[Advaita-l] adhikAra - veda - vedAnta, a query

Vinodh vinodh.iitm at gmail.com
Wed Oct 13 06:19:31 EDT 2021


Another story that strikes me in this context is one in the life
of Shankara Bhagavadpada that lead him to compose to the Manisha Panchakam (

Here is a short description of the story from Wikipedia:

According to the story, Adi Shankaraachaarya, was on his way to the temple
after finishing his bath in Ganga. Suddenly he saw a chandaala (an
outcaste) and his four dogs on the way, and told him to moved away from
him, as per the custom in those days. The Chandala then asked him question
in two verses which is -

अन्नमायादन्नमयमथवा चैतन्यमेव चैतन्यात्
यतिवर दूरीकर्तुं वाञ्छसि किं ब्रूहि गच्छगच्छेति

To move matter from matter, or to separate Spirit from Spirit?
O best among the twiceborn, which of these two do you wish to achieve by
saying, “Move away, move away”?

On hearing this question, Shankara replied to these questions in five
verses and touched the feet of Chandala, as a way to show respect towards

Here, we see another exception that a Jnani has made with respect to the
commonly observed rules of the shaastras. These examples illustrate that
there have always been, since Upanishadic times until recent times,
exceptions to the shaastric rules made by great Jnanis and Acharyas based
on the case at hand. However, an ajnani must be very careful in drawing any
extrapolations from these exceptions to the rules of the shaastras. For
ajnanis like me (who still have not let go of the identification with the
body-mind-complex), it is important to make all effort toward following the
shaastric injunctions rather than trying to violate them by citing
exceptions such as these that were made my jnanis. In the Gita, Sri Krishna
says that even if one believes oneself to be a jnani and outside any rules
still for the sake of lokasamgraha (welfare of the society) the dharmic
rules must be followed. In fact, Sri Chandrashekharendra Saraswathi cites
this very incident in Shankaracharya's life to convey this message in one
of his discourses (I believe it is in Deivatthin Kural / Voice of God, Vol.

Om tat sat 🙏

On Wed, Oct 13, 2021 at 8:12 AM Vinodh <vinodh.iitm at gmail.com> wrote:

