Gṛhastha life and vedānta (focusing on Advaita here)




This thread and the succeeding comments made me remember the small notes from an orthodox sannyāsin and a friend of mine,and I am putting them in a jumbled form here.

So,in orthodox circles,there are three commentaries on the Gītā that are famous.

  1. Ādi Śaṅkara’s commentary-corresponds to śravana
  2. Madhusudanasarasvatī’s commentary-corresponds to manana
  3. Shankarananda’s commentary-corresponds to nidhidhyānsana(and these are studied in that order).

So, Śaṅkarānanda in his commentary on the 3rd chapter of the Gita states that a brāhmaṇa should not renounce until he has fulfilled the three ṛṇas(debts).

  1. Deva-ṛṇa(debt to the devas) by performing yāgas as laid out in the śruti
  2. Ṛṣirṇa(debt to the ṛṣis) by doing vedādhyayanam of svaśākhā and other vedas
  3. Pitṛ ṛṇa(debt to the forefathers) by begetting a child legitimately [and obviously raising him/her properly and so on and so forth]

As a note:On asking that friend,he suggested(for caturthas),the ṛṇas would be discharged as

  1. Deva-ṛṇa-worship devas through the paddhatis available(paurāṇika/tāntrika)
  2. Ṛṣirṇa-propagate vedāṇgas/itihāsa/tantra
  3. Pitṛ ṛṇa-same as the one for dvijas

(Note:This doesn’t mean that brāhmaṇas/other dvijas cannot pass on tāntrika/itihāsa/other lore)

So,the tradition already has the solution within itself,and it needs to be revitalized.


Also,what Bajirao did would be quite inappropriate from an Advaitin’s point of view. Śrīdharasvāmīn in his gloss on the very first śloka states

‘iha khalu sakalavanditacaraṇaḥ paramakāruṇuko bhagavān devakīnandanastattvajñānavijṛmbhita-śokamohavibhraṃśita-vivekatayā nijadharmaparityāga-pūrvakaparadharmābhisandhinamarjunaṃ dharmajñānarahasyopadeśaplavena tasmācchokamohasāgaraāduddhāraḥ|..’


A short summary(with emphasis on the bolded words would be that the ever-worshippable Śrī Kṛṣṇa rescued Arjuna from the sea of sorrow and delusion,under whose influence he was about to give up his own svadharma(of a warrior and ruler) and take up another’s dharma(that of an ascetic) by imparting to him, jṇānarahasyopadeśa. The Peshva had committed that same mistake Arjuna had done(maybe due to a different cause),and could hardly be said to be upholding vedantic ideals.

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