[Advaita-l] "adhikarins" and the continuation of the body after jnana
Jaldhar H. Vyas
jaldhar at braincells.com
Fri Apr 16 00:11:50 CDT 2010
The yAvadadhikAra adhikaraNa is germane to some of the discussions we've
been having recently. It consists of just one sUtra (3.3.32) which reads:
"as long as the adhikAra remains, there is bodily existence for those that
have an adhikAra to fulfill"
adhikAra is a tricky word to translate. It signifies a right or
competency. For example a Brahmana has the adhikAra for upanayana. A
kShatriya who is also a samrATa (emperor) has the adhikAra to perform the
ashvamedha yaGYa. It also has the sense of a task or mission. A kings
ministers are called adhikAris. The dharmAdhikari oversees religious
affairs, the koShAdhikari, the treasury, the senAdhikari, the armed forces
This sUtra is talking about the GYAnis who have an adhikAra. Until that
adhikAra is complete, they continue to maintain bodily form.
How can this be? If GYAna is supposed to indicate liberation from the
limited self of the body and ego why would a GYAni take up another one of
his own volition or even worse at the direction of another?
An objector suggests this is an irrelevant question. Perhaps GYAna
results in mokSha in some cases and not in others.
ShankarAchArya gives several instances from shruti and smrti of people who
were indisputably GYAnis and knowers of the entire Veda who took on new
bodies or were reincarnated. For instance the R^iShi Apantaratamasa at the
command of viShNu took birth as kR^iShNa dvaipAyana. (Interestingly he
does not equate kR^iShNa dvaipAyana with vedavyAsa or badarAyana.)
The pUrvapakShin says that this demonstrates that GYAna does not result in
mukti atleast in some cases.
ShankarAchArya disagrees. GYAna does result in mokSha in all cases but
certain beings have been deputed by Ishvara to perform certain acts for the
welfare of the universe. (E.g. kR^iShNa dvaipAyana muni wrote the
mahAbhArata including the gItA and the 18 purANas, etc.) Until this karma
is fulfilled, they will continue to remain embodied despite being GYAnis.
Note this is different from karma that they themselves did before becoming
My question for those currently debating (and of course anyone else who
would like to venture an opinion) is what is your take on this sUtra?
Does it make you want to change your opinions in any way?
Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
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