viprataa (was Re: Sadhana)
anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue May 12 11:07:39 CDT 1998
Vivek Anand Ganesan wrote:
>ShrI John Grimes wrote :
>> As Sadananda put it, one should be aware of ALL the meanings of a
>> then and only then, should one "guess" as to its use by a particular
>> author. One would be foolish to contend that "vipra" came to mean a
>> "brahmin" but, and there is the rub, what else does it mean and what
>> exactly did it mean to a particular individual at a particular time?
>> when was his time? And who was he speaking to? And why? All these are
>> factors too. It seems as if the original meaning of the word should
>> least be noted - especially since the person we were discussing
>> have had an excellent grasp of those original texts.
I would add one more crucial factor to what Dr. Grimes has suggested
above in order to arrive at a meaning(s) of terms used by an
AchArya. One should also consult other works of the AchArya to see
in what sense and how he has used the term in question. Surely,
it is not reasonable to assume that the AchArya may contradict
himself by using the same term or concept in different and
mutually contradictory ways in different texts.
Also, it is not unreasonable to consult other Gurus in the same
line. It is to be assumed that such Gurus in the same paramparaa
have also studied the original AchArya's works and are competent to
interpret the terms and explain the usage.
> Sir, I fully agree with you. I was merely stating the commonly
>held view. IMHO, the notion that the study of the vedas should be
>restricted to male DvijAs and Brahmins at that, is a conservative one
>at best. The primacy of the Vedas in Vedanta is unquestionable. As
>ShrI Giridhar had opined, the import of the Vedas can be obtained from
>Smriti. But, for a more serious study, the primary source of
>knowledge ( Shruti ) would have to be consulted ( IMO ). So, to
>restrict scriptural study is to restrict a full and complete
>experience of Vedanta.
I find the de-linking of vedAdhikAra and mokShAdhikAra interesting,
but I do not fully agree with it. Here is why. Let us state the
1) Shankara denies VedAdhikAra to shUdras in the BrahmasUtra-bhAShya.
I am using the term "shUdra" as one who has not had the dvija-
saMskAras like the upanayana (thread ceremony). (This also assumes
of course that the person is performing at least the prescribed
and obligatory nitya karmas.) Just by being born from brahmin
parents will not guarantee that one is dvija. If one is born from
Brahmin parents but has no proper saMskAras he is the same as
a shUdra. This is all in agreement with the Smritis and I am
quite certain that Shankara was aware of the Smriti injunctions as
he quotes from them in his works. Additionally, Shankara mentions
the four fold qualifications viveka, vairAgya, shamAdi-ShaTka, and
mumukShutva as prerequisites for Vedantic study.
2) Shankara, Sureshvara (in the Sambandha vArtika, for example),
and others in their line are emphatic in saying that the mokSha
is from the VedAntic texts alone. See also the explanation of
the Brahma sUtra "shastra-yonitvAt" in Shankara's bhAShya.
3) The prakaraNa granthas and others such as the Yoga vAsiShTha
explain the knowledge of the upaniShads. These prakaraNa granthas
may be studied by all, including shUdras, women, etc. This is
similar to saying that purANas explain the Vedas and these purANas
can be read by anyone without restrictions. It has been stated that
by practising bhakti one can attain mokSha.
4) HH the Swami of Sringeri has said that anyone can get mokSha by
studying the jnAna-yoga texts such as the prakaraNa's, yoga
5) It may appear that the concluding sentence of 3) contradicts
2), but such is not the case. MadhusUdana Saraswati has explained
how one may get krama-mukti through bhakti. This is different from
sadyo mukti or jIvan-mukti which is liberation here and now in this
life. Such jIvan-mukti is achieved through Vedantic study. The
krama mukti achieved through bhakti makes one go to Brahma loka and
then eventually leads to mokSha.
6) It may appear that 4) contradicts 2). But this cannot be the case.
HH the Swami of Sringeri, himself a scholar in tarka-shAstra, can
never contradict Shankara. So we should interpret 4) in the manner
indicated by 5). That is, by studying the jnAna-yoga granthas, one
may get krama mukti. In other words, the study of such works
_eventually_ leads one to mokSha, not to jIvanmukti. Perhaps, by
such study, one gets an excellent birth in an excellent family in
the next life. Then every opportunity to study VedAnta directly
will become a certainty.
7) There are always exceptions to a generally established rule.
One might cite examples such as that of Ramana Maharshi who
attained jIvan-mukti without following the canonical path. But
we have to ask ourselves: Do we possess the same qualities and
commitment as Ramana Maharshi? Just about anyone cannot become a
Ramana Maharshi. So the probability is quite low that we can get
jIvan mukti in this life if we do not follow the established
rules. But that should not be a cause for pessimism. We can
study the prakaraNa granthas and try to make sure that we will
eventually be eligible for mokSha. By the very fact that we have
taken birth in the Kali Yuga shows that we have spent millions,
nay innumerable, births in the transmigratory cycle. What difference
does it make if we spend a few more lifetimes in trying sincerely
to attain mokSha?
So my conclusion is that we can de-link VedAdhikAra and mokShAdhikara
provided we understand that mokShAdhikAra does not mean liberation
here and now. Liberation-in-30-days-or-your-money-back won't work.
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