Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 19 Mar 2023


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Why did Shankara condemn the path of action and support the path of knowledge?

[Dr. JSR Prasad asked:- If the path of action or work is so important in view of the sacrifice of fruit of work, why did Shankara condemn the path of action (Karmamaarga) supported by Puurvamiimaamsaa propagated by Mandana Mishra and supported only the path of knowledge (Jnaana maarga)?]

Swami replied:- If you carefully analyse your question derived from the answer given by Me for your first question, there is no need of opposition. The reason is that Shankara condemned the Karmamaarga, which is in the sense of rituals. In the above answer also, the rituals (karma) are condemned by the Veda. Hence, Shankara is in line with the Veda. He never condemned the work to be done to earn the fruit of work because if it is done so, the most important concept of sacrifice of the fruit of work is damaged by Shankara. In fact, He practiced this concept so that we can confirm that Shankara is a very strong supporter of this concept since practice is always greater than theory. He did the work of praising Goddess Mahalakshmi through the most beautiful prayer (Kanakadhaaraa stotram) composed by Himself. The fruit of His work is the rain of golden fruits from the hands of Goddess. Shankara is very poor begging for food and needs a lot of wealth for the stability in the life. Nobody in such state will donate all the golden fruits to the poor lady. At the maximum, a person existing in the place of Shankara may donate one golden fruit to the poor lady! But, Shankara donated all the golden fruits without aspiring even for one golden fruit and this shows that Shankara is the topmost example in doing the sacrifice of fruit of work. How much importance would such a supporter of the fruit of work  give  to the work that generates the fruit! This means that Shankara did not oppose Karmamaarga in which the sense of Karma or work is to earn the fruit for sacrifice.