Advaita : Some Basic Explanations - 2

hbdave hbd at DDIT.ERNET.IN
Tue Feb 26 07:04:06 CST 2002

Srikrishna Ghadiyaram wrote:

> Hari Om !!
> --- hbdave <hbd at DDIT.ERNET.IN> wrote:
> >
> > Dear List members,
> > Here is the posting no. 2.
> > I thank Shri S.V.Subrahmanian for kind words.
> > -- Himanshu
> > > Advaita : Some Basic Explanations : (2)
> >                                                 --
> > Himanshu
> >
> -----------------------------------------------------------
> > I would like to start with the following Shantipath
> > from RigVeda.
> >
> > May my speech be according to my mind and my mind be
> > tuned to what
> > I am saying. O Self-Illuminated! manifest in front
> > of me. Bring me
> > the knowledge of my Universal self.
> Q: Is this to be considered to be the words of
> 'Jivatma or Jiva' the limited self, which I think I am
> ?,

HBD : jiiva

> because there is a distinction being made between
> 'I' and 'my mind' ?

HBD : Which "I" you are talking about? There are several.

> > Let whatever I have understood not leave me.
> Q: Who has understood and what ?

HBD : The original word is  "srutam  (heard) - but it means knowledge
gained from
shruti (Vedas), i.e. verbal expressions of spiritual experiences of
Normally learning is to be understood by integrating it with knowledge
acquired.  Ordinary, day-to-day knowledge gets integrated at
kosha level. Contents of  shruti would be integrated at Anandamaya
In short it is jiiva who understands.

> > I make this learning a part of my waking and
> > non-waking states.
> Q: What is the import of statement ?

waking --> during meditative state,
non-waking --> during other,  routine, day-to-day, what we normally call

                               "waking" state;
my understanding of who is real "I" and non-dual nature of brahman be
present during both these states;

> > I shall speak the Law. I shall speak the Truth.
> Q: Would you please differentiate .ritam and satyam

.rtam  - the Law or Truth as "is" (which is defined in shruti but not
                to unprepared mind);
satyam - the Truth as understood in vyavahara, working truth, can be
                by a human mind;

> > Let that Truth protect me. May that Truth protect
> > the Speaker (who is
> > speaking through me.)
> > May it protect me, may it protect the Speaker,
> > protect the Speaker.
> Q: Waht is this distinction between 'me' and the
> 'speaker' ? Possibly, we do not pray for protection of
> the EGO, and there is no need of protection for the
> 'Atma'. If both words imply 'Jivatma or Jiva', in such
> a case why a distinction is made here ?

HBD :me - jiiva
Speaker - though the physical speech you are going to hear comes
               from my tongue, driven by my mind, the Speaker is really
                b.rhaspati, the origin of vaak("speech") at Anandmaya,
                which is driven by shruti, so original Speaker is
                of all the Vedic seers;

Just as a judge in a High Court, before pronouncing a judgement
anounces his authority and the laws on which his judgement is
based, here the speaker (me) says : "whatever I am saying comes
from an unending linage of seers."

> > Some rare person sees this [Self] like a wonderful
> > thing, some rare
> > person describes it in wonder, some listens about it
> > as a
> > wonderful thing and some do not get to know it even
> > after hearing about it.
> >         (Geeta 2-29)
> >
> > The first type of person has a direct and
> > unmistakable contact with the
> > Ultimate Reality. These are the most profound
> > persons and are called
> > {\skt paramaha.msa} (those who have finally achieved
> > oneness with the Ultimate
> > Reality). They generally keep quiet. In recent times
> > in our country, two
> > persons come to my mind -- {\skt
> > paramaha.msa} and
> > {\skt} -- who can be called this
> > way.
> >
> > The second type of person describes it after
> > understanding
> > the true nature of Ultimate Reality. He is
> > considered a little bit defective
> > as he tries to describe the undescribable. This
> > refers to philosophers who
> > talk or argue about nature of Ultimate Reality. They
> > try to convince others.
> > They teach and guide others. They will have to learn
> > to keep quiet.
> >
> > The third type of persons knows about Self by
> > listening to others who had
> > either contact with Self or are able to explain its
> > nature. He learns from a
> > teacher or from scriptures. He is a good student. He
> > has yet to think, get
> > convinced and then ultimately keep quiet.
> >
> > But some are not able to have any inkling about Self
> > even when he has an
> > accidental realization, or a teacher or scripture
> > shows the way. Such
> > persons have yet to take up the path of
> > spirituality.
> >
> Q: based on the above explanation, I see that the
> second, third, and fourth type do not have direct
> experience. In a way, I understand that the second
> type of people understand or are convinced of the
> ultimate principle of 'Self' as a text book knowledge,
> and are able to explain about it to others. The third
> category of people have listened to the first and
> second type of people, but not yet convinced of the
> principle of ultimate reality. The fourth type do not
> even 'doubt' that the 'Self' may exist. Is this
> correct ?

