Charles Wikner WIKNER at NACDH4.NAC.AC.ZA
Wed Nov 26 01:25:41 CST 1997

Govind Rengarajan <govind at ISC.TAMU.EDU> wrote:

> I am not sure about the exact grammatical structure of
> Sri Ramanuja's interpretation (perhaps Charles Wikner can
> shed information on this).

No, I have not read dvaita commentaries, but I have come across the
given explanation in advaita commentaries somewhere: it is one of
those useless bits of information that clutter the mind.  The original
question sounded like curiosity rather than anything of real concern,
so I have not looked for references, nor did I follow up the other
half of the question about aham brahmaasmi.

> Sri Ramanuja's interpretation
> is basically the philosophy of vishiShTAdvaita. The whole
> universe and the individual jIvAs that occupy it constitute
> the body of Sriman nArAyaNA. Granted that the universe is
> the body of Sriman nArAyaNA, in "tattvamasi", "thou"
> of course indicates the jIvA, but "that" points to the
> universe that is the body of Sriman nArAyaNA. Therefore,
> in totality, "tattvamasi" translates to (my loose
> translation) "thou form a part of Sriman nArAyaNA's
> SarIrA".

>From your description, that sounds like .sa.s.thii,
i.e. tattvam is treated as a samaasa analyzed as tasya tvam,
giving "thou art (a part) of That".

> Radhakrishnan says that (in his commentary
> on Chandogya U., VI.8.?), the phrase, according to
> Sri Ramanuja, means that God (nArAyaNA) is the underlying
> principle to the universe and the jIvA.

I don't know Radhakrishnan's standpoint (whether he is advaitin or not),
but the phraseology given above seems to draw attention to the advaita
aspect of Ramanuja's interpretetation.

Greg Goode <goode at DPW.COM> wrote:

> What's the vyaavahaarika level?

According to advaita there are three levels of reality from the relative
standpoint: vyaavahaarika (the normal empirical life), praatibhaasika
(apparent, illusory), and paaramaarthika (highest goal, supreme truth).

> And what is the level that it is opposed
> to?  Is this like a distinction between relative and absolute levels?

It is not opposed to anything, nor is there a distinction: for example,
the existence of a flower and the existence of the Absolute, are the
same Existence.  It is a question of scale rather than polarity: hence
my comment that reason is more appropriate to the advaitin than logic.


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