sa taittiriya srutiraha sadaram nyasam prasastakhilkarmanam sphutam etavadityaha ca vajinam srutir-jnanam vimoksaya na karma sadhanam.
The famous Taitiriya sruti declares clearly and emphatically that all sastra-prescribed karmas are to be given up entirely. The Vajasaneya scripture (the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad) also declares, by statements such as “This alone is immortality,” that the means to total liberation is knowledge (jnana) and not work (karma)
What has been already established through logic and reason is now being reaffirmed by the declarations in our famous scriptures. Other than direct knowledge (pratyaksa) and inference (anumana), Vedanta accepts as a third source of knowledge scriptural declarations (apa-vakya). Therefore, when an idea or point of view is logically established and that idea is found supported by the rishis in their Upanisadic declarations, that idea becomes an authentic conclusion.
That karma is not the means to liberation and that jnana alone is the effective and sole means has been proven so far on the strength of mere arguments and common-sense logic. Here, that very same conclusion shown to be doubly valid because the Upanisads also clearly declare the same idea.
In the Taittiriyaranyaka, we read the rishi clearly declaring : “Immortality, and timeless Essence, can be realized not through karma, nor through children, nor through wealth; it is gained only through renunciation.” This is not done to insult the Vedas, but to show the way to liberation. Through karma, one who has already quieted and purified the inner equipments (antahkarana) must now give up all activities and compose oneself into deep contemplation upon the nature of the Self.
This declaration gets again reconfirmed in the bold statement of Yagnavalkya to Maitreyi in the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad : Liberation is to be achieved by the process of negation (netineti). Practice negation, and you arrive at the state of Self. This path of contemplation requires no help from any action (born of duality).’
Laksmana had asked, “Please tell me what is known to you as the most direct means to realize the timeless Self.” Sri Ramacandra has just elaborated upon the path of knowledge (jnana marga) in answer to Laksmana’s question.
From these two different scriptural declarations, it becomes clear beyond all traces of doubt that karma, the product of “nonapprehension” cannot take us to the direct apprehension of the Self. It can only create more and more karma, and ultimately tie us down to the level of the ego and its vanities of doership and enjoyership. “I do” and I-experience” are the constant whisperings of the ego. Jnana (apprehension) alone can end ajnana (nonapprehension).
This direct apprehension is independent, and need no support from any karma. Where the physical, mental, and intellectual karmas cease, the Self becomes self-evident in its own effulgence.
vidyasamatven tu darsitstvaya kraturna drstanta udahrtah samah phalaih prthaktvadbahukarakaihkratuh samsadhyate jnanamato viparyayam.
The example you had given to prove the similarity between karma (yajna, and so on) and jnana (knowledge) is not proper, because each produces different results. Also, karma (yajna) can be performed with the help of many accessories, whereas knowledge is opposite of this.
In verse 13 we heard the Samuccaya Vadins thundering their argument and hammering it tight by an example. Just as yajnas are performed with the help of many things, jnana needs the support of karma to accomplish itself, they said. This lame argument has no legs to stand on. The Samuccaya Vadins can never prove what they are supposed to assert, the jnana needs the support of karma.
You had tried to show the similarity between karma and knowledge, but your example fell flat, proving nothing. Why? Only because the two have contrary results. Karma can produce only more and more karmas, to fulfill which new bodies have to be taken to play them out in ever-widening fields and pastures new.
Also, the accomplishment of karma is accompanied by many accessories. But vidya (knowledge) is free and independent of all accessories. Therefore, karma and jnana are contrary factors: karma springs from body consciousness; while vidya comes to be when this body-consciousness is eliminated.
sapratyavayou hyahamitanatmadhi - rajnaprasiddha na tu tattvadarsinah tasmad budhaistyajyamavikriyatmabhir - vidhanatah karma vidhiprakasitam.
“If I don’t perform karma, I will incur sin.” This erroneous notion about oneself is true only in the case of ignorant ones and not for a seer of Truth. Therefore, wise men who have realized their nature to be the acitonless, changeless Self should renounce all karmas prescribed by the Vedas.
