[Advaita-l] giving up of karma

Ramesh Krishnamurthy rkmurthy at gmail.com
Mon Oct 8 23:53:44 CDT 2007

Incidentally, this reminds me of the old debate on whether the
bRhadAraNyaka "enjoins" SravaNa, manana, nididhyAsana (SMN). It was
said that this is only a "recommendation" and not a vidhi.

Taking off from the above, is there a niShedha on saMnyAsI-s
performing vaidika karma-s, or is it only a "recommendation"?

One might say that dhyAna, SMN, etc are very purpose of taking
saMnyAsa and these are not be regarded as actions. In other words, it
is only ritual action that must be avoided. If that were to be the
case, then surely any mantra-based upAsanA should be avoided.
Possibly, saMnyAsI should not go to temples either. But that does not
square up with facts.


On 09/10/2007, Ramesh Krishnamurthy <rkmurthy at gmail.com> wrote:
> namaskAraH,
> It is said that the advaitin saMnyAsI gives up karma. The term karma
> includes all action, though vedic ritual action (vaidika karma) is the
> archetypal karma. Now, strictly speaking, action cannot be given up as
> long as one is alive. It is only the sense of doership (kartRtva
> bhAva) that can be given up. However, it is only the jnAnI who truly
> knows the illusoriness of kartRtva and it is only he who can be truly
> said to be "actionless in action".
> Nevertheless the daSanAmI saMnyAsa tradition emphasizes the giving up
> of vaidika karma and this giving up is ritually undertaken by first
> removing the yaj~nopavIta and the shikhA.
> Now factually one finds that saMnyAsI-s do perform karma of certain
> kinds. By this, I dont mean actions essential to life itself, such as
> eating. In an extreme sense, one could regard SravaNa, manana,
> nididhyAsana also as actions. dhyAna may be considered an action. Even
> if one disregards these, surely something like SrIcakra upAsanA would
> be considered action. In general, mantra-japa or pUjA of any sort
> (such as candramaulIshvara pUjA) could be regarded as action.
> Given all this, why is it that only vaidika karma-s are to be given
> up? After all, vaidika karma is also characterized by the usage of
> mantra-s. Indeed, I am told that saMnyAsin-s are not supposed to do
> japa of the gAyatrI. Does this mean that all vaidika mantra-s are
> prohibited for saMnyAsI-s? That does not seem to be the case.
> Certainly the praNava is found in the veda, and there seems to be no
> issue with saMnyAsI-s chanting the Siva-pancAxarI.
> So what is so special about vaidika karma that saMnyAsI-s must give it up?
> dhanyavAdaH
> Ramesh

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