[Advaita-l] Atman, verily Brahman, is Ever Established

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sat Jan 3 00:26:48 CST 2015

In the Brahmasūtra bhāṣya for the very first sutra, Shankara says:

सर्वस्यात्मत्वाच्च ब्रह्मास्तित्वप्रसिद्धिः । सर्वो ह्यात्मास्तित्वं
प्रत्येति, न ‘नाहमस्मि’ इति । यदि हि नात्मास्तित्वप्रसिद्धिः स्यात्, सर्वो
लोकः ‘नाहमस्मि’ इति प्रतीयात् । आत्मा च ब्रह्म ।

Brahman is well known since It is the Self of all. Everyone experiences
oneself to be existing and no one thinks 'I do not exist'.  If the
existence of oneself is not well known everyone would experience that one
is  non-existent, 'I am not'.  (This) Atman is Brahman.

Shankara bases this on the strength of the Taittiriya upanishad definition
of Brahman as 'Satyam (Existence), Jnanam (Consciousness), Anantam
(Infinite) Brahma'.  The word Satyam is the one that is especially
important in the above words of Shankara.

Quite interestingly, in the Srimadbhāgavatam, in the sequence where
Prahlada instructs his fellow-pupils, the very same point covered above is


na <http://vedabase.net/n/na> hy acyutaḿ <http://vedabase.net/a/acyutam>
prīṇayato bahvāyāso 'surātmajāḥ

ātmatvāt <http://vedabase.net/a/atmatvat> sarva
iha <http://vedabase.net/i/iha> sarvataḥ <http://vedabase.net/s/sarvatah>

na <http://vedabase.net/n/na> — not; hi <http://vedabase.net/h/hi> —
indeed; acyutam <http://vedabase.net/a/acyutam> — the infallible Supreme
Personality of Godhead; prīṇayataḥ <http://vedabase.net/p/prinayatah> —
satisfying; bahu <http://vedabase.net/b/bahu> — much; āyāsaḥ
<http://vedabase.net/a/ayasah> — endeavor; asura
<http://vedabase.net/a/asura>-ātma <http://vedabase.net/a/atma>-jāḥ
<http://vedabase.net/j/jah> — O <http://vedabase.net/o/o> sons of demons;
ātmatvāt <http://vedabase.net/a/atmatvat> — because of being intimately
related as <http://vedabase.net/a/as> the Supersoul; sarva
<http://vedabase.net/s/sarva>-bhūtānām <http://vedabase.net/b/bhutanam> —
of all living entities; siddhatvāt <http://vedabase.net/s/siddhatvat> —
because of being established; iha <http://vedabase.net/i/iha> — in
<http://vedabase.net/i/in> this world; sarvataḥ
<http://vedabase.net/s/sarvatah> — in <http://vedabase.net/i/in> all
directions, in <http://vedabase.net/i/in> all times and from all angles of
 Śrīmad Bhāgavatam <http://vedabase.net/sb/en> 7.6.20-23

parāvareṣu bhūteṣu <http://vedabase.net/b/bhutesu>brahmānta-sthāvarādiṣu

bhautikeṣu <http://vedabase.net/b/bhautikesu> vikāreṣu
<http://vedabase.net/v/vikaresu>bhūteṣv atha <http://vedabase.net/a/atha>
mahatsu <http://vedabase.net/m/mahatsu> ca <http://vedabase.net/c/ca>

guṇeṣu <http://vedabase.net/g/gunesu> guṇa <http://vedabase.net/g/guna>-
sāmye <http://vedabase.net/s/samye> ca guṇa <http://vedabase.net/g/guna>-
vyatikare <http://vedabase.net/v/vyatikare> tathā

eka <http://vedabase.net/e/eka> eva <http://vedabase.net/e/eva> paro hy ātmā
bhagavān <http://vedabase.net/b/bhagavan> īśvaro 'vyayaḥ

pratyagātma <http://vedabase.net/a/atma>-svarūpeṇa dṛśya
<http://vedabase.net/d/drsya>-rūpeṇa <http://vedabase.net/r/rupena> ca
<http://vedabase.net/c/ca> svayam <http://vedabase.net/s/svayam>

vyāpya <http://vedabase.net/v/vyapya>-vyāpaka
<http://vedabase.net/v/vyapaka>-nirdeśyo hy anirdeśyo 'vikalpitaḥ

kevalānubhavānanda-svarūpaḥ <http://vedabase.net/s/svarupah> parameśvaraḥ

māyayāntarhitaiśvarya īyate <http://vedabase.net/i/iyate> guṇa
<http://vedabase.net/g/guna>-sargayā <http://vedabase.net/s/sargaya>

