[Advaita-l] Knowledge, renunciation and varNASrama rules

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Tue Aug 24 13:07:22 CDT 2010

> > But the adhikAra for the vidyA obtainable through itihAsa-purANa is affirmed,
> > and explicitly so.
> >
> If you read carefully the Purvapaksha argument in 1 3.34 your argument
> is same argument for Sudras. But Adi Sankara rejects it. He says
> Sudra has no Adhikara for Vidya. This means they have no Adhikara for
> Brahma Vidya also. Adhikara for Veda karma and Vidya are both covered
> by Taittiriya Samhita statement. It is clear to Adi Sankara.Kindly
> explain why your argument is different than Purvapaksha.

Because I am pointing out the siddhAnta. Sankara bhagavatpAda concludes
in 1.3.38 that there is no vedapUrvaka adhikAra, but there is adhikAra for
the itihAsa-purANa for everybody. Please re-read the last four sentences
in that passage.
Is your likening my stance to the pUrvapaksha in 1.3.34 is a "response
in kind" to my having compared yours to the pUrvapaksha in 3.4.20! Let
me assure you, I am quite clear on what the pUrvapaksha and siddhAnta
are. Please read the bhAshya carefully and you can see for yourself who
is upholding a pUrvapaksha position and who is conforming to siddhAnta.

> Adi Sankara cannot say Sudra cannot get Brahma Vidya in 1 3.34 but
> he can get it from Itihasa Purana in 1 3.38. Then there is no meaning
> in 1 3.34. Moreover Vedanta Vidya is Guru Upadishta but Itihasa
> Purana Vidya can be learned without Guru also. We can simply buy books
> on Itihasa Purana and read. But we cannot read Vedas like that. Guru
> is necessary. How can it be the same?

Please! I am tempted to quote svAmI vidyAraNya here - mA kutarkyatAm.
Do you think that buying and reading books on itihAsa-purANa was an
option in Sankara bhagavatpAda's time? Do you mean to seriously hold
that he is talking of anybody reading a book and gaining knowledge of the 
purANa-s? For that matter, anybody can buy and read printed books now,
containing all the known veda-s too, in the original, with svara markings,
without svara markings, with translations, interpretations, mistranslations,
misinterpretations, without any of these - the possibilities are endless.

Let me reiterate Sankara bhagavatpAda's statement from sUtrabhAshya 
1.3.38 - "SrAvayec caturo varNAn iti". This sentence empowers all four
varNa-s to do SravaNa of itihAsa-purANa vAkya-s. It is not about reading
a printed book. It is about the fact that a text like the gItA is to be taught
to all, without limitations of varNa. We can add other texts to this too,
e.g. the sanatsujAtIya and the mokshadharma sections of mahAbhArata,
the anugItA, the uddhava gItA and the other gItA-s found in the purANa-s.
You have still not addressed the other major issue, that of pUrvakRta
saMskAra that leads to jnAna, as per 1.3.38. May I also point out that
a close study of the commentary on sUtra-s 3.4.1-19 is necessary before
jumping to 3.4.20? It sets out in what way jnAna is independent of the
adhikAra for karmA. Neither is jnAna an accessory or result of karmA nor
is it necessary that someone with qualification for jnAna should be bound
to karmA because of incidental factors. The jAbAla Sruti "yad ahar eva
virajet tad ahar eva pravrajet" is a universal statement, with its only
requirement being the ripeness of vairAgya. 

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