[Advaita-l] advaita vEdAnta
puttakrishna at verizon.net
Thu Dec 21 11:32:05 CST 2006
List members at advaita-vedanta.org,
My name is Krishnamurthy Ramakrishna. I am one of the recent
additions to the list. For some time, I have been leading a formal
study of advaita vEdAnta in another group. Sri Jaldhar Vyas invited
me to archive the writings at advaita-vedanta.org. After reviewing
options and logistics, it was decided to post the material in several
installments on this list. This way it serves better, instead of
archiving a large volume of material all at once. Accordingly, I
will post a message about 4-5 days apart. I expect about 50 postings
lasting through the Spring of 2007. Below is the first Unit of the study.
nArAyaNam padmabhavam vasishTam shaktim cha tat putram parAsharam cha vyAsam
shukam gowDapadam mahAntam gOvinda pAda yOgIndram atha asya shishyam sri
shankarAchAryam atha asya shishyAm padmapAdam cha hastAmalakam cha shishyam
tam tOTakam vArtikakAram anyAn asmad gurUn santatam AnatOsmi
Salutations to the guru paramparA - narAyaNa to brahma to vasishta .. sri
ShankarachArya..., his disciples padmapAda, hastAmalaka, tOtaka and the
followers of this lineage of gurus.
shruti smriti purANAnAm Alayam karuNAlayam namAmi bhagavat pAda shankaram
lOkashankaram shankaram shankarAchAryam kEshavam bAdarAyaNam sUtrabhAshya
kritou vandE bhagavntou punah punah
Prostrations again and again at the feet of bhagavAn Shankara, the
storehouse of scriptures - shruti, smriti and purANAs - and who
is also a storehouse of compassion, who confers happiness and prosperity,
who has written commentary on the sUtras and belongs in the lineage of the
guru parampara of kEshava, bAdarAyanA ..
First, having offered the traditional salutations to the Guru Parampara
(lineage of teachers), let us chant the following shAnti mantra; Om saha
nA-vavatu, saha nou-bhunaktu, saha-vIryam karavAvahai tEjasvi nA-vadhItam
astu mA vid-vishAvahai; Om shAntih shAntih shAntih Let us be protected
together; let us be cultivated together; let us gain strength and power
together; let our study be successful; let us not hate each other; Om peace,
Peace and Peace (for all).
The scriptures of sanAtana dharma - called " darshana shAstrAs" are nyAya,
vaishEshika, sAmkhya,yOga, mImAmsa and vEdAnta, respectively the sciences of
Logic, Nature, Knowledge, Deep Meditation or concentration of mind, Rituals
of the vEda and the Philosophy of the Self. Though VaishEshika is regarded
as the study of nature, nature is integral in the study of all the six
Darshanas. A self evident thought common for all of them is "The whole
creation is ultimately intended for the experience of the soul (Atman)".
We are concerned here in the study of vEdAnta - the Science of the Self. We
have already said that nature is integral in the study of all shAstras,
including vEdAnta. The nature and the body of beings are inert; The vEdAnta
shAstra tells us that being inert, a power is required to drive them
(Physical science also tells us that inert bodies need an external force for
change - Newton's first law of motion). vEdAnta calls this power as
"Chaitanya" or Consciousness. D.V. Gundappa, a poet-philosopher from
Karnataka, India, captures the concept in a very subtle way in his work
"Manku Timmana Kagga" (The ramblings of Timma, the Dull) as follows.
" jIva jaDa rUpa prapanchavana-vAvudO
AvarisikonDu moLaneredu mihudante
A vishEshake maNiyO - mankutimma "
An indefinable something envelops the living world
and the inert and appears to fill them to overflowing
It is not swayed by feeling and defies measurement
Render obeisance to that specialty - Oh! Manku Timma (Timma the Dull)
This indefinable something - of the nature of Pure Consciousness - is called
Brahman in vEdAnta.
