Monday, May 21, 2007



Hari Aum

Prostrations to Guru. Prostrations to All.

We will wind up the study of Tattvabodha by summarizing our learning.

Tattavabodha means Self-Knowledge, which means Knowledge about the real nature of the Self. Self-Knowledge is the Ultimate Knowledge knowing which everything will be known. This knowledge can be got by constant practice of Vedantic Sadhana of Sravana, Manana and Nidhidhyaasana. In this work of Shankara, he explains some of the basic terms that are used in the Upanishads and thus helping to understand the import clearly.

In the invocation verse, after prostrating to Vasudeva, Shankara gives the anubandha chathushtayam of the work. The anubandha Chathushthayam is
Vishayam: Self-Knowledge
Prayojanam: Dukha Nivvritti and Sukha Praapti
Adhikaari: Mumukshu, a person who has burning desire to get liberated
Sambandham: learning of this work, reflecting and contemplating on the same.

We can divide this work into 5 topics
1. Sadhana Chathushtayam
2. Atma anatma vivekam, Discrimination between Atman and Anatman
3. Creation
4. Tat tvam Asi
5. Karma and freedom from Karma

1. Sadhana Chathushtayam:
Shankara doesnt start with the explanation of Atman straightaway. He first gives the four fold qualifications which a seeker should be endowed with, without which one will not get the full benefit of learning. For any knowledge one should possess some eligibility criteria without which one will not get full benefit. When a 3rd Standard student tries to attend a 10th Standard mathematics class, he will not gain much from it and though he may spend hours together in the class. In the same way, to apprehend and assimilate the teachings of Guru properly the seeker should possess these four fold qualifications. The four fold qualifications are

i. Vivekam or discrimination: A seeker should be able to discriminate between the Real and Unreal things. As per Scriptures, there is only one Real thing which is Ultimate Reality of Brahman and rest all are Unreal.

ii. Vairagyam or dispassion: By proper discrimination between real and unreal things, the seeker will lose all the desires of the world and will have intense desire towards the Ultimate Reality.

iii. Shamaadhi Shatka Sampathih: There six disciplines which one should have.
a. Shama: control of mind
b. Dama: control of senses
c. Uparama: withdrawl of senses
d. Titiksha: Endurance to the opposites like heat-cold etc
e. Shraddha: faith in the words of Guru and Vedanta
f. Samadhanam: Single-pointedness

iv. Mumukshuthvam: Intense desire to get liberated

Only when a seeker possess all these four fold qualifications, he will be able to apprehend the reality very clearly. Till then, the seeker has to continuously practice.

2. Atma Anatma Viveka:
After giving the four fold qualifications, he defines atman and anatman. Atman is real and Anatma is unreal. Then what is Atma and Anatma? Atma is that which is different gross, subtle and causal body, whcih is beyond the five sheaths, which is the witness of all the three states of experience, which is of the nature of Existence-Consciousness-Bliss. When it said that Atman is different from gross, subtle and causal body, then these bodies represent the anatmas. After giving the definition of Atman and Anantman, he explains 3 types of body, 5 sheaths, 3 states of experiences and also the nature of the Self.

i. The 3 types of body are gross, subtle and causal body. The gross body and subtle body is formed from the five elements only, but gross body is formed after the process called Panchikaranam whereas subtle body is formed before the process called panchikaranam. Both the bodies are the result of good deeds done in the past births. Gross body undergoes six modifications like asthi (existence), Jayathe (birth), vardhathe (growth), viparinamathe (maturity), apaksheeyathe (decay) and vinashyathi (Death). Sutble body has 17 parts. 5 organs of perception (Ear, Eye, Tongue, Skin and Nose), 5 organs of action (Speech,Hand, Leg, Excretion and Genital), 5 Vital air (Prana, Apana, Vyana, Udana and Samana), Mind and intellect. Causal body is of the nature of ignorance, which is beginningless and inexplicable. Causal body is the cause of other two bodies.

ii The 5 sheaths of the body are
a. Annamaya Kosa or Food Sheath: The food sheath is the gross body, which grows by food and goes back to earth
b. Pranamaya Kosa or Vital Air Sheath
c. Manomaya Kosa: The mind and five organs of perception.
d. Vijnaanamaya Kosa: The intellect and five organs of perception
e. Anandamaya Kosa: Ignorance along with the vrittis of the mind (Priya, moda and pramoda).

