The logical coherence of Sankara’s body-mind dis-identification and sannyasa

Many teachers seem to selectively pick and choose what advaita means by jnana, dodge between relative and absolute truths, and argue that some Vedantic statements are figurative and should not be taken literally.  What they singularly fail to do is to consider holistically the teaching and the logical consistency inherent in its philosophy and method.

We have recently been discussing the extent to which Self-realisation is more than some knowledge acquired in the mind, but actually is equivalent to a total dis-identification with the illusory body-mind, dissolution of particular consciousness and identification with all. Sankara and the Upanishads continually emphasise this.

Both Sankara and the Upanishads also emphasise sannyasa which – if one thinks about it logically and honestly – is an inevitable path for, and outcome of, this body-mind dis-identifcation.  If your attention is absorbed in Brahman, if your identification is with all, then what concern can there be for the individual body-mind?

Gaudapada, in Mandukya Karika 2.37 writes:

The mendicant should have no appreciation or greetings (for others), and he should be free from rituals. He should have the body and soul as his support, and he should be dependent on circumstances.

Sankara’s bhasya emphasises this lack of concern with the body, beyond its bare maintenance – the intense vairagya which we all know is a key sadhana that is presecribed by advaita

Giving up all such activities as appreciation or greeting; that is to say, having given up all desire for external objects and having embraced the highest kind of formal renunciation, in accordance with the Vedic text, “Knowing this very Self, the Brahmanas renounce ( . . . and lead a mendicant life)” (Br. III. v. 1), and the Smrti text, “With their consciousness in that (Brahman) their Self identified with That, ever intent on That, with That for their supreme goal” (G. V. 17). Cala changing, is the body, since it gets transformed every moment; and acala, unchanging, is the reality of the Self. Whenever, perchance, impelled by the need of eating etc., one thinks of oneself as “I” by forgetting the reality of the Self – that is one’s niketa, support, one’s place of abode, and that is by nature unchanging like the sky – then the cala changing body, becomes his niketa support. The man of illumination who thus has the changing and the unchanging as his support, but not the man who has external objects as his support, is the cala-calaniketa. And he bhavet should yadrcchikah, dependent on circumstances; that is to say, he should depend entirely on strips of cloth, coverings, and food that come to him by chance for the maintenance of the body.

The Sringeri Sankaracharya, Jagadaguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatheertha Mahaswamigal in response to a question on whether a sannyasa should struggle for food replied:

“The sannyasa who has realised the Truth need not worry about food or death. However if an unenlightened sannyasin feels that his spiritual practices will be compromised, he may, if he wishes, make some more effort for bhiksa”

See how his answer reverberates with Sankara’s bhasya above.  Consider how Ramanamaharishi’s early life (even before he read vedanta) mirrored this verse.

Swami Sarvapriyananda in his talk on this Karika touches both on sannyasa and loss of individuality, and relates the story of the lives of some senior Ramakrishna monks.  The relevant portion starts at 1:23:30 and continues to the end (c.20 minutes).  It is well worth listening to.

24 thoughts on “The logical coherence of Sankara’s body-mind dis-identification and sannyasa

  1. Letters from Sri Ramanasramam by Suri Nagamma

    Letter 116 PRARABDHA (FATE)
    17th May, 1947

    This morning at 9 o’clock one devotee addressed Bhagavan as follows: “Swami, you said yesterday that a Jnani will perform such actions as are ordained according to his prarabdha. But it is said that Jnanis have no prarabdha at all!”

    Bhagavan said, in a leisurely way, “How did they get this body if they have no prarabdha? How do they perform the various actions? The actions of Jnanis are themselves called prarabdhas. It is stated that there is prarabdha from Brahma right up to Sadasiva and the Avatars of Rama and Krishna and others also.

    For the protection of the good, for the destruction of evildoers, for the sake of firmly establishing dharma (righteousness), I am born from age to age.
    — Bhagavad Gita, IV: 8

    “As stated in this sloka, Ishwara assumes a shape when the virtues of good people and the sins of bad people mingle and become prarabdha and he has to establish dharma. That is called parechcha prarabdha (the acts of other people). The body itself is prarabdha. The purpose for which that body has come into existence will get done of its own accord.”