So we have three entities here, Jagat or universe, individual person or jIva
and Brahman. The first two are in the tangible experience of all of us. The
third, Brahman is not the tangible experience for most of us.
Every philosophy that man knows today, attempts to describe the relation
between these three entities.
Advaita vEdAnta also offers a very unique description of this relationship -
the jIva and Jagat are not different from Brahman, but appear to be
different because of ignorance ( ajnyAna). The presentation of this oneness
of the three entities of Jagat, Jiva and Brahman is the subject matter of
the study of Advaita vEdAnta. Again, quoting from Manku Timmana Kagga,
" ihudO illavO tiLiyagoDadondu vastu nija mahimeyim jagavAgi jIvavEshadali
viharipudau oLitembudu gahana tatvake sharaNO - mankutimma "
An entity whether existing or not is not to be known
But by its innate power it transmutes itself into the world;
Assuming the garb of life it sports itself; whether it is, or not is not, we
Bow down to that profound principle - Oh! Manku Timma
What is the benefit of this study? This is a question we all want to have
answered, as we undertake to the study of any text or Thesis. There are four
issues contained in answering this question. They are (1) subject matter,
(2) benefit, (3) Relationship and (4) Pre-requisites.
Determination of the oneness of Jiva, Jagat and Iswara (a synonym for
Brahman) through scriptural interpretation is the subject matter of this
The benefit of this study is the preparation of the reader in the quest
towards the realization of the oneness described above. This realization
will release the Jiva from the cycle of births and deaths and the associated
pain and occasional pleasure. The realization will elevate the jIva to a
permanent state of absolute bliss. The TaittirIya Upanishat offers a measure
of quantification of this bliss. If a strong and healthy human, living for
hundred years or more, has all the resources under his control and the
support of all the people under him, achieves all his objectives
(YudhishTira is quoted as an example of such a person), the happiness
attained by him is one Unit of Human Happiness (AshiShTO driDiShTO
baliShTah..sa EkO mAnuSha Anandah...-Anandavalli). The bliss of realization
is indicated to be of the order of [10power20xHuman Happiness].
The relationship of any study is at three levels - between the subject
matter and the reader, between the subject matter and benefit and between
reader and the benefit. Application to the vEdAnta study, we will
understand the relation between jIva and Jagat, jIva and Brahman and Brahman
What is the AdhikAra or pre-requisites for the realization? The necessary
and sufficient pre-requisites for the realization of this oneness is a four
step discipline (sAdhana chatushTaya), which will discuss in detail in the
Now a question arises to all of us - If the realization is so blissful, why
is the mankind not serious about achieving it. Arjuna also had the same
doubt, when he asked Krishna in Bhagavad gIta the following;
" Atha kEna prayuktOyam pApam charati pUrushah ani-cchannapi vArshnEya
balAdiva niyojitah " - (3-36) Oh! Krishna, as if constrained by a force,
what makes a man commit sin, even against his wish?
Sri Krishna answers;
" kAma Esha krOdha Esha rajO guNa samudbhavah mahAshanO mahApApma viddhi
Enam iha vairiNam -(3-37) Arjuna! it is the desire, it is the anger born of
raJo guNa (the impulse of action), all consuming and all evil; know this as
the enemy here.
Driven by these desires and feelings, we act. When the outcome is less than
optimal, we repent -
(kimakhagam sAdhu nAkaravam - why did I not do good deeds ?; kimaham
pApamakaravamiti - why did I do bad deeds? - taittirIya
Elimination of this desire and anger is the pre-requisite
(sAdhanachatushTaya) discussed above. This will be the topic of discussion
in the next unit.
[ The material for the this study will be mostly drawn from the following
1) vEdAnta sAra (Kannada edition by Swamy harshAnanda) of parivrAjakAchArya
2) vEdAnta PrabhOda by Swamy paramAnanda bhArati
3) vEdAntada jIvALa by hosakere chidambariah
Other quotes will be described when quoted].
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