karma and upAsana (was Re: Shiva sutras)

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Tue Aug 13 23:49:12 CDT 2002

On Wed, 7 Aug 2002, Srikrishna Ghadiyaram wrote:

> > Some (the Samkhyas) focus their upasana on the
> > unborn or unmanifest
> > Prakriti.
> What is this upasana like ??

It is not made clear in the bhashya itself but from elsewhere I gather it
is meditation and yogic exercises etc.

> >Others (the Yogis) do upasana to Purusha
> > who is manifest as
> > Hiranyagarbha.
> What is this Upasana like ? (Is this same as the
> Bhakti-worship of murthi?)

Yes.  Though note even "mental" bhakti could fall in this category.  The
chief thing is not whether there is a murti or not but whether there is a
feeling of apartness or not.

> > Different results are gained by meditation on the
> > Unborn, and different results by meditation on the
> > Born.
> > This we have heard from the wise men who taught us.
> > (13)
> >
> What are these different results ?

Those who meditate become absorbed into unmanifest prakrti.  Those who
worship reach various worlds of the Gods.

> > The Unborn and Destruction, he who knows these two
> > together
> > Crosses over death through Destruction and gets
> > immortality through the Unborn. (14)
> >
> > What was called Born or manifest (Sambhuta) is here
> > called Destruction
> > (Vinasha) because whatever is born dies and whatever
> > dies is reborn.
> > Brahman pervades both the Manifest and Unmanifest
> > and he who knows they
> > are one becomes immortal.
> >
> Did you get this correct ?? (I thought it was
> sambhutimcha vinasamcha ...)

Shankaracharya says the word sambhutim is an irregular construction
and should be read as asambhutim.

> > The above is predicated on the assumption that vidya
> > means upasana which
> > is something different from jnana.  Three darshanas
> > are refuted.
> When the Samkhya, Yoga, Mahayajnikas are refuted in
> the Upanishat, how is it possible that Upanishat can
> refute the paths which have come later than itself ?

The Vedic texts contain the seeds of all the various darshans but their
systemization was a long process of refinement.  Shankaracharya doesn't
doubt that all these schools don't have _some_ validity (they are all
Astika after all.) it is that Advaita Vedanta gives the best all round
explanation and the others fall short.

What we have today in the sutras of the various darshanas is not the start
point but the culmination of a lot of discussion and analysis.  Sometimes
a particular idea became a dead end, sometimes it resulted in a split into
two rival groups.  But eventually the adherents of a particular view
settled upon some normative positions which were recorded in their sutras.

> > S:  Didn't the verses of the upanishad make it
> > absolutely clear that jnana
> > is totally opposite to karma and the two cannot be
> > combined?
> >
> Based on your translation Karma is opposite (in the
> sense that it gives different results) to Vidya
> (upasana). And we defined that here Vidya was not same
> as Jnana, then how is the above statement accepted
> based on Isa ? Or is it referring to some other
> Upanishad ?

Kathopanishad as noted below.

> > S: No because e.g. Kathopanishad 1.2.4 explicitly
> > says "What the wise know
> > as avidya and vidya are far apart and in
> > contradiction to each other,
> > leading to different outcomes."  So this case cannot
> > be considered an
> > exception to a general rule.
> >
> > O:  But verse 11 says vidya and avidya are to be
> > known together.
> >
> > S: No becuase the two differ in their causes (avidya
> > is caused by
> > identification with ahamkara, vidya by knowledge of
> > ones true self.),
> Is it to be interpreted that upasana is caused by
> knowledge of ones true self ???

Once a person has the idea that ones self is more than just the body the
processes by which he stumbles towards a full and perfect understanding
can be called upasana.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
It's a girl! See the pictures - http://www.braincells.com/shailaja/

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