Page 1


To this argument of Sri Bhagavat Paada, the response of the opponent is:

“ ‘Brahmanoe Dvaitaadvaita Aatma Katway Samudraadi Drishtaantaa Vidyantay?’ Have we not told you the illustrative example of the ocean? As water it could be Advaita, and, as waves and bubbles, can be Dvaita. At same place there can be both. When we say that the same material can have opportunity of change or transformation, why don’t you agree?”

The reply of Sri. Bhagavat Paada:

“No, we do not agree. You are presenting that example erroneously. Why it is not valid here is, ‘Anya Vishayatwaat’. Its scope is different, and you are applying it here. ‘Nitya Niravayava Vastu Vishayamhi Viruddhatva Magoachaamaa Dvaitaadvaitasya’. Dwaita and Advaita can co-exist in case of constituted materials, those composed of discreet components. Ocean belongs to that category. It is a mammoth congregation of water drops. Hence it can exist as waves at one place, and bubbles at another. The material is divisible. It has internal differences. It bears a form, a shape. How can you quote its example and apply to Pure Consciousness (Chaitanya) that is devoid of form (Niraakara)? Without knowing what example to give in which context, why do you offer irrelevant illustrations? In case of an Entity that is Eternal, Unconstituted, and Formless, the co existence of Dvaita and Advaita, is not tenable. Here you are violating ‘Sruti’ (the basic Scripture) as well as ‘Nyaaya’ (the Science of Logic). Hence your reasoning does not hold.

Upanishad always reveals to us two paths of Saadhana. One is ‘Dhyayyam’ and the other ‘Gnayyam’. Dhyayyam means Dhyaanam (meditation). Gnayyam means recognition. Acquire recognition doing meditation. Of what? ‘Adhyay yatwaacha na Sastra arthaayam Kalpana’. Upanishad never instructs us to adore Paramaatma in various forms, or recognize in various forms. Alas, if it so says, then, it is neither adoration nor recognition. Because, it is the purpose of the Upanishad to offer a solution to the problem, and not to direct us to sit in meditation, with the problem on our head. Would it advise us to keep holding on to the problem? Now, basically, what is the problem? ‘Nahi Janana Marana Aadi Anardha Sata Sahasra Baydha Samaatulam Samudra Vanaa divat’. Like an ocean, like a forest, from birth to death, see how the world is wearing so many forms, and undergoing so many changes, so many transformations! It seems to be just appearing, coming stealthily, and suddenly disappears! Always beyond our grasp. Such a world is emblematic of Dvaita, and you say that this Dvaita also is Paramaatma. You want such a Paramaatma to be adored. You want us to repose holding on to all these. You desire us to recognize Paramaatma in this fashion. How can this be meditation or adoration? It is not in line with path of Gnyaana. If considered whether in consonance with Yoga Path, did Patanjali (propounder of path of yoga) suggest undertaking of activity in his Yoga path? Would activities be consistent with concentration and contemplation? You are neither a Yogi, nor a Gnyaani (person of knowledge and wisdom). ‘Adhyay Yatvaacha’. Upanishad states that such an undertaking, is not ‘dhyayya’. ‘Na Sastraarthaayam Kalpana’. Why do you say something that contradicts Sastra? Did Sastra (Science) say ever that you must comprehend Paramaatma together with ‘Janana Marana Aadi Anardha Sata Sahsra Baydha’ (the futile myriad changes associated with birth, death etc)? To view births and deaths, is not the world enough? Why Paramaatma? Why close the eyes and meditate? Is it to remind oneself of the world that you sit to meditate? Or to remind oneself of the Principle devoid of the world? Do you wish to comprehend Paramaatma tied with the world, or without its fetters? Did the Upanishad instruct you to meditate upon Brahmam constituted of multi-forms and diversity? Or is it to become aware of and recognize Brahmam? What Upnishad is revealing is ‘Pragnyaana Ghana Taancha Upanishati’. ‘That’ is mere dense infinite mass of Awareness’. ‘Ayka Daivaanu drashtavyam’. Its instruction is to visualize Brahmam as one and only one. ‘Anaykadaa Darsanaa Apavaadachya’. The Upanishad prohibits viewing Brahmam in diverse forms. ‘Mrityoasya Mrityu Maapnoati yaiha Naanayva Pasyati’. Upanishad has cursed that if anyone perceives Brahmam as of diverse forms, such an one falls from one jaws of death into another. But, then, if diversity also is Brahmam, if that be the implication of the Sastra, in that case why does it say the above? ‘Yatya Srutyaa Ninditam’. That which is disregarded and rejected by Veda, ‘Tannakartavyam’, that no one should follow. Only that which Sastra ordains, that alone, should be accepted. When it ordains you to adore and meditate, do accordingly. When it ordains you to just recognize, or become aware of, you just do only that much. You cannot do as you please. ‘ Brahmanoe Anayka Rasatvam Anayka Dhaatwancha Dvaita Roopam Ninditatvaat’. It has repudiated the Brahmam that is in Dvaita form. It has termed It futile. The Sastra restrains you from seeing Brahmam in multiple forms. Hence, not to be so seen. ‘Na Drashtavyam Atoe Na Sastraardham’. Hence not as per Sastra. ‘Yat Ayka Rasatwam Brahmanaha Tut Drashtavyaat Prasastam’. It is laudable to visualize Brahmam as one. Prasastatvaacha Sastraarthoe Bhaavitu Marhasi’. .Think that the Sastra said so because it is commendable. If you so visualize and conceive Brahmam, you would be able to experience.

