[Advaita-l] The Enlightened Eminently Engage in Empirical Endeavors - Part 2

Siva Senani Nori sivasenani at yahoo.com
Thu Mar 4 02:00:14 CST 2010


The point I am trying to make is not that Sri Sankara himself mentions various j~nAnis; in fact, I anticipated that and gave the reply to that. The point is if we need Sruti praamaaNyataa for the statement that j~nAnis also have bodies, minds and intellect, the proper way would be quote any vakya which establishes that; that Sruti mentions ajAtaSatru, yaaj~navalkya, janaka, uddaalaka, Svetaketu, naarada, sanatkumaara, varuNa, bhrigu, nachiketa and others as j~naanis and since it is obvious that they have BMI, cannot be taken to prove that j~naanis have BMI. Why? Because ajAtaSatru to nachiketa and others are not to be taken as historical persons. The names are mentioned so that the subject being taught is easily grasped.

Why cannot they be taken as historical persons? If we do take them as historical persons, the question arises as to whether the vedas were present or not, when YAj~navalkya declared his decision to renounce the world. If the Vedas were not present, there obviously is a beginning to them and then the question arises as to who wrote or recorded them. This is a contravention of the apaurusheyatva of Vedas. If we assume that Vedas were indeed present event as KAtyAyanI stays quiet and Maitreyi asks for the ultimate treasure, we have to perforce exclude the BrihadaaraNyaka portion from the corpus of Vedas available at that time. So the AraNyaka and Upanishad of one SAkha of SAmaveda have a definite beginning which is after the YAj~navalky-Maitreyi samvaada; similarly some part of the TaittirIya SAkha of yajurveda begins after the varuNa-bhrigu samvaada. By induction most of the Vedas would have an identifiable beginning, which is against the traditional view.

Thus the proper Sruti support for the motion is not the reference to various persons as j~naanis. What is it,  then? The portion from srishTikrama which describes how Brahman became many is a better support.

Best regards

From: V Subrahmanian <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com>
To: Siva Senani Nori <sivasenani at yahoo.com>; A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Sent: Thu, March 4, 2010 12:57:06 PM
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] The Enlightened Eminently Engage in Empirical Endeavors - Part 2

Namaste Dear Siva,

The points you have made are quite interesting.  

In the Sutra bhashya we find sentences like these:

 Shankara says in sUtra bhAshya that even anAshrami-s like raikva, vAchaknavi etc. have got that 

Atma vidyA.
.anAshramitvena vartamAnOpi vidyAyAmadhikriyate, kutaH?? 
taddrushteH, raikva, vAchaknavi prabhruteenAM, evaM bhutAnAmapi 
brahmavitva shrutyupalabdheH...

While the exact reference of the Bhashya is not available now to me, here is another 

reference, with the key word 'prabhRti'which means 'etc.'. 

In the bhashya for sutra 1.3.38 we have:

yeShAM punaH pUrvakRta-samskAravashaat vidura, dharmavyaadha prabhRteenAm jnAnotpattiH...

On the strength of such statements where some Vedic and PurANic persons have been specifically
named by Shankaracharya and the several unnamed are also indicated by the word 'etc'. 
there would be no defect in quoting from the Shruti or puraaNa-s persons whom we know 

for certain are Jnani-s.  There is no reason why only certain cases who have been specifically
mentioned can be quoted by us and not the others.  I hope your concern on this subject
has been addressed by me.  By this rule of 'etc.' I don't think that any transgression of 

the tradition is committed. 

Best regards,

On Wed, Mar 3, 2010 at 11:20 PM, Siva Senani Nori <sivasenani at yahoo.com> wrote:

Dear Sri V Subrahmanian mahodaya
>While I don't contest your conclusion about jñAnis have a body, mind and intellect (BMI), I do want to question the Sruti examples quoted by you.
>There is a convention, carried over from pUrvamImAmsA that the persons mentioned in the Sruti are not historical persons and this convention is often invoked in discussions on whether women are eligible to study vedas. One possible answer to this is that Sri Sankara himself refers to some of these jñAnis; to that the reply would be that while the Bhagavadpada indeed refers to historical persons from Kapila (in the comment "we intend no disrespect to the great sage but Truth needs to be established") to Janaka (as a jñAni and in one rare case to himself as a brahmajñAni), the brahmajñAna of jnãnis among them is established through smriti granthas and the collective memory of the AchAryaparamparA not from a literal reading of Sruti. One example would be that of Trisanku who declares 'aham vrikshasya reriva ... vaajinIva svamritamasmi' but is not usually quoted as an example of a jñAni (at least to my knowledge); at the same time that he identified
> himself with Brahman is agreed to by the AcharyapAda himself in earnestness without ridicule. So while referring to jñAnis based on the word of reverred predecessors in the paramparA is quite alright, a direct quote from Sruti as if it were a book of history is not correct, or at least not in line with the traditional thinking.
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