[Advaita-l] Apoureshyatva - Faith or Logic?

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Wed Jun 27 07:26:09 CDT 2012

On Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 7:25 PM, Ramesh Krishnamurthy <rkmurthy at gmail.com>wrote:

> I am talking about the ability to take into account something more
> than just instinct (such as ethics) in one's decision to act, not act
> or act differently. The common laukika view is that animals act on the
> basis of instinct, and that only humans can take into account ethical
> and other such considerations. The traditional association of
> puNya-pApa with actions is based on this ability that humans have. In
> general, tradition does not associate puNya-pApa with the actions of
> cows, horses, etc
> So the point is that it is this ability to rise above instinct and
> take autonomous decisions on actions (on the basis of ethical and
> other considerations) that makes the dharma puruShArtha relevant for a
> jIva.

In the Purana-s the case of a non-homo sapien, non-deva and non-animal
class of entities who has this capacity is recognized.  We have the example
of Hanuman, a vAnara. Prahlada and Bali (his grandson) and Vibhishana,
asuras, to name a few.  In the Vishnusahasranama dhyana shloka:
bhUHpAdau....there are these: sura-nara-khaga-go-bhogi-gandharva-daityaH.
Here sura is deva, nara is manushya (homo sapien), gandharva, super-humans
with skill in singing, and daitya - asura-s/rakshasas.  Added to this we
have siddha, kinnara, chAraNa, apsara-s, etc. who are all super humans with
capacity to decide on appropriate action.  In fact they have risen to this
status only by practicing dharma, etc. There is also a 'jAmbavAvn' (bear) a
great devotee of Sri Rama who lived in the time of Krishna too and gave his
daughter in marriage to Krishna. Nowhere do we have the term 'manushya'
being used to mean someone other than the homo-sapien, who is also called
nara, despite there being so many candidates specified above. One instance
where the word manushya is meant to mean only homo-sapiens is in the
Ramayana when BrahmA reminds Rama of his Supreme Divinity and  Rama replies:

AtmAnam mAnuSham manye Raamam dasharathAtmajam

I consider myself a human, Rama, the son of Dasharatha.

It is to be noted that Rama does not invoke any other class here mentioned
above.  If the word manushya were to mean any being other than the homo
sapien, the purana would have recognized it and given it a name.  Since it
has not done so, it is evident that there is no such being. If you say that
in future a being of this class can evolve, then the shastra will not
recognize it, come what may.  For, there is no provision to include
anything to the shastra by way of updating.  And all the types enumerated
above must be distinguishable from their physical features.  And they
mostly possess the ability to assume any form at will and appear in any
place at will.

> > No. There is a classic case of the Sringeri Acharya Sri Chandrashekhara
> > Bharati Swamiji's dialogue with a Westerner who was enamored by the Vedic
> > religion
> I am aware of this and it supports my argument.
> > So, the Peruvian guy, if he had the burning quest, could have sought and
> > got the necessary path for his upliftment that is most suitable for him.
> So you accept that this 12th century Peruvian guy is a
> dharma/mokSha-puruShArthI?
> If yes, do you see that you are actually agreeing with my views?
> As long as you are accommodating the Peruvian guy into the framework
> of dharma and mokSha, you are essentially agreeing with what I wrote
> earlier.

Let me clarify that I accommodated the above person only because he is a
homo sapien manushya hopefully and that he is not someone who had evolved
before a mantra drashta rishi evolved.  Even otherwise, our Acharyas accept
that sAmAnya dharma is available for everybody and only vishesha dharma is
for the appropriate adhikarins.


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