[Advaita-l] Sankara on sannyAsa

Antharyami sathvatha at gmail.com
Sat Oct 24 02:44:01 CDT 2009

Hari OM~


The place of SamnyAsa asrama in Advaita Vedanta is quite evident and clear
from Sankara’s Bhasya-s. The important issue here is not about the adhikari
of Jnana. Advaitin-s insist that men of all institutions except the Sudra-s
have the right to knowledge. But when it comes to the means for liberation,
one attains liberation only through assuming Samnyasa Asrama. Sankara makes
this point very clear in his introduction to Mundaka, where he comments
‘JnanamAtre yadhyapi sarvAsramiNam adhikArasthApi SamnyAsa NisTaiva Brahma
VidyA Moksa Sadhanam’ iti. Brahma-jnana may be achieved at Paroksa level by
any asramin but Aparoksa anubhuti is accomplished only by the Samnyasa
Asramin-s who alone are referred to as ParamArtika-s. The term ParamArtika
Samnyasin can have no exceptions but for the formal Samnyasin-s as Sruti
insists the phrase ‘Linga yuktAni’ which categorically indicates the ‘mark’
of Samnyasin (with robes, staff etc). Sankara mocks at those who argue in
favour of householder’s take on mukti, saying, ‘(those who argue that) some
grhasta-s from whom originated the lineage of knowers of Brahman, does not
affect our position, for even by a hundred injunctions (like this), cannot
make karma co-exist with Jnana as apposed to darkness and light’.
With Narayana Smrti,
Graduate Student,
Centre for the Study of Religion,
Jackman Humanities Building,
170 St. George Street, floor 3,
Toronto, Ontario M5R 2M8.

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