  2. Ramana also said that prarabdha can only exist from the standpoint of ignorance, and that it cannot last the death of ignorance any more than a wife can cease to be a widow when her husband dies.

    Different things are said to different people in different contexts and at different stages of their understanding.

  3. @ Venkat,

    Will you please check the link of the Video?
    I tried the Mantra 1, 2, 3-4 it plays one after the other. It doesn’t seem to connect to the part you were referring to.

    @ Shishya,

    To my understanding, a jIva (an individual) is an intermix of two components. A working (theoretical) model for it may be formulated as:

    jIva = A delimited Consciousness + The delimiting matter entity … … Eqn (1)

    Or

    jIva = A miniaturized reflection of Consciousness + a reflecting material surface … … Eqn (2)

    Whichever model you may adopt, you can note that there is a part that relates to the sentient Consciousness and another part that stands for the inert material.

    Consciousness being ever ‘free from ties’ (asanga), It cannot have karma or prArabdha. Therefore, prArabdha can be linked to the second part only.

    The second part in turn may be modeled as an interpenetrating mix of a material of two grades – the invisible subtle and (congealing from it) a visible gross.

    The “code” for the prArabdha is contained in a still more subtle third layer (technically called the Causal body). The manifest expression of that code is the subtle and gross body combine.

    A jnAni, IMHO, can be said to be the one in whom a break or separation of the two components (see Equation 1 or 2 above) has happened.

    With that break, the jIva has no more ground (locus) to continue.
    The Consciousness-related component automatically “becomes one” or “merges with” the Infinite Consciousness (figuratively speaking — please see my Article on “AtmA anubhava / anubhUti”).

    The material-related component continues to live till its “prArabdha” gets expended — like the inertial energy in the potter’s wheel or Ramana’s switched off fan.

    Once again, IMHO, that cannot be for too long a time – for, the inertial energy gets consumed very soon as Shankara tells us at 6.14.2, chAndogya.

    From the above detailed description, you can also conclude that a jnAni is not born because of prArabdha, only a jIva can be born.
    I do not know what Ramana might have said and what Smt Nagamma’s understanding was.

    regards,

  4. Thanks, Venkat.

    @ Shishya,

    I found that the ‘model’ I gave above did not deal with another point made in your quote of Nagamma. And that is:

    “It is stated that there is prarabdha from Brahma right up to Sadasiva and the Avatars of Rama and Krishna and others also.”

    It also segues into some other related matters.

    What Ramana is alleged to have said may be a way of saying things. But the scripture or Shankara do not give such an impression. In fact, the births of people like brahma (4-headed), Shiva, Vishnu on one hand and the birth of Avatars like Rasma, Krishna, Vamana etc. are said to be very different from that of ordinary jIva-s like you and me and possibly even Ramana.

    Almost all of us are born because of the prArabdha “code” I referred to in my previous post. Avatars like Rama et al are said to be born without any such load of a code! Hence, it is said that their actions are free from carrying forward any “effects” whereas in my and your case, the consequences of actions we do as the “Agent of action” will be carried forward to show their effect later on.

    Secondly, in the scheme of things, which honestly speaking I am still unable to decipher, Shankara explains in great detail how the births and actions of the Avatars and certain Ex-officio Office-bearers (like the Sages Apantararatmas, Vasishta and so on) take place in the world in his commentary at 3.3.32 of BSB.

    Here also Ms Nagamma’s narration does not appear correct.

    regards,

    • Dear Venkat,

      You write:

      “Both Sankara and the Upanishads also emphasize sannyasa which – if one thinks about it logically and honestly – is an inevitable path for, and outcome of, this body-mind dis-identification. If your attention is absorbed in Brahman, if your identification is with all, then what concern can there be for the individual body-mind?”

      It seems to me that Sannyasa is an internal state of mind and its outward manifestations cannot be predicted as in seeking solitude, wearing ochre robes, ash on the forehead etc…see below. ” They are spontaneous functions of the remaining momentum of past consciousness of agency”…

      A passage from Swami Sivananda:

      “Though every experience is finally caused by Prarabdha alone, its connection with one’s consciousness constitutes effort or a fresh deed. Effort is nothing but consciousness of action as related to oneself, whatever be the thing that prompts one to do that action. It is not the action as such but the manner in which it is executed that determines whether it is a Kriyamana- Karma or not. A Jivanmukta’s actions are not Kriyamana-Karmas; for they are not connected with any personal consciousness. They are spontaneous functions of the remaining momentum of past consciousness of agency.”

