Hinduism::Define the concept of "Shastraartha"? Why is it necessary for us? Can somebody narrate Ashtawakra.?

Rishi and King Janak's story?

In Hindi:-

"शास्त्रार्थ" क्या है? यह हमारे लिए क्यों आवश्यक है? क्या कोई अष्टावक्र और विदेह जनक की कथा सुना सकता है?


Actually Shastartha's meaning was distorted and It has been confined to defeat people. I want to hear Ashtawakra's Shastrarthaa story with the scholar in Janak's court.

It was Shastrartha that kept our logical reasoning alive with religion. A perfect combination.

Update 2:

When Ashtaakra entered the court of Janak, people laughed at his distorted ugly body.

Ashtawakra addressed them with the word, "CharmaKaar (a tanner SC class)"

Janaka asked him why he had called all othem Charmakar.

Ashtawakra replied a Charmkaar deals in skins and flesh. This is what you guys are doing. You are watching my body and laughed at me. If you want to laugh, kindly laugh at my ignorance if i have any.

6 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favourite answer

    Yes - in short, it is Shastrartha that kept our logical reasoning alive in respect of philosophy - the morals on life and experience.

    Ashtavakra taught King Janaka (Mithila - father of Sita) the concept of Atman. Thus Janaka became famous by being a Grihast (Garhastya - family head) to be sanyasin. These teachings form the content of the Ashtavakra Samhita.

    As I was narrating, there is no two extreme - only happiness and the lowest grade of happiness is said to be pain or sorrow - being the destiny.

    One is already free once when he realises he is free. (free from hunger and thirst).

    It also advocates non-action (no-duty), the loss of desire and severing of worldly attachments. To free oneself from the cycle of life and death one should withdraw from all earthly desires. To continue indulging in earthly things is said to be foolish and time wasting after realising their true nature (would become disinterested for selfish interests)

    To avoid misinterpretation in this regard teachers traditionally recommend that Ashtavakra Sanhita be pursued by only those who have already advanced on the spiritual path.

    I hv heard that Swami Rajaneesh (Osho ?Pune -India) has published comments on Astavakra and his teachings though I did not have chance to go through.

    Source(s): Ramayana - the story of King Janak of Mithilapuri. Teachings of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahans and the speeches of Swamy Vivekanand - Ramakrishna Mission,
  • 1 decade ago

    I personally do not believe in Shastrartha.. although it may be good for some.

    I believe in sharing the truth and listening to others' truth

    Ashtavakra and Janak had many stories.. one when ashtavakra entered janak's court, another where ashtavakra asks for guru dakshina and some more... which one u wud like to hear... O Punyatama prani ..._/\_


    Around the time Ashtavakra was born, his father was invited to argue with the great philosopher, Bandi. In those days, philosophical arguments were commonplace and the best were invited to argue in the presence of the monarch Janaka. Bandi was supposedly the son of Varuna - the Lord of all water bodies - and was sent incognito to land to get rishes, or sages, to conduct a ritual that his father wanted to perform. Bandi was well known as a philosopher and easily defeated Kahoda. As per the rules of the contest, Bandi's victims had to 'drown' themselves in the river nearby (Ganges?). Nobody knew of Bandi's real identity or his intention in demanding that his victims should submerge in the river. Kahoda, too, lost the argument and had to submerge himself in the river. Ashtavakra was therefore raised by Uddalaka and his disciples and within a short time mastered everything that was expected of a 'Brahmin'. Uddalaka and his disciples took pains to see that Ashtavakra was always kept in the dark about the fate of his father. However, Ashtavakra came to know the truth when his young uncle, Shwetaketu advertently, blurted out that the person who Ashtavakra thought was his father, was, in fact, not his father. Ashtavakra then demanded the truth from his mother and decided to confront Bandi and defeat him in an argument.

    Ashtavakra then made his way to the King's palace and presented himself as a challenger. The kind-hearted King could not bear the thought of someone so young losing to Bandi and meeting the same fate as countless other Brahmins and tried to dissuade the young boy. Ashtavakra, was, however adamant, and after an initial test, Janaka decided to let him face Bandi. Ashtavakra won the argument and demanded that Bandi restore to life all the sages and Brahmins he had forced to be drowned. One of the conditions of the contest was that if Bandi loses he would grant any wish of his vanquisher. By this time, Varuna's ritual was also complete and he had rewarded all the sages and Brahmins and so when Bandi was defeated, he revealed his true identity and the reason behind the 'drowning' of his victims. At Bandi's request, Varuna bade the sages and Brahmins farewell and brought them to surface. Kahoda was extremely pleased with his son's intelligence and knowledge.

