[Advaita-l] What exactly is karma saNyAsa??

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Wed Nov 13 15:28:21 CST 2013

> I have observed two different observations with regard to 'karma saNyAsa'. 
> Firstly Sri sada prabhuji said : 
> // quote//
> That understanding is sarva karma sanyaasa – it is not really renouncing 
> actions that I never did or do, but renouncing the notion that I am doer. 
> These notions will get removed only in the awakening of the true knowledge
> //unquote//
> indicating that 'karma saNyAsa' is NOT exactly about renouncing the 
> physical action itself (agnihOtrAdi vaidikAdi karma-s) but it is ALL about 
> renouncing ONLY katrutva bhAva of the doer. 
> But your goodself, subsequently clarified as below :
> // quote //
> 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. 
> // unquote//

At first glance, it seems like we are saying different things, but in reality, they do
converge at the end.

There is no way one can renounce ONLY kartRtva bhAva and continue to do action,
in any proper sense of the term. True realization of a-kartRtva is necessarily a state
of vidvat saMnyAsa. The person who sits around and claims, "I have lost kartRtva
bhAva, because I have understood, ahaM brahmAsmi," may not be an aparoksha
jnAnI. This can easily be found out, because a certain lack of self-control will soon
manifest itself and give the lie to that person's claim. One who has truly reached 
a state of a-kartRtva will see no need to embark upon any action whatsoever.


Then there is the vividishA saMnyAsa, where a person formally renounces action
in an attempt to focus on brahmajnAna. In this case, vaidika actions like agnihotra,
enjoined on students and/or householders, and laukika actions like earning a living
and supporting the family are renounced. However, the inner kartRtva notion does
not necessarily disappear immediately after formally taking up the ochre robes.
Needless to say, this kind of saMnyAsin also has to eventually graduate to the 
state of a vidvat saMnyAsin.




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