What is adhikAra? (fwd)

Prashant Sharma psharma at BUPHY.BU.EDU
Wed Jun 10 00:21:30 CDT 1998

On Tue, 9 Jun 1998, Nanda Chandran wrote:

> Now that we've an ongoing dialogue about the Vedas, I just thought I'd
> clarify some doubts which I've been nursing for some time. There are
> three basic theories regarding the origin of the Vedas. The Vedas are
> supposed to have been :
> 1. breathed out by Brahman
> 2. 'seen' by the seers
> 3. accounts of experience in a realized state (according to the later
> philosophers and also the Yoga school (I think!))
> >From the perspective of Advaitam, where Brahman is the Changeless
> Eternal Absolute, I can't see how case 1 can be sustained. For to
> 'breathe' implies action and action implies change! Since Brahman is
> defined as Changeless, case 1 is not feasible. Atleast so it seems to
> me! If anyone can come up with a better explanation, please do.

        That the Veda are the breath of Brahman is an attribute of the
Veda and not of BrahmAn. BrahmAn is unknowable.  Veda being a pointer to
the unknowable is therefore like the breath of Brahman :  the
importance of breath is that it links us to the world of mAyA
(hence the emphasis on pranAyAma etc..).

> Since Advaitam differentiates between Vyavaharika and Paramartika, both
> case 2 and 3 are feasible in the Vyavaharika level...


>From  Wed Jun 10 09:08:35 1998
Message-Id: <WED.10.JUN.1998.090835.0400.>
Date: Wed, 10 Jun 1998 09:08:35 -0400
Reply-To: chandran at econ.ag.gov
To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
        <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
From: Ram Chandran <chandran at ECON.AG.GOV>
Subject: Re: Dharma
Comments: To: Advaita List <advaita-l at tamu.edu>
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"Dr. M. Giridhar" <giridhar at CHEMENG.IISC.ERNET.IN> wrote:

> ......    So, everything can be done if there is a will to do so.

 "Ravisankar S. Mayavaram" <msr at ISC.TAMU.EDU>wrote:

>   ..........  But staying in India is a great advantage as the resources
>   available much more than here. .........

Shri Griridhar and Shri Ravisankar have made some valuable and
interesting observations regarding  Brahmana Dharma. I would like to
make some additional remarks based on the changes that I  have observed
in my family.

My father was a Vaidekar (Viswanatha Sastrigal)  and my grand father was
a Sanskrit Pandit (Venku Sastrigal) and grandparents were originally
from Angarai (a village on the banks of Kaveri in Thrichi District). The
town on the other side of Kaveri is Lalgudi, the hometown of Shri
Lalgudi Jayaraman, the violin player.  The Diwan of Thiruppuvanam
invited my grandparents to settle down in Thiruppuvanam and offered  a
job to my grandfather at the Vedapadasala with free house and lands.  My
grandparents lived in Thriuppuvanam where my father learnt the Vedas and
became a Sastrigal (Approximately between 1900 and 1920).  My
grandparents  lived their life by the Brahmana Dharma.  The environments
in Thiruppuvanam and the presence of Vedapadasala and  Agraharam (street
where Brahmins lived) were conducive for the maintenance and
preservation of Brahamana Dharma.

After my grandfather's death, my parents with my grandmother moved to
Madurai for their living because the Vedapadasala at Thiruppuvanam was
closed down because of lack of students.  The life in Madurai was quite
different and my parents had to face many more challenges with the city
life and uncertain income coming from practicing Vaidikam.   My mother
gave birth to fourteen children, eight males and six females and I was
the last child.  Though fourteen were born, only nine of them (five
males and four females) reached the adult age.  My father had undergone
great difficulty to bring food on the table and to keep up with his
Nitya Karma.  We lived in a rental building with twenty other tenants
and our portion contained  a kitchen and a multipurpose room. All the
tenants shared a well for water and several rest room.  Most of the time
we slept on the open terraces of the second floor (144 Lakshimi Narayana
Pura Agraham, Madurai).

We, the children of a Vaidekar family  had to face other problems in the
society.  Within the Brahmin society, the social ladder of a Brahmin was
not based on the observance of  "Brahmana Dharma" but by income and
living standards.  My parents probably couldn't stand this
discriminating behavior of the society and determined to educate my
brothers and sisters in public schools rather than Vedapadasala.  All my
brothers got school and college education and none of us could pursue
"Vaidikam."   What happened in my family typically represents the
changes that undergone in the Brahmin Society.  I don't know the exact
answer to the question: Who is responsible for the degeneration of
Brhamana Dharma?  I know that I have witnessed those changes and it was
beyond me to stop them!

Ram V. Chandran
Burke, VA 22015

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