Karma and Sanyasa
sada at ANVIL.NRL.NAVY.MIL
Thu Jul 30 07:58:34 CDT 1998
Since people re-churning the issue in the name of re-clarification of the
issue, here are my two cents again on the issue for those who care.
There is a fine line between essential versus helpful. If one understands
this clearly all apparent disagreements disappears. Achaaryass statement
have to understood in what context they told, and to whom. If someone says
that bhoutika sanyaasa is essential then that statement, is incompatible
with the nature of the mOksha. If something is illogical, Shankara says do
not buy it even if it is from shaastra. If someone says the boutika
sanyaasa will be of great help in the renunciation, that is understandable.
There are no arguments against that.
Because of the nature of mOksha, the way it is - atmanyeva atmaana
tushTaH - Sanyaasa is essential for mOksha - here sanyaasa is nyaasa from
all mental attachments to other than the Self. Obviously attachments are
not at the physical level. No one attached at the physical other than to
ones own body.
- Bhuoutika sanyaasa does not guarantee that either - There are many
examples of sanyaasiis who are attached to there own kamandalams or
koupiinams. This was true story I read: when they were inaugurating the
Banaraus Hindu University, they had invited a grate sanyaasii from
Himalayaas (I forgot the name). They made all arrangements possible for
his comforts. But they forgot to provide him the mat of kusha for his
sleep. They put him up in the best hotel with a Dunlop bed. Apparently he
needed kusha to sleep otherwise he cannot. They had to run around in the
middle of the night to get lot of kusha and spread on the bed for him to
sleep. Hence attachment can occur at any level.
Here is Krishna's statement in 6th chapter in the very first sloka what
annasritaH karmaphalam kaaryam karma karoti yaH|
sa sanyaasii cha yogii cha na niragnirna ca akriyaaH|
One who performs the actions without depending (mentally) on the fruits of
the action, he is the one who is sanyaasi and yogi and not the one who
renounces the actions and niyamita karmaas.
So it is nothing to do with Janakas or other gruhastaas. It is something
to do with the nature of the problem. The problem is I identify myself
with non-self due to ignorance of my self. What is required is the
self-knowledge to remove my self-ignorance. Everything is preparing the
mind conducive to receive the knowledge. Bhoutika sanyaasa would provide a
conducive environment for gaining shaTsampatti. But to claim that that is
essential for mOksha is incompatible with the nature of mOksha. Hence the
fine line between essential versus helpful has to be understood before one
Here are two slokas from Shankara's Bhajagovindam.
yogaratova bhogaratova sangaratova sanghavihiinaH|
yadyat brahmani ramate chittam nandati nandati nandatyeva|
One can be a yogi or one can be a bhogi, one can be among the people or
one can live in a remote Himaalayaas alone - But what counts is the where
his mind is. If one is reveling in the Brahman all the time that is all
Here is another sloka from the same text about the bhotika sanyaasiis:
jaTilomunDii lunchita keshaH kaashaayaambara bahukRita veshaaH|
pasyaannnapichana pasyati moDo hRidaya nimittama bahukRitaveshaH||
Someone said jokingly about the attitude of the people for a sanyaasiis differ
in the North versus South India. In the North, if people meet a sanyaasii,
they consider him as a saint unless he proves himself otherwise. In the
South, if people meet a sanyaasi, they consider him as a crook unless he
proves himself otherwise. The above sloka essentially relates to that.
To what extent karma is important or dhyaana is important is clearly stated
in the 6th chapter which is essentially chapter on meditation.
aarurukshormuneH yogam karma kaaraNam uchyate|
yogaaruDhasya tasyaiva shamaH kaaraNamuchate||
It is like climbing the horse. Until one is completely established on the
saddle, one has to keep kicking the ground to swing the other leg over.
Action is essential for the purification of the mind - till the mind is
pure from the pressure of raaga dwesha, one has to perform the action with
the atitude of the karma yogi. But once the mind is fully established then
dhyaanam becomes important.
As long as we understand the nature of the goal and the nature of the means
also become evident.
Sri Gummuluru Murthy has been providing a perspective to think about,
raising issues for one to contemplate. It is unfortunate that he decided
to quit. It should be a signal to others. I request all members to discuss
the issues and try to avoid personal references. If everybody agrees on
everything there is no need for the discussions or the listserve. People
come from different backgrounds and trained to think differently even on
the same texts. That is why there are various schools of thought, and even
in advaita various interpretations. Even in post-shankara schools, there
are various interpretations. Statements like ones interpretataion is right
and others is wrong or some other XYZ also agrees with that etc is
illogical. Neither truth nor logic does not depend on number density. One
has to evalaute with reference to the goal we are seeking.
What appealed in advaita for me is its impecable logic. And That the truth
is beyond logic is also logical! I moved from fanatism to logic when I
embraced Advaita and I find no need to go back.
Naval Research Laboratory
Washington D.C. 20375
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