[Advaita-l] Re: Vivekachudamani vs Bhashyas

bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com
Tue Aug 26 05:15:14 CDT 2003

Humble praNAms Sri Vidya prabhuji
Hare Krishna

Thanks  a lot for  spending  your precious time on this issue prabhuji.
Before winding up this discussion I'd like to make finally few
comments/observations.  I humbly request your clarification on this.  Since
I've already shared whatever I gained through studies, with this comment ,
I should say, this is my last mail on this very interesting topic.
Thus, the niyama vidhi restricts the possibilities and is therefore
translated as "restrictive injunction".

>  sureshwava in his vArtika on Br.Up.bhAshya on 1.4.20-21 makes it
explicitly clear that niyama vidhi should not be treated as an additional
*injuction* to a brahma jnAni.

All this is well and good, but the only thing I am pointing out is that
is samAdhAna in TU commentary, and samAdhAna is something that needs to be
done (kartavya) in BU commentary. Obviously, this presumes kartRtva which
dependent on dhI or buddhi or antaHkaraNa.

>  Yes prabhuji, to perform kartavya, katrutvabhAva lies in dhi shakti, but
once the ultimate knowledge is gained through shAstra vAkya shravaNa by
eligible candidate, his katrutva bhava which has locus on dhI or
antaHkaraNa will be completely eradicated.  What I am trying to say here
the *pramAtrutva* or katrutva bhAva in a jnAni is conspicuous by its
absence.  This is purely subjective experience hence cannot be deduced by
any logic or inference.  Hence sureshwara says : amum prASnikamuuddiShya
tarkajvarabhruSAturAH! We assume that a jnAni has katrutva bhAva &
bhOktrutva bhAva & therefore, though we agree a jnAni is dehAtIta, we tend
to stipulate some restrictive injuctions if not apUrva vidhi to already
self-established (svayam siddha) Atma jnAni .  This clearly shows that
still we are identityfying a jnAni with dehAdi karaNa.  Br.up. says though
he has body, he does not have a body, though he has organs, he does not
have those etc. etc.

The only problem is, the jIva doesn't realize that the very jIvatva is
notional, till jnAna dawns. We can talk around jIva and avidyA a whole lot,
but all of us, including you and I, take ourselves to be kartA-s (doers of
actions) and bhoktA-s (enjoying or suffering the fruits of our actions),

>  I agree with you prabhuji, but one point should be noted here that we
are not talking about ajnAni-s like me prabhuji, we are talking about
niyama vidhi-s prescribed to jnAni who has realised his swarUpa through
shruti vAkya (shruti vAkya janya jnAna).  For that matter, if I am not
wrong, ajnAni-s have to observe upto some extent even apUrva vidhi also in
the process of their mental purification. Is it not??  But, whereas, if we
take the case of a jnAni who knows in *absolute* terms that dehAdhi
karaNa-s mere notional, how can it be possible even for shrutis to impose
injuctions to him irrespective of apUrva or niyama. At the close of  his
commentary on 4th sUtra shankara says, how can there be anything to be
performed after the realisation of one's own self or brahman, the pure
being, for then there is neither the figurative nor the false Atman
consequent on the sublation of the idea of the body & ohter notional
adjuncts of the self.

>  Further if we check what shruti says on brahma jnAni's *body* as such (
which is including our sUkshma sharIra also consisting of manObuddhi,
Br.Up. 4-4-7 says when all the desires residing in one's heart have been
got rid of, then the mortal being becomes immortal & attains brahman here
in this life.  Just as the cast off slough of the snake would lie life-less
in an ant-hill, so also does the body of the enlightened person lie there &
he is now bodiless, the prANa, brahman alone, the light of pure
consciousness alone.  Prabhuji, is it not clear that shruti is teaching us
the effacement of the idea of one's identity with body after the
realisation of one's identity with absolute??  It is clear that when we say
a jnAni has a body with remaining traces of prarabda karma it is nothing
but only through *ignorance*, since the intrinsic nature of bodylessness
has already been revealed as soon as enlightenment dawns.

>  In brahma sUtra 1-1-4 (as I said in my earlier mail..we can take up this
sUtra in detail separately for discussion) while commenting on sUtra *tattu
samanvayAt* shankara clearly says for all these reasons, all injuctions (we
can even extend this to all means of knowledge) can operate as such only
till the one reaches intuition *I am brahman* In this regard we can refer
mundaka shruti 2-2-28 which says when brahman (as both cause & effect) is
realised as one's own self then all his karmas are destroyed.  This is once
again clear that for the absolute demolition of all karmas (prArabdha,
sanchita etc.) will happen from the knowledge of brahman.