iii The 3 states of experience
a. Waking State: The state in which all the 3 bodies are present. In this state, the sense organs are active and percieves the objects of the world as per the direction of the mind. Self identified with the waking world is called Viswa
b. Dream State: In this state, the mind projects a world similar to the waking world which is nothing but the impressions formed by the transactions during the waking state. Self identified with the deam world is called Taijasa
c. Deep Sleep State: The state in which there is no duality whatsoever and happiness along with ignorance is Deep sleep state. The Self identified with deep-sleep state is called Prajna

iv Nature of Self
a. Sat: Sat is that which exists on all the three periods of time. Self alone exists on all three periods of time. All the names and forms that are seen is only an illusion in the Self. When the names and forms are removed from all the objects of the world, what remains behind is only Self. Whenever we say "The book is", "The computer is", the 'is-ness' revels the Existence principle of the Self

b. Chit: Chit is Consciousness through the objects are known. When we say something exists, it means that we are conscious about the object. Thus Existence is known through Consciousness.

c. Anandam: Since there is Self alone present, there is no duality at all to desire for, to work for and experience happiness or sorrow. Since there is nothing else apart from the Self, it is ever complete and hence ever blissful.

3. Creation:
Initially before the creation started there was only Brahman. Maya is the illusory power of Brahman from which the five subtle elements are born. The five subtle elements are space, air, fire, water and earth. Maya has 3 gunas namely satvam, rajas and tamo guna.
i. From the Satvic portion of subtle elements are born the organs of perception, Ear is born from the Satvic aspect of Space, Skin from Air or Vayu, Eye from agni, Tongue from water and Nose from earth. From the total Satvic content of the five elements are born the Anthahkaranam or inner instrument. Antahkaranam consists of 4 aspects, Mind (doubting nature), intellect (deciding nature), ego ("I am the doer" nature) and memory (thinking faculty)

ii. From the Rajasic portion of subtle elements are born the organs of action. From the rajasic aspect of space is born the speech, hand from air, leg from fire, genitals from water and anus from earth. From the total Rajasic content of the five elements are born the five vital air.

iii. From the Tamasic portion of the subtle elements are born the gross body after the process of Pancheekaranam.

4. Tat tvam Asi:
Before explaining about the identity between Jiva and Iswara, Shankara explains about the term Jiva and Isvara and their respective natures.
i. Jiva is the reflection of Brahman on the intellect which identifies itself with the gross body and always have the notion that he is different from Isvara. Jiva is Consciousness limited by Avidya.

ii. Isvara is the reflection of Brahman in Maya. Isvara always abides in the Ultimate Reality of Brahman. Isvara is Consciousness limited by Maya
Jiva by nature always thinks that he is different from Isvara and as long as there is this notion, he always goes from birth to birth in the ocean of Samsaaram. Therefore the only solution to the problem is knowing clearly that there is no difference between Jiva and Isvara.

Then a question was raised as to how Jiva and Isvara can be identical though having contracdicting natures, Jiva endowed with ego and limited knowledge whereas Isvara is without ego and all-knowing. To this Shankara gave the answer, the direct meaning of the word Jiva is the one who identifies himself with body and mind complex, but essentially he is Pure Consciousness. In the same way, though Isvara has the qualities as all-knowing and all-pervading, essentially Isvara is also of the nature of Pure Consciousness. Thus, though literally they both seem to be having totally contradictory character, essentially both are identical as both are Pure Consciousness. When a person knows this identity very clearly that Ultimate Reality of Brahman is his very nature, he is known as Jiva Muktha. Just as one has the strong conviction that he is human in the same way, the Jnaani has the strong conviction that he is Brahman. By experience, he knows clearly that he is nothing but Brahman. Such a person is free from the Karmas.

