[Advaita-l] Animals can get Jnana?

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu Apr 17 00:07:40 CDT 2014

On Thu, Apr 17, 2014 at 10:02 AM, Venkatesh Murthy <vmurthy36 at gmail.com>wrote:

> Namaste
> Jai Hanuman.
> I was discussing with my friend. He asked Can Animals have Jnana? I said
> animals cannot generally have Jnana because they have no intellect to
> reflect on Who am I? But Hanuman is Kapeeshwara belonging to Ape family. He
> is a Jnani.
> Chimpanzees can play chess and do a lot of intellectual activities.
> Probably they can be taught to think like humans. Is it true the Apes can
> have Jnana like humans if they try? But other animals cannot?

I think Hanuman should be rightly understood as a 'vAnaraH', a unique
category.  In the Ramayana vAli, sugrIva, Hanuman were endowed with
devatAmsha.  In the purana-s we have instances such as Gajendra, jaTAyu,
jAmbavAn, etc. being very evolved souls, devoted to the Lord.  Of course,
in their cases there must be a prior history of their having been humans in
some earlier life.  Outside these special cases the shruti dictum is: tad
yo yo devaAnAm pratyabudhyata tathA manuShyANAm tathA RShINAm sa tadeva
bhavati..of the Br.up. 1.4... teaches that whoever among humans, deva-s and
RShI-s realizes Brahman become That Itself.

 Also, the four puruShArtha-s are named so because humans, primarily, work
for them.  In the Taittiriya bhAshya, for the portion 'annAt puruShaH'
Shankara raises a question: When all creatures are products of food, how
come the veda says: from food man is created? and replies:
manuShyAdhikAritvAt, that is, for the injunctions of the vedic karma and
jnAna portions, the human is the adhikArI, the appropriate candidate.

Hence, we cannot imagine mokShEcchA in beings below humans and their
striving for that, unless we also admit a previously commenced spiritual
journey which is only continuing and culminating in a particular sub-human
body. This will then be a study of a particular case and no generalization
would be possible.


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