[Advaita-l] Nitya Karma question

Ramesh Krishnamurthy rkmurthy at gmail.com
Tue Oct 4 00:19:35 CDT 2011


2011/10/3 श्रीमल्ललितालालितः <lalitaalaalitah at gmail.com>

> It says that non-performance of nitya-karma points pratyavAya.
> What does it mean ? Does it pacify the conflict between smR^iti and logic
> in
> anyway ? Does it support that nitya-karma-s must be done in any way ?
I am presenting my understanding of this matter. The inadmissibility of
pratyavAya on account of non-performance of nitya karma, on the  logic of an
abhAva cause not producing a bhAva effect, is strictly speaking valid for
saMnyAsin-s only. The cause here is abhAva because saMnyAsin-s are not
obliged to perform nitya karma in the first place. The cause cannot be said
to be abhAva where an obligation exists.

Let us take some laukika examples to understand the matter.

Lets say I am driving a vehicle and suddenly encounter a truck that has lost
control and is heading right towards me. If I brake and swerve in time, I
will prevent an accident. But if I fail to brake (non-performance of an
action), I will meet with an accident (a bhAva effect).

On the other hand, if there was no need to brake in the first place (because
there was no truck or other obstacle in front of my vehicle), then not
braking will not lead to an accident.

Another example that should make the point even clearer. A government
official, say a police officer, can be punished by the government for
dereliction (non-performance) of his duty. The punishment here is like a
pratyavAya. However, the officer can only punished for his own dereliction
of his own policing duties. He cannot be punished for some other police
officer's dereliction, nor can he be punished for not performing (say) an
engineer's duty.

Therefore, the idea that non-performance of nitya karma leads to pratyavAya
is very much logical, so long as the obligation to perform exists. If the
obligation exists, then the non-performance itself becomes bhAva
(non-performance "asti").

However, when the obligation does not exist, then the pratyavAya also cannot
exist. It is here that the yukti of abhAva cause not producing a bhAva
effect becomes applicable.

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