Nityakarma - is omission adharma/papa?

32 views
Skip to first unread message

putran M

unread,
Aug 1, 2022, 11:52:25 AMAug 1
to adva...@googlegroups.com
Namaskaram,

There is an argument given by Shankaracharya in intro to BG Chp 3:

------------

Objection: May it not be argued that the nitya-karmas have to be performed so as to avoid sin?

Reply: No because the incurring of sin concerns those who are not monks. As by not performing rituals etc. connected with fire, sin accrues even to the Brahmacharins who are performers of rites and duties and are not monks, it certainly cannot be imagined similarly with regard to a sannyasin. For that matter, neither can it be imagined that sin which is a positive entity can be generated from the mere absence of nitya-karmas, because of the Upanishadic text, 'How can existence come out of non-existence?' (Ch. 6..2.2)... Therefore rites and duties are not for monks."

------------

I get it that this is refuting the notion of nitya-karma being necessary for sannyasins. But I am curious about the logical argument in the middle that omission of nitya-karma cannot generate a positive entity such as sin. Why would this not also apply to non-monks, for whom instead it is stipulated as "duty" and "sin accrues"? 

We know that doing nitya-karma obtains chitta-shuddhi. - which is a positive effect. So not doing them fails to obtain that positive effect and the chitta remains clouded. But how is it for a brahmacharin a case of adharma or papa if he should fail in his nitya-karma, where he would actually become worse-off than he was now? How does failure to do them create a new tag of sin for which he has to endure further phala (and what is that phala)? There has to be some meaning to using notions such as "duty" with reference to nityakarma.

thollmelukaalkizhu

putran M

unread,
Aug 1, 2022, 12:28:33 PMAug 1
to adva...@googlegroups.com
Namaskaram,

On Mon, Aug 1, 2022 at 11:52 AM putran M <putr...@gmail.com> wrote:
Namaskaram,

There is an argument given by Shankaracharya in intro to BG Chp 3:

------------

Objection: May it not be argued that the nitya-karmas have to be performed so as to avoid sin?

Reply: No because the incurring of sin concerns those who are not monks. As by not performing rituals etc. connected with fire, sin accrues even to the Brahmacharins who are performers of rites and duties and are not monks, it certainly cannot be imagined similarly with regard to a sannyasin. For that matter, neither can it be imagined that sin which is a positive entity can be generated from the mere absence of nitya-karmas, because of the Upanishadic text, 'How can existence come out of non-existence?' (Ch. 6..2.2)... Therefore rites and duties are not for monks."

------------

I get it that this is refuting the notion of nitya-karma being necessary for sannyasins. But I am curious about the logical argument in the middle that omission of nitya-karma cannot generate a positive entity such as sin. Why would this not also apply to non-monks, for whom instead it is stipulated as "duty" and "sin accrues"? 

Actually, the translation says "absence" not "omission"; don't know how this should be interpreted. The issue is whether it is valid for a sanyasi to not continue nityakarma, i.e. to omit them. Answer is yes because he has no nityakarma to perform (i.e. absence). Why not? Because he already has obtained the positive result of chitta-shuddhi and not doing Nitya-karmas  is not inherently a generator of sin otherwise.

In that context comes my question: in that case, the omission should not be a generator of sin for a brahmacharin either - only a failure to obtain chitta-shuddhi. (?)

thollmelukaalkizhu

Bhaskar YR

unread,
Aug 2, 2022, 12:09:23 AMAug 2
to adva...@googlegroups.com

In that context comes my question: in that case, the omission should not be a generator of sin for a brahmacharin either - only a failure to obtain chitta-shuddhi. (?)