You found fault with us that we cannot sustain ‘Karma Kaanda’ (Ritualism). Let us know how you sustain it” asked Bhagawat Paada. The answer of the Dvaitist: “In connection with Ritualism, as per your Doctrine, Veda is becoming ‘Apramaana’ (false, cannot be accepted as authority). Is it proper for you to make a portion of the Veda an ‘apramaana’? It is becoming ‘apramaana’ because you are not accepting the concept of Dvaita. If Dvaita is not a ‘Pramaana’, then there is no scope for Ritualism. You assert that Advaita covers all and everything. If everything is Advaita, how do you conduct Rituals? Let alone Sacrificial Rites, and, prayers and meditations, can one carry on even daily chores? Can one proceed on life’s journey? Can one even exhale and inhale?”

Bhagawat Paada:

“In your Doctrine alone, there is no scope for Ritualism. We have given ample scope for it. If you were to ask how Advaita can give such scope, I would say that because it is Advaita. Veda preaches karma kaanda (Ritualism). To whom, is what is to be noted. To each according to one’s need and capability, as per the bent of mind. In consonance with it, tBhagawat Paada:

“In your Doctrine alone, there is no scope for Ritualism. We have given ample scope for it. If you were to ask how Advaita can give such scope, I would say that because it is Advaita. Veda preaches karma kaanda (Ritualism). To whom, is what is to be noted. To each according to one’s need and capability, as per the bent of mind. In consonance with it, tBhagawat Paada:

“In your Doctrine alone, there is no scope for Ritualism. We have given ample scope for it. If you were to ask how Advaita can give such scope, I would say that because it is Advaita. Veda preaches karma kaanda (Ritualism). To whom, is what is to be noted. To each according to one’s need and capability, as per the bent of mind. In consonance with it, things would be seen. There is karma kaanda for such of those for whom Advaita appears in Dvaita form. For those to whom Paramaatma appears in worldly form, they go through the mill of worldly deliberations. They would be doing so, because they deal only with the world, and have no truck with Paramaatma (Supreme Self). We would not say it is Real. That is also Paramaatma Swaroopa (Nature of Self). But to them it appears as world alone. To such of them who have no contact with Paramaatma, what Veda does is, it preaches to them karma kaanda. No problem for Sastra. When they express a desire to comprehend the Supreme Self, then the Veda recedes back. When you express that you are feeling to be verily that Supreme Self, then Veda confesses there is nothing for it to convey. ‘Nahi Dvaitam Advaitamvaa Vastu Jaata Maatrameva Purusham Gnyaatamitwaa Paschaat Karmawaa Brahma Vidyaawaa Upadesati Sastram’. Sastra does not ordain Karma to the infant in mother’s womb. Not even immediately after birth. Neither the Sastra nor the Veda Rishi-s give training to the new-born stating that this is Dvaita and hence Karma, that is Advaita and hence Gnyaana, perform this Karma, do that meditation etc. ‘Na chaa Upadesaardham Dvaitam’. Actually none need tell anything about Dvaitam. If at all anything needs to be told, it is Advaita. Dvaita is so obviously evident to everyone. One need not be told to eat when hungry, drink when thirsty, entertain deliberations with the world, and so on. No need to tell that there is a world, there is the ocean of Samsaara, there are experiences of joy and sorrow etc. It there be anything beyond common sense, then, that should be told by Sastra, and in such a way that it bears fruit. If the layman says earth is static, then Sastra should tell that earth is rotating at great speed. That there is the pull of gravity by which a ball automatically comes down when thrown up. Things not known, and things useful alone be told. Now there is one Sastra that you are not aware of. That is the Advaita Sastra. It instructs you to view this world from viewpoint of Advaita, and enables you to gain a new experience that you never had so far. ‘Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma’ is our teaching. To view this world as Paramaatma. If you ask, of what use is it, we say, it rids you of the chronic anxiety of this staring Samsaara. You would reap the great consequence of serenely reposing in the form of ‘Sut and Chit’. By that you would attain the State of Salvation that is beyond the experiences of the pairs of opposites like joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain etc. That is the fruit. Instead of this riddle-filled Dvaitic life, you would live a happy and serene Advaitic existence. Brushing aside these fleeting joys and sorrows, you would experience fulfilling eternal bliss. One thing you remember, if you repose faith in Upanishad, you would acquire such knowledge and wisdom that none have thus far imparted to you. Its fruit is such an experience that the Maha Vaakya-s would reveal and elaborate. ‘Tut Twum Asi’. ‘You’ are no more. All is Paramaatma. ‘Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma’. There is no more the world. That too is Brahmam. ‘Pragnyaanam Brahma’. There is no more of Gneya (that which is observed, cognized). All is Gnyaana Swaroopa. The last and final result and blessing: ‘Aham Brahmaasmi’. ‘I am Brahma’. What the first three Mahaa Vaakya-s indicated, all that ‘I’ am. Thus no more sorrows and joys. No more latencies and propensities. When all subside and merge, and you ever be in that Brahma Nishta (State of Self-Realization), what more result and benefit, is needed? Besides that, it is not sometime after death, but during lifetime itself that state is reached. That is termed ‘Jeevan Mukti’ (Salvation during lifetime). There need not be the doubt whether it is attained or not after demise. Shedding the Dvaita ‘Vaasana s’ (latencies) and reiterating ‘Nayti, Nayti’ (not this, not this) i.e., rejecting