[Advaita-l] About Satyakama

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Mon Jun 27 14:03:19 CDT 2016

On Mon, 27 Jun 2016, Aurobind Padiyath wrote:

> Sri Vyasji,
> Mind your words, it doesn't speak good of you.

Some words I mind include "The purpose of Advaita-L is to discuss
advaita-vedAnta as taught by SrI Sankara and the smArta sampradAya."  I 
don't remember anything about catering to the whims of nastikas in there.

> Learn to admit that
> Bhashyakara was not impeccable and did have his own limitations.

All those of us who have struggled to understand under the guidance of 
Shankara Bhagavatapada must rejoice that we now have the superior 
wisdom of the great vidvan Aurobind Padiyath to lead us instead.

> With all reverence to Acharaya for his elucidation of the shaastras, I will
> not hesitate to point out where he has twisted the originals to meet some
> compulsion of his times which we are unaware of today.

Such an intellectual daredevil!  In fact this bogus interpretation of the 
satyakama story was refuted the day the first idiot reformer expounded it. 
It is a testament to the mental backwardness of modern India that it is 
still being peddled in 2016.

> To evaluate his commentary is not an ordinary task. But where he had his 
> prejudice to highlight Brahamins by birth ( जात्या ब्राह्मणः) and due to 
> this if he had over stepped in twisting the shaastras,  it need to be 
> accepted.

And now we were getting to the bottom of the issue.  You are not motivated 
by a desire to understand the truth of the meaning of shruti but by 
politics.  Why then even bother hiding under the skirts of shastra?  Just 
create your own Aurobind Upanishad which says whatever you want.

Of all the various manias of the modernists this bizarre need to show thst 
caste is not based on birth is one of the weirdest.  The English medium 
set treat it like it some kind of anomaly  but there is no need for 
text-juggling.  We know from DNA evidence that it has been based on birth 
for at least EIGHT HUNDRED years before the advent of Shankaracharya. 
What remains to be explained is why people like you cannot grasp something 
the simplest villager understands.

> There is even one incident where his own disciple Sri Sureswaracharya
> himself corrects his master of his over zealous approach in protecting the
> rights of above class.

Which youtube video did you learn that in? In the sampradaya there are 
differences of emphasis here and there but broad agreement in general. 
Can you show any Advaita acharya who disagrees with Shankaracharya on the 
interpretation of _this_ particular shruti?

> Few places where this has been done are:
> 1. Jabala's statement of " as a young maiden,  I had served many (बह्वहं
> चरन्तीत्यादि )  as a Bahucharini, she had entertained many." Is the Upanishad
> wordings.

Your continuing efforts to besmirch the virtue of a bharatiya nari are not 
very progressive at all.

Anyway as you have kindly provided the text let's see what it says...

> ४,४.१
> सत्यकामो ह जाबालो जबालां मातरमामन्त्रयां चक्रे ।
> ब्रह्मचर्यं भवति विवत्स्यामि किंगोत्रो न्वहमस्मीति ॥ ४,४.१ ॥

"satyakAma the jAbAlA declared[1] to his mother jabAlA, "I wish to take 
brahmachArya.  Which gotra am I?"

[1] In Gujarati AmantraNa means an invitation. So here I think the 
appropriate translation is "declared" or "addressed"

> __________
> भाष्य ४,४.१ सर्वं वागाद्यग्न्यादि चान्नान्नादत्वसंस्तुतं जगदेकीकृत्य षोडशधा प्रविभज्य
> तस्मिन्ब्रह्मदृष्टिर्विधातव्येत्यारभ्यते ।
> श्रद्धातपसोर्ब्रह्मोपासनाङ्गत्वप्रदर्शनायाऽख्यायिका ।
> सत्यकामो ह नामतो हशब्द ऐतिह्यार्थो जबालाया अपत्यं जाबालो जबलां स्वां मातरमामन्त्रयाञ्चक्र
> आमन्त्रितवान् ।
> ब्रह्मचर्यं स्वाध्यायग्रहणाय हे भवति विवत्स्याम्याचार्यकुले, किङ्गोत्रोऽहं किमस्य मम गोत्रं सोऽहं
> न्वहमस्मीति ॥१ ॥
> ४,४.२

