[Advaita-l] Kanchi Mahaswamigal's Discourses on Advaita Saadhanaa - (KDAS-80)

V. Krishnamurthy profvk at yahoo.com
Mon Oct 9 18:36:16 CDT 2006


For a Table of Contents of these Discourses, see
For the previous post, see

Tamil Original:  http://www.kamakoti.org/tamil/dk6-140.htm

He who does the nidhidhyAsana really deeply does forget himself off and
on and gets hooked up to Brahman but he also comes out of  it. He who
causes them to happen is Ishvara. From the very beginning, from the time
one begins with nitya-anitya-vastu-vivekaM - why, even further down,
from the rock bottom practice and performance of karma and bhakti  --
the agent-provocateur who takes him up inch by inch, in answer to his
efforts, is only the Ishvara. But He never explicitly shows Himself,
even a little,  to be so. It is the sAdhaka who has to infer it, by the
thoughts 'I think my mind is  now  purified a little, some dispassion
has come, it is now possible to still the mind for a moment at least'
and so on, by observing himself. He does the nidhidhyAsana, but to be
lost in that trance even for a moment is His work! Formerly, the action
of progressing in the sAdhanA, as well as attaining greater and greater
maturity, was the responsibility of the JIva.  But now he is
progressing towards the state of actionlessness; what action shall he do
now? He can only think of it; except for that how can he do the
'becoming That' as an action?

We say 'I passed the examination'.  Actually the act of passing, was not
done by us. Our action was only to write the examination. Yes, we did it
well. But we cannot 'pass' ourselves.  Some responsible official has to
'pass' us. Our business ends with writing the examination.  The awarding
of the 'pass' is by the person responsible for it.  (Of course I am
talking about the period before Indian Independence. The methods of
'gratification' or 'applying pressure' for the purpose of ensuring a
'pass' were not known in those days!). To 'pass' in the sAdhanA
examination, which means to 'pass' to be admitted to the world of
actionlessness, it is the Grace of the Ishvara, the 'phala-dAtA'
(dispenser of fruit) that is not only the capital but also the
instrument of action.

Unlike  the case of the ordinary examination, where the result is only a
piece of news, the value of which is only a further job or an
eligibility to pursue studies further , in the case of sAdhanA, a pass
in the final examination of nidhidhyAsanA is  indeed a great Experience.
There is nothing above or beyond that. It is nothing but Brahma-nirvANa,

The truth certainly is that the Lord makes the JIvAtma as paramAtmA, as
a result of the constant thinking of the former. 

In the Tamil world, there is a saying which is in conformity with
'bhramara-kITa-nyAya'. "The wasp stings and stings and makes the worm
one of its family" goes the saying. *koTTik-koTTi kuLavi tan-niRam
AkkitrAm*! It is not that the worm becomes the wasp by itself; it keeps
on thinking about the wasp, the wasp continues to sting and converts it
into the form of the wasp - so goes this saying. It is in that manner
Ishvara does to the JIvAtmA who does the nidhidhyAsana.

Mark it! There is a difference! The One who does the transformation here
is the Ishvara who is the saguNa-brahman. But the transformation he does
to the JIvAtmA is the formless nirguNa-brahman! And the Jiva does the
dhyAna only to become nirguNa and not for becoming the saguNa Ishvara!
So this transcends all analogy and stands very high!

>From the beginning Ishvara did not reveal Himself as the one who was
granting the progress step by step. Even now he only plays 'blind and
seek'. Now and then he takes the sAdhaka to samAdhi and later
permanently makes him a JIvan-mukta or a videha-mukta. However there is
a major difference.  In earlier stages, all the cleaning up or
purification and other touches-up that were happening in the mind, had
Him as their Cause. But now He destroys the very mind itself! Once the
mind has vanished, how can this (sAdhaka) get to know Him (the saguNa
Brahman)? And that is why even now the work of Ishvara is a black box to
the JIva! But though it is not visible to the eyes, it is million times
proximate in the sense that there is a unification between 'this' and
'that' NirguNa.  The saguNa Ishvara who makes the JIva a nothing, also
makes Himself a nothing and shines only as a sat-cit-Ananda tattva only.
[The Mahaswamigal laughs here] I said 'shines'; is it the light of a
bulb of one thousand watts?  We are running out of language here! We are
only talking at our level like this in order to attempt to communicate!

