[Advaita-l] Nitya Karma question

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu Oct 6 20:53:58 CDT 2011

Namaste Ramesh ji,

Your post is interesting and provokes further thought.  Even in your first
post I could sense the 'errors of omission/commission'.

Delving further on the topic I felt like presenting my thoughts thus:

The topic here is about 'pratyavAyaH' that is understood mainly as
adRShTaphala to be reaped/experienced in another birth, in another loka,
perhaps.  We have niShiddha karma like 'brAhmaNo na hantavyaH' [A brahmin
should not be killed].  When this is 'committed', there is the pApa phalam
of, say, naraka vAsaH.  While this is so, with regard to nitya karma
akaraNa, that is, not adhering to the vihita karma, which is evidently an
omission, the phala is not as the above in the form of naraka vAsa, etc.
While in the former there is a 'bhAvatvam' for the commission, there is no
such bhAvatvam in the case of the omission.  It is in this sense that the
'abhAvAt bhAvotpatti anupapatti' is invoked. Since nitya karma is 'chitta
shuddhikara' it operates by removing the obstacles for chitta shuddhi.  The
obstacles are in the form of pUrva upachita durita (pApa earned earlier).
Nitya karma brings about the durita kShaya, though not in a very big measure
as Shankaracharya has said in the Taittiriya bhashya introduction, it has
this effect.  Not performing it will not bring about durita kShaya.  In
other words the pUrva upachita durita will continue to manifest and in that
sense 'nitya akaraNa will 'result' in pratyavAyaH.'  But logically speaking,
since akaraNa is only an omission, abhAva, it will not bring about any
positive pratyavAya like that of naraka vAsa.  Your characterizing it as
'passively' producing a result fits this situation. In other words nitya
akaraNa, an omission, will not 'actively' result in any papa but 'passively'
do its job of not reducing the durita stock.

I think the above explains the situation, already stated in previous posts,
in the terms of 'commission and omission' and 'actively and passively'
giving results.

However, I am not able to readily appreciate the distinction you have sought
to make between seeing the 'abhAva' in one way or the other.  This concept
eludes my understanding.

 And the idea of the 'various types of abhAva' that has been characterized
as 'vikalpa' by Bhagavatpada being useful in 'easy communication'.  I am
able to readily think of one application of the 'atyantAbhAva' in Vedanta:
In defining mithyAtva there is a type: 'The appearance of an object in a
locus where it cannot / does not inhere in all the three periods of time'.
In this context the 'atyantAbhAva' term is used to build the definition.
प्रतिपन्नोपाधौ वस्तुनः त्रैकालिकात्यन्ताभावलक्षणमिथ्यात्वम्

Having said that, I would like to probe further into the actual context
Shankaracharya has criticized the categorization of abhAva into various
types: praagabhAva, pradhvamsAbhAva, atyantAbhAva, anyonyAbhAva.  Someone
could spare me the effort by presenting the same though in a separate

Your comments are welcome.


On Thu, Oct 6, 2011 at 2:40 PM, Ramesh Krishnamurthy <rkmurthy at gmail.com>wrote:

> Namaste Subbu-ji,
> All I was trying to convey was that one has to be careful about the sense
> in
> which one uses the terms "bhAva" and "abhAva". The purpose of my earlier
> post was to give some laukika examples of "errors of omission" leading to
> negative consequences. I don't entirely disagree with Lalitaalaalitah
> either
> but the context of the examples was lost in his responses.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list