[Advaita-l] BrahmaGYAna and jIvanmukti - 4 (Scriptural References)
sjayana at yahoo.com
Tue Jan 30 21:54:35 CST 2007
We have been following the jIvanmuktiviveka (JMV) of svAmI VidyAraNya
(SV) to distinguish BrahmaGYana from jIvanmukti. But one might wonder
- are there any scriptural references that support such a difference,
or is it propounded by the JMV alone?
There do exist scriptural references in the Apastamba dharma sUtra
(ADS) 184.108.40.206-16 and the BR^ihadaaraNyaka upanishhad (BU) 3.5.1.
This posting will take up these references along with their
respective commentaries by Haradatta and Sankara.
Apastamba dharma sUtra 2.9.21
The ADS introduces the discussion of the difference between AtmaGYAna
and mukti in the section dealing with the rules to be followed by a
7. atha parivraajaH .
"Now [follow the rules for] the parivrAjaka [sannyAsI]."
After talking about a few general rules for the sannyAsI, the ADS
comes to an important verse:
13. satyAnR^ite sukhaduHkhe vedaaniM lokamamuM cha
"Abandoning truth and untruth, pleasure and pain, the Vedas,
this world and the next, he (the sannyAsI) shall seek the Self."
The above verse is quoted by sureshvara in the saMbandha vArttika
221, as well as by madhusUdana sarasvatI in his commentary on GItA
5.1. The verse surely refers to Atma-vichAra of the highest kind.
The ADS now takes as pUrvapaksha the claim that knowledge of the Self
is identical to mukti.
14. buddhe kshemapraapaNam.h .
"[Some say that] he obtains salvation if he knows [the Self]."
aatmani buddhe.avagate sati tadeva GYAnaM sarvamashubhaM
prakshaalya kshemaM praapayati .
shrUyate hi -
"na karmaNaa vardhate no kanIyaan.h . tasya eva aatmaa
padavittaM viditvaa . na karmaNaa lipyate paapakene" iti
(BR^i . u . 7.4.23; tai . Braa . 3.12.14)
`tadyatheshhiikaatuulamagnau protaM praduuyeta evaM haasya
sarve paapmaanaH praduuyante ' iti cha .
smaryate cha -
"yathaidhaaMsi samiddho.agni bhasmasaatkurute.arjuna .
GYAnaagniH sarvakarmANi bhasmasaatkurute tathaa .."
(bha . gii . 4.37)
tadidaM niraakaroti -
"(Some say that) on the attainment of knowledge (of the Self),
all sins are washed away and mukti is won. (They) quote the
shruti (BR^ihadaaraNyaka upanishhad.h 7.4.23): 'Karma does
not at all elevate one when the Self is realized; nor is one
affected by sins.' And the smR^iti (GItA 4.37): 'Just as a
fire reduces all fuel to ashes, Arjuna, does the fire of
GYAna reduce all karma to ashes.'
That (view) is being refuted here -"
Apastamba denies the view that AtmaGYAna = mukti:
15. tat.h shaastrairvipratishhiddham.h .
"(But) that (view) is opposed to the scriptures."
yaani yatereva kartavyapratipaadanaparaaNi shaastraaNi,
taireva tadvipratishhiddham.h .
"krudhyantaM na pratikrudhyedaakrushhTaH kushalaM vadet.h .
saptadvaaraavakiirNAm.h cha na vaachamanR^itaaM vadet.h ..
na chotpaatanimittaabhyaaM na nakshatraaN^gavidyayaa .
naanushaasanavaadaabhyaaM bhikshaaM lipseta karhichit.h .." iti .
ato yatimeva prakR^itya yaani vihitaani karmaaNi taani
kartavyaani . yaani cha nishhiddhaani taani cha varjaniiyaani .
`buddhe kshemapraapaNa' mityetat.h pratyakshaviruddhamityaaha -
"Those sannyAsIs who act not as prescribed by the scriptures, are
opposed to it.
'(He shall) not be angry towards anyone, and (shall only) speak
of the welfare of others. (He shall) not speak falsehoods...
(He shall) not study astrology. (He shall) not argue while
Therefore, sannyAsIs should always act only as duly ordained,
and avoid forbidden acts.
'Knowing he obtains salvation' goes against experience
(as explained) -"
The reason for saying that AtmaGYAna is not mukti:
16. buddhe chetkshemapraapaNamihaiva na duHkhamupalabheta .