      Swami Sivananda https://www.dlshq.org/discourse/sep97.htm

      Dear Ramesam:

      Thanks for your detailed explanations regarding the chit-jada granthi…I have a hard time keeping up with our panleists vast erudition in the scriptures, so will have to take it step by step.
      I found Maurice Frydman’s book “Maharishi’s Gospel” very useful in trying to comprehend these matters, especially Book II, chapter VI – Aham and Aham Vritti.

      David Godman https://www.davidgodman.org/god-the-scriptwriter/

      I interpret Ramana’s Prarabdha as his genetic and environmental endowment at birth though I realize that “birth” is an arbitrary zero point on my measuring scale; it could very well be his parents, Sundaram Iyer and Azhagammal (per wikipedia) for all I know.
      With the greatest respect I do not find the teaching about a jnani’s lack of prarabdha convincing (using my definition of prarabdha as above).

      Regarding your point about Nagamma’s understanding of Ramana –

      I don’t look for consistency in the teachings of the Advaitic sages. The technique of using provisional falsehoods to prove the greater truth does not appeal to me nor does lying (what else would you call it?!) to each supplicant at his/her “level of understanding”. If something is an axiom say so clearly, e.g.; Brahman is an Axiom, else you cannot study Advaita. The means is the end at every moment; moment by moment by moment.

  5. Dear Shishya

    I agree that the most important point is the internal state of mind. But my point is that the sadhana of detachment / dispassion, will lead to a internal state of mind (and its external manifestation, non-volitionally) that enables the realisation to occur. And post-realisation that external manifestation is likely to continue. Sankara is pretty unambiguous about this – read his intro to Aitreya Up.

    That is why Krishna can respond to Arjuna’s question of how a man of steady wisdom lives. That is why Suresvara in Naishkarmya Siddhi can write in 4.68 – 4.69:

    “He who is intent on humility etc and is equipped with virtues such as non-enmity, acquires knowledge, but not he whose mind is turned outwards.
    When knowledge of the Self has arisen, do the non-active virtues like humility cease, just like the active tendencies, on account of their being also products of ignorance, or do they not cease? We say they do not cease. Not on account of any injunction to perform them, but because the supreme Slef is by nature in harmony with the texts devoted to the suppression of action.
    In the case of one who has achieved enlightenment, virtues like non-enmity persist naturally and without effort. They are no longer practices as a means to any end.”

    The mistake that Neo-advaitins make (I’m not saying this about you) is that they think they are the consciousness that is observing the actions of the body-mind. And consequently that the body-mind can do whatever it wishes, whilst ‘they’ are the observer. The problem here is the confusion of who ‘they’ are. The one who ‘thinks’ they are the witness of whatever actions happen, is actually just as much the body-mind as the actions it thinks of performing. So, they are just fooling themselves that they have knowledge, and let the body-mind run riot.

    It seems to me that if you deeply understand that you are not the body-mind, that you are all, then you will not strive to protect the body-mind or accumulate on behalf of yourself relative to the rest,

    Therefore prarabdha karma may continue, in terms of the circumstances that the body finds itself in – in the US or UK or India; professional or a cigarette seller; etc etc. But there is no longer any protective, self-indulgent interest or action. And it is in that sense, that there is no more prarabdha karma for a jnani.

    Hence why Sankara says for the most part, an enlightened being will live as a homeless wandering monk, living by what comes to him by chance. But if his prarabdha karma puts him in a position where he has to help others, then that is what he will do – acting for the sake of the world.

  6. Hi Shishya,

    Thank you for the response.

    You refer to cit-jaDa granthi.
    If you feel comfortable with that phrase, let me assure you that the Eqn 1 and 2 formulated by me in my comment above mean exactly the same. The first part of the Equations represents the ‘cit’ part and the second part represents the jaDa part. The (+) sign may be taken to show the linkage (granthi = tie or knot).

    I read through the Godman link you have provided.
    What Ramana says there totally matches with the description in my post above.
    (There can be some confusion in a place or two where Ramana uses the word “jnAni” to talk about the body which formerly housed the now liberated seeker). The “prArabdha” is for the left out body only. Hence, I am unable to understand your point.

