[Advaita-l] adhyArOpa apavAda - An Unique Method of Teaching

bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com
Fri Nov 19 05:49:01 CST 2004

PraNAms to all truth seekers
Hare Krishna

For the kind consideration of Sri Sankara bhagavadpUjyapAda followers, I've
written  the  following.  I request all the learned prabhuji-s of this list
to pass on their invaluable comments / criticisms.

Shruti smruti purANAnAM AlayaM karuNAlayaM
NamAmi bhagavatpAdaM shankaraM lOka shankaraM

Srimachhankara bhagavadpAda sadgurubhyo namaH

vandE taM sacchidAnandaM yativaryaM mahAmatiM
vEdavEdAnta sArajnaM sadguruM praNatOsmyahaM
SadAhaM saMpradAyajnaM saMyamIndraM sadAshrayaM

Sri SatchidAnandEndra Saraswati parama gurubhyo namaH

ajnAna timirAndhasya jnAnAnjana shalakaya
chakshurunmilitaM yEna tasmai shree guravE namaH

My  humble prostrations to my beloved guruji-s Sri Mattur Ashvatha Narayana
AvadhAni & Sri Chandramouli Avadhani.

AdhyArOpa apavAda - An Unique Method of teaching by scriptures

In  vEdAnta,  we  can find different way of approach to the ultimate truth.
Here  we  have  some statements which clearly indicate the duality & others
explicitly  advocating  non-dual nature of parabrahman.  To reconcile these
apparent  contradictions in sAstra siddhAnta, somany AchArya-s have written
elaborate  commentaries on prasthAna traya i.e. vEdAnta/upanishads, smruthi
texts like bhagavad gIta & nyAya prasthAna i.e. brahma sUtra-s to propagate
their  view points.  Later on,  eminent scholars have written comprehensive
sub-commentaries  &  glosses  based  on  principal  commentaries  of  their
AchArya's  respective  school  of  thought.   Just  like shankara's advaita
school, dualistic schools too have established their dogmas on the strength
& support of scriptural statements & logical arguments.  And they have even
gone  to  the  extent  of  accusing advaita by adducing logical arguments &
'selective'  pramANa  vAkya  from scriptures to show that the philosophical
base  of  advaita  is  shaky  &  utterly  opposed  to the 'true teaching of
scriptures.   Fresh  entrants  to the vast field of vEdAnta get lost in the
loquacious  interpretation  of  these  schools  & find it very difficult to
determine  which  is  the  true  & ultimate pronouncement of shruthi-s with
regard  to  the  absolute  reality.  Anyway, we are not here to discuss the
harm  caused  by  other schools in this regard.  What we are trying to find
here is, whether there is really any streamlined method adopted in shruti-s
in teaching of the ultimate truth.

As  I am writing this mainly to advaitins, I'd like to say, being a sincere
student  of shAstra & Advaita School, first & foremost thing one can do is,
he  should approach bhagavadpAda's prasthAna traya bhAshya through bonafide
sampradAya.   He  has  to  sit  under  the  lotus  feet  of his guru who is
shrotrIya,  brahmanishTa &  learn the secrecy of method of teaching adopted
by  shruti-s  in propagating the nirviShEshatva of parabrahman.  At the end
bhAshya  pATha,  definitely  he  will  come to know that his paramAchArya's
purports  alone  are  the  ONE  &  ONLY  means to determine the spiritual &
philosophical   teaching  of  vEdAnta.   Without  the  help  of  sampradAya
vida's/guru's  teaching,  it  would  be  a  tedious  task to the student of
advaita  vEdAnta  to even know that there is a systematic method adopted in
shruti.   Socalled  philosophers  / scholers could not come to an unanimous
opinion  as  regards to the method of teaching adopted in vEdAnta.  This is
due  to  lack  of  knowledge  of  genuine  method  of  teaching & excessive
dependence on their own intellectual capability.  My parama guruji observes
this  in  his book ' How to Recognise the Method of Vedanta' (HRMV)& quotes
the  opinion of various scholars on how they failed to recognize the method
of teaching in vEdAnta.  Here are some of those :

" A system of the upanishads, strictly speaking, does not exist.  For these
treatises  are not the work of a single genius, but the total philosophical
product of an entire epoch" ? P. Deussen, Pu.p.51

