Mayavada Darpanam

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Attack on anubandha chatushtayam of Advaita based on shruti - 9


Prostrations to all.

We have completed the analysis of Gita quoting of Madhva and the advaitin’s interpretation of the slokas with the previous mail. Now we will enter into the Katha Upanishad statement that Madhva quotes.

Any system or any theory that has to be proved has to be supported through sruthi, yukthi and anubhava. Sruthi means quotations which includes from the Vedas (of which Upanishads are a part), Smrithis (like Bhagavad Gita) and Brahma Sutra. Yukthi is proving through logical arguments. Anubhava is showing that the theory is not something that only selected individuals can experience but that which can be experienced by each one of us. Though Mayavada Khandanam is a logical work still Madhva after trying to prove that advaita is devoid of anubandha chathustayam entered into sruthi or quotations. Initially Madhva quoted from the Smrithi of Bhagavad Gita. Thus now he quotes from sruthi of Katha Upanishad and later will end the quotation with a sutra from Brahma Sutra.

Madhva continues thus:

“Indriyebhyah paraa hi arthaa arthebhyascha param manah
Manasasthu paraa buddhir budheraatmaa mahaan parah

Mahatah paramavyaktham avyakthaat purushah parah
Purushaat na param kinchit saa kaastaa saa paraa gatih ”

(Katha 1.3.10-11)

Greater than sense organs are the sense objects. Greater than sense objects is the mind. Greater than the mind is Buddhi. Greater than Buddhi is Atman (here as per Dvaita Mahaan and Atman are denoting the Self or individual Self or jeeva). Greater than Atman is Avyaktha or unmanifest. Greater than avyaktha or unmanifest is the Supreme Purusha. There is nothing greater than Purusha and he is to be aspired. Purusha alone is the final goal.

The main quotation of Madhva is to show that Purusha or Uttama Purusha or Vishnu is greater than Atman or individual Self. This clearly thus brings out the difference between individual Self or jeeva or akshara purusha and the Uttama Purusha of Vishnu. This thus justifies Madhva’s interpretation of the 15th chapter Gita verses which he quoted earlier. Both the Gita quotation and Katha quotation shows duality as existing which is against advaita’s stand of individual self being the same as Brahman.

Having seen Madhva’s quotation and his interpretation of the Katha statements, we will see the advaitin’s interpretation of the Katha Upanishad verses in the next mail.

PS: Pardon the long delay between mails on this thread. We are almost reaching the end of this particular thread. We will try to wind up this topic and have the summary of the same from anybody else in the forum so that “I” can ensure that at least one person has been following the threadJ.

Prostrations to all.

Let a moment not pass by without remembering God

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Attack on anubandha chatushtayam of Advaita based on shruti - 8


Prostrations to all.

In the last mail in the series, we saw the advaitin’s quoting of Sankara’s Vivekachoodamani. There can be an objection that Sankara was an advaitin and hence his quotation cannot be taken to be authoritative for other schools of philosophy. Hence the advaitin gives quoting from the Bhagavad Gita which is considered authoritative by all the sub-schools of Vedanta.

The advaitin continues:

Bhagavaanapi proktham
“Sarva dharmaan parityajya maamekam sharanam vraja”,
“manmanaa bhava madbhakthah madyaaji maam namaskuru”,
“jnaanam teham savijnaanam idam vakshyaami asheshatah
Yat jnaatvaa neha bhooyo anyat jnaatavyam avashishyathe”,
“idam tu te guhyathamam pravakshyaami anasooyave
Jnaanam vijnaanasahitham yatjnaatvaa mokshyase ashubhaat” ithi

The Lord also has proclaimed thus:
“Renounce all dharmas and take refuge in me alone”, “Fix your mind unto me, become my devotee, always seek me and prostrate me”, “I will explain knowledge and experience to you – after knowing which there will remain nothing more here to be known”, “I will explain to you the secretive knowledge and experience knowing which you will be liberated from the bondages in the world”

Vaarthikakaarih proktham

“Atmalaabhaat paro laabho naasthi ithi munayo viduh
Tat laabhaartham kavih stauthi svaatmaanam parameshwaram” ithi

Vartikakaara (sureshwaracharya) has proclaimed (in his work Manasollasam which is a commentary on Sankara’s dakshinamurthy astakam):

‘There is nothing greater than knowing the Self’ thus say munis – therefore in order to know the Self, the kavi (Sankara here) is praising one’s own Self which is Ishwara.