all ‘anaatmic’ entities, then itself is attained that Divine Experience. If you were to sit without a thought of Dvaita, that itself is Deliverance. d be viewing things accordingly. With a Dvaitic training and background, if one sits in an Advaita class, nothing goes into one’s head. On the other hand, with an Advaitic background, even if one were to stroll about in the Dvaitic world, still, there would not be dearth of Advaitic vision. For Prahlaada (child devotee), even without any instruction, even while freely going about in the dualistic world, it had little effect on his Advaitic bent of mind. At the same time, in case of his father Hiranyakasipu, however much tried, he could not gain that vision. That is why perhaps, Prahlaada exclaimed ‘ Whatever is imparted, even if gone to forests, can devotional preaching be grasped?’. If one is fully convinced that the dualistic world alone is true and real, to such an one, there is no use of lecturing on the truths of Advaita. That is why, unless one has such a vision and thirst for Deliverance, there is no use of preaching Advaitic concepts to all and sundry. On the other hand, if one is rooted in Advaita and cultivates that vision, however much anyone may come and lure, or tend to initiate into any Mantra process, or brainwash with Dvaitic concepts, the Advaitic Saadhaka would remain unshaken and steadfast. None can pull one hither and thither, one with Advaitic bent of mind. For one devoid of it, no use of telling any amount. Even it one were to din into the ears of an Advaitist that the world is true and real, he would instantly repudiate it saying it is all ‘aabhaasa’ (illusory), and majestically stand, stating that all that is there is but Pure Consciousness”. well as, the creation constituted of the five primary elements, the entire all-pervasive paraphernalia is certainly evident. At the same time, permeating all that, and keeping everything within its fold, as the Substratum of all, ‘Asti, Bhaati’ (Existence and Appearance) are also omnipresent. But that which is obviously manifest has greater opportunity. Dvaitam is readily visible when you see, whereas Advaitam is not revealed unless you go deeper and probe. As far as existence is concerned, both are there. One is obvious and the other latent. Just as, the tank is full of water, but the surface is fully covered by scum. The moment you see, scum only is visible. Water is not seen at all. If you were to push aside the scum a bit, water would reveal itself. What is there and what is not there? Both are undoubtedly there. Then why not both are seen? The thing is, if this is visible, that is not there; if that is visible, this is not there. If you observe only names and forms, Paramaatma is invisible. If you comprehend Paramaatma, then, names and forms become absent. In that tank, when you see scum, water is invisible. If you remove scum, water is seen. Which do you want? If you are desirous of Dvaitam alone, just be content with it. It means you are averse to the truth of Advaita. That is what we are precisely doing now, being content with the worldly experiences of wife, children, wealth and assets, and joy and sorrow etc. Have we any inclination for knowledge of Brahmam? Many do not have. Why some are coming and attending these Vedantic discourses, in the company of Saadhaka-s is, that they are not content with the day-to-day world of names and forms, and its deliberations. Only such of those come who have an ardent thirst for spiritual experience. Such a desire sprouts only when one is not satisfied with what one has. For example, if a businessman is content with millions he made, he would not continue in business. If not content, he would be anxious to make more millions. Similarly, one who is content with the day to-day world, whatever it offers, would go on with it at his pace. That is the crux of the problem with diversity. After acquiring one, desire spurs to acquire another. Possessing so many things, the mind gets distracted. Cannot easily decide. Pitched upon one, decision is easy. It is in worldly affairs alone, all these bargains and ramifications. Mind goes helter-skelter. With Paramaatmam all these are not there. There are not ‘many’ to acquire. ‘I’alone. Asti Bhaati. ‘I am Omnipresent. All-pervading. If you desire me alone, keep not your eye on other things’ says Paramaatma.

