[Advaita-l] [advaitin] vedAnta mahAvAkya - A query

Venkatraghavan S agnimile at gmail.com
Wed Jul 27 02:08:01 EDT 2022

Namaste Bhaskar ji,

There are many mahAvAkya-s, not four alone. Four are chosen as
representative of all mahAvAkya-s. Their popularity may because of their
association with the four AmnAyA maTha-s as outlined in the maThAmnAya
anushAsanam -


See verses 4, 12, 21, 31.


On Wed, 27 Jul 2022, 06:46 'Bhaskar YR' via advaitin, <
advaitin at googlegroups.com> wrote:

> praNAms
> Hare Krishna
> We have four mahAvAkya-s from 4 veda-s.  For example tattvamasi from sAma,
> ahaM brahmAsmi from Yajurveda etc.  But who first advocated these are the
> ONLY four mahAvAkya-s from vedAnta / shruti??  I don’t think prasthAna
> traya bhAshyakAra anywhere categorically said these are the ONLY four
> mahAvAkya-s and nothing else.  In sUtra devatAdhikaraNa (first chapter)
> bhAshya, bhagavatpAda uses the word ‘mahAvAkya’  but used in the context
> of grammar.  Here when determining the ‘mantrArtha’ pUrvapaxi expresses
> some doubt about it, in that context, based on grammatical issues he uses
> the word mahAvAkya, mahAvAkya here means ‘whole sentence’ or group of
> sentences which gives the same meaning as avAntara vAkya-s ( sub sentence
> or upa vAkya) etc.  apart from this I don’t think bhAshyakAra insisted that
> the whole vedAnta/ Upanishad has only four mahAvAkya-s which is jnana
> pradhAna and meditating on it gives the self-realization etc.  tattvamasi,
> ayamAtma brahma, prajnAnaM brahma, ahaM brahmAsmi ascribed to four Amnaya
> mutts etc. have the reference only in shankara’s biographies not credible
> enough to come to conclusion.  Since these vAkya-s also avAntara vAkya-s
> (part and parcel of mantra samucchaya in the upanishads) why only these
> four vAkya-s to be considered as mahAvAkya-s??  Is it because of these
> vAkya-s teaching abedha, Ikyata, parabrahma tattva directly??  I don’t
> think this would be the only reason!!  Atman is not prajnAna ghana says
> maNdUkya though we find prajnAnam brahma in itareya shruti and Atman is
> prajnAna ghana in mAndUkya itself.  And bhAshyakAra interestingly along
> with tattvamasi (mahAvakya) used some other vaakya-s also which give same
> meaning as tattvamasi. For example : tattvamasi, neti neti, AtmaivedaM,
> ekamedvAdviteeyaM, brahmaivedamamrutaM, nAnyadatOsti drashtru, tadeva
> brahmatvaM viddhi etyaadi vAkyAnAm tad viditvAt (br.bhaashya).  See here
> shankara without explicitly saying tattvamasi as mahAvAkya uses it casually
> with other same meaning giving vAkya-s.  And more importantly bhAshyakAra
> at somany places uses shAstra janita jnana, vedAnta vAkya shravaNa, vAkya
> janita jnana etc. but nowhere insist only four!!! Under these circumstances
> why this special emphasis on ONLY four vAkya-s when the corpus of whole
> vedAnta /shruti is the untya pramANa in tradition!!??
> Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!
> bhaskar
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