[Advaita-l] Back to Basics (was Pitru paksha questions)

Shyam shyam_md at yahoo.com
Sun Sep 25 21:34:09 CDT 2011

A person is in tenth grade and has gained a thorough mastery of the knowledge of Math and Science, Geography and History and sits for his graduating exam that, confident in securing that much awaited release from school. And yet he fails miserably - why? - not because his knowledge is deficient in breadth, or is even lacking in depth, but because his writing is not legible. The words though wisely articulated are not able to be appreciated by the examiner as they are scripted in a fashion that isnt palatable. Now this scholar may keep knocking on the boards repeatedly with no change in result. Expending more efforts at gaining further confidence in the subjects is always good, lest it be forgotten, but isnt going to alter the ultimate outcome. Studying that which pertains only to higher studies like MSc or PhD is going to help even less, when clearly the teacher has outlined the curriculum and assured the student of passing if he demonstrates
 sufficient mastery of exactly what is setforth to be known. This is when the student needs to "get back to the basics" And this getting back to the basics is not getting back to ninth grade or seventh grade or fourth grade where he firmed up the theoretical basis for much of what he has already mastered, but going even further to the very tenets, the building blocks of his education as a student - the A's B's and C's....ideally the schooling system should have ensured that his A,B,Cs were perfected long long before he ever got to the tenth class....but perhaps he did not have the good fortune of having teachers along the way who could have advised him so...or perhaps he simply stumbled onto this school later in his growth and was quickly able to grasp, and even master the subject matter quite admirably...it does not matter - it is not enough. Without first mastering the A,B,Cs of writing he is never ever going to be able to pass through the tightly shut
 doors of school-dom. It may seem extremely extraneous,  and wantonly worthless....to think that after such lofty learning he should have to practice what less learned kindergardeners are engaged in....havent the teachers said that ALL that is required is a mastery of the subject matter and no additional effort need be expended to secure release - he may indignantly exclaim...but it is what it is..if he were able to handle his A,B,Cs he should have already passed, and would not be around for such umbrage...howsoever mundane, howsoever prosaic...he has to put in the effort if he is committed to the goal of securing release...for how long?? as long as it takes to get each and every alphabet script right...this process can be quite arduous as first the prAkrta scripting has to be painfully unlearnt, much of which cemented by long association, one alphabet at a time, and then only can the samskrta scripting be taught...having a teacher watch over your
 performance is also very helpful as you can be guided more precisely unto those areas with major deficiencies...
Our efforts at securing release from the Samsara High School are also fraught with the same issues - a mastery of upanishadic vakyarthas is readily at hand, aparoksha samyak jnAnA is seemingly secure, but the aham brahmasmi truths so clearly articulated by the intellect fail to be grasped by the antahkarana as they are scripted onto the canvas of a mind still muddled with raga-devesha riddled vasanas.....and a million aham brahmasmis vrttis will fail to secure even a flash of a foothold unless one goes back to the basics...of securing a more pristine mind - by cultivation of shadsampatti...shama dama uparati titiksha etc etc and for the latter there is one and only one manner - karmayoga...upasana..a life of dharma..and that does include as a major centerpiece adherence to nitya-naimittika karmas. This need not be confused in ignorance with jnana-karma samucchaya - knowledge alone is enough to secure release - as the Upanishad asserts - esa mahima
 brahmanasya na vardhate karmano no kaniyam - but securing the knowledge alone is where preparation is indispensible - shAntO dAnta Uparatas titikshU samAhito bhUtvA atmany evam atmanam pashyati....a student who from the very beginning had been under the secure embrace of a vaidika parampara would have doubtless gained entry into the senior school only after these basics were mastered....and in that case the final knowledge would have secured a immediate release. Hence the need for a backtrack to the basics.
Hari OM
Shri Gurubhyoh namah

--- On Sat, 9/24/11, Praveen R. Bhat <bhatpraveen at gmail.com> wrote:

From: Praveen R. Bhat <bhatpraveen at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Pitru paksha questions
To: "Srikanta Narayanaswami" <srikanta.narayanaswami at yahoo.com>, "A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta" <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Date: Saturday, September 24, 2011, 12:47 PM

Hari Om, Srikantaji,

On Sat, Sep 24, 2011 at 8:19 PM, Srikanta Narayanaswami <
srikanta.narayanaswami at yahoo.com> wrote:

> What I said was if one wants to get entangled in karmakhandha despite
> having  some clarity in the pursuance of jnana kandha should he go through
> the sorrowful performance of karmakhandha?What i would like to ask you is
> that should a person who has climbed a tree and reaching its top,should get
> down and restart climbing it again,because some one asks him to do?

And I ask you if its possible to climb the tree by giving up things
selectively? For one who has to climb the tree, he has to be lightweight by
himself, not with a bag of some selective things. So, yes karma has to be
given up, not karma kANDa alone! So, I do agree with you that one needn't
get down & restart climbing, but one can't even imagine oneself on the tree
and say that I don't need to climb. IMHO, climbing the tree itself begins
with sannyAsa, which is when ALL baggage is dropped.

> I hope we are following Bhagawad Gita and SriShankara Bhagawathpada's
> commentary!

Yes Sir, I hope so too.

> I want you to study the BG sloka IV.18,Karmani akarma yah pashyed----.I
> want you to study the commentary of Srishankara bhagawathpada BG bhashya 268
> where he has discussed about the performance or non-performance of Karmas.

Thanks for quoting BG reference 4.18 (I assume "268" is a typo though).

> "Because the karma is in the form of sorrow(duhka).One will not perform the
> sorrowful karma,and since you have accepted that it they are not
> performed,one will encounter the fall into the hell(narakapatha),even if
> they are performed or not performed one will meet "anartha",then one would
> have to say that the "sastras'are without fruit(nishphala).and after
> agreeing that the "Nityakarmas"have no"Phala'and at the same time saying
> that it will lead to the phala of moksha,then it is against your
> acceptance."

Bhagavatpada is refuting the arguments that:
1) nityakarma is fruitless: because he says that "Further, the scriptures
cannot enjoin fruitless actions, they being naturally painful; and it is
illogical that what is painful should be done intentionally" ( न च निष्फलं
विदध्यात् कर्म शास्त्रम्, दुःखस्वरूपत्वात्, दुःखस्य च बुद्धिपूर्वकतया
कार्यत्वानुपपत्तेः।) I think its an error to read that "karma is in the form
of sorrow" but niShphala karma is!
2) nityakarma will lead to moksha phala: Nowhere does my mail imply that I
hold such views! For that matter, no one on this thread is saying that
performing pitR paksha shrAddha leads pitRs or performers to moksha! The
argument is that shrAddha or any nitya/naimittika karma can't be given up
unless all karma is given up.

I feel we are giving more importance to the performance of karmas than the
> "Moksha sastra",which is what is required for Progressive movement and
> "Nishreyas".Bhagavan himself says 'Yad jnatva mokshyaseashubhath".
> should one remain in lowerstandards,when he has the capacity to move up?

Bhagavatpada ends his commentary on this shloka 4.18 by saying that
perceiving inaction in action is being praised (तदेतत् कर्मणि अकर्मदर्शनं
स्तूयते) because in the action, doership is superimposed on the Atman that
is actionless.  So moving up to moksha is not by performing karma by
perceiving akarma in it & not by giving up karma selectively. If at all
karma is to be given up, sarva-karma-sannyAsa is the way.

--Praveen R. Bhat
/* Through what should one know That owing to which all this is known!
[Br.Up. 4.5.15] */
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