Mayavada Darpanam

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

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Attack on anubandha chatushtayam of Advaita based on shruti - 2


Prostrations to all.

In the last mail we saw in brief the dvaita interpretation of the slokas of the 15th chapter of Gita. We will start from this mail the advaitin’s interpretation of the slokas which more or less follows Sankara’s bhashya on the same.

The advaitin starts thus:

Bhagavaan praageva uktam vibhoothiyoge
“ahamaatma gudaakeshah sarvabhootashayasthithah
Ahamaadischa madhyam cha bhootaanaam antha eva cha”

The Lord has previously itself propounded in the vibhoothi yoga thus:

O Arjuna, I am the Self who is present in all beings. I am the starting, middle and end of all beings.

There is no better way to propound Advaita than this. We could guess that even during the Lord’s time, there would have been people who doubt the Advaitic reality which contradicts perceptual knowledge. Hence the Lord explains it quite clearly that I am the Self of all beings & all the beings are me alone.

Mundaka Upanishad proclaims about Brahman thus:

Brahmaivedam amritham purasthaath brahma paschaat
Brahma dakshinatascha uttaram
Adhascha urdhvam cha prasritham
Brahmaiva idam vishwam idam varistam

Brahma alone is present here as immortality. Brahman is present in front, in back, in right, in left, on top and on bottom – everything is filled with Brahman. The world is Brahman alone, Brahman alone is to be sought out as it is ultimate.

Could there possibly be any other way of clearing putting that Brahman alone is present??? Though the Upanishad very clearly explains that Brahman alone is present, still doubts persist & logical arguments are raised against Advaita by counter systems of Vedanta. What to speak about such arguments which are out of either arrogance or ignorance or non-desire to know such a adviteeya Brahman?

The advaitin here quotes from the Gita to show that the Lord has previously itself explained that everything is Atman or Brahman alone. Thus the adviteeya satya has been propounded by the Lord. The slokas of 15th chapter thus has to be properly interpreted keeping in mind this adviteeya satya that the Lord has propounded in the vibhoothi yoga.

The advaitin now enters into the explanation of the slokas of the 15th chapter.

Dvau purushau vyavahaarakaale asthi – ekah ksharah jeevah yah shareeraadi sambandhitah

Two purushas are there in the vyavahaara (empirical level) – one is jeeva who is identified and associated with the body etc.

Dviteeyasthu kutastha saakshi yah bandhamiva asthi paramaarthasthu mukthameva asthi, dvaita abhaavaat, bandhamukthi abhaavaat cha

Second is the kutastha witness who appears to be in bondage but is ever liberated, because there is no dvaita (only when dvaita is there bondage from something different from oneself can be there) and there is no bondage-liberation at all.


The advaitin himself would be explaining a bit more on kutastha and jeeva. But before we enter into that part, a few words on this part will be important for seekers to keep in mind.

There is an important concept that Sankara gives in his katha Upanishad bhashya which is valid in analysis of the three purushas over here. Any experience that we have consists of the triputi of Subject, Object and the action itself. Each entity of triputi is related to each other. As we very well know, any relativity requires a substratum which is unrelated to the relation. The film that we watch on screen requires a witness of watcher. Similarly triputi also requires a witness in order to perceive it apart and separated from it. This witness shouldn’t have any relation with the triputi.

The worldly experiences have the triputi of worldly objects, the actions and the Subject. This Subject is related to the objects & is termed in Vedanta as Ego or jeeva or ahamkaara. Jeeva is thus attached and associated with the objects. This association of jeeva with objects is not possible unless it is through some karana or instruments. The instruments that connect the jeeva to objects are the three shareeras of sthoola, sookshma and kaarana. This is what the advaitin has put through the word “shareeraadi sambandhithah” – here in the word shareeradi, the aadi (etc.) means the sense organs, antah karana and avidya. Thus the karana through which the jeeva associates himself with objects is the three shareeras of gross, subtle and causal. The gross body or sthoola shareera consists of the body that we perceive (made up of the pancha bhootas in their gross form). The sookshma shareera or subtle body consists of the pancha karma indriyas (sense organs of action which are word, hands, feet, organ of excretion and procreation), pancha jnaana indriyas (sense organs of perception which are eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin), manas (mind or doubting faculty), buddhi (intellect or discriminating faculty), chitta (memory or storing faculty) and ahamkaara (ego or associating faculty). The kaarana shareera or causal body is avidya or ignorance.

Jeeva is defined as Consciousness reflected in intellect (or antah karana). Reflected Consciousness or Jeeva is thus associated with the three shareeras and through which he interacts with the objects of the world. This interaction of jeeva with the objects requires a witness or sakshi who is not part of the interaction. A sakshi is one who is not at all associated in any way with what is being witnessed but illumines the association or activity. Thus this sakshi of jeeva & its activities should be unaffected by the activity but still illuminating the activity. Since the sakshi is not affected by the activities, therefore he is without any change or immutable. This immutable sakshi is termed in Vedanta as Kutastha atman (original consciousness which is reflected in the intellect). Kutastha is the Atman which is a mere witness to the activities of the jeeva (reflected consciousness) with the worldly objects. Kutastha is unaffected and immutable – hence termed as akshara (kshara means that which undergoes decay).

