Mahbubnagar: NOVEMBER 19, 2012

Importance of Nishkama Karma & Bhakti

Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji arrived at Mahbubnagar on the evening of November 19 to a reverential welcome.

After the traditional welcome ceremonies like Dhuli Pada Puja, the Jagadguru gave a Anugraha Bhashanam about the importance of Karma and Bhakti.

Sri Shankaracharya Uprooted 72 Schools with Thoughts Divergent from the Vedas

Lord Parameshwara incarnated as Sri Adi Shankara Bhagavatpada to expound the tenets of Sanatana Dharma and the philosophy of Advaita. As with the other Avataras, Sri Shankaracharya’s incarnation was to protect Dharma. The uniqueness of Sri Adi Shankaracharya’s Avatara is that there was no vanquishing of evil forces. The essential achievement of the Avatara is known by one of the names in His Ashtottara Shatanamavali – द्विसप्ततिमतोच्छेत्ता – one who uprooted 72 different schools of thoughts. These schools were opposed to the correct import of the Vedas and had caused a lot of confusion amidst people. It was during that time that Sri Shankarcharya incarnated. The Acharya expounded the correct import of the Vedas, defeated the opposing schools (with his writings and scholarly debates) and established order in the minds of everyone.

The opposing schools would quote some Vedic verse and state that even their school of philosophy was accepted by the Vedas. They would argue that the Vedas also propounded divergent views, including dualism. Proponents of such schools went on to state that by lending to multiple interpretations, the greatness and uniqueness of the Vedas is highlighted. However, by this argument, the Vedas can be said to accept even atheistic ideas – वेदस्यास्य हि सर्वतोमुखतया सर्वार्थता भूषणं स्यात् चेत् नास्तिकतापि वेदविहिता व्याख्याबलात् स्यात् न किम् ? For instance, there is a statement in the Vedas – असद् वा इदमग्र आसीत् – that can be literally understood as, “In the beginning was non-existence, and from non-existence, everything came into existence” – This idea of Asad-vaada is essentially atheistic, postulating all existence as springing from non-existence.

Sri Adi Shankaracharya uses a term in His Bhashya – वाक्याभासयुक्त्याभासावष्टम्भाः – to describe those schools that hold on to improper interpretations of a few verses of the Vedas and propound their own theories. The Acharya was clear in His expression that no statement in the Vedas can be said to be false – न हि वेदवाक्येषु कस्यचित् प्रामाण्यं कस्यचित् अप्रामाण्यमिति संभवाति प्रमाणत्वाविशेषात् – for if even one statement were to be called false, the Vedas can no more be valid means to knowledge. Hence every statement in the Vedas has to be true – सर्वोपि वेदः प्रमाणमेव. Hence the Acharya expounded the Upanishadic philosophy of Advaita without Purva Apara Virodha – without contradictions between Vedic statements.

Non-Duality is a Firm Upanishadic Conclusion

Sri Adi Shankaracharya elucidates that the Paaramaarthika state – or the nondual state is the essence of the Upanishadic conclusion – the Advaita Siddhanta. However, In the state of Vyaavahaarika – empirical experience, dualism does exist. This synthesis is clearly visible in the Upanishads. For instance the first verse of the Ishavasya Upanishad states that everything is pervaded by Ishwara, is indeed Ishwara and calls for the path of renunciation –

ईशा वास्यमिदं सर्वं यत्किंच जगत्यां जगत् ।
तेन त्यक्तेन भुञ्जीथा मा गृधः कस्य स्विद्धनम् ॥ १ ॥

The second verse states that one must live his entire life performing Karmas enjoined in the Vedas.

कुर्वन्नेवेह कर्माणि जिजीविषेच्छतं समाः ।
एवं त्वयि नान्यथेतोऽस्ति न कर्म लिप्यते नरे ॥ २ ॥

It is natural for confusion to arise when such a contrary view in the very next verse. However, one must note the Upanishadic statements are to be understood keeping in mind the Adhikari Bheda – difference in the qualifications of each person. The first verse is for those who have developed Vairagya or dispassion. The second verse calls for Karma Yoga and is for men of action. The path of renunciation, if advocated to a man of action, is sure to take him to doom. He would veritably become a Trishanku – positioning himself neither here nor there – त्रिशङ्कुवदन्तराले तिष्ठ.

