[Advaita-l] Three 'kinds' of Advaita for saadhana

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sun Jun 13 20:03:32 CDT 2010

श्रीगुरुभ्यो नमः

The Prahlada Charitram in the Srimadbhagavatam contains many a gem on the
sadhana side.  One is the famous nava-vidha bhakti  mentioned by the Great
Devotee Prahlada in the shloka:

श्रवणं कीर्तनं विष्णो: स्मरणं पादसेवनम् ।

अर्चनं वन्दनं दास्यं सख्य*मात्मनिवेदनम्* ॥

//(7.5. 22) Hiranyakas'ipu said. 'Now tell me Prahlâda my son, now you're so
well taught, something nice about all that you, o love of my life, have been
learning all this time from your teachers.'

(7.5.23-24) S'rî Prahlâda said: 'Hearing, singing, remembering Vishnu,
attending to the feet, offering worship and prayers, becoming a servant,
being a friend and *to surrender one's soul* are the nine ways making up the
bhakti that should be performed unto the Supreme Lord of Vishnu; this I
consider the topmost of learning.' //

The culmination of the spiritual journey that takes the path of devotion to
the Lord, is in the devotee erasing his ego totally and placing himself
fully at the feet of the Lord.  This is called Atmanivedanam.

Yet another great sadhana is given out by Sage Narada to YudhishThira (7.15
of the Bhagavatam):

भावाद्वैतं क्रियाद्वैतं द्रव्याद्वैतं तथात्मनः ।

वर्तयन् स्वानुभूत्येह त्रीन् स्वप्नान् धुनुते मुनिः ॥ 15.62

62) When a person practices the three kinds of advaita assiduously in his
life, he succeeds in transcending the three types of 'dreams':

त्रय आवसथाः त्रयः स्वप्नाः [Aitareya Upanishad 1.3.12]

After opening that very end (of the head), by that way he entered. This is
the opening known as vidrti. This is the pleasing. For that, there are *
three* abodes; *three* kinds of *dreams* as: this is the abode; this is the
abode; this is the abode.

१. वस्तुनि भेदबुद्धिरेकः स्वप्नः २. ततस्तत्तदधिकारभेदेन
कर्मभेदबुद्धिर्द्वितीयः ३. ततः सत्कर्मसाधितं फलं ममैव भोग्यमिति तृतीयः ।

1. Cognition of difference in the vastu, object, is the first dream. 2.
Next, cognition of difference in ..[explanation required]  3. The third
dream is that one thinks that 'whatever has been achieved by me thru
righteous means should be enjoyed by me alone'.  One has to transcend all
these three dreams.  And that will be possible by practicing the following
three types of 'advaita'.

[I request members to help fill up the portion marked 'explanation required'
above.  Maybe the three points covered above are from the commentary to the
Bhagavatam by Sri Sridhara Swamin.  The Tamil translation by 'Anna' of the
Ramakrishna Mutt, Chennai, from where I took the above three points, does
not mention the source in this instance.]

The three 'dreams', being ignorance, one has to overcome them for getting
the liberated jnanam.  And towards that end, the practice as shown below
will be the means.  It is quite clear that the first 'dream' mentioned above
is remedied by the first practice of 'advaita', the perception of the
non-difference of the cause and effect.  This has been taught in the
Chandogya Upanishad Chapter 6 in the famous SadvidyA thru the three examples
of clay, gold and iron.

कार्यकारणवस्त्वैक्यदर्शनं पटतन्तुवत् ।

अवस्तुत्वाद्विकल्पस्य भावाद्वैतं तदुच्यते ॥ 15.63

(63) To the observation that, like with the substance of the threads of a
cloth, the effect and cause [of this existence] are one because ultimately
setting them apart constitutes the unreal, does one speak of the conception
of oneness [bhâvâdvaita, see also B.G.: 18: 16].

Here we remember the famous 'वाचारम्भणश्रुति’ of the Chandogya Upanishad VI
chapter.  The Upanishad teaches the non-substantial nature of objects with
names and forms.  However, objects are real only as their cause.  The
Upanishad gives the examples of clay-clay products, gold-ornaments and
iron-implements.  All transformation, vikAra, are just names.  Earlier what
was called 'clay' is now called 'pot'.  The name 'pot' does not do anything
to the clay that is what is the substance there.  This substance is what is
real.  The pot does not exist as apart from the clay.  That is the meaning
the above verse conveys, although with another example: threads that are the
cause and the cloth that is the effect.  Apart from threads the cloth has no
separate existence.  Another significant word in the above verse is:
avastutvaat vikalpasya.  It categorically states that the vikalpa, the
vikAra, the effect, is 'avastu', unreal, non-existent.  The word 'cloth' is
used but it does not have a substance 'cloth'; the substance being thread
alone.  Thus, the vikalpa, the transformed cloth, is avastu, no-vastu.

