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Ramanuja and "jnAna-karma-samuccaya"

From: Mani Varadarajan (
Date: Wed Nov 24 1999 - 11:00:59 PST

Dear Members,

Many of you have been following Dr. N.S. Anantarangachar's
illuminating series on the Chatussutri of the Sribhashya, posted by
his granddaughter Smt. Padmini Ranganathan.  We just 
finished reading Dr. NSA's exposition of the "Laghu Siddhanta"
(Minor Conclusion) portion of the Chatussutri.

I had the following question, which I sent to Smt. Padmini:

    Dear Smt. Padmini,

    I have one question about the laghu-siddhAnta. It is said
    "jnAnAn moksha:, ajnAnAt samsAra:" (liberation comes from
    knowledge, and from ignorance comes worldly existence), and
    we accept that knowledge of the form of continuous meditation
    (upAsanAtmaka-jnAna) leads to moksha. Now, the philosopher
    Bhaskara accepts the jnAna-karma samuccaya vAda, wherein
    knowledge and religious work combined together form the means
    of liberation, an idea which Ramanuja rejects. Why exactly
    does he reject this? Since Ramanuja recommends the continued
    performance of varNASrama-dharma as well as other karma-yoga
    for the fruition of the liberating jnAna, in what way is
    Ramanuja's philosophy different from jnAna-karma-samuccaya?

Smt. Padmini referred the question to Dr. NSA, who has explained
the difference between the two views quite well. 


I did refer your question to my grand father. PLease
note his reply.

The school of Bhaskara is in a way a combination of
the Mimamsaka school. He gives importance to Karma.
But he also says that Karma done  with desire for the
fruit is binding. But he advocates that Karma  done
combined with knowledge will be liberating.
"Jnanakarmasamucchaya" means combination of 'Jnana and
Karma in equal measure. Both of them are  independant
and one has to experience the results of Karma also
along with the results of Jnana. So there will be 2
means which are quite  different. Each one leads to
different experiences. That will not be
leading to salvation. The text "viJnAm cha aviJnam
cha" is to be taken in the sense of "angAngi bhava".
Performance of the ordained duties leads to the
purification of mind when it is done in the
proper mode. That is the essential nature of the Atman
& should be always remembered when performing Karma.It
should in the form of service to the Lord. Then that
Sadhaka realises its true nature of sub servience
to the Lord which leads him on to "Upaasana" of the

But in Bhaskara, both bheda and abheda are admitted.
Performance of Karma leads to the effacement of
difference whereas 'Jnana' serves
the purpose of realising identity. Such a thesis is
not taught in the  Vedas.It is pointed out 'tamEvam
vidvAn' and there the performance of 
Karma serves the purpose of generating upasana. Each
one of them, karma  and Jnana leads to different
results which is not admitted.

According to Ramanuja, Jnanam is of the form of
intense love towards the Lord and account of the love
shown to the Lord, the Lord also loves the devotee and
choses him. For having such love, one should 
know one's own real nature of sub-servience. So, the
performance of one's duties in the proper manner leads
to the gaining of such 'bhakti'.
In Bhaskara, there is no such relationship and it is
therefore not accepted.

Thanks and Regards