    Later Ashtavakra grew into a spiritually advanced rishi and realised Atman. He went to Mithila and instructed King Janaka about the concept of Atman. These teachings form the content of the Ashtavakra Gita or Ashtavakra Samhita as it is sometimes called. (copied from wikipedia)

  • 1 decade ago

    This is a very hard question brother

    I find it difficult to answer your questions as most of them are above my level of understanding.

    I have read Astavakra Gita in parts. You know, I felt my self being displaced from my body on reading the book. The book is so powerful.

    I know the story of Astavakra, and Janaka, when Ashtavakra asks Janaka to go and warn others of the storm in the city.

  • 1 decade ago

    Kudos to Shri C. Vidya Rajgopalan. Thank you.

    Source(s): self
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  • 1 decade ago

    "Shastra-artha" means an academic debate, a dual in knowledge.

    1) Ashtavakra Story:

    Mahabharata, Vana Parva, Chapters 132 to 134:

    While the Pandavas were wandering among holy places in the forest, they came one day to the hermitage of the personages immortalized in the Upanishads. Lomasa told Yudhishthira the story of that place.

    Udalaka, a great sage and teacher of Vedanta, had a disciple named Kagola, who was virtuous and devoted but had no great learning. So, the other disciples used to laugh and mock at him.

    Uddalaka, however, attached no great weight to his disciple's lack of erudition but really appreciated his virtues, devotion and good conduct and gave his daughter Sujata in marriage to him.

    The couple was blessed with a son. A child generally inherits the characteristics of both the parents. But fortunately the grandson of Uddalaka took after his grandfather rather than his father and knew the Vedas even while he was in his mother's womb.

    When Kagola made mistakes, as he often did in reciting the Vedas, the child in the womb would twist his body with pain, and so it came to pass that he had eight crooked bends in his body when he was born.

    These crooked bends earned him the name of Ashtavakra, which means "Eight crooked bends." Kagola, one ill-fated day, provoked a polemical contest with Vandin, the court scholar of Mithila, and, having been defeated, was made to drown himself.

    Meanwhile Ashtavakra grew up to be a towering scholar even in his boyhood, and at the age of twelve he had already completed his study of the Vedas and the Vedanta.

    One day, Ashtavakra learnt that Janaka, the king of Mithila was performing a great sacrifice in the course of which the assembled scholars would, as usual, debate on the sastras.

    Ashtavakra set out for Mithila, accompanied by his uncle Svetaketu. On their way to the place of sacrifice at Mithila, they came across the king and his retinue.

    The attendants of the king marched in front shouting: "Move away. Make way for the King." Ashtavakra instead of moving out of the way said to the retainers:

    "O royal attendants, even the king, if he is righteous, has to move and make way for the blind, the deformed, the fair sex, persons bearing loads and brahmanas learned in the Vedas. This is the rule enjoined by the scriptures."

    The king, surprised at these wise words of the brahmana boy, accepted the justness of the rebuke and made way, observing to his attendants: "What this brahmana stripling says is true. Fire is fire whether it is tiny or big and it has the power to burn."

    Ashtavakra and Svetaketu entered the sacrificial hall. The gatekeeper stopped them and said: "Boys cannot go in. Only old men learned in the Vedas may go into the sacrificial hall."

    Ashtavakra replied: "We are not mere boys. We have observed the necessary vows and have learnt the Vedas. Those who have mastered the truths of the Vedanta will not judge another on mere considerations of age or appearance."

    The gatekeeper said: "Stop. Have done with your idle brag. How can you, a mere boy, have learnt and realised the Vedanta?"

    The boy said: "You mean I am not big like an over-grown gourd with no substance in it? Size is no indication of knowledge or worth, nor is age. A very tall old man may be a tall old fool. Let me pass."

    The gatekeeper said: "You are certainly not old, nor tall, though you talk like all the hoary sages. Get out."

    Ashtavakra replied: "Gatekeeper, Grey hairs do not prove the ripeness of the soul. The really mature man is the one who has learnt the Vedas and the Vedangas, mastered their gist and realised their essence. I am here to meet the court pandit Vandi. Inform King Janaka of my desire."

    At that moment the king himself came there and easily recognized Ashtavakra, the precociously wise boy he had met before.

    The king asked: "Do you know that my court pandit Vandin has overthrown in argument many great scholars in the past and caused them to be cast into the ocean? Does that not deter you from this dangerous adventure?"

