[Advaita-l] ‘Tat tvam asi’ in the Kaivalyopanishad

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sun Aug 16 02:46:27 EDT 2020

In the Kaivalyopanishat occurs the mantra that teaches the identity of jiva
and Brahman:

The upanishad has been commented upon by two Advaitin Acharyas of the 13th
Century, Sri Narayanashrama and Shankarananda.

What is striking is that the mantra’s teaching is similar to the one
contained in the Chandogya Upanishad: ऐतदात्म्यमिदं सर्वं तत्सत्यं स आत्मा
तत्त्वमसि श्वेतकेतो – the entire creation has this Brahman, Sat, as its
Self, that is, the upadana karanam of the jagat is Brahman. Thus, Brahman
is ‘sarvAtma’. This Brahman is taught to be the Self of Shvetaketu.

The teaching in the Kaivalya Upanishat too is of the same nature: Para
Brahman is sarvAtmA, is the abode of the entire creation, and is Great,
Infinite. It is extremely subtle, eternal. ‘That is You, You are indeed

Such a mode of teaching: ‘That is You and You are That’ in this Upanishad
precludes any other type of interpreting the Tat tvam asi of the Chandogya
Upanishad. It does not give room for the ‘atat tvam asi’ kind of
interpretation. Thus, the Kaivalyopanishat confirms the Chandogya teaching.

With respect to ‘aham brahma asmi’ too, in the Brahma Sutra Bhashya 3.3.37
व्यतिहारो विशिंषन्ति हीतरवत् ॥ ३७ ॥, Shankara has cited a Jabala shruti
that teaches:  ‘त्वं वा अहमस्मि भगवो देवतेऽहं वै त्वमसि’ इति । This two-way
assertion is called ‘vyatihaara’.


यत्परं ब्रह्म सर्वात्मा विश्वस्यायतनं महत् । सूक्ष्मात्सूक्ष्मतरं नित्यं
तत्त्वमेव त्वमेव तत्॥

See here for the commentary:

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