Dr. M. Giridhar giridhar at CHEMENG.IISC.ERNET.IN
Thu May 7 01:05:58 CDT 1998


Dr. John Grimes writes:

>How un-vedanticand tragic that the orthodox have, in a parrot-like
>fashion, blindly anddogmatically declared that the mere act of a male
>birth in a brahmin familyis an indispensable prerequisite for
>Self-realization! Commentators, scholars, and apologists have gone to
>great lengths in an attempt tojustify this interpretation. To mention but

        I do agree with you that everyone can attain mokshha, but I do not
think the above sentences are justified.

        We can call the present Shankara-acharyas to be very orthodox,
right ? But they often say that realization of the Self is open to
everyone and cite various examples. If you read their books, it becomes
more evident.

Has not Lord Krishna made it clear that

maa.n hi paartha vyapaashritya ye.api syuH paapayonayaH .
striyo vaishyaastathaa shuudraaste.api yaanti paraaM gatim.h .. 9.32 BG..

        Now, the jain community is split as to whether women can attain
mokshha etc., but NOT the vedantic community. Anyone who is decently
versed in vedanta or even in hinduism, whatever may be his orthodoxity,
will agree that anyone can attain mokshha.

        So, when you are accusing commentators (of what ?), scholars (of
what ?) of emphasizing the need to be born in a certain caste or as a man
to attain mokshha, it is wise to name them. Have traditional commentators
on Shankara works committed such errors ? Have scholars recognized in the
Shankara tradition done so ? You will find that it is not the case.

        Let us not confuse veda-adhikara with mokshha-adhikara. The former
may be restricted to a select few, but not the latter. Reading vedas will
not lead to GYAna, because reading is only karma. And karma can not lead
to GYAna. Yes, it is not good for everyone to read vedas, but
everyone is eligible to read the puraNaa-s and such texts. The essence of
the upanishhad-s can be found in smirti like yoga vasistha, vishnu purana
etc. If one gets knowledge from the former, he is capable of getting
knowledge from the latter also.

        Madhusudhana Sarasvati has made it amply clear that bhakti also
leads to GYAna. And to have bhakti requires absolutely no qualifications
as a glance through Srimad bhagavatam will testify. We also have examples
like Janaka, Vidura etc. Further, one does not even need to be born as a
human to attain mokshha. Texts like Yoga vasistha and recent incidents
involving Ramana Maharshi stand as ample proof.

        The main advantage that I can perceive of being born as a man is
that the queue for having a darshan of the deity in the temples is
shorter. The lines for the women are invariably much longer :-)

>a few: Women are (declared tobe) not fit to realize the Self because of
>their involvement in: domesticduties, child-bearing, child-rearing,and/or
>sense-pleasures; rulers andwarriors (ksatriya), business people (vaisya),
>and laborers (shudra) areunfit to realize the Self because their
>activities are directed outwards;

        All our activities are directed outward. So long as man is
involved and believes that that happiness lies outside him, he is doomed.
This has nothing to do with caste, creed or religion. Ramana Maharshi used
to say that there is only one bad habit that needs to be removed : the
habit of dwelling on the sense objects for happiness. This is the root
cause of misery as said in

dhyaayato vishhayaanpu.nsaH saN^gasteshhuupajaayate .
saN^gaatsa.njaayate kaamaH kaamaatkrodho.abhijaayate .. 2.62 BG ..


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