[Advaita-l] Re: Advaita-l Digest, Vol 35, Issue 18

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Tue Mar 21 08:59:16 CST 2006

On Tue, 21 Mar 2006, Santhosh Nair wrote:

> 1. Are you working people like me? I work in a private company in 
> Mumbai. IT-related stuff, although not exactly. Do you follow all these 
> principles?

I for one am a working person.  I am also in the IT field.  To be honest, 
I do not follow all the principles of Advaita Vedanta.  As a grhastha who 
has elderly parents, wife, children, who depend on me I simply cannot. 
That is why I try to follow karmayoga i.e. doing my duty as per shastras 
and society as dilligently as possible.  Vedic dharma operates on several 
different levels and does offer options for people in different 
situations.  What is absolutely wrong for the serious sadhaka is to just 
pick and choose what they are going to do.

> 2. If someone sets out to be a Sanyasi, isn't that 
> considered as not doing duty towards his parents? of serving them, 
> looking after them?

It was mentioned in a previous post that the ideal is to follow the 
ashramas in order from Brahmacharya to Sannyasa.  However Shankaracharya 
says that one can take sannyasa from any ashrama because it is entirely a 
seperate category of behavior.

Whether it is feasible to take sannyasa or not is highly dependent on 
individual situations.  I know a family whose son became a (Vaishnava) 
sadhu straight after college and they were overjoyed by it.

There has to be honesty on both sides.  Loved ones have to ask whether 
their objections are really based on their childs interest or selfish 
motives?  Prospective sannyasis have to ask are they just trying to escape 
from worldly problems or do they have a real sense of vairagya?  Are 
people being hurt by this action?  (A sannyasi always wants to avoid 

> 3. I guess my duty would be serving my parents and 
> brothers who depend on me. (I'm not married - just 26 yrs), other than 
> those toward God. Hence, my dharma is to do work to serve my family.

As long as one feels attachment, one is not ready for sannyasa or the 
higher practices of Advaita Vedanta.  But that doesn't mean one has to 
stop in ones tracks.  There is plenty even a grhastha can do to increase 

5. What's the truth about heaven, hell etc?

>   a) If people are punished in hell, why is it said that they will be 
> punisehd for their bad doings in the next birth?

It is not the same body that goes to heaven or hell, they are reborn 

>   b) If there's hell, how long will the souls be there? AFtehr the 
> punishment, will the soul go to Heaven or take rebrith?

Rebirth.  The time spent in heaven or hell is proportionate to ones 
balance of good or bad deeds.

> c) If one goes to heaven, is that Moksha?

No.  Because as noted in b) heaven and hell are transitory whereas Moksha 
is permanent.  In our shastras we have many stories of sages who were 
advanced in tapa but get tempted by Indra with promises of material 
rewards.  But a true sage will consider even rulership of heaven as 
inferior to Moksha.

> But heaven is for Gods. How  can men be there?

See a).

> And in heaven you find materialistic things (from what 
> i have seen in serials, etc.) that men aer not supposed to do in the 
> Earth. How is this justified?

Well if a cat is reborn as a human, it will be able to do things a cat was 
not able to do.  Different levels of beings have different abilities and 
different rules.

>  D) If souls take rebirth, why do we perfom rituals for "pitrs" ?  They 
> would have already been "de-linked" from us?

Because we want them to be linked with us and return to our own families.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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