[Advaita-l] Devas Adhikara, Rama and Sambuka

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Sat May 20 01:24:55 CDT 2006

On Fri, 12 May 2006, Annapureddy Siddhartha Reddy wrote:

> -- The episode of Rama killing the sudra Sambhuka. Is this traditionally
> considered to be a part of the Ramayana, or one of the many stories that has
> sprung around in later times? Also, I have heard two versions of the
> explanation given by Sambuka to Rama -- a) that  Sambuka was trying to gain
> admission into heaven in his earthly body, b) that Sambuka was trying to
> gain the position of Indra. The first explanation has this problem that
> Trisanku, one of the ancestors of Rama himself tried to enter heaven in his
> earthly body, so what's wrong now with Sambuka doing it.

A big problem with most sanskrit books is they don't have indexes.  Which 
makes searching through a book the size of the Ramayana next to 
impossible.  Can you tell me roughly where (at least which kanda) this 
episode is supposed to occur?

> -- Jaldharji mentioned a while ago (with reference to a friend of his who
> was a women) that she does not require the Vedas for spirituality, and that
> the itihasas should do for that purpose. This question is regarding sudras
> and women (and this question has risen while debating with a Dvaita friend
> of mine). I do not necessarily see spirituality as the only reason for
> studying the Vedas.

No that's true. However it is the only reason where the idea of adhikara 
is relevent don't you think?

  Let's say a sudra belives in the infallibility of the
> Vedas, and wants to establish his own philosophy a la Sankara.

Shankaracharya does not claim to have established his own philosophy.

> He obviously
> needs to study the Vedas to debate with others.

Only for one kind of debate.  I don' see why he couldn't discuss any of 
the core concepts of Vedanta solely on the Smrti.

Although in theory smrti is based on shruti, in practice it is the other 
way around.  We approach Shruti through the prism of Smrti and even more 
importantly shishtachara.  For example my daily religious activities are 
based on what I learned from elders and gurus and from prayogas which are 
like "recipes" based on dharmashastras which are themselves a condensed 
edition of smrtis and kalpasutras which are based on the Vedas.

So too a traditional Advaitin would probably spend more time with 
siddhantaleshasamgrah or panchadashi or brahmasutra commentaries than the 
"raw" upanishads themselves.

> But what would an Advaitin do, given that the
> Sruti forms the authentic source for all debate on Atma-Vidya?

It's a authentic source.  But so is the Gita and in fact the brahmasutras 
quote it many times and also other parts of the mahabharata and manusmrti.

> Does he also agree to such a debate?

No I think not.  But it is a pretty contrived hypothetical.  For the 
reasons I mentioned above, someone who "belives in the infallibility of 
the Vedas" believes in a whole chain of interpretation and redaction of 
the Vedas.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list