Mayavada Darpanam

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


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