AsparSa yoga

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Mon Oct 5 13:47:22 CDT 1998

On Fri, 25 Sep 1998, Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian wrote:

> While it may be permissible to talk about sannyAsa as asparsha yoga, it
> is certainly not the only interpretation, nor is some other
> interpretation wrong (as Jaldhar seemed to imply). In fact, if sha.nkara
> thought aspasha yoga implied sannyAsa, he would have said so.

Ma. Ka. II 35-37 pretty explicitly says renunciation is the path followed
by those who know the self. III 1 excludes upasana as a means to knowledge
too calling those whose jnana is confined to the sagunabrahman (i.e.
jnanakarmasamucchayavadins) as pitiful as those practice only karma.  III
39-40 describes the yoga "known" as asparshayoga (implying it is known by
other names too.) as being impossible for those who have not controlled
their mind. IV 94, echoes the theme of III 1.  Those who believe in causes
and effects (i.e karma -- even if combined with jnana) are pitiful.

All in all this is pretty strong evidence Gaudapadacharya is teaching
sannyasa and Shankaracharya only interprets the karikas this way.

>  We could
> say that all brahma GYAnis are asparsha yogins and hence vidura would be
> an asparsha yogin. However he was not a sannyAsI and according to
> sha.nkara would not have been able to take formal sannyAsa either.

This is the same old FAQ that keeps popping up on the list.  If Sannyasa
is the only path to Moksha how do you explain, Vidura, Janaka etc.  We've
already gone over that ad nauseam.

> interpreting asparsha yoga as sannyAsa is very restrictive and somewhat
> unwarranted since sha.nkara himself does not do that.

Shankaracharya has abandoned all the special terminology of
Gaudapadacharya.  However the meaning and emphasis seems to me to be the

 > And we all know
> that sha.nkara never fails to drive home the point about sannyAsa. So it
> merely means the yoga of "no contact", which does not necessarily have
> anything to do with sannyAsa (As defined by wearing ochre robes etc).

But sannyasa is not defined as wearing ochre robes, carrying danda etc.
It is defined as the total renunciation of karma.

> As for Guy's question about Raphael: I don't think Raphael is a new age
> philosopher. In a recent issue of tattvAloka I read that he has
> translated the biography of shrI bhAratI tIrtha mahAsvAminaH into
> Italian. So I would presume he has a good knowledge of advaita vedAnta.

That in itself doesn't prove anything.  These New Age types have an
annoying ability to believe several contradictory things.

> I don't think there is much of a defect in using the word asparshin
> instead of aspashayogin. Sanskrit scholars, please correct me if I am
> wrong.

It was asparshavadin vs asparshayogin.  And while there may not be a
grammatical mistake, it does sound wrong given the conventional meanings
of the words vada and yoga.

> Of course, it doesn't mean that the book you asked about is good
> (I haven't read it myself). He may, in all probability, have something
> good to say.

Most books have at least _something_ good to say, it's just the proportion
of good to bad varies a lot. :-)  The description in the URL Guy gave
didn't inspire much confidence is all I'm saying.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

"bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam"
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