"Having explained all as speech, fire etc., food and the eater of food as 
the components of the world divided into sixteen parts the establishment 
of those as brahman begins.[2] This story[3] depicts shraddhA and tapa as 
the a~ngas of brahmopAsanA.  satyakAma by name called jAbAla, the word ha 
connotes relationship, the son of jabAlA, declared to his mother, declared 
means formally addressed.[4] "I wish to take brahmacharya", brahmacharya 
is the recitation of the Veda[5] in the AchAryas house. "Which gotra am I" 
to which gotra do I belong to.

[2] These are various upasanas that have been described in the previous 
section of the upanishad.  Now it aims to show that these are meditations 
on Brahman."

[3] akhyAyikA.

[4] See my note [1] above.

[5] svAdhyAya.  There are other duties of a brahmachAri but this is the 
main one.

> सा हैनमुवाच ।
> नाहमेतद्वेद तात यद्गोत्रस्त्वमसि ।
> बह्वहं चरन्ती परिचारिणी यौवने त्वामलभे ।
> साहमेतन्न वेद यद्गोत्रस्त्वमसि ।
> जबाला तु नामाहमस्मि ।
> सत्यकामो नाम त्वमसि ।
> स सत्यकाम एव जाबालो ब्रुवीथा इति ॥ ४,४.२ ॥

"She said to him 'I don't know which gotra are you. In my youth when I got 
you I had been busy with many as an attendant[6] so I do not know your 
gotra. But I am named jabAlA and you are named satyakAma thus you may call 
yourself satyakAma jAbAlA"

[6] Shri Subrahmaniam has already explained why your interpretation of 
bahvahaM charanti is wrong.  Let us look at the other word parichAriNI. 
This is a feminine noun meaning one who does parichArya and here is the 
dictionary definition of that word: 1. service, attendence. 2. Adoration, 
worship.  Now think about the second definition for a minute.  When we do 
puja, how do we serve the deity?  You provide water for ablutions and 
bathing, fresh clothes, garland, food etc. In other words the upacharas of 
puja mimic in a more formal, styized way the steps you would take to 
welcome a guest.  For a grhastha, hospitality is an important part of his 
dharma.  (atithi devo bhava as another upanishad says.)  It falls upon the 
gR^ihiNI to organize all this.  She would be proud to say there were 
many guests in her home.  I don't know how Mrs. Padiyath entertains guests 
but my experience is there is no sexual connotation to hospitality.  But 
in one of your links Prabhupada (who is not even an Advaitin and a joke 
even amongst Vaishnavas) goes as far as to call her a prostitute.  How 

> __________
> भाष्य ४,४.२ एवं पृष्टा जबाला सा हैनं पुत्रमुवाचनाहमेतत्तव गोत्रं वेद हे तात यद्गोत्रस्त्वमसि ।
> कस्मान्न वेत्सीत्युक्ताऽहबहु भर्तृगृहे परिचर्याजातमतिथ्यभ्यागतादि चरन्त्यहं परिचारिणी
> परिचरन्तीति परिचरणशीलैवाहं परिचरणचित्ततया गोत्रादिस्मरणे मम मनो नाभूत् ।
> यौवने च तत्काले त्वामलभे लब्धवत्यस्मि ।
> तदैव ते पितोपरतः ।
> अतोऽनाथाहं साहमेतन्न वेद यद्गोत्रस्त्वमसि ।
> जबाला तु नामाहमस्मि सत्यकामो नाम त्वमसि स त्वं सत्यकाम एवाहं जाबालोऽस्मीत्याचार्याय
> ब्रुवीथाः यद्याचार्येण पृष्ट इत्यभिप्रायः ॥२ ॥

"Having being thus questioned jabAlA replies to her son, my dear 'I do not 
know which gotra are you' Why it is asked.  She replies 'as an attendent' 
in my husbands house I was busy[7] as an attendent attending upon many 
guests. 'so I do not know your gotra.' being constantly busy, asking about 
gotra etc. did not enter into my mind. 'In my youth...' at the time when I 
gave birth to you.  At that time your father died. Being a widow I do not 
know your gotra.[8] 'I am named jabAlA and you are named satyakAma' 
therefore 'call yourself satyakAma jAbAlA' when your acharya asks you.

