Jijnasadhikarana – Laghu Purvapaksha

The Laghu Purvapaksha or ‘The Little Objection’ section presents the viewpoint of Sankara and other preceptors on the need for studying the Purva Mimamsa sastra (the Karma Bhaga).

Sankara contends that an enquiry into the nature of Karma need not precede the enquiry into Brahman. A person who studies the vedantic texts can proceed to enquire the meanings enshrined in them without an enquiry into karma. According to Sankara, vedanta aims at completely alleviating wrong knowledge (avidya) which is the cause of all sorrow, and it does this by establishing the knowledge of the oneness of the Atman. In this exercise, the knowledge of karma is not at all useful. Still worse, the knowledge of karma is opposed to deliberation into Brahman due to its very nature of being rooted in differences and emphasizing duality. So, the pre-requisite should not be noted as something which is absolutely required for proceeding with the enquiry into Brahman.

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Jijnasadhikarana – Introduction

In the previous post, we enjoyed an introduction into the historical context of Sri Bhashyam. In this post, we will probe into the meaning of the first brahmasutra.

athAtO Brahma jij~nAsA (1-1-1)

Then, therefore, an enquiry into Brahman (is to be made)

The term ‘atha’ implies sequence,  signifying that the inquiry into Brahman has to be taken up only after a study of Purva Mimamsa. The word ‘Therefore’ in the translation implies this causality. After one has made a detailed study of the Veda and Vedangas and having realised the truth that the fruits of karmas are trivial and impermanent, a person desires to make an enquiry into Brahman. This enquirer, in the process, desires a fruit which would be infinite and permanent.Brahma jij~nasa, thus, is an enquiry into Brahman. This enquiry has to be made by a student about Brahman. This student is called the adhikari or upasaka.Then comes the question – what is implied by the term ‘Brahman’?

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Context of Sri Bhashya

The Supreme Lord, or the Parama Puruṣa, filled with compassion on seeing humanity who have become tired of their births in the Universe and who are afflicted with three kinds of sufferings (tāpa traya) and who are hence burning with a desire to find out a means for freedom from the cycles of births and affliction, revealed the Vēdānta Sāstra which will show them the path to freedom in the form of realization of the Supreme Self, namely Himself (Sriranga Stavam, Sloka 1).

Among the 14 Vidyās or Vidyāsthānas, the Brahmavidya is the most sacred one capable of destroying completely in a moment the fruits of all karmas, good and bad, acquired during thousands of births. (Bhagavad Gīta 10-32; Mundaka Upaniṣad 1-1-4; Viṣnu Purāna 6-4).

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