The advaitin here is winding up the discussion about the ultimate goal of human life. The last sloka of 15th chapter of Gita mentioned about krithakrithyathaa or the state reaching where there remains nothing else to be done. This state is achieved only when the ultimate goal of human life is attained – that goal after attaining which there remains no more desire to be fulfilled, no more actions to be performed and no more ignorance about the reality of Brahman. In order to show that the analysis of this state which the advaitin made through his commentary is not his alone nor advaita acharyas but that of the scriptures as well, he quotes here the Lord’s statements in Gita. These statements clearly show that the ultimate goal of human life is renouncing everything apart from the non-dual reality of Brahman. And Brahman is that by knowing which everything else becomes known – thus there will remain nothing else to be known, nothing else to be sought and nothing else to be done.

After giving statements from the Gita, the advaitin concludes this discussion with a statement from the vartikakara’s (Sureshwaracharya) Manasollasa which is a metrical commentary on the Dakshinamurthy Astakam of Sankara.

The main focus of the sloka is that there is nothing greater than the Atman to be achieved in life – Atman or knowing the Atman is the ultimate and supreme goal of life. This atman is not known as different from Saguna Ishwara but it is known as the same as Nirguna Brahman. Atman or the Self is not different from Brahman because both are of the same nature of Sat, chit and ananda.

Advaita Makaranda thus summarizes this:

Aham asmi sadaa bhaami kadaachit naaham apriyah
Brahmaiva aham atah siddham satchidananda lakshanam

“I” (atman or individual Self) am always present, always illumining and never am I non-liked. Thus it is proved that I am Brahman of the nature of Sat, Chit and ananda.

Svayamprakaasha yathi in his commentary Rasaabhivyanjika to advaita makaranda gives this anumaana (inference) to prove that “I am Brahman”.

Aham Brahma asmi, satchidaanandatvaat, brahmavat.
I am Brahman, because of the nature of Sat chit ananda, like Brahman.

I am Brahman – prathijnaa or statement
Because of the nature of Sat chit ananda – hetu or reason
Like Brahman – udaaharana or example

Thus knowing Atman is knowing oneself as adviteeya nirguna akhanda brahman. This alone will lead a seeker to krithakrithyataa. This way of explanation is not against sruthi and yukthi as the dvaitin claims but this way alone is proper as the scriptures and logic. This has been proved by the advaitin through explanation of the 15th chapter slokas and quotations supporting the same.

Madhva had quoted the 15th chapter slokas to show that dvaita is real and advaita is faulty. But this was due to a wrong interpretation of Madhva. The interpretation which Advaita has to give for the slokas (dealing with the three purushas) is logical and as per scriptures – such an interpretation alone can stand scriptures analysis and support from other statements in Gita itself.

Thus it has been shown through Madhva’s quotation itself that advaita has sruthi support. There is a logic called kuvalayapeeda nyaaya which is explained as disproving the opponent through his own words – we can say that the advaitin has used this logic for the 15th chapter quotation of madhva.

Madhva after quoting the Gita (smrithi), uses quotation from the Katha Upanishad (sruthi) to prove his stand of disproving advaita. We will see this as well as the advaitin’s answer to the same in the next posting.

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God

Monday, March 05, 2007

Attack on anubandha chatushtayam of Advaita based on shruti - 7


Prostrations to all.

In the previous mail we saw the advaitin commenting on the last sloka of the purushottama yoga. The advaitin mentioned that through knowledge of the Self thereby being established in the Self alone is the goal of human life & it is only through this that the seeker gains the krithakrithya bhaava (having done whatever is to be done).

The advaitin now gives quotations to support his interpretation of the sloka.

He continues thus:

Etaduktham aacharyaih
“janthoonaam narajanma durlabhamatah pumstvam tatho viprathaa
Tasmaat vaidika dharma maarga parathaa vidvatvam asmaat param
Atmaanatma vivechanam sva anubhavo brahmanaa samsthithir
Mukthirno shata janma koti sukrithai punyair vinaa labhyathe” ithi

Thus has acharya (Sankaracharya) proclaimed:

Human birth is the rarest of all births; rare than that is manhood; still rarer is the desire to learn; more than that is leading a life as prescribed in the scriptures; being learned in the scriptures is still rarer than that; having learnt the scripture and being able to discriminate between the Atman and Anaatman is still rare; rarer than that is experiencing the Self as one’s nature; being established in Brahman is the rarest of all things; such a person is liberated – this is not achieved without the help of punyas gained in hundreds of crores of lives.


The above is the 2nd sloka of Vivekachoodamani. This is a sloka very important for a seeker to judge himself as to where he stands in terms of spiritual progress. Thus ultimately a seeker is either realized or in ignorance, scriptures like yoga vasistha and others speak about different levels while progressing in the spiritual path.

