[Advaita-l] Pranava adhikara (Was Re: Guru for Devi Puja)

D.V.N.Sarma డి.వి.ఎన్.శర్మ dvnsarma at gmail.com
Tue Oct 23 02:32:39 CDT 2012

In the old days learning was by listening and memorizing only.

द्वादशवर्षेभिः व्याकरणं श्रूयते - पंचतन्त्रम्

We need not give unnecessary importance to the hair-splitters'
interpretation of shrooyate as "only to listen'.


On Tue, Oct 23, 2012 at 10:06 AM, Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>wrote:

> On Thu, 18 Oct 2012, Venkata sriram P wrote:
>  I  would like to resolve certain issues here:
>> First is praNava adhikAra :
>> ***********************************
>> namOntaM shivamantraM vA vaiSNavaM vESyatE budhaiH
>> yadvA samabhyasEt shUdrOtvArSakaM vidhipUrvakaM
>> ie.,
>> shudrAs can take up shiva panchakshari / vishnu mantra sans praNava
>> by suffixing the pada *namaH* ie., shivAya namaH or viSNavE namaH.
>> This can be suffixed with tAntrika praNava ie., *auM*.
> I've changed the subject line because this is a different although related
> matter.  It is of interest because this is a different issue than the run
> of the mill "modern vs traditional" or "orthodox vs new age" debates. Here
> we have a genuine difference in conceptions of Dharma.  As you will see, I
> have a definite opinion on the matter yet that does not mean I consider the
> other view to be "wrong" per se just not the one I follow. With that
> preamble out of the way...
> It is an incontrovertible fact that the adhikara for the recitation of
> Vedas only belongs to traivarnika males who have undergone upanayana.  Now
> omkara is supposed to represent the essence of the Vedas.  Therefore it
> follows that recitation of omkara should also be restricted to those who
> have veda adhikara.  This view has a strong pedigree; apart from the
> sources Venkata Shriramji mentions, authoritative dharmashastras such as
> Dharmsindhu also say the same.  And it is not only Smartas who hold this
> view.  For instance, I have a copy of the Narayana Kavacha published by a
> Pushti Margi Vaishnava institution where the ashtakshari (OM namo
> nArAyaNAya) and dvadashakshari (OM namo bhagavate vAsudevAya) mantras, the
> prANava is replaced by hR^iM despite occuring as is in the text of the
> Bhagavata Purana itself.
> But speaking of the itihasa-puranas, they are also said to be the essence
> of the Vedas and furthermore specifically for anadhikaris.  And as noted
> above, the omkara freely occurs in these texts.  So it would seem that they
> should be allowed to recite it.
> The rejoinder to this is that the qualification for studying
> itihasa-puranas only extends to shravana ("listening") and not recitation
> or contemplation.  Bhaskara Mishra a near-contemporary of Shankaracharya
> states in the introduction to his commentary on the Bhagavadgita that
> anadhikaris should not even listen to the Gita or other philosophical
> portions but only the charitras ("stories") of the puranas.  Then they may
> be reborn as dvija and undergo upanayana, veda study etc.
> However Shankaracharya clearly says:
> yeShAM punaH pUrvakR^**itasaMskAravashAdavidurasharma**vyAdhaprabhR^itInAM
> GYAnotpattisteShAM na shakyate phalaprAptiH pratiSheddhuM
> GYAnasyaikAntikaphalatvAta
> "From those [Shudras] who have attained jnana due to the merit of their
> former sanskaras such as Vidura and Dharmavyadha, the fruit of jnana [i.e.
> moksha] cannot be denied because jnana is the sole cause of that [moksha.]"
>  (bhashya on BS 1.3.38)
> Yet if they do not have Vedadhikara, how did Vidura or Dharmavyadha get
> that jnana in the first place?  Appealing to former lives only shunts the
> problem back.  Shankaracharyas answer is different:
> shrAvayechchaturo varNAn iti chetihasapurANAdhigame
> chAturvarNyAsyAdhikArasmaraNAt
> "Statements in Smrti such as "He should teach it [the itihasa-puranas] to
> the four varnas" show that the four varnas have adhikara for it." (bhashya
> on BS 1.3.38)
> Now it should be noted that:
> 1.  This comment takes place while the inelegibility of the non-dvija for
> Vedic study is being upheld.  So Shankaracharya clearly holds Veda adhikara
> and Purana adhikara to be two different things.
> 2. The quote from Smrti (specifically the Mahabharata) is a little bit
> ambiguous because shrAvayet literally means "cause to listen."  As noted
> above some think that the non-dvijas can only listen.  However
> Shankaracharya specifically says that it is possible for a  Shudra to
> become a jnani and jnana requires manana and nidhidhyasana as well as
> shravana.
> 3. It therefore follows that non-dvija can also learn the philosophical
> sections of itihasa-purana such as the Gita not just the strictly
> mythological parts.  And if they should teach the symbolism and
> significance of the omkara, it follows that they can learn that too.
> 4. The Gita says in 8.13:
>  OMityekakSharaM brahma
> This  could be translated as "OM is the one letter Brahman" or "OM is the
> imperishable Brahman."  However you take it, it shows that for the
> Vedantins, the omkara is more than just the essence of the Vedas, it is
> Brahman itself.
> For these reasons I do not object to non-dvijas using OM and mutatis
> mutandis other mantras and stotras found in the itihasa-puranas though like
> I won't criticize those who hold differently if that is their parampara.
> --
> Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
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