[Advaita-l] Re: Vivekachudamani vs Bhashyas

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Fri Aug 1 16:45:44 CDT 2003

--- Vidyasankar Sundaresan <svidyasankar at hotmail.com> wrote:
> S. Jayanarayanan wrote:
> >Thanks for the translation of Sri sacchidAnandendra sarasvatI
> swamiji's
> >work regarding the authenticity of the VivekachuDAmaNi (VC). Though
> the
> >VC is very "practical" in its teachings, Adi Shankara never
> downplays
> >shAstra, which the author of the VC does in verse 59:
> >
> >aviGYaate pare tattve shaastraadhiitistu nishhphalaa .
> >viGYaate.api pare tattve shaastraadhiitistu nishhphalaa .. 59..
> >"When the Supreme Truth is unknown, the study of scriptures is
> useless;
> >when the Supreme Truth is known also, the study of the scriptures is
> >useless."
> Without weighing in on the authorship of VC, I would like to point
> out that 
> it is quite wrong to translate the above verse in this fashion.
> nishphalaa 
> should be fruitless, not useless. What the author intends here is
> that if 
> one merely studies the scriptures and does not realize the highest
> truth, 
> then the study of the scriptures remains fruitless. After one
> realizes the 
> highest truth, there is no further result to be realized, including
> from 
> study of scriptures.
> The intention is not to denigrate the study of the scriptures.
> Rather, it is 
> the intention of the author to exhort those who study the scriptures
> to 
> attempt to realize the highest truth. And there is nothing radically
> new or 
> un-advaitic about this statement either. Compare gItA 2. 46 and
> commentary 
> thereon. Here, the use of the veda for the brahmajnAnI is compared to
> that 
> of a pot of water when there is a flood all around.

I used the word "useless" because the English translation of the
commentary of the Vivekachudamani by HH Chandrashekhara Bharati employs
the words "of no use". 

Of course the verse is not unadvaitic, and it certainly admits of an
interpretation that does not speak of the lack of importance of
scripture to an aGYAnI. But see verse 61, two verses after:

aGYAna sarpadashhTasya brahmaGYAnaushhadhaM vinA .
kimu vedaishcha shAstraishcha kimu mantraiH kimaushhadhaiH .. 61 ..
"To a person who has been bitten by the serpent of aGYAna, the only
remedy is brahmaGYAna. To such a one what can the Vedas, shAstras,
mantras and medicines avail?"

The above verse is also very advaitic, but my point is that I find
absolutely no statement in any of Shankara's BhAshhyas which comes
close to downplaying shAstra *before the dawn of GYAna*. I may
definitely be mistaken as I've not read the BhAshhyas thoroughly, but I
would like to know where in his BhAshhyas (or even the
upadeshasAhasrii) Shankara says to the effect that shAstra is not
useful to an aGYAnI. 

The VC itself speaks of the importance of shAstra at various places,
but does at times belittle the importance of shAstra to an aGYAnI,
which IMHO Shankara never does. 


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