The thing is, no one need freshly introduce Dvaitam to us. From birth to death, from cradle to grave, what we are ever observing, is Dvaitam alone. ‘Avidyaa Kritam Swaabhaavikam’. On it two stamps have been put. Firstly, it is ‘Avidyaa Kritam’. It is appearing only when you observe it out of ignorance. If only you were to view it with a vision of knowledge and wisdom, it is simply not there. Like that snake instead of rope, it is a mere illusion consequent of ignorance. Lack of recognition of rope. Similarly if Aatma Gnyaana (knowledge of Self) were to be there, you would not have seen the un-Aatmic world at all. If one were to ask why Aatma Gnyaana is absent, the answer is ‘Swaabhaavikam’. It is natural, absent from birth itself. Once birth itself is with dualistic latencies (vaasana-s), then dualistic world alone is seen. To be born with Advaitic (Monistic) vaasana s is very rare. By birth itself, to Prahlaada (child devotee), and similarly to king Pareekshit, there was the vision of Vishnu Swaroopa. That is entirely the influence of Advaita Vaasana-s. It would indeed be great even if one-percent have it. Mostly, Dvaita Vaasana-s are prevalent. It is natural, and of course, due to ignorance. When you are born with Dvaita vaasana-s, as per your bent of mind, the Sastra knows that you are blunted by ignorance, ‘Raaga dvayshaadi doashavat’, that you are possessed by ‘pairs of opposites’ like attachment and hatred etc.,’ Yadaabhimata Purushaartha Saadhanam’, that you would come and ask the method of approach to achieve your desired Purushaartha (goal of life). Then accordingly, to begin with, the Sastra ‘Karma Upadisati’, instructs you in Ritualism. It does not talk of Gnyaana at all. It knows that you have the drawback of ignorance, that you are pestered by pairs of opposites like attachment and repulsion, and that you have the desire to be the ‘doer’ of acts and reap their consequences. Hence, no use of imparting instruction in Brahma Gnyaana. So it teaches Ritualistic processes. If you were to charge Sastra whether that is not tantamount to misguidance, Sastra states that talking of Gnyaana to the uncultivated mind, would not help, that time alone sets things right, and that after passing through various vicissitudes, and going through ups and downs, then, after feeling frustrated, one would, on his own, approach the Sastra for guidance. ‘Prasiddha Kriyaa Kaaraka Phala Swaroopa Doasha Darsanavat’. ‘Kaaraka’ means equipment, implements needed for any work. In our case, they are our organs of perception and action, our life-breath and our mind. ‘Kriya’ is the activity using them. Then, the consequences of the acts, good or bad, joy or sorrow. This is what life is. This fact is well known to all (Prasiddha). With these, all works go on from worship of Deities to fasts and rituals, prayers and meditations, sacrificial rites and penances, to pilgrimages and expeditions. All these are in the nature of ‘Kriya, Kaaraka and Phala’. Performing such as these over years and years, then, at some point of time would arise ‘Doasha Darsanam’. Then one would introspect and reflect: “All these years, nay decades, these rituals I have been going through mechanically, as a force of habit. What is the root of all these, the Substratum? What is the Fundamental Principle? Whatever I have been performing, is it all the life’s objective, the supreme goal? Sastra has been ever proclaiming that by these rituals, one may at most attain ‘Swarga’ (Heaven) but not Salvation. But what is desired is Salvation, Deliverance. That implies relief from all stress and anxiety. Even if one goes to Swarga, after sometime or other, he is bound to return to this land of karma. Is one’s fate only making these trips?”. This is the implication of ‘Doasha Darsanam’. These thoughts would be rumbling in the mind. Then, ‘Tad Vipareeta’, contrary to this, one would begin musing on what the way is, to ensure that the mind ever reposes in serene peace. With this thought one would again take recourse to Sastra. Reveals his past experience. Confesses that even after years of rituals and worship, he is not experiencing any fulfillment, serenity and enduring peace of mind. Beseeches to impart such a training, offer such an instruction that would ensure mental tranquility, and fully eradicate the anxieties of this Samsaara (woeful world). Then would Sastra reveal that one should refrain from ‘Karma Kaanda’ (ritualistic practices), and begin the study of Upanishads. The Sastra advises that, as one who has qualified for the study of the path of Gnyaana (knowledge), he or she should proceed earnestly on the Gnyaana Maarga, towards Enlightenment and knowledge of Self. ‘Tadvipareeta Udaaseenya Swaroopa Avasthaana Phala Ardhinay’. ‘Tadvipareeta’; contrary to the path of action, ‘Udaaseenasya Swaroopa’: Wish to develop an attitude of complacency, a sort of take-it-easy disposition towards events. ‘Avasthaana’: Be established in such an attitude, without being whimsical as before. Such a ‘Phala Ardhinay’: fruit of benefit I am desiring, would say the Saadhaka. It is not before experiencing many a sorrow and joy, that such a desire sprouts. It does not happen with anyone’s compulsion. Each must feel the pangs of hunger by oneself. If one has hunger for ritualism and worships, they alone would be available. Instead, sometime or other, sooner or later, there would certainly be hunger for Gnyaana (knowledge and wisdom). Then would an Advaiti render ‘Tadupaaya Bhootaam’, the needful advice of the means by which to attain the desired state of ‘Udaaseena’ (complacency).

