navinr at moschip.com
Fri Dec 3 12:36:43 CST 2004
Kiran, you have started an interesting discussion. I have a few thoughts
on your views based on my limited understanding of the Gita.
First and foremost is the question "What is the essence of terms like
sanyasa,karma yoga etc?"
By this I mean that the base motivation is to find out one's own true
nature. God/Truth/Brahman etc here are being used
equivalently(advaita,dvaita nitty gritties apart :) ). Now if we agree
on that being the purpose of our mortal existence, then the next step is
to ask " how to go about finding that essence? " Surely you shall agree
that being born in a world where we are tied to duty,responsibilities,
relations - renunciation will be an escapist step unless you go through
the rigours of duty,responsibility and eventually realize that secret of
work as described in the Gita.
Therefore karmayoga is an essential precursor to realizing about not
being the doer or as acting with the realization of all act being
offerings to God. I do not think that you can apply the term sanyasa
here at all.
I do recognize that the word sanyasi is also used to name the fourth Ashrama. But one can be a sanyasi (in the true sense of the term) in any Ashrama. Those who are incapable of being a sanyasi in the first three ashramas (for whatever reason - svabhAva, prakRuti, learning, old age, isolation from family, death of family members, noise in cities, nagging wife, disappointment in love, physical weakness, worldly defeat, unbearable sorrow, etc) take recourse to the fourth. But it is illogical (and disastrous for
economic well-being as in the case of India) to make people in this fourth Ashrama the idols for those in others.
The world needs karmayogis - this is an undeniable fact. Also understand
that this so-called economic well being is being maintained by diligent
workers (do not know if they are karmayogis to the core) who give their
best efforts. At the same time, once a human reaches the stage where he
realizes the underlying cause of all worldly actions, he takes recourse
to delving/meditating and inquiring these aspects in greater detail.
Hence it is unwise(to say the least) if we pass judgement on those who
are in that ashrama.
Secondly about the people I think you are referring here to those who
take up sanyasa or the 4th ashrama at an early age. Sri Krishna in the
Gita (2nd chapter) says about being aware of his previous forms and
births. When someone takes up sanyasa at an early age - the act of that
individual is based upon all his past karmas. I think judgement on this
can never be general because you and I are not aware and qualified
enough to judge if a Sankara had transcended karma in his past births
prior to taking up sanyasa in his early childhood. Before one states
reasons for why people take up sanyasa, it is always better to
understand that every individual carries not just a history of this
lifetime but of many others prior to that.
If at all you wish to use sanyasa and karmayoga
equivalently/interchangeably - they ought to be qualified with
limitations/conditions. My understanding of the Gita tells me that
karmayoga is among the first steps of the ladder of realization. While
Sanyasa does not mean total renunciation of actions like you rightly
point out, it cannot also be equated with karmayoga.
Kiran B.R. wrote:
>Dear Sri Bhadraiah:
>>Now, if sanyasi is some one who renounced karmas, by your
>>definition it is impossible for some one to be a sanyasi. Or one can become
>>a sanyasi only after death. Or do we call the works done by a sanyasi by
>Onlookers see a sanyasi engaged in karma, not he himself. It is in
>this sense that he is said to have renounced karmas, and not in the
>sense of not getting his hands dirty, not in the sense of not lighting
>the fire, not in the sense of not earning his daily bread through a
>hard day's work.
>Please note that I do recognize that the word sanyasi is also used to
>name the fourth Ashrama. But one can be a sanyasi (in the true sense
>of the term) in any Ashrama. Those who are incapable of being a
>sanyasi in the first three ashramas (for whatever reason - svabhAva,
>prakRuti, learning, old age, isolation from family, death of family
>members, noise in cities, nagging wife, disappointment in love,
>physical weakness, worldly defeat, unbearable sorrow, etc) take
>recourse to the fourth. But it is illogical (and disastrous for
>economic well-being as in the case of India) to make people in this
>fourth Ashrama the idols for those in others.
>bhIShma tells yudhiShThira in the mahAbhArata (shAMtiparva?):
>dAMtasya kimaraNyEna tathAdAMtasya bhArata |
>yatra nivasEddAMtaH tadaraNyaM sa chAshramaH ||
>Of what use is the araNya for the dAMta? Of what use is it for the
>adAMta? Where the dAMta lives, that is the araNya, and that is the
>This dAMta above is the true sanyasi, indifferentiable from the true karmayogi.
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