[Advaita-l] Knowledge, renunciation and varNASrama rules

Praveen R. Bhat bhatpraveen at gmail.com
Thu Aug 19 02:25:34 CDT 2010

Hari OM, Bhaskarji,

I'll try to clarify my queries in different words; apologies my mail wasn't

On Thu, Aug 19, 2010 at 11:39 AM, Bhaskar YR <bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com> wrote:

> Thanks for the clarification that Acharya doesn't say it one way or the
> other explicitly anywhere.
> >  Yes, this is as far as my knowledge goes...but I am not sure..But for
> the question:  Is the saNyAsatva must for the mumukshu to attain jnAna??
> The answer is saNyAsa is necessary (agatya) but it is not 'anivArya'.  It
> is said in the Itareya bhAshya that vAma deva has attained this jnAna in
> his mother's womb by the virtue of his 'pUrva janma sAdhana'.  Anyway,
> there is no 'idamitthaM' answer to the question whether saNyAsa is
> compulsory to attain brahma jnAna.

Thanks, that last statement was what I was trying to bring forth in our

> I'm curious to know which persons are historical examples
> pre-Shankaracharya/Gaudapadacharya period who have taken to formal
> saMnyAsa?
> >  Sorry prabhuji could not understand this question !!

Since you gave examples from Upanishads of those who attained brahmaj~nAna
and didn't take to 'formal' saMnyAsa, I wished to know if you could give
of anyone who has taken to such formal saMnyAsa.

> The qualities acquired via sAdhana cAtuShTaya are seen in the case of
> Nachiketa, etc, to be eligible for Vedanta teaching, not moksha to be
> precise.
> >  Again I am not able to follow your line of thinking here...Do you mean
> to say after fulfilling the requirements of sAdhana chatushtaya one can
> start vedAnta chintana (brahma jignAsa) & as a result he can acquire jnAna
> (vedAnta vAkya janita jnAna) but for the mOksha one has to take formal
> saNyAsa??

I think my statement is misinterpreted here. I meant to stress on the
fact that sAdhana cAtuShTaya is not moksha by itself, making one an adhikAri

of j~nAna, but not a brahmaj~nAni. I think you too agree that shabda brings

> So is it fair to say that after the teaching giving rise to brahmajnAna,
> we do not know whether they continued their lives as earlier or took to
> saMnyAsa?
> >  to attain mOksha??  again it goes back to unresolved issue here in this
> list :-)) IMHO, there is no interval between brahmajnAna and mOksha prApti
> to say that one can, in any ashrama, start doing vedAnta chitana and
> attain brahma jnAna but to get mOksha one has to become saNyAsi!!

I do not intend to get into the 'interval' issue at all and definitely not
to bring it
back again on the list since everyone involved on either side have expressed

their points to conclusion, call it resolved or unresolved. The
understanding I
bring here is that we do *not* know if the Upanishat adhikAri of j~nAna, on
acquiring j~nAna, took to saMnyAsa or not. To what purpose or if there is
purpose at all is a question I want to avoid.

> I'd like to know if you know or believe its one way or the other about
> such example figures. In most
> cases, I understand the story ends with the teaching and the adhikAri
> realizing his true Self.
> >  Yes, and there is no special mention of their journey through saNyAsa
> Ashrama 'after' brahma jnAna 'but' to attain mOksha..I dont think
> yamadharma rAja (mrutyudeva)after giving the jnAna of 'death',  has
> specifically asked nachiketa to take saNyAsa for the attainment of mOksha.

Again, Bhaskarji, this argument is not conclusive one way or the other,
In as much as Yamaraja didn't ask Nachiketa to take saMnyAsa, he didn't ask
him not to take it either. For that matter, we understand that Nachiketa had

the sAdhana cAtuShTaya without the details of how he achieved it, etc. Those

are told by the parampara. Similarly, what to do after the rise of j~nAna or

what not to do is something that comes from parampara, wouldn't you agree?

>  avidyA nivrutti itself mOksha and mOksha is NOT a future event after
> jnAna prApti...Shankara's sUtra bhAshya  on tattusamanvayAt is useful in
> this regard.

The crux of the question I want to dig in is if avidyA nivRRitti is
possible, except
in *rarest* of cases, be it vAmadeva getting j~nAna in womb or someone were
to mention Ramana Maharshi in his childhood, without renunciation.

> I mentioned brAhmaNa or dvija earlier, as in those who were eligible for
> agni kArya. And the idea behind such mention was that brahmaj~nAna, to my
> limited knowledge, is rare in case of a non-saMnyAsi,
> >  In that case for any dvija (including kshatriya & vaishya) without
> saNyAsa there is no mOksha!! But shankara says there is no adhikAra to
> take saNyAsa for kshatriya & vaishya but note they are not denied the
> mOksha or Atma jnAna.  Ofcourse I do agree for the non-saNyAsins brahma
> jnana is 'dusAdhyaM'but noway it is 'asAdhyaM'...Because we have the
> standing example of janaka who is kshatriya but not a saNyAsi.
Exactly the point, dussAdhyaM makes it very rare and we should talk for the
masses of sAdhakas as I count myself to be in, not the rare ones or

> so much so, that I remember that Bhagavatpada does mention that karma &
> jn~Ana cannot go hand-in-hand. I submit I'm not qualified enough to quote
> where in prasthAna trayA this occurs; you may agree if you recall.
> > yes shankara refutes the jnAna-karma samucchaya vAda.
And this is all the more reason for my stressing the point of saMnyAsa.

>  So, my understanding is that except in rare cases of dvijA attaining
> brahmajn~Ana, others have to renounce for brahmajn~Ana.
> >  Yes, that would be an appropriate stand and this stand would not
> straightaway snatch away the 'mOksha' opportunity from the non-saNyAsi
> dvija-s :-))

Inasmuch as it wouldn't take away the possibility of brahmaj~nAna for
be it in even a rarer case of someone without sAdhana cAtuShTaya! :) To me,
'instant' moksha without saMnyAsa is as much a possibility as instant
cAtuShTaya is without practice/ AbhyAsavairAgyA.

Before closing, may I also ask you at this point: why is it that you hold
the view
that saMnyAsa is not a must, be it as vividishA or vidvat, but do say that a

brahmaj~nAni cannot involve in nisshiddha karma? The reason I ask this is
because if as you said above there is no idamitthaM on whether or not one
should renounce on rise of brahmaj~nAna, that can only mean prArabdha.
And can't not then, prArabdha also get nisshiddha karma done? Correct me
if I misunderstood your views about this.

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

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