‘Aatmaikatva Darsanaatmikaam’: When asked how could one gain the experience of visualizing that everything is but Aatma Swaroopa, then the Advaitist responds saying that that would be by assimilating ‘Brahma Vidya’ (knowledge of Brahmam), and shows the path. That is Upanishad itself. That alone the Preceptor teaches.

‘Adhaivamsati’: When this is so, ‘Tadoudaaseenya Swaroopaavasthaanay Phaleh Praaptay’: As and when this Saadhakaa has risen to the state of being in ‘oudaaseenya’ (complacency), and brought its fruit and benefit within the field of his experience, then, ‘Sastrasya Praamaanyam Prati Ardhitvam Nivartatay,: begins the ardent desire for Sastra, viewing it as an authority, and the inclination to undertake its study, which encompasses Upanishad-s, Brahma Sootra-s, and Bhagavad Geeta (Prasthaana Traya). After achieving the objective, even their need would not be there. ‘Tadabhaavaat’. Then, when without giving importance to the Sastra, he is content with his own experience, ‘Sastrasyaapi Sastratvam Samprati Nivartatayaa’: In his case, the Sastra does not exercise its influence. It does not work. To a person like Prahlaada, the Sastra, knowing full well its need is not there, bows to him with due respect, with folded hands. The need of Sastra is there only for the ‘Saadhaka’ (aspirant), and not for the ‘Siddha’ (one who reached the goal, the accomplished one). ‘Samprati Nivartayaa’. In his case, it steps aside. ‘Tadhaa Prati Purusham Parisamaaptam Sastramiti’. For such of those who attain Mukti (Deliverance) Sastra is unnecessary. ‘Na Sastra Viroadha Gandhoapi Asti’: There is no question of going contrary to Sastra. Then, where is any contradiction? Then, there is no issue of Dvaita Vs Advaita. Once in the realm of Advaita, where can Dvaita be found? Till one grasps, there is Dvaita; once grasped, it is all Advaita. Where is the hostility between the teacher and the student? Let alone hostility, each would have affection and regard for the other. The disciple would have regard for his teacher, and, the teacher would have affection and concern for his disciple. Similarly, ‘Prati Purusham Parisamaaptam Sastramiti, Na Sastra Viroadha Gandhoapi Asti. Advaita Gnyaana Avasaanatvaat Sastra Sishya Sasanaadi Dvaita Baydhasya’.

Now one may ask ‘There are the three: Guru (Preceptor), Sishya (disciple), and Sastra (science). Then, how can it be Advaita? Do not the three differ? The advaitist’s reply is : During the Saadhana process we provisionally accept Dvaitam, just like in a mathematical problem we tactically accept ‘x’. After obtaining solution, the ‘x’ is discarded being of no further use. To give another example, till a building is constructed, we need a scaffolding. After completion of the building, the scaffolding is discarded. Sastra is also like that scaffolding. The Dvaitic world, Preceptor, disciple are all also like the scaffolding. Our thinking would be on that. But it is only a sign, a symbol. The Truth is different. But the sign points towards the Truth, leads one to it. Finally it merges with the Truth. This is the speciality here, compared to the scaffolding which still separately remains, even after building is over.