"   There is little that is spiritual in all this"; this empty intellectual
conception,  void of spirituality, is the highest form that the Indian mind
is capable of'" ? Gough, quoted by S. Radhakrishna, IP Vol.1, P.139

" If anything is evident even on a cursory review of the Upanishads and the
impression  so created is only strengthened by a more careful investigation
?  it  is  that they do not constitute a systematic whole" ? G.Thibaut, VS.
Intro. Ciii

"  The  upanishads  has  no  set theory of philosophy or dogmatic scheme of
theology  to  propound.   They hint at the truth in life, but not as yet in
science  or  philosophy.   So  numerous  are their suggestions of truth, so
various are their guesses at God, that almost anybody may seek in them what
he  wants  and  find  what  he  seeks,  and  every  school of dogmatics may
congratulate  itself  on  finding  its  own  doctrine in the sayings of the
upanishads" ? Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, IP P. 140.

"  The  difficult of assuring oneself that any interpretation is absolutely
the  right  one  is  enhanced  by  the  fact that germs of diverse kinds of
thoughts  are  found scattered over the upanishads which are not worked out
in a systematic manner ? Prof. Dasgupta, HIP Vol.P.41-42


It   is  evident  from  the  above,  the  modern  scholars  who  have  done
considerable  research  work in Indian philosophy did not even aware of the
fact  that  there  is  a  channelised  method  in  shAstra-s.   Under these
circumstances,  we  have  no  other  option  but  to take shelter under our
sampradAya  vida-s  method of teaching, which is embedded & closely knitted
in  the  shruthi-s.  After closely following the teaching of sampradAya, we
will  come  to  know  our  scriptures  have  uniformly  guided us through a
systematic  method  which  can be recognised by only shrOtriya/brahmanishTa
AchArya who has undergone traditional teaching.

Here   comes   the   main  question.   Which  is  that  method  adopted  by
shruti-s/shankara sampradAya to teach us yEkamEvAdvitIya brahman?? Shankara
tells  us  about  this  method  explicitly  in  gIta bhAshya.  He says, the
knowers  of  the  traditional  method (sampradAyavidA) have announced  that
which is devoid of all distinctions and details has been  explained through
deliberate  super-imposition  (adhyArOpa)  and subsequent rescission of the
same  (adyArOpa-apavAda).

Before  going  to  the  details  of  this  method, the question needs to be
answered  is,  first  of  all  why  we  need  '  a method' to know our self
established,  self-evident  nature  of  brahman??   If  at  all  there is a
'method' how do we ascertain that the adhyArOpa apavAda is the right & only
method??   And  a doubt may also arise to the intellectuals that if through
some method we are able to achieve some end, how can that same be proved as
our  svarUpa?   Since  the known to be obviously different from knower & it
cannot  be  the  subject  knower  as  the  'knower' cannot be the object of
cognition.   This  is  the reason why some will come to the conclusion that
there  is  "no  method"  to  know  paramArtha tattva since it is objectless
knowledge.   As  Sri Sadananda prabhuji often quotes, scholars like JK says
truth  is  the  pathless  land.   Once  you  adopt  some  method  to 'know'
something,  immediately,  you  will be strayed from the already established
fact & you will be under the spell of whims & fancies of your own thinking.
Therefore,  if you label any method in vEdAnta then that methodology cannot
bring   you   the   paramArtha   jnAna.   Since  it  is  still  maintaining
subject-object  (vishaya-vishayi  or  jnAtru-jnEya) distinction, it is self
defeating method & no use.