    Let me please make one final point.
    In the last para of your comment, you say, “Brahman is an Axiom.”
    Generally the word “axiom” would mean: “A principle that is accepted as true without proof; a postulate.”

    Advaita does not say so.
    Advaita says that “brahman is Truth”; or “brahman is you”; or “I am brahman.”
    The statements on brahman are based on “self-evidence” without the requirement of an external proof. Thus, they are not “axiomatic” but actual.

    regards,

  7. Shishya

    This might help on prarabdha. Taken from Lakshmana Sarma’s commentary on Ulladu Narpadu v38:

    All the off-shoots of the ego derive their life force and thrive from the attachment to the sense of agency. As long as the ego exists they pulsate with life; and the death of the ego sounds the death knell of all of them . . .
    Hence the sastric declaration that even prarabdha karma will not impact a jivanmukta. From the perception of people of the world a jivanmukta may appear to be seemingly afflicted by the prarabdha karma . . . in the Jnani’s perception, it does not impact him.

  8. Dear Dennis,

    Is not this issue of “for whom is prArabdha” an old horse we are trying to beat again? Perhaps not so dead?

    Pending Venkat’s response, here are a couple of points for your consideration:

    1. I request you to read my comment of Nov 02 @ 11:46 above addressed to Shishya, if you have not yet.

    If you have no quarrel with the model given therein, you have to admit that prArabdha would pertain only to the jaDa body and not to the Consciousness.

    One has also then to agree that it is only a “confused thinking” if one calls the “body” as the jnAni. One can easily tie up oneself in unclear knots by such mislabeling. So, I suggest one should have clarity in the concepts and labels.

    2. You may also please take a look again at the last but one comment at the link you have provided to your prArabdha article. You obviously agreed with what was said in that last but one comment, for you wrote there: “Thank you Ramesam; I agree with all that you say!”

    You cannot have missed the fact that in all the Shankara quotes you provided in your article on prArabdha, Shankara too refers to the prArabdha of the body only! The so-called “Confusion” is arising because of the wrong naming by you — mistaking the body as the jnAni and then go on beating the dead horse. Please see the schema given by me in the Eqn 1 and 2 in my comment of Nov 02 above and please tell us which component is labelled as the jnAni.

    regards,

  9. Dennis

    Sarma does not specifically provide the sastric reference – but as Ramesam says, it is clear that prarabdha karma may continue for the body (and perceived as such by others), but nothing touches the jnani, since he is not identified with the body.

    Vivekachudamani speaks of this from v450 onwards, initially acknowledging that prarabdha karma continues for the enlightened being, but subsequently dismissing it. Using the text from Sri Candrasekara Bharati:

    461: Prarabdha is relevant so long as there is identification with the body. But the sense of the body being the atman is not valid, hence the prarabdha has to be rejected. The attribution of prarabdha to the body too is the product of imagination.

    462: How can anything that is super-imposed be said to exist really? How can what is not real be said to be born? How can what is unborn be destroyed? Whence then Is prarabdha?

    The problem Dennis, is that you accord a degree of reality to vyavahara, and assert that a jnani continues in its milieu; whereas it is unceremoniously discarded in ajata vada as an illusion.

  10. Dear Ramesam/Venkat, thanks for your further remarks.

    I am inclined to Dennis’s way of thinking on the matter of prarabdha as I have described it earlier (genetic/environmental load at birth).

    Ramesam’s model(s) – (the chit-jada granthi) – must be slightly elaborated for a better understanding of the sage’s daily conduct. The chit portion is something I cannot fathom so I will leave it alone. But the Jada portion is not completely inert and contains the ego as “burnt rope”, a structure that facilitates existence in the day to day world of ordinary human beings. In other words Jada is not INERT even though that is what it is taken to mean. . (sorry if the scriptures say otherwise!).

