[Advaita-l] The method of performing a karma

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Fri Dec 9 19:52:49 CST 2011

In the Brahmsutra bhashya 1.1.2 जन्माद्यस्य यतः Shankaracharya says:

कर्तुमकर्तुमन्यथा वा कर्तुं शक्यं लौकिकं वैदिकं च कर्म, यथाश्वेन
गच्छति, पद्भ्यामन्यथा
वा, न वा गच्छतीति   ।

तथाऽअतिरात्रे षोडशिनं गृह्णाति, नातिरात्रे षोडशिनं गृह्णातिऽ,ऽउदिते
जुहोति, अनुदिते
जुहोतिऽ इति विधिप्रतिषेधाश्चात्रार्थवन्तः स्युः, विकल्पोत्सर्गापवादाश्च   ।

Also in the bhashya 1.1.4 तत्तु समन्वयात् too He says:

ध्यानं चिन्तनं यद्यपि मानसं तथापि पुरुषेण कर्तुमकर्तुमन्यथा वा कर्तुं शक्यं,
पुरुषतन्त्रत्वात् ।

ज्ञानं तु प्रमाणजन्यम्  ।

From this it is clear that karma, whether mAnasam or otherwise, vaidika or
otherwise, can be performed in one way or the other.  However, for the
various alternatives there has to be some authority (when it comes to
vaidika karma) either in the veda itself or smRti or shiShTAchAra.  The
last one is what holds the sway as that is what is most easily accessible
and reliable. Swami Vidyaranya in the Taittiriya Upanishad Bhashya for the
word संमर्षिणः says: रागद्वेषवियुक्तेन सम्यक्शास्त्रार्थनिर्ण्यकुशलाः
सम्मर्षिणः .  This means: When an Astika is in doubt as to the performance
of a vaidika karma  he has to consult shiShTas.  And who are these? 'Bereft
of any personal agenda those who are adepts in determining the purport of
the scripture'.  So, when there is an apparent clash/contradiction between
the shruti and  one or more smrtis, these people have the dexterity to come
to a proper conclusion and apply it in their own lives and guide others too
when required.



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