The first and foremost thing for a seeker is being born as a human. We all know the story of Jada Bharatha where he was born as a deer but still remembering the Lord. But he couldn’t become a jeevan muktha with the deer-birth and hence had to take another human birth for the same. The human birth is superior to all other beings because of two-fold reason. One is that humans alone are gifted with the intellectual capability of discriminating between the real and unreal. This discrimination power is not merely knowing things but the real discrimination of knowing that Brahman alone is real and everything is unreal. Unless a seeker uses discrimination to contemplate on Brahman, he is not different from animals (Sankara boldly calls humans who are not in the spiritual path as pashus or animals in the adhyaasa bhashya). Second reason is that human beings alone can decide their fate and go against innate nature of attachment to particular activities or actions. A dog cannot do anything different from barking – nor can a cat do anything different from meowing. But humans can decide their actions. A human being can decide to stay with animal-like-activities of eating-drinking-mating-sleeping or decide to control his fate and realize the ultimate reality of Brahman. This feature of controlling one’s fate is what differentiates human births from other births. Though human beings by default are meant to be ignorant and immersed in the ocean of samsaara, they can by their free will control the fate and overcome the ocean of samsaara to realize their very nature of Brahman.

If a seeker has got human birth, then he needs to have gratitude to the Lord and his past for the same. The scriptures speak about crores of species and that human birth is achieved after passing through all those species. Thus if we have achieved this human birth, it is not as simple as getting a job or getting a partner in marriage – it is the toughest of things. Since human birth is rarest, therefore a seeker has to give importance to it and use it for what it is meant. Human birth is not meant to merely behave and live like animals – instead it is meant to be utilized for realization and to come out of the delusion of samsaara. For this, a seeker should not succumb to desires of sensual pleasures. He should be emotionally strong so that intellect is guided in the right direction towards the goal of realization. This is what Sankara calls as pumstvam or manhood. Manhood is not physical but it is mental and intellectual. Any being who is able to control his emotions and use it for progressing in the spiritual path is a man. Any being who is not able to withstand or control his emotions thereby succumbing to emotional feelings like passion, attachment, desires etc. is a woman.

This definition of man and woman is very important to understand the rest of Sankara’s sloka. The main reason for this definition is that a person will be able to progress in the spiritual path only if his intellect is sharp – the intellect will be sharp only if the mind doesn’t get distracted into passions and emotions. We generally see that women are more emotional than men (it is only general and please don’t mail me back arguing that “I am a woman but still not emotional”J). Hence manhood or being intellectually focused is important for a seeker.

Chinmaya thus beautifully says in his English translation of Vivekachoodamani that “there are women among bearded ones”!!!

Having manhood qualities but still not striving for spiritual goal is also bad. Thus we have great leaders like Indira Gandhi, Jaya lalitha and others who have manhood qualities but still don’t utilize it for realization. Thus viprathaa or the quality of striving for realization is very important once manhood qualities have been fully cultivated and developed in a seeker. Once striving for realization is there, the seeker will start following the spiritual path put forth by the scriptures – this is what Sankara says as vaidika dharma maarga parathaa. This doesn’t mean following the ritualistic actions of the Vedas like sandhya, agnihotra etc. as that will never lead to realization. This only means following the path put forth by the knowledge portion of the Vedas (Vedanta) which mainly is three fold of sravana (listening), manana (reflection) and nidhidhyaasaa (contemplation).

When a person follows the path put forth by the Vedas, he becomes learned in the Vedas (intellectual or paroksha jnaana). Such a person is called a vidvaan (vidvatvam or the quality of being learned in the scriptures is achieved by such a person). Once a person is learned in the scriptures, he is able to differentiate between the Atman (Self) and Anatman (not-Self) – this is what Sankara calls atma anaatma vivechanam. When a person is able to differentiate the atman and anatman, he identifies himself with the atman which is a mere saakshi to all activities. Thus svanubhavam or experience of the truth that I am Brahman ensues – this is aparoksha anubhava or intuitive Self-experience.

Aparoksha anubhava leads to a seeker being always established in the ultimate reality of Brahman or brahmaatmana samshithih. Being ever established in Brahman of the nature of Sat chit ananda is moksha or liberation.

All these steps might be very easy to list out or learn or preach but practicing and being in that state is very tough indeed. Thus births and births are required to achieve all these. The starting itself needs a human birth which itself is attained after crores of janmas. After getting a human birth, it might still take a seeker another lakhs of janmas to attain the final state of moksha.

It might take many janmas or one janma depending on the seeker. A seeker should never keep things for later – he should have such strong desire to get liberated in this birth itself so that he progresses in the spiritual path without any delay thereby realizing Brahman in this very birth itself.

Of course, birth and death are only for the body/jeeva and not for the Self. But to realize that birth and death is for the body and not for “me” is moksha or liberation. Mere intellectual knowledge of this itself will take years – and once intellect is convinced of it, nidhidhyaasana of many more years alone will make a seeker fully established in experience of Brahman.

Only once a person realizes Brahman through aparoksha anubhava, will he require no more actions to be performed. Thus the state of krithakrithyathaa will happen only after realization. Through this sloka of Sankara, the advaitin supports his explanation of the Gita sloka that krithakrithyathaa which is realization of the Self alone is the goal of human life (which is the main essence of Sankara’s Vivekachoodamani sloka quoted here).