HBD : Yes, mostly correct.

> Based on the explanation given by you, I suppose,
> 'Brahmavid' is a Paramahamsa.

HBD : No.  brahmavid simply means one who "knows" brahman.
            He may have flitting awareness of oneness.

            Paramhamsa  = parama + hamsa = highest, most excellent hamsa

who is hamsa ?  One who has a continous awareness of being one with
brahman,  sa.h aham tena hamsa.h

so paramahamsa - a person who has non-stop, continuous, oneness with
The difference between the two is whether the person, in all his action
all the time, gives evidence of the oneness.

> Where do the
> 'Brahmavid-Vara, Brahmavid-Varenya,
> Brahmavid-Varishta' fit in ? Is there any parallel
> between the words 'Jada, Bala etc.' that Sri Hemant
> has used and these 'Brahmavid ... ' words ?

- vara (better, higher)
- vare.nya (best, highest)
- vari.s.tha (best, highest)
are just comparatives and superlatives.

Jada, Bala, etc. on the other hand, denote not the relative grading
but behavioural characteristics exhibited by a paramhamsa in our
vyavahaarika world. For example,
Jada - looks dull, stupid, sluggish;
Bala - behaves like a child.

I do not think there is any relationship between the two ideas.

> -------------
> Sri Himanshu wrote:
> There are four stages in this teaching :
> i.      rejecting {\skt dehaatmabhaava} - "this
> body/mind complex is I
>         sense", and find out who is real "I";
> Q: As I understand, the 'I-sense' is EGO, and the
> consciousness behind that is termed as 'Jivatma', at
> the first instance, which is a reflection of the
> 'Atman', the all-pervading. This conception being
> forwarded because we can not ascribe the pain and
> pleasure to the unattached 'Atman' or the insentient
> 'EGO'. I am not considering the unity between the
> Jivatman and Atman here because it is only an
> 'Advaitic' view. So, is it appropriate to say that the
> goal is to know that I am 'Jivatman' and 'EGO' and its
> effects are superimposed on me the 'Jivatman or Jiva'
> ?

HBD : As a first step it is OK to arrive at the jiiva, but please
          note that the first stage is to find out, i.e. to understand,
          that the enquiry has to continue.

> It is my theoretical understanding that While in
> meditation we experience the distinction between the
> 'EGO' and 'Jivatman' and no third entity as 'Atman' or
> 'Paramatman' is found.

Yes, agreed. Atman is not "found" by meditation (alone).
Please note that meditation is a lind of "laboratory work"
on path of spirituality. Vidyaranya swami says that though
the Light seen during meditation is not exactly that of
Atman, the error is not serious as it is Light from
chidaabhaasa. He compares with a man searching  for a jewel
in a cave, being guided by a light, which he thinks, is coming from
the jewel.

> Is this understanding correct ?
> Did I use the words correctly ?

HBD : Yes, only I would use "jiiva" instead of "jivatman".

> If so, why are always
> talking about three 'entities' ?

            EGO = "I am"
There are no three entities. In final analysis there is only one, Atman,

but I think you are asking about the meditative state.

Now, meditation is not a homogeneous experience. There are periods when
"I-sense" is present and periods when it is lost. (In RigVeda this is
drapsa.h - drops (of  rain, honey or somaa). Jiiva is ( as explained in
later posting) name given to chidaabhaasa (reflection of Atman on brain
activity), plus kutastha (Atman); or Atman which falsely believes itself

born and having various characteristcs.
When "I-sense" is lost in a meditation, that is you aanandamaya, or

> ii.     realizing {\skt aikya} - oneness of {\skt
> aatmaa} - Self and
>         {]\skt paramaatmaa} - brahman;
> Q: Where is the question or need to realize the
> one-ness of 'Atman' and 'Brahman' as they are the same
> by definition, when once we differentiate 'Jivatman'
> from the 'Atman' ?

May be by definition, but not by conviction! Please read the story
of  the lion-cub brought up in a flock of sheeps. Bt definition a
lion-cub is a lion, but he did not know that he is a lion.

This is called praapyasya praapti (obtaining something which
you already have).
Please note that realization does not mean being able to talk about
brahman. Not only you have to understand, but must have
ni.s.thaa (firm conviction), that understanding should pervade your
whole self.

You see, everyone should realy know who he/she is, but strangely,
it is the most difficultthing to know.

A soldier should not only have a sword, not only know how to use
it, where to use it, but have the confidence to use it, the sword should

be part of himself.

> Is it not that the nomenclature
> 'Atman' is for the same all-pervading Consciousness
> with respect to the individual (distinct from the
> Jivatman  after accomodating the views of
> Visishtadvaita or Dwaita) ? Ofcourse, I imagine that I
> may realize or 'perceive' the same consciousness in
> all the other beings when I realize my own
> consciousness 'true nature of Jivatman' which I am.
> What you said can not be equal to saying oneness of
> Jivatman and Brahman. Kindly explain.