The Samucaya Vedins had argued earlier that the scriptures have declared that it is a sin not to perform karmas. Sri Ramacandra is now trying to explain the implication. The idea “I will be committing a sin in defaulting on my prescribed karmas” belongs to them who have identified with their own misapprehensions, never to those who have ended their nonapprehension. To the limited ego, such fears are natural.
The wise man, in his actionless state of contemplation, renounces all actions – even those prescribed by the Vedas. In Vivekacudamani, Sri Sankaracarya brings it out very vividly. Only those who are conscious of the body through their identification with it experience joy and sorrow and evaluate things as auspicious (subha-punya) and as inauspicious (asubha-papa) But he from whom this body consciousness has left, who has merged himself in the Self-how can he recognize these vivid experiences of the ego ?
Therefore, he who has reached the state beyond the body, beyond the gunas (the three thought textures), beyond the emotions of joy and sorrow, to him even the prescribed Vedic rituals are empty and should be renounced. In that higher state of Consciousness, it is not possible to undertake any work.
sraddhanvitastattvamasiti vakyato guroh prasadadapi suddhamanasah vijnaya caikatmyamathatmajivayoh sukhi bhavenmerurivaprakampanah.
A man of pure mind, endowed with faith, through contemplation of the great statement “That thou art,” with the grace of the teacher comes to realize the perfect identity between the Paramatman and jiva, and then gains supreme happiness and becomes like the Meru Mountain, unperturbed under all circumstances.
Sri Ramacandra, demonstrating the art of a perfect teacher of Vedanta, beautifully maps out the stages on the spiritual path for the benefit of Laksmana, his disciple. Having purified the mind, through desireless activities, into a complete steadiness, the seeker gathers a fresh momentum in his growing understanding–and so in his faith in the higher Reality. Thereafter, through steady and deep contemplation upon the pregnant suggestions of the great statement “That thou art,” he becomes supremely happy, and, like the Meru Mountain, is steady under all circumstances.
That which functions as conscious individual ego (jiva), that which expresses itself as the world of plurality (jagat), and the Creator of it all (Isvara) are all expressions of the one Essence, the Self. To realize this essential identity between the ego and the Self is the final goal and true destination of all spiritual seeking. To reach this goal means to achieve a state of blissful Consciousness (citananda), a state possible only for the extremely pure mind.
adau padarthavagatirhi karanam vakyarthavijnanavidhau vidhanatah tattvampadarthau paramatmajivka - vasiti caikatmyamathanayorbhavet.
It is well known that according to the rules for understanding the true meaning of a given sentence, understanding the meaning of individual words is the initial means. (In the sentence “That thou art,” the words “That” and “thou” indicate the Paramatman and jivatman, respectively, and the word “art” indicates the total identity between the two.)
In the earlier verse, Sri Rama suggested that one must analyze and examine the deeper significance of the great statement “That thou art.” This verse reveals how this analysis is to be undertaken and shows the technique of discovering the deeper significance of the terms employed. In order to grasp the silent and secret suggestiveness of the mahavakya, in the beginning (adau) each word is to be thoroughly examined with the help of the scriptures, as guided by the ancient teachers. Knowing the exact import of all the words employed in a sentence reveals the total idea communicated by the sentence.
Free thinking may not help in exact sciences like mathematics. Every theorem in mathematics has its own definite significance. By the grace of the mathematics teacher alone can the student of mathematics hope to learn this precise meaning.
The term “That” (tat), in its direct word meaning, indicates the omnipotent, omniscient, ever-free God Principle (Isvara), which has for its conditioning the Total Mind (Maya). The word “thou” (tvam) indicates, in its direct word meaning, the individual entity (ego), which is limited in its power (if not completely helpless), and conditioned by a total sense of nonapprehension of Reality, indicated in the scriptural texts as spiritual ignorance (avidya).
To say that these two, the God Principle and the individualized ego, are identical is to talk through the hat. The direct word meanings of these two terms do not signify this essential and total identity declared in the mahavakya. Therefore, Sri Rama employs the very expressive phrase “now” (atha), meaning that this identity is to be realized not through superficial, direct meanings of the words, but through their implied suggestiveness (laksana).