[Advaita-l] Question on Purvakanda

Jaldhar H. Vyas via Advaita-l advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
Tue Jul 1 02:21:16 CDT 2014

On Fri, 27 Jun 2014, kuntimaddi sadananda via Advaita-l wrote:

> PraNAms everybody. A friend of mine asked the following question. Since 
> I do not have much knowledge of karma kanada, I appreciate if someone 
> can answer the question for her.


> Karma kaanda of Vedas are all description of Rituals, 
> religious worshiping via yagnaas etc correct?

karma means intentional action -- all actions laukika or otherwise.  But 
the karma that is prescribed in the Vedas and by extensions shastras 
dependent on the Vedas (aka smrtis) and the conduct of those knowledgable 
in shastras (shistachara) is dharma.  So the student seeking to understand 
the role of karmakanda in Advaita Vedanta has to go to all three sources 
not just one...

> Is there anywhere in Karma 
> Kaanda where worshiping via (to) Idols really described? Just curious.

...Therefore that the eminent sages and acharyas of our sampradaya have 
endorsed murti puja (which is what I assume you mean by the foreign term 
"idol worship") and that it is described in detail in puranas and agamas 
is more than sufficient to establish the practices "Vedic" bona fides. 
Still it is an interesting question whether reference to murti puja can be 
found in the shruti proper.  It seems to me there is no explicit 
injunction in that regard atleast that I have seen.  However, It is wrong 
to assume that Vedas only deal with "nature" or aniconic forms of 
divinity; the forms of many devatas are described in detail.  And the use 
of objects as the focus for upasana is also there.  So it is not much of a 
leap to see the two concepts coming together to form the concept of murti 

On Sun, 29 Jun 2014, Venkata sriram P via Advaita-l wrote:

> Namaste,
> "tisrEva dEvatA iti nairuktAH" - ie., the nirukta says that the main
> vaidika devatAs are only 3 in number viz., agni, vAyu / indra, sUrya
> respectively.

> The karma-kANDa bhAga having pUrva-mimAmsa sUtras dealing
> with yajna, yAga & kratus are meant for propitiating the above deities 

This was the view of the nairuktas but Yaskacharya mentions several other 
schools of Vedic interpretation including "yajnikas" which seem to be the 
forerunners of the Purva Mimamsakas.  As the name yajnika suggests, they 
believed that the entire shruti (and by extension smrti and shistachara) 
is connected to yajna even the upanishads.  (Mostly Vedanta is in accord 
with PM but this of course is one of several issues where the two 
sister-darshans part company.)

In the battle for authority the yajnikas "won" against the nairuktas and 
other forms of interpretation.  Apart from the Vedanga Nirukta of 
Yaskacharya and a couple of commentaries on it there is little written on 
the subject while there are litterally hundreds of works on Purva Mimamsa.

> The prateekOpAsana, per se, in the form of vigraha-ArAdhana has evolved
> out of smritis and purANAs.  But in karma-kANDa, per se, which is a part
> of pUrva-mimAmsa, there is no involvement of "pratIkOpAsana" and
> "vigraha-ArAdhana".

Based on the above I don't think a Mimamsaka would say there is no 
involvement but try and integrate the concepts of murti puja into the 
yajna paradigm.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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