[Advaita-l] Realization through Mind

Anand Hudli anandhudli at hotmail.com
Fri Nov 14 00:26:19 CST 2014

Shri Chandramouli wrote:

>Nididhyasana is to be undertaken only by such a su-samskruta mind to
>achieve the results.

Nice summary of the topic. I would like to add a few points based on the
differences between the two main schools of advaita - the BhAmati and the

It must be clarified that both schools recognize the importance of Vedanta
texts such as "tattvamasi" in the realization of Brahman. However, the
Vivarana school holds that VedAnta vAkyas such as tattvamasi will give rise
to direct realization (aparokSha pramiti) of Brahman. Says the Vivarana:
evaM cha taM aupaniShadamiti taddhitapratyayena brahmaavagatihetutvaM
shabdasya darshitam upapannaM bhavati aparokShaavagatereva
samyagavagatitvaaditi. By the VedAnta text,  aupaniShadaM puruShaM
pRcchAmi, the taddhita affix applied to upanishad indicates that shabda
(upanishad) is the cause of Brahman realization and that realization is
direct (not indirect), since only direct realization can be true
realization. Though both the mind and shabda are accepted by the two
schools, the debate here is about which of the two - mind or shabda, yields
direct realization. The BhAmatI holds that shabda can only give us indirect

tadeva vAkyamAtrasyArthe .api na drAgityeva pratyaya ityuktam. Therefore,
it is said that one cannot immediately grasp the meaning of a text.
According to vAcaspati, it is difficult to understand the meaning of the
words and the sentence in the case of texts such as "tattvamasi". In fact,
it takes a long time to do so. (vilambena).

And tatkiM iyameva vAkyajanitA pratItirAtmani tathA cha na
 sAkShAtpratItirAtmani? ... vAkyArthapratItiH sAkShAtkArasya pUrvarUpam -
bhAmatI . Why (stop) at the idea generated by the (vedAnta) text, which is
not a direct realization of the Self? This idea (generated by) the meaning
of the (vedAnta) text is a preliminary form of (or a precursor to) direct
realization. So then how does one directly realize the Self? After hearing
and reflecting on the meaning of the text, meditating on it for a long
time, without interruption, and with attention, one directly realizes
Brahman.  vAkyArthashravaNamananottarakAlA visheShaNatrayavatI bhAvanA
brahmasAkShAtkArAya kalpate iti.

In contrast, the VivaraNa school holds that VedAnta texts such as
"tattvamasi" can directly give rise to Brahman realization. An example
cited here is that of "the tenth man." There were ten people who crossed a
river. They wanted to count themselves and ensure nobody was lost. The
person who counted was making a mistake of not counting himself, coming up
short. An observer told him: "dashamastvamasi". You are the tenth man. Just
by hearing these words,  the tenth man realized that he was the missing
person, the tenth one. In this case, the Apta-vAkya is alone sufficient to
cause the realization. And this realization is direct and immediate. So if
shabda (shravaNa) can give rise to direct Brahman realization, why do we
need  manana and nididhyAsana?

yadA tu punaH shabdAdeva prathamam aparokSha-anubhavaphalaM vijnAnam
utpannaM bhrantivikShepasaMskAra-khacita-antaHkaraNadoshAdartho.api
parokSha-anubhava-phalatayA vibhrAntyA avatiShThate. tadA
pramANasya phalopakAri-angamiti na virudhyate|

While shabda (shravaNa) alone gives rise to knowledge which results in the
direct experience (of the Self), due to the defects that are the
impressions of illusions in the mind, even this direct experience is
apprehended as an indirect experience. In this case, manana and
nididhyAsana will act as helping (auxiliary) factors of the shabda pramANa
or shravaNa to eliminate these defects which are obstacles (to direct
experience) and thereby cause the direct experience to be established.
There is no contradiction.

A natural question to ask would be: Is Brahman realization possible by
hearing the VedAnta text, such as tattvamasi, just once? Considering the
BhAmatI's position, it would seem that VAcaspati is unwilling to accept
that this is possible, since he holds that a long process of shravaNa,
manana, and nididhyAsana is necessary. The VivaraNa, on the other hand,
would have no problems in accepting this possibility, because Brahman
realization does happen directly through the shabda pramANa, and if there
are no obstacles due to  saMskAras in the mind, then such realization takes
place upon hearing the text just once. Shankara also agrees that such
realization is possible: bhavet AvRtti AnarthakyaM taM prati yaH tattvamasi
iti sakRt uktameva brahmAtmatvaM anubhavituM shaknuyAt. (B.S.B. 4.1.2)

But the BhAmatIkAra has noted the BhAShyakAra's comment and has offered an
explanation that reconciles his own view with that of the BhAShyakAra:
sakRduktameviti| shrutvA matvA kShaNamavadhAya prAgbhavIya-abhyAsa
jAtasaMskArAt ityarthaH. By "realization by hearing only once", the
BhAShyakAra means that such realization happens by hearing and reflecting
for an instant and from the impressions of repeated practice done in
previous lives. So in the case of the person who realizes the Self by
hearing the text only once, he must have practiced shravaNa, manana, and
nididhyAsana in previous lives.


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