Concept of Mukti and Shankaracharya

Bijoy Misra bmisra at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Thu Dec 31 05:06:32 UTC 1998

On Thu, 31 Dec 1998, K. S. Arjunwadkar wrote:

> From
> "K. S. Arjunwadkar" <panini at>
> To
> List members
> Dec 31, 98
> The concept of Mukti (liberation) as expounded in Vedanta texts cannot
> logically co-exist with conscious worldly activities of a man; since the
> former presumes total freedom from instincts and efforts towards a worldly
> object, while the latter can proceed only from a worldly, howsoever noble,
> motivation.

I can't claim to be a learned scholar on this, but this is my take.
The coexistence with worldly activities takes place, once you
do acts for the sake of doing and for the sake of achieving.
Achievements are external perceptions of your deeds, you not
waiting on them. (beautifully said in Bhagavadgita).

> Does Shankaracharya himself, with his persistent and admirable
> intellectual and missionary work as vindicated by the record of his vast
> literary and organisational achievements, fit in this concept as most of
> his admirers and traditional biographers believe he does? In other words,
> was he a liberated soul?
He himself defines the stages of liberation in vivekacuDamaNi.
The aspiration of liberation is the last stage of a yogi's life.
All activities indeed cease at that time.

> If we choose to set apart his biographical details replete with miracles
> and rely only on evidence from his scholarly works, we come across remarks
> against his opponents which are in no way different from those of a total
> worldly man. Thus, at times, he dubs his opponent who solely relies on
> logic/reason as a bull without a tail and horns, ridicules him as speaking
> with an unrestrained mouth, and so on. While concluding his criticism of
> the philosophical doctrines of the Buddha, he remarks that the Buddha was
> either insane or one who hated the mankind to the extent of taking pleasure
> in misguiding it. I can, if required, quote from his works to support my
> statements.

> From his own definition, these are the sraddha stages and are
induced by one's teacher.  These lead to samadhana when the
arguments lose meaning and finally the mumuksuta, when one
realizes one's "true nature" (not easy!)

> Shankaracharya was undoubtedly an intellectual giant and an able social
> organiser whose influence on Indian people is as much alive today as it was
> centuries ago. Personally, too, I owe him a great debt inasmuch as a
> sustained study of his works moulded my thinking habit through several
> decades. The issue I have raised should be taken as purely academic which,
> strangely enough, has its roots in his effective teaching in the art of
> logical thinking.
> I shall be thankful to learned list members for a feedback.

A simple minded feedback..

How does one categorize SriKrishna if he lived or
Buddha, Jesus Christ  or Mahammed as part of history?

Something to think in new year..

- BM

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