Karma and Sanyasa

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Thu Jul 30 17:35:47 CDT 1998

On Thu, 30 Jul 1998, sadananda wrote:

> Since people re-churning the issue in the name of re-clarification of the
> issue, here are my two cents again on the issue for those who care.
> There is a  fine line between essential versus helpful. If one understands
> this clearly all apparent disagreements disappears.  Achaaryass statement
> have to understood in what context they told, and to whom.  If someone says
> that bhoutika sanyaasa is essential then that statement, is incompatible
> with the nature of the mOksha.  If something is illogical, Shankara says do
> not buy it even if it is from shaastra.

Not exactly.  He says a pramana cannot be authoritative in the domain of
another pramana.

Since the domain of shabda pramana is to explain the nature of Moksha, it
is anumana or logic which is out of bounds.

>If someone says the boutika
> sanyaasa will be of great help in the renunciation, that is understandable.
> There are no arguments against that.

Sannyasa IS renunciation!

> Because of the nature of mOksha,  the way it is  - atmanyeva atmaana
> tushTaH - Sanyaasa is essential for mOksha - here sanyaasa is nyaasa from
> all mental attachments to  other than the Self. Obviously attachments are
> not at the physical level. No one attached at the physical other than to
> ones own body.

!!! A person who is not attached to physical things is by definition a
bhautika sannyasi.  So what is the distinction you're trying to make here?

> - Bhuoutika sanyaasa does not guarantee that either - There are many
> examples of sanyaasiis who are attached to there own kamandalams or
> koupiinams.

Ok.  But to prove that sannyasa is not essential you would have to give
the example of a non-sannyasi who is non-attached.  But by your definition
above such a thing is an oxymoron.


> Here is Krishna's statement in 6th chapter in the very first sloka what
> sanyaasa means:
>         annasritaH karmaphalam kaaryam karma karoti yaH|
>          sa sanyaasii cha yogii cha na niragnirna ca akriyaaH|
> One who performs the actions without depending (mentally) on the fruits of
> the action, he is the one who is sanyaasi and yogi and not the one who
> renounces the actions and niyamita karmaas.
the tatparya of this verse is that _just_ giving up the niyamas
isn't enough.  It must be accompanied by vairagya.  Thus one who has this
sense of detachment is more praiseworthy (more of a sannyasi and yogi) than
one who doesn't. But read the next two verses.  They make it clear that
even more praiseworthy than this is the person who mentally _and_
physically renounces.

So far from being a praise of "Armchair" sannyasa these verses are
actually recommending karma.  Krishna Bhagavan is saying if you are not
mentally ready, do not practice Vedanta at all.  Practice karma until you
are really ready.


>         Here are two slokas from Shankara's Bhajagovindam.
>         yogaratova bhogaratova sangaratova sanghavihiinaH|
>         yadyat brahmani ramate chittam nandati nandati nandatyeva|
> One can be  a yogi or one can be a bhogi, one can be among the people or
> one can live in a remote Himaalayaas alone - But what counts is the where
> his mind is. If one is reveling in the Brahman all the time that is all
> that counts.

It's somewhat disingeneous to quote a shloka out of context to suggest one
thing when Shankaracharya many times in his phlosphical works vehemently
claims the other.  To Shankaracharya sannyasa isn't just "a good idea" it
is an essential requirement.

Besides this shloka is saying that even in the midst of bhoga and sangha
one can remain revelling in Brahman.  Because _after_ one has attained
moksha nothing od that sort exists anymore.  I don't see how you get bliss
is "all that counts" out of it.

> Here is another sloka from the same text about the bhotika sanyaasiis:
>         jaTilomunDii lunchita keshaH kaashaayaambara bahukRita veshaaH|
>         pasyaannnapichana pasyati moDo hRidaya nimittama bahukRitaveshaH||

Again this is saying substance is more important than appearence.  So what?

>         aarurukshormuneH yogam karma kaaraNam uchyate|
>         yogaaruDhasya tasyaiva shamaH kaaraNamuchate||
> It is like climbing the horse.  Until one is completely established on the
> saddle, one has to keep kicking the ground to swing the other leg over.

Except in this case if one continues with karma one has never gotten on
the horse.

> Action is essential for the purification of the mind

This is not the Advaita view.  Karma can bring about conditions favorable
to purification of the mind.  But that purification does not in any way
depend on karma.   So it cannot be considered essential.

> - till the mind is
> pure from the pressure of raaga dwesha, one has to perform the action with
> the atitude of the karma yogi. But once the mind is fully established then
> dhyaanam becomes important.

But as long as there is no sannyasa the mind will never be free as it is
karma itself which causes the pressure.

> As long as we understand the nature of the goal and the nature of the means
> also become evident.

Yes, sannyasa.

> ------------------
> Sri Gummuluru Murthy has been providing a perspective to think about,
> raising issues for one to contemplate.  It is unfortunate that he decided
> to quit. It should be a signal to others.  I request all members to discuss
> the issues and try to avoid personal references.

I agree.  But we shoud also agree to understand when we are in error and
not get upset when we are corrected.

> If everybody agrees on
> everything there is no need for the discussions or the listserve.  People
> come from different backgrounds and trained to think differently even on
> the same texts.  That is why there are various schools of thought, and even
> in advaita various interpretations.

The mere existence of other interpretations does not mean they are valid.

> Even in post-shankara schools, there
> are various interpretations.  Statements like ones interpretataion is right
> and others is wrong or some other XYZ also agrees with that etc is
> illogical.

Not so because we are not discussing some unknown thing.  we are
discussing the teachings of Advaita Vedanta which has a history, set
doctrines, and authoritative teachers.  Given this we can indeed judge the
validity of a particular viewpoint.  Perhaps not all but in the case of
the necessity of sannyasa the answer is crystal clear.  It is necessary
and to say otherwise is wrong.

> Neither truth nor logic does not depend on number density. One
> has to evalaute with reference to the goal we are seeking.

Neither do they depend on one persons "evaluation."

> What appealed in advaita for me is its impecable logic. And That the truth
> is beyond logic is also logical!  I moved from fanatism to logic when I
> embraced Advaita and I find no need to go back.

Then please don't.  But we should bear in mind that a stubborn refusal to
face the truth is the ultimate fanaticism.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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