vedAdhikAram and MokshAdhikAram

Dr. M. Giridhar giridhar at CHEMENG.IISC.ERNET.IN
Thu May 14 07:01:26 CDT 1998

>>    Besides, if Advaitam is philosophically an exegitical tradition and
>> if the Scriptural study is restricted to only a certain class of
>> people then how can Advaitam claim to be Universal?

>I can think of three possible answers to this.

>1.  Maybe the Advaita acharyas didn't care about universality or thought
>of it in a different way to our modern conceptions.

>2.  Giri mentioned this view those who cannot study the Vedas may get the
>same benefit by study  of works such as the Gita which contain theessence
>of the Vedas and which they are allowed to hear.

>3.  What Anand wrote suggested this to me.  It could be that those who
>wish to know Brahman will be born in their next lives as Brahmanas and
>will achieve Moksha then.

>Of these, 2. seems to me to be the best fit but all 3 sound plausible if
>we look at all the evidence.

        Number 1 has a reason. What decides your birth ? Karma. Who
distributes the fruit of the karma with due consideration of the
welfare of the person ? Ishvara (A1). Therefore, if one has taken birth
in a good family of yogis, Ishvara has deemed him fit for sadhana
towards moksha (A2). Whether the person uses this opportunity for sadhana
or squanders it away like a fool is another matter.

        It is written in scriptures (B) if a person born as a brahmin
neglects to perform nitya karmas, he will not be born as a brahmin
again in his next rebirth.

        Therefore, a person born as a brahmin now has performed
good karmas in the past and has a better chance (as deemed by
Ishvara). The acharyas just used this criteria, since they respect
Ishvara's decision.

        Suppose one is born in a family that is not allowed veda-adhikara,
he has two options:

1. "Obtain" jnana by studying works which contain the essence of the
vedanta. (C)

2. Cultivate bhakti and attain krama-mukti by going to Brahmaloka etc.
(There is no more rebirth after one reaching Brahmaloka). (D)

        Of these, the first is possible but the latter path is much more
simpler and has a higher chance of success (imho). In fact, I do think
that even the path of jnana marga has to be supplemented by bhakti
(towards Ishvara, Guru and Self) until one attains Brahman. That's why it
has been said that jnana can not be obtained (except in rare cases)
without upasana (E).

        Regarding Ramana Maharshi not reading etc., He himself has said
that he had completed the reading in His previous births (F). Further,
we are not even eligible to compare ourselves to that great mahatma.
Nor is a person like me embedded in samsara fit to play God and talk
about who will attain moksha and why.

A1 - The voice of God by Kanchi periyava.
A2 - BG 6.42/43
B - apastamba dharma sutras
C - Brahma Sutra Bhashya of Shankara
D - BG Bhashya of Madhusudhana Sarasvati
E - Jivanmuktiviveka of vidyaaranya
F - Talks with Ramana Maharshi.

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