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more on gnyanis

From: R.Balaji (
Date: Fri May 08 1998 - 05:27:58 PDT

sri lakshmi-nrsimha parabrahmaNe namaha
sri vedanta gurave namaha

Dear "bhAgavatOttamA-s",

I reported to you all in my last but one post about a very peculiar
expression used by Sri.Mukkur Swamy during my meeting with him. I hope
you will recall the expression "gnyAni-varga".

I find this phrase delightfully intriguing and I thought I might be
permitted to share my thoughts (for what they are worth) on it with good
friends like you all on the list.

The nearest that one can get, I think, to an English translation of the
expression "gnyAni-varga" is : "the sub-specie of humans that are
seekers of knowledge". I know those of you who are familiar with
Sanskrit will say my phrasing is very clumsy but I believe it will do
quite nicely for the immediate purpose at hand viz. (a) to define
and (b) to understand what according to our ancient scriptures and
"sAstrA-s" constitutes the human sub-specie called "gnyAni".  

Now, in the parlance of our present times, a "gnyAni" would tend to be
loosely identified as an "intellectual", "a scholar" or a person who is
known to be dedicated to the pursuit of ever higher truths in his own
special field of inquiry or discipline". Any person who strives or is
seen to be strenuously striving these days, through intellectual ardour,
tears and sweat, in order to arrive at an objective and comprehensive
understanding of the world around him/her is regarded as a "gnyAni" --
in other words, a "man of knowledge".

At this point it gives me great pleasure now to announce that if we were
to apply the above criteria to ourselves, everyone of us too, to some
eminent degree or other, will surely qualify for the grand designation
--"gnyAni"! We could indeed boldly claim admission as members into the
exclusive club of a very special human sub-specie whose zoological
nomenclature (we learn from Sri.Mukkur Swamy) is : genus homo-sapien
"gnyAni-varga"!! (How nice it would be, I catch myself sometimes
imagining, how nice it would be if only I could see my name on my
business-card read as : "M.K.Sudarshan,"GnyAni", rather than the plain
and pedestrian "M.K.Sudarshan, B.Com.FCA"!).

If we look at the matter closely, everyone of us is indeed an
"intellectual" or "gnyAni". In our own respective fields of professional
endeavour all of us are actually seekers of "higher truth" -- be it as a
doctor, engineer, manager, computer engineer or whatever. We spent years
in school and university cultivating our mind and training our
intellects to understand the many "truths" about the world around us.
Next, in our working lives, all of us are constantly engaged indeed, in
one way or the other, in trying to make order and sense for ourselves
out of the chaos and vagary that we know envelops our professional
world, isn't it? The success of our lives and our careers is measured to
a great extent, isn't it, of how well we have 

And what is truth indeed but awareness of order, sense and perfect
symmetry in the world around us? 

Krishna has to say on the matter.

Those of you who have even a passing acquaintance with the
"Bhagavath-gita" would certainly have come across a very famous line in
Ch.VII.Ver.17 : "priyo hi gnyAninO-athyartham-aham sa cha mama priya-ha

This statement of the Lord is a categorical affirmation of His first and
foremost preference for the sub-specie of "gnyAni-s" amongst the men of
this world! 

The Lord says, "I am very dear to the "gnyAni" and he too is very dear
to me!!". A little later in the same Chapter in Verse 18 the Lord
further heaps encomiums on the "gnyAni" by identifying him/her as a
biological rarity ... a virtual "mahAtmA" --- "mahAtmA sudurlaBha-ha",
He calls the "gnyAni"!! There is no doubt at all that the Lord thought
no end of the "gnyAni"; He puts him/her on a more-than-human pedestal
and glorifies him/her as verily the Jewel in the Crown of His Creation!

Now we must ask ourselves the following questions: (a) how would we all
qualify as "gnyAni-s" by the standards of the "loukika" world?