Saturday, September 13, 2008

Deivathin Kural # 79 of (Vol 2) of 05 Feb 2008.

Om Namah Sivaya.

Deivathin Kural # 79 of (Vol 2) of 05 Feb 2008.

(Note 1. We are to remind the readers that herein, 'he' as a word stands for 'she' as well. When Tamil or Sanskrit words are transliterated in English, the single vowel will indicate a short utterance and a double vowel will indicate a longer pronounciation. Words in Sanskrit script not being available, the transliteration spellings and thereby the pronounciation, especially of names may be at variance from what it should be! I offer my sincere apologies for the likely errors, as the one doing the translation. ---KTSV Sarma. Note 2. It may please be noted that the talk is dated some time in the late 1930's to early 60's.

(Continued from Deivathin Kural # 78 of (Vol 2) of 02 Feb 2008.)

Meemamsaka's Views on the Relevance of Gnana Kandam of the Vedas.

58. "The Gnana Kandam of the Vedas known as Upanishads, talk about the Brhmam. Brhma Anubhava is the state of total actionlessness. When do Veda become an authority / 'pramanam'? When they direct you towards some action. Description of the Brhmam, is more like a story. It is only 'Arthavadam'. It is like any description of anything occuring in nature. What do we need to be informed of? About existing things or the action to be taken? 'Brhmam is there. Atma is also the same as Brhmam'. By telling us such things, what has been achieved? What are we required to do with that? The very sound of Vedam is there to tell us to do what is required to be done. To know what is already there, we do not need the medium of sound. What is there, will become known some time; or it does not matter even if we never get to know it. So the plain descriptive portions of the Vedam are only Arthavadam. So, Upanishad is not Pramanam (ie., Authoritative Proof). Then, the only logic of the existance of that portion of the Vedas, is to ennoble the person doing the Karmas. It is there to motivate the person doing the various Karmas, to do even better. The advertisement for 'Dhatu Pushti Lehiyam' can never make him fight with the Tiger. So can this Jeeva, never aspire to become Brhma! We want no more talk of, Brhmam, Gnanam, Moksham, Easwara and such things. For us Karma is everything. We are here to do our Karma to the best of ability. Not to do our Karma is wrong. To take sanyasa is a blunder of the highest order." This is the view of Meemamsakas on the relevance of Upanishads.

Adi Sankara's Rejoinder.

59. The following paragraphs, are the counter arguments by Adi Sankara, to the Meemamsaka's views on the Vedas, especially their negation of the relevance of the Gnana Kandam / Upanishads.

60. Sabdam, that is, Vedam, when it says something, not only because it leads you to some action, but because that action is eventually beneficial; is the reason that Meemamsakas, approve of the Karma or action. So, it is the benefits accruing from the action; that is the logic and not the Action per se. If actionlessness itself is getting you the highest benefit, will that not be more preferable? (Even in modern terms, the efficiency is higher, when the output is maintained with lesser and lesser input into the system. So, with zero input, if we can increase the output, the efficiency reaches infinity!) So, Gnana Kandam which tells us about maximising the benefits, while lessening the work load, becomes agreeable! That is also the purpose of the Vedas.

61. So the purpose of Vedas is the eventual benefits to the individual and the society and not Karma for the sake of Karma! Vedam says that 'consuming alcohol is forbidden'. What is the purpose of that statement? What is the 'Karma' required to be done? Nothing. Then that portion of the Veda is to be considered as irrelevant, because there is no action indicated? The purpose of that statement is that, one is not to spoil one's health and wealth, by drinking alcohol! Not to do something in Sanskrit is known as 'Abhaavam'. All the 'Don'ts' lead to 'Abhaavam'. There are many such forbidden actions, which the Meemamsakas themselves agree to! So, when exclusion of some actions can be useful; how can one have objections to a state of being in which you can be of much use, through total passivity; if it can be so, that is! The highest dividend through total inaction is 'Atma Satchatkaram', that is, through Gnana Kandam / Upanishad / Vedantam; and so, it should not be consedered as just 'Arthavadam' and discarded. Hence the Gnana Kandam of the Vedas are the most useful.