We will continue with the advaitin’s further quotations in the next mail.

Prostrations to all.

Let a moment not pass by without remembering God

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Attack on anubandha chatushtayam of Advaita based on shruti - 6


Prostrations to all.

Let’s continue with the advaitin’s commentary on the last sloka of the 15th chapter of Gita. The last sloka of the 15th chapter of Gita is thus:

Ithi guhyathamam shaastram idam uktham mayaa anaghaa
Etad budhvaa buddhimaan syaat krithakrithyascha bhaaratha

Thus has been propounded the most secret of scriptures by me to you, O one who is devoid of ignorance (impurity). Knowing this, a person becomes intelligent thereby doing whatever is necessary to be done in the world, O Arjuna.

The advaitin explains this thus (as in the previous posting, the words in the sloka of Gita are being colored in black):

Ithi idam guhyathamam shaastram svasvaroopam prathipaadayathi ithi guhyathamam, mayaa aachaaryaroopena gururoopena uktham, he anagha ajnaana rahitha ithi bodhayithum anagha ithi sambhodana

Thus this secret scripture, secret because it propounds one’s own nature which is subtle, has been propounded by me, in the form of an acharya and Guru, to you O Anagha – the calling of Arjuna as Anagha is to denote the seeker as being devoid of ignorance (after learning this scripture).

Why Arjuna is being called Anagha here? The advaitin answers this thus:

Idam shaastram jnaatvaa ajnaana rahitha sadaa aatmaaramo bhavathi ithi anagha shabdena bhagavaan bhodayathi

After knowing this scripture, a person becomes devoid of ignorance and rejoices ever in the Atman – thus the Lord is using the sambhodana of Anagha.

Etad aatmano shaastram budhvaa aparokshatho jnaatva krithakrithyo yad kritham tad kritham syaat bhavathi he bhaaratha

This scripture of the Atman having known – known means knowing it intuitively as one’s own experience – a person becomes krithakrithya – having done whatever is to be done (nothing more remains to be done for such a person), O Arjuna.

Idam hi manushya janma lakshyam, svasvaroopam nirvishesha brahma ithi jnaayathe – yadasthi tad brahma ithi aparoksha jnaanodayam bhavathi ithi Etasmaadeva hi manushyah krithakrithyo bhavathi

This alone is the goal of human life – to know one’s own nature as nirvishesha Brahman and to gain the intuitive direct experience that whatever is there is Brahman alone. Through this alone a person becomes krithakrithyah (the state of being in which the person has done whatever is to be done – all actions end).


Guhyatamam shaastram

This scripture that has been propounded by the Lord (the different types of purushas as kshara, aksahara and uttama) is most secretive in nature. It is most secretive in nature because it speaks about the innermost Self.

Anoraneeyaan mahatho maheeyaan – subtle than the subtlest & greater than the greatest – this is what Katha Upanishad speaks about the Self. The Self is subtle than the subtlest because it is the Subject that is beyond the intellect (which is the subtlest component of a being). The Self is greater than the greatest because the world itself has come out of the Self or Brahman. Since the great or huge world itself is an effect of the cause of Brahman, therefore Brahman has to be greater than the world (the greatest that the human intellect can apprehend).

The Self is also proclaimed in the Kena Upanishad as that which is the mind of the mind, the eye of the eyes etc. These are meant to show that the Self is the Subject of the antah karana (consisting of mind, intellect, ego and memory), the bahih karana (sense organs of perception and action) and the pancha pranas. Since the Self is the Subject of everything, it is the secret of all secrets – as it is tough to propound about the Subject. Anything that can be spoken of is an object of either the antah karana or the Self – but the Subject cannot be spoken about because it is the Subject of even speech!!! Thus the Subject can only be pointed out as the Subject of everything – such a scripture which speaks about the Subject of all objects is secretive.

Through the mentioning of this scripture as secretive, the Lord is also in a way trying to generate desire in the mind of the seeker to attain such a secretive knowledge and implement it in life.

It is not enough if something is proclaimed as secretive or tough to attain – this alone will not generate desire so strong in the seeker that he will seek this scripture with all fervor. It is required to speak about the result of learning and implementing such a scripture. This has been beautifully put forth by the Lord through the statement that “a person becomes krithakrithya” by implementing this scripture.

Krithyakrithya bhaavam

Actions are propelled by desires to become perfect. This circle of desire and action continues until the state wherein the seeker becomes satisfied through the knowledge that “I have done whatever is to be done”. This state is what the Lord defines as krithakrithya bhaava – having done whatever is to be done in life.

