[Advaita-l] The "Royal Way"

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Fri Feb 20 12:32:52 CST 2004

--- "M. S. Ravisankar" <ravi at ambaa.org> wrote:
> I may be wrong and my intention is not to find faults, I was shocked
> and
> quite disturbed by the revelation that brahma-j~nAna by itself does
> not give
> mukti (which I do not agree with).I see few issues with Vidyaranya's
> position. Your clarifications are welcome.

All the objections that you've raised below are answered in the JMV. In
fact, the objections come from none other than a VedAntin who is
well-versed in Shankaran works, since the pUrvapakshin quotes liberally
from Shankara's upadeshasAhasrii and Sureshvara's naishhkarmya siddhi

I can only answer these questions from memory, as I do not have the JMV
with me now:

> 0) How does brahma-jnAni go about destroying vaasana-s for vaasana
> xaya and
> then mano naasha*? Does he go back to sadhanachatushhTaya ?

"Almost correct". When the opponent asks the above question, svAmi
vidyAraNya (SV) says exactly what I've said before: the rAja mArga is
the path that assumes perfect sAdhana-chatushhTaya in the student, then
the study of VedAnta and finally removal of avidyaa. In this Royal Way,
GYAna = mukti. But Janaka did not walk this Royal Way. In his case, he
had excellent former sAdhana and puNya in the form of performing his
dharma immaculately. This gave him GYAna when he heard the (ashhTAvakra
or avadhUta) gItA, but did not eliminate his vAsanas.

> 1) It think, it brings elements of yoga (karma) after attaining
> perfect
> brahma-jnAna as a upAya for mukti. Which is not acceptable. One
> cannot say
> more jnAna is required for vAsana xaya after brahma jnAna, it has to
> be
> something other than jnAna then.
> 2) mukti is removal of avidyaa. Yoga says avidya is a vaasana or
> latent
> impression, requires vasana xaya as necessary condition for mukti. 
> If
> brahma-jnAna (that too perfect and aparoxa) does not get rid of
> avidya. It
> leads to: a) jnana is not a means for mukti b) avidya is more real
> than what
> it is said to be. Both are not acceptable.

Both the above questions are answered by SV by saying that for a GYAnI
who is not a mukta, avidyA is like a serpent that has its fangs
removed, but is not totally destroyed. SV even quotes NS in this

> 3) shruti such as "tatra ko mohaH ka shoka ekatvamanupashyata" goes
> squarely
> against it.
> 4) shankara too says that nothing comes in between brahma-jnAna and
> moxa in
> BSB (while commenting on samanvayaadhikaraNam). You can read the
> section in
> IIT kanpur site. It ends with "... brahmavidyaanantaram moxam
> darshyanto
> madhye karyaantaram vaarayanti". I have put that section alone as an
> image
> file  http://www.ambaa.org/download/advaita/bsb1.jpg (Jaldhar, can we
> create
> place for members to share binary files rather than including them in
> the
> text of the message?). I think this by itself contradicts
> Vidyaranya's
> position.
> 5) I think the BuBh statemensts should be interpreted more
> carefully** .
> Otherwise I fear that avidya in advaita-vedAnta becomes quite real.

There are many ways to handle all the shruti and smriti objections that
claim that GYAna alone results in mukti. But I cannot remember all of
them. One way SV handles such objections is to say: the term
"BrahmaGYAnI" sometimes refers synonymously to a sthitapraGYa (one in
whom GYAna is firm), who is none other than a jIvanmukta. But this is
not the case always.

But there is no uncertainty about the fact that the JMV mentions
YAGYAvalkya to have attained perfect (saMyak) and immediate (aparoksha)
BrahmaGYAna, but not mukti. Continuing from the extract I gave below in
the link in the last posting, the JMV talks about jIvanmukti and then
concludes with:

(quoting from memory)

SV: ...this is jIvanmukti. But YAGYavalkya was not in this state when
he debated with his opponents. He had a great thirst for wealth as
well, as revealed by his speech, "I bow down to all the learned
BrAhmaNas, but I only want the cows (the prize for his victory)."

Objection: YAGYavalkya may have said that not because he had a great
thirst for wealth, but in a euphemistic manner so as to insult the
other BrAhmaNas.

SV: That is then another count of offence...

YAGYavalkya's account in the BR^ihaddaraNyaka upanishhad is given at
http://www.swami-krishnananda.org/brdup/brhad_III-01.html where it is
translated as:

The central portion of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad is what we are now
entering into. The context of the discussion in these two chapters is
the court of King Janaka who was a great knower of the Self. We are
told that there were about sixty-four Janakas. Janaka is not the name
of a person. It is a designation, say, the title like Collector, which
is not the name of a man but the name of an office that he holds. 
He (king Janaka) made the announcement; "The best among you may take
all these cows. It is up to you to find out, who is the best among you.
Anyone who is best among you may stand up, and take these thousand cows
with so much of gold coins tied to their horns." Now, who can say; 'I
am the best'. It was a very delicate matter.
Yajnavalkya, the great Master was in that assembly. He told his
disciple, a Brahmachari (celibate), known as Samasravas: "Take these
cows to my house." Very strange it was! Everybody was surprised. How
was this man talking like this? He simply called the Brahmachari and
said; - 'take them to my house'. Samasravas was the name of the
Brahmachari. "You take them," he said. Ta hodacakara, te ha brahmanas
cakruduh: Everybody was in a huff and raged in anger. All the Brahmins
seated there were mumbling among themselves. Who is this man? How does
he claim that he is the greatest? How does he think that he is the most
learned amongst us? He has insulted us in public by taking these cows
like this. 
Yajnavalkya says, Namo vayam brahmisthaya kurmah: "I prostrate myself
before the greatest knower of Truth, but I am desirous of the cows. I
have taken the cows because I wanted the cows, that is all! - gokama
eva ayam sma iti. And as far as the knower of Truth especially is
concerned, I prostrate myself before him." Tam ha tata eva prastum
dadhre hotasvalah: Then immediately there was a volley of questions
from Asvala to Yajnavalkya.

> TIA.
> Ravi



> * http://www.escribe.com/religion/advaita/m14085.html
> ** quoted in http://www.escribe.com/religion/advaita/m14072.html
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: S Jayanarayanan [mailto:sjayana at yahoo.com]
> > Sent: Thursday, February 19, 2004 12:06 PM
> > To: advaita-l
> > Subject: RE: [Advaita-l] The "Royal Way"
> >
> >
> > What svAmi vidyAraNya means by GYAna (that is different from mukti)
> is
> > crystal clear: it is saMyak (perfect/complete) as well as aparoksha
> > (immediate/direct). aparoksha brahmavidyA is final realization,
> where
> > Brahman is not merely known "through the upanishhads" or "through
> the
> > upadesha/Ishvara", but as Brahman-itself, directly with no mediacy.
> It
> > is in spite of such knowledge that mukti is not yet achieved. I had
> > posted some relevant extracts from the JMV, which is now at
> > http://www.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/public/advaita-l/2003-Augu
> > st/012752.html
> >
> > Ramana Maharshi has spoken of lack of firmness in Self-realization,
> but
> > I don't have the exact references. Vidyasankar had posted a similar
> > reference in Shankara's commentary on BR^hadaaraNyaka upanishhad.
> >
> > -Kartik
> >
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