[Advaita-l] structured approach to learning advaita

Siva Senani Nori sivasenani at yahoo.com
Wed May 25 05:48:16 CDT 2011

To give a flavour of these prakaraNa granthas, we can take a look at Sadananda 
Yati's Vedanta Saara. This is a very short and yet crisp book yet not wanting in 
depth. The general scheme is that after explaining the anubandhachatushTaya, the 
srishti kramam is explained in great detail covering the concept of adhyaasa, 
and then the samhaarakrama in a concise way. Thereafter two mahaavaakyas 
tattvamasi and ahambrahmaasmi are analysed; a brief discussion shows how other 
schools think of Atman and why they are mistaken; then is taken up the saadhana 
part including sravaNa-manana-nidhidhyaasana and the different parts of samadhi 
(yama-niyama-etc.). The SravaNa part also includes a discussion of the six 
lingas - upasamhaaropakramau, abhyaasa etc. - along with examples from the 
Chandogya Upanishad. Finally the characteristics of a Jeevanmukta are discussed. 

This is in prose, written in 16th century, following the Vivarana school, it 
seemed to me (that is no learned Pandit has asserted that it in so many words to 
my knowledge). Some of the features that stand out are:
- Isvara is ajnAna-upahita-Brahman, that is Brahman conditioned by ajnaana, or 
in simpler language Brahman covered by / or to whose side is kept, ajnaana. 
Upa-hita means kept close by.
- AjnAna can be seen at the aggregate level (samashTi) like a forest or lake, or 
at the individual level (vyashTi) like a tree or water; Brahman upahita by the 
first at different levels is called Isvara, HiranYagarbha / sootraatmaa, and 
VaiSvaanara; Brahman upahita by the latter is praajna, taijasa, and viSva. In 
all the cases like the akASa which is divided by the tree or forest, or that 
which is reflected in water or the lake, anupahita Brahman is the same.
- Thus in statements like tattvamasi, the upahita-Brahman is the vaachyaartha 
(literal meaning) and the anupahita Brahman is the lakshyaartha (intended 
- Knowledge occurs not immediately upon listening to Sruti but by understanding 
its meaning properly using the six lingas.
- Copious statements from Sruti to support every proposition.

If it is deemed useful, I would like to do a series of posts on the same. There 
are 38 topics, each of a length good for one or two posts.

N. Siva Senani

----- Original Message ----
> From: Venkata sriram P <venkatasriramp at yahoo.in>
> To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
> Sent: Wed, May 25, 2011 12:45:07 PM
> Subject: [Advaita-l] structured approach to learning advaita
> Namaste,
> There are 2 aspects that need to be emphasized.
> 1) Learning Advaita for academic purpose 
> 2) Learning Advaita as a part of AdhyAtmika sAdhana
> In either case, good knowledge of Sanskrit is necessary.  
> Now, our concern is for the 2nd aspect only.  That said, nitya / naikittika 
>karmas are
> mandatory for this 2nd aspect.  One should never start prasthAna-traya directly 
> thorough study of laghu prakarana granthas. 
> The tradition starts with Dakshinamurty Stotra, Vivekachudamani, Upadesa 
> Aparoksha Anubhuti, Vedantasara of Sadananda, Vedanta Paribhasha, Vedanta 
>Panchadasi, Jivanmukti Viveka, Satasloki, Vasudeva Mananam etc. 
> But to start with, IMHO, Dakshinamurty Stotram is the ideal one that explain 
> basic advaitic tenets in a simple & lucid style.  We chant this hymn everyday 
> fail alongwith Gurupaduka Stotra and Guru Parampara Stotra.
> regs,
> sriram 
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