[Advaita-l] Advaita in a nutshell, by Prahlada

V. Krishnamurthy profvk at yahoo.com
Fri Jul 1 15:55:59 CDT 2005


Recently I had occasion to talk about Prahlada Charitram.
Prahlada, as a boy of five years, gets an opportunity to
teach his own classmates about what he had learnt from Sage
Narada while still in his mother's womb. Five shlokas of
this teaching summarise the entire advaita vedanta most
precisely. I remember to have written about this under the
title Prahlada Bhakti Sutra in the list. But I am not able
to locate it. 

The five shlokas are: (Shrimad Bhagavatam: VII - 7 - 19,
20, 23, 24 and 25) .

AtmA nityo-vyayaH shuddhaH ekaH kshhetrajna AshrayaH /
avikRRiyaH svadRRig-hetuH vyApako'sangy-anAvRRitaH //
etair-dvAdashabir-vidvAn Atmano lakshhaNaiH paraiH /
ahaM mamety-asad-bhAvaM dehAdau mohajaM tyajet //

The Atman is permanent; does not undergo any change; is
uncontaminated by mAyA; has neither internal nor external
distinctions; is the one intelligent being which cognizes
everything; needs no support but supports everything;
neither acts nor is acted upon; sees everything but is not
seen; is the primal cause but is itself never caused; is
beond space, time and matter; is unattached to anything;
and can never be negated by anything.

These are the twelve indicative qualities of Atman, by a
knowledge of which one should be able to  throw away the
false identification with the body, mind and intellect. 

dehastu sarva-sanghAto jagat tasthuriti dvidhA /
atraiva mRRigyaH purushho neti netIt-yatat tyajan //
anvaya-vyatirekeNa vivekenoshatA''tmanA /
sarga-sthAna-samAmnAyaiH vimRRishadbhir-asatvaraiH //

The body is a conglomeration of all (the effects of
PrakRRiti -- referred in shlokas 22,23, not quoted here)
and is of two kinds, mobile and immobile. It is here in the
body that the Self (Purushha) is to be sought for by
discarding every non-Self as 'not this' 'not this', by men
coolly reflecting on the creation, continued existence and
dissolution of the universe with a mind purified through
reasoning on the lines of 'anvaya' (the all-pervasiveness
of the Absolute) and 'vyatireka' (the distinctness of the
Absolute from everything else).

buddher-jAgaraNaM svapnaH sushhuptiriti vRRittayaH /
tA yenaiv-AnubhUyante so'dhyakshhaH purushhaH paraH //

Wakefulness, dream and deep sleep -- these are the three
functions of the intellect. He alone by whom they are
directly cognized is the transcendent purushha, the witness
of everything.

These five shlokas are, in my opinion, best suited for a
continued nididhyAsana to get the advaitic conviction into
our individualised minds.

PraNAms to all advaitins.

Prof. V. Krishnamurthy

New on my  website, particularly for beginners in Hindu philosophy:
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Free will and Divine will - a dialogue:

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