We would think that during old age and just before death, we would feel that we have done everything in life – but this is wrong. The Lord himself says that a person will be thinking at the death-time about that which he has been thinking his entire life. If entire life we have been thinking about desires and doing things, we will be thinking the same at the end of our life also. Thus another birth will have to be taken to fulfill those desires.

Then how can a person attain this bhaava?
Only through Self-knowledge. As we have seen in many places, knowledge burns actions into ashes. The Knowledge that there is only Brahman here & I am Brahman removes all actions. Actions as explained earlier are propelled by desires for perfection – once the seeker realizes that he is the perfect Brahman (poorna), then there remains no desire to be fulfilled. When there are no desires, there requires no particular action to be performed. Thus he remains satisfied and has the feeling of “doing whatever is to be done in life” (fulfillment of all desires and action).

Though such a jnaani will not have any desires, still he will be doing activities for the welfare of the world. Any person irrespective of whether he is a jnaani or ajnaani will have to do actions in the world because the world itself is a place of actions. Thus as long as we see people in the world, they will be doing activities. Jnaanis will be doing for the welfare of the world whereas ajnaanis will be doing for selfish desires.

To sum up, the fruit of learning this secret scripture is the fulfillment of all desires – through the knowledge that I am Brahman and experiencing it through seeing everything as an illusion of names and forms in Brahman.

The advaitin next gives a few quotations to support this commentary on the last sloka of Gita – we will see that in the next mail.

Prostrations to all.

Let a moment not pass by without remembering God

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Attack on anubandha chatushtayam of Advaita based on shruti - 5


Prostrations to all.

In the previous few postings, we saw a detailed analysis of Jeeva, Kutastha and Nirguna Brahman.

Just to recap it (since it’s been a couple of weeks since the last posting): Jeeva is reflection of Consciousness in the intellect. Kutastha is saakshi or witness of all activities. Kutastha is the same as Nirguna Brahman except that Kutastha is the term given to Brahman which seems to be limited by adjuncts and when it becomes a saakshi. The difference between kutastha and Brahman is the same as the difference between ghata aakasha (pot-space) and maha aakasha (infinite-space).

Now there can be an objection that since saakshitva itself is only an illusion (saakshitaa api na taatvikee – sakshitva is also not real – this was the advaitin’s statement quoting Advaita Makaranda), kutastha itself is mithyaa or illusory which will lead to advaita falling to pieces as kutastha is what is considered as the Self of all beings. This is what the advaitin next raises as an objection and answers it.

The advaitin continues thus:

Nanu yadi kutasthah brahmano bhinnah, kutasthasya mithyaatvam syaat?

If Kutastha is different from Brahman (at the empirical level, kutastha is different from Brahman – this is what the advaitin had earlier explained), then kutastha will become illusory and unreal? (this is because in advaita, Brahman alone is real – thus if kutastha is different from Brahman, kutastha is unreal).

(If it is argued thus),

Tathoktham vidyaranyaih kutastha deepe

Anticipating such an argument only, Vidyaranya explains in Kutastha deepa (the 8th chapter of Panchadashi) thus:

“Kutasthe api athishankhaa syaadithi chet maa athishankyathaam
Kutastha maayikatve tu pramaanam na hi vidhyathe ithi ”

If it is over assumed and concluded that kutastha is also illusory, there need be no such assumption; because there is no pramaana (proof) for kutastha being illusory.

Sruthih Vadathi
“saakshi chetha kevalo nirgunascha” ithi

Scriptures mention (the svetaswatara Upanishad) about saakshi being real through statements that “the Self is witness, consciousness, absolute and without any qualities”.


The advaitin is here explaining that though kutastha is different from Brahman at the empirical level, at the ultimate level both are the same only. Therefore it cannot be argued that kutastha is illusory because of being different from Brahman. Though pot-space is different from infinite-space, but still pot-space is not illusory – but it is the same as infinite space when the adjunctions are removed. When the adjuncts of pot is removed, pot-space doesn’t become illusory – instead pot-space is known as infinite-space.

Similarly when Brahman is realized and adjuncts are removed, kutastha doesn’t become mithyaa or illusory but kutastha is realized as one with Brahman.

The advaitin had earlier explained this through logic but here he quotes from Panchadashi which says that there is no proof (valid pramana) for kutastha being illusory (which means that kutastha is real and hence the objection raised is invalid).

The next sloka of 15th chapter (19th sloka) of Gita is:

Yo maam asammodah jaanaathi purushottamam
Sah sarvavid bhajathi maam sarvabhaavena bhaaratha

He who is without delusions and knows me as uttama purusha, he worships me in all ways being a knower of everything (knower of Brahman is knower of everything), O Arjuna!

