[Advaita-l] A query on Jnani's punya and papa distribution

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Fri Jan 26 07:45:38 EST 2018

The sutra mentioned in this thread, among others, is: हानौ
तूपायनशब्दशेषत्वात्कुशाच्छन्दस्तुत्युपगानवत्तदुक्तम् ॥ २६ ॥   3.3.26

These points deserve to be noted, based on the bhashya:

1.  The idea of 'others, friends and detractors taking up the good and evil
deeds of the Jnani' is not factual; it is only arthavada.

2.  The word 'stuti' in the sutra itself indicates this.

3.  Shankara too elaborates on this and makes a poignant statement:
विद्यास्तुत्यर्थत्वाच्च अस्योपायनवादस्य, कथमन्यदीये सुकृतदुष्कृते अन्यैरुपे
येते इति नातीवाभिनिवेष्टव्यम् । [Swami Gambhirananda's translation: The
statement about 'acceptance' being meant as a (corroborative) eulogy for
knowledge, one must not worry oneself too much over the problem as to how
the good and evil of one can be taken over by others.]

Apart from this, we have some famous saying from the Mahabharatha:

यथा धेनुसहस्रेषु वत्सो विन्दति मातरम् 13007022c एवं पूर्वकृतं कर्म
कर्तारमनुगच्छति 13007023a ।। As a calf follows its mother even among a
thousand cows, so the (good or bad) deeds of a man follow him (only).

Also for BG 4.20 Shankara says: च सङ्गरहिततया स्वप्रयोजनाभावात्
लोकसङ्ग्रहार्थं पूर्ववत् कर्मणि प्रवृत्तोऽपि नैव किञ्चित् करोति, ज्ञानाग्नि
दग्धकर्मत्वात् तदीयं कर्म अकर्मैव सम्पद्यते इत्येतमर्थं दर्शयिष्यन् आह —
[For someone whose karma has been 'burnt' by the liberating knowledge, his
actions (post-dawn of knowledge) is no-action.]  Thus, his pre dawn of
knowledge actions, sanchita, are 'burnt' and aagaami (post knowledge)
actions are no-actions since they are performed with 'I am not a doer'
akarta bhaava, they are only seeming actions. विदुषा क्रियमाणं कर्म
परमार्थतोऽकर्मैव, तस्य निष्क्रियात्मदर्शनसम्पन्नत्वात् ।

Hence the idea that 'others will be the recipients of a Jnani's good and
evil actions, both of pre-knowledge and post-knowledge periods, is no more
than vidya stuti and not to be understood in a literal sense.


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