 

praNAms Sri Putran prabhuji

Hare Krishna

 

There is stipulated karma for the brahmachAri as per smruti.  So he (brahmachAri) should not skip his nitya karma like snAna, Sandhya, agnikArya, brahma yagna, bhikshAtana, guru seva etc.  since all these duties (vidhi-s) have to be followed as he is wearing the yagnOpaveeta and has taken the initiation to do saNdhya (gAyatri and brahmOpadesha). These nitya karma-s if not done then there will be pratyavAya dOsha (applicable to all three Ashrami-s) if done don’t get puNya says scriptures.  Whereas sanyasi is into the nivrutti mArga and he is pursuing the jnana mArga.  Since for getting the jnana, karma is not mandatory in this Ashrama, as sanyasi has to leave the yajnOpaveeta, agni and even veda-s (kaTha shruti says so), for him there is no nitya karma as such.  But if I am right he has to follow sannyasa Ashrama vihita karma-s like praNavOpAsana, bhikshAtana aparigraha etc.

 

Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!

 

Bhaskar YR

 

 

Subu

unread,
Aug 2, 2022, 5:05:12 AMAug 2
to adva...@googlegroups.com

My 2 cents

Not doing Nityakarma is like NOT taking bath

What happens Physically when you don't take bath ? You become (physically) dirty, because dirt accumulates on the physique by itself and since periodic cleansing (Physical bath) is not done, more and more physical dirt / physical residue accumulates. What will happen IF you don't take bath for 5 years (say). Skin disease, heat etc.etc, depending on your current state of health.

ditto with Not doing nityakarma, but on a psychological plane

Subject to where and how you live (not doing nitya karma / anushtana, either not bathing at all, or not doing anushtana at all) would / should have a similar effect, but psychologically


regards

Subu

--
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "advaitin" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to advaitin+u...@googlegroups.com.
To view this discussion on the web visit https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/advaitin/AM7PR06MB6581A31496CE9F4C7E61AF5B849D9%40AM7PR06MB6581.eurprd06.prod.outlook.com.

putran M

unread,
Aug 2, 2022, 11:24:29 AMAug 2
to adva...@googlegroups.com
Namaskaram Bhaskar-ji,

These nitya karma-s if not done then there will be pratyavAya dOsha (applicable to all three Ashrami-s) if done don’t get puNya says scriptures. 



Is it valid to do arthapatti here and say that in a brahmin, the upanayana samskara causes some change in the sukshma sharira after which nityakarma becomes necessary and omission becomes dosha. Likewise when a fit (with chitta-shuddhi) person undergoes the sannyasa samskara (?) under a guru, his sukshma sharira undergoes another change which effectively neutralizes the need to do nityakarmas (of grihastas, brahmacharis)?

It seems mantra-magical but the logic supports shastra pramana to explain why only a brahmacharin/grihasta has certain nityakarmas (not doing which is dosha and not merely an impediment to chitta-shuddhi) and not a child or a sannyasi.

The acharya has said that absence of nityakarma does not generate sin by itself. That would mean that whether it generates sin or not depends on the subtle body of the jiva in question. In the case of a sannyasi or a child, the subtle body must have undergone some change that negates the possibility of sin accrual upon omission of sandhya type nityakarmas. 

As you said, unless a jnani, even the sannyasi may have other karmas to follow - but this type of argument has to be reconciled with Shankara saying "duty-based" karma cannot remain an accessory in the path of jnana.

thollmelukaalkizhu
 

Whereas sanyasi is into the nivrutti mArga and he is pursuing the jnana mArga.  Since for getting the jnana, karma is not mandatory in this Ashrama, as sanyasi has to leave the yajnOpaveeta, agni and even veda-s (kaTha shruti says so), for him there is no nitya karma as such.  But if I am right he has to follow sannyasa Ashrama vihita karma-s like praNavOpAsana, bhikshAtana aparigraha etc.

 

Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!

 

Bhaskar YR

 

 

--

putran M

unread,
Aug 2, 2022, 11:41:33 AMAug 2
to adva...@googlegroups.com
Namaskaram Subu-ji,

Your explanation is good and intuitive. But a lot of nityakarmas are varna and ashrama specific. So, for a dvija brahmacharin's body-mind, the Sandhyavandana Soap would be needed to cleanse it; and without that soap, it will tend to accumulate dirt and eventually ruin its chance of using that body for its best purpose. 