[7] charanti literally means moving to and fro but I think busy is a more 
apt translation.

[8] The idea is that if satyakAmas father had been alive he would have 
known the answer.

> ४,४.३, ४
> स ह हारिद्रुमतं गौतममेत्योवाच ।
> ब्रह्मचर्यं भगवति वत्स्यामि ।
> उपेयां भगवन्तमिति ॥ ४,४.३ ॥

"To the son of haridrumata, gautama, he[9] said 'bhagavAn may I come to 
you as your brahmachAri?'"

[9] satyakAma

> तं होवाच किंगोत्रो नु सोम्यासीति ।
> स होवाच ।
> नाहमेतद्वेद भो यद्गोत्रोऽहमस्मि ।
> अपृच्छं मातरम् ।
> सा मा प्रत्यब्रवीद्बह्वहं चरन्ती परिचरिणी यौवने त्वामलभे ।
> साहमेतन्न वेद यद्गोत्रस्त्वमसि ।
> जबाला तु नामाहमस्मि ।
> सत्यकामो नाम त्वमसीति ।
> सोऽहं सत्यकामो जाबालोऽस्मि भो इति ॥ ४,४.४ ॥

"He[10] said to him 'which is your gotra dear child?' He[11] said 'I don't 
know sir.  I asked the question what is my gotra to my mother and she 
replied 'In my youth when I got you I had been busy with many as an 
attendant so I do not know your gotra. But I am named jabAlA and you are 
named satyakAma' Therefore I am satyakAma jAbAlA."

[10] gautama hAridrumata

[11] satyakAma again

> __________
> भाष्य ४,४.४ स ह सत्यकामो हारिद्रुमतं हरिद्रुमतोऽपत्यं हारिद्रुमतं गौतमं गोत्रत एत्य गत्वोवाच
> ब्रह्मचर्यं भगवति पूजावति त्वयि वत्स्याम्यत उपेयामुपगच्छेयं शिष्यतया भगवन्तमित्युक्तवन्तं तं होवाच
> गौतमः ।
> किङ्गोत्रो नु सोम्यासीति विज्ञातकुलगोत्रः शिष्य उपनेतव्य इति पृष्टः प्रत्याह सत्यकामः ।
> स होवाच नाहमेतद्वेद भो यद्गोत्रोऽहमस्मि ।
> किं त्वपृच्छं पृष्टवानस्मि मातरम् ।
> सा मया पृष्टा मां प्रत्यब्रवीन्माता ।
> बह्वहं चरन्तीत्यादि पूर्ववत् ।
> तस्या अहं वचः स्मरामि सोऽहं सत्यकामो जाबालोऽस्मि भो इति ॥३ ।। , ।। ४ ॥

satyakAma having approached hAridrumata, the son of haridrumata, gautama, 
said 'I wish to take up brahmachArya bhagavAn', i.e. to live with you as a 
student. Having spoken thus gautama said 'which is your gotra dear child' 
in order to ascertain the family gotra for giving upanayana to the 
pupil[12] Having been asked thus satyakAma replied 'I don't know sir' etc.

[12] This has been a part of the upanayana ritual in ancient times, in 
medieval times and in 2015 when my son Nilagriva approached his acharya 
(our family purohit not me) carrying samidha and was asked what his gotra 

All commentaries are interpretations (and btw have you noticed no other 
vedantic sampradaya believes this slander about jabAlA?) but from the 
above we can clearly see that contrary to your scurrilous assertion, 
Shankaracharya has not only not "twisted" the meaning but provided the 
most plausible explanation.

Now you may not like the implications of what the shruti is saying but 
that's your problem no one elses.  Wishful thinking is going to change the 

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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