[Advaita-l] Nitya Karma question

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Tue Oct 4 02:42:50 CDT 2011

Dear Ramesh ji,

I think the objection to the 'akaraNe pratyavAyaH' on the logical ground of
'there cannot be a bhAvotpattiH (of pratyavAyaH) from akaraNa (actually an
abhAva) is valid without any distinction of whether it is invoked/applied in
the case of a sannyasi or another.  In the former's case one will simply
throw out the 'akaraNe pratyavAyaH' maxim as there is first of all no duty
to karma at all, ab initio. [The common objection by the jnana-karma
samucchaya vaadin that cuncurrent with Atmajnana one should continue with
the ordained duties till death as otherwise one will be failing to comply
with the 'kurvanneva iha karmANi jijIviShet shatam samAh' of the Isha.Up.]
One cannot enjoin on a jnani anything as 'should do'. akartrtva buddhi
cannot entertain a kartrutva buddhi. This is the reason cited and not the
'abhAvAt bhAvotpattiH doSha' that is attached to the invoking of the
'akaraNe pratyavAyaH'.

In the case of the others the objection to the maxim is quite valid as
non-performance will not result in any positive sin; it will only deny the
adhikAri the benefit of chitta shuddhi/ favourable samskara.  This is taken
care of in the various verses of the Bh.Gita that were quoted recently in
this connection.  Here, it is not 'akaraNe pratyavAyaH' but 'nitya karma
akaraNe chittashuddhi utpattyabhAvarUpa pratibandhaka.'

In all the instances of this discussion in the Shankara bhashya, whether the
Bh.Gita 4.18 or the Taittiriya Upanishad (introduction), there is no
specific dealing with the case of the sannyasi.  In the Tai.Up. context, it
is that of the mimamsaka's argument that one can attain liberation
(non-continuance of samsara) with  no need for brahma jijnasa/jnanam by
simply refraining from kAmya karma and niShiddha karma and by diligently
adhering to nitya karma as a failure to do so will result in pratyavaaya,
resulting in turn in the continuance of samsara. This last plea is refuted
by Shankara saying that such will not be the case since non-performance is a
form of abhAva and that it will not / cannot result in the genesis of a
positive entity called durita/pApa.  As to what then is meant by ' akaraNe
pratyavAyaH' has, however, been stated correctly by Sri LalitalAlitaH ji.

On Tue, Oct 4, 2011 at 10:49 AM, Ramesh Krishnamurthy <rkmurthy at gmail.com>wrote:

> 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.
> 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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