[Advaita-l] Does praNava upAsanA leads to brahmaloka?

Praveen R. Bhat bhatpraveen at gmail.com
Tue Oct 11 12:09:31 CDT 2016

Namaste Venkatraghavan ji,

On Thu, Sep 8, 2016 at 4:53 PM, Venkatraghavan S via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> Yama says that the quality of knowledge produced in Brahma loka
> is clear like the manushya loka (unlike the gandharva loka and pitr loka,
> where brahma jnAna can occur too, but the quality of the jnAna is quite
> unclear). However, Shankaracharya adds a caveat to this. He says - स च
> दुष्प्रापः, अत्यन्तविशिष्टकर्मज्ञानसाध्यत्वात् । तस्मादात्मदर्शनाय इहैव
> यत्नः कर्तव्य इत्यभिप्रायः - Translation- (while the quality of knowledge
> in Brahma loka is very clear) it is very difficult to attain Brahma loka,
> as it is only attained by the performance of a highly specialised set of
> karma and upAsana. Therefore, please do not postpone the effort for Atma
> darshana (that is jnAna), and try to get it  here itself.

The crux of the matter lies here in अत्यन्तविशिष्टकर्मज्ञानसाध्यत्वात्। To
my understanding, plain upAsana is not allowed per se, and needs to be
almost always combined with karma. One's ashrama karmas cannot be given up,
be they as accessory to another main karma, japa or upAsana. The phala is
said to be nullified when these are not done along with svakarma. Even in
case of purashcharaNa of a mantra, one has to do the ashrama karma along
with it. In case of Om, many traditions restrict it to only sannyAsis; its
the only mantra a sannyAsi is allowed/ required to utter. He doesn't have
any specific prescribed ashrama karma and this Omkara alone can fill up his
entire day in various ways.

Then again, there is a specific way near the time of death for the upAsaka
to leave one's body through suShumnanADi, "व्यपोह्य शीर्षकपाले"।
Undoubtedly, इह एव यत्नः कर्तव्यः :)

Kind rgds,
--Praveen R. Bhat
/* Through what should one know That owing to which all this is known!
[Br.Up. 4.5.15] */

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