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

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Thu Nov 14 09:57:16 CST 2013

> But a Gruhastha has every right to purify his mind with Nitya Karmas like
> Sandhyavandana and many Yajnas. He can practice Karma Yoga. By Purification
> of mind he will come to the door step of Atma Jnana. He can do Sravana,
> Manana and Nididhyasana of Upanishad Vakyas and become Atma Jnani. He has
> used all the portions of the Veda like Mantras, Brahmanas and Upanishads to
> get Atma Jnana. Then he can take Vidvat Sanyasa.

So, what happened to your earlier stance that yajnAdi karmA-s are required for
realizing brahman AFTER the knowledge, ahaM brahmAsmi, has already arisen?


And please note that vidvat saMnyAsa is not something that is to be given or
taken. It just is, as the natural state of brahmanishThA. No karmA is possible
or even necessary as a step toward brahman realization for vidvat saMnyAsin-s.


> In Br Up 4-4-22 Adi Sankara is explaining the path for Brahmana Gruhasthas.
> They can get Atma Jnana easily by following Karma Yoga itself. By following
> Karma they can come almost full distance to Moksha.

Whence this "almost full distance"? What is the step involved in covering that
last remaining gap? Read further and go to Br Up 4-4-23, where the text says,
SAnto-dAnta-uparatas-titikshus-samAhitaH and read the bhAshya thereon,
where Sankara bhagavatpAda introduces the word saMnyAsa, highlighting the
importance he gives to this ASrama.


That said, going from brahmacaryASrama directly to saMnyAsa is a rarity. The 

typical path that would apply to most people is one of progressing through
the various ASrama-s, with saMnyAsa as the final stage. Everything prior to
that is preparatory. After saMnyAsa, how can yajnAdi karmA-s be possible,
whether as means to brahman realization or otherwise? A gRhastha, who is
attached to the performance of karmA till the very end, is not eligible for
saMnyAsa, either of the vividishA or the vidvat kind. Which means he is not
a brahmajnAnI, as he is still subject to kartRtva buddhi, one of the effects
of avidyA.


> The tragedy is most of the Vyakhyana Karas have not understood the
> concessions Adi Sankara has given to Brahmana Gruhasthas. They are all
> misunderstanding the importance of Karma and saying silly things about
> Karma like Karma is useless for Brahma Jnana. They are not realizing ALL
> PARTS of Veda are important for Atma Jnana. Karma Kanda is not inferior
> and Upanishads are not superior. Both have a role.

Which vyAkhyAna-kAras are you talking about here? None of the traditional
authors has misunderstood the importance of karmA for those who are not
ready for saMnyAsa. But at the end, there is an important step of the giving
up of all karmA, either through a formal renunciation process or as a natural
state of jnAna. At the end, jnAna stands apart from karmA.


The core concept of jnAna-karma-samuccaya vAda, that karmA is needed for
realizing brahman after the rise of upanishad-vAkyajanita jnAna, is utterly and
completely rejected by Sankara. If you think that those who talk about this are
mistaken when they seem to thereby devalue karmA, please go back to my first
question to you in this response.


Best regards,



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