Yes,  strictly speaking, there is some logic behind this argument.  Even in
our day to day business (vyavahAra) we don't have to think about 'who am I'
we  invariably taken our pramAtrutva (knowership) for granted & only strive
to  know  something  outside  of us i.e. objective world through pramAtru's
limited  adjuncts (upAdhi-s). Since, even to know this routine ahaM/ego, we
don't  need any method (prakriya)& not employing any means, then how can it
be  accepted  that  there is a method to "know" the "witness" to this false
ego??   In that sense it would be appropriate to say "Yes" there is no need
of  any  method,  no knower-known distinction when we identifying ourselves
with  our  paramArtha  svarUpa.  But as we all know that is not the present
scenario   where   we   are  in.   We  are  still  suffering  from  avidya,
anyOnyAdhyAsa,   identifying   ourselves   with  the  body  (dEha),  senses
(indriya),  mind  (mana),  intellect  (buddhi),  ego (ahankAra), life force
(prANa) etc.  So, to eliminate this chronic problem of wrong identification
&  to  establish  in  our  nitya,  shuddha,  buddha, muktha Ananda svarUpa,
shruti-s,  for the sake of our own convenience fabricating some methodology
for the time being.  But in ultimate sense, as said above "yes" there is no
need for objectification of truth through any type of methodology.

This  is  what  shankara  also  says  in  gItA  bhAshya  (18-50)  "  tasmAt
avidyAdhyArOpita   nirAkaraNa   mAtraM   brahmaNi   kartavyaM!   '   na  tu
brahmavijnAne  yatnaH!  atyantha prasiddhatvAt"  the task to be accomplised
here is to get rid of superimposed false notion due to avidya.  There is no
need  of  any  effort involved in realising our true nature which is svataH
siddha  &  very  evident   (atyAnta  prasiddhatvAt).   But since we are not
realising  the truth "as it is" falsely imputing anAtma vastu dharma on the
Atma  vastu  we  need a prakriya (method) which helps us to reveal the true
nature  of  our  svarUpa.  When the false notion is eliminated, "no special
effort"  is  required  to  realise the truth.  So to say, due to ajnAna, we
think  that  rope  is  snake,  after  the  snakeness removed from the right
knowledge the rope will remain "as it is".  Here knowledge required to know
that rope is not snake & not to know "rope" per se.  shankara says mAndukya
kArika  bhAshya  (2-32)  that  this  is  the  pronouncement  of knowers  of
sampradAya "siddhAntu nivartakatvAt iti AgamavidAm sUtraM".

>From  the  above,  we  can  say  adhyarOpa  means "when the avidya is there
shruti-s,  for  the  convenience  of teaching, accepting a thing /attribute
that  is  literally  not there" apavAda means negation of that which we had
accepted  earlier  for  the  convenience of teaching.  My parama guruji Sri
SatchidAnandEndrasaraswati  Swamiji observes this in HRMV as follows:


Superimposition  (adhyArOpa)  literally means laying something on something
else,  falsely  imputing  the  nature or property of something to something
else.  It is a postulate of vEdAnta that owing to a natural tendency of the
human mind, a beginningless superimposition called avidyA compels us all to
look upon reality as infected with manifold distinctions.  Now, in order to
educate  the  mind  to interpret reality as it is, the upanishads uniformly
employ   the   aforesaid   method   of   adhyArOpa  apavAda  or  deliberate
superimposition  or  provisional  ascription  and  subsequent rescission or


It is evident from the above that this principal method is used by shruti-s
to  teach  us  absolutely  featureless  parabraman.   In  this  main method
shruti-s  talking  about subdivisions like avasthAtraya (the three states),
pancha  kOSa  vivEka  (the  knowledge  of five sheaths) drug-drushya vivEka
(jnAtru-jnEya),   sAmAnya-viShESa   prakriya,   anvaya-vyatirEka  prakriya,
vidyA-avidyA   prakriya,   kArya-kAraNa   prakriya   etc.   These  are  all
subordinate  methods  adopted by shruti-s at various places to disclose the
nature  of  our  true self as brahman in itself.  As this self is devoid of
all  specific features, it is only superimposition of all attributes by the
unenlightened  common  mind in order to teach us the nirvikAri, nirviShESa,
nirvikalpa  parabraman.   YAgnAvalkya says about the true nature of brahman
in bruhadAraNyaka shruti (3-8-8)  that :  It is this akshara (imperishable)
O  gArgi,  so  the knowers of brahman say.  It is neither gross nor subtle,
neither  short nor long, not red, not viscid, not shadow, not dark, not the
air,  not  the ether, not adhesive, tasteless, odourless, without the sense
of  sight,  without the sense of hearing without the vital principle, mouth
less,  without  measure,  neither  interior  nor exterior, it eats nothing,
nobody eats it.