>  Considering above prabhuji, dont we have to think there is some subtle &
implied meaning in the statements like *vijnAya pragnAm kurvita* prabhuji??
kindly clarify.
The teaching of samAdhi in vedAnta (samAdhir upadiShTo vedAnteshu as
Sankara says) is for such people. In my reading, Sankara takes a very
practical approach to the whole question of samAdhi, which gets lost in all
the academic analyses of advaita vedAnta.

>  prabhuji, problem here is accepting the samAdhi according to patanjali's
chitta vrutti nirOdha & ashtAnga yOga.  This problem gets resolved if it is
understood within the parameters of vedAntic terminology. As you said
below, shankara's use of the term samAdhi is not strictly in accordance
with  patanjali's yOga sUtra.

Not "the" but "a" valid means.

>  prabhuji I am not clear about this.  If samAdhi is also one of the valid
means of knowledge, then how many valid means are there??  then how can we
treat only *shAstra pramANa* as ultimate??

This goes back to the basic question in vedAnta. The nature of the Self
being self-established, the entire system of vedAnta may itself be
unnecessary. Nevertheless, the ignorance of the nature of the Self has to
be removed.

>  Yes, prabhuji, the root cause of saMsAra is anAdi avidyA to eradicate
this avidyA the ONLY potent tool is ShAstra janya jnAna nothing else.  I
donot think shankara anywhere compromising on this issue & offering
substitute in samAdhi.

And as I see it, Sankara does endorse samAdhi as one of the ways in which
to remove this ignorance. He is also very detailed and specific in his
descriptions of what is involved in this samAdhi. Of course, it may not be
exactly the same as pAtanjala yoga, but it is nevertheless very close.

>  prabhuji I am really confused about your contention here.  Kindly
clarify me the following :

(a)  Do you agree samAdhi is also one of the valid pramANa for absolute
realisation apart from shAstras??  If yes, where is the place for shruti
pramANa?? Is it go hand-in-hand with samAdhi prabhuji??

(b)  Where exactly shankara says samAdhi also one of the valid means of
knowledge in his PT bhAshya??

(c)  Is the samAdhi endorsed by shankara is for ultimate realisation or it
is for mediocre students of shAstra-s.

(d)  Do you agree that the patanjala's ashtAnga yoga & resultant samAdhi is
only for mental purification or it is ultimate abode of ultimate jnAna.

(e)  Kindly clarify how shankara treated yOga shAstra of patanjali in PT
bhashya, whether he has soft corner towards it  & admitting that it is also
one of the valid means of knowledge apart from shAstra-s.

Does Sankara tell us that the niyama vidhi is not to be taken literally?

>  But Sureshwara, direct desciple of shankara, a true representative of
shankara's tradition, says so on Br.Up. Bh. vArtika.  I can send you the
relevant portion of if you are interested prabhuji.

He concludes with this statement and lets it go. What he means is that
sentences like prajnAM kurvIta are not to be taken literally as apUrva
vidhi-s, but he himself tells us that these are niyama vidhi-s. I don't see
why there should be any more second-guessing on our part about this.

>  prabhuji, we need to have a indepth understanding of niyama vidhi since
this is doing havoc in understanding the upanishadic statement *vijnAya
pragnAM kurvIta*.  It is absolute necessary for a sincere follower of
shankara's jnAna pradhAna mArga to have the *most suited* meaning of niyama
vidhi in order to uphold the shruti pratipAdya Atmaikatva jnAna which is
nitya, shuddha, bhuddha, mukta swarUpa in its very nature.

There is an effect on vAk, manas and kAya, as described in BU commentary.
There is no direct effect on the jnAnI who does not at all identify with
these. On the other hand, if there is some person who does continue to
identify with these even after SravaNa, then there is an effect on that
person and it is to that person and those like him that the niyama vidhi is

>  Yes prabhuji thats what I've been reiterating in all my mails.  For a
jnAni or a realised person there is neither apUrva vidhi nor even niyama
vidhi in its strict sense.  But for a average student of shAstra has to do
shravana, manana, nidhidhyAsana etc. in order to maintain the ShrAvita
jnAna till the dawn of absolute knowledge.

Nevertheless, Self-knowledge is something to be gained. The
Self-knowledge itself is something that is obtained from the upanishads,
once this is obtained, it leads to citta vRtti nirodha.

>  First of all it should be noted that shruti donot emphatically teach us
such & such is self knowledge.  Shruti only can help us to eradicate our
avidyA.  Since our Atma jnAna is self evident & it is not an adventitous
thing, there is absolutely no effort is required to realise what we are,
our all efforts is aiming towards getting rid of our anAdi ajnAna.  That is
what shankara clearly says in sUtra bhAshya 1-1-4 while answering the pUrva
pakshi objection that if brahman is not an object of any action, then it
cannot be maintained that the shAstra is the means of knowing it, shankara
replies categorically Not so, for the shastra-s purports to wipe off the
distinctions superimposed on brahman by avidyA.  The Shastra does not
indeed propose to teach brahman as such & such an object, but it teaches
brahman as no object at all, being the inmost self and removes all
distinctions created by avidyA such as knowable, knower & knowledge.  We
can also refer shankara's bhAshya on 2-1-14 in this regard & commentary on
BG 18-50. I humbly request to clarify where exactly patanjali's chitta
vrutti nirodha fits in this scenario.

