[Advaita-l] Some basic questions on Advaita

Sundaram, Vaidya (MED) Vaidya.Sundaram at med.ge.com
Mon Jul 7 12:12:19 CDT 2003


>> 1. Does "tat tvam asi" mean that -
>> a. jIva and brahman are identical  ( I - the jIva, am brahman )
>> b. jIva is unreal while brahman is real ( I am not the jIva but I am
>> brahman )
>> It seems a) is endorsed by Padmapada while b) is endorsed by
Suresvara. Is
>> this true? What view does Sankara endorse?
> kArika.  So, as far as my limited knowledge goes, shankara endorses
> which is very close to his prasthAna trayi purports.  However,
> yati's vivaraNa prasthAna based on panchapAdika differs in this view.

I don't know how much constructive contribution I have on this topic,
but based on the oft repeated phrase "Brahma satyam jagan-mithya
jivo-brahmaiva naparah" attributed to Shri Adi Shankara, brahman is
"real" and the jagat is unreal. THe jiva is not said to be unreal (the
case b above). So, saying jiva is unreal while brahman is real is not
what Shankara says (in my humble opinion, open to correction by the

 The whole question of real-ness (if such a word exists!) of jiva does
not arise. They are "non-different". It is not even said they are the
same. Instead, the qualifier seems to be jiva and brahman are
non-different. This means, neither is case (a) above a good
representation of Shankara's thought. The reason I say is the following:
lets say there are two documents, each a carbon copy of the other. They
can be said to be identical, except, there are 2 documents, implicitly
meaning duality. Here, jiva and brahman are not-different. There is only
one document, and the multiplicity is apparent only. 

 So, a more representative para-phrasing of tat tvam asi in my opinion
would be "brahma satyam jagan-mithya jivo-brahmaiva naparah".

bhava shankara desikame sharaNam

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