Mayavada Darpanam

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


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