There are two aspects to Sankara's thought-process here. One is the
rejection of mImAMsA principle of apUrva vidhi with respect to AtmavidyA.
The other is the relationship of the goal of yoga to AtmavidyA. He strongly
rejects the mImAMsA principle of apUrva vidhi. However, he accepts that
citta vRtti nirodha, the goal of yoga, is closely related to AtmavidyA, so
much so that the recollection of Self-knowledge itself automatically
in citta vRtti nirodha.

>  It is clear that shankara was no more a friend of sAnkhya & yOga path
followers.  In various places of sUtra bhAshya & kArika bhAshya he refutes
this phil. Moreover the vedantic concept of yoga has been mis-interpreted &
mistaken for practices advocated by yOga schools.  In addition, as we know
vAchaspati's bhAmati & prakAshAtman's vivaraNa etc. say  that experience of
advaita is possible ONLY in samAdhi.  But shankara expressly throw us the
caution that it is not the saNkhya or the yOga recommended in the schools
named by these words.  If we see his Sutra bhAshya 2-1-3 shankara says
vedic knowledge of Atman and the vedic meditation that are denoted by the
words sAnkhya & yoga.  It has to be noted that this yOga enshrined in
upanishads is an effort to see subtle things as they are as.  ( venkata
subramani has already provided the example of ratna parikshaka) It is just
like a scientist's concentrated effort when he observes minute things
through a microscope.  This is what adhyAtma yOga in katha shruti  prabhuji
which I wanted to discuss with you in detail.  This is also called dhyAna
yOga in BG.  Bg 6-29 says one who has attained the balanced mind through
yOga, sees the Atman in all beings and all beings in the Atman, for he sees
the same reality everywhere( sarvabhUtAtmanAtmAnaM sarvabhutAni chAtmani
etc.) prabhuji dont you think this is the best test in empirical life
through which one can satisfy oneself as to whether or not he has been a
perfect yogArUdha..suhrunmitra udAsIna madhyastha ...samabudhir vishishyate
is another standing example of a perfect yogArUdha is it not prabhuji??

If we do not second-guess Sankara, then even the feeling of the minor
discrepancy disappears. I don't think Sankara thought in terms of "this
is my mUla siddhAnta,

>For every follower of shankara siddhAnta it is clear that shankara clearly
tried to establish the Agama sampradaya  which in clear term enlighten us
the unitary nature of the self (the one embodied & supreme one) Further
just to clarify his stand shankara in his adhyAsa bhAshya clearly says very
essence of this vyAvahArika prapancha : anyOnyasminanyOnnyAtmakatAM anyOnya
dharmAMcha adhyasya itarEtara vivEkEna..satyAnrute mithuni krutya ahamidaM
mamEdamiti naisargikOyam lOka vyavahAraH!! after identifying fundamental
problem of ours what shankara offers towards remedial measures, it is
nothing but shruti janya paramArtha jnAna, to prepare ourselves to receive
this ultimate knowledge from shrutis to eradicate ajnAna one has to adopt
various means for mental purification... i.e. japa, dhyAna, pUja etc. etc.
Kindly correct me prabhuji if my understanding is wrong.

Well, even hearing and understanding the meaning of tat tvam asi are mental
actions, are they not? They involve the sense organ of the ear, and the
internal organ which grasps meaning. So long as this remains as relational
knowledge, it is also mental action and dependent upon the will of the

>  Not exactly prabhuji as per my understanding.  I have already quoted how
the meditation & its result differ from shruti vAkya janita jnAna.  Swami
Dayananda of Arsha Vidya Gurukulam takes this discusses this issue
elaborately in Ramana's upadesha saaram talks, Lakshmana sharma's (pen name
*Who*) Maha Yoga  & also Sri Swamiji of HN Pur in vedanta prakriya & brahma
vidya rahasya vivruti.

>  This is my humble presentation prabhuji.  I know my knowledge is very
limited in advaita vedanta as I am a late starter in this direction.
Kindly pardon me if I am out of track anywhere. Whatever you say in reply I
humbly accept it prabhuji since my investigating mind wants rest on this
issue :-)).

>  My humble prostrations to you prabhuji (My advaita teacher in cyber net)

>  Your humble servant
>  Hari Hari Hari Bol!!
>  bhaskar

PS :
I have taken the print of your article on Yoga in advaita vedanta.  I am
discussing this personally with Sri Jayaram Ganapati Shastrigal & have
written a detailed letter to Sri Chandramouli Avadhani of AP Karyalaya for
his clarification.

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