para <http://vedabase.net/p/para>-avareṣu <http://vedabase.net/a/avaresu>
— in <http://vedabase.net/i/in> exalted or hellish conditions of life;
bhūteṣu <http://vedabase.net/b/bhutesu> — in <http://vedabase.net/i/in>
the living beings; brahma <http://vedabase.net/b/brahma>-anta
<http://vedabase.net/a/anta> — ending with Lord Brahmā
<http://vedabase.net/b/brahma>; sthāvara <http://vedabase.net/s/sthavara>-
ādiṣu <http://vedabase.net/a/adisu> — beginning with the nonmoving forms
of life, the trees and plants; bhautikeṣu
<http://vedabase.net/b/bhautikesu> — of the material elements; vikāreṣu
<http://vedabase.net/v/vikaresu> — in <http://vedabase.net/i/in> the
transformations; bhūteṣu <http://vedabase.net/b/bhutesu> — in
<http://vedabase.net/i/in> the five gross elements of material nature; atha
<http://vedabase.net/a/atha> — moreover; mahatsu
<http://vedabase.net/m/mahatsu> — in <http://vedabase.net/i/in> the mahat
<http://vedabase.net/m/mahat>-tattva <http://vedabase.net/t/tattva>, the
total material energy; ca <http://vedabase.net/c/ca> — also; guṇeṣu
<http://vedabase.net/g/gunesu> — in <http://vedabase.net/i/in> the modes of
material nature; guṇa <http://vedabase.net/g/guna>-sāmye
<http://vedabase.net/s/samye> — in <http://vedabase.net/i/in> an
<http://vedabase.net/a/an> equilibrium of material qualities; ca
<http://vedabase.net/c/ca> — and; guṇa <http://vedabase.net/g/guna>-
vyatikare <http://vedabase.net/v/vyatikare> — in <http://vedabase.net/i/in>
the uneven manifestation of the modes of material nature; tathā
<http://vedabase.net/t/tatha> — as <http://vedabase.net/a/as> well; ekaḥ
<http://vedabase.net/e/ekah> — one; eva <http://vedabase.net/e/eva> — only;
paraḥ <http://vedabase.net/p/parah> — transcendental; hi
<http://vedabase.net/h/hi> — indeed; ātmā <http://vedabase.net/a/atma> —
the original source; bhagavān <http://vedabase.net/b/bhagavan> — the
Supreme Personality of Godhead; īśvaraḥ <http://vedabase.net/i/isvarah> —
the controller; avyayaḥ <http://vedabase.net/a/avyayah> — without
deteriorating; pratyak <http://vedabase.net/p/pratyak> — inner; ātma
<http://vedabase.net/a/atma>-svarūpeṇa <http://vedabase.net/s/svarupena> —
by His original constitutional position as <http://vedabase.net/a/as> the
Supersoul; dṛśya <http://vedabase.net/d/drsya>-rūpeṇa
<http://vedabase.net/r/rupena> — by His visible forms; ca
<http://vedabase.net/c/ca> — also; svayam <http://vedabase.net/s/svayam> —
personally; vyāpya <http://vedabase.net/v/vyapya> — pervaded; vyāpaka
<http://vedabase.net/v/vyapaka> — all-pervading; nirdeśyaḥ
<http://vedabase.net/n/nirdesyah> — to <http://vedabase.net/t/to> be
described; hi <http://vedabase.net/h/hi> — certainly; anirdeśyaḥ
<http://vedabase.net/a/anirdesyah> — not to <http://vedabase.net/t/to> be
described (because of fine, subtle existence); avikalpitaḥ
<http://vedabase.net/a/avikalpitah> — without differentiation; kevala
<http://vedabase.net/k/kevala> — only; anubhava
<http://vedabase.net/a/anubhava>-ānanda <http://vedabase.net/a/ananda>-
svarūpaḥ <http://vedabase.net/s/svarupah> — whose form is blissful and
full of knowledge; parama <http://vedabase.net/p/parama>-īśvaraḥ
<http://vedabase.net/i/isvarah> — the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the
supreme ruler; māyayā <http://vedabase.net/m/mayaya> — by māyā
<http://vedabase.net/m/maya>, the illusory energy; antarhita
<http://vedabase.net/a/antarhita> — covered; aiśvaryaḥ
<http://vedabase.net/a/aisvaryah> — whose unlimited opulence; īyate
<http://vedabase.net/i/iyate> — is mistaken as <http://vedabase.net/a/as>;
guṇa <http://vedabase.net/g/guna>-sargayā <http://vedabase.net/s/sargaya>
— the interaction of the material modes of nature.

This particular expression in the above verse is also completely reflected
in the Shānkaran bhashyas:

// pratyagātma <http://vedabase.net/a/atma>-svarūpeṇa  dṛśya
<http://vedabase.net/d/drsya>-rūpeṇa <http://vedabase.net/r/rupena> ca
<http://vedabase.net/c/ca> svayam...// <http://vedabase.net/s/svayam>

That One Supreme Being alone is available as the Atman of all and
everything that is experienced as dṛśya, the seen.  Therefore, the dṛk and
the dṛśya  are both the Self alone, implying the sarvam khalvidam brahma
theme: (This) Atman is Brahman.// found in the above cited BSB.

This word of the bhagavatam cited above //*siddhatvād* // too is
significantly present in the Taittiriya bhāṣya 1.11.4

नित्यसिद्धात्मदर्शिनः [Those who have the realization of the
ever-established Atman.]

The following Brahma sutra bhashya sentences too are about the 'siddha
vastu' that the Self, that is Brahman is:

BSB 1.1.2:

किन्तु श्रुत्यादयोऽनुभवादयश्च यथासम्भवमिह प्रमाणम्, अनुभवावसानत्वात्
*भूतवस्तुविषयत्वाच्च* ब्रह्मज्ञानस्य

Shruti, etc. and anubhava, etc. are pranāṇa here, as the context demands.
This is because the quest for knowledge culminates in one's experience of
the ever existing Brahman, which alone is the subject matter of that

 BSB  3.4.52:

तद्धि *असाध्यं नित्यसिद्धस्वभावमेव* विद्यया अधिगम्यत इत्यसकृदवादिष्म ।

That (liberation) indeed is incapable of being produced since It is of the
nature of being Ever Established.



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