    Ashtavakra replied: "Your eminent scholar has not hitherto encountered men like me who are proficient in the Vedas on Vedanta. He has become arrogant and vain with easy victories over good men who were not real scholars. I have come here to repay the debt due on account of my father, who was defeated by this man and made to drown himself, as I have heard from my mother. I have no doubt I shall vanquish Vandin (or Vandi), whom you will see crumple up like a broken-wheeled cart. Please summon him."

    Ashtavakra met Vandin. They took up a deba-table thesis and started an argument, each employing his utmost learning and wits to confound the other. And in the end the assembly unanimously declared the victory of Ashtavakra and the defeat of Vandin.

    The court pandit of Mithila bowed his head and paid the forfeit by drowning himself in the ocean and going to the abode of Varuna.Then the spirit of Kagola, the father of Ashtavakra, gained peace and joy in the glory of his son.

    The author of the epic instructs us through these words put in Kagola's mouth: "A son need not be like his father. A father who is physically weak may have a very strong son and an ignorant father may have a scholarly son. It is wrong to acesess the greatness of a man on his physical appearance or age. External appearances are deceptive." Which shows that the unlearned Kagola was not devoid of common sense.

    2) Debate of Ashtavakra with Vandin (or Vandi):

    Mahabharata, Vana Parva, Chapters 134:

    Ashtavakra addressed Vandin in these words, 'Do thou answer my questions, and I shall answer thine.' There at Vandin said, 'One only fire blazeth forth in various shapes; one only sun illumineth this whole world; one only hero, Indra, the lord of celestials, destroyeth enemies; and one only Yama is the sole lord of the Pitris.

    Ashtavakra said, 'The two friends, Indra and Agni, ever move together; the two celestial sages are Narada and Parvata; twins are the Aswinikumaras; two is the number of the wheels of a car; and it is as a couple that husband and wife live together, as ordained by the deity.'

    Vandin said, 'Three kinds of born beings are produced by acts; the three Vedas together perform the sacrifice, Vajapeya; at three different times, the Adhwaryus commence sacrificial rites; three is the number of words: and three also are the divine lights.'

    Ashtavakra said, 'Four are the Asramas of the Brahmanas; the four orders perform sacrifices; four are the cardinal points; four is the number of letters; and four also, as is ever known, are the legs of a cow.'

    Vandin said, 'Five is the number of fires; five are the feet of the metre called Punki; five are the sacrifices; five locks, it is said in the Vedas, are on the heads of the Apsaras; and five sacred rivers are known in the world.'

    Ashtavakra said. 'Six cows, it is asserted by some, and paid as a gratuity on the occasion of establishing the sacred fire; six are the seasons belonging to the wheel of time; six is the number of the senses; six stars constitute the constellation Kirtika; and six, it is found in all the Vedas, is the number of the Sadyaska sacrifice.'

    Vandin said, 'Seven is the number of the domesticated animals; seven are the wild animals; seven metres are used in completing a sacrifice; seven are the Rishis, seven forms of paying homage are extant (in the world); and seven, it is known, are the strings of the Vina.'

    Ashtavakra said, 'Eight are the bags containing a hundred fold; eight is the number of the legs of the Sarabha, which preyeth upon lions; eight Vasus, as we hear, are amongst the celestials; and eight are the angles of yupa (stake), in all sacrificial rites.'

    Vandin said, 'Nine is the number of the mantras used in kindling the fire in sacrifices to the Pitris; nine are the appointed functions in the processes of creation; nine letters compose the foot of the metre, Vrihati; and nine also is ever the number of the figures (in calculation).'

    Ashtavakra said, 'Ten is said to be the number of cardinal points, entering into the cognition of men in this world; ten times hundred make up a thousand; ten is the number of months, during which women bear; and ten are the teachers of true knowledge, and ten, the haters thereof, and ten again are those capable of learning it.'

    Vandin said, 'Eleven are the objects enjoyable by beings; eleven is the number of the yupas; eleven are the changes of the natural state pertaining to those having life; and eleven are the Rudras among the gods in heaven.'

    Ashtavakra said, Twelve months compose the year; twelve letters go to the composition of a foot of the metre called Jagati; twelve are the minor sacrifices; and twelve, according to the learned, is the number of the Adityas.'

    Vandin said, 'The thirteenth lunar day is considered the most auspicious; thirteen islands exist on earth.

    Having proceeded thus far Vandin stopped. There upon Ashtavakra supplied the latter half of the sloka. Ashtavakra said, 'Thirteen sacrifices are presided over by Kesi; and thirteen are devoured by Atichhandas, (the longer metres) of the Veda.

    And seeing Ashtavakra speaking and the Vandin silent, and pensive, and with head downcast, the assembly broke into a long uproar.

  • cheir
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    You must be kidding - try another forum,.

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