Karma and Freedom from Karma:
There are three types of Karma.
i. Sanchita Karma: Karma that got accumulated over millions and millions of births
ii. Prarabdha Karma: A part of Sanchita karma which has started giving fruits in the current Janma
iii. Agami Karma: The karma that are done in the current janma and results are stored for future janmas.
When a person gets clear conviction that "I am Brahman everything else is only an illusion in the Reality", he crosses over the Samsaaram. The karma phalams are only for the doer and since doer vanishes after the dawn of knowledge, there is no karma phalams as well. Such a person always revels only in the bliss of the Self. Such a jnaani may live in the world just like any other person in the world or may even take resort to forest, but such a person always revels in the bliss of the Self. Therefore it is not right to judge any person by the way he behaves in the world. Shankara goes on to say, when a person does something good to a Jnaani all the good karmas of the Jnaani the other person will get. On the other hand, if a person hurts or teases or abuses a Jnaani then all the bad karmas would go to the person. The person may do it intentionally or unintentionally, if he does bad action to a jnaani like teasing or abusing, he would get the bad karmas of the Jnaani. Therefore, though Jnaanis are not respected as Gurus, but still it is always better to avoid disrespecting them whether in their presence or in their absence. But Jnaani will always remain unaffected, and will always revel in the Bliss of the Self.

With this we have come to the end of the learning of Tattvabodha.

Prostrations to All.

Hari Aum


Saturday, April 28, 2007


Tattvabodha - 34

Hari Aum

Prostrations to Guru.

Prostrations to All.

thaTha cha atmavith samsaaram theerthvaa brahmaanandha ihaiva praapnothi

Thus the knower of the Self, having crossed the Samsara, attains the Supreme Bliss here itself

tharathi shokam atmavith ithi srutheh

The Srutti affirms: "The knower of the Self goes beyond all the sorrows"

thanum thyajathu vaa kaashyaam svapachasya grheTha vaajnaanasampraapthisamaye mukthaasow vigathaashayah ithi smritheshcha

Let the Jnaani cast his body in Kasi (a sacred place) or in the house of a dog eater (Chandala), (it is immaterial because) at the time of gaining the knowledge (itself) he is liberated being free from all results of action. So asserts the Smritis too.

ithi tattvabodhaprakaranam samaaptham

Thus ends the Prakarana called TattavBodha.

Shankara finally tells that the knower of the Self always rejoices only in Absolute Bliss of the Self and also quotes from Srutti and Smriti to back his words. All the three types of Karma are only for the Jiva and not to the Atman. Atman is never a kartha and hence it is not a bhoktha also. When the Jiva realizes his own Self, then the Kartha ceases to exist and hence the karmas which got accumulated over millions and millions of birth also ceases to exist. To a person who realized his own nature of Self, nothing can bind him and thus such a person have crossed the Samsara. Self is already realized and realization is not an event to occur, it is just a clear understanding of the Mahavakya of the Srutti as in "Ayan Atma Brahma - The Self is verily Brahman" etc. When a person gets such a firm conviction on these Upanishadic statements without any doubt through vedantic sadhana of Srvana, Manana and Nidhidhyaasana, he is liberated and have crossed the Samsara. He gets a firm conviction that "I am neither body nor senses nor mind nor intellect but Ever Blissful Infinite Atman". All the Karma phalams are only for the body and the mind, and since the person got the firm conviction that he is Atman different from gross, subtle and caual body none of the karma phalams affect him. Therefore such a person goes beyond the temporary happiness and sorrow which the good and bad phalams respectively can give and always rejoices in the Absolute Bliss of the Self.

Shankara supports this words of his through the quotation of Srutti from Chandogya which says
"thathi shokam atma vith"
"The knower of the Self goes beyond all the sorrows"

He also quotes from Smritti"
thanum thyajathu vaa kaashyaam svapachasya grheTha vaajnaanasampraapthisamaye mukthaasow vigathaashayah"

"Let the Jnaani cast his body in Kasi (a sacred place) or in the house of a dog eater (Chandala), (it is immaterial because) at the time of gaining the knowledge (itself) he is liberated being free from all results of action."

With this we have come to the end of this work of Shankara.

We will summarize this work the next day.

