[Advaita-l] Realization through Mind

Anand Hudli anandhudli at hotmail.com
Sun Nov 16 10:56:56 CST 2014

Dear Shri Chandramouliji,

>The real issue is the desired objective of freedom from rebirth being

>achieved. Is it at the end of shravana itself or after manana and
>nididhyasana ? Please clarify with reference to the position taken by Sri
>Bhagavatpada as well as with reference to both the schools of thought
>discussed by you.

Direct realization of Brahman/Self (aparokSha-avagatireva
samyagavagatiH as per the VivaraNa and also agreed to by the BhAmatI
school) will result in freedom from rebirth. Says Shankara in his
commentary on BSB 1.1.4, "brahmabhAvashca mokShaH", becoming identical
with Brahman is MokSha, and BSB 4.1.2,
"sarvaduHkhavinirmuktaikacaitany-Atmako aham ityeSha AtmAnubhavaH| na
cainaM AtmAnubhavataH kiMcid-anyatkRtyaM avashiShyate|",  For one who
is experiencing the Self as free from all miseries and as the One
Consciousness, there is nothing else to do.

>*  In other words Bhamati holds that only the mind gives us direct
*>* realization. According to the Bhashya of Sri Bhagavatpada shabda leads to
*>* realization in respect of svaprakasha Atman/Brahman by removing the
*>* obstruction/ajnana which is hindering such realization. Realization is due
*>* to the svaprakasha nature of Atman/Brahman. But when it is held , as in
*>* Bhamati , that mind gives us direct realization, is it not tantamount to
*>* saying that mind itself directly reveals Atman/Brahman leading to direct
*>* realization. It is not by way of removing the obstruction/ ajnana to such
*>* realization. Is this not contrary to the Bhashya? Does Bhamati deviate from
*>* the Bhashya in this regard ? Please clarify.*

Shankara's position on the issue is clarified, for example, in his
commentary on BSB 4.1.1 and 4.1.2. Here, Shankara says that although
some people can directly realize the Self by hearing the text only
once, there are others, who are afflicted by ignorance, doubt, and
confusion, cannot realize so by hearing only once. For these people,
repetition is recommended. Shankara also says that though there is a
vague understanding of a sentence heard only once, by a process of
repeatedly considering the meaning of the sentence and removing any
erroneous conceptions, people do arrive at a true understanding.
(dṛśyante hi sakṛt śrutāt vākyāt mandapratītaṃ vākyārtham āvartayantaḥ
tat tat ābhāsavyudāsena samyak pratipadyamānāḥ )This is explained by
the bhAmatI to mean that the meaning of such texts as tattvamasi is
very difficult to grasp, that it cannot be done quickly, and that it
takes a long time, with no interruptions and with all earnestness.
Note that Shankara does admit that understanding the true meaning of
tattvamasi is person-dependent. Some can do it at the first attempt,
for while others repetition is necessary. (tasmāt parabrahmaviṣaye api
pratyaye tat upāya upadeśeṣu āvṛttisiddhiḥ)

 There is not really any big difference between the two schools if you
analyze them. They are just two viewpoints of what Shankara is saying.
What BhAmati is saying is that generally it takes a lengthy process of
shravaNa, manana, and nididhyAsana to achieve that AparokShAnubhUti or
BrahmasAkShAtkAra, but someone who achieves BrahmasAkShAtkAra in an
instant by listening to the VedAnta text just once is also not ruled
out. In this case, the lengthy process should have been undergone in
previous lives, and all that is needed in this life is just hearing
the vAkya only once. What the VivaraNa is saying is that shabda gives
rise to direct realization (aparokSha-avagati), but also adds that due
to obstacles (pratibandha's) in the mind, the direct realization is
delayed until such time that the obstacles are removed
(pratibandhanirAsa) by manana and nididhyAsana.  It is possible for
one who does not have any such obstacles to have the aparokSha-avagati
by hearing the vAkya only once.


More information about the Advaita-l mailing list