Or, its like a plane in the air: having taken off the ground (i.e. born a dvija and done upanayana), it needs to keep running its engines or else it will fall from the height. Running the engines is like doing nityakarma; not doing it is dosha simply because the plane will fall otherwise. Once the flight has landed on the sannyasa mountain, no longer need to run the engines.

thollmelukaalkizhu

Raghav Kumar

unread,
Aug 2, 2022, 11:44:19 AMAug 2
to Advaitin

Namaste Putran ji
The idea of akaraNE pratyavAyaH (a mImAmsA idea)- not doing nityakarmas leads to pratyavAya doSha can be understood as follows. The very word pratyavAya is explained differently by Sri Shankara who contrasts it with the wrong underlying reasoning employed by mImAmsA. Shankara instead applies satkaaryavaada and explains in taiitiriya bhAShya and BG3 bhAShya the Vedantic explanation of akaraNE pratyavAyaH. 


1. For both the monk as well as the non-monk, there is no question of any fresh pApa karma being produced as a direct result of non-performance of nityakarmas which will supposedly have to be experienced later as pApakarma phala (the way the mImAmsakas imagine, wrongly, as it turns out). 
2. However there is a technical difference in the situation of the two cases viz., sannyAsis and non-sannyAsis. 

 There is a daily packet of pApa phala which is by default unfolding and manifesting as everything from waking up with a catch in the back, to a bad day at work or some unavoidable arguments/ unpleasantness with one's better half or with fellow brahmacharis (if in a gurukula) etc etc. It is said that birth as a human being is for those jivas who have both pApas and punyas in roughly equal measure (wide inequality notwithstanding). The performance of regular nityakarma mitigates or atleast partially neutralizes these pApa karmas before they express as the daily dose of pApa karma phala. This neutralization need not necessarily be on a day to day basis but may well be a more general case of neutralization of unfolding pApa karma phalas. ( Btw, plz note that this logic applies to both mumuxus as well as non-mumuxus and so it's not only about chitta shuddhi alone (which can be called the (internal) mental condition) but also adRShta durita kShaya - it influences the outer situations which get presented to us due to our karmas unfolding, as well. . 

The sannyAsi is mandated an alternative approach and has no nitya karmas like Sandhya etc.. Even for him, the pApa karmas he is born with, do unfold. And as per the ashrama Dharma, he is to do the pranava japa, guru seva (since we are only looking at vividiShaa cases), he gets some durita kShaya automatically even if he does not care for it. And then more importantly, his very GYAna pursuit of SMN is all about seeing through the bluff of doership and enjoyership. So shAstra being coherent does not ask him to "do" this or "do" that and make his life more comfortable/enjoyable, since the very ashrama of sannyasa is to get out of the doership/enjoyership trap. Naturally the usual nityakarmas are not enjoined for him. 

Kindly excuse my informal presentation since I did not quite references.

Om
--
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "advaitin" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to advaitin+u...@googlegroups.com.

putran M

unread,
Aug 2, 2022, 2:31:12 PMAug 2
to adva...@googlegroups.com
Namaskaram, below are some continuation mails that were exchanged between me and Raghav-ji. At some point he sent to my personal email by mistake and I just replied to that.

thollmelukaalkizhu

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: putran M <putr...@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Aug 2, 2022 at 1:06 PM
Subject: Re: [advaitin] Nityakarma - is omission adharma/papa?
To: Raghav Kumar Dwivedula <raghav...@gmail.com>


Namaskaram Raghav-ji,

Ok. That makes more sense. The logical argument along with Ch 6.2.2 would be complete for all contexts, and otherwise we have to resort to clever arthapatti like I did in my reply to Bhaskar-ji.

I will understand that what you said is the way the tradition/siddhanta would teach this passage in the bhashya, based on other references to how the mimamsaka differs from Acharya. Thanks.

thollmelukaalkizhu 

On Tue, Aug 2, 2022 at 12:43 PM Raghav Kumar Dwivedula <raghav...@gmail.com> wrote:
Namaste Putran ji
The first line is only by way of abhyupetya-vAda adopted by the acharya, i,e, going along with the line of thought adopted by the opponent "for argument's sake' and showing that even in that case, 'sannyasis don't incur sin by non-performance'. (Since even mImAmsakas agree that sannyAsis dont have adhikAra for vaidika rituals.) 

