[Advaita-l] Nitya Karma question

Raghav Kumar raghavkumar00 at gmail.com
Fri Oct 7 07:26:41 CDT 2011

Hari Om SrI lalitAlAlitaH ji
Thank you for your clarifications.
You wrote: (as per my understanding)
Although shruti says - "'jAyamAno vai brAhmaNastribhirR^iNavAn jAyate' - (a
brAhmaNa and by implication men of the other 3 varNas- are born with three
R^iNa-s , "debts") still
the idea of these three R^iNa-s cannot be connected to the injunction
regarding the performance of nitya karma. The word RNa only means that a
traivarNika is born with a lack or absence of the necessary means to achieve
*future* ends like pitR-loka (through rituals like agnihotrAdi) or even ends
like propserity to be achieved in this very world (putreNaiva jayyo - this
world is verily won through progeny). But the word RNa does not mean that
anything is "owed" to the RShis or deva-s or pitR-s by the mere fact of
being born as a traivarNika, which needs to be made up, by earnestly doing
the svAdhyaya, nitya-karma like agnihotra and the occasional karma like
pitR-tarpaNam etc. Non-performance of nitya-karma only gives room for
pApa-phala of past karma to show up in our life; it does not amount to not
repaying a debt we actually owe to somebody.

That is why an antevAsin brahmacArI cannot be said to have such R^iNa-s, as
he does not seek either wealth/prosperity in this loka or attainment of a
higher loka. (I think bhAShyakAra too says as much in taittirIya bhAshya, if
I recollect.)

Regarding the word abhAva - SrI Ramesh ji has dwelt at length upon this
You wrote:"R^iNa is abhAva because it is counted as negative....Same as debt
of Rs. 10 means lack of that amount."
 I would like to point out that - It is "noteworthy" that every currency
note is only a financial instrument denoting an abAva-rUpa debt of the form
"I promise to pay the bearer a sum of rupees ten." For the governer of the
reserve bank of India who printed the note, it is a debt he owes to me. So
the same currency note represents a debt from his point of view and it is
abhAva-rUpa for him, but the same entity when it reaches my hand as a
currency note in my hand; his abhAva-rUp!a debt becomes my bhAva-rUpa credit
(money). I am assuming that money is bhAva-rUpa ! (there are 2
entities Credit and Debit; one cannot exist without the other; but one is
termed bhAva and the other abhAva ?) The point is that this whole world runs
on instruments like mortgages, currency notes, loans, bonds etc which are
all denotative of abhAva-rUpa debts. Both the terms bhAva and abhAva are
like the 2 sides of a coin.

Also we have the pata~njali yoga sUtras like - "asteya-pratiShThAyAm
sarvaratno-pasthAnaM ( by being established in non-covetousness, a yogi
comes upon all manner of precious gems.) Non-covetousness (asteyam) is
defined as "ashAshtra-pUrvakam dravyanAm parataH svIkaraNaM; tat
pratiShedhaH punar-aspR^ihArUpam asteyamiti" (acceptance of gifts in a
manner not sanctioned by the shAstra is called steyaM; its opposite, i.e.,
non-acceptance is called asteyam or non-covetousness which is characterized
by an absence of greed. ) Many of the yama-s, like asteyam and aparigraham,
particularly, would be labeled abhAva-rupA but have definite bhAva-rUpa

regarding the other issue : karmaNA pitRlokaH
We have "svarga-kAmo jyotiShTomena yajeta" indicating that vedic ritual is
sufficient to give svarga without reference to charitable activities like
pUrtta-karma. Regarding women and shudras and non-vaidika-s, my question was
(based upon the idea karrmaNA pitR lokaH) - are there any means at all for
them to attain pitR-loka etc.? What does shAshtra say on this matter ?
Whether there are other non-vaidik means for them to attain higher loka-s on
the strength of japaM, AcAra (conduct), etc.? I imagine there must be but
have not seen any shAshtra references to this question. You seem to have
answered the question indirectly by saying that AcAra (right conduct)
will generate puNyam which "will cause svargAdi." -

 You wrote - "Lack of agnihotrAdi will give room to pratyavAya-s to bear
(But) AchAra, etc. will bring their fruit as puNyam. That puNyam will cause
svargAdi. But, which will come first depends on force of pApa and puNyam."

Harih Om

P.S. Regarding the question of what is the primary determinant of the next
janma for a human being, I only wanted to highlight the fact that although
nitya karma-s are to be performed ; yet, all nitya-karma like agnihotrAdi,
all other pUrtta and datta-karma (charitable public works and donations etc)
are exhausted in pitR-loka itself. Only other karma-s performed in this
janma other than the above, will determine the next janma (along with other
such sanchita karma-s). bhAShyakAra says -" iha lokam iShTAdi-karmopacitya
candram gacchanti " (they go to the world of the manes by iShTa karma like
agnihotrAdi rituals)  and  "nanu ishTA-pUrtta-datta-vyatirekeNa-api
manushya-loke sharIro-pabhoga-nimittAni karmANi anekAni sambhavanti ..."
(are there not karmas other than rituals, public works, donations etc, done
in this world using the body?)  (the idea being that these other karmas are
not exhausted in pitR-loka and hence there is no moksha automatically in
pitR-loka) . I believe this idea is significant because, the importance of
AcAra (ie., the puNya generated by it) etc can thereby be clearly seen as
determining the next janma rather than nitya-karma like agnihotrAdi.

The sankalpa behind the nitya-karma might alter the above perspective
somewhat. In other words, the antaH-karaNa-shuddhi obtained by nitya-karma
done as "karma yoga" will still carry forward and greatly influence the next
janma - such is my understanding.

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