>From  this  strict  denial  of  all properties, one may take the paramArtha
tattva  as absolute shUnya.  No, the nitya chaitanya vastu is taught by way
of  imaginary  attributes  apparently  pertaining  to  it  owing to limited
adjuncts.   At  the  close  of  teaching  the  apavAda  of even the falsely
attributes  used  as  a  device  for  purpose of teaching lest it should be
treated  as actually belonging to It for ever like kArya's seed form in the

Well, this adhyArOpa apavAda methodology not strictly restricted to vEdAnta
only  but its been used & has influence in our day to affair as well.  Take
for  exp.  At  our  elementary  school education we have been taught of sun
rise,  sun  set   &  his  movement East to West, solar eclipse etc. for the
convenience  of  teaching  first  tutor  will  accept  all these apparently
pertaining  to  Sun  as seen but subsequently in deeper studies of the same
subject  he  explains  how  sun  is  stable  in  his  position  & it is the
earth/moon movement which is causing all these geographical phenomena.

Shankara  beautifully  explains  this in bruhadAraNyaka bhAshya (4-4-25) as
follows  :   *  yathA  yEka prabhruti A parArdha saNkhyAsvarUpa parijnanAya
rEkhAdhyArOpaNaM  krutvA  yEkEyaM rEkhA, dashEyaM, shatEyaM, sahasrEyaM iti
grAhayati,   avagamayati   saNkhyAsvarUpaM   kEvalaM,   na   tu   saNkhyAyA
rEkhAtmatatvamEva??????..  tadupasaMhrutaM  punaH  parishuddhaM  kEvalamEva
saphalaM jnAnaM ante asyAM kaNdikAyAm iti!!  In summary, shankara says here
to  impart  the  knowledge  of  numbers like ten, hundred, thousand etc. to
student,  the  teacher  will  draw  some  lines. The student will get the *
knowledge  *  of  numbers & he does not hold the lines itself as numbers in
this  case.   Likewise, when we are learning alphabets, though we use ink &
paper,  we  don't  think  those material itself as akshara-s.  From paper &
pencil  we gain only * akShara jnAna* & at any point of time we don't think
the material which we have used to gain * akSharajnAna* itself alphabets.

In  vEdAnta  too,  the  same  methodology  has  been  adopted  to  teach us
brahmatattva.   First  it accepts origination/ creation of jagat/world etc.
finally  it  negates  all  these  false  attributions by saying nEti nEti (
kindly    refer   shankara   bhAshya   where   he   says   tathA   ha   iha
utpathyAdyanEkOpAya  janita  vishEsha  parishOdhanArthaM  "nEti  nEti"  iti
tatvOpasaMhArakrutaH)    In   the   same   line  we  can  refer  shankara's
ArambhaNadhikaraNa  sutra  bhAshya  (2-1-14)  "  tathA akSharAdi satyAkSara
pratipattiH druShtA! REkhAnrutAkShara pratipatEH etc.

It  is  amply  clear that by adopting this method of adhyArOpa apavAda, the
ShAstra-s  lift  us  from  the level 1 of both knowing & being at one go as
they  reveal  the  eternal  transcendental nature of our true self which is
beyond  the  knower  & knows distinction.  The vEdic riShi-s did one of the
most  impossible  task  which  can ever be imagined. They successfully used
'words' to reveal that which no word can ever describe. How could they able
to  do  this  ?  They resorted to a unique methodology called as "adhyArOpa

Now,  we  will  have  a  look at this method & let us see how it is closely
interweaved in scriptures.  One standing examples for this prakriya is gIta
sloka.    Shankara   explicitly   mentions   here  the  method  adopted  by
sampradAyavida-s  is  adhyArOpa  apavAda.   My  parama  guruji  gives  here
detailed account of the same in his book HRMV ( Page 30-31) :


sarvataH pANipAdaM tatsarvatOkShirOmukhaM!

SarvataH ShrutimallokE! SarvamAvrutya thiSTathi!!

( Gita chapter 13- verse 13)

SarvEndriya guNAbhAsaM! SarvEndriyavivarjitaM!

AsaktaM sarvabruchaiva! NirguNaM guNabhOktrucha!!

