[Advaita-l] The myth of strict old days

srikanta srikanta at nie.ac.in
Sat Oct 23 09:05:50 CDT 2010

With reference to the discussion on the above topic,there was a posting
which said:
There are three category of people.
(a) People who follow the vidhis and nishedas,to get chittashuddhi.
(b)People who follow the shastra vidhis just to make a big show in front
of others.
(c)People who donot want to give much care and consideration to their
svadharma comfortably skiptheir nitya,naimittikadi karmas and would always
reresort to easy means to get this chitashuddhi.These people would
comfortably forget the Bhagavan updesha in Geeta:Svadharme nidhanam

We can ignore the first two categories,as the irst one is on obtaining
chittashuddhi.The second one is "Mithyachari"as Sri Krishna says.Regarding
the third category,it requires more enquiry and analysis.Shankara has
categorically stated that the Karmas are opposed to Jnana,as darkness to
light.In his elaborate commentary on the Gita shloka,"Karmane akarma yah
pasyet,akarmane karmayah,sah buddhiman manuyeshu,sa krstna karmakrth".
Answering a Purvapaksha from a Purvamimamsin,Probably a Jaiminian, he says
the nonperformance of nitya naimitikadi karmas cannot affect an
aspirant.Because,nonperformance of these cannot affect because these have
no "Phala".Secondly,an abhava of a thing cannot affect an individual.
His illustrious disciple,Sureshwara in his Naishkarmyasiddhi,takes up this
discussion and much elaborately analyses this point.He categorically
states that actions cannot lead to liberation.Starting from the stanza8 to
he explains why performance of actions cannot lead to release(mukthi).

He says:
Iti hrstadiyam vacah svaprajnadhmata cetasam.Ghushyante yajnasalashu
dhumanaddhyam kila!
"Such indeed is the speech made in places of scrifice,by people who are
plased with themselves,whose intellect is nourished by their own
constructions and whose vision is enveloped by smoke(stanza22)"
In the stanza24 he states:
Ajnanahana matratvanmukte karma na sadhanam,karmapamashtim najnanam
tamasivotthitam tamah!!
"Release cannot be the effect of action,for it cannot be the effect of
action,for it cannot fall into any of the categories of effects that
action can bring into existence.
"As release is nothing but the elimination of ignorance,action cannot be
the means thereof.Just as the error engendered in darkness cannot put an
end to darkness,action doesnot eradicate ignorance."
Further in stanza 25,he asks:
Ekena va bhavenmuktiryadi va sarvakarmabhih!
pratyekam cetdrthayani sarvebhyepyeka karmata!!(stanza 25)
"even if release is admited as following from action,there is further
difficulty.Is release the effect of one action or of all actions?If of one
action,other actions are useless,and if of all ,they have all to be
construed as constituting one action(which would be contrary to the strict
divisions of actions into various kinds accepted by the theorists of
karma"(stanza 25)
Sarvaprakarasyapi karmana utpatita eva vishishtasadhya bhi sambaddhanna
parisesyanyaya siddhih.
duritakshapanarthavanna nityam syaddhimauktaye!
svargadhiphala sabaddtvatkamyam karma tathaiva ca!!(stanza26)
"all the diverse kinds of actions are associated with diverse effects by
the initiating jinjunctions themselves and as such,there is no residual
action to which the effectuation of release may be ascribed:
The obligatory action cannot lead to release for it is assigned the
functionof removing sins.Similarly,action prompted by desire is associated
with ends like the conducting of the agent to heaven,and hence it also
cannot lead to release"(stanza26).
Further,he says:
sadhya sadhana bhavoyam vacanat paralaukikah!
Nashrausham mokshadam karma srutevrktvat kathamcana(stanza27)
"Further,there is no scriptural testimony in support.
The means and end relation between actions and their fruits of the nature
of objectives beyond the present life,is to be ascertained through
scriptures.From the mouth of the sruthi we have heard of no action as
leading to release."
He taunts those who believe that actions effect release:
Abhypagatathyupagamacca svashrunirgaccokthitavabhrvato nishprayojanah

Nishiddhakamyayostyagastvayapyasto yatha maya!
Nityasyaphalavatvacca na moksha karmasadhanah!!
"Moreover,you are repeating what the adovocate of knowledge also holds and
hence your task is superfluous.It is like the mother-in-law calling back
the guest refused by the daughter-in-law,so that she may exercise the
privilege of refusing:
Like me you also desire the renunciation of prohibited and desire prompted
actions.Obligatory action is said to produce no result.Hence release is
not effected by any action"
In stnza 51 he says:
Paramparyena karmevam syadavidya nivrttaya!
Jnavannavirodhitvat karmavidyam

Thus, through such a series of links action contributes to the removal of
ignorance.But,it cannot directly remove ignorance,for it  isnot opposed to
We see from the above,Shankara and Sureshwara in unison declared that no
action whether it is desire prompted or obligatory actions cannot effect
release.Knowledge alone can bring liberation.Once an aspirant comes to
Vicharamarga,all other actions are elementary,like numbers table for a PhD

Bhava shankara Desika me Sharanam.                    N.Srikanta.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list