Prostrations to All

Hari Aum


Thursday, April 19, 2007


Tattvabodha - 33

Hari Aum

Prostrations to Guru. Prostrations to All.

sanchitham karma brahmaivaahamithi nishchayaathmakajnaanena nashyathi
The Sanchitha karma is destroyed by the knowledge that "I am Brahman"

aagaami karma api jnaanena nashyathi kincha aagaami karmanaam
nalineedhalagathajalavath jnaaninaam sambandho naasthi
The Agami Karma is also destroyed by Jnaana - and the Jnani is not affected by it just as a lotus is not affected by the water on it

kincha ye jnaaninam sthuvanthi Bhajanthi archayanthi thaanprathi
jnaanikrutham aagaami punyam gaChathi
Further those who praise, worship and adore the Jnaani, to them go the result of the good action done by the Jnani.

ye jnaaninam nindhanthi dvishanthi dhuKhapradhaanam kurvanthi thaanprathi
jnaanikrutham sarvamaagaami kriyamaanam yadhvaachyam karma
paapaathmakam thadhgachathi
Those who abuse, hate or cause pain or sorrow to a jnani - to them go the results of the sinful actions done by the Jnani.

Here Shankara explains how a person becomes free from the karmas. As we learned earlier, Karma is of three kinds, Sanchitha, Prarabdha and Agaami. Sanchitha Karma is that Karma which is already accumulated through crores and crores of our birth, Prarabdha karma is that which is giving fruits in the current birth and agami karma is that which are the results of the actions done in the current birth left for the future birth. To perform any action there should be a kartha and the kartha here is the jiva who is ignorant of his own nature of Anandam. Jiva becomes the kartha when he has desires and does action to satisfy his desire. Kartha enjoys the results of the Karma. Thus as long as there is kartha, karma is there. Thus we have desire -> action -> result becoming never ending cycle, taking a jiva from birth to birth. The root cause of this Samsaaram is avidya or ignorance of ones own nature of Self. Atma Ajnaanam vanishes by Atma Jnaanam that "I am Brahman". When the seeker gets the Atman Jnaanam that "I am the Sat-Chit-Ananda swaroopam", then he realizes that Anandam is not outside, it is his own very nature only. Thus desire vanishes and hence the action also vanishes. Action vanishes because there is no kartha to perform the action as the Jivahood which is cause of ajnaanam is not there. Since there is no karthrutvam there is no bhogtruthvam or enjoyment as well. Sanchitha karma and agamya karma are only for the Jivas and when a seeker realizes his own nature of Brahman, no karma affect him. Such a person crosses over the Samsaaram.

The Prarabdha karma is only for the body and hence it will be there for the Jnaani till the fall of the body but the jnaani will not be affected by it. Why? because the Jnaani knows that he is not the body and the mind, but Brahman. Knowing that "I am Brahman and what exists is Brahman only", the jnaani may live in the world just like any other person. He might even do all worldly things just like normal people knowing that everything is only illusion, Brahman alone is Real and thus always rejoices in Eternal Bliss.
As Shankara says in Bhaja govindam
"Yogarathova Bhogarathova
Sangarathova Sangaviheenah
yasyath Brahmani ramathe chittam
nandhathi nandhathi nandhathyeva"
"Let one revel in Yoga or let him revel in enjoyment or let him seek enjoyment in the crowd or let him revel in solitude away from the crowd. He whose mind revels in Brahman, he enjoys, verily he alone enjoys."
As the Jnaani also might do action like normal person, it is therefore tough to know who is a Jnaani and who is not. Therefore it is not right to judge anyone by the actions they are doing. If a person does something bad to a Jnaani, Shankara says, the papa karmas which the Jnaani might have done will go to the person who is harming him. On the other hand, if someone praises the Jnaani, the punya karma which the Jnaani had done will go to that person. The Jnani thus is not affected by both Papa karma and Punya karma, hence ever rejoices in the Eternal Bliss of the Self.

Shankara quotes from Srutti to show that an Atma Jnaani crosses over Samsaaram and always rejoices in Eternal Bliss which we will see the next day.

Prostrations to All.

