[Advaita-l] moxa-sAdhanA

Ananta Bhagwat ananta14 at yahoo.com
Fri Jun 6 02:58:23 CDT 2008

----- Original Message ----

From: Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
Sent: Thursday, June 5, 2008 10:31:22 AM
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l]  moxa-sAdhanA

<What is conscience anyway?>

Conscience differentiates good from bad. It is not whims and fancies of an individual but his deep rooted value system based on his saMskArs, family traditions, surroundings and many other things. SAstra can play a part too if he reads them as a part of his upbringing. There is no fixed procedure, however for formation of conscience. To use modern terminology it is not Turing computational. It comes to the fore (that is conscience is raised) at appropriate times if such a value system is in place. The raised conscience enables one to undertake a sequence of actions including corrective steps. 

<Mimamsa is about actions. What good is ethics if they don't result in 

Precisely; but the  actions should not cause injury to innocents.

<I think you have that backwards.  Shyenastoma is not dharmic despite being 
sanctioned by the Vedas.  Atleast that is my understanding based on 

According to pUrva mImAMsA dharma consists in obedience to Vedic Injunctions. However, without getting into Sabda-chala (Vedic or Dharmic) it is clear that many injunctions of shruti (whether they are animal sacrifices for evil purpose or for secular gains) and smRti (whether they are  punishments to sUdra-s or constraining the women) are simply not in tune with the spirit of gItA. I do not want to give a list of such injunctions and do hair  splitting about their validity.

<At the beginning, Arjuna wanted to give up his kingdom and retire to the 
forest.  At the end of the gita he wants to slaughter his brothers.  Which 
one of these views represent his conscience?>

Raised conscience enables one to evolve a sequence of actions including corrective steps based on inputs. Its ethical purport is to be seen holistically. Arjuna, who wanted to run away from his duty due to delusion, changed his mind after hearing Krishna's upadeSa and decided to fight for Dharma.  His conscience was clouded temporarily, but was cleared (raised) by Krishna's discourse. His aim was not to slaughter his  cousins but to perform his duty as a warrior and regain his rights. I do not see any contradiction here.

We assume that shruti, smRti, purANa give a unified clear message all through which is universal and all-time. Perhaps, one has to be jIvanmukta to see such a message. At our level (that is at vyavahAra) you will see contradictions, obscurity, and even positions which are contrary to modern sensibilities. One's conscience comes into picture in such cases. For example in our family, few generations back the widows returned to their parental Bhagwata house with full respect and were consulted in all family decisions. This could be common now but not in tune with manusmRti or the traditions of early 20th century. The familiy's collective conscience prevailed over SAstric position.

Veda (particularly liturgical Veda) is a sacrificial religion including animal sacrifices for individual gains. gItA places them at inferior positions. In gItA sacrifices (yajna) is elevated to higher plane. Yajna is seen as man's duty and a link in the nature's cycle. gItA advocates yajna to maintain harmony of the this cycle. It is for public good and not for selfish motive. gItA no where talks about killing or injuring living beings except when one is fighting for his Dharma, a just cause. So, gItA's value system is different than mImAMsA value system. gItA's value system appeals to my conscience and I have no apologies.



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