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

Bhaskar YR bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com
Tue Oct 20 06:25:58 CDT 2009

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.

praNAms Sri Karthik prabhuji
Hare Krishna

Kindly pardon me prabhuji if I have made you to waste your precious time & 
energy with me!! As far as my knowledge goes, I've not invited you to 
argue with my dreary wit :-)) ..Moreover, I am not here to adjudge others' 
capability in understanding the shankara siddhAnta.  I've more than one 
valid reference from shankara bhAshya itself to substantiate my claim that 
" saNyAsa (as an Ashrama)  is NOT A MUST to jnAni" and he can be either 
gruhastha or a formal saNyAsi or an atyAshrami. 

The below is what I think that favours the existence of jnAni-s in other 
Ashrama-s as well...This is not for your consideration prabhuji, I am just 
expressing my thoughts loudly just for the consideration of other 
prabhuji-s who donot have any prejudices on this issue.

(a)  etena gruhasthasya ekatva vijnAne sati pArivrAjyaM 'arthasiddhaM' 
(chAndOgya bhAshya 2-23-1 concluding remarks) :- Here shankara without any 
ambiguity declares that in gruhasthAshrama also there is possibility of 
dawn of 'ekatva jnAna' and for those who have this jnAna in 
'gruhasthAshrama' for them pArivrAjyaM is 'artha siddhAM'...There is clear 
indication here that a jnAni does not have to necessarily retired to 
forest immediately after jnAna to take saNyAsa.And though he (the jnAni) 
is there in gruhasthAshrama the pArivrAjyaM is 'artha siddhAm' for him.

(b)  saH kutaschit nimittAt karmatyAga 'asaMbhave' sati karmaNi phale cha 
saMgarahitaya svaprayOjana abhAvAt 'lOka saMgrahArthaM' pUrvavat karmaNi 
pravruttOpi naIva kiNchit karOti ( shankara in geeta bhAshya 4-19) :  Here 
shankara explains clearly how a jnAni can engage himself in karma even 
after the dawn of jnAna.  And also here shankara tells us how this karma 
of jnAni is in real sense 'akarma eva'...So, shankara does not push aside 
the possibility of 'karma parityAga asaMbhava' & continuation of 'pUrva 
karma'  in some cases. 

(c)  yathA bhagavataH vAsudevasya 'kshAtradharma chestitaM' na jnAnena 
samucchiyate purushArtha siddhaye, tadvat phalAbhisaMdhi ahaMkAra 
abhAvasya tulyatvAt vidushaH..:  Shankra here takes the example of 
bhagavaan krishna himself and explains us how krishna has observed the 
'kshAtradharma' with ahaMkAra abhAva.  This again shows that a jnAni may 
continue to do the action without ahaMkAra bhAva.

(d) Again in geeta 4th chapter 20th verse commentary, shankara talks about 
the reasons for jnAni's post jnAna period karma.  Here he says : karma 
done by jnAni are NOT karma but akarma (inaction) ONLY, coz. he is  the 
realizer of the actionless Self & this jnAni has no end to serve. And 
shankara makes an important observation here and says : 

//  Even though a jnAni remains in karma like before due to getting out of 
actions being impossible, either with an intention of preventing people 
straying their way or with an intention of avoiding the criticism of the 
wise people; but in reality he does not do anything (na karOti), even a 
bit ( kincit) anything, because he is engrossed himself with the 
realization of the actionless Self //

(e)  pravruttena chet lOkasaMgrahArthaM nivruttena chet jeevanamAtrArthaM 
taM jnAnAgnidagdhakarmANaM (geetha bhAshya 5-19)...It is quite evident 
from this bhAshya vAkya that there might be pravrutti jnAni-s like janaka, 
krishna bhagavan, vidhura, dharmavyAdha & nivrutti jnAni-s like a formal 

(f)  In apashudrAdhikaraNa (sUtra 1-3-38), shankara clearly says shudra-s 
like vidhura & dharmavyAdha attained brahma jnAna through their 
pUrvasaMskAra...from this it is clear that  in the current janma it is not 
mandatory  to assume formal saNyAsa to attain jnAna and more importantly 
SanyAsAshrama is NOT a must to 'become' brahma saMsthA. 

(g)  Sri shankara in vidhurAdhikaraNa sUtra bhAshya (BS : 3-4-36, 37,38 & 
39) declares that atyAshrami-s like raikva, gArgi etc. are entitled & 
achieved the jnAna, it is simply because such cases have been cited from 
the scriptures, says shankara. Shankara argues here that scriptural 
passages declare that persons of atyAshrami-s such as raikva and Gargi, 
the daughter of Vachaknavi had the knowledge of Brahman (Chh. Up. 4.1 and 
Bri. Up. 3.6.8).  And shankara continues to argue here that vidura, a man 
who had no wife, did not adopt the Vanaprastha Ashrama, and who had no 
Ashrama, was expert in Brahma Vidya. He had knowledge of Brahman.

Like above, at various places in prasthAna trayi bhAshya shankara makes it 
amply clear that there are jnAni-s in other Ashrama-s, there is 
possibility of dawn of jnAna in any Ashrama and the Atma jnAni, due to one 
or the other reason may continue to do his previous karma without any 

And finally, since I donot have any objection to saNyAsAshrama & its 
enormous benifits, I donot think I am turning the bhAshya 180 degree to 
suit my understanding...But OTOH, IMO, those who have the prejudiced view 
in favour of saNyAsa they should give a second thought before floating 
their pet theories.

Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!

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