[Advaita-l] Women and Paramahamsa sannyasa

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sat Mar 17 12:33:07 CDT 2012

2012/3/17 श्रीमल्ललितालालितः <lalitaalaalitah at lalitaalaalitah.com>

> *श्रीमल्ललितालालितः <http://www.lalitaalaalitah.com/>
> lalitAlAlitaH <http://about.me/lalitaalaalitah/bio>*
> Veda VyAsa would not be presenting someone who is outside the norms of
> > vaidika-s and of questionable credentials (by taking to danDadhAraNA type
> > of sannyasa) to determine the conduct of a King who has considered
> himself
> > to be a mukta.
> >
> I already said that they are stories, and they have no base in actual
> world. You can't make vidhi-s because you heard some story.

Just because they are stories they do not cease to be pramANa-s for drawing
a lot of lessons.  Shankara does not discount a story just because it is
so; the lesson drawn from them is specifically brought out by Him.  Even
the 'sulabhA' case is one such; Shankara cites it, despite it being a story
told by someone to someone in the mahaabharata, in support of what is being
discussed in the BSB.  Every story in the Jivanmuktiviveka is cited only to
drive home this or that lesson.  Be it Yajnavalkya's behaviour or
Bhagiratha's, Vidyaranya brings out a strong lesson to the aspirant.
Shankara, at the beginning itself says in the Kathopanishat that there is
an 'AakhyAyikA' here for vidyAstuti.  Yet every event in the story is a
source to teach us this or that lesson.  From a dialogue between Yama and
his family members Shankara concludes: तस्मात् अनुपेक्षणीयः सर्वावस्थास्वपि
अतिथिरियर्थः। This story forms a basis for actual conduct in the world.
One can see how a vidhi is taught through the story. And nIlakanTha is not
inventing a vidhi from the story; he is giving an explanation which
Vidyaranya too approves.

> > In this Ishwara-managed scheme
> > we cannot say that someone selected for a chosen role of authority is not
> > within the varNAshrama-compliant mode.
> >
> Q: How to decide that someone is being handled by God and not disrespect
> towards scriptures ?
> A: Because he can talk about brahma.
> Q: It doesn't hold good. Many deceivers are seen teaching various
> philosophies.

The episode was cited not just because sulabhA talked about Brahman.  She
ultimately advised Janaka on varNAshrama dharma. And Shankara is citing it
not because it was a deceiver teaching  some philosophy; He uses the word
'brahmavAdinI'.  And Vyasa is also not espousing the cause of some
philosophy; it is the vedantic moksha that was being tested.

> >  In that commentary to the Mahabharatha, nIlakanTha has given some
> details
> > about the 'bhikShukI'.  That he has not cited any smRti authority for his
> > comments does not let us conclude that there is no such authority.  Only
> > that we do not know what it is.
> >
> Not only that. I know that tridaNDa-dhAraNa is not prescribed for women.
> So, for me your faith is not enough. Your faith may work for you and
> nIlakaNTha, but to persuade someone else you need to propound in a
> different way. Otherwise giving benefit of doubt will make Osho, etc.
> vaidika.

We are discussing a case that Shankara has cited and Vidyaranya has spoken

>  The Veda-vyAsa mentioned case does not raise such doubts.  For he is
> > reliable in matters regarding varna-Ashrama vyavasthA proven by the
> > extensive discussion on such matters found in the mahAbhArata.
> >
> Then remember that bhIShma is telling a story, an akhyAyikA and not
> translating a real experience.

All the episodes in the scriptures are only AkhyAyika-s one way or the
other.  In fact stories within purANas and the mahAbharata are there only
to teach valuable lessons for one to follow in real experience.  If this
were not possible, no one would have spent so much time and energy in
incorporating those stories into their works.

> Or,
> veda-vyAsa mentioned buddha, chArvAka, etc. also. So are they also
> followers of vaidika-rules and nyAya-s of mImAMsA on account of being
> mentioned by him ?

Veda vyAsa has mentioned buddha, etc. as pUrvapakSha.  Everyone knows that
the sulabhaa story was not meant to be a pUrvapakSha to be refuted.
Shankara does not consider the sulabhA instance as something avaidika.

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