62. Sri Krishna has said in Bhagawat Gita, "...sarvam karma akilam partha gnaane parisamapyate...", to mean, "Dear Partha! Note that all actions finally end in Gnana". All actions should finally take us to God. All our efforts should end in that realization. That is the end benefit. That is the highest gain. Through mortality we should reach immortal eternity. Karma Kandam, should lead to Gnana Kandam. The usefulness of Karma Kandam is only then! Similarly, Gnana Kandam should lead us to God.

63. The above three paragraphs give the gist of Adi Sankara's talk with Kumarila Bhattar and Mandana Mishra, in the presence of Veda Vyasa and Jaimini, { refer to Deivathin Kural # 74 (of Vol 2) of 24 Jan 2008,} and caused them to agree. In short, " because there is some use in Karma Kandam of causing 'Chitta Suddhi', that Vedam talks of doing all those Yagas and Karmas. If you can have that clarity of mind, without 'Ahankara' or 'head weight' or pride or ego; there is no need for all that preparatory Karma Kandam, before Gnana Kandam. There are some advantages in doing Karma Anushtana, daily, periodic and special occassions karmas and kamya karmas. They give you this worldly and next worldly benefits. More than that they give you Chitta Suddhi. If you can attain to that level of clarity, 'that you are not the Karta but are only as much part of the furniture or scenery as the Blue Whale or Emperor Penguin; or anything else in the world; and all the actions are that of God', with that clarity, pride and ego are gone! Then you can stop all the actions. (Even this sentence should read, all your actions will automatically come to a stop, as even stopping your actions will just happen!) If by all your actions, the benefits to you and the world is a certain quantity, and if on the other hand, your inaction is immensely more beneficial; would not that be more preferable?

64. That is the purpose of the Gnana Kandam. So the relevance of the earlier Karma Kandam is to fetch you to the later part of the Gnana Kandam! If you remain only at the dry Karma level, no good can accrue to you or the world, as you would get stuck in a groove. You have to evolve from Karma to Gnana of 'no more karma' of identification with our true oneness with the Parma Atma Swaroopa. It is that state of sanyasa, that the Gnana Kanda talks about. That is the end purpose of Vedas. It is this logic, that won the day for Adi Sankara. His success is indicated by the fact that, his opponent, Kumarila Bhatta, in the throes of an extremely punishing process of self immolation, died a happy being, losing his argument pleasurefully to a worthy opponent. With his approval, his immediate Sishya Mandana Mishra, took sanyasa and became one of the four important sishyas of Adi Sankara. (Ref Para 52, on what Meemamsakars' attitude towards sanyasa was!) (Also refer to Para 8, about Mandana Mishra assuming the name of Sureshwara as a sanyasi, who goes on to write the Vaartikam for Adi Sankara's Bhashyam on Brhma Sutra.)

65. In Karma Kandam itself, some actions are ruled out as 'Paapam'. But in this 'Paapam', there is some pleasure, for which people do it. That pleasure is not available to the person not doing that Paapam / Sin. Still Vedam says, 'do not do it!'. The reason is that, though this action may give you some happiness temporarily, it will prevent you from a much greater happiness. (There is a second reason why we should not do these Papams. Having made you habituated, the Papams such as, drinking alcohol and smoking, will follow the Law of Diminishing Returns, while simultaneously start hurting not only your pockets but your health too.) Accepting the restrictions, Meemamsakas too leave these Papams untouched. Then, even in doing these Vaidik Karmas, they get some happiness. They get some immediate returns of 'Punyam', in terms of, feeling good, name and fame. Then you get some promised returns of the Kamya Karmas, in 'Iha Loka(this world), Pithru Loka(world of spirits/manes) and Deva Loka(world of celestials)'.

