[Advaita-l] giving up of karma

Ravi Parimi rparimi at gmail.com
Tue Oct 9 00:48:46 CDT 2007

On 10/8/07, 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?


Most vaidika karmas are kamya karmas only - done with a motive to
fulfill one's desires. While these karmas may be performed by
grihastas, sanyasis shouldn't have any need to perform these, as they
do not desire any of the glorious results that the vaidika karmas hold
in store.

In the case of a nitya karma like sandhya vandanam, the mantras at
several places emphasize doership of the karmi  (prataH sanDhyAM
kariShyAmi, .... araBhey etc..) Also, what use is saMkalpa to a
sanyasi, who has renounced gotra, nAma etc?

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