The advaitin continues by way of explaining this sloka thus:

Yo asammodah ajnaana tatkaarya dvaita satyatva bhaava rahitha mumukshuh maam sarvabhoothasthitham adviteeya brahma uttama purusha ithi jaanaathi, svasvaroopameva aparokshatho jnaayathe sa jeevan mukthah maam adviteeya nirvishesha brahma uttama purusho sarvathaa sarvam brahma mayam ithyeva bhajathi atmani sthitvaa nischalo bhootva aatmaaraamo bhavathi he bhaaratha!

(For ease of understanding, the words of the original gita sloka which is present in the above explanation has been colored in black)

The easiest way of understanding bhashyas or commentaries like the above is by way of following the words in the original sloka. Those words which follow the words “yo asammodah” till “maam” are explanations of the word “asammodah” – similarly it has to be continued till the end.

The meaning of the above is thus:

That person who is without delusion, a mumukshu who is devoid of the thought that ajnaana along with its effect of duality are real, knows me as uttama purusha, the non-dual Brahman present in all beings; he, such a jeevan muktha, worships me the non-dual nirvishesha Brahman which is the same as uttama purusha all the while considering everything as filled with Brahman. Worshipping is being established in the Self & without any fluctuation in the mind & rejoicing in the Self.

(it is very tough indeed to translate such Sanskrit bhashyas as the above – do let me know if the above translation is meaningful or not)


Asammodah and Bhajathi are two important words which have been explained aptly by the advaitin in his commentary above. Let us analyze these two important words.

Moham is delusion and sammoham is delusion at its maximum. Sammodah is one is under sammoham or delusion. Asammodah is a seeker who is not under delusion.

What is delusion?
Delusion is considering the dual world as real. Duality is only an illusion in the non-dual entity of Brahman. Considering the dual objects as real rather than illusion is delusion. Even as the duality created in the dream world is only an illusion in the dreamer, the duality seen in the waking world is also an illusion in the Self. Delusion in dream world is considering the dream world as real – similarly delusion in the waking world or at empirical level is considering the waking world (the dual world) as real.

Duality is created out of ignorance of the ultimate reality of Brahman. Thus the advaitin has explained that the effect of ajnaana is dvaita or duality. Vedanta speaks about two facets of ajnaana – the first is aavarana shakthi or veiling power and the second is vikshepa shakthi or projecting power. Projection of one as many is dvaita. Thus dvaita is an effect of ajnaana even as pot is an effect of the cause of mud.

A seeker who doesn’t consider the dual world which is caused out of ajnaana as real is a person who has overcome delusion.

A person who is not under delusion will do bhajanam or worship of Brahman. What is worship? Worship is not as we generally know as singing bhajans or going to temples etc. Worship is being established in one’s own Self (knowing that one’s inner Self is Brahman). Real worship is the seeker being established in the Self at all times and ever rejoicing in the Self (atmaaramo). This attitude of atmaaramah is what we have learnt for a real bhaktha in Narada Bhakthi Sutras.

We will continue with the advaitin’s commentary of the 20th (last) sloka of 15th chapter of Gita in the next posting.

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Attack on anubandha chatushtayam of Advaita based on shruti - 4


Prostrations to all.

We discussed the advaitin’s words in the previous mail about the difference and similarity between Kutastha and Nirguna Para Brahman (Paramaatman). The advaitin explained that Kutastha is the same as Brahman but seemingly limited by the limitations of body-mind-intellect. As long as a seeker finds the limitations of the various adjuncts of the atman, he will find the Kutastha or Atman as being limited and hence different from Brahman; but once the seeker realizes that the adjuncts are mere illusions then he will realize that Kutastha is same as Brahman.

Thus the seeker has to always remember that he is the same as Brahman of the nature of Sat Chit Ananda and when the adjuncts seem to be present, he is the mere witness/substratum of the adjuncts. Remembering this, the seeker will be unaffected by the activities in the world & hence be ever blissful. Slowly the realization will dawn that there are no real adjuncts and whatever really exists is only the ultimate reality of non-dual Brahman.

The advaitin continues the analysis of the Gita slokas thus:

Etasmaat bhagavaan urdhvam uktham “aksharaadapi chottamah” ithi

Therefore (since akshara and paramaatman are same but different because of the witness-hood of the illusory adjuncts in the case of akshara purusha) the Lord proclaims later that “I am greater than the uttama purusha”

(Now the advaitin is explaining the sloka:
Yasmaat ksharam ateethoham aksharaadapi cha uttamah
Atosmi loke vede cha prathithah purusha uttamah

As I am above (beyond) kshara purushas and greatest among akshara purusha, therefore I am known in the world and Vedas as uttama purusha)

Aksharaat kutasthaat uttamah srestah upaadhi-saakshitva abhaavaat

(I am) Greater, superior, than akshara which is kutastha because of the absence of the witness-hood of the adjuncts (in the case of kutastha).

