kanchi-paramAchArya and the shrIvaiShNava kid

Copying over a narration:

Example of paramacharyas insistence on tradition: a sv pandit’s son had got opportunity to work abroad. His father was a mimamsaka, grammarian, vedantin and dharmashastravid. Father died when boy was in his early teens. The boys vaidika education sorta stagnated after that. Boy’s close friend was a smarta. He took him to kanchi matha one day for some festival (good saappadu was the reason ;))
Apparently, mahaperiyava noted the boy.. Called him in pvt and praised his late father to skies. Then told him that as inheritor of such sampradaya, he can surely expect great things from the boy
Said boy gave up his abroad plans, visited uttamur svami n annangaracharya.. Learned from them.. Became one of the mahapanditas of kanchi. He was from tatarya clan. Went to kanchi matha vidvat sadas one day.. When he was abt to leave, paramacharya called him n asked – i believe u know what u r supposed to do after seeing me.. The boy replied that he is supposed to take bath.. He was a bit unsure abt the reply. Paramacharya told him – i know that u respect me for bringing u on this path. So u hv cancalam in mind whether to do snana or not. My answer- adhere to ur dharma n sampradaya. Give up hesitation.

(Ramanuja tatachar told abt this.. Some narayana tatachar was that boy.)

=========

He also told a saiddhAntika shivAchArya who came to give him the rudraprasAda from a shiva temple as part of a customary honor not to do shASTANGa namaskAram to him as those who received shivadIkSA should not prostrate before adIkSitAs…

A certain tale about vijayendra-tIrtha

(via shrI pAnchajanya)

Actually aft vijayanagara lost in talikota
Local Muslim cantonment of kumbakonam which was under vijayanagara revolted
As people knew that it would take ragunatha nayaka a day to reach kumbakonam from thanjavur aft gathering his forces
They approached vijayendra for help in order to protect the temples
Vijayendra asked representatives from each temple at the town to bring him a bag of coconuts
And on doing so he did a prayoga on the coconuts and asked people to break it when the sulla army approached the temple
As he said when people broke those coconuts broke each and every temple on being invaded by the sulla army they heard the sound of a no of lions roaring simultaneously
Hearing which they were frightened and ran away
Thus the temples were protected and the Sullas were butchered by ragunatha nayaka the next day
So as a mark of respect each and every temple which was present at that time (irrespective of whether it is vishnu, Shiva or Devi) sends it prasada to vijayendra on his aradhane
Which is the day on which he entered brindavana

How much does BG 2.42-2.46 subvert pravRtti-dharma?

Motivation

I’ve no interest in the Ananda-addiction game. Yet, the desire to understand the exact extant to which bhagavad-gItA-2.42-2.46 (interpreted traditionally) subvert vaidika pravRtti-dharma motivated this study.

Core verses

  • यामिमां पुष्पितां वाचं प्रवदन्त्यविपश्चितः। वेदवादरताः पार्थ नान्यदस्तीति वादिनः॥ 2.42।।
    कामात्मानः स्वर्गपरा जन्मकर्मफलप्रदाम् । क्रियाविशेषबहुलां भोगैश्वर्यगतिं प्रति ॥2.43।।
    भोगैश्वर्यप्रसक्तानां तयापहृतचेतसाम् । व्यवसायात्मिका बुद्धिः समाधौ न विधीयते ॥2.44।।
    त्रैगुण्यविषया वेदा निस्त्रैगुण्यो भवार्जुन। निर्द्वन्द्वो नित्यसत्त्वस्थो निर्योगक्षेम आत्मवान्।।2.45।।
    यावानर्थ उदपाने सर्वतः संप्लुतोदके। तावान्सर्वेषु वेदेषु ब्राह्मणस्य विजानतः।।2.46।।

Summary:

