Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


Here is a place to linger, to let your intellect roam. Aatmaavrajanam is being written as a progressive study and, as such, can be read like a book. Anyone arriving at any time can simply start at the very first post and work their way through at their own pace. Please take time to read the info tabs and ensure you don't miss a post, by subscribing to the blog. Interaction is welcomed. Don't be a spectator - be a participator!

Setting the Scene

Hari OM
'Text-days' are for delving into the words and theory of Advaita Vedanta.

We now explore the Sri Adi Shankara text, "SadaachaaraH". To obtain your own copy, click here.

Following the invocation prayer, it is common in such texts for the author to lay out the scope and purpose of the text. You will recall (it is hoped!) that we can expect to see the anubandha chatushtaya, the four key points tying the student to the text and, by inference, the teacher.

savRvedaNtisÏaNtE¢Riwt< inmRl< izvm!,
Sadacar< àvaúyaim yaeigna< }anisÏye.2.
Sarvavedaanta-tasiddhaantair-grathitam nirmalam shivam,
Sadaachaaram pravakshyaami yoginaam jnaanasiddhaye ||2||
I shall explain sadaachaara, which is pure, auspicious, and expounded by all the Vedantic texts for the attainment of the Knowledge of the yogins.

A straightforward 'contract'… but let us look a little closer.

Who is the person considered the 'fit student' for this text? Just as a text on clinical biochemistry would mean very little to a year three student, the SadaachaaraH is not meant for beginners, or the 'bhogi' (the good-time seekers). It is for one who is seeking something altogether higher, nobler - they are a 'yogin'.

What is to be the theme, the message of the text? It will use as its source the long-standing scriptures. The Vedas and the Upanishads. They are mined for their pointers to dharma (correct living), Brahma (knowing and realising the Truth of Creation). The first of these contains all that is necessary to know about right spiritual conduct, which is sadaachaara and the second takes us to the 'end of knowledge' - Vedanta.

What is the 'prize', what purpose will be served by addressing sadhaacharaH? We all require purpose, even in the smallest acts. We would not turn on the tap for water were we not thirsty. The turning of the tap brings the water forth and then we can quench that thirst. This is the fulfilment of the purpose of going to the tap. Similarly, we read any text with a view to completing it and gaining knowledge from it. We ought to be able to leave it having grown within ourselves to some degree. The verse states clearly that attainment of Knowledge is the purpose of this text. What is more, it is given capital 'k'. This is not just any knowledge. It is the Ultimate Knowledge, that which ends all other knowledge. Understanding this as the intended target comes with being the adhikaari; one would not have simply decided one day that spiritual attainment would be something to have a go at. It would have been developing over a period of time, and one would have taken an interest in earlier, simpler texts and built up the 'muscle' to take this on.

What is the relationship between the theme and the purpose? How is it that the one can lead to the other. Quite simply, by proper study and contemplation of the text and by carrying out the conduct indicated within it (vishaya), the student and seeker (adhikaari) cannot help but gather knowledge about The Knowledge, which is the purpose served (prayojana).

When it comes to executing conduct, it can often be beneficial to emulate those who have already taken the path; it is the case that often our values are not taught but caught. Following the examples of the great and the good can only serve us well.

Worth considering, too, that no action takes place without thought. We may act hastily and claim not to have thought, but the fact is the signal to act was generated from a thought. What is required is that we must engage our intellect and slow down that process so that any action is the result of considered thought.  Well-assimilated knowledge will result in better thinking and better thinking results in improved conduct. Anyone who drinks or smokes from habit may have the small understanding that these things are a risk to health. However, until the higher part of their being engages and lets the knowledge become fully fledged Knowledge which results in conviction of the risk, they cannot effect the necessary improvements in their life and quit their habits.

1 comment:

  1. Knowledge about right and wrong will definitely lead us to reason out our deeds. And that will happen due to proper thinking.Nicely expounded.


Hari OM
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