Hari Aum


Friday, April 13, 2007


Tattvabodha - 32

Hari Aum

Prostrations to Guru. Prostrations to all.

karmaani kathiviDhaani santheethi cheth aagaami sanchitha praarabDhaBhedhena thriviDhaani santhi
jnaanothpathyanantharam jnaanidehakrutham punyapaaparoopam karma yadhasthi thath aagaameethyaBhiDheeyathe

If it is asked: How many kinds of Karma are there?: (the reply is) there are three kinds of karma namely: Agami, Sanchita and Prarabdha. The result of actions good or bad performed through the body of the jnaani after the dawn of knowledge is known as Agami

sanchitham karma kim?
ananthakotijanmanaam bheejaBhootham sat yathkarmajaatham poorvaarjitham thishTathi thath sanchitham jneyam

What is Sanchita karma?
The result of actions performed in (all) the previous births which are in the seed forms to give rise to endless crores of births (in future) is called Sanchita Karma

praarabDham karma kimithi cheth
idham shareeramuthpaadhya iha loke evam suKhadhuKhaadhipradham yathkarma thathpraarabDham
Bhogena nastham Bhavathi praarabdhakarmanaam Bhogaadheva kshaya ithi

If it is questioned, "What is Prarabdha Karma?" then:
Having given birth to this body, the action which give results in this very world, in the form of happiness or misery, and which can be destroyed only by enjoying or suffering them, is called prarabdha karma.

Jivan Muktha is one who has the firm conviction that "I am Brahman" just like we have firm conviction as "I am human". Once the seeker gets such a firm conviction that Brahman alone exists everything else are only Mithya or illusion in the Reality. Thus when a seeker gets the immediate knowledge that there is nothing apart from Brahman no karmas affect him and hence becomes free from the ocean of Samsaara as well. Karma is of three kinds, Sachitha Karma, Prarabdha Karma and Agaamya Karma. Jiva, because of ignorance of ones own nature of Brahman, does actions so that because of that action he will get happiness. Thus the jiva does action with the sense of doership and hence enjoys the punya or papa phalam that come out of the action he performs. Certain results will be immediate, certain results may take sometime to give result, the result may be that the Jiva has to take different births to enjoy the results of the action. Thus Jiva have been taking crores of birth in doing and enjoying actions and thus accumulates more and more karma phalas. Jiva while enjoying the karma in his current birth, adds on more by performing actions in this birth to satisfy his desires. In this way the karmas get accumulated more and more.

The Karma which is accumulated over the past crores of lives is called Sanchitha Karma. From the Sanchitha Karma, a small tiny portion is enjoyed as prarabdha karma in the current birth. Whatever karma the jiva does in the birth will be stored for the future births which is called agamya karma. Prarabdha karma determines the form of the body and other factors of the current birth. Papas and Punyas that are done in the previous births determine the what kind of form the jiva will take. When there is pure punya karma, jiva goes to higher lokas like swarga, when there is pure papa karma, jiva goes to lower lokas called Naraka. When there is mixture of punya and papa, and if punya is predominant, the jiva takes the human form, if papa is predominant the jiva takes the animal form. That is why Shankara during his explanation on Sthoola shareeram and Sukshama Shareeram, he mentioned Satkarmajanyam (born out of good karmas).

In higher lokas or lower lokas, no karmas will be added, these lokas are only to enjoy the already accumulated karmas. Thus when jiva goes to Swarga, he will return back when the punya karmas get exhausted. All these karmas will affect the Jiva only as long as there is a notion of doership. When the jiva realizes his own nature of Brahman, then he realizes that he is neither doer nor enjoyer and thus all karmas become nullified. Also it is only in the human form the jiva can realize his own nature of Self. We do not know what will be our next birth and hence it is important that we realize our own nature of Self in this birth itself without any delay so that we go beyond the Samsaaram of Birth and Death.

Shankara then explains about how to get freedom from the karmas. He also quotes from Srutti for the same, we will learn that the next day.

Prostrations to All

Hari Aum


Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Tattvabodha - 31

Hari Aum

Prostrations to Guru. Prostrations to All

Brahmaivaahamasmi ithi aparokshajnaanena niKhilakarmabandha vinirmukthah syaath

By the immediate knowledge (Aparoksha Jnaana) that "I am Brahman" one becomes free from bondages of all the karmas.

