[Advaita-l] vedAnta/upanishad mahAvAkya - a query

Venkata sriram P venkatasriramp at yahoo.in
Wed Apr 4 23:44:17 CDT 2012

how can we conclude that  there are ONLY four mahA vAkya-s in the whole cannon of vedAnta?? what are all the special features that determines the  mAhAvakya-s & 
distinguishes it from other shruti vAkya-s??  
I am sure, you might have studied *types of sentences* in English Grammer during your school days.  So, you might be aware of 2 types of clauses ie., a) Main Clause b) Subordinate Clause.  The Main Clause is independant of itself that conveys a definite meaning to the sentence whereas Subordinate Clause is dependant on Main Clause to give a complete meaning.  
Similarly, Mahavakya is like Main Clause which stands independant of itself in the upaniSads that are pointers towards the identity of Jiva & Brahman.  Whereas, other shruti vAkyas which may seem like mahAvAkyAs are pointers to this mahAvAkyAs only.  
They cannot be termed as mahAvAkyAs.  There are only 4 mahAvAkyAs corresponding to
4 vEdAs. 
The upanishad vAkyAs corresponding to the veda where *tat tvam asi* is defined are only
pointers to tat tvam asi only which have to be understood with *bhAga-tyAga lakSaNa*.
Similarly, rest of the 3 mahAvAkyAs.  
BTW, there are dhyAna slokAs, anga / kara nyAsAs for the mahAvAkyAs also but method
of japa prescribed is nidhidhyAsana.  These cannot be chanted like rAma nAma etc.

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