Monday, September 11, 2006

Bhaja Govindam - Sloka 17

Hari Aum

Prostrations to my Guru. Prostrations to All.


kuruthae ganga saagaragamanam
vrathaparipaalanamaThavaa dhaanam
jnaanaviheenaha sarvamathaena
mukthim na Bhajathi janmashathena

Word Meaning:
Kuruthae: Goes to pilgrimage
Ganga saagara gamanam: to where the Ganges meet the ocean
Vrthaparipaalana: observe the vows
aThavaa: or
dhaanam: distributes gifts away
jnaana viheenaha: devoid of experience of truth
sarvamathaena: according to all schools of thought
mukti: liberation
na: not
Bhajithi: gains
Janma shathaena: even in hundred lives

One may in pilgrimage go to where Ganges meets the ocean called Gangasagar, or observe vows or distribute gifts away in charity. If he is devoid of first-hand-experience-of-truth, according to all schools of thought, he gains no liberation, even in hundred lives.

Here in this sloka, the invalidity of actions without the Ultimate Knowledge of Brahman is been pointed out. All actions are born out of desire and desires come to the mind due to ignorance of ones own nature of Self. To perform any action there should be a doer. The doer performs action to satisfy his desire which is because of ignorance of ones own Blissful nature of Self, knows that he is performing that action and then later enjoys the results of the action. As long as there is the sense of doership while doing the action, there doer will enjoy the results of the action. When the person realizes ones own nature of Self, then the doer vanishes, since there is no doer there are no results as well. Thus the person, who has the Ultimate Knowledge of Self, is free from both good results and the bad results and such person is liberated even while living. But if a person doesn’t have this Ultimate Knowledge of ones own nature of Self, but still continue performing action, he goes on enjoying the results of the action he had done previously and this process of enjoying the results may even go for many births.

Thus Shankara here says, a person might go on pilgrimage to Kasi and other places, might do lot of charities, might observe lot of vows, but if he doesn’t have the Ultimate Knowledge of Self, he goes from birth to birth in enjoying the either good results or the bad results based on the action he has performed. Thus here he says even in hundred lives, there will be no liberation. Liberation is only when the person gets the Ultimate Knowledge that “I am Brahman”.

Prostrations to all

Hari Aum



Blogger vedanta said...


Prostrations to all.

We may think that there are different paths to realization (as will be notion created for those who haven't really understood vedanta clearly -- this is notion created out of lack of proper knowledge but still haven't read vivekananda's four paths at the periphereal level). But this is totally against sruthi, smrithi and even yukthi.

Thus Sankara is not mentioning here his words but giving the view of sruthi alone. There are many who considered that Sankara gave too much emphasis to jnaana whereas bhakthi also can lead to realization as the various bhakthi granthas like Bhagavatham point out. These are people who haven't really learnt the scriptures nor used their intellect to understand the path to realization.

The main hindrance to realization is IGNORANCE. Whether this ignorance is ignorance of one's own nature of Brahman (as Advaita says) or ignorance of the independency of the Lord (as dvaita and vishista advaita says) or ignorance about 24 tattvas (as sankhya and yoga claim) or ignorance about the various padarthas/pramaanas (as nyaaya says), it is ignorance which causes bondage and hinders realization or liberation. Ignorance can be removed only by knowledge.

Ignorance of mathematics cannot be removed by grace of Lord - it can be removed only through knowledge of mathematics. Yes, the seeker might gain knowledge of mathematics by the grace of God through a proper Guru or books etc. but even then it is knowledge which removes ignorance & not any other thing.

Thus all other paths of bhakthi, karma, yoga etc. are just auxilliary and lead to knowledge which alone can give realization.

The famous rig veda hymn purusha sooktha says
"Tameva vidvaan amritha iha bhavathi
Na anyah panthaa vidhyate anaaya"

Knowing the reality alone a person gains immortality -- there is no other way to this.

Tameva viditva atimrityum atyeti na anyah panthaa vimukthaye -- says Kaivalya Upanishad
Knowing that alone a person overcomes mrityu -- there is no other way to liberation.

Mundaka upanishad says
"Jnaana prasaadena vishuddhasatvah
tatah tu tam pashyathe nishkalam dhyaayamaanah"

He whose mind is purified by nishkaama karma & through the grace of knowledge of the ultimate reality, such a person alone sees the ultimate reality which is partless during times of deep contemplation and absorption.

Lord also says in the 5th chapter
Jnaanena tu tad ajnaanam yeshaam naashitam aatmanah
Teshaam adityavad jnaanam prakaashayathi tat param

That ignorance which has veiled the Self (destroyed the Self by veiling it) is removed by knowledge & that knowledge like the Sun shines & it is the supreme.

Ithi te jnaanam aakhyaatham guhyaat guhyataram mayaa

Thus I have propounded knowledge to you - secret of all secrets.

It is keeping in mind the above sruthi vakyas (and even more which haven't been quoted here) that Sankara says that without knoweldge there is no liberation even in many births.

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God

8:16 PM  

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