(gIta chapter 13-Verse 14

In the first of the above two slOka-s, reality or Brahman is said to posses
hands  & feet, eyes, heads, faces and ears on all sides; whereas in all the
second,  it is declared to be devoid of all senses even while it appears to
be  able  to  perform all sensory funcrtions.  Sankara, observes that ' the
special features noticed in the kshetrajna (the self) owing to the limiting
conditions  caused  by the different forms of kshEtra (the body etc.) being
unreal,  have  been rescinded in the previous slOka, and the kshEtrajna has
been  taught  to  be  realized as neither being nor non-being. But here (in
slOka  13),  even  the  unreal  nature  manifested  throught  the  limiting
conditions has been treated as though it were the property of the knowable,
just  to  bring  its  existence  home, and hence the knowable kshEtrajna is
spoken  of as 'possessed of hands and feet etc., everywhere'.  Accordingly,
there  is  the well known saying of the knowers of tradition : ' That which
is  devoid  of  all  details  is  set  forth  in detail throught deliberate
superimposition  and  rescission' Hands and feet and the rest which seem to
be  limbs  of  each  and  every body, owe their respective functions to the
presence  of  the power of consciousness inherent in the Atman to be known.
So  they  are  evidential  marks  indicating  the presence of Atman and are
therefore  spoken  of  as  pertaining  to It in a secondary sense" Shankara
means  to say that Brahman is first brought to our notice by the shruthi as
the  one self of us all, which functions throught all our senses.  The self
seizes  things  with  out hands, walks with our feet, sees through our eyes
and  hears  through our ears, as it were.  This way of describing It is for
convincing  us  of  Its  undeniable existence.  Once we recognize this, the
shruti  revokes  the  wrong  ascription  of  sensory  acts, to enable us to
interpret  reality  as it is, as the one universal self.  The ascription of
the sensory activities was merely a device to familiarize our mind with the
existence  of  the  self, very much like the temporary scaffolding used for
the  erection  of a building, to be altogether removed after that object is
accomplished.   Accordingly,  shankara summarizes the purport of the second
slOka thus :
ยท     upAdhibhutapANipAdAdhidhyArOpAt, ?????????????????..

Lest  it  be  supposed that this Brahman to be known is really possessed of
the  senses such as hands and feet etc. just because they have been imputed
to It, the next verse is begun".


For those who want to check shankara bhAshya in original text, kindly refer
the following Shankara vAkya-s on the above verse which goes " upAdhikrutaM
mithyArUpamapi   asthitvAdhigamAya   jnEya  dharmavat  parikalpya  uchyatE"
sarvataH   pANipAdam"   ityAdi!   tathA   hi   saMpradAyavidAM  vachanaM  "
adhyArOpApavAdAbhyAM niShprapaNchaM prapaNchyAtE iti "

Just  as  a  side  note  for those who want to know the explicit mention of
adhyArOpa  apavAda  words  in shruti-s.  tEjObindu Upanishad mentions these
words  explicitly where shiva says skanda about absolute featureless nature
of  parabrahman?.. neither adhyArOpa nor apavAda , no oneness, no manyness,
no blindness, no dullness, no skill, no flesh, no blood, no lymph, no skin,
no  marrow,  no  bone,  no skin, none of the seven Dhatus, no whiteness, no
redness,   no   blueness,   no   heat,  no  gain,  neither  importance  nor
non-importance,  no delusion, no perseverance, no mystery, no race, nothing
to  be  abandoned  or  received,  nothing  to  be laughed at, no policy, no
religious vow, no fault, no happiness, neither knower nor knowledge nor the
knowable,  no  Self,  nothing belonging to you or to me, neither you nor I,
and  neither  old age nor youth nor manhood; but I am certainly Brahman. 'I
am certainly Brahman. I am Chit, I am Chit'.

Sri  vidyAshankara prabhuji of Advaita-L list had mentioned once that these
words  are  appearing  in  pingala upanishat as well?I don't have the exact
reference with me.  Sri Sunder prabhuji may help us in this regard.

The  madhukhANda  &  yajnavalkyakhANda are some divisions in bruhadAraNyaka
shruti  which  give  many  illumining  illustrations on the presentation of
adhyArOpa   and   apavAda   to  explain  the  real  and  unreal  substance.
Interested readers may refer these with shankara bhAshya.

