saattvika tyaagam

Sankaran Panchapagesan panchap at ICSL.UCLA.EDU
Mon Oct 11 11:39:24 CDT 1999

  This post is from my brother Karthik.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 09 Oct 1999 13:55:00 PDT
From: Sankaran Jayanarayanan <kartik2001 at>
To: panchap at
Subject: Re: saattvika tyaagam

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian <ramakris at EROLS.COM> wrote:

>Ravi wrote:
>>>>There is a profound and beautiful step in shrIvaiShNava rituals
>called saattvika tyaagam. Even though we (smaarta-s) do phala tyagam
>at the end using the mantra "kaayena vaacha", we do not observe the
>saattvika tyaagam. Dont you  think we should adopt this?<<<
>This wreaks havoc with the advaitic philosophy that Ishvara is only
>the phaladAtA. That Ishvara is only phaladAta is brought out clearly
>in the trishatI bhAshhyam, when sha.nkara argues against the
>mImA.nsaka-s. I forget the verses now.
>If one believed that Ishvara was really the doer, then why go through
>3 steps or any steps at all for that matter? One would just quietly go
>about letting things happen. In any case all this is completely
>delusional, sorry but that's my view. As per this process one gives up
>the delusion that he is the doer (or claims to) and gets into a bigger
>delusion that Ishvara is the doer. That's absurd. I am sure someone or
>the other will take offense, but I have to say this since I feel this
>practice has no place in advaita.
>First of all doership itself is illusory as per advaita. On top of
>that doing something and then attributing that to the supreme is quite
>ridiculous and would wreak total havoc with advaita.
>As per mImA.nsA shAstra Ishvara is never the doer. bhagavAn kumArila
>bhaTTa makes things quite clear. One can either do actions and
>appropriate the benefits, which are temporary. This leads to a never
>ending cycle of births and deaths. Or one should do only the daily and
>occasional rituals, which will lead to moksha finally. Advaitins are
>completely in agreement except that

If you mean the Ishvara is unaffected by the jiiva's karma, don't you think
that's obvious: one cannot freely sin and then simply say the actions were
God's! can say so, but it wouldn't be true :-)

But if you mean advaitins are in agreement with the statement "Isvara never
does anything" when you say that "Ishvara is never the doer," then the
statement is in error.

The jiiva acts under the spell of avidya. The Ishvara MUST also act in order
to maintain the jiiva.

Quote from the BG (3.22) (translation by A.G.Krishna Warrier)
"I have, Arjuna! no duty whatsoever to discharge in all the three worlds;
there is nothing I have not won, and nothing remains to be won by Me; still
I ceaselessly work."

Shankara's commentary: In all the three worlds, Arjuna! no duty whatsoever
exists for me to discharge. Why? There is nothing unobtained and nothing yet
to be obtained, by Me. Nevertheless I ceaselessly work.

Better is BG (3.24):
"If I don't work the worlds will perish; I may cause confusion, and may ruin
these living beings."

Shankara's commentary: If I work not, all the worlds 'will perish' -- will
be ruined, in the absence of the work that maintains their equilibrium.
Also, I shall cause confusion, and thus destroy these living beings. Seeking
to confer a blessing on them, I might work their ruin. It will ill accord
with My character as God.

The last line of Shankara is "Ishvarasya ananuruupaM aapadyeta." An Ishvara
who doesn't work towards the well-being of the jiivas is no iishvara at all.

>a) Ishvara is the phaladAta and
>not adR^irshhTa (please see Anand's recent explanation on this topic)
>and b) the daily and occasional rituals are not the direct means of
>moxa, but rather lead to purification of mind which makes one ripe for
>In any case, if any practice is not followed by smArta-s, then why
>adopt it? The best minds have been working at these things for
>thousands of years and they have a big enough task list for people to
>do. So, there is no need to look at new things from other traditions

Well, there are great minds in other traditions too. And tradition is for
Man, not Man for tradition. One ought to choose whatever helps one the most.
If there is something in a tradition that is good for a certain person,
he/she could/should take it up whole-heartedly, IMO.



Get Your Private, Free Email at

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

Archives :
Help     : Email to listmaster at
Options  : To leave the list send a mail to
           listserv at with
           SIGNOFF ADVAITA-L in the body.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list