66. The question arises, 'are these returns for ever'? No. Once your account is squired up, back to squire One. Even if you have attained to the highest of the Deva Loka, once you have finished using up your credit account, there is no place for you there any more. Bhagawat Gita IX.21. says, "...ksheene punye martya lokam visanthi...". Eternal happiness, if it is there, is only in realising your intrinsic real nature of non-seperation with the entire existance, life, Atma, God! That is the reality of the Gnani. He has not gained anything new. He has only lost the old sense of being something else, being apart; but has come to know that he is a part, an inalienable part.

67. Leaving the very short term, transient sins one should opt for the 'Sat Karmas'. That is the Vaidika Karmas should be done in totality. But in the process one should realise the ephemerality of Karmas too. They are not to be given up because of that. It is only the fruits of your Karma which has to be mentally assigned, back to God, "...pogattum Kannanukke...". There is no short cut, to the pinnacle of Everest. Gnanam does not come easily. First you need 'Chitta Suddhi', the clarity of mind and heart, to the point of 'no mind, all heart'. While doing so, 'all the pleasures enroute' should be ignored. That is 'nish kamya karma'. Oh, God! They are all Yours,"...tera hai tujko arpan kya lage mera?...". When that happens, your mind and heart have become matured and fertile enough to recognise the divinity in yourself. " karmana na prajaya na dhanena; tyagena ekena amrutatvam aanasuh...", meaning that, '...not by action, not by progeny, not by money; by giving up only, eternity is gained...'.

Religions of Vedanta and Meemamsai.

68. Meemamsai approves of all actions as in the Vedas and so does Adwaitam. As in Bhatta Madam, the six Pramanas, are equally acceptable in Adwaitam too. Sri Sankara's Adwaitam, Sri Ramanujachariyar's Visishtadwaitam and Sri Madhvar's Dwaitam; are all religions of Vedanta. All of them accept the Vaidika Karma Anushtana, as in Meemamsai. Amongst the Pramanas of Meemamsai, all of them are as it is acceptable in Adwaitam. ( We will know more about these 'Pramanas', in the next series of e-mails on 'Nyayam'.) Visishtadwaitins have accepted only three in the six, namely, 'Pratyaksham', 'Anumanam' and 'Sabdam'. All said and done, instead of totally discarding Meemamsai, we should proceed ahead into the principles of Dwaitam and Visishtadwaitam through Bakthi to Gnana of Adwaitam, for which the three Achryals mentioned above, have shown the way.

69. Because Meemamsai gives so much importance to Karma, it is called the 'Karma Marga'. But it is not truely Karma Marga in the sense, it is understood to be in Vedanta. Karma is not an end in itself(as in Meemamsai), but only a way in Vedanta. As per Vedanta, 'to do all the Karma as an offering to God', is the Karma Marga or Karma Yoga. Bhagawan Sri Krishna, has mainly emphasised the Karma Yoga in the Gita. Whereas, in Meemamsakai, there is no Bhakthi. Thus, what is the End in Meemamsai is only a Means to an End in Vedantam.

The Position of Meemamsai in the World of Pundits of Vedas.

70. Though at some experts level, one may have some reservations about what Meemamsai has to say; when it comes to the practical level of doing and conducting various Yagnas and Karmas, this Sastram is vey much in vogue and being practised. Many books have been written and continue to be written, on the way these Yagas and Yagnas have to be conducted. Some of the greats are, Mannarkudi Raju Sastrigal. Nobody used to take his name directly, but used to call him, 'Mannarkudi Periyaval'. Thiru Veesa Nallur Sri Venkata Subba sastrigal, Sri Neela Megha Sastrigal of the same place, Rayampettai Krisnamachariyar and Krishna Thathachariyar, Mandakulaththur Chinnaswamy Sastrigal; are some of the Lions and Tigers of that genre. In the modern times, some of them have also condemned conduct of Yagnas in which animals were sacrifised, and have suggested various ways and means of bringing in the principles of 'Ahimsa', without in any way diluting the intrinsic value of the Karma. After the coming into being of the Sanskrit College in Mylapore, there are many Meemamsa Pundits becoming qualified. As far as conduct of Vaidika Karmas by qualified Pundits, Meemamsai continues to be relevant, in a very practical way!




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