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

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Fri Nov 15 00:52:50 CST 2013

On Fri, Nov 15, 2013 at 1:32 AM, Rajaram Venkataramani <
rajaramvenk at gmail.com> wrote:

> All actions arises from desire. If one has completely renounced, there can
> be no motivation whatsoever to act. One may act for the welfare of the
> world only when one has assumed the notion, born of maya or avidya, that
> there exists a world and its welfare is desirable. It may be a good thing
> to do and may not affect the jnanam of Ishwara or Jnani but cannot be
> called the svarupa of either. It seems the body and mind continue to act
> even after the rise of aparoksha jnana because the karma vasanas exist
> or the result of Ishwara sankalpa.

Bhagavan Himself asks the Jnani to act, that too, rigourously, in order to
set an example for the ajnAni-s:

न बुध्दिभेदं जनयेदज्ञानां कर्मसङगिनाम्।
जोषयेत्सर्वकर्माणि विद्वान् युक्तः समाचरन्।।3.26।।

English translation by Swami Gambhirananda
3.26 The enlightened man should not create disturbance in the beliefs of
the ignorant, who are attached to work. Working, while himself remaining


Vidvan the enlightened man; na janayet, should not create; buddhi-bhedam,
disturbance in the beliefs-disturbance in the firm belief, 'This has to be
done; and the result of this action is to be reaped by me'; ajnanam, of the
ignorant, of the non-discriminating one; karma-sanginam, who are attached
to work. But what should he do? Himself samacaran, working, performing
those very activities of the ignorant; yuktah, while remaining
diligent; josayet,
he should make them do; sarva-karmani, all the duties.How does an
anillumined, ignorant person be come attached to actions? In reply the Lord

Sanskrit commentary by Sri Sankaracharya
-- बुद्धेर्भेदः बुद्धिभेदः 'मया इदं कर्तव्यं भोक्तव्यं चास्य कर्मणः फलम्'
इति निश्चयरूपाया बुद्धेः भेदनं चालनं बुद्धिभेदः तं न जनयेत् न उत्पादयेत्
अज्ञानाम् अविवेकिनां कर्मसङ्गिनां कर्मणि आसक्तानां आसङ्गवताम्। किं नु
कुर्यात्? जोषयेत् कारयेत् सर्वकर्माणि विद्वान् स्वयं तदेव अविदुषां कर्म
युक्तः अभियुक्तः समाचरन्।।अविद्वानज्ञः कथं कर्मसु सज्जते इत्याह -- ।।3.26।।

Also, in the 4.22 we have in the bhashyam:

यः एवंभूतो यतिः अन्नादेः शरीरस्थितिहेतोः लाभालाभयोः समः हर्षविषादवर्जितः
कर्मादौ अकर्मादिदर्शी यथाभूतात्मदर्शननिष्ठः सन् शरीरस्थितिमात्रप्रयोजने
भिक्षाटनादिकर्मणि शरीरादिनिर्वर्त्ये 'नैव किञ्चित् करोम्यहम्, गुणा गुणेषु
वर्तन्ते' (गीता 3.28) इत्येवं सदा संपरिचक्षाणः आत्मनः कर्तृत्वाभावं
पश्यन्नैव किञ्चित् भिक्षाटनादिकं कर्म करोति, लोकव्यवहारसामान्यदर्शनेन
तु लौकिकैः
आरोपितकर्तृत्वे भिक्षाटनादौ कर्मणि कर्ता भवति। स्वानुभवेन तु
शास्त्रप्रमाणादिजनितेन अकर्तैव।


//.Jnani..is ever clearly conscious of the fact, 'I certainly do not
anything; the organs act on the objects of the organs' (see 5.8;
3.28), he,realizing the absence of agentship in the Self,
certainly does not do any actions like going about for alms etc. But when,
observing similarly with common human behaviour, agentship is attributed to
him by ordinary pooeple, then he (apparently) becomes an agent with regard
to such actions as moving about for alms etc. However, from the standpoint
of his own realization which has arisen from the valid means of knowledge
presented in the scriptures, he is surely not an agent.//

So, here we have an instance in the BG and the bhashya where it is quite
possible for a Jnani who has realized his akartRtva bhAva and yet engage in
karma, both for lokasangraha and for the maintenance of his body.  In the
4. 20  verse we have the word 'karmaNi abhi-pravRtto' pi. which means:
'even if he were to engage rigorously, exceedingly, the prefix 'abhi' gives
that sense, the Jnani remains akartA; his actions remain no-actions.  In
fact in the case of Shankara bhagavatpada too we can see that being an
aparokShajnani He was able to write the bhashya-s, establish maTha-s etc.
He even writes in the Tai.up. bhAShya:  '...therefore I shall vanquish them
(the avaidik dualistic systems) all..'

In 4.22 bhashyam Shankara has also said:

[In reality, actions done by a man of Knowledge are certainly inactions,
since he is endowed with the realization of the actionless Self...*Even if
were to engage in actions either with the intention of preventing people
from going astray or with a view to avoiding the censure of the wise
people; sah, he; eva, really; na karoti, does not do; kincit,
anything,*because he is endued with the realization of the actionless


> I dont think the absolute state is possible or to be aspired for. Instead
> one should perform vaidhika karma and bhakti as far as possible.
> On Wed, Nov 13, 2013 at 9:28 PM, Vidyasankar Sundaresan <
> svidyasankar at hotmail.com> wrote:
> > >
> > > 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.
> >
> >
> >
> > Vidyasankar
> >
> >
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