Previously Shankara explained about who is the Jivan Muktha. Here Shankara explains about how one can become a Jivan Muktha. Scriptures proclaim that there is only one existent entity, Brahman, which of the nature of Sat-Chit-Ananda. Brahman is the Supreme Cause of the world and the very substratum of the world. Whatever that is seen in the world as objects are nothing but Brahman only in name and form. When the name and form are removed there is only Brahman only. Jiva also essentially Brahman only, but because of ignorance of his very nature of Brahman, the thinks himself to be limited. Because of this thought of limitation there is a thought that he is imperfect. He sees the objects of the world as something different from himself and desires to possess the object thinking that on possessing the object he would be happy which would never end. Thus to satisfy his desire of possessing the object thereby to get the happiness he performs actions. Every action that is performed will yield a result which may be either happiness or sorrow. If the result is happiness, he would be happy with that possession of object till he desires for the next higher object and thus performs action to possess that. This desire-action-result continues on and on and the person even goes from birth to birth to enjoy the results and perform more action to satisfy the result. Thus he goes into more and more bondage.
Vidhyaranya tells in Panchadasi that
"te paraag darshanah pratyak tattva bodha vivarjitah
kurvate karma bhogaaya karma kartum cha bhunjate"

They see only external things and are devoid of the knowledge of their true inner nature. They perform actions for enjoyments and again they enjoy performing action.
The moola kaaranam for all the samsaaram is the ignorance of ones own nature of Anandam. There is only way out of this Samsaaram, knowing that "I am Brahman of the nature of Bliss only". When one gets this knowledge through the vedantic sadhana of Sravana, Manana and Nidhidhyaasana, he overcomes all the karmas and Karma Phalas. When one over comes the Karmas, then there is no Samsaaram and thus one always rejoices in the Eternal Bliss. This is the only way out of Samsaara, there is no other way.

Prostrations to All

Hari Aum


Thursday, April 05, 2007


Tattvabodha - 30

Hari Aum

Prostrations to Guru. Prostrations to All.

Evam cha vedaanthavaakyaih sadgurupadeshena cha sarveshvapi Bhootheshu yeshaam
brahmabhudhiruthpannaa the jeevanmukthaah ithyarthah

Thus by the words of Vedanta imparted by a competent teacher, those in whom the knowledge of Brahman in all beings is born, they are the Jivanmktas (liberated even while living).

nanu jeevanmukthah kah?
yaThaa dehoham purushoham braahmanoham shudhrohamasmeethi
dhrudanishchayasthaThaa naaham braahmanah na shoodhrah na purushah
kinthu asangah satchithaananda svaroopah prakaasharoopah sarvaantharyaamee
chidhaakaasharooposmeethi drudanishchaya roopah aparoksha jnaanavaan jeevanmukthah

Just as one has the firm belief that "I am the body", "I am a man", "I am a Brahmin", "I am a Sudra", so also "I am not a Brahmin", "I am not a Sudra", "I am not a man", but "I am unattached, of the nature of Satchidaananda, effulgent, the indweller of all, the formless Consciousness' - thus one having this firmly ascertained Aparoksha Jnaana is the Jivan muktha.

Shankara after explaining about the creation process, explained about Jiva, Isvara and how they are both are not different essentially. Jiva because of ignorance thinks himself to be different from Isvara. But essentially both Jiva and Isvara are nothing but Pure Consciousness only. This is what the scriptures propound through the mahavakyas like "Tat Tvam Asi". Here Shankara explains about the Jiva muktha who knows their own essential nature as Consciousness through immediate experience. When a person does the vedantic sadhana of Sravana, Manana and Nidhidhyaasana, he gets the knowledge that "I am Brahman and there is nothign apart from Brahman". Sravana is listening to Vedantic Scriptures from a competent Guru for a length of time. Manana is reflecting the teaching in the mind through the use of proper logic so that whatever is been learnt are understood without any doubt. Once the teachings are clear without any doubt, the seeker has to contemplate all the time, this is called Nidhidhyaasanam.

When a seeker gets the Ultimate Knowledge that "I am Brahman" he is liberated from the ocean of Samsaara. He is called a jivan muktha. The knowledge is not just an intellectual knowledge but an immediate experience of the scriptural statement. We know that we are human. If somebody asks "Are you Human?", we never think even for a second to say the answer, the answer will be very spontaneous that "Yes". We never contemplate as "I am Human, I am Human etc". Because we clearly know that we are human, we are not animals. Such a strong conviction do we have that we are humans. In the same way, when a person knows that there is nothing apart from Brahman, knows very clearly that "I am Brahman of the nature of Existence-Conscoiusness-Bliss, the essence of everything and which is the illuminator of everything, which is beyond all illumiation". When a person have such a firm conviction, he is the Jiva Muktha a person who is liberated even while living.