  • This is but a deprecation of vaidika kriya-s (taken in general) as a means of mokSha or Ananda, since they cater to other lesser ends as well through “kAmya-karma-“s.
  • The Ananda-obsessed sAdhaka (where eligible) is encouraged, with the Ishvara-dedication-attitude, to undertake those vaidika-kriya-s conducive to that Ananda goal (to the neglect of these other “distracting” kAmya-karma-s).
    • shrI-vaiShNava hierarchy reportedly: “Those who dont worship < avaidika worship < vaidika worshippers of other devas < ekantin worship but with kAmyaphala < paramikantin with nishkama worship.”
  • Those that refuse mokSha or deny its existence are called inferior. The fruits of kAmya-karma-s (even a place in svarga) are said to pale in comparison to the fruits of Ananda-addiction yoga/ jJNAna.
  • veda-s as the one reliable source for pravRtti-dharma is *not* challenged. Further, before sannyAsa, while kAmya-karma-s are deprecated, pravRtti-dharma itself is not deprecated as a “distraction” from Ananda-obtainment. Rather, from the context of the verses, they’re encouraged (with the apt “dedication” attitude).
  • Nature of kAmya-karma (partly from other sources):
    • The present verses refer to kAma-primary motivations (bhoga/ aishvarya = consumership / lordship)
    • Anything motivated by dedication to dharma (rather than consumer desire) is not kAmya-karma (even if it results in similar fruits).
    • Proscribed kAmya-karma anecdotally includes effortful endeavors like kAmya iShTi-s, composing mundane kAvya (remembered story of shrIvaiShNava vidvAn), but possibly / seemingly excludes minor pleasures like eating special sweets.

