18.66सर्वधर्मान्परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं व्रज। अहं त्वा सर्वपापेभ्यो मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुचः।।18.66।। Meaning: Abandoning all forms of rites and duties, take refuge in Me alone. I shall free you from all sins. (Therefore) do not grieve. [Gambhirananda]. Bhasyam is extensive as it should be [Translation: Gambhirananda]. It discusses four topics. 1 Renunciation of rites and duties Sarva-dharman includes dhrma (virtuous) and adharma (non-virtuous), i.e., renunciation of all actions as both dhArmic and adhArmic actions are the cause of bondage. That evil actions have to be given up does not need any explanation. Take refuge in Me, the Self, that exists in all beings without exception. The necessary sAdhnA is to identify with the Self and not with the mind and body. As the Self is action-free, renunciation of virtuous ones follows. Furthermore, as the Self is free from birth, old age, and death, liberation is assured. Arjuna should not grieve if he engages in war and kills friends and foes. He will incur no sin. He who has not the feeling of egoism, whose intellect is not tainted, he does not kill, nor does he become bound even by killing these creatures! (18.17-Gambhirananda)
This is a term, which I had not encountered before, coined by Fort in Ref. 200. He uses it to refer to those teachers and texts that incorporate elements of sAMkhya and yoga philosophy into their supposedly Advaitic teaching. This applies to texts such as yogavAsiShTha and jIvanmukti viveka, as was already indicated in the discussion on vidyAraNya above. There are also 20 of the later, minor Upanishads that relate to Yoga (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoga_Upanishads) and there is a danger of referring to these to support ideas that are actually alien to traditional Advaita. These ideas are characterized by the notion that Self-knowledge gained through the usual route has to be supplemented by something else before liberation is achieved. Typically, this might be samAdhi or destruction of ego/mind, as discussed above (and below) but even ideas from other traditions might be incorporated. The yogavAsiShTha also has much emphasis on the ‘illusory’ nature of the world. The j~nAnI acts or does not act without any attachment, according to circumstances.
Rather than prArabdha, yogic Advaita tends to refer to vAsanA-s as being the key ‘obstruction’ to mokSha. While we have them, we are bound to the body; once they are purified, we are freed from saMsAra. When destroyed, we gain videha mukti. Continue reading →
Renunciation / samnyAsa – enjoined on the aspirant and inevitable for the jnani
The inevitable conclusion of the foregoing considerations, is that renunciation is a prerequisite for jnana. In a sense, it is preparatory modelling of how a jnani-jivanmukta is: for how one thinks, affects how one acts; and how one acts, affects how one thinks.
With regard to the seekers of Liberation, renunciation of all actions has been prescribed as an accessory of Knowledge by all the Upanishads, History, Puranas and Yoga scriptures.
The purport is that It is not gained through knowledge unassociated with monasticism (samnyAsa).
– Mundaka Up Bhasya, 3.2.4
The purpose of this article is to explore the evidence – and rationale – for renunciation in Advaita, as exemplified in Sankara’s own words. I have focused on sharing a plethora of extracts, that make the argument for themselves. The quotes are primarily drawn from Swami Gambhirananda’s translations of Sankara’s commentaries on various scriptures – unless otherwise stated. With thanks to Ramesam for reading and correcting an earlier draft; and to Dennis for prompting me to research this topic and synthesise my findings.
Q: I have read the book ‘How to Meet Yourself’. I understand I think about desire; that it is a searching for a return to our natural state of happiness. I understand that we are already that, but when around women or just bored I start moving toward pornography to get relief from the desire. How exactly can I just access this happiness? Do I not take the desire seriously and not look at women, or do I need a more practical way to cope and not go down this spiritual route so to speak?
Q : The second line in the first Shloka of Ishopanishad begins with ” Tena tyaktena Bhunjeeta”. The literal meaning appears to be ” therefore, enjoy with a sense of tyaga or renunciation (as everything created in this world is permeated by Ishwara) but Adi Shankaracharya has interpreted these words to mean ” protect ourselves”. Is there a satisfactory explanation for this interpretation?
Also, the second word of first verse of Ishopanishad: is it vasam (is full) or vasyam (should be considered full). Shankara says vasyam. Vasam appears more logical to me.
A (Ramesam): In order to fully appreciate and admire the beauty and profundity hidden behind the simplicity of a cryptic statement, one ought to know the background and the context against which that expression gets developed. It is as much true when we talk of an equation such as E = mc^2 or a routine proverb like ‘Still waters run deep.’ Continue reading →