[Advaita-l] Can a jnAni engage himself in a prohibited act??
shyam_md at yahoo.com
Wed Jul 14 07:24:50 CDT 2010
I am reproducing a post of my mine from a related list which expands on this context.
The second point I wanted to expand on was about whether/how a
jnani would retain his individuality and continue to engage in activites
for the welfare of the world - such as teach Vedanta as in the case of
our Gurus or write bhashyas and numerous prakarana granthas as in the
case of Adi Shankara.
One viewpoint maybe that with self-realiztion there is a total
destruction of the individual-based mind - an incapacity of a mind thus
sublated into objectless awareness to then retain any semblance of
affinity with the erstwhile body/mind/intellect complex.
Let us see how the sutrabhashya and Shankara in particular deals
with this. The relevant section would be 3.3.32
32. Of those who have a certain office there is subsistence (of the
body) as long as the office lasts.
The sutra talks about those exalted Ones who have been bestowed a
particular office by Ishwara - Lord Yama the teacher par excellence whom
Nachiketas praises as being the foremost of those adept at imparting
BrahmavidyA would be one such example.
Let us now examine Shankara's gloss in some detail.
First let us understand the purvapakshin's contention/doubt
-We know from itihÃ¢sa and purÃ¢na that some persons although
knowing Brahman yet obtained new bodies. - Tradition informs us, e.g.
that ApÃ¢ntaratamas, an ancient rishi and teacher of the Vedas, was, by
the order of Vishnu, born on this earth as Krishna DvaipÃ¢yana at the
time when the DvÃ¢parayuga was succeeded by the Kaliyuga. Similarly
Vasishtha, ..Smriti further relates that Bhrigu .... SanatkumÃ¢ra
also...was born again as Skanda. ...Of some of the persons mentioned it
is said that they assumed a new body after the old body had perished; of
others that they assumed, through their supernatural powers, various
new bodies, while the old body remained intact all the while.
On the ground of all this the pÃ»rvapakshin maintains that the
knowledge of Brahman may, indifferently, either be or not be the cause
of final release.
In other words the Purvapakshin is giving various examples to show
that if indeed self-realization would result in a total destruction of
individuality and immediate release from samsara, then no continuation
in vyavahara is rendered possible. In which case these examples would
have to pertain to persons without self-knowledge. But the Shruti does
attest to these being knowers of Brahman - in which case, contends the
interlocutor, that the only possibility is that in some cases knowledge
may not lead to moksha.
This we deny, for the reason that the continuance of the bodily
existence of Aparantamas and others--who are entrusted with offices
conducive to the subsistence of the worlds, such as the promulgation of
the Vedas and the like--depends on those their offices."
Shankara points out the siddhanta that the continued existence of a
Knower is for the sake of lokakshema. A famous example is give of the
Sun God - Savitr devata.
As Savitar (the sun), who after having for thousands of yugas
performed the office of watching over these worlds, at the end of that
period enjoys release ....and as the present knowers
of Brahman reach the state of isolation after the enjoyment of those
results of action, which have begun to operate, has come to an end,
according to Ch. Up. 6.14.2 'For him there is only delay so long as he
is not delivered from the body;' so AparÃ¢ntamas and other Lords to whom
the highest Lord has entrusted certain offices, last--although
they possess complete knowledge, the cause of release--as long
as their office lasts, their works not yet being exhausted, and obtain
release only when their office comes to an end.
Now a doubt may be entertained that perhaps even though these
Knowers' bodies and minds continue to exist for the welfare of the world
the Knowers themselves do not harbor any such desire or will, and more
importantly do not have any notion of their individuality. Anticipating
this Shankara clarifies
"...Passing according to their free will from
one body into another, as if from one house into another, in order to
accomplish the duties of their offices; preserving all the
time the memory of their identity; they create for
themselves ..new bodies, and occupy them either all at once or in
succession. Nor can it be said that when passing into new bodies they
remember only the fact of their former existence (not their
individuality); for it is known that they preserve the sense of
Smriti tells us, e.g. that SulabhÃ¢, a woman conversant with Brahman,
wishing to dispute with Ganaka, left her own body, entered into that of
Ganaka, carried on a discussion with him, and again returned into her
But - clarifies Shankara this by no means indicates that these
works will bear further fruit or will prevent the emancipation which has
already per force been secured by samyag jnana. As he attests further:
If in addition to the works - the consequences of which are
already in operation, other works manifested themselves, constituting
the cause of further embodiments, ...then it might be suspected that the
knowledge of Brahman may, indifferently, either be or not be the cause
of final release. But such a suspicion is inadmissible since it is known
from Sruti and Smriti that knowledge completely destroys the
potentiality of action." ...The aggregate of works, however, whose
fruits have once begun to develop themselves comes to rest through
effecting a delay which terminates with the death of the body, just as
an arrow discharged stops in the end owing to the gradual cessation of
its impetus; this in agreement with Ch. Up. 6.14.2 'For him there is
Thus it is clear that post-realization the verisame
ignorant mind alone is what is rendered free by self-knowledge - this
self-knowledge does not fortunately result in an immediate annihilation
of the mind and its attendant sense of individuality and memory but the
latter continue to function verimuch in the realm of the transactional -
in accordance with the Order, and unfettered as the resultant actions
and behavior are - as a result of the person's samyag jnana they do
not in any way compromise on or serve as an impediment to the already
Shri Gurubhyoh namah
--- On Wed, 7/14/10, V Subrahmanian <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com> wrote:
From: V Subrahmanian <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Can a jnAni engage himself in a prohibited act??
To: "A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta" <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Date: Wednesday, July 14, 2010, 1:18 AM
It is not avatara, if you are in that impression. He is a jiva, mukta, now
taken a body, and after the expiry of the prArabdha karma will be finally
liberated. He will not have kartrutva / bhoktrutva bhaava then.
For that matter, all jivas, when punarjanma is there, in avidyAvasthA, are
said to be incarnating every time. That is why they say 'Hinduism believes
in re-incarnation.' Vyasa's case is no different in as much as another
body is taken and lived out. The only difference is that in this case
avidya / ajnana is not the cause of the new incarnation; it is the command
On Wed, Jul 14, 2010 at 8:43 AM, Br. Pranipata Chaitanya <
pranipata at hotmail.com> wrote:
> You said it yourself, in your own words....
> From: "V Subrahmanian" <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com>
>> apAntaratamo nAma muniH kali-dvApara-sandhau vyAsatvena sambabhUva - a
>> named 'apAntaratamas' incarnated in the confluence of Kali and dvApara
>> yuga-s with the name / position of 'vyAsa'.
> incarnation is not reincarnation of jantus.
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