[Advaita-l] On the Adhikara for study of Vedanta (Was: Re: Advaita and modern science)

Siva Senani Nori sivasenani at yahoo.com
Fri Jun 24 03:18:11 CDT 2011

While reading Sri Jaladhar's post, extracts of which have been given below, I started wondering if people understand the adhikaaritva for studying vedanta. I propose, with less than sufficient precision, but hopefully different enough to trigger some thoughts, that 
By success is meant, material success as in accumulating wealth etc., and success in disposing the duties of various roles, that of a son, husband, father, grand-father, friend, cousin, citizen etc. The first objection would be along the lines - on what authority do you say this, and on what authority do you discriminate against the less endowed. A second objection would be what money can have to do with knowledge and spirituality. The answers:
a) Authority: the word 'atha' in the first Brahma Sutras and Jaimini sutras; only a person who has studied the Veda and understood its meaning can read either of them. Samarthataa is a pre-requisite to study the Veda; thus for instance a physically weak person cannot study the vedas. The rest follows from this: anybody who has gone to a VedapaaThaSaala would know that, and others can easily visualise and accept that, not all beginners end up learning the Veda - only the bright students end up being kramaantasvaadhyaayins, and the brightest among them (in Krishna Yajurveda, those who take less than 12 years to know the entire Veda) go on to become GhanapaaThins. Somebody who can do that, can do anything else if only they apply themselves to that task - a bit like the way Nachiketas tells Lord Yama that wealth would indeed come on its own to one who has seen Death in person.
b) Parallel: Let me draw a parallel. Who can become the Prime Minister of India, or President of USA since at least two of the moderators of this list pay taxes in USA? There are almost no restrictions, but it is common knowledge that the person has to be successful - not that it is prescribed, but that is the unsaid qualification, what card players call 'table stakes' - if you were not successful earlier, you are not even in play for that post.
c) Money and spirituality. If anything they do not go together, except in the case of 21st century godmen. What is meant in the above definition is demonstration of the ability to earn money and do well. In the VyaakaraNa mahabhashya under the Paninian sutra, prishodaraadIni, sage Patanjali explains that some words like prishodara cannot be formed using any rules of grammar, we have to take them as they are - (nipatas)  - and that the practice of SishTas is the pramaaNa for such words. Then he explains who SishTas are - those who stay in AryAvarta, those who are kumbhIdhaanyas, etc. kumbIdhaanya is one who has only a pot-ful of rice, and not more. SishTas - the good and the great of the land, to use an English idiom - are not supposed to hoard, so we see that money and spirituatlity do not go hand in hand.
Why do I bother with all this? To answer the central point of Dr. Yadu Moharir and to supplement what Sri Jaladhar said: Vedanta pre-supposes that you are done with the useful things of life; it concerns itself with teaching what is beyond the obvious, and what one would anyhow do (succeed in life). If one does not pass 10th class, how can one go to college? So, if one is not successful in life, one will only bother about succeeding there. Those who escape either get a good living as godmen or continue with lack of success in Vedanta as well. Sastras do not waste time on teaching the obvious. Let me state a few instances.
a) Sankhya - our main opponent - clear states (say, in Sankhya Karika No. 6 starting with ''saamanyatastu drishTaat...'') that pratyaksha is the pramANa for what is obvious, anumana is for those that are not visible, and Sruti for things like Svarga which are beyond the first two pramaNas. Vedanta and other Saastras agree with that.
b) The following anumaana prayoga is a classic example of an improper application of anumaana: agnih Seetala jalavat kritakatvaat. (Fire is cold, like water, on account of it being manufactured). This is simply dismissed by saying, "touch it, then". This example or something like this is found in most manuals of logic like tarkasangrahah or tarkabhaashaa, so I do not quote references.
c) Purvamimaamsaa lists three defects of parisankhyaa nyaaya as Srutahaani, aSrutakalpanaa and praaptabaadha. If we take the statement ''panca panchnakhaah bhakshyaah'' from Ramayana, it states that hare, rhinocerous, tortoise, porcupine and ... (not sure / don't remember), may be eaten. This is interpreted to mean that no other animal can be eaten. In such a case, these three defects arise - Srutahaani (the sentence talks about edibles and is silent on inedibles), aSrutakalpanaa (you are making up what is not heard), and praaptabaadhaa. Eating of flesh of animlas such as goat is raagatah praapta, that is, that option is available on account of desire (to eat flesh) - now this interpretation is unnecessarily denying that option. The import for us is that the available options are many, but what the Saastra deals with are limited. What is raagatah praaptah to us does not need other testimony.
d) Finally, from the discourses of Brahma Sri Chaganti Koteswara Rao on various purasNas, one keeps hearing the refrain: "who teaches the child to say 'mine'?" which the child starts saying before he/she is even one year old, looking at everything from a toy to a mobile phone to a car. Saastra does not teach us to say "mine" - that comes naturally, it only teaches us to say ''na mama'', not mine, that which does not come naturally.
N. Siva Senani

From: Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
>To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
>Sent: Friday, June 24, 2011 10:13 AM
>Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Advaita and modern science
>Unfortunately I've been too busy to participate much of late and I have many posts to respond to but I'm taking the time to respond to this one as it has been a long time since we've seen such errant nonsense on advaita-l.
>First of all, lets understand what is really going on here.  Underneath all the verbiage, Shri Moharirs complaint boils down to the old and tired canard of the Hindu right wing that blames Hinduisms or Indias problems (real or imagined) on "other-worldliness."  If only we would stop gazing at our navels, we could be flying in rocket cars by now!

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