Those with avidyA cannot understand shruti directly
anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Apr 17 11:01:00 CDT 1998
The following verses occur in the mahAvAkyadarpaNa:
shrutyA samIritastvartho mohAnnAdrIyate janaiH |
saMsArAbdhau patantyandhA iva tenaiva doShataH ||
Out of delusion (caused by avidyA), people do not respect the
purport of the shruti (Vedas). Due to the same defect (caused by
avidyA or ajnAna) they fall into the ocean of saMsAra (transmigratory
existence) just as the blind (fall into a pit).
Here, Shankara says that people who are in the clutches of avidyA
do not respect the sayings of the Vedas. For example, they may
think that the Vedas are just poems or speculations of bards from
an ancient civilization. Even though the Vedas contain the highest
truth, yet people search for it elsewhere in many kinds of
philosophies or religion. They believe in different Gods of such
religions that are not based on the Vedas. And they try to satisfy
or appease such Gods with austerities and religious observances.
adyAShTamIti navamIti chaturdashIti
jyotiShkavAchopavasanti bhaktyA |
shrutestvaho tattvamasIti vAkyaM
na vishvasantyadbhutametadeva ||
"Today is aShTamI", "today is navaMI", "today is chaturdashI",
saying thus and with faith in the words of the astrologers, people
fast with all sincerity. But when the shruti says, "Thou Art That
(Brahman)", people do not trust these words! Oh! This is indeed
This verse requires some clarification. It may seem that there is
a conflict with bhakti yogA here. But that is not the case.
Certainly, bhakti to God is highly commendable, because it can
enable one to know the essence of God which is nondifferent from
the Self. The GItA (18.55) clearly expresses the role of bhakti or
bhaktyA mAmabhijAnAti yAvAn.h yashchAsmi tattvataH |
tato mAm.h tattvataH GYAtvA vishate tadanantaraM ||
Through bhakti, he (the devotee) knows My extent and who I am
in reality. Knowing Me thus in reality, he then enters (Me, the
As Shankara explains in his commentary on this verse, the devotee
who realizes thus actually realizes that 1) the extent of God or
the greatness, divine qualities, etc. of God is really due to the
upAdhi's or limiting adjuncts and that 2) God is essentially free
from all upAdhi's. Becoming a jnAni (in the sense of the four kinds
of devotees mentioned in the GItA), he then realizes God as
Consciousness, unending, limitless.
At this point, he immediately enters God or becomes one with God.
And this is the same objective as that of one who takes to jnAna.
Therefore in the verse above from the mahAvAkya-darpaNa, it is
clear that the AchArya is not speaking of devotees who are intent
on realizing God in this way. He is speaking about those who
worship God out of some selfish motive, and who are only interested
in the external form of worship without caring to know about the
true purpose of cultivating bhakti. Such people are very regular
in performing the rituals of external worship (pUjA), observances
and fasts (vrata's, upavAsa's) etc., but they do not understand the
ultimate objective of such practice. Consequently, they find it
hard to comprehend and believe the words of the Shruti, "You are
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>From Fri Apr 17 22:35:42 1998
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 22:35:42 +0530
Reply-To: kamal at homeindia.com
To: "Advaita (non-duality) with reverence" <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
From: Kamal Kothari <kamal at HOMEINDIA.COM>
Organization: Oriental Corporate Consultants Pvt. Ltd.
Subject: Request : Digest form
Comments: To: "Advaita (non-duality) with reverence" <ADVAITA-L at tamu.edu>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
I am new to the list and enjoying the posts and learning as well. A
small request. Can you please make my subsription to "Digest" mode?
Oriental Corporate Consultants Pvt. Ltd.
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