While  talking  about  apavAda  in  in this prakriya, shankara gives us the
clear definition of subsequent recession.  On sUtra * vyApEshcha samanjasaM
*, shankara writes :
"  apavAda  nAma  yatra  kasminchit  vastuni pUrvaniviShtAyAM mithyAbudhyou
niShchitAyAM   paSchAt   upajAyamAna  yathArtha  bhuddhiH  pUrvanivishtAyAH
mithyAbhuddhErnirvartikA  bhavati!  YathA  dEhEndriya  saNghAtE AtmabhuddiH
AtmanyEva   Atma   bhuddhyA   paschAt  bhAvinyA  "  tattvamasi  "  ityAnayA
yathArthabhuddhyA nivartatE ( sutra bhAshya 3-3-9)

First,  about  something  we  have  some misconception & we think that that
misconception  itself is the right knowledge.  But after the realization of
'right'  knowledge  the  earlier  wrong  knowledge gives away.  So, apavAda
means  elimination  of  wrong  knowledge through right knowledge.  Shankara
gives  here  example that every one naturally identifies himself with body,
senses,  intellect,  mind  &  ego  & experiences pain & pleasure etc.  This
tendency  is  quite  natural to everyone who are under the spell of avidyA.
But   when   shrOtrIya   brahmanishTa   guru  teaches  that  he  is  kEvala
sAkshichEtaH,  the  eligible  aspirant  will realize that he is not the BMI
complex.   Here  his  wrong  identification with manObhdhyAdi upAdhi-s gets
sublated through shAstrAchArya upadEsha.

Now, the next important question is why & how only adhyArOpa apavAda is the
right  method of teaching??  As we already discussed, in vyavahAra, when we
are  ignorant  of something, we assume/superimpose somany attributes on it.
(just like on rope we superimpose snake, its curving nature & sometimes its
hissing sound!!! Etc.) When the true nature of that unknown thing revealed,
the earlier ajnAna which we had will get erased by the 'right' knowledge of
it.   This  is  there in our everyday business.  The right knowledge cannot
bring  us  any  non-existent  thing  nor  annihilate  already existing one.
nAsato  vidyatEbhAvo  nabhAvo vidyate sadA says Krishna in gIta.  The right
knowledge  can  only removes false attribution on the svarUpa that which is
not  there?For example let us go back to our famous rope-snake analogy.  We
have the wrong knowledge of rope & see the same as snake!! When the rope is
realized  completely  that  realization  does  not  anyway  annihilate  the
non-existent  "snake"  in the rope nor "create" already existing rope.  The
'rope'  knowledge  or  realization  of "ropeness" reveals the fact that the
snake  was  never ever there in the rope & the rope was/is/will be the only
reality  forever.   So,  the  scope  of right knowledge is to show the true
nature  of  perceived  thing  &  never  ever  creates or annihilate any non
existent  thing.   Likewise, in brahma jignAsa, when we are ignorant of one
without  second  nature  of  Brahman,  we  see  multiple  jIva-s & jagat in
nirvikalpa  Brahman.   The  Atma  jnAna  helps  us  to eradicate this wrong
perception  in  nirvishEsha  Brahman.   As  said  above, this jnAna neither
destroy  the  "non-existent"  jagat or jIva in Brahman nor create something
called  Brahman  in  jagat  &  jIva.   Shankara  on  these  lines  says  in
chamasAdhikaraNa  sutra  bhAshya (1-4-10) that * na hi kvachit sAkshAdvastu
dharmasya   apOdhree  drushtA  karthree  vAvidyA!   AvidyAyAstu  sarvatriva
nivartikA drushyatE! TaTha ihApi abrahmatvaM asarvatvaM cha avidyAkrutamEva
nivartyatAM  brahma  vidyayO! Na tu pAramArthikaM vastu kartuM nivartayitaM
vA  arhati brahma vidyA!!  Shankara telling us here, jnAna reveals the true
nature of existent thing, & it never create nor destroys anything.  Limited
identification  of  our true nature is avidyA.  If the jagat & jIva already
there  in  Brahman  then Atma jnAna cannot destroy it, but from Atma jnAna,
jnAni  realizes that the true ever-existing thing is his own svarUpa & jIva
jagat  are kEvala adhyArOpita in brahmavastu.  The perception of jIva-jagat
in vyavahAra is due to ajnAna about brahmatattva.

