message to my friends

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vidya at CCO.CALTECH.EDU
Sun Aug 9 03:03:45 CDT 1998

> That the person was not ready for what?  Jnana marga?  Correct me if I'm

Not ready for cutting loose all ties to home and family, perhaps?

> wrong, but here you seem to be rescinding on your previous assertion
> that
> physical renunciation may or may not be appropriate [for one's
> undertaking
> the jnanamarg].

Not necessarily. There is the general principle of saMnyAsa and there is
what is right for a particular person. The latter should be an
individual's undertaking, guided by a proper guru. There are many
saMnyAsins who will advise most people against becoming saMnyAsins. This
does not mean that they advise against the very principle of saMnyAsa. One
can still embark upon the jnAnamArga, without the physical saMnyAsa. But
then, the ideal has to be kept alive, so that there is no reason to argue
against it.

> As I said, Bhagavan RM has stated on at least 2 dozen occasions, in
> replying to individuals either already engaged in, or preparing to do
> so,
> on the jnanamarg, that physical renunciation wasn't necessary.  The
> following quote should clear this up:
> "Why should your occupation or duties in life interfere with your
> spiritual effort? [...] Nothing that the body does should shake you
> from abidance in the Self.  Such abidance will never interfere with
> the proper and effective discharge of whatever duties the body has,
> any more than an actor's being aware of his real status in life
> interferes with his acting a part on stage." --Day by Day p211

There are two things here, abiding in the Self, and discharging duties.
The former may not interfere with the latter, but the latter will most
probably interfere with the former. That is why, for some people, physical
saMnyAsa helps, by providing opportunities to cultivate mental saMnyAsa.
For others, it may not be necessary, but these are the ones who are in no
need of a practical strategy. However, it is also easy to be deluded into
thinking that one has truly renounced, and shirking one's duties thereby.
By providing for physical saMnyAsa and its associated niyamas, one
provides for checks and balances against potential abuse. That is why one
sees the veneration for the monk, in almost every religious tradition.

> *in the course of one's sadhana.*  Now, you mention [the caveat, here]
> that, in your opinion, "physical saMnyAsa eventually follows, in the
> case of true mental saMnyAsa."  I quite agree.  Yet this implies not as
> a practical strategy, but rather as a natural byproduct of mental
> sannyas,
> after the fact.
> > As for Janaka, he had responsibilities towards his kingdom. You can say
> > that this was his prArabdha. If he had been born in another family, he
> > would not have had such responsibilities. Still, do we know for sure that
> > he died as a ruling king? How do we know that he did not appoint a
> > successor, to retire to the forest later in his life? Indeed, this was an
> > ancient practice with Indian kings. His is a legendary example, to teach
> > people about the importance of nishkAmya karma. However, nishkAmya karma
> > (desireless action) by itself cannot stand without positing
> > naishkarmyasiddhi (actionlessness) as a higher value, a higher ideal and a
> > higher reality.
> I would say that only for a videhamuktha, does true actionlessness
> apply.
> Jivanmukthas still presumably operate out of prarabdha.  Bhagavan also
> mentions this, using the analogy of a fan that's been switched off (no
> longer generating agamikarma, no longer harboring unconscious sanchita),
> yet it still turns from previous momentum set in motion whence the birth
> of the body.

Yes indeed, there is still the momentum of prArabdha karma for the
jIvanmukta. However, true actionlessness can also apply to the jIvanmukta,
so long as there is no identification with the body. Otherwise, one is
giving too much value to mere physical death.

Which brings me to this question - in what way does the videhamukti of a
jIvanmukta differ from the death of an ignorant man? The answer to this
question determines many things in one's view in this entire debate.


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