[Advaita-l] Knowledge, renunciation and varNASrama rules
Jaldhar H. Vyas
jaldhar at braincells.com
Thu Aug 19 01:31:59 CDT 2010
On Mon, 16 Aug 2010, Varadaraja Sharma wrote:
> Whereas dvija males can
> renounce all these, I fail to understand, when sthri shudradi vyaktis
> have not even adhikara for performance of vaidika karmas, wherein the
> question arise of renouncing them.
Karma refers to all volitional action whether vaidika or laukika. The
reason why shastras keep mentioning renouncing agnihotra etc. is because
it is the archetype of karma. But just because using a computer is not
mentioned in the Vedas doesn't make it any less of a karma to be
renounced if one seeks mukti. Indeed such an error of restriction
leads to the perverse idea of modern pseudoadvaitins that you can do
anything you like _except_ for religious rituals.
Simple observation should show you that non-dvijas also perform volitional
acts for dharma, artha, and kama. Should they come to the realization
that such acts only entangle one in samsara, they can renounce them. And
this renunciation is sannyasa. Had Venkateshamurti restricted his
argument to the idea that this is a different type of sannyasa to
shrotriya Brahmanas everyone would have agreed with him. But he is saying
it is not sannyasa at all and that is a distortion of the siddhanta.
> I do not question the deductions arrived at on the basis of bhashya but
> would like to clear doubts / misunderstanding on specifics in this
> regard. I have heard even knowledgeable people interpretting Bhagawan
> discouraging Arjuna not to take up sanyasa as one of kshathriya not
> eligible for the Sanyasa Ashrama. The discussion on this aspect in fact
> went on like even Adya Acharyal has restricted sanyasa only for
> brahmanas. Latter on the discussions took a turn that Sureshvaracharya
> in his varthikas had interpreted the shastras to mean that sanyasa
> ashrama is available for dvija males. (was it an explicit and
> restrictive opinion by Sureshvaracharya?) In another thread, Shriman
> Jaldhar Vyas, although not elaborated had indicated that sthri shudradi
> vyaktis are entitled for sanyasa.
Hope the above clarified things. The adhikara for sannyasa is jnana.
Arjuna was not a jnani, indeed he had cowardly and self-serving reasons
for giving up his kingdom. Bhagavan could not allow that because as
Shankaracharya explains in the gitabhashya, as long as there is one iota
of identification with the ego every single rule of shastras is binding.
A jnani is not bound by the shastras because they simply do not apply to
one who is free of ego. But it is right and proper to uphold that e.g. a
woman cannot study Vedas, or a kshatriya must fight for a kingdom etc.
because the adhikara for such things depends on characteristics of the
limited self such as gender, age ,varna. ashrama, wealth, learning etc.
Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
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