rkmurthy at gmail.com
Fri May 23 22:41:32 CDT 2008
Dear Sri Ananta Bhagwat,
Regarding conscience and shaastra, you are free to have your views but
what I mentioned is indeed the traditional position on the role of
conscience. On the interpretation of shaastra-s, there are certain
methods as recognized by the saMpradAya and such methods are not
necessarily rigid or literal.
To understand vedAnta properly, it is not enough to merely read the
upaniShad-s. One needs to approach the subject through the saMpradAya,
which uses certains methods/techniques to interpret and expound the
shruti. Similarly, the dharmashaastra-s also represent a tradition and
there are methods followed to interpret them. Someone with a good
understanding of mImAMsa might be able to explain this better. Some of
the issues you raise regarding the smR^iti-s may not arise if you
approach a proper traditional scholar. I am saying this because I also
had some of these doubts which got (at least partially) resolved over
On conscience again, I can try to explain with a somewhat trivial
example. I am a vegetarian by tradition and have never consumed meat.
However, I recognize that other people's traditions permit the
consumption of meat. So I merely accept it is a difference in
SiShTAcAra and don't bother about it. However, if I were a
conscientious objector to meat, I would try to "convert" everyone else
to vegetarianism. This is because conscience tends to universalize.
What is good for me is necessarily good for the other person also, is
what conscience says. Needless to say, this kind of approach can cause
As the Paramacharya says, conscience can be an observer, not a judge.
2008/5/23 Ananta Bhagwat <ananta14 at yahoo.com>:
> ----- Original Message ----
> 1/ It is difficult to agree to the position that conscience comes only after SAstra. I do not think there is any thing in my presentation that has violated SishTAcAra. My mentioning SAstri-pundit-s rigidly interpreting SAstra-s is a scenario in the context of specific example without any disrespect to them as class.
> 2/ The point I am making is SAstra-s are not end in themselves. A particular smRti may say "women are not fit for freedom', or that "women can not remarry", or that "certain class should do only menial work" and so on so forth. I can definitely have conscience to reject these positions even if I am not a SAstri or Pundit.
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