 Citations

  • Abhinavagupta on 2.46: ” यदि तु वेददूषणपरमेतदभविष्यत् प्रकृतं युद्धकरणं व्यघटिष्यत, वेदादन्यस्य स्वधर्मनिश्चायकत्वाभावात्। येषां तु फलाभिलाषो विगलितः तेषां न वेदाः बन्धकाः।”
  • रामानुजः on 2.45: ” तद्विषया वेदाः तमःप्रचुराणां रजःप्रचुराणां सत्त्वप्रचुराणां च वत्सलतरतया एव हितम् अवबोधयन्ति वेदाः। यदि एषां स्वगुणानुगुण्येन स्वर्गादिसाधनम् एव हितं न अवबोधयन्ति, तदा एव ते रजस्तमःप्रचुरतया सात्त्विकफलमोक्षविमुखाः स्वापेक्षितफलसाधनम् अजानन्तः, कामप्रावण्यविवशा अनुपायेषु उपायभ्रान्त्या प्रविष्टाः प्रणष्टा भवेयुः।  …  एवं वर्तमानस्य ते रजस्तमः प्रचुरता नश्यति सत्त्वं च वर्धते। न च वेदोदितं सर्वं सर्वस्य उपादेयम् “. On 2 .46, he reiterates: “सर्वतः संप्लुतोदके उदपाने  पिपासोः  यावान् अर्थः  यावद् एव प्रयोजनं पानीयम् तावद् एव तेन उपादीयते न सर्वम् एवम्  सर्वेषु वेदेषु ब्राह्मणस्य विजानतः  वैदिकस्य मुमुक्षोः यदेव मोक्षसाधनं तद् एव उपादेयम् न अन्यत्।”
  • शङ्कर on 2.46: “सर्वेषु वेदोक्तेषु कर्मसु यान्युक्तान्यनन्तानि फलानि तानि नापेक्ष्यन्ते चेत् , किमर्थं तानि ईश्वरायेत्यनुष्ठीयन्ते इत्युच्यते ; शृणु — यथा लोके कूपतडागाद्यनेकस्मिन्  उदपाने  परिच्छिन्नोदके  यावान्  यावत्परिमाणः स्नानपानादिः  अर्थः  फलं प्रयोजनं, स सर्वः अर्थः  सर्वतःसंप्लुतोदके ऽपि यः अर्थः तावानेव संपद्यते तत्र अन्तर्भवतीत्यर्थः। एवं  तावान्  तावत्परिमाण एव संपद्यते  सर्वेषु वेदेषु  वेदोक्तेषु कर्मसु यः अर्थः यत्कर्मफलं सः अर्थः  ब्राह्मणस्य  संन्यासिनः परमार्थतत्त्वं  विजानतो  यः अर्थः यत् विज्ञानफलं सर्वतःसंप्लुतोदकस्थानीयं तस्मिन् तावानेव संपद्यते तत्रैवान्तर्भवतीत्यर्थः। …  सर्वं कर्माखिलम् इति च वक्ष्यति। तस्मात् प्राक् ज्ञाननिष्ठाधिकारप्राप्तेः कर्मण्यधिकृतेन कूपतडागाद्यर्थस्थानीयमपि कर्म कर्तव्यम्।।”
    • ie: For a brAhmaNa/ sannyAsi having ultimate understanding, the value of vaidika karma-s (taken in general) pale in comparison to that of brahma-realization. Before such adhikAra is obtained, the lesser (general) vaidika karma (jJNAna not being available) has to be performed as it eventually leads to the “ultimate understanding”.
  • madhva on 2.45: “इतरदपोद्य वेदानां परोक्षार्थत्वात् त्रिगुणसम्बन्धि-स्वर्गादिप्रतीतितोऽर्थ इव भाति। परोक्षवादो वेदोऽयं इति ह्युक्तम्। अतः प्रातीतिकेऽर्थे भ्रान्तिं मा कुर्वित्यर्थः। न तु वेदपक्षो निषिध्यते। वेदे रामायणे चैव पुराणे भारते तथा। आदावन्ते च मध्ये च विष्णुः सर्वत्र गीयते। सर्वे वेदा यत्पदम् कठो.2।15 वेदोऽखिलो धर्ममूलं स्मृतिशीले च तद्विदाम्। आचारश्चैव साधूनामात्मनो रुचि(नस्तुष्टि) रेव च मनुः 2।16 वेदप्रणिहितो धर्मो ह्यधर्मस्तद्विपर्ययः। भाग.6।1।40 इति वेदानां सर्वात्मना विष्णुपरत्वोक्तेस्तद्विहितस्य तद्विरुद्धस्य च धर्माधर्मोक्तेश्च।”  (ie – Don’t think that the obtuse veda-s are about worldy goals, they speak of viShNu only. )
    • JayatIrtha on mAdhva 2.45: “वेद  इति। धर्ममूलं धर्मज्ञप्तेः कारणम्। तद्विदां वेदविदां मन्वादीनां स्मृतिर्ग्रन्थः शीलं मनोगतिः आचारो धर्मबुद्ध्यानुष्ठानम् आत्मनो मनसो रुचिः। विकल्पविषये प्रणिहितो विहितः। तद्विपर्ययः प्रतिषिद्धः विवक्षितयोगविरोधे हि वेदे सिद्धान्तो निषेध्यः स्यात्। नचैवं प्रत्युत तदनुगुण एवेति भावः। धर्मशब्दोऽत्र निवृत्तिधर्मपरः।”
    • JayatIrtha on mAdhva 2.46: ” ननूक्तं काम्यकर्मिणां समाध्यभावेन ज्ञानाभावान्मोक्षो न भवतीति। “अत्रेदमुच्यते – यद्यपि ज्ञानफलं काम्यकर्मिणां न भवति, तथापि तन्निन्दादिकं नोपपद्यते – कुतः? काम्यकर्मिणां फलं स्वर्गादिकं ज्ञानिनां न भवति इति ज्ञानकर्मणोः साम्यमेवे”ति योगानुष्ठाननियमाक्षेपे सतीत्याहेत्यर्थः। … यद्यपि ज्ञानिनः कर्मिणश्चान्योन्यफलाभावः तथापि ज्ञानिनः फलं महासमुद्रोदकमिव महत्त्वात्। कर्मिणां फलं तु कूपोदकमिवात्यन्ताल्पम्।”

Two articles’ take on shaiva siddhAnta

Contrast access-ritual-knowledge-hinduism-case-veda-agama (by the young Āngīrasa) with the-hushed-splendour-of-saiva-siddhanta-will-humanity-realise-its-full-potential (which shrI Jataayu pointed me to) . Both are by tamiL-s, both dealing (in part) with broadly the same topic. The former is honest and clear – it evoked admiration in me. The latter immediately roused suspicion and slight underwhelmedness.
 
