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

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Tue Oct 23 14:14:53 CDT 2012

> 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.

How does one cause to listen? By reciting within hearing distance. As such,
there is open adhikAra for everybody where itihAsa-purANa is concerned,
as per the authority of Sankara bhagavatpAda. Having accepted this, we
have to accept the possibility that one who is not a traivarNika male can/will
also speak and think. Ears, mouths, tongues and brains are generally present
in all human beings. Once SravaNa is admitted, none can prevent manana
and nididhyAsana, if the listener is so inclined.

> 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.
The translation could also be, "The one syllable, OM, is brahman".To this, add the verse gItA 17. 23 - 
om-tat-sad-iti nirdeSo brahmaNas trividhas smRtaH.
Also note, as a matter of linguistic sociology, the Sri Lankan Tamil word for
"yes" is nothing other than Om. Indian Tamil speakers say Am or Am-Am.
As such, there is a very common-place, secular usage of this syllable, at
least among one group of people, from the hourly wage earning labourer
in the fields to the brAhmaNa priests in the various temples in Sri Lanka.What marks apart the recitation of the praNava in a japa or yajna is the
ritual context and nothing else. The traditional restrictions all have to do
with the ritual japa or prayoga of a mantra that has the praNava in it. This
needs to be distinguished clearly from the fact that the syllable occurs in
a text that is from the itihAsa-purANa genre, that conveys jnAna and which
is open for study by all, as per the explicit words of Sankara bhagavatpAda
himself. Regards,

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