Jagannath Chatterjee jagchat01 at YAHOO.COM
Thu Sep 5 08:59:18 CDT 2002

Namaste Blateji,

--- yogafarm <yogafarm at WEBTV.NET> wrote:
> Namasté -- as a new member reading the commentaries,
> I have several
> questions:
> 1.) Regarding "consciousness in comas ...": Is it
> not true that
> awareness during comas (or any other type of
> unconsciousness) would be
> dualistic?  That is, if there were an "observer"
> watching his / her own
> unconsciousness, wouldn't that qualify as "dualism"
> ... and thus not be
> advaita?

There is of course a hell and heaven difference
between Samadhi and Coma. In Coma, if you have any
experience, it would certainly be of the dualistic
> In full samadhi -- isn't it "nirvitarka samadhi"? --
> there is only "pure
> consciousness," and nobody is actually "watching" --
> it is a kind of
> "no-mind experience," as my classes have learned it.
>  For us, this is
> the equivalent of advaita or being "One without a
> second."
To try to comment on the state of the mind in
Nirvikalpa Samadhi will be like trying to observe the
furthest galaxy with a pair of field glasses. The best
form of description would perhaps be total silence.
When you talk of any experience you are immediately
referring to the dualistic mode.

> In short, wouldn't knowing when we are Brahman or
> Atman negate the
> Oneness state and thus be mutualy exclusive?

Who knows whom? It is said that when a Guru tries to
teach nirvikalpa samadhi to his disciple he first
collects his fees as after the experience the disciple
may fail to recognise his Guru in the dualistic sense!

> 2.) Regarding the Wise One running 100 meters in 2
> seconds, flat: In
> maya, isn't anything possible?  Bi-location -- i.e.,
> running the 100
> meters in 0 seconds -- is one of the many siddhis,
> no?

We have to perhaps rephrase the question as
"relocating 100m in 0s". There is no running in
between when you exercise your yogic powers. Moreover,
as many sages have demonstrated, they continue to be
visible at both/all the places at the same time. Would
you call that running?

> Further, Sathya Sai Baba has certainly demonstrated
> far more interesting
> metaphysical feats (which, to me, prove the
> unreality of maya) than
> merely doing the hypothetical 100/2 dash or "making
> ice from boiling
> water" ...

I, frankly speaking, had a negative impression of Baba
when I read about his feats. Our Indian mind reacts
that way when we hear about some yogi exercising his
powers. We have numerous saints who prefer not to. I
had to of course change my decision about Baba by
closely watching the service oriented spirit of his

> 3.) In non-dualism, can there be gods, devis or
> devatas, temples and
> such?  To whom should God / Brahman pray?  Or if
> these are only seen as
> aspects of the mind / maya, one is left to ask: What
> mind?  What maya?

Except for Bhagawan Sri Ramana I am yet to see an
advaitin who stays exclusively in the non-dual sphere.
Even Sri Sankarcharya was immersed neck deep in
rituals. But then we should not judge the jnanis by
their outward actions.


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>From  Thu Sep  5 09:15:02 2002
Message-Id: <THU.5.SEP.2002.091502.0700.>
Date: Thu, 5 Sep 2002 09:15:02 -0700
Reply-To: venky at
To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
From: "Venkatesh ." <venky at OREKA.COM>
Subject: Weekly page from Hindu Dharma: Sankara's Reply

This week's page from Hindu Dharma (see note at bottom) is "Sankara's Reply" from "Mimamasa - Karmamarga". The original page can be found at

Next week, you will be emailed "Vedanta and Mimamsa" (from "Mimamasa - Karmamarga")

Best regards

(this email is being sent on an automated basis)

Sankara's Reply
from Mimamasa - Karmamarga, Hindu Dharma

      What is Sankara's reply to this argument?