Further,  shruti  telling  us  Brahman is the only reality / Brahman is all
nothing  else  apart  from  it.   BrahmaivEdam  vishvaM, AtmaivEdam sarvaM,
vAsudEvaM sarvaM, nEha nAnAsti kiNchana etc. to teach us the Brahman is the
ONLY  reality,  we  wrongly see it as jagat & jIva.  In reality there is no
duality whatsoever in it.  Tatvamasi, ahaM brahmAsmi, kshEtrajnaM chApi mAM
viddhi  sarvakshEtrEshu  in  all these shruti/smruti statements we can find
the   adhishtAnaM/substratum  is  nitya,  nirupAdhika  Brahman  only.   The
sublation  (bhAdita  jnAna)  of this apparent duality through Atma jnAna is
called   apavAda   here.    This   is  the  only  appropriate  method  what
shruti/shankara sampradAya advocating.

Finally,  sofar, we have seen only shruti vAkya & shankara bhAshya vAkya to
substantiate  the  importance of methodology of adhyArOpa apavAda.  Now, it
is  mandatory  to  see  how  this  method  synchronize  with our day to day
experience i.e. avasthA traya.

First  thing  we  should  understand  from  avasthA  traya  is, the 'I'ness
(ahaMkAra/ego)  &  its  perception  of  the world, may it be waking or dram
appears  only  in  sarva  vyApi  Brahma  tattva which is nothing but sAkshi
svarUpa  in us.  In ME waker/dreamer & corresponding world  have existence.
This ME is the witnessing consciousness & is objectively analyzing both the
waker  &  dreamer  & their respective worlds.  Just like, when we see dream
from  waker's  point  of  view, the dreamer, dream world all have existence
only  in  waker  who  is analyzing the dream objectively as vishaya to him.
So,  for  the sAkshi both waker & dreamer are objects (vishaya) & he is the
vishayi.   Though  this  objectification  exercise has been done from waker
only,  we cannot deny the same scenario in dream also if we come across the
same  situation.   So,  let  us  not  have any prejudiced nepotism to waker
atleast from the tattva jignAsa point of view.

Secondly,  apart from this ever existent sAkshi svarUpa there is absolutely
no  separate existence for the jagat.  The statements like "world is there"
or  I am there come only from sAkshi who is vishayi (subject) to both these

Therefore,  the  jagat  has its apparent existence only from the waker's or
dreamer's perception.  When we are in true svarUpa which is the state where
both dreamer & waker are absent there will be no socalled perceived world &
there will be ONLY sAkshi without identifying himself with anyone.

Thirdly,  we  should know it is impossible to draw boundaries as regards to
our  svarUpa  & apparent existence of the jagat.  Because this jagat is not
in  dEsha-kAla,  the  very notion of time & space are in this jagat.  As we
know,  since even in our svarUpa there is no influence of dEsha kAla, it is
impossible to number like sAkshi is one & prapancha is the second.

Keeping   all   these  things  in  mind  we  can  say  avasthA-s  are  only
superimposition  on  Atman  just  to prove that its true natures transcends
these  avasthas.   That  is  why  first  shruti call It by the name vishwa,
tEjasa  prajnA  etc.  just to presenting the Adhidaivic aspects of Atman in
order  to  negate its limited validity at the particular state ?say waking.
Subsequently,   shruti  negates  all these through apavAda by saying not of
outward  or inward consciousness, not of consciousness in either direction,
not  prajnAna  Ghana,  neither  consciousness nor unconsciousness (na antaH
prajnA, na bahir prajnA etc. in mAndukya shruti).

