[Advaita-l] Mundaka Upanishad

Aditya Varun Chadha adichad at gmail.com
Sat Aug 20 11:02:12 CDT 2005


In "vedic times" students had the duty of collecting firewood for the
Ashrams and for the guru's home, part of the largely self-sufficient
economic structure of these pyres of learning. firewood was used in
yagya as well as for cooking. A prospective student would thus carry
firewood as "arpaN" and as a first sign that he is ready for life
under the guru's care.

Sometimes the guru might deem a prospective shishya unfit or unready,
in which case I am not sure whether the usual was to leave the
firewood at the guru's feet or take it back. Maybe someone can provide
some sources to clarify this. I would suppose that the firewood was
still left at the guru's feet as a sign of respect.

basically firewood was used to signify sincerity and respect. another
question is whether this first-given firewood was used in some
"special" yagya for the new student, something like symbolic
initiation. to my understanding this was not so.

On 8/20/05, arun nair <arun103 at gmail.com> wrote:
> I am currently studying the Drg-Drshya Viveka with commenatry by Swami
> Tejomayanandaji, in which he quotes the following verse from Mundaka
> upanishad (I-2-12):
> "parIksya lokAn karmacitAn brAhmano
> niverdam-AyAn-nAsty-akrtan krtena
> tad-vijnAnArtham sa gurum-ev'Abhigacchet
> samitpAnih srotriyam brahma-nistham
> Having examined the worldly pleasures acquired by action, the wise man
> gets detached from them since the Eternal cannot be gained by actions.
> Therefore to attain That, with firewood in hands, he should humbly
> approach the Guru who is well versed in scriptures and is a man of
> realisation"
> Can anyone explain the significance of the statement "with firewood in hands".
> regards
> arun
> ______


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