[Advaita-l] The Evolution of Advaita from Shankara till Date

Praveen bhatpraveen at gmail.com
Sat May 17 01:00:03 CDT 2008

praNAm all,

Hari Om, Ramanathan-ji,

On Sat, May 17, 2008 at 10:28 AM, Ramanathan P <p_ramanathan at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Whenever we speak of karma kanda in the Vedas, it seems to primarily discuss rituals, hence of primary importance to Brahmanas alone (?). The majority of karma-kanda is irrelevant to the majority of people, at least explicitly they are not allowed to partake of that 'vyavaharik-sadhana'.
Not really, the right word is dvija-s --not brAhmaNa-s--  which
includes the kshatriyas and vaishyas. Its a different matter that many
of them don't undergo the upanayana to get the yajnopavita and qualify
as a dvija. Even all brahmANas don't do the ritual themselves, but get
it done through a Veda paNdita, in which case the phala accrues to the
yajmAna. Similarly, person from any varNa can get the ritual done and
accrue the phala.

> To add to this, traditional systems do not seem to emphasize that all varnas have scope to attain to moksha while at the same time demanding that varnas are birth-determined.

This has been discussed multiple times on the list (archive-search)
and to my recollection, it has always concluded in the "birth and
capability" qualification than just birth or just capability.

> Hence the whole scope of karma-kanda tradition bound vedanta seems only for a minority.

Clearly, not so, since dvija-s are qualified, while shudra-s have a
different approach just as women have a different approach to moksha.
To my understanding, a qualified dvija doing other varNa's karma
ignoring his own disqualifies him from moksha mArga, inasmuch as
shudra or women doing dvija's karma doesn't qualify them for moksha.

> How does the tradition give direction to non-Brahmanas, who cannot do the rituals or learn the Vedas? By doing their svadharma and learning subsidiary scriptures (and essence of Vedas through them), can all seek moksha in this life? Is the option open to all, irrespective of the social varna-dharma they are to fulfill?
> The question then is also confronted with the fact that only sannyasis can attain mukthi. Here again the tradition does not allow sudras (determined by birth) to go through the ashrama-system and possibly become sannyasis. Another trouble.

Instead of trying to reply to this question, which is never
convincing, I always feel the need to ask why a person is born a
brahmaNa/ dvija/ shudra/ purusha/ stri/ napuMsaka? Do we see the bias
there or call it adrashTa? There are hardly any jobs even in the
modern world that are interchangeable among all. Of course, my saying
this may well term as a bias, since I was born in a brahmaNa family.
So, I'll clarify: I do not consider myself to be qualified for moksha
because I do not follow my svadharma well enough. And until I do that,
"the option is not open to me" either in traditional ashrams.

> Rituals have heaven for side-result, and service may have some social
>  ideology for its underlying motivation. In spite of such, they may still purify the mind, etc.

I think the saMkalpa is more important on what the result is. For a
person wanting heaven, the phala itself is swarga, its not a
side-effect then. But ritual for the sake of ritual, as svadharma
alone, results in chitta shuddhi.

> Ramanathan

/* Through what should one know That owing to which all this is known!
--Br.Up. 4.5.15 */

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