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 bhagavantau 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 know not,
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 1020 x
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 and Jagat.
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 next unit.
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
Oh! Krishna, as if constrained by a force, what makes a man commit sin,
even against his wish? - (3-36)
Sri Krishna answers;
kAma Esha krOdha Esha rajO guNa samudbhavah
mahAshanO mahApApma viddhi Enam iha vairiNam
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. - (3-37)
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
why did I do bad deeds?
- taittirIya upanishad, Anandavalli
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 advaita texts
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].