"(For) if salvation were obtained by knowledge (of the Self)
alone, then he ought not to feel any pain even in this (world)."
aatmabodhamaatreNa chet.h kshemaM praapyate, tadaa ehaiva
shariire duHkhaM nopalabheta GYAni . na chaitadasti . na hi
GYAninaaM muurdhaabhishhiktaMmanyo.api kshudhaaduHkhaHmeva
taavat.h kshaNamaatramapi soDhuM prabhavati .
"If salvation were obtained by Self-knowledge alone, then the
GYAnI ought not to feel any bodily pain. This is not so.
The GYAnI cannot tolerate hunger, acute pain/grief in the
head/mind, even for a moment."
The solution to the above problem is:
17. etena paraM vyaakhyaatam.h .
"Thereby that which follows has been declared."
paraloke bhavamapi duHkhametena vyaakhyaataM - na
svairachaariNaaM nivartata iti . tasmaat.h karmabhiH
paripakvakashhaaya eva shravaNamananididhyaasanaiH
kaTaakshamapyanikshipan.h ashhTaaN^gayoganirato muchyata iti .
atra bodhaayanaH - `ekadaNDii tridaNDii vaa' iti .
gautamaH - `muNDashshikhii vaa' iti .
"Thus, purified from all actions, realizing the self
by shravaNa-manana-nididhyAsana and casting one's sight
(internal and external) away from (i.e. turning away from)
the prohibited objects and engaged deeply in ashhTAN^ga-yoga,
the seeker is liberated.
(Refer) here BodhAyana dharma sUtra 220.127.116.11, `Now follow the
rules for the ekadanDI and tridanDI sannyAsIs' etc.
(and) Gautama dharma sUtra 3.22, `He may either shave or wear a
lock on the crown of the head.'"
Note the emphasis that Haradatta places on Yoga for mukti! Haradatta
is saying that one ought to engage in shravaNa-manana-nididhyAsana as
well as Yoga to attain mukti. I.e., even if one has practised
shravaNa-manana-nididhyAsana and attained AtmaGYAna, one must avoid
prohibited actions (which are known from the dharma shAstras) and
engage in Yoga. This fits in well with the JMV, where it is precisely
Yoga that accomplishes vAsanAkshaya and manonAsha - the akR^itopAsti
has to adhere to dharma and practise Yoga till he attains steadiness
An objection might be: Apastamba/Haradatta are only saying that the
"external characteristics" of the GYAnI should be in accordance with
the dharma shAstras - that the GYAnI should follow the dharma
shAstras so as to set an example to others.
Reply: If that be the case, why the emphasis on the GYAnI feeling
*pain*, which is known only in the first person, and is not directly
perceptible to others? Besides, the KaushhItakI BrAhmaNa upanishhad
(3.1) says that a GYAnI is absolutely not bound by any of his
(body's) actions, even if they be adharmic.
BR^ihadaaraNyaka upanishhad 3.5.1
Although this reference does not exactly distinguish between
AtmaGYAna and mukti, it does speak of effort to be made after
AtmaGYAna to attain steadiness in it. As we saw in the previous
posting, SV quotes this verse to emphasize vidvat-sannyAsa, for it
speaks of giving up of desires *after* AtmaGYAna.
etaM vai tam AtmAnaM viditvA brAhmaNAH putraishhaNAyAshcha
vittaishhaNAyAshcha lokaishhaNAyAshcha vyutthAyAtha
bhikshAcharyaM charantIti .
"Having realized this very Self, BrAhmaNas give up desires for
offspring, wealth and heaven, and take to mendicancy."
The BU quite clearly speaks of the renunciation of desires after
AtmaGYAna --> Renunciation of Desires
Objection: The BU verse only speaks of the third person's view of the
GYAnI, i.e. others see the GYAnI as taking up sannyAsa, but the GYAnI
is already free of desires.
Reply: That is untenable, because the BU statement does not speak
merely of giving up wealth, but of GIVING UP THE **DESIRE** for
wealth. It is perfectly possible for a person to give up all wealth
and start begging (to "set an example" for others), but still
maintain the desire for wealth. Since desire is always "felt" only in
the first person and not the thid person, this BU verse speaks of the
GYAnI himself as giving up desires.