Atah asmaat kaaranaat aham loke vede cha prathitah ukthah prasiddhah vaa uttama purushah aksharaat sresta bhinna eva asmi

Therefore, because of this reason (that I don’t have the witness-hood), I am called or famous in the Vedas and the world as uttama purusha who is superior and different surely from the kutastha.

Vyavahaare uttama purushah aksharaat bhinna eva upaadhivashaat

(How I am different and similar to Kutastha???)
In the vyavahaara dasha (empirical state when the seeker sees the adjuncts – similar to a person while dreaming), uttama purusha is different surely from akshara because akshara purusha has the various upaadhis or adjuncts (associated with the adjuncts not directly but as the witness or saakshi).

Kinthu paramaarthatho akshara purusha eva uttama purusha dvaita abhaavaat upaadhi mithyaatva bodhaat cha

But at the ultimate level, akshara purusha alone is uttama purusha because of the absence of duality and after realization that the upaadhis are mithya or unreal (Here the word mithya means unreal as the state is ultimate or after knowing the illusion in reality).


Whatever the advaitin is explaining here, we have already dealt in the previous mail. But still as the Upanishads also explain things again and again in order to emphasize and to make the seekers focus on the same, we will also do the same.

Here the advaitin is explaining the 18th sloka where the Lord gives the reasons as to why Uttama Purusha is different from kshara and akshara purusha. As we already know, kshara purusha is the jeeva who is mutable or dies. Uttama Purusha is the eternal reality and hence kshara purusha is different from uttama purusha. The Lord thereby says that ksharam ateethah aham or I am beyond kshara purusha. Here “beyond” only means that I am superior in that kshara purusha has a birth-death whereas I am eternal. The Lord then says that I am supreme amongst akshara purushas. The supremacy is because of akshara purusha being a witness to illusory adjuncts whereas uttama purusha is non-dual eternal Brahman. The uttama purusha is beyond all distinctions and limitations – it never can even be subject to seeming limitations like the akshara purusha as it is Nirguna (without any qualities), nirapeksha (absolute) and nirupaadhi (without any upaadhis or adjuncts).

As long as the limitations of pot exists or is seen to exist, the pot-space is different from infinite-space though both are the same only. Similarly as long as the seeker sees the adjuncts of body-mind-intellect, there is difference between kutastha and Brahman though both are the same.

All these explanations are to show that kutastha and Brahman are one and the same but seemingly different. We all are kutastha only because “I” am the witness to all activities. Thus we all are in fact Brahman only but seemingly different because of the adjuncts of body-mind. Thus the kutastha in hariram is different from the kutastha in Sankaracharya – but both are one and the same Brahman only. If hariram knows this, then he will not be affected by worldly activities but will be ever blissful as he knows that his nature is that of Brahman (satchidananda roopam).

The whole analysis of Vedanta or any seeking is eternal bliss – thus once we atleast remember that we are kutastha and not jeeva, that is more than enough. As time passes, we will ourselves come to realize that kutastha is none other than Brahman.

Let us all as the Lord mentions try to remember that we are kutastha atman which is ever blissful and a mere witness to all dual notions of happiness-sorrow, cold-heat etc.

We will continue with the advaitin’s explanation in the next mail.

Prostrations to all.

Let a moment not pass by without remembering God

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Attack on anubandha chatushtayam of Advaita based on shruti - 3


Prostrations to all.

The advaitin continues thus:

Kutasthah saapekshah asthi tasya saakshitvamapi na paramaartham, jadasya saakshitvaat

Kutastha is relative. The saakshitva (being a saakshi) of kutastha is also not ultimate (absolute or real) because of being a witness to the jada vasthus (insentient entities of the world).

atah kutasthah advaita aatmanah bhinna asthi – kutasthah dvaita apekshaa karothi, brahma tu nirapekshah asthi

Therefore kutastha is different from advaita atman (Brahman which is termed by the Lord as paramaatman). The difference being that kutastha requires duality (so that it can witness something that is different from itself – witnessing requires something different from oneself or witnessing depends on duality) whereas Brahman is absolute (nirapeksha – doesn’t require or depend on anything).

Atah bhagavaan proktham “uttama purushah tu anyah paramaatmethi udaahritah” – parama padena nirapeksha darshanam

Therefore the Lord has said that “uttama purusha is surely different from kutastha and is called as paramaatman” (the word tu is meant to show the difference between kutastha and paramaatman which is that one is relative whereas the other is absolute).

Tathoktham lakshmidharaih

Thus has been proclaimed by Lakshmidhara (in advaita makaranda sloka 20):

Chetyoparaaga roopaa me saakshitaapi na taatvikee
Upalakshanam eva ayam nistaranga chidambudheh

My form which is mingled with thoughts and the saakshitvam is also not real (taatvikee means that which is not a tattvam or real). The saakshitvam is only a upalakshana of the waveless ocean of Consciousness (upalakshana is a means of relative definition – related to something that we know and experience generally).

