[Advaita-l] A Brief Introduction to pUrva mImAmsA - 1 (a FAQ)

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Wed Feb 4 15:32:34 CST 2004

On Wed, 4 Feb 2004, S Jayanarayanan wrote:

> > 3)  I believe there are numerous examples in the Advaita tradition of
> > persons who were not Sannyasins (IF by this one means physical
> > renunciation as an alternative to the 4 ashramas) but still exemplars
> > of the qualities which the sadhaka in Advaita must cultivate (one
> > need go no further than King Janaka).
> >

This argument is given in brahmasutra 3.4.3 AchAradarshanAt ("by the
example of their conduct")  Janaka behaved as a doer despite being a
jnani.  (incidently, this argument is ascribed to Jaimini, the author of
the PM sutras.)  the rejoinder is given in 3.4.7 kAmakAraNe chaike
(by choice for some)  Those who know the futility of action nevertheless
sometimes do act.  Why?  Gita 3.20 gives the answer: for lokasaMgraha (the
benefit of the world) A king like Janaka may need to protect his people
from peril for instance.  But such karma is still inferior to naishkarmya.

> In the gItA bhAshhya, Shankara says that it can be assumed that Janaka
> attained "saMsiddhi" -- meaning that he came upto the dawn of
> Self-realization, but not final Liberation itself. Besides, in the
> jIvanmuktiviveka (JMV) of svAmi vidyAraNya, Janaka is said to have
> attained the status of a brahmaGYAnI, but not a sthitapraGYa (one who
> has attained firmness in BrahmaGYAna), and still needed to eliminate
> his vAsanas. The reason: Janaka lacked firmness in the Four
> Qualifications, and hence his BrahmaGYAna was also not firm. Such
> people who attain infirm BrahmaGYAna while still in the householder
> stage, are advised to take up vidvat saMnyAsa so that their GYAna may
> become firm.

I believe the Ramayana or perhaps the Vishnu Purana says that Janaka was
in fact reborn multiple times.  Even a jnani cannot magically suspend
cause and effect.  If one insists on performing actions one suffers their
consequences whatever ones intentions were.  The Mahabharata also says in
its 18th parvan that the Pandavas had to spend some time in Hell.  Even
though their actions had divine sanction, they still had an effect (phala.)

> > In his book "Freedom Through Inner Renunciation", Roger
> > Marcaurelle discusses in depth whether renunciation is a necessary
> > prerequisite to liberation, a final outcome of liberation, or if
> > liberation can be experienced/attained by persons in other ashramas.
> > The conclusion of the book is that true renunciation according to Adi
> > Shanaracharya is renouncing desire and the sense of doership and may
> > be practiced by sadhakas of any ashrama.
> >

I don't know who this Marcaurelle person is but he didn't get his ideas
from Shankaracharya.  What is "inner" renunciation anyway?  Either one has
renounced or one hasn't.  A person who still maintains distinctions of
inner and outer hasn't renounced anything IMO.

> The AchArya does say that one can embark on the study of VedAnta ONLY
> after the said Four Qualifications (which begin with viveka, vairAgya
> etc.), irrespective of whether he has grounding in PM or not. But I
> clearly specified that if one DOES NOT possess the said pre-requisites,
> one has no other option but to practise dharma till the attainment of
> the pre-requisite Qualifications.

We should make clear that the choice is not between studying PM or Vedanta
but between practicing Dharma or not.  If you are a grhastha and you shirk
your Dharmic duties, studying 1008 Vedantic books will not save you.

> > In PM, the goal of the rites is desire-prompted and performed with a
> > sense of doership. In Advaita, the same rites may be enjoined up until
> > liberation (for those who have not undertaken formal physical
> > renunciation) provided they are done without a sense of doership or
> > desire.

Yes but that doesn't alter the fact that actions are still being done.
(karma covers _all_ actions not just religious ones.)  This is why
Shankaracharya distinguishes between a sannyasi and a karmayogi.

> Two legitimate questions that can be asked are:
> 1) Is there an example of one who has attained the Four Qualifications
> in perfection and still has not taken up saMnyAsa?
> 2) Is there one who has attained Liberation without taking saMnyAsa?
> I can think of one example for both questions: shrI rAma is said to
> have attained jIvanmukti with perfect Qualifications. If he continued
> to rule the earth after that as a king, then I'm not sure the claim is
> correct that sannyAsa is a pre-requisite for Liberation.

Shri Rama was an avatar of vishnu Bhagavan.  The purpose of an avatar is
to explain pravrtti and nivrtti dharma.  So his appearing to be ignorant
and appearing to be liberated was only for didactic purposes.

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

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list