    Talks with Ramana Maharshi, Talk 383 gives Sri Ramana’s explanation to a Swami. 2 small extracts below – I think the whole Talk is well worth reading.
    ——————-
    Karma is posited as past karma, etc., prarabdha, agami andsanchita. There must be kartritva (doership) and karta (doer) for it. Karma (action) cannot be for the body because it is insentient. It is only so long as dehatma buddhi (‘I-am-the-body idea’) lasts.After transcending dehatma buddhi one becomes a Jnani. In the absence of that idea (buddhi) there cannot be either kartritva or karta. So a Jnani has no karma. That is his experience. Otherwisehe is not a Jnani. However an ajnani identifies the Jnani with hisbody, which the Jnani does not do. So the ajnani finds the Jnani acting, because his body is active, and therefore he asks if the Jnaniis not affected by prarabdha.

    The scriptures say that jnana is the fire which burns away all karma(sarvakarmani). Sarva (all) is interpreted in two ways: (1) to includeprarabdha and (2) to exclude it. In the first way: if a man with threewives dies, it is asked. “can two of them be called widows and the thirdnot?” All are widows. So it is with prarabdha, agami and sanchita.When there is no karta none of them can hold out any longer.The second explanation is, however, given only to satisfy theenquirer. It is said that all karma is burnt away leaving prarabdhaalone. The body is said to continue in the functions for which it has taken its birth. That is prarabdha. But from the jnani’s point of view there is only the Self which manifests in such variety. There is no body or karma apart from the Self, so that the actions do not affect him.

  11. Talk 286

    D.: Sri Ramakrishna says that nirvikalpa samadhi cannot last longer
    than twenty-one days. If persisted in, the person dies. Is it so?

    M.: When the prarabdha is exhausted the ego is completely dissolved
    without leaving any trace behind. This is final liberation. Unless
    prarabdha is completely exhausted the ego will be rising up in
    its pure form even in jivanmuktas. I still doubt the statement of
    the maximum duration of twenty-one days. It is said that people
    cannot live if they fast thirty or forty days. But there are those who
    have fasted longer, say a hundred days. It means that there is still
    prarabdha for them.

  12. Shishya

    I’m confused. Your Ramana quote at 4.10 is consistent with the ulladu narpadu and vivekachudamai quotes, that a jnani does not have prarabdha. Your second at 4.24 seems to resemble Dennis’ point that the body drops when prarabdha completes. But even here Ramana expresses scepticism. So not sure how you conclude that you agree with Dennis, based on those quotes.

    Finally for Dennis, if one takes Sankara’s quote at face value, it implies that there can be no jivanmukti, only videhamukti.

  13. Venkat, sorry for the confusion, I forgot to add a sentence at the end of my last comment@4.24 (ref talk 286).

    The first comment (ref talk 383) expresses the Paramartha POV and I mentioned right at the beginning that I was going to leave the chit dimension alone because I could not fathom it. However I am more than willing to accept the assertions in the talk from Sri Ramana when he says that it is his experience.

    The second comment (ref talk 286) expresses the Vyavaharika/Dennis’ POV and it seems to me unexceptionable.

    Hope this helps.

    Shishya

  14. Shishya,

    I think we are in vehement agreement? Prarabdha karma continues for the body of the jnani, in the perception of others. But for the jivanmukta, because there is no body-mind identification, there is no prarabdha. As per your talk 383:

    “It is only so long as dehatma buddhi (‘I-am-the-body idea’) lasts. After transcending dehatma buddhi one becomes a Jnani. In the absence of that idea (buddhi) there cannot be either kartritva or karta. So a Jnani has no karma. That is his experience. Otherwise he is not a Jnani. However an ajnani identifies the Jnani with his body, which the Jnani does not do. So the ajnani finds the Jnani acting, because his body is active, and therefore he asks if the Jnani is not affected by prarabdha”

    And as for talk 286: when prarabdha karma is complete the body drops. Isn’t that just a poetic way of saying when the time comes to die, the body dies.

    • Venkat says:

      “Prarabdha karma continues for the body of the jnani, in the perception of others. But for the jivanmukta, because there is no body-mind identification, there is no prarabdha. As per your talk 383:

      ‘So a Jnani has no karma. That is his experience. Otherwise he is not a Jnani. However an ajnani identifies the Jnani with his body, which the Jnani does not do. So the ajnani finds the Jnani acting, because his body is active, and therefore he asks if the Jnani is not affected by prarabdha'”.