Next Shankara explains about different types of Karma which we will see the next day.

Prostrations to All

Hari Aum


Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Tattvabodha - 29

Hari Aum

Prostrations to Guru. Prostrations to All.

nanu saahamkaarasya kinchijnasya jeevasya nirahkaarasya sarvjnasya
Isvarasya tatvamasi ithi mahavaakyaath kathamabhedhabhudhih syaadhubhayoh

But the Jiva is endowed with ego and his knowledge is limited. (Whereas) Isvara is without ego and is omniscient. (Then) how can thre be indentity, as stated in the Mahavakya Tat Tvam Asi, between these two who are possessed of contradictory characteristics?

ithi cheth na. sthoola sookshma shareeraabhimaani tvampadha vaachyaarthah.
upaadhivinirmuktham samaadhidhashaasampannam shudhdham chaithanyam tvampadha lakshyaarthah.
evam sarvajnathvaadhivishishta isvarah thathpadha vaachyaarthah.
upaadhishoonyam shudhdhachaitanyam thathpadhamakshyaarthah.
evam cha jiva isvarayo chaitanyaroopena abhedhe bhaadhakaabgaavah.

If said, no. The literal meaning of the word "Thou" is the one who identifies himself with gross and subtle bodies (jiva).
The implied meaning of the word 'Thou' is Pure Consciousness which is free from all conditionings.
So also the literal meaning of the word 'That' is the Isvara having Omniscience etc as its quality. The implied meaning of the word 'That' is the Pure Consciousness free from all conditionings.
Thus there is no contradiction regarding the identity between Jiva and Isvara from the stand point of Consciousness.

Shankara explained about who is jiva and who is Isvara. Jiva is the reflected consciousness on the Intellect and identifies himself with the gross body. Jiva is atman alone but with the upadhi of Avidya. Avidya is never real, it is illusion only and hence the upadhi or limitation is also illusory only. The space inside the pot is never limited by the boundaries of the pot, but only seems to limit the space, thus the space inside the pot is in essence same as the universal space. In the same way the atman only seems to be limited by the upadhi of avidya. When avidya vanishes then there is no reflection and hence no jiva at all. Isvara has the upadhi of Maya. Jiva because of ignorance thinks himself to be different from Isvara, sees the world as real and thus gets bonded into the samsaara and hence travels from birth to birth. After explaining about Jiva and Isvara, an opponent (or a student to his Guru) raises a doubt. Jiva and Isvara are having contradicting qualities. Jiva is ever limited and endowed with ego, whereas Isvara is Omniscient and Omnipotent. But as per scriptures, Jiva and Isvara are one and the same. How is this possible?

To this question Shankara gives the answer. There are two kinds of sentence, one is the sentence which give the direct meaning and other is the sentence which gives the meaning indirectly. In the sentence "Rama goes" the meaning is very direct that "A person called Rama goes". In the sentence "The Red runs", we cannot take the direct meaning as color red cannot run. Therefore the color red has to be attributed to something else to make the sentence meaningful and thus we the sentence indirectly gives the meaning that "The Red Horse runs".

In the same way, the direct meaning of Tvam pada is the jiva endowed with body and mind. But Jiva is nothing but Consciousness with the limitation of Ignorance. If there is no ignorance there are no limitations and hence no jiva also. Thus the indirect meaning of Jiva is Consciousness or Atman only. In the same way, the direct meaning of Tat pada is Isvara with the qualities of Omnipotent, Omniscient etc. Again this quality of Isvara is conditioned by the Maya. When Maya is removed, these qualities will cease to exist and hence Isvara also in essence Atman alone which is the implied meaning of the Tat pada. Thus there is no contradiction at all as both Jiva and Isvara are in essence Atman only. Jiva and Isvara are different from the empirical level as the very characteristics of Jiva and Isvara are different but from the Ultimate Standpoint there are one and the same. The empirical level is not real as these exists only as long as there is avidya. When avidya vanishes by the knowledge that "I am Brahman" then all distinctions vanish and what will exist is Sat Chit Ananda Atman.

Prostrations to All.

Hari Aum


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