Study of Vedas
Jaldhar H. Vyas
jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Mon Apr 15 10:10:35 CDT 2002
On Sat, 13 Apr 2002, Srikrishna Ghadiyaram wrote:
> This question is based on your limited interpretation
> of the word Dharma.
Readers! If there is one thing you learn from advaita-l let it be the
importance of proper context. You are correct that Dharma the generic
term can be used in a wider sense but we are talking about Advaita Vedanta
are we not?
Vedantins of all stripes follow the Mimamsakas in saying the
characteristic quality (lakshana) of Dharma is action. Advaitins are
actually pretty radical in asserting that karma and jnana are totally
seperate. Most of the other sampradayas believe jnana and karma can be
combined to atleast some degree. Ashish has already given you the reasons
why we consider Dharma and Moksha to be two seperate entities.
> In my view, SwaDharma as 'one's enjoined duty' is for
> the one who is not yet in the reach of Selfhood.
Exactly. But what is "reach"? If I think about money a lot am I in reach
of being a millionaire? Or when I have $900,000?
> Again this is based on your limited interpretation. A
> Jivanmukta is always abiding in His Dharma. As a
> rhetorical question, we can logically ask what is the
> Swarupa of a Jivanmukta .
The problem we face in analyzing this is the inadequacy of our human
language. We talk about "achieving" moksha etc. but in reality, there was
never a time when we were not free. The reason that we do not know this
is the false superimposition of duality. A jivanmukta is simply(!) one
who knows this and is unaffected by the illusion. How can such a person
talk about "his" rupa or "his" dharma? Does not "his" imply duality?
> Possibly, there can not be a Dharma without Swarupa.
> What is the Dharma of Sugar ? What is the Dharma of
> wind ? So, also what is the Dharma of a Being ?
> As sugar can not be without being sweet; as wind can
> not be without motion, and mixed up with the smells it
> carries, a Being can not be without its Being.
You are talking about lakshana not dharma. Sugar does not know it is
sugar. Animals have some degree of selfhood but they have no control over
it. (You cannot argue vegetarianism with a lion!) It is only creatures of
the level of humans or above which have the chetana shakti to "know' the
difference between self and non-self and act accordingly.
> Just as wind carries and remains in motion without
> being tainted with the fragrance it carries, we should
> remain in our Swadharma of Sat-Chit-Ananda Niranjana
> etc.. moving with the worldly duties.
Again this analogy is not adequate because the wind has no sense of smell
it cannot choose to be tainted by fragrance even if it wanted to. A
would-be sadhaka has to make a conscious decision if he is going to accept
duality or not.
These discussions often founder because they are too abstract and
theoretical. Let us consider a practical example. If you have to be at
work at 9am or your boss will fire you, are you enmeshed in duality or
not? If you tell your boss "In reality I don't have to be in at 9" does
it make any difference to your condition or not?
> You are so much looking for mechanisms that it will
> require some changed thinking so get away from
> dependence on Karmakanda, in its narrow sense.
How will that changed thinking occur? How does one know if the thinking
has actually changed or if one is just lulling oneself with fantasies? If
Vedanta just offers a theory it is totally useless. It must also offer a
practical mechanism for liberation.
Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
It's a girl! See the pictures - http://www.braincells.com/shailaja/
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