[Advaita-l] Reply to Sri Vidyamanya Tirtha's observations

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Tue Nov 12 10:45:12 CST 2013

> I can agree Aham Brahmasmi thought cannot be joined with I am Kartru and I
> am Bhoktru thoughts. But BG is asking us to not do Naishkarmya but Karma
> Phala Tyaga only. Krishna has not asked to give up all Karmas but Karma
> Phala only. 

Not true. Who can give up all karmA, who is eligible for sarva-karma-phala tyAga
and when, are all matters that pertain to adhikAra bheda and the advice by one's
own guru. There is no one course of action that applies to all human beings. Please
read chapter 3 of the gItA (jnAnayogena sAMkhyAnAM karmayogena yoginAm),
chapter 12 and chapter 18 thoroughly, along with the SAnkara bhAshya.
Also, naishkarmya is not something that can be done. It can only be achieved by
giving up all doings. Not even bhagavAn can tell you to do naishkarmya, because
that would be a contradiction in terms. What he does tell you about getting to
naishkarmya from karmA through the paths of nishkAmya karmA and karmaphala
|tyAga is very clear:

ArurukshoH karma kAraNam, ArUDhasya tasyaiva SamaH kAraNam, and therefore,

SanaiS Sanair uparamed buddhyA dhRti-gRhItayA.
> Mandana Mishra is also saying same thing by giving
> Brihadaranyaka Upanishad Vakya support for Karma like Yajnas. Tametam
> Vedanuvacanena Brahmana Vividishanti Yajnena Danena Tapasa Anashakena.

There is a difference in what needs to be done for satisfying vividishA (the desire to
know) and what is prescribed/recommended after jnAna has arisen. And that turns
upon whether the character of the jnAna is paroksha vAkyajnAna (e.g. anyone who
has had some exposure to the upanishat knows the sentence ahaM brahmAsmi)
or whether it is aparoksha jnAna.

This is a key difference between maNDana miSra and  Sankara bhagavatpAda in
what this means for a sAdhaka. Is ahaM brahmAsmi ever a matter of aparoksha
jnAna? And do you agree that this jnAna is incompatible with the notions of ahaM
kartA and ahaM bhoktA? If the answer to both questions is yes, then it naturally
follows that in this state of jnAna, there is no more place even for yajna, dAna,
tapas and anaSana. It also naturally follows that yajna etc are important means
to an end, not the end itself.
> After Veda Vakya Jnana like Aham Brahmasmi the Vedic rituals will help to
> realize Brahman. If you make a comparison the importance of Yajnas is like
> Yoga for Sanyasis. There is no rule for doing Yogabhyasa for Brahma Jnana.
> But all Sanyasis will know they have to do few Yogic exercises like
> Pranayama. The non Sanyasis can perform Vedic rituals. 
Given the above, it is a false conclusion to think that Vedic rituals will help to realize 
brahman AFTER the rise of the jnAna, "ahaM brahmAsmi" and the dissolution of the
ahaM kartA/bhoktA notions. If the vAkya-janita jnAna, "ahaM brahmAsmi" is not the
same as realization of brahman even after it is aparoksha for a person, then what is
meant by the term "realizing brahman"? If there is the feeling that brahman is still to
be realized and if there is the feeling that performance of the rituals will help, then
that is a clear indication that "ahaM brahmAsmi" is not yet aparoksha jnAna for that
person. Indeed, for such a person, performance of vedic rituals may be necessary, but
again, there is a nuance there. If such performance only serves to strengthen the ahaM
kartA notion, then it will not be a help to brahmajnAna. 
> Mandana has given
> the pure crystal example. The Pure Crystal is colourless. We have Jnana it
> is colourless. When it is near a colourful object it also has the same
> colour. We are seeing it colourful even though we have Jnana it is
> colourless. But when you remove the coloured object the crystal is seen
> pure colourless. The removing is Action. By Karma with Phala Tyaga we can
> finally reach Brahma even though the Jnana is already there.

That again is a false conclusion. The removing is not Action. It is the giving up of all
Action. The pure colorless crystal is the AtmA, which is brahman. The colored object
that is near it, as an upAdhi, is the superimposition of kartRtva/bhoktRtva on the
AtmA that is intrinscially akartA and abhoktA. Removing the colored object is not just
karmaphala tyAga, nor is it really another karmA generating new phala that needs a
conscious act of tyAga.

Needless to say, if the jnAna is already there and if it is truly aparoksha, then all the
necessary phala tyAga happened long ago, it is not something  to be accomplished all
over again.
Finally, all the argumentation that says karmA is needed for non-saMnyAsins ignores
the fact that no one is born a saMnyAsin. Every saMnyAsin in the history of the entire
universe is a person who have voluntarily given up action, some partially, some totally.
There comes a point when one has to move beyond performance of karmA along with
phala-tyAga to the stage where there is sarva karma saMnyAsa, which means ultimately
giving up all vaidika and laukika karmA. This is what Sankara bhagavatpAda emphasizes
time and again. 
Best regards,

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