In the latter, the sections “Rejecting scriptural literalism” and “Egalitarianism” had me wondering “so what’s the big deal?”, when I came to “Siva, the go between.” I was thinking: “Why exactly is he writing this article? what’s so remarkable about nindA-stuti”. But when I got to “Against Casteism”, I was dumbstruck by the seemingly shameless misrepresentation of the tradition. Just take a scene or two from a story, scrupulously avoid mentioning *strong support for the varNa system* within the shaiva siddhAnta system (see the appropriate section in the former article) and magically stick the heading “against casteism”.
I suppose that we must be thankful that the author did not reduce the magnificent shaiva siddhAnta tradition to the level of the outright subversive lingAyata system. Assuming that he is just innocently trying to communicate his experiential joy (rather than slyly pushing a favorite agenda), the author would do well to be more honest and careful.
As a side note, looking at today’s नट-विट-शठ-s, we might do well to be a bit wary of “bards and actors”. Their current excessive influence seems to be a sad indicator of the state of hindudom.

On hindu consumer choices.

A response to what is presented in this video:

 

Very true that rAmadeva bAbA is intent on making loads of money (like a businessman) through patanjali products, and that most of them are not “fully Ayurvedic”. I even think that this is a well known fact, and that his buyers are not the fools needing a lecture. Given a choice, though, I would go for patanjali product since the profits will be used for the advancement of dhArmika socio-political causes (atleast relative to other alternatives).

I would even argue that for similar reasons, one should refuse to buy goods and services from communities and concerns (ultimately) intent on destroying our civilization and culture (which from their perspective are backward, superstitious and stupid). So, I choose my airlines, grocers etc.. with some care in this regard.

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A quote from Churchill

The notorious British fatso drunkard wrote a speech in 1931, of which I’ve highlighted a few sentences for your quasi-amused notice:

But that is not all. To abandon India to the rule of the Brahmins would be an act of cruel and wicked negligence. It would shame for ever those who bore its guilt. These Brahmins who mouth and patter the principles of Western Liberalism, and pose as philosophic and democratic politicians, are the same Brahmins who deny the primary rights of existence to nearly sixty millions of their own fellow countrymen whom they call ‘untouchable’, and whom they have by thousands of years of oppression actually taught to accept this sad position. They will not eat with these sixty millions, nor drink with them, nor treat them as human beings. They consider themselves contaminated even by their approach. And then in a moment they turn round and begin chopping logic with John Stuart Mill, or pleading the rights of man with Jean Jacques Rousseau.

While any community, social or religious, endorses such practices and asserts itself resolved to keep sixty millions of fellow countrymen perpetually and eternally in a state of sub-human bondage, we cannot recognise their claim to the title-deeds of democracy. Still less can we hand over to their unfettered sway those helpless millions they despise. Side by side with this Brahmin theocracy and the immense Hindu population – angelic and untouchable castes alike – there dwell in India seventy millions of Moslems, a race of far greater physical vigour and fierceness, armed with a religion which lends itself only too readily to war and conquest. While the Hindu elaborates his argument, the Moslem sharpens his sword. Between these two races and creeds, containing as they do so many gifted arid charming beings in all the glory of youth, there is no intermarriage.

The gulf is impassable. If you took the antagonisms of France and Germany, and the antagonisms of Catholics and Protestants, and compounded them and multiplied them ten-fold, you would not equal the division which separates these two races intermingled by scores of millions in the cities and plains of India. But over both of them the impartial rule of Britain has hitherto lifted its appeasing sceptre. Until the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms began to raise the question of local sovereignty and domination, they had got used to dwelling side by side in comparative toleration. But step by step, as it is believed we are going to clear out or be thrust out of India, so this tremendous rivalry and hatred of races springs into life again. It is becoming more acute every day. Were we to wash our hands of all responsibility and divest ourselves of all our powers, as our sentimentalists desire, ferocious civil wars would speedily break out between the Moslems and the Hindus. No one who knows India will dispute this.

But that is not the end. The Brahmins know well that they cannot defend themselves against the Moslems. The Hindus do not possess among their many virtues that of being a fighting race. The whole south of India is peopled with races deserving all earnest solicitude and regard, but incapable of self-defence. It is in the north alone that the fighting races dwell. Bengal, for instance, does not send from her forty-five million inhabitants any soldiers to the native army. The Punjab is a place where fighting races dwell|, on the other hand, and the Pathans, together with the Ghurkas and the Sikhs, who are entirely exceptional sects of Hindus, all dwelling in the north, furnish three-quarters of the entire army in the time of peace, and furnished more than three-quarters of it in time of war. There can be no doubt therefore that the departure of the British from India, which Mr. Gandhi advocates, and which Mr. Nehru demands, would be followed first by a struggle in the North and thereafter by a reconquest of the South by the North, and of the Hindus by the Moslems.

