Karma and Sanyasa

Gummuluru Murthy gmurthy at MORGAN.UCS.MUN.CA
Thu Aug 6 11:42:58 CDT 1998


As Shri Sadananda is presently away from the List, I like to take up the
debate. I feel rather lonely defending this line of thought and would
request Shri Sadananda and Shri f.meillo to re-appear. In the following,
>> refer to Shri Sadananda's comments and > refer to Shri Jaladhar Vyas'.

On Tue, 4 Aug 1998, Jaldhar H. Vyas wrote:

> > I agree and applies to Moksha which is out of bounds for anumaana
> > but the discussion does not pertain to that.
> >
> I was responding to your argument that it is the very nature of Moksha
> that demands certain conclusions.  But it is the Vedas that define the
> naure of Moksha.  If there was some statement that Moksha was the state of
> having an extra pair of ears then we would have to argue on that basis.
> It is like in Law you have the concept of a corporation being a "person."
> It would be quite reasonable to say based on the nature of personhood to
> say that a corporation isn't a person.  After all it doesn't have arms,
> legs etc.  But if you said that in a courtroom the argument would
> considered be invalid because _as_far_as_the_law_is_concerned_, a
> corporation is defined to be a person.
> In the same way, Vedanta is the philosophical system that is based on
> analysing the meaning of statements in the Jnanakanda of the Vedas (and by
> extension, all the works based on it.)  These are its definitions and to
> go beyond them you need some sort of Meta-Vedanta.

But, is there a *definition* of moksha ?  By defining, we are limiting it
to be bound within the definition. But moksha is ananta, the infinite, the
undefinable bliss. I do not think the Upanishhads ever defined moksha in
terms of the explainable. If it is, I would certainly like to see
reference to it.

> > Yes. but that renunciation is detachement at the manas level that I have
> > been emphasizing from the begining.  No disagreemnt that the external will
> > help.
> The mental sannyasa includes the external.  The external  may not
> include the mental but  anyone who is detached will by necessity not act.

As I understand it (again, I would request members to look at this
rationally and ponder over it): mental sannyAsa (renunciation) is all
there is. Does it make a difference whether the entity wears a grihastha
garb or a sannyAsi garb ? In what way are the grihastha or sannyAsi garbs
different than say a mole on the cheek ?

The only renunciation that the scriptures talk of is the mental
renunciation (MahAnArAyanopanishhad, kaivalyopanishhad). We can arrive at
that from various routes (i) by doing nitya karmAs in a sense of
dispassion, (ii) by complete and unqualified surrender to personal God
with the firm belief that the personal God will lead us to moksha.

> > Not in principle.  Hence my quatation of B.G. sloka for definition of
> > sanyaasi - Also please read my response to Nagy's question about the proof.
> >
> > Sorry - sloka does not have words that mean - giving up niyama is not
> > enough.  Please read the words again.  na nir agniH and na akriyaH - not
> > the one who has no agni( who does not perform vihita or niyamita karmas)
> > and not the one who does not act.  The rest is interpretation.
> >
> The problem is you are reading the shloka in isolation and not as part of
> a continuing conversation.  Shlokas are verses not necessarily
> sentances.  Krishna Bhagavan is describing a hierarchy of renunciation.
> Previously Arjun had asked which is better sannyasa or yoga?  (obviously
> they refer to two different things.)  Bhagavan recommends yoga for him.
> By "yoga" is meant renouncing the desire for karmaphala.  This is
> the right choice _for_him_ because Bhagavan wants him to fight not
> withdraw to the forest.  But as the later shlokas explain, to give up all
> actions is the better course in the long run.

I fully agree with that interpretation of the essence of gitA. But let us
also keep this in perspective. There are karmAs designated for any one who
is embodied (or for anyone who feels that he/she is embodied and who
thinks that the physical form is the boundary for that entity). For a
grihastha, there are nitya karmAs (shhaTkarmANi dine dine), for a
sannyAsa, there are other karmAs designated. No one can give up action as
long as they think they are limited by the embodiment.  If we accept that,
the whole debate may be unnecessary.

> >  The very nature of the sankalpa involves the
> > doership - I am the doer - including why I am doing this puja or karma etc.
> > The essence there is ego of doership and Krihna's emphasis the one who has
> > not given up the doership will not become yogi.  This essentially auguments
> > the first part of the first sloka - What is to be renouced  is the doership
> > and the fruits of the action.  External renouciation is not demanded in the
> > slokas. That is again an interpretation.
> If karma involves samkalpa, does it not follow that to give up samkalpa
> means giving up karma?  There is not any action one can be performed save
> those related to basic biological drives such as hunger, sleep etc.  which
> does not involve a sense of doership.  And its a red herring to say as
> some modern people do that samkalpa is only a part of "religious" acts.
> Just because we do not say aham tax return karishye doesn't mean we are
> not thinking it.

Yes, everything involves action. One cannot deny it. Even a sannyAsa has
to perform action (may be different from a tax return, but still action

> >
> > Yes - no disagreement in that.  Action has to be performed and it should be
> > performed with proper attitude. He had already emphasized in earlier
> > chapter that  one can not aviod performing action -nahi kaschit kshaNamapi
> > jatu tushTasya karma kRit - now it is only question of attitude that is
> > required in changing karma into karma yoga.
> >
> And after that to turn karmayoga into karmasannyasa.  That is the meaning
> of VI.3.  The renouncer of karmaphal goes far but only the renouncer of
> karma itself succeeds.

But who is this renouncer of karma (action) ?

In my understanding, renounciation is mental renounciation only. Quite
often it has been derided on this list with sarcastic comments like
"... People have mentally renounced everything, but they can enjoy the
paycheques etc ...".  Mental renounciation or renounciation is a gradual
evolution process. As the entity evolves into that stage, the entity may
take the external garb of sannyAsa, or may not. But that is not
renounciation yet. The entity's evolution has to be such that it does not
make any difference whatever garb that is worn, how other people view that
entity, the results of the actions do not matter... Are other people's
judgement on this matter any important ? No, not for a true renounciate.

> --
> Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

Gummuluru Murthy

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