[Advaita-l] How can one claim to know Brahman?

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Tue Mar 22 18:09:20 CST 2005

--- Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian
<rama.balasubramanian at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, 21 Mar 2005 20:25:03 -0800,
> praveen.r.bhat at exgate.tek.com
> <praveen.r.bhat at exgate.tek.com> wrote:
> > praNAm all,
> > 
> > Sorry, while also being glad, I can't keep off the topic :)
> > 
> > Maheshji wrote:
> > > An observation to reinforce Sanjay's point:
> > > The word Upanishad in Sanskrit literally means 'sitting in
> close
> > > proximity'  so I guess our seers knew that close
> association with a
> > > Guru was inescapable for understanding this knowledge.
> > 
> > Agreed. But since most of the expressed views by Sanjay and
> you are
> > traditional in this new age forum, may I also add that the
> study of vedAnta,
> > IMHO, is *traditionally* not done without an initiation into
> sanyAsa? In
> > such a case, taking any of the *other* steps (one being
> probably better than
> > the other), is still not *true (read, traditional) study of
> vedAnta*!
> > (Others, please feel free to bash me up on limited
> understanding :)
> [Not to be construed as "bashing"!]
> In the upadeshasaahasrii, part 2 of the prose section, the
> model
> student enquiring the teacher is presented as brahmachArin.

It is true that traditionally non-sannyAsins have studied
VedAnta. If the GItA can be considered a VedAntic text (which it
is), arjuna is an example. So was appayya dIkshita. But it is
equally true that tradition has placed great emphasis on
sannyAsa for a student of VedAnta.

H.H. Chandrashekhara Bharati taught that IDEALLY, study of
Vedanta ought to commence only after taking sannyasa:

Disciple: ... 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".

The entire dialog is at

> In the prashna upanishad bhAShya, sha.nkara points out that
> while
> knowledge is accessible to people in all 4 stages of life, it
> is more
> difficult for householders since they may have to resort to
> lies or
> adharmic things to sustain a family. So, knowledge is mainly
> accessible to the people in the other 3 stages. In any case,
> it's
> certainly not only for people in the sanyaasa aashrama.

In the case of non-sannyAsins, study of VedAnta is not
prohibited. However, the GYAna obtained by the study of VedAnta
by these people (including the BrahmachArin of the
upadeshasAhasrI, householders etc.) has to be supplemented by
vidvat sannyAsa for the GYAna to be established firmly.

> Rama


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