[Advaita-l] Jnana-karma samuccaya.

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Tue Nov 23 05:54:53 CST 2010

On Tue, Nov 23, 2010 at 11:43 AM, Bhaskar YR <bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com> wrote:

> Due to his prArabdha janita dehendriya manObuddhi ahaMkAra, he
> may  'sometime' involve in 'questionable' activities by getting 'vipareeta
> pratyaya-s!! When the  brahma jnAni's  fate itself is like this then what
> to speak about 'holymen' ??  So, at least with this excuse the holymen  can
> justify their activities. No pun intended here please, this is the theory
> which got acceptance from the 'official' flag holders of advaita.
> Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!
> bhaskar

The above observation does not portray the view of Shankaracharya and
Sureshwaracharya.  In fact the stated observation, undoubtedly in bad taste,
is aimed at mocking the Acharyas of Advaita Sampradaya like Shankara and
Sureshwara.  No 'questionable' activity of a Brahmajnanai has been granted
'acceptance' by Shankaracharya or Sureshwaracharya.

Shankaracharya nowhere grants acceptance to any 'questionable activities' of
a Jnani when he writes in the Briharadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.10 thus:

//In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad bhashya, while delineating on the mantra
1.4.10 where occurs the teaching 'aham brahma asmi', the Acharya says the
Jnani will have vipareeta pratyaya and raagaadi doSha:  // yena karmaNA
sharIramArabdham tat *vipareeta-pratyaya doSha *nimittatvaat tasya
tathAbhUtasyaiva vipareetapratyaya doShasamyuktasya phaladaane saamarthamiti
yaavat shareera paataH taavat phalopabhoga angatayaa* vipareeta
pratyayam raagaadi
doSham *ca taavanmaatram aakShipatyeva.  //

[Translation by Swami Madhavananda, Advaita Ashrama, p.115 - 116 :

 // In other words, that resultant of past work which led to the formation
of the present body (PrArabdha), being the outcome of false notions and the
evils (of attachment, etc.), is able to bear fruit ONLY as such, i.e. as
coupled with those (false) notions of and evils; hence until the body falls,
the past work that made this body has already begun to bear fruit and MUST
RUN ITS COURSE like an arrow that has been shot. *Therefore knowledge cannot
stop that, for they are not contradictory.*//

Sri Sureshwaracharya has said in the Naishkarmyasiddhi 4.62:


Now, in order to refute the view that the knower of Brahman is free from sin
[even if he performs a sinful act], the following:

[Sureshwara wants to say that the Jnani will not at all indulge in a
sinful/reprehensible act in the first instance.  When such is the case,
where is the question of his 'not being touched by any sinful act'?  This is
the idea behind this verse that follows]

If a person who has realized the non-dual reality could  behave as he liked,
then what is the difference between a dog and the seer of Truth in respect
of eating what is prohibited?

It may be asked: Why is it not possible?  It is for the following reason:

>From adharma, demerit, arises ignorance; and from the latter, unrestrained
conduct.  How is unrestrained conduct possible in the state which is the
result of dharma, merit, wherein even righteousness is not desired?  (4.63)

[Sureshwara argues that the Jnani is in a state where even puNya is not
deliberately desired by him and worked for.  In such a state how can there
be any room for adhArmic activity that he might indulge in? ]

So, the omniscient Hari who has repudiated unrestrained conduct has said:
'He whose all works are devoid of desires and purposes, and whose actions
have been burnt by the fire of wisdom,him the wise call a sage'. (B.G.4.19)
Also, 'He (jivanmukta) does not hate the presence of light,activity and
delusion.  Nor does he long for them, if absent.' (B.G.14.22)


Shankara has also explicitly said while commenting on a Br.Up.mantra that
the Jnani, who has the firm conviction that giving room for desire etc. is
the cause of samsara and all the evils thereof, will never give room for
these in his vyvahara.

Thus, in the Shankara sampradaya there is no room for the erroneous thinking
that the Jnani will indulge in 'questionable activities'.  Also, the phrase
'prArabdha janita dehendriya manObuddhi ahaMkAra' is a product of wrong
understanding of the Vedanta system. In Vedanta, for every jiva, whether
jnani or ajnani, the body-mind-intellect-ahankara-apparatus is a result of
prarabadha only.  This particular apparatus remains till the end of this
particular set of prArabdha karma.  Atma Jnana does not destroy this
apparatus.  And most importantly, prarabdha will not bring about any 'new'
body-mind apparatus so as to qualify it by the term 'prArabdha janita'.
Thus there is no room in Vedanta shastra for the adjective praarabdha-janita
to be used in the case of the Jnani in particular.  Shankara makes this
point clear through the words: ' *Therefore knowledge cannot stop that, for
they are not contradictory' (as quoted above)*

What this portion of the commentary means is this:  Atma jnana is the
virodhi of mUlAvidyA alone and not of the already begun body-mind

Nor should it be wrongly concluded that the cases of Veda Vyasa fathering
the sons of Vichitraveerya's widows or Kashyapa Prajapati uniting with his
wife Diti in the sandhyAkAla, etc. are 'violations' of dharma on their
part.  Nor is it a case of their behaving that way a result of kAma. This
observation: //.As an example : we call kashyapa brahma's acceptance to his
wife's untimely  demands as an occassional vipareeta pratyaya of the
jnAni//  does not find approval  in Vedanta.  Nobody in the sampradaya
'calls Kashyapa Prajapati's case as 'occasional vipareeta pratyaya'.

This term 'vipareeta pratyaya' that Shankara has used in the Br.Up.Bhashya
1.4.10 quoted above has an altogether different meaning.  If a Jnani is
required to teach a disciple, the disciple has to be seen as 'different'
from another disciple or from the Jnani himself.  This 'bheda-darshanam' is
inevitable form him and will last as long as he lives. This has been
explicitly stated by Shankara in BSB 4.1.19.  It is this requirement of
bheda-darshana in each and every vyavahara of the Jnani that is referred by
Shankara as 'vipareeta pratyaya' in the above 1.4.10 bhashya. It never means
any 'lapse' on the part of a Jnani.  Those who do not know what those words
of Shankara mean attribute their own meanings to these terms and end up
bringing a bad name to Veda Vyasa and the Prajapati.

These are never held to be 'questionable activities' in the sampradaya.  No
authority has questioned these instances and adjudged them as immoral.
These instances have been picked out and shown ONLY with a view to emphasize
that the body-mind apparatus of a Jnani will not disappear upon Atmajnana as
those outside the sampradaya have concluded.

Best regards,

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