[Advaita-l] BSB Discussion - Prerequisites

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Mon Jun 30 19:18:23 CDT 2003

--- Ravi <ravi at ambaa.org> wrote:


> 2) Acharya himself discusses what are the necessary
> prerequisites in  
> the context of explaining the word "atha" in the 1st
> suutra.  This is 
> repeated almost in  similar words in
> vivekachuuDaamani verses 

I don't know where Ramakrishnan B. got his information
regarding the present Sringeri AchArya's prohibition
of the study of the BSB except under a Guru. But it
does feel like the traditional view. 

As for H.H.Chandrashekhara BhAratI's teaching that the
study of VedAnta (specifically the BSB) by a
non-sannyAsin will not result in Brahman-realization,
I read in H.H's biography "The Saint of Sringeri", in
the Chapter on "Soft and Firm" (H.H. was soft in the
sense that He never contradicted anyone, yet firm in
the sense that He always held his stand). According to
H.H, the only motive for a householder studying the
BSB is "curiosity". Here is the dialogue: 

A gentleman who had made a fairly careful study of Sri
Shankara Bhagavatpada's Bhashyas came to His Holiness.

G: At the beginning of the commentary on the Brahma
Sutras, our Acharya in interpreting the word "atha"
(Then) has mentioned that a person becomes competent
to enter upon the study of Vedanta only after he has
secured the four qualifications known as Viveka
(Discrimination), Vairagya (Detachment), Samadishatka
(Six courses of training), and Mumukshutva (Yearning
for liberation). Is it even so?

H.H: You say that it is so mentioned by our Acharya
and yet you ask me, "Is it even so?" What do you mean
by it?

G: Does our Acharya mean that such like myself who are
in worldly life are not qualified for study of

H.H: Is that not the meaning of the Bhashya?

G: Is it then wrong for us to study it?

H.H: How came you to doubt it?

G: We have taken so much pains to study it. Is it all

H.H: Nothing is ever wasted. Every voluntary effort
will have its own effect.

G: If there is such an effect, how can we be called

H.H: Why? Who told you that an action done by an
incompetent person had not any effect?

G: What will be that effect?

H.H: Did not Sambuka engage himself in a penance for
which he was not competent and did he not get its
fruit at the hands of Sri Rama? 

[When Sambuka, a non-Brahmin, began performing a
penance that could only be performed by a Brahmin, Sri
Rama punished him.]

G: Why? He only punished him for it.

H.H: Punishment was the fruit.

G: Does it mean then that if one engages himself in an
action beyond his competency he will be punished? This
is really no fruit.

H.H: Why not? It is as much an effect.

G: If so, does it not amount to saying that if a
person without the four prescribed qualifications
takes up the study of the Vedanta it is quite wrong?

H.H: What doubt is there? That is why the Sastras say
"saMnyasya shravaNaM kuryAt.h" "Study the Vedanta
after taking Sannyasa".

G: Does it not tantamount to expressly prohibiting
householders from a study of Vedanta?

H.H: Not necessarily so. The four qualifications are
imperatively necessary for those who want to know
Brahman. You do not want to know Brahman; you want
only to know what the book says. It is only curiosity
that impels you to look into it and not any other
motive. Your reading will not lead to knowledge of
Brahman. It may help you to understand a few of the
thoughts; it may familiarise you with such terms as
Maya, Atma and so on which are met with frequently in
such books. And the impressions so got may be somewhat
useful when really you acquire the competency. That is
all. For this, one may read it. 


> 5) As I mentioned in the first post 
> a) I am going to start a discussion and coordinate
> -- that is -- I am 
> not going to discuss it all by myself. I hope to get
> a lot of help from 
> others. b) I am going to make my contribution brief
> and going to base 
> in on few books and the text on IITK site.  I will
> post the reference 
> of the books I intend to use soon. I have only two
> at this moment and I 
> am planning to get the book by gambhiraananda soon. 

I obtained a copy of "Brahma-Sutra Bhasya of
Sankaracarya" by Swami Gambhirananda, ISBN:8175051051,
from the Vedanta Bookstore (www.vedanta.com -or-

I'll also try to get "siddhAntaleshasaMgrahaH" by
appayya dIkshita. 


> 7) It should be a matter of common sense that people
> should know that a 
> e-mail list will not replace or remove the need of
> guidance and 
> learning under  a teacher. 

Thanks for coordinating the discussion of the BSB.


Do you Yahoo!?
SBC Yahoo! DSL - Now only $29.95 per month!

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list