The witness seems to be bonded because of the witness-hood which is valid only as long as the triputi of jeeva, karma and jagat is there. Kutastha is never bonded but only seems to be bonded. The association of kutastha atman with jeeva is what Vedanta terms as adhyaasa or superimposition of not-Self on the Self & the Self on the not-Self. Kutastha is the Self which is the substratum for this superimposition. This superimposition itself is because of avidya or ignorance of one’s nature of kutastha (which is not different from Nirguna Brahman). Kutastha atman seems to be related to the triputi but is in fact one with Nirguna Brahman which Lord Krishna defines here as Paramaatman. The difference between Paramaatman or Nirguna Brahman and Kutastha Atman is that Nirguna Brahman never even seems to be bonded whereas Kutastha seems to be bonded at the time of ignorance. Kutastha Atman is like pot-space which is the same as infinite-space but seemingly limited by the pot. As long as the adjunct or upaadhi of pot is there, the space in the pot seems to be limited by the pot. But in fact the pot-space is never limited by the pot because space can never be limited by anything. The pot-space is kutastha atman which seems to be limited/bonded when there are the adjuncts of shareera. But when the adjuncts are known to be unreal, kutastha atman is known as one with Nirguna Brahman (which is infinite-space in this case).

It is not necessary for a person to remove all adjuncts to get eternal bliss but it is enough to know oneself as the kutastha atman distinct from the jeeva and upaadhis. The upaadhis might seem to exist but the jnaani knows that they are not there. A person who knows that there is no water in desert might still see water but he will not run behind it – even if he runs behind it to show other ajnaanis that there is no water, he is not sad after not finding water because he knew that the water he is seeing is not real. Once a person knows himself to be the kutastha distinct from jeeva, that is the state of realization – he then might see the world and other objects even as we dream daily though knowing that there is no dream world. But at all times, he will know himself as the kutastha atman (indifferent from Nirguna Brahman) and thereby ever rejoices in eternal bliss.

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

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God

Monday, January 01, 2007

Attack on anubandha chatushtayam of Advaita based on shruti - 1


Prostrations to all.

Madhva after logically trying to prove Advaita to be bereft of the anubandha chathustayam without which the system cannot be started, enters into quotations from sruthi, smrithi and the sutras. First Madhva quotes from the Bhagavad Gita to show that Vedanta speaks about Dvaita only and doesn’t support Advaita. The verses that Madhva are the famous last five slokas of the fifteen chapter (Purushottama Yoga) of the Bhagavad Gita. These five slokas are interpreted by each system of Vedanta as supporting their view but all the different views are feasible for the explanation of these. But if we really analyze the slokas, Advaitic interpretation alone is ultimate right as logic and experience support this interpretation. It cannot be argued that Advaita cannot stand logic because we have already seen that all the logical arguments of Madhva against Advaita are sufficiently answered and Advaitic concepts are fully logical.

We will first see Madhva’s or dvaitic interpretation of the slokas and then see the advaitin’s interpretation. Madhva doesn’t comment on these slokas but only quotes them (maybe because there was already his bhashya on the gita) whereas Jaya Teertha explains few words of the verses.

Dvaavimau purushau loke ksharascha akshara eva cha
Ksharah sarvaani bhootaani kutasthah akshara uchyathe

There are two purushas in the world one being kshara purusha and the other being akshara purusha. Kshara purusha is all the living beings whereas akshara purusha is kutastha or sakshi or witness (as per Madhva akshara is lakshmi devi who is above all purushas both muktha and amuktha whereas kshara purusha are the various jeevas).

Uttamah purushah tu anyah paramaatmethi udaahrithah
Yo loka trayam aavishya bhibharthi avyaya ishwarah

Uttama purusha or Ishwara or Vishnu is different from these two purushas (kshara and akshara) and is called as paramaatman (the word meaning supreme atman). Vishnu is also known as Ishwara (controller of all beings) who is all-pervasive and supports the world.

Yasmaat ksharam atheethoham aksharaat api cha uttamah
Ato asmi loke vede cha prathithah purusha uttamah

As “I” (Vishnu) am higher than kshara purushas and greatest among akshara purusha, therefore I am known in the world & Vedas (normal laukika usage and vedic usage as well) as uttama purusha.

Yo maamevam asammoodah jaanaathi purushottamam
Sah sarvavid bhajathi maam sarva bhaavena bhaaratha

He who is without delusion and thus knows me as the uttama purusha, he knowing everything worships me in all ways O Arjuna.

Ithi guhyathamam shaastram idam uktham maya anagha
Etat budhvaa buddhimaan syaat kritha krithyascha bhaaratha

Thus I have propounded to you the most secret scripture; having known this a person becomes intelligent and has done whatever is to be done, O Arjuna.

According to the Dvaita Vedanta, the jeeva is ever different from Vishnu. This is supported by the Lord himself as the jeevas are mentioned as kshara purushas and Vishnu is mentioned as Uttama purusha (distinct from kshara purushas). We will not enter into how dvaita defines various types of jeeva etc. but whoever interested can go through Madhva’s tattva sankhyaana or tattva viveka.

We will enter into the advaitin’s interpretation of the above slokas quoted by Madhva in the next mail.

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God