[Advaita-l] Fwd: Shankara accepts 'sarva shabda vaachyatva' for (Saguna) Brahman

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Wed Oct 7 06:06:10 EDT 2020

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: V Subrahmanian <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Oct 7, 2020 at 3:32 PM
Subject: Shankara accepts 'sarva shabda vaachyatva' for (Saguna) Brahman
To: <advaitin at googlegroups.com>

In the introduction to the Vishnu Sahasra Nama Bhashya, Shankara makes this

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We have an interesting situation here: While Advaita does not hold the
Nirguna Brahman to be the object of any word, yet, the Veda, which is only
word, vaangmaya, is admitted to 'reveal' Brahman by lakshana, indirect
indication, by negating all that is not Brahman. Since Brahman does not
have jaati, being Only one, guNa, being NirguNa, kriya, being nishkriya,
and sambandha, being asanga, yet the Veda succeeds in conveying to us the
Truth by the method mentioned above.

Shankara's observation in the above VSN Bhashya is to be understood thus:

Brahman, when related to creation, is admitted to be manifesting in, as,
the entire created world of sentient and insentient beings. We can think of
the Vishvarupa Darshana of the Bh.Gita 11th chapter.  It is the vision of
'Vishvarupa Ishwara', Ishwara in the form of the entire Vishva, creation.
Hence, every object in creation is Ishwara.  Thereby Ishwara is denoted by
every object.  Since every object has a name, Ishwara is sarva shabda

There is a not very apparent dimension to Shankara's statement.  We may
ask: Every object has a name and thereby every name, shabda, denotes
Brahman. What about every sound, shabda? Does that too denote Brahman?  The
answer is 'Yes'.  Every sound that occurs in creation, the chirping of a
bird, the roaring sound of thunder, the deafening sound of a train passing
nearby and so on.  Even these, on the ground of their very happening,
occurring, in creation, is essentially Ishwara, denoting Ishwara.

It does not end there.  Every form, taste, touch, smell is also denoting
Brahman. Where has Shankara said this?  In the Kenopanishat Bhashya 2.3:

प्रतिबोधविदितं मतममृतत्वं हि विन्दते ।
आत्मना विन्दते वीर्यं विद्यया विन्दतेऽमृतम् ॥ ४ ॥
प्रतिबोधविदितमिति वीप्साप्रत्ययानामात्मावबोधद्वारत्वात् बोधं प्रति बोधं
प्रतीति वीप्सा सर्वप्रत्ययव्याप्त्यर्था । बौद्धा हि सर्वे
तदन्यावभासश्चात्मा तद्विलक्षणोऽग्निवदुपलभ्यत इति ते
द्वारीभवन्त्यात्मोपलब्धौ । तस्मात्प्रतिबोधावभासप्रत्यगात्मतया यद्विदितं
तद्ब्रह्म, तदेव मतं तदेव सम्यग्ज्ञानं यत्प्रत्यगात्मविज्ञानम् , न
विषयविज्ञानम् ।

 It (i.e. Brahman) is really known when It is known with (i.e. as the Self
of) each state of consciousness, because they one gets immortality.
In every one of our consciousness, perception, in the waking and dream, we
are actually perceiving, experiencing, Brahman.  This is because, the
entire jagat being a manifestation of Brahman, the knowing, knower and
known triad is also Brahman. The known is comprehensively divided into the
five: shabda, sparsha, rupa, rasa and gandha.  Thus the knowledge is
Brahman. Every knowledge of shabda, sparsha, etc. we get is Brahman in that
This sarva pratyaya (not just shabda, name, but even the shabda, sound,
sparsha, etc.) is Brahma vaachaka. We can rise up to the next higher level
and say 'Every knowledge is Nirguna Brahman with that upadhi and thus is
verily Brahman.' In this scheme, the shabda, etc. knowledge is satya in its
intrinsic Nirguna Brahman aspect and mithya in its name-form upadhi aspect.
Thus the Upanishadic concept of 'sarva shabda vaachyatva of Brahman' has
been clearly laid out by Shankara in the Bhashyas.
The Vishvarupa Ishwara jnanam will lead to the arupa Ishwara (nirguna
Brahma) jnanam.
Om Tat Sat

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