      According to Shankara, the realization of Brahman completely destroys samcita karmas (past karmas that have not yet begun to produce effects), prevents further accumulation of kriyamana karma (karma that human beings are creating in the present, the fruits of which will be experienced in the future), but it does not destroy prarabdha karma, allowing them instead to work themselves out.

      In his commentary on BU 1.4.7 Shankara speaks of the “weakness of the operation of knowledge (jnana-pravrtti-daur-balya)” in comparison with that of prarabdha: “Because the fruition of karma that has produced the body is inevitable, activity of speech, mind, and body will be necessary, even after the attainment of right knowledge. As the flight of the arrow that has been released [is stronger than any effort to arrest it], the karma that has already become active is stronger (baliyas) [than right knowledge].”

      Shankara states that the jnani, in some cases, may need to use methods of disciplined concentration to overcome the power of prarabdha karma: “Therefore one must maintain a continuous stream of recollection of self-knowledge by having recourse to the strength of disciplines (sadhana) such as renunciation and detachment.”

      Shankara also introduces the idea of a literally disembodied, post-mortem liberation that he seems to think soteriologically superior to the state enjoyed by the living jnani. Commenting on BS 3.3.32, 4.1.15, and 4.1.19 he indicates that the jnani does not achieve his final goal until after his prarabdha is exhausted. Only with the “fall of the body” (sarira pata) does the knower achieve perfect “isolation” (kaivalya) or “rest” (ksema), terms which connote the complete transcendence of all empirical awareness. Only then does the jnani truly “attain Brahman (brahma sampadyate).”

  15. Dear Venkat:

    I agree about our agreement !

    I think Dennis is broadly saying the same thing; it seems from my admittedly hazy perspective through the fog of scriptural references and quotations that the three of you cannot agree on exactly how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, etc.

    The following extract is from pages 17-18 of Chadwick’s book – A SADHU’S REMINISCENCES OF RAMANA MAHARSHI
    ———————————–
    The first question I asked Bhagavan was why Christ called out from the cross. If he was a perfect Jnani then surely he would have been indifferent to all suffering. Bhagavan explained that though a Jnani has attained Liberation already and for him there can be no such thing as suffering, some may appear to feel pain, but this is only a reaction of the body. For the body continues to have its reactions. It still eats and carries out all its natural workings. All its suffering is apparent only to the onlooker and does not affect the Jnani, for he no longer identifies the Self with the body, he lives in a transcendent state above all such.

    Besides this, it is immaterial to him where and when he leaves the body. Some of them when passing appear to suffer, others may pass while in Samadhi and quite unconscious of the outer world, while yet others may just disappear from sight at the moment of death. This conversation is especially interesting in view of what happened in the case of Bhagavan himself during the last days. He certainly appeared to suffer terribly, at night when he was unaware that anybody could hear him, helay on his couch, groaning and calling out. At that time it was indeed difficult to realize that he, as a Jnani did not feel pain in the same way as we do, but that he saw it as something apart from him, as a dream which could be regarded objectively. When Milarepa was dying he was asked if he did not feel pain, his agony was so obviously great. “No,” he replied, “but there is pain.” Pain was certainly there for the body. If one is identified with the body one feels it and associates oneself with it. But for the Jnani who sees the body always as something apart from himself, pain is only an experience outside his reality.There is pain but somehow it is not his.
    ==========================

    I think you will agree that body-mind dis-identification is not a simple notion and has several layers as Ramesam has set out. These hidden layers are deeper than the cognitive threshold and constitute the instinctive impulses of Prarabdha, which Dennis has referred to as Pratibandha, eg., Nisargadatta and beedie smoking.

  16. I am not really giving this my full attention as I am in the long process of consolidating/assessing/summarising the discussions on ‘disappearing world’. However, a couple of points of misrepresentation (straw men again!) leap out.

    I have never claimed that prArabdha relates to the body. How could it? As Ramesam says, it is inert. It relates to the jIva, and effectively therefore to Consciousness reflected in the intellect.

    Similarly, ‘j~nAnI’ relates to the jIva, not to the body. But the jIva is manifest in the body obviously. The body-mind appearance (as if) exists prior to enlightenment and it continues (as if) to exist post-enlightenment; the difference being that the intellect of the j~nAnI realizes that ‘I am not this body-mind but Brahman’.