I only reiterated the idea in the second line viz., the overarching idea of "something cannot come out of nothing". That is why the seemingly unconnected passage Ch 6.2.2 (a topic which has nothing to do with karma performance or non-performance.), is quoted by the acharya to clinch the issue and assert the siddhAnta paxa that there is no fresh pApa karma produced for anyone. The abhyupetya vAda statement ("even if we grant that non-performance will produce fresh pApa karma, it will not apply to sannyasIs .") is not the complete statement of siddhAnta paxa. Had it been so, the need to quote Ch 6.2.2 would not even arise.

Om
Raghav
  

On Tue, Aug 2, 2022 at 9:47 PM putran M <putr...@gmail.com> wrote:
Namaskaram Raghav-ji,

Yes, your explanation is more in line with what I thought after reading the acharya's middle argument. However, the other part of the acharya's statement does not seem to negate the notion of papa karma for omission by non-monks:

"No because the incurring of sin concerns those who are not monks. As by not performing rituals etc. connected with fire, sin accrues even to the Brahmacharins who are performers of rites and duties and are not monks, it certainly cannot be imagined similarly with regard to a sannyasin. For that matter, neither can it be imagined that sin which is a positive entity can be generated from the mere absence of nitya-karmas, because of the Upanishadic text, 'How can existence come out of non-existence?' (Ch. 6..2.2)... Therefore rites and duties are not for monks."

While he seems to negate the possibility of sin for monks, he also seems to be accepting that there is sin of omission for non-monks.

So, what you are saying is that this "sin" the acharya is talking of is different from the way the purva-mimamsakas imagined it. Though the acharya seems to agree with the notion of sin here, you are saying he means in the sense of omission of what is needed to neutralize papa karmaphalas, obtain chitta shuddhi, or influence outer situations (karma unfolding) in a positive manner - which will lead to further suffering for the ajnani. (Something like Subu-ji said in the other mail.)

This is a subtle but significant difference from the direct reading of those words. When you can, do give some direct references where the acharya or sampradaya makes this distinction explicit.

thollmelukaalkizhu


On Tue, Aug 2, 2022 at 11:43 AM Raghav Kumar <raghav...@yahoo.com> wrote:
Namaste Putran ji
The idea of akaraNE pratyavAyaH (a mImAmsA idea)- not doing nityakarmas leads to pratyavAya doSha can be understood as follows. The very word pratyavAya is explained differently by Sri Shankara who contrasts it with the wrong underlying reasoning employed by mImAmsA. Shankara instead applies satkaaryavaada and explains in taiitiriya bhAShya and BG3 bhAShya the Vedantic explanation of akaraNE pratyavAyaH. 


1. For both the monk as well as the non-monk, there is no question of any fresh pApa karma being produced as a direct result of non-performance of nityakarmas which will supposedly have to be experienced later as pApakarma phala (the way the mImAmsakas imagine, wrongly, as it turns out). 
2. However there is a technical difference in the situation of the two cases viz., sannyAsis and non-sannyAsis. 

 There is a daily packet of pApa phala which is by default unfolding and manifesting as everything from waking up with a catch in the back, to a bad day at work or some unavoidable arguments/ unpleasantness with one's better half or with fellow brahmacharis (if in a gurukula) etc etc. It is said that birth as a human being is for those jivas who have both pApas and punyas in roughly equal measure (wide inequality notwithstanding). The performance of regular nityakarma mitigates or atleast partially neutralizes these pApa karmas before they express as the daily dose of pApa karma phala. This neutralization need not necessarily be on a day to day basis but may well be a more general case of neutralization of unfolding pApa karma phalas. ( Btw, plz note that this logic applies to both mumuxus as well as non-mumuxus and so it's not only about chitta shuddhi alone (which can be called the (internal) mental condition) but also adRShta durita kShaya - it influences the outer situations which get presented to us due to our karmas unfolding, as well. . 

