RV transmigration

vidya vidya at cco.caltech.edu
Tue May 14 09:11:02 UTC 1996

> By the way, if Mani's interpretation is correct, and VAmadeva is asserting
> his consciousness of Brahman, and thereby his unity with all things, what
> becomes of a doctrine of transmigration and reincarnation?  Doesn't it
> evaporate?

If the doctrine of transmigration and reincarnation (at least as understood
today) is foreign to the RV, then isn't the doctrine of brahman being
everything also upanishadic and therefore removed from the RV itself? The
vedAnta schools view vAmadeva's assertions as an expression of brahman-
realization. But modern scholars, not being constrained by the brahmasUtras,
may be able to read other meanings into it, no? 

In this context, I am also reminded of Eliot Deutsch's characterization of
karma as "a convenient fiction" for advaita vedAnta. I have always felt that
this overlooks the detailed description of jIvanmukti and how karma operates
in classical advaita. What happens to the doctrine of transmigration and
reincarnation when the brahman consciousness is asserted? All karma itself
vanishes, except for prArabdha karma. As for the doctrine, it ceases to 
matter, because the effort of the mumukshu is not so much to understand
karma as to find a way out of it. 

S. Vidyasankar

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