[Advaita-l] Chanting Gayatri overseas
v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Fri Oct 6 22:50:17 EDT 2017
On Sat, Oct 7, 2017 at 1:52 AM, Vēdānta Study Group via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
> Harih Om
> Dharma (and its interpretation) evolves through time.
Shankara, in his Brahma sutra bhashya ३.१.२५ has said:
यस्मिन्देशे काले निमित्ते च यो धर्मोऽनुष्ठीयते, स एव
देशकालनिमित्तान्तरेष्वधर्मो भवति ; तेन न शास्त्रादृते धर्माधर्मविषयं
विज्ञानं कस्यचिदस्ति । - Dharma is place-time specific and hence the
scripture is the best source to decide what is dharma and what is not.
And in innumerable places Shankara has stated that śiṣṭāchāra, conduct of
the noble, as a source of Dharma/adharma. In fact the Taittiriya Upanishad
itself says: Follow those who are wedded to Dharma, in deciding what course
of action you have to take, while in doubt, etc.
While the śiṣṭa-s may not encourage people going abroad, yet they have
continued to bless those who live abroad, for whatever reasons. I have
heard the earlier Jagadguru would bless those who seek his blessings while
a boy is going abroad for higher studies: 'My blessings are there on this
condition: Study there and return to our Land and serve here.' Now, over
the years we have huge settlements abroad who seek to follow dharma. In
fact I came across at least one person, who has studied the entire Rg Veda
and is now teaching people even in India, through Skype from the US. There
are sincere seekers who have said 'the quite, serene atmosphere there is
very conducive to dhyāna, contemplation, etc.' This is what is sought by
anyone who is a seeker, ultimately.
Above all, we have to also remember this: Between niyama (observances) and
yama (fundamental moral conduct), the latter takes precedence over the
former in spiritual progress and attainment. Swami Vidyaranya in the
Jivanmuktiviveka has given references for this rule. He also points out
cases of extremity where 'a certain person looked for a pure place all over
the world to conduct his religious practice and could not find a single
one'. What is important above all is for a person to value ahimsā, satyam,
akrodha, brahmacharya and non-stealing. These are the five yama-s that are
crucial for spiritual evolvement. Niyama-s are there to support these in
the long run. They are not to be belittled either. An individual-specific,
balanced, view is what is moderate.
> What is stated in the
> Brhadaranyaka upanishad may be contextual to the social situation then.
> These boundaries can be widened as contemporary sampradayavits see fit.
> As someone correctly points out, even the Jagadguru of Sringeri has blessed
> the SVBF mandir to be set up in Pennsylvania. Surely these Acharyas have a
> better understanding of the commentaries and how to make them applicable in
> present times. Personally, I don't see ourselves fit to form a universal
> opinion for Hindus to follow, but certainly these teachers are in a
> position to do so, and they have. So far I have not seen any counter to
> this point
> On 6 October 2017 at 11:14, Kalyan via Advaita-l <
> advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
> > I am surprised that in this entire discussion no one has quoted the
> > Brihadaranyaka upanishad so far.
> > Br.Up.1.3.10 advises against foreign travel. Shankara interprets it in
> > same way.
> > Travel should be confined to lands inhabited by people possessing Vedic
> > knowledge - this is the gist.
> > Thus, there is Shruti prohibition against foreign travel.
> > Regards
> > Kalyan
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