[Advaita-l] Kanchi Maha-swamigal's Discourses on Advaita Saadhanaa (KDAS-63)

V. Krishnamurthy profvk at yahoo.com
Tue Sep 12 09:04:42 CDT 2006

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


Tamil Original : http://www.kamakoti.org/tamil/dk6-122.htm

It is in that manner, when everybody was thinking that the mUrdha nADi that
goes to the head was itself the sushhumnA of the yoga-shAstra, it was at
that time that our Acharya manifested on Earth! He was all-knowing even at
birth. There was nothing which was not known to him. However, having
manifested as a human being  to show the way to humans, he had to show that
he learnt everything only from the Guru. First he studied several  shAstras,
as a Brahmachari, staying with a guru (*gurukulavAsaM*) and then from a
sannyAsi-guru he took over the Brahma-vidyA. Thereafter he wrote the
Bhashyas as per the orders of the Guru. 

When he thus wrote the Bhashyas, he did something which demonstrates his
great humility. Though he was himself an all-knowing person as also one who
had the experience, he did not claim to say anything  on the basis of his
own experience or knowledge. He always leaned on shAstras, tradition and the
regimens of elders' observance (*shishhTAchAra*) and the things approved by
them. "If I said things on my own authority, what guarantee is there that
things will happen to others in the same way it happened to me? Only by
declaring theories on one's personal authority did the Bauddha and Jaina
philosophies go wrong and it has been left to us to make the correction" -
this was the thought of the Acharya and accordingly he restrained himself
and made tradition  do the talking. In matters unrelated to the growth of
spirituality, even when the traditional belief was not right, he thought
"Let me not touch it. Once I meddle with it, that will leave the precedent
for others to do the same and  discipline will be lost" and thereby he spoke
only  in conformity with tradition and its beliefs.

The matter of the heart and the NADis that Vedanta talks about is one such.
By knowing about them there is not going to be any gain of spirituality; nor
is there any loss by not knowing  about them.There is a great difference
between the sushhumnA and other nADis that Yoga ShAstra talks about and this
(matter of the heart, etc.). The Yoga-shAstras say several things about how
you have to practise, how you have to generate the activity of prANashakti
in the nADis, make it ascend or climb, and you may reap such and such
results. Among these there are also included  some for the growth of
spirituality.  On the other hand, we cannot do anything with the heart or
nADis or the central gate, enunciated by our Vedanta shAstras and obtain any
result.It all depends on  his life style, upAsanA, self-enquiry and
accordingly the Jiva-bhAva automatically goes and joins thosenADis or the
central seat of the Atman.That is all. In the YogashAstras, whatever
movement of the prANas that one creates through self-effort, that influences
and formulates the life and sAdhanA. In Vedanta, on the other hand,
depending on the life style, routine and sAdhanA, certain things happen,
beyond his control, in the nADis etc. And knowing those 'certain things'  he
does not gain anything; nor does he lose anything by not knowing them.

The matter of the yoga-shAstra-nADis is like a careful climb up a ladder.
Every step there has to be done by self-effort. VedAanta-nADis are like an
elevator. It lifts you up by itself.  You don't have to do anything. You
don't have to know how the lift works. Even if you have a wrong
understanding of it, it does not fail to do its job.

That is why when the Acharya wrote the Bhashyas, in the beginning days,
whatever general opinion was there about the nADis he also wrote the same
way and used the 'sushhumnA' accordingly. He did not elaborate on it, but he
did write briefly about it. Later when the matter came up more deeply in
BrihadAranyaka and Chandogya Upanishads and also in the Brahma-sUtra,
instead of using the word 'sushhumnA' he just said 'the nADi that goes to
the head' and stopped there. Even then he did not say explicitly that 'it is
not the sushhumnA'. Also he did not do any correction to his own usage of
'sushhumnA' in the previous Upanishads.  Obviously he does not give
importance to insignificant controversies! Only I am making a big issue of

But then why did he take up the matter of UttarAyana-dakshhiNAyana and
emphasize the right thing, that was contrary to general opinion? Of course
even the knowledge of that matter  does not also profit you spiritually in
any way.  However, by knowing it wrongly one wrongly concludes that some
non-entity who dies in the uttarAyaNa period as a great soul; but even this
thinking is excusable. It is the other opinion, namely, thinking of a
mahAtmA who had his final exit from the body in dakShiNAyana, as an ordinary
person destined to be born again - this is certainly unwholesome and that is
what made the Acharya emphasize the right thing.

Where he says why Bhishma was waiting for a death in Uttarayana, in the
Bhashya of Brahmasutra IV-2-20,   we see the noble mind of our Acharya.
*AcAra-paripAlanArthaM*, says he - that is, for the purpose of conforming to
worldly practice.

Another interesting point to note. The name 'sushhumnA'  itself was there
originlly only for the  mUrdha-nADi, spoken of in Vedanta!  The sushhumnA is
the first ray among the most import seven of the Sun. Appayya Dikshidar has
mentioned it in his stotra of the Sun. ('Aditya stotra ratnam': Shloka 4).
It is the Sun's rays that run through the nADis (that Vedanta speaks)  that
run from the heart  and spread through all  the parts of the body and
produce the  semi-physical juices which are the source for blood, bile and
flegm. Chandogya Upanishad (VIII - 6) has this matter. Of these nADis, the
nADi through which the Sun's sushhumnA ray runs is the one which goes from
the  heart to the head.  Therefore it is that one which was originally
called the sushhumnA nADi.  The Yoga-shAstra people used that name for the
central nADi  which is most important for their yoga. Though the source of
sushhumnA goes to the Sun, they gave that name to the agni-nADi because of
its centrality,  in their shAstra,  instead of giving that name to the

The fact that the Acharya who uses the name  mUrdha-nADi in the
BrihadAranyaka and Chandogya Upanishads and in the Brahma-sUtra - in all
three of which the topic is elaborated - left the name of sushhumnA
uncorrected in the first three places where he used that name,  probably has
the following explanation.  He might have left it like that in order to
bring home to everybody the fact that it is  the heart-nADi of Vedanta that
had the original name SushhumnA. But really what has happened is the
reverse. Scholars of later times have concluded that just because in those
three places it has been called sushhumnA, in the other places also it is
the sushhumnA of the mUlAdhAra that has been mentioned!

(To be Continued)
PraNAms to all students of advaita.
PraNAms to the Maha-Swamigal.

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