    I trust this is now clear!

  17. Dennis: “I trust this is now clear!”

    Sorry, it is as clear as “mud”!

    Dennis: “I am not really giving this my full attention as I am in the long process of consolidating/assessing/summarising the discussions on ‘disappearing world’.”

    I suggest that this topic does deserve full attention and in the absence of clarity, all that “consolidating/assessing/summarising” could come to naught.

    Dennis: “It [prArabdha] relates to the jIva, and effectively therefore to Consciousness reflected in the intellect.”

    Will you please take a look at my post of November 2, 2020 at 11:26 above and answer more clearly and specifically to which component of jIva do you assign prArabdha?

    A few more observations are called for because there is a detectable complacency about the issue as it is being dispensed away by labelling it to be a “strawman.”

    The word “karma” has two meanings – “action being done or to be done” as well as “the effect of a past action.”

    The word prArabdhakarma refers to the TOTAL PACKAGE of the effects of past action that have already “begun” to manifest. The package includes the body that is born, the actions it is taking and also destined to take.
    Body includes both the gross body and the subtle body which in turn comprises the mind and the life-force (prANa).
    As per Advaita Vedanta, the body, the mind and the life-force and also the actions are all classified as “inert.” Consciousness alone is sentient.

    Consciousness by definition cannot have prArabdha. Therefore, it is a fallacy to say that prArabdha does not relate to the body etc. After all, prArabdha is an explanatory artifact proposed to give a reason for the very birth of a body, an inert component.

    regards,

  18. Ramesam,

    This is the usual argument again of speaking about vyAvahArika aspects and attempting to nullify or even ridicule them by stating (as if) pAramArthika reality.

    YOU CANNOT DO THIS!

    If you want to discuss the apparent world, jIva-s etc., then you have to ‘come down’ to that level. Otherwise it is just a case of the ‘ajAti vAda’ put-down again. I’m not disputing that you are right ‘ultimately’ but what is the point?

    Best wishes,
    Dennis

  19. No, No, Dennis.
    I am well aware that the moment we are talking about a body, mind, prANa, karma etc. we are very much in the vyAvahArika.
    And the concept of prArabdha is an explanatory theory to ascribe a probable mechanism for the existence of all those vyAvahArika entities under the assumption that we are born into a world that pre-exists the birth (sRiShTi-dRiShTi vAda).
    So, I am not speaking from a high pedestal of pAramArthika.

    The point I am making is, sorry if it sounds repetitious, that prArabdha is very much related to the body – a fact you seem to deny. For, you said above:
    “I have never claimed that prArabdha relates to the body. How could it? ”

    prArabdha is ABOUT the body only. For example, Shankara writes at 6.14.2, chAdnogya:

    येन कर्मणा शरीरमारब्धं तस्योपभोगेन क्षयात् देहपातो यावदित्यर्थः ।
    yena karmaNA sharIramArabdham tasya upabhogena kShayAt dehapAto yavadityarthaH

    Meaning: so long as that Karmic Residue is not exhausted, by experience, by virtue of which his Body has been brought about, and so long as, as the consequence of this, that Body does not fall off; (Translation: Dr. G. N. Jha).

    Please note the wording of Shankara – “Karmic Residue (prArabdha) …, by virtue of which his Body has been brought about …”

    Body itself and the actions associated with it are the result of prArabdha. IOW, only inert (not-Self, anAtmA) entities are produced by prArabdha.

    regards,

  20. Are they saying the same thing?

    DENNIS:

    “It [prArabdha] relates to the jIva, and effectively therefore to Consciousness reflected in the intellect.”

    RAMESAM:

    Body includes both the gross body and the subtle body which in turn comprises the mind and the life-force (prANa).

    As per Advaita Vedanta, the body, the mind and the life-force and also the actions are all classified as “inert.” Consciousness alone is sentient.

    ——————————————————————
    I have a provisional understanding that Prarabdha fructifies as experience which may leave a residue which causes further experience…samsara. The jivanmukta is in a state of experiencing so when the experience occurs, there is no accumulation of residue (seeing, learning). But experience he must, though dissolved instantly.

    Now, how can there be an experience without consciousness? Therefore the body-mind MUST contain an element of consciousness. That is the JIVA.

    Please make corrections where necessary.

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