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

Raghav Kumar raghavkumar00 at gmail.com
Fri Aug 19 07:08:08 CDT 2011


I would only like point out the following. Tthe whole context was that a
brahmaniShTha can emerge without any fresh upadesha or shravaNam in this

Prajapati (Viraj) was not possessed of aparokSha brahma-jnAnam at that
beginning of the sriShti cycle. (BhAShyakAra hmself says as much.Else the
prospect that someone will be reborn inspite of jnAnam arises.)
And that jnanam did dawn on him without any fresh upadesha from any other
being or Guru. Yes he did have vedic and vedantic mantra and sabdArtha
jnAnam since the vedas etc are said to have emerged effortlessly from him
(yasya nishvasitam veda etc.)

In such an event, when we say aparokSha jnAnam arises in a time-delayed
manner - shravaNam, tapas, upAsanA etc. taking place,in one birth and the
aparokShajnAnam in another. (like jadabharata too for example), what can be
called the cause for the arising of aparokSha jnAnam? bhAShyakAra does not
insist in this particular conext that past shravaNam alone is the immediate
cause for the jnAnam - rather he rounds off his discussion in a more general
tone - " pApAdi pratibandhakShaye cha atmamanasorbhUtArtha jnAna
nimittasvAbhAvyAt" while earlier pointing out that "anupadiShtam eva ekatva
darshanam prajApateH" (for such an exalted Being, jnAna arose spontaneously
without (fresh) upadesha, due to the exalted dharma,jnAna, vairagya, and

Also, the distinction between shravaNam and jnAnam also has to be borne in
mind. The jnAna-vRtti has to arise, that alone removes ajnAnam. the point is
that the immediate cause for this jnAna-vRtti to arise need not always be
elaborate upadeSha by a Guru. MadhusUdana Sarasvati says that even a
kAkUkti, ( a  gesture or exclamation of aggression/reprimand)  may be enough
in some cases for this jnAna-vRtti to arise doing the job of a tiger in a
dream to wake us up.

This entire discussion arose in the context that such a possibility of jnAna
arising in certain exalted beings in such a a manner is very much admitted
by bhAShyakAra, and the tendency amongst a small minority of people to look
condescendingly upon those sages (like Sri Ramana or Sri Ramakrishna) who
have not undergone extensive study of bhAshya etc is misplaced, to say the
least, And the idea that a shrotriya-only is superior to a
brahma-niSTha-only (who has not undertaken extensive shAstra study) needs
reconsideration, Perhaps the best way forward is to be receptive and try to
carefully understand what any Guru says, be he of any type without any
pre-conceived notions of who a shrotriya is and who a brahma-niShtha is.

with regards and thanks

On Fri, Aug 19, 2011 at 12:11 PM, Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>wrote:

> On Thu, 11 Aug 2011, Raghav Kumar 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)
> I am reading that text and I don't think that's right.
>> 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.
> No there is a subtle difference.  For Shankaracharya alternative means of
> perceptions are still just perception.  Just as seeing through a telescope
> is still just seeing.  The purvapakshi wants to claim them as being in a
> class by themselves.  It is the same with shabda pramana.  Viraj had a
> perfect celestial body beyond the capabilities of a human body but he used
> it in the same way a human Vedanti would have to use his.  (Incidently it is
> noteworthy that Shankaracharya quotes the Vayu Purana here.  It's one of the
> few places he refers to the Puranas.) In fact it is manana which is the
> topic of the shruti text being commented on.  sa hAyamIkShAM chakre
> yanmadanyannasti kasmAnnu bibhemIti  "He thought 'If there is nothing other
> than me, what am I afraid of?"  It is not tapas or shraddha etc. but jnana
> alone which he "sees."  In every kalpa the "see-ers" (Rshis) rediscover this
> knowledge and pass it down to us.
>  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.
> Actually he mentions this in the bhashya on the previous kandika.  He says
> prajApateH phalabhUtasya sR^iShTisthitisaMhAreShu jagataH
> svAtantryAdivibhUtyupavarNanen**a GYAnakarmaNorvaidikayoH phalotkarSho
> varNayitavya ityevamarthamArabhyate | "This [4th brahmana] is put forth to
> describe the results of Vedic knowledge and action by describing the powers
> such as independence etc. of Prajapati won by his creation, maintainence,
> and destruction of the world [in the previous kalpa-cycle.]"
> [note: Prajapati is a synonym of Viraj.]
> Then explaining the shruti text sa yatpUrvaH "because he was first" he says
> sa cha prajApatiratikrAntajanmAni samyakkarmaGYAnabhAvanAnuShTAn**aiH
> sAdhakAvasthAyAM yadyasmAtkarmaGYAnabhAvanAnuSh**TAnaiH prajApatitvaM
> pratipitsUnAM pUrvaiH prathamaH san "and 'because he' -- Prajapati who in
> his previous life was a sadhaka who perfected the practice of action and
> knowledge and because of that perfection of action and knowledge 'was first'
> -- first amongst those who attained the position of Prajapati by that
> method."
> 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.
> Leaving aside the issue of whether all the saints who are retroactively
> labeled Advaitins actually belong in that category or not, yes there have
> been many who did not engage in formal study of shastras.  But they lived in
> an environment steeped in Vedantic concepts.  They thought about those
> concepts and they put them into practice.  So it is still
> shravana-manana-nidhidhyasana only by a different medium.  Just as if you
> try and understand the teachings of your guru which you hear in an mp3 it is
> just as much s-m-n as if you heard it by sitting in front of him.
> --
> Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
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