[Advaita-l] 'Truth' - a peculiarity

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Fri Apr 27 20:14:30 CDT 2012

In the srImadbhagavatam we have this verse:

वदन्ति तत्तत्वविदस्तत्त्वं यज्ज्ञानमद्वयम् ।
ब्रह्मेति परमात्मेति भगवानिति शब्द्यते ॥ (१.२.११)

vadanti tattatvavidastattvam yagynAnamadvayam |
brahmEti paramAtmEti bhagavAniti shabdyatE   ||(1.2.11)

*तत्त्वविद:     * *The knowers of truth*

*वदन्ति       *

*यद् ज्ञानं       *

*that knowledge,*


*where there is absence of duality*

*तत्त्वं   *

*to be the ultimate Truth*

*शब्द्यते ब्रह्मेति      *

*which is referred to as Brahman*

*परमात्मेति    *

*Paramatma (Supreme Soul)  *


*and Bhagavan (Lord)*

The word 'shabdyate' is very significant here.  It means: The Truth can be
only referred to by several names which are only words that indicate It.
Its undeniable experience, however, is not in doubt.  It itself has no
absolute name.

Popular exponent of Vedanta and other works such as Ramana Maharshi's
compositions, Vidwan Nochur Venkataraman drew the attention of the audience
to the above verse during his recent lecture at Chennai as part of Shankara
Jayanthi Celebrations.

It would be interesting to note a verse from the mahopanishat 4.54 / Laghu
Yoga vAsiShTha utpatti prakaraNam 1.12:

ऋतमात्मा परं ब्रह्म सत्यमित्यादिका बुधैः ।
कल्पिता व्यवहारार्थं यस्य संज्ञा महात्मनः ॥4.54॥

[In order to facilitate parlance, the wise employ words such as Rtam, AtmA,
Param, Brahma, Satyam, etc., to designate that Supreme Self.]

Even the word 'Advaitam' is not the absolute name.  Words are used only as
long as the Truth is not recognized by the aspirant, just to help one turn
his attention to it.  Once he is able to identify it as his very Self words
would have served their utility.  He no longer needs words to 'get there'
for he is already That.


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