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

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Tue Nov 26 15:40:32 CST 2013

Dear Venkatesh,


I will explicate things one more time, because it is very obvious to me that you are not getting it at all.


1. No one, not a single one, among traditional Vedantins says that Sankara bhagavatpAda is "against"
yajna-s. I will leave aside "modern Vedantins" here, as it is not clear to me which group(s) you mean by
this term.


2. However, every truly traditional Vedantin has understood that in the final analysis, as per Sankara
bhagavatpAda's teaching, moksha is through jnAna alone. And jnAna, pure jnAna, stands apart from
any and all kind of karmA. "jnAnAd eva tu kaivalyam" is an ancient aphorism.


3. Every truly traditional Vedantin has also understood that as per Sankara bhagavatpAda's teaching,
performance of yajna-dAnAdi karmA-s are for citta Suddhi.


4. No truly traditional Vedantin can agree that jnAna is always and necessarily automatic with citta
Suddhi. There is such a thing as the need for sAdhana towards jnAna after citta Suddhi is attained.
There is such a thing as the need for a guru/AcArya to deliver that jnAna to the citta that is Suddha.
AcAryavaN purusho veda is a line from the chAndogyopanishat. All the seekers in the praSna text are
quite advanced in citta Suddhi, but they approach a guru for brahmajnAna and to learn the sAdhana
towards it. nArada was highly learned, and presumably performed all the nitya karmA needed for years
on end, but still had to approach sanatkumAra. bhRgu had to go to varuNa. 


5. Most crucially, to properly understand Sankara bhagavatpAda, it is not enough to keep talking of the
need of yajnAdi for citta Suddhi and then obfuscate that with a supposed need for performing karmA
AFTER the rise of samyag-jnAna. Such confused thinking about karmA and jnAna is the *only* aspect 
that I have been criticizing in your previous posts. Please go back and read through your posts, their
assumptions and my responses carefully. I have never claimed that Sankara bhagavatpAda is against
yajna-s. Such meaningless and contentless statements are outside the range of what I write, because I
think Sankara bhagavatpAda is never against anything in a totally unqualified manner. But he is definitely
against a muddled interpretation of the vedAnta according to which performance of karmA is necessary
to gain brahmajnAna after the rise of upanishad-vAkya-janita-jnAna. If you say that a lot of people have
heard "ahaM brahmAsmi," but they are not brahmajnAnIs, and that such people need karmA, you are
partially right and partially wrong. Such people may not be brahmajnAnIs, agreed, because they have 
heard the words of the upanishad vAkya, but the jnAna conveyed through that vAkya has not yet been
born in their minds. The remedy for such people is not the performance of yet more karmA, but a slow
withdrawal from karmA, if not a radical break from all karmA. Either way, the process has to go through
a state where karmA is renounced, either formally in the traditional conception of vividishA saMnyAsa
or as a matter of course, no matter what ASrama they find themselves in. Finally, when the jnAna "aham

akartA" has been realized, karmA itself is a total impossibility. This is one of the crucial cornerstones of
what advaita vedAnta is all about. Till such time as such jnAna arises, karmA has a very important place,
first in its diligent performance and then in its renunciation. It has no place AFTER the rise of jnAna.


I hope the nature of the criticism against your stance is clear. And I hope that the traditional view about 
the place of yajna-s and karmA in the process of sAdhana is also clear.



> Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2013 11:45:15 +0530
> From: vmurthy36 at gmail.com
> To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
> Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Reply to Sri Vidyamanya Tirtha's observations
> Namaste Vidyasankar
> There is a book in Google books - Mimansa and Advaita. If you read the book
> you can see Kumarila and Mandana and Adi Sankara are all saying Nitya Karma
> is for PapaKshaya and Citta Suddhi. Kumarila is supporting Moksha also. He
> is saying no point in going to heaven and enjoying all the time. When Citta
> Suddhi happens the Jnana is automatic because in Nitya Karma Upanishad
> reading is also included. Adi Sankara is making this statement in Br Up 4 -
> 4 - 22. When he reads Vedas and Upanishad daily with Purified Mind the
> Upanishad Vakya Jnana will happen automatically.
> I am not saying Guru is not required. Guru will only teach Upanishads but
> student without Citta Suddhi will not get Jnana. He has to practice Nitya
> Karma including reading and meditating on Upanishads. Mandana is saying
> both meditation and Yajnas will be required.
> All these years the olden Vedantists and modern Vedantists have argued Adi
> Sankara is against Yajnas. But it is a lie. Adi Sankara supported Yajnas if
> they are Nitya Karma.
> On Thu, Nov 14, 2013 at 9:27 PM, Vidyasankar Sundaresan <
> svidyasankar at hotmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > > 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,
> >
> > Vidyasankar
> >
> >
> >
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> -- 
> Regards
> -Venkatesh
> _______________________________________________
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