This danger has not escaped the crafty foresight of the Brahmins. It is for that reason that they wish to have the control of a British army, or failing that, a white army of janissaries officered, as Mr. Gandhi has suggested, by Germans or other Europeans. They wish to have an effective foreign army, or foreign-organised army, in order to preserve their dominance over the Moslems and their tyranny over their own untouchables. There, is the open plot of which we are in danger of becoming the dupes, and the luckless millions of Indians the victims.

It is our duty to guard those millions from that fate.

Motivations in transcending shAstra-vidhi

A running example

Suppose that an Agama (composed a millennium ago) says that only a member of a certain family or class can serve as an archaka in certain temples. Should such a qualification be enforced today with ruthless strictness (ie no exceptions)?

One’s answer may be “yes” or “no” due to myriad reasons. Let’s examine the reasons.

Motivations for promoting change

Reasons with roots in ashraddhA

  • Stupid ego: This was presented as a possible cause by shrI ghorAngIrasa – TW16, based on “यः शास्त्रविधिमुत्सृज्य वर्तते कामकारतः। न स सिद्धिमवाप्नोति न सुखं न परां गतिम्।। BG16.23।।”. People may say: “screw the shAstra, my intuition knows best. aham brahmAsmi.”
  • Allegence to various non-hindu and anti-hindu memes. (communism, buddhism, democracy, equality etc..)

Reasons with roots in shraddhA

TW16, following shankarAchArya’s commentary to BG 17.1 (“देवादिपूजाविधिपरं किञ्चित् शास्त्रं पश्यन्त एव तत् उत्सृज्य अश्रद्दधानतया तद्विहितायां देवादिपूजायां श्रद्धया अन्विताः प्रवर्तन्ते इति न शक्यं कल्पयितुम्” = “For, it cannot be imagined that even when they are aware of some scriptural injunction about worship of gods and others, they discard this out of their faithlessness, and yet they engage in the worship of gods and others enjoined by those scriptures by becoming imbued with faith!”), does not imagine any valid form of shraddhA in the shAstra for transcending particular shAstra-vidhi-s.

But this is a flawed caricature and presents a lack of sympathetic imagination (sorry, shankara), as:

  • One may place more value on the *intent* and spirit behind the vidhi, rather than the mere letter of the vidhi.
  • one can have shraddhA in all the vidhi-s, but to various degrees. Some may be more important than others. So, one may want to approximate it while trying to balance other dhArmic objectives of contemporary relevance.
  • Circumstances may not allow following the letter of the vidhi, forcing one to approximate.

Hence, we must these consider alternative reasons rooted in shraddhA.

The redoubtable PV kANe says, for example: “We need not give up the basic principles of Hinduism, but should reorientate them to meet new and more complex conditions and work out a changed social order” [HDs5.2]. It was such spirit which animated moves such as तत्त्वनिष्ठ-परिवर्तनवादी-परिषत् / धर्मनिर्णयमण्डलम् (1930-60) which formed under the guidance of the learned kevalAnanda-sarasvatI (of Wai, Satara, MH), including eminent scholars like PV kANe, shrIdharashAstrI pAThaka/ shankarAnanda-bhAratI, sadAshivashAstrI bhiDe, DaftarI, JS karanDikar, prajnEneshvarayatI etc.. (HDh5). Such intentions are quite noble, explicitly recognized by the dharmashAstra-s themselves to an extant (KV15) and are far from being stupid or inconsistent!

Motivations for resisting change

  • Valuing tradition itself over the values celebrated by the tradition!
    • Being practicing shiShTa-s (of the kind very rare these days), some people were accepting of some necessary change. On the other hand, I have heard folks remark that non-shiShTa-s in fact compete if not exceed shiShTa-s in refusing any change whatsoever.
    • This is akin to valuing the sheath the sword comes in more than the sword itself!
  • Just stupidity – inability to distinguish the essence from the periphery.
  • Undervaluing the need to respond to contemporary challenges.
    • This often comes with an undervaluing the need to understand the intent of the vidhi-s by understanding (among other things) the historical context in which they were composed.
  • Preserving privilege bestowed on one’s ilk by the shAstra-s in the context they were composed in.