 What the Vedas state need not necessarily serve the purpose of involving us in any work. The mimamsakas accept the Vedas because, according to them, the karma mentioned in them serves a purpose. So the purpose served by karma is the message of the Vedas, not the karma itself. If to be without any karma, without any work, is itself a great purpose, must not the jnanakanda of the Vedas then be acceptable since it deals with a condition in which there is no karma to be performed, or nothing is to be done? That is if being without karma is "useful" by itself - if it serves a "purpose" - that can also then be the message of the Vedas. So the u; nderlying goal of the Vedas is not karma itself but the purpose behind it.

 The Vedas admonish us: "Do not drink wine". How do we react to this interdiction? We react by doing nothing; there is indeed nothing for us to do. The message of this Vedic commandment is that we ought not to ruin ourselves by drinking. To remain without doing anything is called "abhava". All nisedha (prohibition) belongs to the abhava category. The mimasakas themselves admit that the Vedas forbid certain actions. If it is beneficial not to perform certain actions, how can you object to the possibility that not doing any karma at all can also constitute a great purpose? Vedanta has great "use" thus since it serves the supreme purpose of the actionless or quiescent state in which we realise the Self. This cannot be rejected as arthavada.

 Krsna says in the Gita: "Sarvan karma' khilam Partha jnane parisamapyate" (All works, Partha, find their goal in jnana). All karmamust be consecrated to Paramesvara, must be laid at the feet of the Supreme Lord. To be without work, and experience the bliss of the Brahman is he greatest of "uses". In this state there is no birth again and it means freedom from worldly existence. That is the ultimate message of the Vedas. The karmakanda must be woven together with the jnanakanda if it is to be meaningful and if it is to serve a purpose.

 Sankara succeeded in convincing Mandanamisra, Kumarilabhatta and others about the rightness of this view. To recapitulate his argument: "The karmakanda of the Vedas mentions works because their performance is of some use in cleansing the mind. If the purpose achieved by not performing them is a million million times greater than that gained by performing them, then that must be understood to be the message of the Vedas, the ultimate teaching of the jnanakanda. The karmakanda helps a seeker in his early stages. The performance of rites creates inner purity and takes hime to Isvara. Karma performed for the sake of karma leads a man nowhere. The Vedas speak of the sannyasin's stage of life in which the ascetic, as he attains the Paramatman, becomes the Paramatman". The Acarya spoke in this vein to Mandanamisra [converted him to his point of view] and gave him initiation into sannyasa.

 In the karmakanda certain acts are declared sinful. If a person keeps doing them it is because he feels he finds some pleasure in them. But such pleasure is momentary and becomes an obstacle in his efforts to know the joy that is greater. The mimamsakas, respecting the injunctions of the Vedas, abjure sinful acts. By the performance of Vedic karma they derive certain fruits, a certain degree of happiness, find well-being in their mundane existence and go to the pitr-loka or devaloka. But these do not mean everlasting bliss. When the fruits of their virtuous acts are exhausted, the joys also come to an end. Even if they go to the world of the celestials they will have to plunge into this world again on exhausting their merit. "Ksine punye martyalokam visanti".

 What is that well-being which is eternal? The answer is that which is experienced by the jnanin when he dissolves in the Supreme Godhead. Then there is no "doing" for him. One must abjure sinful acts that afford petty momentary pleasure and instead perform noble works such as those mentioned in the Vedas. But what use are even these if they do not lead to the experience of plenary bliss? Are we, however, capable of directly attaining such blessedness abandoning Vedic karma? No. Jnana is not easy to obtain. For it the consciousness, the mind, must be made pure and unoscillating. So Vedic rituals are essential.

 But they must be performed not for impermanent rewards like paradise but for the removal of inner impurities. We must not be deflected from the higher path by the fruits yielded by karma- these must be placed devotedly at the feet of the Lord. He will bless us with the higher fruit of inner purity and then the mind will become mellow enough for Atmic inquiry, for the inward journey. That is the way to the supreme blessedness, the quiescent state in which one is oneself.

Hindu Dharma is a translation of two volumes of the well known Tamil Book "Deivatthin Kural", which, in turn, is a book of 6 volumes that contains talks of His Holiness Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Mahaswamiji of Kanchipuram. The entire book is available online at .

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