pUrva mImAMsA question

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vidya at CCO.CALTECH.EDU
Mon Sep 7 18:34:44 CDT 1998

While analyzing sureSvarAcArya's vArttika on the commentary to
bRhadAraNyaka upanishad (BU), I find a particular argument very hard to
follow. If there are any list members with a good knowledge of pUrva
mImAMsA, I would appreciate any leads in understanding the following.

One distinctive position held by SankarAcArya and his disciple is that as
the Atman is beyond all action, meditation on the Self cannot be enjoined
in the scripture. [1] Still, as regards the sentence "AtmA vA are
drashTavyaH, SrotavyaH, mantavyaH, nididhyAsitavyaH" (maitreyI brAhmaNa -
BU 2. 4. 5; 4. 5. 6), SankarAcArya accepts that it can be seen as a
restrictive injunction (niyama vidhi), regarding meditation on the Self,
while sureSvarAcArya accepts that it can be seen as an excluding
injunction (parisaMkhyA vidhi), that eliminates meditation on the
not-Self. What they both reject is the possibility that the above quoted
sentence is an initial injunction (apUrva vidhi) or an injunction
regarding eligibility (adhikAra vidhi). This portion of the argument makes
perfect sense within advaita vedAnta.

What is extremely difficult to follow is this. In the discussion under
BU 4. 4. 21-22, the vArttika-kAra argues that if an injunction is only
restrictive (niyama vidhi) or eliminative (parisaMkhyA vidhi), then it has
no eligible person to address itself to. In such a case, an injunction
concerning karma (apUrva vidhi) or its fruit (which presumably accrues to
a proper adhikArin) would not be possible.

My question is, do not even the niyama or parisaMkhyA kinds of injunction
presume action, and therefore, the sense of agency in the self? It would
seem that even in prescribing a restrictive action or excluding some kinds
of action, an intelligent agent is necessarily assumed. Or does the pUrva
mImAMsA system (defined by jaiminI's sUtras, Sabara's bhAshya and
kumArila's or prabhAkara's sub-commentaries) hold otherwise? Or is this
particular argument meant only against the possibility of adhikAra, and
not really about the basic sense of agency itself?

Notes -

[1] Note that this argument does not mean that meditation on the Self is
prohibited. That something is not enjoined does not automatically mean
that it is prohibited. The thrust of his argument is that Self-knowledge
cannot be obtained as a result of ritual action (which can be enjoined),
consisting of meditation on Brahman. Therefore, there is no need to
combine ritual karma and jnAna.

>From ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU Mon Sep  7 19:59:45 1998
Message-Id: <MON.7.SEP.1998.195945.0200.ADVAITAL at TAMU.EDU>
Date: Mon, 7 Sep 1998 19:59:45 +0200
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To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
        <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
From: Guy Werlings <guy.werlings at WANADOO.FR>
Subject: Pathway to non-duality
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Dear all,

Have seen on the site of Messrs Motilal Banarsidass a book by a certain

Has any of you read that book. Is it worth something ?

Personally, I should tend to be rather cautious with the production of
someone who pretends hinself to be an asparSin, but perhaps am I too
narrow-minded. By the way should it no be asparSa yogin ? I had remained
under the impression (perhaps false) that srI gauDapAdAcarya was
promoting an asparSa yoga, not a vAda of that name. Worse than
narrow-minded, I fear I am petty-minded.

Thanks for any possible your help



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