When people attempt to hear the Vedantic teaching without Chitta Shuddhi, only sleep ensues. Sri Nilakanta Dikshita laments such a state where Vedantic knowledge is used by such ineligible yet wealthy as a tool to induce sleep! – निद्राहेतोः निशि निशि कथाः शृण्वतां पार्थिवानां कालक्षेपौपयिकमिदमप्याः कथं पर्यणंसीत् ।

Karma as an Offering to Ishwara Frees One From Bondage

The Jagadguru emphasized that every path explained in the Vedas has its place. Karma is essential, for without it one cannot attempt purification of the mind – Chitta Shuddhi – cleansing it of mental impurities such as Kama, Krodha etc. While it is evident that Karma cannot directly result in Moksha, its role in Chitta Shuddhi is as important for without Chitta Shuddhi, one does not become qualified for Vedantic studies – चित्तस्य शुद्धये कर्म न तु वस्तूपलब्धये.

Sri Bhagavan proclaims in the Gita that अनाश्रितः कर्मफलं कार्यं कर्म करोति यः । स संन्यासी च योगी च – He who performs Karma without desiring the results is indeed a Sannyasi.

However, it has become a practice of many to ensure that whatever Karma they perform, the list of desired objectives is quite long when they take the Sankalpa – क्षेम-स्थैर्य-धैर्य-वीर्य-विजय-अभय-आयुरोग्य-ऐश्वर्य – praying thus for protection, steadfastness, courage, strength, triumph in endeavours, freedom from fear, good health, wealth and so on.

Sri Bhagavan Himself says यज्ञार्थात्कर्मणोऽन्यत्र लोकोऽयं कर्मबन्धनः । When actions are offered to Ishwara, it frees one from bondage.

Hence our Sankalpa must be to perform the Karma as an offering to Ishwara – ईश्वरार्थं करिष्ये. Otherwise it results in bandham or bondage. As a result of Sankalpa done with the results in mind, punya or papa ensues, and these result in further births. And as long as there are births, there is no happiness. Much is the suffering from the time of being in the mother’s womb to the time one leaves the body. Hence it is usual for everyone who has realized this, to desire freedom from bondage. Hence Nishkama Karma is absolutely essential for a seeker.

Bhakti has an Important Place in Advaita

The Jagadguru also said that many misunderstand that Bhakti has no place in the Upanishadic philosophy of Advaita. Sri Bhagavan Himself says:

चतुर्विधा भजन्ते मां जनाः सुकृतिनोऽर्जुन ।
आर्तो जिज्ञासुरर्थार्थी ज्ञानी च भरतर्षभ ॥

The Jagadguru then spoke about the four types of devotees – the distressed, the person who desires prosperity and well-being, the devotee who seeks knowledge and the knower (Jnani).

The Jagadguru gave the illustration of Bhagavan Veda Vyasa’s son Sri Shuka, who was a Jnani. The Jagadguru quoted the verse from Srimad Bhagavatam that offers obeisance to Sri Shuka, who being full of dispassion and detachment, left home though he was called back by his father, Vyasa:

यं प्रव्रजन्तमनुपेतमपेतकृत्यं
द्वैपायनो विरहकातर आजुहाव ।
पुत्रेति तन्मयतया तरवोऽभिनेदुः
तं सर्वभूतहृदयं मुनिमानतोऽस्मि ॥

Endowed with such Vairagya and Jnana, it was Sri Shuka Himself who taught Maharaja Parikshit Srimad Bhagavatam. Thus, even Jnanis, who revel in the Self, remain naturally and unconditionally devoted to Bhagavan:

आत्मारामाश्च मुनयो निर्ग्रन्था अप्युरुक्रमे ।
कुर्वन्त्यहैतुकीं भक्तिमित्थम्भूतगुणो हरिः॥

Hence while every path has its place, everyone must take his or her own path, it is not right to criticize other paths. Thus did Adi Shankaracharya expound the Upanishadic philosophy. He pointed out to exponents and followers of other schools the fallacies in their reasoning, and made them understand the philosophy of Advaita. Not withstanding the innumerous intellectual debates He made, Sri Adi Shankaracharya also gave a number of instructions to common man for moving along the path of Shreyas.

The Jagadguru remembered the earlier visits of His Guru, Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Mahaswamiji and of Himself, to Mahbubnagar and blessed the devotees.

The following morning, the Jagadguru gave Darshan to the assembled devotees. Devotees performed Bhiksha Vandanam and Pada Puja and received Tirtha Prasadam. After blessing the devotees with Mantrakshata, the Jagadguru started from Mahbubnagar on the afternoon of November 20th. Enroute from Mahbubnagar to Shamshabad, the Jagadguru visited Kanyaka Parameshwari temple, had Darshan of the Goddess and blessed the devotees with an Anugraha Bhashanam.


Anugraha Bhashanam at Mahbubnagar