Ithi (thus he has proclaimed)


The explanation of the advaitin is quite self-sufficient and doesn’t require any further explanation. It is enough if a person reads the above part again and again to make the concept clear. We will still try to explain this briefly to make sure that we don’t miss it. The advaitin in short is explaining that kutastha and Brahman are one and the same but kutastha is relative whereas Brahman is absolute. The definition of kutastha is valid only when there is something to be witnessed. Kutastha is saakshi – saakshi is there only when there is something other than the kutastha to witness. This in turn brings us to two entities of kutastha and something else to be witnessed. Thus kutastha requires dvaita for its existence. The definition of kutastha is valid only when there is duality or dvaita. But the ultimate reality of Brahman is adviteeya or non-dual. This is quite clear through the Upanishad’s words of “sarvam brahma mayam”, “sarvam khalu idam brahma”, “sadeva soumya idam agre aaseet” etc. Thus kutastha is different from Brahman in that the same Consciousness becomes kutastha when the duality seems to be existing. The duality just “seems to be existing” and doesn’t really exist because duality is something which cannot be really explained. Duality itself is relative and anything relative leads only to inter-dependency unless there is some absolute entity which is the substratum of this duality. The absolute entity which is the substratum of the duality is Brahman and it has to be non-dual to avoid further dependency faults.

Thus Brahman is non-dual and there is no duality really existing. Even though there is no duality in the dream world as the dream world itself is only an illusion in the dreamer but still while dreaming, the duality seems to be existing. Similarly so long as the seeker finds himself in the world, the duality seems to be existing. When the duality seems to be existing, the ultimate reality of Brahman itself becomes the kutastha or the saakshi – the witness which is non-changing, eternal (because it is one with the ultimate reality of Brahman) and blissful (as when a person realizes his nature of kutastha atman he gets bliss).

The difference between Brahman and Kutastha is that Brahman is absolute whereas the same Brahman when seen amidst the duality is the kutastha atman.

Even as pot-space is one with infinite-space but still different as pot-space requires “pot” for its temporary existence, similarly kutastha is one with Brahman but still different because it requires dvaita to witness.

It is keeping this difference in mind that the Lord mentions that uttama purusha or Brahman is different from kutastha. Therefore it is called PARAMA ATMAN. The word parama as per the advaitin is meant to show the nirapekshatva (absolute-ness). Parama is something which is ultimate and supreme – such a thing surely has to be absolute and therefore non-dual also. It is this PARAMA which differentiates Brahman from Kutastha atman. Thus both PARAMA ATMAN (Brahman) and KUTASTHA ATMAN are one and the same (similar to infinite-space and pot-space) but still different because of illusory adjuncts. As pot-space is never really different from infinite-space but just seems to be different, similarly kutastha is not different from Brahman but just seems to be different.

The scriptures in order to show that Brahman is in fact absolute whereas kutastha is just relative, differentiate between both. The stage through which a seeker realizes the ultimate reality of Brahman is through first differentiating himself from the kshara purusha of ahamkaara or ego & then identifying himself with kutastha atman. Once the seeker identifies himself with the kutastha atman, he enjoys the bliss in the Self – finally slowly the conviction gains and he realizes that there is no duality at all – thereby he realizes that he himself is the nirapeksha nirguna Brahman.

The progress of the seeker from kshara purusha to akshara purusha to uttama purusha has been beautifully explained through differentiation of each of these by the Lord in the purushottama yoga. It is but sad that this has been interpreted in different ways by the different schools of Vedanta – the explanation that advaita provides is of course faultless and any ardent seeker who follows this clearly will experience the same.

The main fault of advaita that the counter systems point out is that advaita is contrary to perception – even the reality of dream is contrary to perception. A person who has the conviction that there is no snake in the rope will boldly go towards the rope and find out that there is no snake – similarly the bold seeker will first take for granted the concept of Advaita, thereby proceed further & realize the ultimate reality of adviteeya Brahman. If a person doesn’t have faith in advaita and still tries to analyze it logically will never realize the truth – he will only directly find faults with the system. Such seekers will only be hidden from the eternal bliss which is one’s very nature & still seek bliss from the form Lord thinking that only if the grace of the Lord is there, will he get eternal bliss!!! There is nothing more pathetic than this that the seeker whose very nature is bliss thinks that he can get bliss only if some Lord grants him permission to the bliss – in modern scenario, the Lord becomes the administrator and the seeker asks for access to the computer’s admin though the seeker’s login is part of the administrator’s group!!!

Let us unlike the people who find faults in systems, analyze the system thoroughly for faults and then proceed thereby realizing the eternal bliss which is our very nature.

We will continue with the advaitin’s words in the next mail.

Prostrations to all.

Let a moment not pass by without remembering God