[Advaita-l] BGBh and yoga - yama-niyama - I

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 20 16:36:23 CDT 2005

--- Amuthan Arunkumar R <aparyap at yahoo.co.in> wrote:
> namo nArAyaNAya !
> dear list members and SrI jayanArAyaNan,


> > Ramana replied, now speaking, "If one watches whence
> > the notion
> > 'I' arises, the mind gets absorbed there; that is
> > tapas. When a
> > mantra is repeated, if one watches whence that
> > mantra sound
> > arises, the mind gets absorbed there; that is
> > tapas."
> i'd like to point out that terms like tapas, mouna
> etc. can be defined both from the point of view of a
> jIvanmukta and a sAdhaka. for instance, mouna may in
> the beginning stages i.e. for a sAdhaka, be defined as
> not speaking, i.e. silence. in the next stage, this
> definition can be improved as eliminating thoughts
> from the minds and keeping it thougtless. but from the
> point of view of a jIvanmukta, mouna is abidance in
> the Self. of course, the true definition is that given
> by a jIvanmukta and all other definitions converge to
> the true definition as a sAdhaka advances. 
> similarly, the above mentioned definition of tapas by
> SrI ramaNa maharshi is from the point of view of a
> jIvan mukta. 
> from the point of view of a sAdhaka, tapas can be
> taken as "SarIraSoshaNam" (SANDilyopanishad) which is
> also in some sense the same as "dvandva sahanam" as
> SrI ravi pointed out earlier. 

Thanks for pointing out that there are definitions given for the
word tapas in the scriptures.

There may be many fine variations in the meaning of a word, but
it's always important to understand the basic meaning using a
definition. For example, the VivekachUDAmaNi provides clear
definitions for various qualities of a sAdhaka like shraddhA,
shama, dama, etc. The nArada bhakti sUtras have 3 definitions of
the term "bhakti", all of which are said to coincide. The
mImAmsA sUtras provide the definition of the term "dharma"
within the first few verses. It is because the word under
discussion was "tapas" that I requested a definition from the

> --- S Jayanarayanan <sjayana at yahoo.com> wrote:
> >  I personally feel the usual
> > translation of
> > "penance" does no justice to the word's true
> > meaning.
> well, from the sAdhaka's point of view, translation of
> tapas as "penance" or "austerity" seems to be a good
> translation though, it may not be the true meaning
> (which only a jIvanmukta knows).

If you look at the entry for "penance" in the Websters
dictionary (m-w.com):

1 : an act of self-abasement, mortification, or devotion
performed to SHOW SORROW OR REPENTANCE FOR SIN [capitals mine]
2 : A SACRAMENTAL RITE [capitals mine] that is practiced in
Roman, Eastern, and some Anglican churches and that consists of
private confession, absolution, and a penance directed by the
3 : something (as a hardship or penalty ) resembling an act of
penance (as in COMPENSATING FOR AN OFFENSE [capitals mine])

The translation seems to be along the lines of repentance for a
*sin*, which is somewhat closer to "prAyashchitta" than to
"tapas". I don't think tapas can be called a rite performed or a
show of repentance for the sake of expiation from sin.

> hari sarvatra,
> aparyAptAmR^ita.h
> Amuthan Arunkumar R,
> 4th year, B.Tech/M.Tech Dual Degree,
> Department of Aerospace Engineering,
> Indian Institute of Technology Madras.
> Address : 327, Tapti Hostel, IIT Madras.
> Ph : 9840482709

Thanks again,


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