[Advaita-l] the qualification to be an advaita guru

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu Aug 11 13:03:49 CDT 2011

On Thu, Aug 11, 2011 at 3:40 PM, Raghav Kumar <raghavkumar00 at gmail.com>wrote:

> Namaste ...
>  Pertaining to the following doubt:
> whether a Guru can be a brahmaniShTha without sAstra-vicAra...
> <  and one more doubt here...can a person become brahmanishTa without any
> knowledge of shAstra??  >
>  Its very interesting that bhAShyakAra himself says "yes" to the above
> question and goes to great lengths to justify why shravana etc are not the
> only means for jnAnam. He says that brahmajnAna can take place through
> independent alternative means like tapas, shraddha, past-karma etc etc.
> TOO.
> (Brihadaranyaka bhashya 1.4.2)
>  The pUrvapakshI actually (sounds like the siddhAntI) and asks "how can
> jnAna arise spontaneously (in the case of prajApati) without
> sastra-upadesha
> (i.e., teaching of the pramANa through words.) ?
>  bhAShyakAra says - "naimittikAnAm kAryANAm nimittabhedonekadhA vikalpyate,
> tathA nimitta-samucchayaH...tamasi vinAlokena chakSU-rUpa-sannikarSho
> naktamcharANAm rUpajnAne nimittam bhavati. mana eva rUpa-jnAna-nimittam
> yoginAm"
> Paraphrased as :
> (Any effect that has a cause may also occur through other alternative
> causes
> or even a mixture of different causal factors ,which work together to give
> rise to the effect. For example, normally we assume that rUpa-jnAnam, the
> perception of form and color is possible only thorugh the pramAna of the
> eyes in the presence of visible light. But nocturnal creatures (have a
> different type of sense organ) whereby they can see even in the absence of
> visible light. Similarly YogIs can get valid knowledge of forms and colors
> directly through the mind, without even employing the eyes.)
>  bhaShyakAra's implication is that there may be more than one means/process
> to get visual perceptual knowledge. (we cannot say that eyes ALONE are the
> pramANa which can give us perceptual knowledge and that too only in the
> presence of visible light; the yogis can see directly with the mind;
> without
> employing the eyes.)
>  He says
> ( "evameva atmaikatvajnAne api kvacid janmAntara-kRtam karma nimittam
> bhavati, yathA prajApateH, kvacid tapo nimittam, "tapasA
> brahma-vijijnAsasva" (taittiriya upaniShad), kvacid ..."shraddhavAn
> labhate jnAnam" , "drShTavyah shrotavyaH nidhidhyAsitavyaH" ...)
> Paraphrased as:
> Similarly (as in the case of the cakShuH-pramAna) even in the case of
> brahmAjnAna, for some person janmAntara-kRta-karma (certain actions done in
> the past birth) may be the cause, for some others tapas may be the cause,
> for others  jnAna takes place through shraddha etc. .
> ( ityAdi shruti-smRtibhyaH ekAntajnAnalAbha-nimittatvam
> shraddha-prabhRtInAm
> adharmAdi-nimitta-viyoga-hetutvAt")
> Translation - Thus many shruti and smritis may be adduced to show that
> shraddha etc., can be the cause of gaining brahmajnAnam, since these
> (other) means (like tapas, shraddha etc) destroy the various obstacles
> (pratibandha-kShaya) which prevent jnAna from taking place.
> (shravana-manana-nidhidhyAsanAnAm cha sAkShAt jneya-viSayatvAt )
> and ofcourse vedAnta-shravaNa-manana-nidhidhyAsana too is the cause of
> jnAna
> since they directly deal with subject of Brahman
> It is noteworthy that bhAShyakAra by givng the example of *alternative
> means
> of perception (like the yogis can "see' with the mind)* gives independent
> and complete status to these other means like tapas, shraddhA etc and not
> as
> merely a means of getting antaHkaraNa shuddhi.  He does not also resort to
> the device that - a person must have done enough shravaNam in the last
> birth
> and is only now getting the result through these other alternative means.

 Anandagiri in the gloss says at this juncture:

तर्हि श्रवणादिव्यतिरेकेणापि प्रजापतेर्ज्ञानं स्यादित्याशंक्याह -  वेदान्तेति
(this word is from the bhashya) continues Anandagiri:  न तैर्विना कस्यचिदपि
ज्ञानं स्यात्, प्रजापतेस्तु जन्मान्तरीयश्रवणवशादिदानीं अनुस्मृतवाक्यात्
तदुत्पत्तिरिति शेषः ।
It is not that Prajapati did not go thru shravaNa, etc.  It could be a case
like this:  He did shravaNa, etc. and did not get the jnanam in that birth
itself.  However, owing to his very great tapas, shraddhA, etc. he attained
an exalted loka, like Brahmaloka, and there, as his mind was rendered
extremely pure, free of obstacles (pApa), the earlier studied vedanta vAkya
became remembered, anusmRtam, owing to Ishwaranugraha.  This resulted in his
becoming enlightened.



> While it is indeed true that shravaNam etc provides a nice and clearcut
> path
> to atma-jnAnam, the great number of sages, avadhutas, saints etc who graced
> the Indic civilisation (who, we gather from their words and compositions
> etc) talked and lived profound advaita without studying elaborate bhAShya
> and sanskrit etc, *their number is far too large for them to be set aside
> as
> exceptions* to the rule that shravanam alone confers brahmajnAnam.
> Raghav

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