[Advaita-l] The Human aspect of Jnanis - 2

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Fri Jul 16 14:36:53 CDT 2010

On Wed, 14 Jul 2010, V Subrahmanian wrote:

> // Jivan Mukti would remain purely a theoretical concept unless there
> existed Jivan Muktas to demonstrate its possibility.  Consider Shankara
> Bhagavatpada.  No advaitin has any doubt regarding His freedom from the
> bonds of ignorance and His being a Jivan Mukta.  Still, the Madhaviya
> Shankara Vijaya records that violating the norms for a Sanyasi, He went to
> Kalady to be at His mother's side during her last moments and even chose to
> Himself cremate her.  Is this not a case of apparent attachment?

This came up not too long ago in another forum and my reply was that this 
incident does _not_ show attachment on the part of Shankaracharya.

The Madhaviya Shankara Digvijaya relates that for some time the young 
Shankaras mother refused to allow him to take up sannyasa.  As a minor and 
due to his respect for his mother (ones mother is the most pujaniya person 
more than ones king or guru.) he had to comply.  Once while bathing in the 
Tungabhadra river, he was seized by a crocodile He cried out to his 
mother, "I will surely die if this crocodile drags me into the depths but 
if you allow me to take sannyasa it will be like a new birth."  Whereupon 
she relented on the condition that Shankara promises to return and perform 
her funerary rites and shraddha.  He agreed and then renounced the world 
whereupon the crocodile (who was actually the embodiment of Maya) 
immediately let him go.

So the undertaking to perform Shraddha was not done as a sannyasi but as a 
left over obligation from the purvashrama.  Sannyasa is not escapism. 
E.g. a businessman who is going bankrupt cannot declare himself a sannyasi 
to escape his creditors.  One is supposed to wind down ones affairs in an 
orderly manner first and then renounce.  So in the Viraja Homa which is 
part of the ritual of sannyasa, one oversees the giving away of all ones 
material possessions, takes the holy fires into himself (if he is a 
sannyasi) and performs his own shraddha.  Sometimes events do not occur in 
a lockstep fashion but they still have to be dealt with appropriately.

I'll give you another example.  I recently found out that due to a 
clerical error, I am not actually a college graduate.  Now in terms of the 
"jnana" of academic learning I don't feel any different today than I felt 
yesterday when I thought I was a graduate.  But I do not currently have 
that piece of paper to confirm it so I am not entitled to call myself a 
graduate.  Now that I have telephoned the right people and filled in the 
right forms, the situation will be rectified and I will be able to call 
myself a graduate again.  But only then.

Nowadays there are some people who shirk their duties because "I do not 
feel attached."  such feelings are laudable but they are not renunciation. 
Others simply abandon their duties.  This is not renunciation.  Still 
others claim there can never be an end to duty (i.e. Mimamsakas)  Advaita 
Vedanta disagrees with them too.  Renunciation is the proper completion of 
ones obligations without regard to the results according to our 
philosophy.  Shankara Bhagavatapada demonstrated in his own life why he is 
our acharya in such matters.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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