[Advaita-l] Abedha

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu Aug 13 08:07:24 EDT 2020

A jva, human, might not know the purushartha-s and try to achieve them
through the Vedic, Dharmic way. He might remain in ignorance not knowing
the way to achieve them. This does not make him 'purushartha ayogya'.  In
the Taittiriya Upanishad is this 'asanneva sa bhavati, asad brahmeti veda
chet'.  He who says/thinks Brahman (Ishwara) does not exist, himself
becomes 'non-existent.'   Explaining this Shankara says: He who rejects
Ishwara (naastika), is not in the varna ashrama vyavastha.  On the other
hand he who accepts Ishwara (aastika), follows the Vedic dharma.

Even one who performs what is adharmic, which includes naastikataa to the
core, is rendering himself not fit to tread the path of dharma and the
purusharthas including mukti. He might end up in hell due to his sinful
actions but the stay in hell is also proportionate to the gravity of the
action. Once that period is over, he comes to his human form.  If his
sinful tendencies are strong, he continues to indulge in such actions, like
a man who is imprisoned for various crimes, after being released, again
does the same acts and lands in jail again. This might go on and on.  It is
with reference to such ones and others who choose not to attain mukti,
either due to ignorance of the purushartha or due to attachment to the
pleasures of the world, samsara is termed 'ananta', endless.  That does not
make samsara in fact endless; it is endowed with end, by Jnana.

When Krishna says 'I will hurl them into horrible hells forever', the above
is what is meant. Jiva-s, owing to their actions, earn the appropriate end.
The BG 13 chapter has the word 'anumantaa' = the one who does not prevent
anyone from doing what he is inclined due to his tendencies. The way to
reform is always open, never closed; the choice to tread it is in the
jiva's hands. Here are two verses of the BG 3rd chapter and Shankara's

कस्मात् पुनः कारणात् त्वदीयं मतं नानुतिष्ठन्ति, परधर्मान् अनुतिष्ठन्ति,
स्वधर्मं च नानुवर्तन्ते, त्वत्प्रतिकूलाः कथं न बिभ्यति
त्वच्छासनातिक्रमदोषात् ? तत्राह —

For what reason one does not tread Your path but does what is inappropriate
for oneself, gives up sva-dharma, acting against You, why indeed they are
not afraid of transgressing Your rule of governance?

सदृशं चेष्टते स्वस्याः प्रकृतेर्ज्ञानवानपि ।
प्रकृतिं यान्ति भूतानि निग्रहः किं करिष्यति ॥ ३३ ॥
Everyone acts impelled by his nature, even the one who is informed. Hence,
what indeed can restraint do?
सदृशम् अनुरूपं चेष्टते चेष्टां करोति | कस्य ? स्वस्याः स्वकीयायाः प्रकृतेः
 । प्रकृतिर्नाम पूर्वकृतधर्माधर्मादिसंस्कारः वर्तमानजन्मादौ अभिव्यक्तः ; सा
प्रकृतिः । तस्याः सदृशमेव सर्वो जन्तुः ज्ञानवानपि चेष्टते, किं पुनर्मूर्खः
 । तस्मात् प्रकृतिं यान्ति अनुगच्छन्ति भूतानि प्राणिनः । निग्रहः निषेधरूपः
किं करिष्यति मम वा अन्यस्य वा ॥ ३३ ॥
यदि सर्वो जन्तुः आत्मनः प्रकृतिसदृशमेव चेष्टते, न च प्रकृतिशून्यः कश्चित्
अस्ति, ततः पुरुषकारस्य विषयानुपपत्तेः शास्त्रानर्थक्यप्राप्तौ इदमुच्यते —

Here Shankara gives the crucial reply: If everyone acts according to his
nature alone, there is none who is devoid of nature, then there being no
room for exercising free will (the power to deliberate before acting), the
shaastra that teaches what is right and wrong, would be useless. In order
to ward off such a defect of the shaastra being rendered useless, the Lord

इन्द्रियस्येन्द्रियस्यार्थे रागद्वेषौ व्यवस्थितौ ।
तयोर्न वशमागच्छेत्तौ ह्यस्य परिपन्थिनौ ॥ ३४ ॥

Likes and dislikes are seated in the sense organs and their objects. One
aught not to be swayed by them (likes and dislikes) as these two are his
Thus, there is no room for the idea that one cannot rise up; it is only
that he chooses not to.  In the above is a discourse of prakriti vs purusha
prayatna.  The very possibility of exercising discrimination, as taught in
the above verse by Bhagavan, is a rejection of the idea of 'his doors are
closed forever'.

The guna-s sattva etc. are taught in the BG as 'prakriti sambhavaah'. The
jiva-s' make up and classification into this or that prakriti is to enable
us to examine ourselves and take up the necessary remedial action. That is
why the Gita teaches guNAteeta lakshana. The Kshetra kshetrajna
division/discrimination is also to clearly show that the Purusha,
Kshetrajna has no attributes whatsoever that belong to the kshetra.
Purushah prakritistho hi bhunkte prakritijaan guNaan. kaaraNam
guNasango'sya sadasad yoni janmasu.  The purusha taking birth in high or
low states is due to its wrongly appropriating the prakriti's attributes to
himself. This Atma anatma viveka is taught here to end the cycle of
samsara. Nowhere it is taught that the jiva is endowed with an inseparable
prakriti of his own. The very purpose of the shaastra is to point to this
error of prakriti-purusha adhyasa and the way to end the adhyasa. Knowing
the purusha to be completely free of the prakriti is what is taught as
moksha in the BG 13th chapter itself. So none of the chapters of the Gita
lends credence to the idea of purusha being inseparable from a prakriti
that is very svarupa itself. All systems admit the jiva to be jnana ananda

The key message of the above is: Shaastra aanarthakya is unavoidable if one
is this or that prakriti svarupa.



More information about the Advaita-l mailing list