Mayavada Darpanam

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