[Advaita-l] giving up of karma

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Fri Oct 12 17:46:47 CDT 2007

> saMnyAsa is recommended for those aspiring after brahmaj~nAna. but
> _after_ one has taken sarvakarma-saMnyAsa, one does not have the
> adhikAra for performing vaidika karma-s. hence, the nishedha for
> vaidika karma-s is not a 'recommendation' for a saMnyAsI; it is a
> direct consequence of the (irreversible) choice he has made.

To expand upon this a little, most vaidika karma-s are meant to be carried out by a
gRhastha, with the participation of his wife. A man who has formally taken up the
stage of saMnyAsa is automatically excluded from these karma-s. A related factor
is that the saMnyAsin does not have a house and so does not have the household
fire from which any altar for a vaidika karma is lit. There is already a description of
how brahman-knowers offer only agnihotra to the prANa, and not the external
agnihotra to the ritual fire, in the upanishad-s.

On the other hand, various other upAsana-s, ritual worship etc. can be done insofar
as they subserve the main purpose of gaining jnAna, even by saMnyAsin-s. There is
the vidvat saMnyAsin, who may not even be seen doing any of these upAsana-s and
there is the vividishA saMnyAsin, for whom the withdrawal from karma is a more gradual
process. As a matter of fact, every maThAdhipati starts off as a vividishA saMnyAsin
only. In order to maintain the lineage and thereby the tradition of vedAntic teaching,
they voluntarily assume constraints on themselves.


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