Indescribable by words, unreachable by the mind - nothing more blissful,
nothing more peaceful than that, nothing more independent, nothing more
of knowledge - it is a state, the truth of truths, the universal One!
That is the destination for the jnAna path, and for  the regimen of
advaita-sAdhanA, wonderfully paved for us into a royal path by the

By his Grace we got the fortunate opportunity of talking about it,
hearing about it and thinking about it. Let us pray to him that we
should be able to march forward in that path, little by little.


The First thing to be done is the discharge of obligatory karmas - what
the shAstras have ordained and in the manner they have chalked out.
Nowadays 'advaita' has come to mean the discarding of all karma, and all
AchAra (regulatory prescriptions). They think 'advaita' is a free
license to be without AchAra. And they even advise 'conventionalists'
such as me and say "What is there in all this (AchAra)?". Without an
iota of experience of advaita or the JIva-Brahma-non-difference, without
having made even the slightest effort towards that, they get into the
habit of  playing with expressions of opinions like "How can Atman have
karma? Or regulatory prescriptions? By observing varnAshrama dharma are
we not contradicting advaita?"  In other words, they intervene into
advaita only to do what they like irrespective of the shAstras.  I have
all along been shutting my mouth ( and not talking about advaita), lest
I become a party for the promotion of  such opinionated sins. Somehow it
has happened that I have talked about it all.  But let me not wind up
with a guilty note. The final goal being advaita, every one should know
at least an outline of it - this has been the maxim of the Acharya. And
by his Grace only I have been able to tell you something; and that is my

Let no one immediately take all this (advaita-sAdhanA) seriously. At the
core of your mind, hold on to the thought that JIva and Brahman are the
same. Once you hold on to it, it will have its own effect.  What you
have to do voluntarily is to discharge your karmic obligations according
to the shAstras. 

In the advaita shAstra that has been handed down to us by tradition
through the efforts of great 'anubhavis' one has been asked to move on
to advaita-sAdhanA only after one has reached a reasonable perfection in
the discharge of his shAstraic duties.

More fundamental than that we should make efforts to become ethically
pure. Beginning a great sAdhanA to become that 'Pure One' (*Ekam sat*)
does not mean that we ignore the necessity to be ethically pure! The
word 'sat' has, in addition to its meaning of 'Brahman, the Reality',
has also, according to Lord Krishna Himself, (B.G. XVII - 26) the
meaning of 'good', that is, a good quality or character.  *sad-bhAve
sAdhu-bhAve ca sad-ity-etat prayujyate*.  We call those who are good, as
sAdhus; that has its origin from the word 'sat'.  We speak of people as
'sat' (good ones) and 'asat' (bad ones).  As such, we have to hold on to
this 'sat' (the good) and then through this go to that 'sat', the

This 'sad-guNa' (good quality) and that brahma-jnAna are not unrelated.
Without this that will not be obtained. The Acharya says: For that, this
is the 'sahakAri cause' - i.e. the accessory cause; the cause with which
it cooperates and produces the fruit (phalaM). The word 'phalaM' and
'sahakAri' remind me of the type of mango called 'sahakAra mango'. It is
a mix of different types of mangoes. In Kanchipuram there is a mango
tree of this type and it is at the foot of such a tree that the Goddess
is united with the Lord Ekambareshvara  (cf. Mukapanchashati
AryashatakaM shloka 64). In the same manner the good quality 'sat' and
'jnAna' have to integrate together to produce the ripe fruit of moksha.
In the Gita, at a certain place (XIII - 7) where He delineates what
jnAna is, the Lord says: "Self-pride is wrong. Pretentiousness is taboo.
One should have the quality of ahimsA (non-injury), forbearance and
straightforwardness". Beginning thus He reels off a big list. That is
where in the Acharya's Bhashya, he himself raises the question on behalf
of the opponent "How can these things be jnAnaM" and replying to the
objection, says "All these are 'sahakAri' causes for jnAnaM and hence
themselves called jnAnaM".  Further he adds that these are the good
qualities that constitute the fertile ground for the spark of jnAnaM. 

The statement that self-pride is wrong implies only the necessity of
humility. A humble nature. We should all begin with that kind of humble
nature and make efforts to become good. Keeping the thought of that
'sat' (the Reality) at the bottom of our hearts, and with the Grace of
the Acharya, let us all do what we should for this 'sat' (goodness).

One should close with the word 'sat'  (Recall *om tat sat*). So let me
mentally say so for all of you.


PraNAms to all students of advaita.
PraNAms to the Maha-Swamigal.

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