The sannyAsi is mandated an alternative approach and has no nitya karmas like Sandhya etc.. Even for him, the pApa karmas he is born with, do unfold. And as per the ashrama Dharma, he is to do the pranava japa, guru seva (since we are only looking at vividiShaa cases), he gets some durita kShaya automatically even if he does not care for it. And then more importantly, his very GYAna pursuit of SMN is all about seeing through the bluff of doership and enjoyership. So shAstra being coherent does not ask him to "do" this or "do" that and make his life more comfortable/enjoyable, since the very ashrama of sannyasa is to get out of the doership/enjoyership trap. Naturally the usual nityakarmas are not enjoined for him. 

Kindly excuse my informal presentation since I did not quite references.

Om
On Mon, 1 Aug 2022 at 9:22 pm, putran M

suresh srinivasamurthy

unread,
Aug 2, 2022, 6:40:08 PMAug 2
to adva...@googlegroups.com
Namaste Putran-ji,

I think the real purpose of nitya karma is not just removal of papa karma but to keep the wheel of dharma moving, for the good of the three worlds, which will be pleasing to Ishwara. That is why in the sankalpam we say 'mama sakala durita kshaya dvArA Sri Parameshwara preetyartham'. Ofcourse I know all these come under mitya in Advaita but still I think performance of nitya karma which forms one's own svadharma should not be given up.

Sri Shankara also teaches Vedo nityam adhīyatāṁ tad-utitaṁ karma svanuṣṭhīyatāṁ. So I guess for all of us who are not sanyasis, performance of nitya naimittika karma at least for loka-kalyana is very much needed. Even Sanyasis are supposed to get bhiksha from families engaged in svadharma. Giving up of the same amounts to engaging in theft. This is very clear in Shankara Gita bhAshya 3-11 thru 3-13.

Please feel free to correct and my apologies for intervening. 

Regards,
Suresh

From: adva...@googlegroups.com <adva...@googlegroups.com> on behalf of putran M <putr...@gmail.com>
Sent: Tuesday, August 2, 2022 6:30 PM
To: adva...@googlegroups.com <adva...@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Fwd: [advaitin] Nityakarma - is omission adharma/papa?
 

putran M

unread,
Aug 2, 2022, 10:32:19 PMAug 2
to adva...@googlegroups.com
Namaskaram Suresh-ji,

You make valid points. Sri Krishna points out loka-kalyana as reason for fulfilling obligatory karma, 3-14 to 3-21 as well. 

"But that man who rejoices only in the Self and is satisfied with the Self, and is contented only in the Self - for him there is no duty to perform." (3.17)

For everyone else, there is nityakarma alongside their 'rejoicing' in jiva-hood. Based on the body-mind, and according to gender, varna and ashrama, their duties are specified in Ishvara's Order.

If they follow their svadharma (including nityakarma), they become instrumental and catalysts/basis for Ishvara's distribution of good karmaphala to other jivas, as well as His protecting the "wheel of dharma." They are aligning with His Order rather than going against its flow.

Also, if they follow their svadharma, they obtain karmaphala such as chitta-shuddhi as well as other positive effects of simply following 'His direction/preethi' rather than fighting with your own nature and His Order.

The Question is what happens when we don't do our nityakarma. Is this pratyavaya dosha a papa karma unto itself? Are we actively adding poison to the system, or are we passively failing to eat right? In both cases, there will be negative consequences. It seems based on Raghav-ji's input that pratyavaya dosha is not quite papa-karma but more like not eating right given our body-mind condition and its needs.

I think that separate from this is the knowledge that our doing nitya-karma will aid in protection of dharma and loka-kalyan. Such a knowledge, if present, adds a different dimension of duty, so willfully not doing the nitya-karma then can amount to papa-karma on its own. Here it is not the absence of nitya-karma but the presence of selfish intention even at the cost of suffering for others that brings in papa. That's my thinking.

thollmelukaalkizhu




Bhaskar YR

unread,
Aug 3, 2022, 12:41:53 AMAug 3
to adva...@googlegroups.com

praNAms Sri Putran prabhuji

Hare Krishna

 

Is it valid to do arthapatti here and say that in a brahmin, the upanayana samskara causes some change in the sukshma sharira after which nityakarma becomes necessary and omission becomes dosha. Likewise when a fit (with chitta-shuddhi) person undergoes the sannyasa samskara (?) under a guru, his sukshma sharira undergoes another change which effectively neutralizes the need to do nityakarmas (of grihastas, brahmacharis)?