I think there is some confusion because you are mixing up terms used
in visishtaadvaita and advaita. As per my use ( and also most Advaita

jiiva = Soul; which is subject to birth/death, has characteristics,
feels he/she
            is limited, etc. equals chidaabhaasa plus Kutastha;

Atman = (Kutastha) - Self, unchanging, without birth/death, basis for
            illusion of jiiva, same as brahman, though it seems
constrained as
brahman = all pervading, Ultimate Reality.

Please note that this distinction is from our view-point, i.e. from
position and is only for the purpose of explanation.

Though it is easy enough to see that I am jiiva (and not body/mind), one

can with some difficulty realize Atman (Kutastha) as the basis. But it
even more difficult to realize Atman <---> brahman.

> iii.    realizing oneness of brahman and maayaa;
> Q: As postulated, because of Maya, we see the Jagat.
> That is, the Avarana and Vikshepa of Maya needs to be
> sublated to see the 'Asti-Bhati-Priyam' covered by
> 'Nama-Rupa'. Is this what you mean ?

Not exactly.
I propose that Maya is very nature of brahman, it is its Shakti,
in Pura.nika terms - its "consort". But please let me explain it
in my regular posting.

> iv.     ajaatavaada.
> Q: Is this only a theory propounded from 'that'  plane
> to express the 'state of mind' after complete
> realization and 'the one's state of being' after
> complete annihilation of 'Individuality' ?

I would rather put it as conviction of a person from "that" plane.
It would be a mere theory if it were just ideas floated without proper

Ajaatavaada is the final stop indicated by that famous shloka from
Gaudapada's Karika (II-32) :
na nirodho na cotpattirna boddho na ca saadhaka.h |
na mumuk.surna vai mukta itye.saa paramaarthataa ||

{there is no dissolution of mind, there is no birth, there is no one
bound, no one is a seeker, no one needs release, no one is released,
that is the highest Truth.}

In Kathopanishat, the path of spirituality is compared to a edge of
a sword. You can not remain standing on a sword, you have to go
on moving, walking. Advaita taken to its conclusion, if you go
on walking, you reach ajaatavaada.

> So, the first step is to find out who (or what) is
> "I", technically
> called
> {\skt saak"si} or {\skt dehin} - the One who owns or
> controls the body.
> Q: As I understand that the realization of Meditation
> is only separation of EGO and Individual Self, why do
> not we say that the 'Individual Self' is the Saakshi ?

Individual Self = jiiva? is unchanging, unborn. jiiva is subject to birth/death, etc.
In deep meditation the awarer is the chidaabhaasa (aanandamaya)
Awareness of time is gone. means a witness - a detached,
independent, witness.
Jiiva, which is chidaabhaasa plus Kutastha, can not be a because
of its
Kutastha or Atman is the "awarer" part of the jiiva - it is aware of
itself -
but aware itself as everything. If you are trying to see Atman through
meditation, you are looking thro' the wrong end of the telescope!
Atman "sees" the meditation, not the other way round.

Because chidaabhaasa is part of sharira (destructible) it can not be the

> Why is it attributed to the third concept 'Atman'. I
> am particularly confused when Mundaka Up says there
> are 'two birds' (interpreted as 1. Jivatma 2. Atma or
> Paramatma) or when Aitareya Up says 'He entered the
> body of man' (my doubt is he entered as what ? as
> Jivatma or Atma ?), or when I see sentences saying,
> the Paramatma is witnessing all the Jivas and their
> three states.

Mundaka Up. (two birds) : the number two is by the way of description.
If you read the mantra  [Mundaka 3-1-1, Svet. Up. 4-6, RigVeda I-164-29]

dvaa     supar.naa    sayujaa                    sakhaayaa ... ...
 (two)  (birds)        (well connected)    (friendly)

The critical word here is  sayujaa - closely related, joined firmly.
If a special relationship was NOT meant, then only sakhaayaa would have
been sufficient.

Do not get confused by the language used for explanations. We talk in
of different entities like jiiva, Atman, etc. all of them are but
aspects of One

Aitareya Up. [I-3-12]
sa etameva siimaana.m vidaaryaitayaa dvaaraa praapadyata ...

Brahman entered in form of jiiva via brahmarandhra, i.e.
same as aanandamaya kosha.

> I am thoroughly disturbed with these confusions.
> Kindly do not ignore them or ask me to derive from all
> the other posts. I would appreciate direct answers, so
> my understanding is not limited by my confused mind
> and its limitations of derivation.

You are doing fine. Your Q's are good. The seeming confusion
itself is part of enquiry. My only suggestion is - stick to one
system of thought at a time.

> Om Namo Naarayanaya !!
> Srikrishna

-- HImanshu

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