[Advaita-l] Mandukyopanishad for the Sanyasis

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Fri Jul 1 03:01:09 CDT 2011

On Fri, 1 Jul 2011, Venkata sriram P wrote:

>   Infact, if you observe, upanishad vidyas are the dialogues between 
> teacher & pupil who propagated rishi parampara who were grihasthas 
> (vAnaprasthAs).  

Here are some pertinent parts from munDakopaniShadbhaShya (from the 

gyAnamAtre yadyapi sarvAshramiNAmadhikAraH tathApi sannyasaniShTaiva 
brahmavidyA mokShasAdhanaM na karmasahiteti bhaikShyacharyAM charantaH 
sannyasayogAt iti cha bruvandarshayati |

"even though all ashramas have the adhikara for knowledge [of this 
upanishad] in itself[1] nevertheless brahmavidya founded on sannyasa 
only is a means for moksha, not when combined with karma. For we see sayings 
such as "going begging for alms"[2] and "through sannyasa yoga".

[1] All dvijas can study some upanishads as part of their svadhyaya which 
is obligatory for brahmacharis, grhasthas, and vanaprasthas.

[2] munDaka 1.2.11

[3] munDaka 3.2.6

yattu gR^ihastheShu brahmavidyAsampradAyakartratvAdi li~nga na tatsthitaM 
nyAyaM bAdhitumutsahate | nahi vidhishatenApi tamaHprakAshayorekatra 
sadbhAvaH shakyate kartuM kimuta li~ngaiH kevalairiti |

"As for the indicatory signs[1] that show the founders of the brahmavidya 
sampradayas were grhasthas, they cannot override the established rule[2]. 
Not even a hundred rules can establish the co-existence of light and 
darkness how then can only signs?[3]

[1] li~nga is a technical term of mImAmsA.  For instance if some mantra 
mentions sudarshana chakra, garuda, vaikuntha etc. we know it is referring 
to Vishnu even if it doesn't contain the word Vishnu because these are 
signs of Vishnu Bhagavan only.  So if shruti describes jnanis with names 
and activities typical of grhasthas, it indicates grhasthas can be jnanis.

[2] vidhi is another mImAmsaka term.  It means a commandment positive or 
negative. (Do this or don't do this.)  Shankaracharya thinks there is a 
commandment to renounce so mere signs cannot override it.

[3] furthermore a sign is only useful if it clearly indicates.  The sun 
would be an awful sign for nighttime because night is defined by the 
absence of sun.  It would be a contradiction.  Shankaracharya thinks even 
a 100 exhortations to combine karma and jnana could not remove the 
contradictions between these two so a few names certainly cannot.

> BTW, there is no dasa-nami sampradaya prior to sankara and there were 
> informal yatis who were called bhikshus.

Yes.  I am not talking about the institution of sannyasa but the viveka 
and vairagya you spoke of.  It is at loggerheads with the driving 
principles of grhasthashrama.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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