> Thank you for sharing this wonderful story, Sri Subbuji.
> This reminds me of the story of the Satyakama from the 4th Adhyaaya of the
> Chandyoga Upanishad. This is a story right from the sruti of a boy who does
> know his lineage because of not knowing who his father is. However, because
> of his desire for the Truth (hence the name Satyakama) is taken up by an
> Acharya for initiation into Brahmacharya. He later on goes on to become a
> Brahmavid (knower of Brahman).
> This scene from the 1983 Sanskrit Movie on Adi Shankaracharya on this
> story captures this story very nicely. It starts with the boy asking his
> mother Jabala "kim gotram nu aham asmi?" (what is my gotra?):
> https://youtu.be/mLocEECoXjI?t=3995
> सत्यकामो ह जाबालो जबालां मातरमामन्त्रयांचक्रे ब्रह्मचर्यं भवति विवत्स्यामि
> किंगोत्रो न्वहमस्मीति ॥ ४.४.१ ॥
> satyakāmo ha jābālo jabālāṃ mātaramāmantrayāṃcakre brahmacaryaṃ bhavati
> vivatsyāmi kiṃgotro nvahamasmīti || 4.4.1 ||
> 1. Once Satyakāma Jābāla said to his mother Jabālā: ‘Revered mother, I
> would like to live with a teacher as a celibate student. What is my
> lineage?’.
> सा हैनमुवाच नाहमेतद्वेद तात यद्गोत्रस्त्वमसि बह्वहं चरन्ती परिचारिणी यौवने
> त्वामलभे साहमेतन्न वेद यद्गोत्रस्त्वमसि जबाला तु नामाहमस्मि सत्यकामो नाम
> त्वमसि स सत्यकाम एव जाबालो ब्रवीथा इति ॥ ४.४.२ ॥
> sā hainamuvāca nāhametadveda tāta yadgotrastvamasi bahvahaṃ carantī
> paricāriṇī yauvane tvāmalabhe sāhametanna veda yadgotrastvamasi jabālā tu
> nāmāhamasmi satyakāmo nāma tvamasi sa satyakāma eva jābālo bravīthā iti ||
> 4.4.2 ||
> 2. Jabālā said to him: ‘My son, I don’t know what your lineage is. I was
> very busy serving many people when I was young, and I had you. As this was
> the situation, I know nothing about your lineage. My name is Jabālā, and
> your name is Satyakāma. When asked about your lineage, say, “I am Satyakāma
> Jābāla.”’.
> स ह हारिद्रुमतं गौतममेत्योवाच ब्रह्मचर्यं भगवति वत्स्याम्युपेयां
> भगवन्तमिति ॥ ४.४.३ ॥
> sa ha hāridrumataṃ gautamametyovāca brahmacaryaṃ bhagavati vatsyāmyupeyāṃ
> bhagavantamiti || 4.4.3 ||
> 3. Satyakāma went to Gautama, the son of Haridrumata, and said: ‘Revered
> sir, I wish to live with you as a celibate. I have come, revered sir, to be
> your disciple’.
> तं होवाच किंगोत्रो नु सोम्यासीति स होवाच नाहमेतद्वेद भो
> यद्गोत्रोऽहमस्म्यपृच्छं मातरं सा मा प्रत्यब्रवीद्बह्वहं चरन्ती परिचरिणी
> यौवने त्वामलभे साहमेतन्न वेद यद्गोत्रस्त्वमसि जबाला तु नामाहमस्मि सत्यकामो
> नाम त्वमसीति सोऽहं सत्यकामो जाबालोऽस्मि भो इति ॥ ४.४.४ ॥
> taṃ hovāca kiṃgotro nu somyāsīti sa hovāca nāhametadveda bho
> yadgotro'hamasmyapṛcchaṃ mātaraṃ sā mā pratyabravīdbahvahaṃ carantī
> paricariṇī yauvane tvāmalabhe sāhametanna veda yadgotrastvamasi jabālā tu
> nāmāhamasmi satyakāmo nāma tvamasīti so'haṃ satyakāmo jābālo'smi bho iti ||
> 4.4.4 ||
> 4. Gautama asked him, ‘O Somya, what is your lineage?’ Satyakāma said:
> ‘Sir, I do not know what my lineage is. When I asked my mother, she said to
> me: “I was very busy serving many people when I was young, and I had you.
> As this was the situation, I know nothing about your lineage. My name is
> Jabālā, and your name is Satyakāma.” So, sir, I am Satyakāma Jābāla’.
> तं होवाच नैतदब्राह्मणो विवक्तुमर्हति समिधं सोम्याहरोप त्वा नेष्ये न
> सत्यादगा इति तमुपनीय कृशानामबलानां चतुःशता गा निराकृत्योवाचेमाः
> सोम्यानुसंव्रजेति ता अभिप्रस्थापयन्नुवाच नासहस्रेणावर्तेयेति स ह वर्षगणं
> प्रोवास ता यदा सहस्रं सम्पेदुः ॥ ४.४.५ ॥
> ॥ इति चतुर्थः खण्डः ॥
> taṃ hovāca naitadabrāhmaṇo vivaktumarhati samidhaṃ somyāharopa tvā neṣye
> na satyādagā iti tamupanīya kṛśānāmabalānāṃ catuḥśatā gā nirākṛtyovācemāḥ
> somyānusaṃvrajeti tā abhiprasthāpayannuvāca nāsahasreṇāvarteyeti sa ha
> varṣagaṇaṃ provāsa tā yadā sahasraṃ sampeduḥ || 4.4.5 ||
> || iti caturthaḥ khaṇḍaḥ ||
> 5. Gautama said to him: ‘No non-brāhmin could speak like this. [Therefore,
> you must be a brāhmin.] O Somya, go and get me some fuel [for the
> sacrificial fire]. I will initiate you [as a brāhmin by presenting you with
> the sacred thread], as you have not deviated from truth.’ After the
> initiation, he selected four hundred feeble and famished cows. Addressing
> Satyakāma, Gautama said, ‘O Somya, take these cows away [and look after
> them].’ As. Satyakāma was taking them away, he said, ‘I will not come back
> until there are a thousand of them.’ He lived away for many years until
> they had become a thousand.
> The full adhyaaya can be found here:
> https://www.wisdomlib.org/hinduism/book/chandogya-upanishad-english/d/doc239070.html
> .
> On Thu, Oct 7, 2021 at 8:16 PM V Subrahmanian via Advaita-l <
> advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
>> Here is an incident recorded in the book '108 Facets of the Inimitable
>> Guru':  p.167 -
>> Quote:
>> His Holiness accorded high priority to spiritual aspirants. An Italian
>> came
>> to
>> Sringeri in November 1974, hoping to receive some clarifications regarding
>> Gauḍapādācārya’s Kārikās on the Māṇḍūkya-upaniṣad. However, His
>> Holiness was rather busy at that time with the śiṣya-svīkāra ceremony
>> slated
>> for 11th November. Hence, it was felt that it would be impossible for the
>> foreign aspirant to have a private audience with His Holiness. Yet, in
>> response to his request, He readily consented to spare time and, with Sri
>> Subbaramaiya acting as an interpreter, answered his questions and resolved
>> his doubts. On later being asked about this, His Holiness said, “He is
>> sincere
>> and has come all the way to India to learn. It is my duty to provide him
>> clarifications and, hence, obligatory on me to spare time for him.”
>> Unquote
>> One can note that an Italian was accorded priority in regard to the
>> Gaudapada Karikas which are based on the Mandukya Upanishad.
>> regards
>> subbu
>> On Wed, Oct 6, 2021 at 9:31 PM Vinodh via Advaita-l <
>> advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
>> > Thank you for the pointer, Sri Subbuji. It indeed makes sense that the
>> > qualification for sannyaasa is vairagya. Because sannyaasa is
>> essentially
>> > the renunciation of all karma (nivrutti marga or renunciation of all
>> > activities) by exiting the pravrutti marga (indulgence in activities).
>> The
>> > pravrutti marga and the various dharma vidhis in it are meant for the
>> > rightful pursuit of one's desires through appropriate activities (karma)
>> > that are suited to one's characteristics in this birth. However, after
>> > having attained the viveka (discernment) of the permanent and the
>> ephemeral
>> > that all pursuits of desires are ephermeral and that the only permanent
>> > thing is the attainment of moksha through jnana, one attains true
>> vairagya,
>> > which is essentially a disinterest towards pursuit of all karma,
>> including
>> > the dharmic ones. Then, one is ready to really renounce all actions and
>> > become a true sannyaasi. The praisha mantra that one utters when taking
>> up
>> > sannyaasa is essentially nothing more than a declaration that one is no
>> > longer a threat to any other being because even for sustaining one's
>> body
>> > one will only use whatever comes in one's way and not actively go in
>> > pursuit of it; this is why a sannyaasi lives on bhiksha alone. Based on
>> > this understanding of sannyaasa truly means, it is not hard to see that
>> the
>> > only qualification for sannyaasa is vairagya born out of viveka.
>> >
>> > Having said the above about the qualification for sannyaasa (or the
>> > nivrutti marga), however, the qualifications for the various dharmas in
>> the
>> > pravrutti marga, like veda adhyaayana, etc., depend on the shaastras. A
>> > traditional matam will never endorse a blanket deviation from the
>> shaastras
>> > on these matters for all. This is because these have been laid down for
>> the
>> > betterment of the individual and the society, by allowing them to pursue
>> > dharma (a system of activities prescribed according to one's varna and
>> > ashrama) through various karmaanushtanas, to attain artha (material
>> > possessions) through these karmas, to satisfy their kamas (desires)
>> through
>> > these arthas, and to eventually come to a point where one sees the
>> > ephemeral nature of satisfying these kamas and hence enter the nivrutti
>> > marga. Any deviation, as already mentioned, may be allowed by one's
>> Acharya
>> > on a case-by-case basis for particular individuals, and this is purely
>> out
>> > of the compassion for the these individuals who are struggling to follow
>> > their dharma given their current situation. This case-by-case advice on
>> > matters pertaining to conduct by a learned Brahmana is also the meaning
>> of
>> > the Taittiriya Upanishad vakhya I had referred to earlier. However, a
>> > blanket endorsement like anyone can do anything they want because now
>> the
>> > times are different is something a traditional matam will never support.
>> > The only general advice that is consistently given by all traditional
>> > matams is to follow the shaastras and act according to one's svadharma
>> as
>> > much as possible according to one's ability.
>> >
>> > Om tat sat 🙏
>> >
>> >
>> >
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