Mimamsa and Vedanta

Mimamsa literally means the art of reasoning and interpretation. But reasoning was used to provide justification for various rituals and attainment of salvation’s made dependent on the performance. according to Mimamsa, the vedas contain the eternal truth.

 The principal object of this philosophy was to acquire heaven and salvation. A person will enjoy the bliss of heaven as long as his accumulated acts of virtue last. when his accumulated virtue are exhausted, he will come back to the earth. but if he attains salvation he will be completely free from the cycle of birth and death in the world.

 In order to attain salvation the Mimamsa strongly recommended the performance of Vedic sacrifices, which needed the services of the priests and legitimised the social distance between various varnas. Through the propagation of Mimamsa the brahmanaswanted to maintain the ritual authority and preserve the social hierarchy based on brahmanism.

Vedanta:

Vedanta means the end of the veda. The Brahmasutra of Badarayan compiled in the second century B.C. formed its basic text. Later two very famous commentaries were written on it, one by the Sankara in the ninth century and the other by the by the Ramanuja in the twelfth century.

Shankara considers Brahma to be without any attribute but Ramanuja’s Brahma possess attributes. Shankara considers knowledge to be the chief means of salvation but Ramanuja’s road to salvation lies in practising devotion/ loving God.

The Vedanta philosophy is traced to earlier Upanishad. According to it, brahma is reality and every thing else is unreal (maya). The self (soul) or atma is identical with brahma. Therefor, if a person acquires the knowledge of the self (atma) he realises the knowledge of the brahma and thus attain salvation. Both brahma and atma are eternal and indestructible. Such a view promotes the idea of stability and unchangingness. What is true spirituality could also be true of the social and material situation in which person is placed.

The theory of Karma came to be linked to the Vedanta philosophy. It means that in his present birth a person has to bear the consequences of his action performed by his previous birth. Belief in rebirth becomes an important element not only in the Vedanta system but also in several other system of philosophy. It implies that people suffer not because of social and worldly causes but because of the causes which they neither know nor can bring under control.

The dabate between Pandit Mandan Mishra and Adi-Shankar:

There was a huge controversy in our country once between those who believed in Yajna, Karma, etc., and those who affirmed the superiority of spiritual wisdom and enlightenment. That controversy was decided by a reference to a lady arbitrator.

Mandan Mishra was performing a Yajna when Shankaracharya appeared. Having seen Shankaracharya there in his robes of a Sanyasi, Mandan Mishra said, “Why have you come to disturb the great Yajna which I am today performing”?

When the matter became one of hot controversy and Mandan Mishra’s wife, Bharati, was asked to arbitrate between these two, I now want to tell you how she arbitrated. With purity, detachment, objectivity, dispassion, complete freedom from partisanship with her husband’s case, she gave judgment against her husband. ‘Of course, spiritual wisdom is superior to mere performance of rites’: that is what Bharati said.

She gave us an ideal of a good judge, of a good arbitrator. Her relationship with her husband did not count. The fact that she was to arbitrate between these two great people did not count. Pure objectivity and fidelity to truth: these were the only things which weighed with her and she gave the judgment in favour of Shankaracharya, with the result that Mandan Mishra became his disciple, became a Sanyasi, Sureshwaracharya, the first disciple of Shankaracharya, who held his Math in Sringeri.

You see there how things have moved. You see there also how a woman, who was asked to give an award on such a controversy, behaved. We hear now-a-days all sorts of talk about ‘convicting judges’, ‘acquitting judges’, ‘talking judges’, ‘silent judges’, etc. But there was no such thing at all with Bharati. She merely threw herself into the task, studied what the truth was and said, “This is my judgment, Shankaracharya is right, Mandan Mishra is wrong”. This is how she put it.

Law is a thing which is perpetually moving, which should respond to the temper, to the traditional patterns as:~well as to the modern tendencies and challenges which face us. All these things will have to be taken into account in judging law. What is the kind of life which we wish to lead? What does law say? Law has an end in view, the welfare of all people. It is not the welfare of the rich or the we ll-born but the welfare of every citizen of this country. That is what law aims at and tries to fulfil.

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