Advaita : Some Basic Explanations - 1

hbdave hbd at DDIT.ERNET.IN
Mon Feb 18 00:24:05 CST 2002

Dear List Members,

Here is my posting no. 1.

I thank Sarva-Shri  Shrinivas Gadkari, Shrikrishna Ghadiyaram for
I have seen the postings on "Tat Tvam Asi" and try to respond to them
my postings.
There are many learned members on this list, I request their indulgence
for my
audacious effort.
-- Himanshu
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Advaita : Some Basic Explanations
                                               -- Himanshu
Talking, discussing and understanding Advaita is quit
different from achieving Advaita.

It is felt that the aim of most of the list members is to
strive for achieving Advaita. With that hope this series of
a few postings are being initiated.

A hawker was selling "intelligence-pills" : "Rs. 20/- for a
bottle of 20 pills, take these and become the most intelligent
person in 20 days!"
I purchased a bottle. Used it for 20 days, but did not notice
any increase in my intelligence. I went back to the hawker :
"I tried your pills, but find no improvement!"
He sold me one more bottle.
After consuming this and further a third bottle, when I did
not find any improvement, I went back to him. He said :"What,
no improvement? Buy one more bottle."
I said :"You cheat, I am not going to buy any more of your
bottles. They do not help."
He smillingly said :"Yes, see the pills have worked. You do
not need intelligence-pills any more."
You need logic, learning, scriptures, Yoga, etc. only till you
realize futility (mithyaatva) of them all.
Recently, there were several questions on Advaita list,
involving technical words like kutastha, maayaa, avidyaa,
etc. Though some list members like Jaladhar, Nanda and others
have tried to explain, because the original questions were not
in a particular sequence, possibly the answers did not built
up into a sequenced exposition. Also, I felt that some inputs
from experience may help. That's why this series of postings.
It is not a summary of what they have said, though the
undercurrent is, of course, the same. The series is addressed
to new comers to the language of Advaita (and they may not
necessarily be novice seekers!)

The following sequence and topics are planned (any suggestions
welcome.) I shall try to satisfy within my limitations.

1.      Doshaa.h (defects) in a person and their solutions;
        What is "dehin" (one who possesses or control the
        deha.h - body)?
2.      Four types of chetana - consciousness;
        what is "kutastha"?
3.      Meaning of "exsistence" or "this is";
        "satta", "bhaava"; what is "upaadhi"?
4.      What is "khyaati"? Various khyaati and comparision
        of asat and anirvachaniya kyaati; "maayaa", "avidyaa";
5.      Concepts of naa"sa - destruction and baadha - suspension
6.      the aprameya aatmaa
7.      various adhikaari - persons with different preparations
        and their view-points;
        aikya - oneness of aatmaa and brahman;
8.      ajatavaada or d.r.s.tis.r.s.ti vaada (Shri Ramana?)
9.      bhaagatyaaga lak"sa.naa and mahaavaakya;

I shall use Charles Wikner's skt ASCII encoding for all
Sanskrit words (because they appear like that in my original
notes and I find it quite comfortable to use.) {Thanks Charles}

They will also be explained where necessary.

Questions/comments/brickbats are welcome, but please wait till
a thought cycle completes. Also, I request the list members not
to respond quickly, just on reading the mails. Give yourself
time to think about what is being said, how it gets integrated
in the whole subject matter. In short, do "manana" before

Note that here the subject matter is unlike usual human learning.
It is about yourself and it can be learned only if you get
involved - may be not externally by discussing with others, but
at least internally, by contemplating.

Main references for this series :
1.      Pa~ncada"sii    by Vidyara.nya Swami
        translation by Swami Swahananda,
        Shri Ramakrishna Math, Maylapore, Chinnai(Madras)

A host of texts - Geeta, Vivekachudamani, Upanishads, RigVeda
provide the background.

I also used :
        Shri Vicharasagara by Mahatama Nishchaladasji
        original in old Hindi.
        (I use a Gujarati translation with detailed commentary
        by Shri Pitambaradasji, published by Sastu Sahitya,
        Ahmedabad. I do not know if an English translation is
        available, I wish there were.)

Finally, I may add that several of these postings are being extracted
out of notes on Geeta that I wrote for my son, Parag. I thank Parag
for asking me to explain Geeta.

Best wishes to all.
-- Himanshu

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