[Advaita-l] Svarita in RV and YV (was Re: SRI SUKTAM - Meaning)
vaidix at hotmail.com
Sat Mar 7 08:24:35 CST 2009
Sankara's commentary in quotes, (other notes are in parentheses)
"Therefore people seek to attain the results of their rites, so far as they belong to the
human plane, by attaining Brahmanahood. For Brahman, the projector, was already in
these two forms, the brahmana and agni, that are respectively the agent and the
receptacle of the rites."
"Some explain the passage differently (Bhartrprapancha et.al) saying that people wish
to realize the world the supreme self by means of fire and the brahmana (by offering
oblations (in fire) and presents (to a brahmana) respectively). This is wrong, for the
division of castes has been introduced in order to defend the undertaking of rites by
people who are under ignorance, and a specification also follows." (Translation is not
very clear but the spirit is clear. Castes were created to prevent people from taking
up works they were not qualified for or they lack authorization for, as qualification
and authority only arise from knowledge and competence. A brahmana has no
qualification or competence in creating a pot and likewise a potter has no authority
in chanting vedas).
(Now Sankara connects the previous statement (need to offer oblation into fire and
need to take on the form of brahmana) to the need to realize the self.)
"If the word 'world' here refers to the supreme self, the specification that follows,
viz "Without realizing ones own world (the self)" would be meaningless. (How?)
If the world in question that is prayed for as being dependent on fire, is any other
world but the self, then only (only then) the specification by the word 'own'
would be consistent with refuting (existence of) that extraneous world. The world
that is the self is always denoted by the words 'ones own', while those that are created
by ignorance can never be 'ones own'. That the worlds attained through rites are
not 'ones own' is stated by the words 'Those acts are surely exhausted'."
(In other words for the purpose of achieving the self one can (in fact should) become
a brahmana, but not just for the purpose of doing a brahmana's rites (for livelihood or
perceived status etc), because livelihood is only available by taking up works as per
competence demanded by customers, and there is prestige in every work as every
work is needed. Sankara gives more arguments after this.)
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