[Advaita-l] Knowledge, renunciation and varNASrama rules

Venkatesh Murthy vmurthy36 at gmail.com
Fri Aug 13 22:59:20 CDT 2010

Namaste Sri Vidyasankara

Adi Sankara Bhashya  3 1.8

'Those whose conduct  has been good will quickly attain
some good birth, the birth of a Brahmana, or a Kshattriya,
or a Vaisya. But those whose conduct has been evil will
quickly attain an evil birth, the birth of a dog, or a hog, or
a Candala..'

He has made connection between good karma and Dvija janma. Bad conduct
means nondvija janma. Good conduct means dvija janma. Nondvijas must
wipe their sin. They can do good karma and get born as dvijas. Then
they get chance for Sanyasa. How can a non dvija with sin be eligible
for Sanyasa? If some Matha made non dvija Sanyasis it is very bad
political pressure in India. The country is ruled by Sudras and
Mlecchas worse than them. They are looting us.



On Fri, Aug 13, 2010 at 1:39 AM, Vidyasankar Sundaresan
<svidyasankar at hotmail.com> wrote:
> The message that I posted a second time also got truncated on the web archive but
> came through whole to my inbox, so I'm not sure in what form other list members
> got it. In any case, the conclusion that I was driving at seems to be unclear to more
> than a few readers, so let me add a few points.
>> The response to such a position on adhikAra is given by Sankara bhagavatpAda
>> himself in the same passage - pRthag vidhAnAd anadhikRtAnAM, "atha punar eva
>> vratI vA avratI vA, snAtako vA asnAtako vA, utsannAgnir anagniko vA" ityAdinA.
>> Clearly, he sees the above jAbAlopanishat sentence as specifically applying to
>> the cases of exceptions, people without traditional adhikAra to take up vrata-s,
>> to be snAtaka-s or to establish the ritual fires. Inspite of the lack of adhikAra in
>> these regards, the jAbAlopanishat grants, indeed enjoins, the state of saMnyAsa
>> for those who have brahmajnAna. He further drives home this point by saying,
>> "brahmajnAna-paripAka-angatvAc ca pArivrAjyasya na anadhikRta-vishayatvam"
> In very plain words, what I mean by the above is the following. According to the most
> traditional and orthodox stance adopted by Sankara bhagavatpAda, saMnyAsa or the
> state of pArivrAjya is incumbent upon ANY brahmajnAnI, irrespective of his or her prior
> station in life. The jAbAlopanishat provides for (a) sequential progression to saMnyAsa
> and (b) direct jump to saMnyAsa from any previous stage. This is with respect to those
> who have the traditional adhikAra for the stages of brahmacaryA (i.e. veda adhyayana),
> gRhastha and vAnaprastha ASrama-s. The upanishat then takes up the more general
> case, so as to address the position of those who do NOT have the traditional adhikAra
> for vaidIka karmA-s. As per Sankara bhagavatpAda's citation of this upanishat in the
> sUtrabhAshya 3.4.20, the upanishat sentence "vratI vA, avratI vA, snAtako vA asnAtako
> vA, ..." is adequate to cover ALL those who lack the adhikAra for vaidIka karmA. He
> merely says "pRthag vidhAnAd anadhikRtAnAm". He does not restrict this "anadhikRta"
> group to dvija males without adhikAra, such as a widower or a boy who has not been
> invested with the yajnopavIta. The category of "anadhikRta" people for whom the jAbAla
> upanishat prescribes saMnyAsa includes any and all human beings who do not have an
> adhikAra for vaidika karmA, but who have the requisite vairAgya and jnAna to take up
> saMnyAsa. The upanishat itself goes on to further specify, "yad ahar eva virajet tad ahar
> eva pravrajet" - one should set forth and renounce everything (pravrajet) on the same
> day (yad ahar eva ... tad ahar eva) as one attains the deepest dispassion (virajet).
> Rules of proper behavior and doing the action that is appropriate to one's birth and status
> in life all apply prior to brahma-jijnAsA. A different set of rules govern those who take
> up saMnyAsa wishing to gain brahmajnAna (vividishA saMnyAsa). In the case of vidvat
> saMnyAsa, the renunciation of everything by the brahmajnAnI, no rules really apply. The
> man of society who thinks with respect to vidvat saMnyAsin-s, "this saMnyAsin was born
> a SUdra, that one is a woman," etc. is merely being a fool and exhibiting his ignorance of
> the true tradition of saMnyAsa. The most orthodox SankarAcArya institutions in India have
> historically recognized those who are born non-dvija males, but are eligible for saMnyAsa.
> They have also endorsed the taking up of saMnyAsa by such people. On the other hand,
> they have also been known to NOT endorse formal saMnyAsa for even a brAhmaNa born
> man who is not ready for saMnyAsa. One can list more than one name and date in this
> respect, if one wants to do a census of such cases. Rather than a "break from orthodoxy"
> or an "innovation", this is, in fact, the true face of the vedAnta tradition. That is where the
> matter ends, at least for me.
> Regards,
> Vidyasankar
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