[Advaita-l] Fw: Re: waking, dreaming, sleeping, as mutually supportive

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Thu Oct 22 10:08:50 CDT 2009

> I am afraid, shankara himself makes this type of 'ultra-conservative' 
> statements in his shruti bhAshya : na hi kshtriya vaishyayOH pArivrAjya 
> pratipattirasti (bruhadAraNyaka 4-5-15 concluding remarks) & brAhmaNAmeva 
> adhikArO vyuttAne atO brAhmaNa grahaNam (bruhadAraNyaka 3-5-1) ...I've 
> written a mail regarding this seeking clarification, apart from Sri subbu 
> prabhuji, who kindfully called over phone with regard to this, nobody said 

Please see sureSvara's vArttika on this, where he clarifies everything. A vArttika

is a commentary that explains what is left unsaid (anuktam), what is said well

(sUktam) and also clarifies that which is not said well (duruktam). Now, you can

come back and say the mUlabhAshyakAra's words are in no need of further

explanation, but the fact remains that his own direct disciple wrote a vArttika

in order to explain and clarify the points made in the bhAshya.


Please also see the overall context of this bRhadAraNyaka bhAshya passage, 

where brAhmANa is primarily defined as one who knows brahman, not via the

usual understanding of varNa.


We have discussed this numerous times in the past, so I don't see a big need

to repeat it all. Tradition, from time immemorial, allows the entry into saMnyAsa

ASrama for all dvija-s. The only practical difference, again from a historical

perspective, is that a brAhmaNa by birth has an opportunity to become a

saMnyAsin directly from the brahmacArin stage, while people of other varNa-s

are typically expected to go through a stage-wise progression to saMnyAsa.


Regarding the saMnyAsin lineages and institutions that I referred to yesterday,

I anticipated Anbu Sivam's sarcastic response about exceptions to the rule,

but waited to see it happen. All I can say is, before making sweeping statements

about ancient institutions, please have the humility to study the record properly.

Notwithstanding what some individual(s) on this list may think, the Sringeri AcAryas

have always been the foremost in adherence to the SAstra-s and to the Sankaran

tradition in particular. When they have given their seal of approval to something,

many centuries ago, there had to have been a background and a basis for it.


To answer Praveen's comment on this thread, yes, the Sringeri tradition now is

that the presiding AcArya gives direct initiation only to a chosen successor, but

this is only a practice adopted to avoid succession disputes. It is acknowledged

even in official Sringeri accounts, that in the past, the AcAryas used to initiate

many people into saMnyAsa, not just one successor. Also, even now, the AcAryas

do give other kinds of mantra initiation for meditation purposes and teach the

texts to many different people. It is only for the saMnyAsa initiation that they

have made it a practice to reserve it to one person only.


In the specific cases of the other Maths that I mentioned, there is no need for

the current Sringeri AcArya to perform the initiation, because there is already a

living lineage in those institutions. It is only when the lineage gets broken that

they seek revalidation from Sringeri.


So, to sum up, let me reiterate - it is bogus, based on one's own limited knowledge,

to claim that the jnAna mArga and in particular, saMnyAsa, are limited to people

born in a brAhmaNa household. The reality of the tradition is different. Yes, the 

brAhmaNa by birth is privileged in certain ways, but the door has never been closed

to others.



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