brahmasamstha); then, as all four âsramas are referred to equally and as somebody not belonging to any âsrama could not possibly be called brahmasamstha, it follows that the term 'brahmasamstha' denotes any one standing within one of the four âsramas. If, on the other hand, the mendicant is not comprised within the references to the three âsramas, he alone remains, and this establishes the
 conclusion that the brahmasamstha is the mendicant only."

Sankara takes it as a *pUrvapaksha* argument that BrahmasaMstha can be attained in the other three Ashramas and REFUTES it in his siddhAnta, which is:

"The term 'brahmasamstha' denotes fulfilment in Brahman, a state of being grounded in Brahman to the exclusion of all other activity. Now such a state is impossible for persons belonging to the three former âsramas, as scripture declares that they suffer loss through the non-performance of the works enjoined on their âsrama. The mendicant, on the other hand, who has discarded all works can suffer no loss owing to non-performance...In this way we understand that, although there is a reference to the other stages of life, THAT WHICH IS INDICATED BY THE QUALITY OF BEING GROUNDED IN BRAHMAN IS THE STATE OF THE WANDERING MENDICANT."

Please note the last statement again - Sankara establishes the conclusion that the sannyAsI alone can be the BrahmasaMstha and refutes the pUrvapaksha argument.

> Sri K prabhuji :
> It is plenty obvious that according to Sankara, STEADINESS
> (brahma-saMstha) is possible ONLY in the sannyAsa-Ashrama,
> and NOT in the 
> other three Ashramas!
> bhaskar :
> As said above, shankara himself accepts the possibility of
> brahma 
> saMsthA-s in all the four Ashrama-s.

I really do not want to waste my time and energy arguing against one who does not want to change his conclusions in spite of Sankara's own words against those conclusions, and has no idea that a "pUrvapaksha" is stated beforehand in order to be refuted in the siddhAnta.


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