One has to apply this truth in one's daily life.  This can be done in two
ways:  1.  Seeing that all objects are none other than PrakRti, which is
what is at the basis of every object that we encounter.  2.  Recognizing
that all objects are 'arising' from us, the Consciousness, sustained by us,
the Consciousness and resolving into us, the Consciousness.  Thus, the
objects, paratantra, have no existence independent, swatantra, of the
Consciousness.  Anything that has no svatantra existence is mithya, being
dependent on something else for its very existence, reality.  A superimposed
serpent does not have an independent existence of its own apart from the
substratum rope.

A question:  Supposing a boy is dependent on his parents.  Is the boy

Answer:  Here, the boy is a jiva per se.  The jiva is basically
consciousness, eternal, unchanging, undecaying, undepleting, swatantra.  So,
actually there is no dependence of the boy on anyone, really speaking.  What
is happening here is that the body/mind apparatus has to depend on the
support of the parents for sustenance.  Even here, actually the body-mind
being prakriti, it is only one form of prakriti sustaining another form of
prakriti. Ultimately, in the cosmic scale, the prakriti is dependent only on
Consciousness.  And prakriti is mithya, having only a paratantra-reality.
So, in the case we took up, the boy's body-mind is a vishaya, object,
kshetram, for the kshetrajna, the jiva-boy.  So, at that level itself, the
dependent body-mind is mithya.  The 'support' mechanism that comes from the
parents is also kshetram, a vishaya, for the consciousness the parents
really are.  So, from their point of view this support mechanism is mithya.
So, what actually happens is in the larger picture of cosmic management,
prakriti is self-sustaining within itself - parkRti A-aspect sustains
prakRti B-aspect.  But prakRti Whole is dependent on Consciousness, the
Purusha.  So, ultimately, the body-mind of the boy is mithya, being
dependent on consciousness.

The Bhagavatam verse teaches that one should constantly keep in view this
advaitam, in his bhaavanaa.  Advaita bhaavanaa has to be there at the
background.  In vyavahara, however, a distinction will have to be made
between the cause, clay, and the effect, pot.  I cannot store water in a
lump of clay; I require a pot.   This is called: अर्थक्रियाकारित्वम्,
practical utility.  Advaitins have amply provided for this when they
proclaim the non-separateness of the cause and effect.  The author of the
BhAmati says:  We do not declare 'abheda', non-difference; we only denounce
bheda, difference.  He has said this keeping in view the practical utility

यद्ब्रह्मणि परे साक्षात् सर्वकर्मसमर्पणम् ।

मनोवाक्तनुभिः पार्थ क्रियाद्वैतं तदुच्यते ॥ 15.64

(64) In all activities of the mind, the words and the body directly to be of
dedication unto the Supreme of the transcendental Absolute, o Yudhishthhira,
is called oneness in activities [kriyâdvaita, compare B.G. 9.27].

The above verse teaches the 'alignment' that is required at the body, mind
and speech levels.  If there is a conflict among these three instruments,
the outcome will be tainted.  Often the mind may not like to go the dhaarmic
way as the senses (body) always wish to get joy in the adhaarmic way.
Sometimes it would be a tussle between the mind and the senses.  The famous
The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak

Meaning: A statement of the difficulty in living up to the high moral
standards that one has set oneself.

Origin From the Bible, *Matthew 26:41* (King James

is seen to have a practical application in many instances.  The Bhagavatam
wants us to put in efforts and attain to a state where the three instruments
are in unison, in the path of dharma.  This is kriyAdvaitam.

आत्मजायासुतादीनां अन्येषामपि देहिनाम् ।

यत्स्वार्थकामयोरैक्यं द्रव्याद्वैतं तदुच्यते ॥ 15.66
 When the ultimate goal and interest of oneself, the wife and the children,
the others or whatever living beings is one, is that oneness called oneness
of interest [dravyâdvaita].

Everyone, knowing or otherwise, aims to derive joy.  And everyone has this
innate craving to 'be'.  All activity is aimed at fulfilling these two basic
longings.  If one recognizes this fundamental phenomenon in every being, one
will not perform acts that are detrimental to anyone's fundamental
interests.  आत्मवत्सर्वभूतेषु यः पश्यति स पश्यति

The three types of 'advaita' when practiced consistently for a length of
time, one attains to the state of Atmajnanam and liberation.


More information about the Advaita-l mailing list