In  conclusion,  shankara  paripUrNa  siddhAta  is  in  advocating nirguNa,
nirvishEsha  Brahman  ONLY nothing less than that.  He would not compromise
this  ultimate  reality  of our svarUpa at any cost.  He clearly pronounces
his  ultimatum  on  his  shrutipratipAdita siddhAnta as follows in his long
running  sutra  bhAshya  on   ubhaya  liNgAdhikaraNa  sutra  arUpavadEva hi
tatpradhAnatvAt   :   "  It  is neither gross nor subtle, neither short nor
long ( astUla, anaNu etc. in bruhadAraNyaka ) without sound, without touch,
without  colour, undecaying (ashbhdaM, asparshaM etc. in kaTha) that indeed
which  is known as AkASha (ether)  is that which differentiates name & form
that  which is distinct from these two, that is Brahman (AkAsho ha vai nAma
..etc.  in chAndOgya) The puruSha indeed is transcendental, formless, He is
verily   unborn   both   within   &   without  (  divyOmrutaH  purushaH  sa
bahyAbhyantarO  etc.  in  muNdaka  shruti)  "  Now  this Brahman is without
anything  antecedent,  and  without  anything  consequent, without anything
interior  or without anything exterior; this Atman intuiting everything, is
Brahman  (  again in bruhadAraNyaka), texts like these mainly purporting to
teach the absolute nature of Brahman without manifoldness and nothing else,
it  has  been conclusively shown in the sUtra tattu samanvayAt.  Therefore,
in  texts  of this kind, Brahman has to be accepted and taken to be, of the
very  nature  as  revealed  in these, that is as being emphatically without
specific  features.   As  for the other set of statements, teaching Brahman
with  specific  features,  these  do not mainly purport to teach that ( the
real  nature  of  Brahman  which is devoid of all attributes) for their aim
chiefly  is  to  enjoin  upAsana.   So their express teaching about Brahman
should  be  accepted  only  in so far as there is not clash between the two
teachings.   But  when  there  is any clash with the other set of teachings
this  principle  has to be observed in deciding our choice, viz. that texts
having  it  as their main purport are preferable to those that have it not.
That is why Brahman is concluded to be without any specific feature and not
otherwise,  even while there are texts teaching both i.e form and no form).

 This one detailed explanation of bhagavadpAda would be more than enough to
his  followers  to know his stand on Upanishad pratipAdita Brahman.  Let us
stick  to  his  advice  meticulously  by  appropriately  adopting adhyArOpa
apavAda method & realize our secondless nature.

Hari Hari Hari Bol!!
Sadguru pAdarENu

General information/request  to all readers :

01.   Kindly refer original Sanskrit texts for correct Sanskrit wordings of
the shruti/shankara bhAshya vAkya-s.

02.   All English translation of the shankara bhAshya vAkyas are mine?so
better read the originals wherever you find the translations are

03.   The above has been written strictly in accordance with traditional
method as taught by my guruji Sri Ashwatha Narayana Avadhani of Mattur.

04.   The texts quoted from the original works of my parama guruji has been
marked between //quote/ & //unquote//

05.   Since I've not referred any other publication works to draft this, if
any of you find  any clarification & criticisms kindly bring it with
appropriate supportings from bhagavapAda's works.

06.   If you find any deviations & contradictions from mUla shanakra
siddhAnta, kindly educate me about it with suitable quotes from shankara
bhAshya vAkya.

07.   As my studies are mainly in kannada & Sanskrit & my personal notes on
this also in local language, I could not able to give appropriate
samAnArtaka pada (synonyms) in English. Readers kindly bear with me.

Reference Books :

Written  by  my  paramaguruji  H.H.  Sri  Sri  SatchidAnandEndra  saraswati

   In kannada :

01.   shankara's brahma sutra bhAshya  Vol- I & II
02.   bruhadAraNyaka Upanishad bhAshya Vol-I & Vol-II
03.   bhagavad gIta bhAshya
04.   shAnkara vEdAnta sAra

05.   gaudapAda Hrudaya
06.   paripUrNa darshana

   In English

01.   How to Recognise the Method of Veanta ( An English introduction to
his Sanskrit book vEdAntra prakriya pratyabhigna)
02.   Shuddha shankara prakriya bhAskara
03.   Science of Being

   In Sanskrit :

01.   vEdAnta prakriya pratyabhigna
02.   sugama ( A work on brahma sutra adhikaraNa)

   In Kannada written by other scholars :

01.   Shankara vEdAnta sAra sourabha by Sri Devarao KulkarNi (direct
desciple of Sri Sri Swamiji)
   02.      shAnkara saNdEsha by Prof. S.K. Ramachandra Rao

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list