[Advaita-l] Asuras and Dharma

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Fri Nov 20 11:49:33 CST 2015

On Fri, Nov 20, 2015 at 10:39 PM, Santosh Rao via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> Namaskara,
> In the shastras we read about how some asuras were given knowledge by
> certain preceptors, for example, shukra is known to have been the guru of
> the asuras, while brighu was the preceptor of the devas.
> My question is, what exactly were these asuras learning?

In the Chandogya upanishad 8th chapter we have the story of Indra (lord of
Devas) and Virochana,(Lord of asuras), both 'sons' of Prajāpati,
approaching him for knowledge. Prajapati instructs both alike and in the
very first round, Virochana thinks the knowledge Prajapati gave was: body
is the self. He was satisfied with this and went away and spread that
knowledge among asuras.  Indra was not satisfied with the first round
teaching; he returned several times to get more instruction and finally
emerged enlightened in the true Vedantic sense.

> Was it the Vedas,
> or some other type of knowledge? If it was the Vedas, doesn't that mean
> there was adhikara for that to take place to begin with? How was that
> defined? If there was adhikara, then why would the lord have to incarnate
> to mislead them with a false doctrine (buddha), instead of correcting them
> in their errors?
> I also read somewhere that the carvaka atheistic philosophy has it's
> origins with rishi brhispathi....is this true? If so, was it's purpose to
> mislead a certain group of people similar to what we are taught about
> buddhism? Sorry if this is off topic, I've been curious about it for a
> while.

Some say that even chārvāka darshana is useful in a certain way: they
consider the body only, not the inert objects outside, as the self. From
that stage one can slowly progress going inwards.  Among charvākas there
are types: body is the self and senses are self. The latter is better than
the former.  So goes the hierarchy.

> Thanks,
> Santosh Rao
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