 

Ø     I would like to look at it this way.  When a student get his admission to a school / college thenceforth he has to wear the uniform, regularly attend classes, doing the homework/project work etc. Just by wearing the uniform, shoes etc. daily travelling to school etc. do not bring any change in his intelligence level but admission to the educational institution means he has to live a disciplined life.  Likewise, when the boy undergoes the upanayana saMskAra he has to observe the disciplined routine.  Infact during upanayana saMskAra, Achaarya gives the series of instructions to vatu (brahmAchAri) what are all do’s and donts in brahmacharya Ashrama and at gurukula.  And while wearing the yajnOpaveeta, in the saMkalpa  vatu would say  mama brahmacharya Ashrame vihita nitya, naimittika karmAnushTAna yOgyatA siddhartham etc.  So, when the vatu become brahmachAri he has to follow Ashrama vihita karma in the course of settling the debt of Rishi ( Rishi rUNa) it will be through brahma yagna sva-shAkha vedAdhyayana, Rishi tarpaNa during upAkarma etc.  And these karma-s need to be done without any phalApeksha (karma phala tyAga) and by doing so gradually he develops vairagya and when the time is ripe he may take karma sannyasa (sannyasa deeksha) also to reach the highest goal.  So, in short Ashrama bound duties are shAstra vidhi and we have to follow it to get rid of rUNa traya i.e. deva ruNa, Rishi ruNa and pitru ruNa.  Since mumukshu with teevra vairagya has taken the karma tyAga rUpa sannyasa(vividisha)  as per shAstra vidhi he does not have to observe any nitya, naimittika, kAmya & pratishedha karma-s except what is prescribed in that Ashrama. 

 

It seems mantra-magical but the logic supports shastra pramana to explain why only a brahmacharin/grihasta has certain nityakarmas (not doing which is dosha and not merely an impediment to chitta-shuddhi) and not a child or a sannyasi.

 

The acharya has said that absence of nityakarma does not generate sin by itself. That would mean that whether it generates sin or not depends on the subtle body of the jiva in question. In the case of a sannyasi or a child, the subtle body must have undergone some change that negates the possibility of sin accrual upon omission of sandhya type nityakarmas.

 

Ø     As said above since nitya naimittika karma-s are shAstra vidhi for all the three Ashramites ( in vAnaprastha also there are some karma-s to be observed and purpose of it is deha dandane) we have to observe it and there is no other way to go ( or looking for some other easy alternatives).  If not done naturally it leads to dOsha as we are violating the dictum of scriptures.  Karma vidhi in veda-s not only for chitta shuddhi but also for pApa kshaya and puNya saMchayana.  Though for paNcha yagna-s there is no conspicuous fruit ( phala) said in shruti, these yagna-s have their own significance in karmAnushTAna. 

 

Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!

bhaskar

putran M

unread,
Aug 3, 2022, 3:46:26 PMAug 3
to adva...@googlegroups.com
Namaskaram Bhaskar-ji,

That appears normal reasoning but here we are not talking about such a man-made set of rules for social order. Varnashrama dharma is said to be part of a divine order in shrishti. The boy is born with a uniform and rules pertaining to that uniform are said to be turned on after a particular upanayana process. Shastra vidhi, yes, but the basis has to be something unique to that boy's body-mind that makes those rules his svadharma. Similarly for the fact that the rules change when the ashrama changes. Arthapatti should apply here just as for the yagnya adrishta example. Anyway its a minor point. I am ok with your other points.

thollmelukaalkizhu

--
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "advaitin" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to advaitin+u...@googlegroups.com.
Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages