Brahma Sutra

Sat Oct 4 17:06:19 CDT 1997


Vidyasankar writes:

>Read Sankara's commentary on the first sUtra "athAto brahmajijnAsA" where
>the qualifications for such a route are spelt out. All other interpreters
>say that the word atha refers to the necessity of learning all the
>karmakANDa and the pUrva mImAmsA first, before embarking upon
>brahmajijnAsA. Sankara says no, and gives the traditional requirements for
>a candidate who is eligible for it. This one passage in his commentary
>will answer this issue.

I'm not sure where to find this reference. If "athAto brahmajijnAsA" is the
first aphorism of the Brahma Sutra, would someone be kind enough to type
out this one passage by Sankara for me? Perhaps others might appreciate it
as well.

While we're on the topic, I wanted to mention my personal conviction of the
practical necessity of establishing a stable underpinning of basic morality
before enquiry into the true nature of Brahman begins. Like it or not,
as a practical matter, it seems to be simply indispensible. If anyone was
to ask me about it, I would say the sooner they accept the yoke of moral
discipline, the sooner they can begin the real work. As far as I'm
concerned, every authentic spiritual tradition in the world says as much.

As for how far one must take moral discipline, I agree with the Sufi's saying
-- "until, out of love for God, the voice of conscience is heard and obeyed
in one's dreams". This might sound like a poetic exageration but it is not.
The point here, is not to be sanctimonious (which is laughable) or
repressed (which is pathetic). The real issue is clarifying one's primary
focus and true intention to a point that is virtually impossible if one's
energy is dissipated in essentially self deceiving and self destructive
pursuits. Besides, acts of self discipline or ritual observance which are
done for the love of God become such a pure joy, there is no question about
getting the best of the bargain.

Are there *really* any list members who think moral discipline *can* be
completely ignored by the sadhaka who could still realistically expect
to attain moksha?


-Allan Curry


In case you're thinking of telling me about this or that holy man who tells
us to abandon preferences, etc., I'd like to say in advance that morality
can and possibly must be transcended, but only *after* it is sufficiently
refined and realized in the spiritual aspirant, not before. Agreed?

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