Sankara in his commentary on this verse admits that the word
"BrAhmaNa" can be taken to refer to the knower of Brahman:
tasmaat.h pUrve BrAhmaNA Brahmavido...
"Hence the BrahmaNas of the past, the knowers of Brahman..."
Sankara then clarifies that it is the knower of Brahman who renounces
yasmaat.h pUrve brAhmaNA etamaatmaanam.h asaadhanaphalasvabhaavaM
viditvA sarvasmAt.h saadhanaphalasvarUpaadeshhaNAlakshaNAd.h
vyutthAya bhikshAcharyaM charanti sma ...
"As the BrAhmaNas of the past, having known the Self that is
different from the means and results of an action, renounced all
desires and became mendicants..."
There is no doubt that the BU is referring to a BrahmaGYAnI giving up
desires, and Sankara's commentary is in perfect accordance with the
The role of Yoga in BU 3.5.1
The BU verse 3.5.1 discussed above continues:
tasmAdbrAhmaNaH pANDityaM nirvidya bAlyena tishhThAset.h .
bAlyaM cha pANDityaM cha nirvidyAtha munir amaunaM cha
maunaM cha nirvidyAtha brAhmaNaH .
"Therefore the BrAhmaNa, having known all about scholarship,
should try to live upon that strength which comes of knowledge.
Having known all about this strength and scholarship, he becomes
meditative; having known all about meditativeness and its
opposite, he becomes a BrAhmaNa (knower of Brahman)."
Is it not interesting that the upanishhadic statement first begins
with the state of a BrAhmaNa, and then ends by saying that he makes
effort to "become" a BrAhmaNa? It is easy to interpret this verse in
line with the JMV: the "BrAhmaNa" mentioned first is indeed a knower
of Brahman, but doesn't have steady BrahmaGYAna. He then renounces
his desires and takes up vidvat-sannyAsa. Finally, he exists purely
on the strength of his AtmaGYAna, and is now a BrAhmaNa - i.e. a
sthitapraGYa. Therefore, the difference between the use of the word
"BrAhmaNa" in the first and second instances is only in the
steadiness of the AtmaGYAna.
Objection: The first occurrence of "BrAhmaNa" refers to the caste,
and the second refers to the GYAnI. Therefore, one of the BrAhmaNa
caste studies the shruti and becomes a BrahmaNa, a Brahmavit.
Reply: Sankara does say that the word "BrahmaNa" can be taken as
referring to the caste (implying that only the BrAhmaNa-caste is
eligible for renunciation), but Sankara also mentions that the
"BrAhmaNa" in the first occurrence refers to the knower of Brahman:
tasmaad.h adyatve.api brAhmaNo brahmavit.h
pANDityam.h paNDitabhAvam.h etat AtmaviGYAnam.h pANDityam.h,
nirvidya niHsheshhaM viditvA, AtmaviGYAnaM niravasheshhaM
kR^itverthaH - AchAryata Agamatashcha -
eShaNAvyutthAnAvasAnameva hi tat pANDityam.h ...
"Therefore, to this day, the BrahmaNa, the knower of Brahman,
having known all about scholarship or knowledge of the Self,
from the teacher and the shrutis, having fully mastered it,
should renounce desires..."
Again note that Sankara takes the word "BrahmaNa" (in the first
occurrence of the word itself) to be a Brahmavit, and says quite
explicitly that a Brahmavit should renounce desires.
Sankara continues in his commentary on the above:
BAlyaM cha pANDityaM cha nirvidya niHsheshhaM kR^itvAtha
mananAnmuniryogI bhavati; etAvaddhi BrAhmaNena kartavyam.h,
yaduta sarvAnAtmapratyayatiraskaraNam.h; etat.h kR^itvA
kR^ita-kR^ityo yogI bhavati .
"Having known all about this strength and scholarship, he
becomes meditative, in other words, A YOGI.
What a BrAhmaNa (knower of Brahman) should do is to eliminate
all ideas of the non-Self; doing this, he accomplishes his
task and BECOMES A YOGI."
Sankara is saying that:
Brahmavit --> Renunciation of Desires --> yogI
The BU verse is therefore recommending a BrahmaGYAnI to *become* a
yogI! This is exactly the same as the JMV's teachings, because
steadiness in BrahmaGYAna is attained by Yoga, as we shall see in a
The next posting will take up some other references from the advaita
VedAnta tradition that distinguish AtmaGYAna from mukti.
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