[Advaita-l] The Enlightened Eminently Engage in Empirical Endeavors - Part 3
v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Wed Mar 3 11:28:56 CST 2010
This is the concluding part.
That a Jnani has a body, shareeram, was confirmed by Shankara Himself in the
Brahma sutra bhashya quote we saw already. That a Jnani has a mind,
intellect, etc. is undeniable. That all these are localized is also
unquestionable. And such a mind holds a reflection of consciousness (RC) is
also proved beyond doubt. It is only in a RC does a person experience
ignorance, samsara. It is with the RC only he does sadhana. It is only in
the RC he realizes his own Brahman nature. It is in the RC alone he retains
that realization. All this is brought out by Shankara Himself in the Sutra
bhashya quote 1.4.15 where He uses the word: ‘sva-hRdaya pratyayam brahma
bhAvam’ which means the Brahmanhood of oneself is experienced by oneself in
one’s own localized RC. Elsewhere in the Gitabhashya (13.2) He has
categorically confirmed that Avidya too is experienced as a pratyaya, a
thought. Surely, for being experienced as an object, vishaya, avidya has to
be a bhAva padArtha. An unreal object, like a rope-snake, can be an object
of experience. But certainly a vandhyA putra, or a hare’s horn can not be a
vishaya for experience.
When we say that a Jnani’s mind is an expanded one what we mean is His
vision of the Universal Self. This does not mean that his Self-realization,
hunger, thoughts, pain, pleasures, etc. are reflected in/experienced by the
unenlightened and vice versa.
Shankara’s views on the Enlightened one’s Empirical Engagements with an
essentially localized BMI has been provided above in the form of His
Sureshwaracharya’s views on the above are available in the Brihadaranyaka
Up. Bhashya Vartika 1.4.10. In the Taittiriya Up. Bhashya Vartika too he
gives his views. Ref. 3.77, 78, 79, 81, 82.
In the Naishkarmya siddhi too Sureshwara gives his views about the Jnani’s
BMI owing to prArabdha karma. For instance he says in 4.62:
//If a person who has realized the non-dual reality could behave as he
liked, then what is the difference between a dog and the seer of truth in
respect of eating what is prohibited?//
Surely, the above can be said only where there is the possibility of a
Jnani, in a localized BMI, to be engaged in empirical transactions. If
there is no possibility of a BMI for the Jnani, Sureshwara cannot say the
Swami Vidyaranya has said in the Panchadashi:
jnAninA charitum shakyam samyak rAjyAdi loukikam
[It is very well possible for the Jnani to engage in empirical duties such
as administering a Kingdom]. We have seen specific cases of this in the
Logic has it that a body that has taken birth, given the occasion for
Knowledge to dawn, will not vanish upon realization. This is because, as
Shankara has clarified, Brahman Knowledge is an antidote for avidya alone
and is not an opposing force for the BMI. Shankara has stated His own
experience in this regard in the Sutra bhashya quote 1. 4 15.
In no place does Shankara say that the Jnani’s BMI is an imagination on the
part of the onlookers. In the Gita bhashya He comments in a place: the
actions of a jnani is superposed by the ignorant. What He means by this is:
the others believe that the Jnani does these actions with the ‘I am the
doer’ feeling. That alone is the superimposition. If this is not admitted,
all the instances quoted by Krishna, etc. will be contradicted.
So what more evidence do we need to prove the fact of Jivanmukti, BMI,
praarabdha, etc. for a Jnani?
There is this ‘catch-22’ situation in denying empirical engagements to the
enlightened: (According to the internet Urban Dictionary: ‘catch-22’ is: A *
situation* where both choices would have negative impacts on oneself.)
1. Shankara is not an enlightened Acharya.
2. The Commentaries that we have in the name of Shankara are authored by an
Shankara will have to be regarded as an unenlightened one. Why? Because He
wrote the Bhashyam. The Bhahsyam can be written only by using the BMI. These
are not there for an enlightened. As a result of this, we have to deem the
bhashyam that we have now to be a product of some unenlightened person. If
we accept Shankara as a Jnani, we cannot hold him to be a bhAshyakAra. The
bhashyam also will lose its revelatory nature, prAmANyam, as it is not
authored by a Jnani.
This absurdity can be avoided only if we take the path of the Shruti, the
Sutra, the Gita, Shankara, Sureshwara, etc. and accept the concepts of
Jnani, prArabdha, localized BMI for him, etc.
There is further difficulty for those who, in their ignorance of the
Scriptural methods as taught by Shankara, insist that there is no BMI for a
jnani. If the Acharya who has introduced this skewed thinking born of his
personal understanding is deemed a Jnani by his followers, then his
words/writings will be an impossibility as they have to be done with the BMI
only. If he is regarded as not enlightened, then his words will have no
prAmANyam in this very matter. The Mundaka Upanishad 1.2.8 describes such a
case as ‘andhenaiva neeyamAnA yathA andhAH’, the blind leading the blind.
Empirical engagements of an enlightened cannot be there in the following
· The person kills himself immediately after realization. (But lo!
This is also not possible for he won’t have a body to be killed or any
instrument he can use to kill himself!!)
· The Jnani expends his prArabdha and dies a natural death. (This is
the natural, scripturally admitted way.)
· The Jnani immediately after realization goes into irreversible
samAdhi and the body withers away in time.
Anubhava or Experience of Jnani-s is also proof for their having a
localized BMI. Shankara Himself has expressed it in no uncertain terms.
Logic too is in support of this. Shankara gives the logic: Jnanam is the
dispeller of the wrong notion of one’s embodiedness. Jnanam is NOT the
destroyer of the body. The body, born of natural forces will meet its end
in the natural course. Shankara gives this logic in several places in the
Thus, in the foregoing we have considered all the possible sources,
pramanams, to establish that the Enlightened ones Eminently Engage in
It is the opinion of this author that the various topics dealt with here are
self-explanatory. If anyone needs further clarification on any of the
topics the best recourse is to go to the very source books, references for
which are amply provided.
(The above article is dedicated to the Acharyas of the Vedantic tradition
who have handed down the esoteric wisdom with the utmost clarity in their
infinite compassion to the seeking humanity.)
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