One more illustration. When we visit someone’s house. We find outside the name-plate. It is an indication. If itself is not the person. It only tells whether it is that person’s house. Here also, the nameplate remains, even after doing its job. But in present context, all the signs and provisional entities totally merge with the Truth finally. Thus, at the end, the sign or symbol, and the Truth are just one. The symbol is Truth itself. Because, the Truth alone is appearing as the symbol, the indicator. Now, to apply this to the subject under discussion: The world is there to reveal the Supreme Self. This is corresponding to the scaffolding. Taking the help and support of the visesha-s, names and forms, the mind has embarked on a voyage, in quest of ‘Sut and Chit’. In that process, during the quest, the mind would be appearing as a Vritti (in form of a thought). The equipment on this quest, is the mind. Finally when the quest is completed, when Brahmam has been realised as one’s own Self, that mind is no more observed. It is just no longer there as earlier. Then an inner voice from within you seems to enquire from you, ‘For whom are you searching?’. Your Aatma alone makes this enquiry. If your mind begins to feebly fumble ‘I myself towards you.......’, then the Aatma clarifies ‘Do not say ‘you’ and ‘I’. You yourself have brought you to yourself. There are no two ‘I’s’. In this context, there is the clarification in the Bhagavad Geeta ‘Dhyaanay Naatmani Pasyanti kay Chidaatmaana Maatmanaa’: Within Aatma alone, with the help of Aatma, one is perceiving the Aatma! As long as one is steeped in ignorance, Truth alone comes out and appears as signs and symbols. Upon attaining wisdom, this symbol alone appears or acts to be taking you towards the Truth. Actually it has not taken you anywhere! Taking one anywhere, is a journey. In Advaita there is no journey. There is no ‘becoming’, but only ‘Being’. It has ever been there. Nothing new to acquire. Just recollecting that ‘you’ are there, established already. No striving to be established. Like the whirlpool in the sea, It has arisen from itself, swirling in it, and again disappearing into itself. Similarly, the world which is but a sign-mark, an indicator, having sprung out of Truth, revels in it, and ultimately merges with It. Similarly is the Siva Linga. The Siva principle, appearing in the form of Linga, pretending to be taking you towards it, and again being seated in the Linga form, wonders ‘where is the question of taking me to myself? All am I!’. Thus it recollects its true nature. Then, all the show becomes false. Sri Goudapaada stated: ‘Yadaa Jeevah Prabuddyatay Anaadi Maayayaa Suptochyadaa Jeevah Prabuddhyatay’: Since time immemorial, under the influence of ‘Maayaa Sakti’ (the Deity of Illusion) we fell asleep, spent many a life in that state of sleep (implying that, waking, dream and deep-sleep states are all nothing but sleep), now again, after going through the arduous process of ‘sravana, manana, and dhyaana (listening, reflecting and meditating), have attained Enlightenment. The real awakening has come about now. The earlier physically awakened state was indeed sleep. Now this is not sleep, but real wakeful state. Now, ‘Ajanma Nidra Maswapna Madvaitam Budhyatay Tadaa’, no births for us, no dreams, no joys and sorrows. Realised that all are false. Now have we understood that we have ever been in this Awareness. Thus goes the elucidation of Sri Goudapaada. Sri Bhagavat Paada’s Prasthaana Traya (The Ten major upanishad-s, the Brahma Sootra-s, and the Bhagavad Geeta commentaries) should offer revered obeisance to these priceless words of the Parama Guru (Supreme Teacher). Still, one would indeed be indebted. Those are such great sayings. Such an admirable and enlightening teaching that one would be tempted to exclaim that it would indeed be enough to ruminate his ‘Maandookya Kaarika-s’ lifelong. That is why it is said ‘Maandookya Maykavaanaam Mumukshoanaam Vimuktayay’. If Deliverance were to come and alight upon you, one Upanishad, the Maandookya, would suffice. When it is said so, what a responsible statement should that be! But one should be able to properly understand and assimilate it.

Reverting back to the commentary of Sri Bhagavat, Paada, it becomes evident that if one holds on the symbol or emblem that shows the path towards Truth, and ultimately reaches the Truth, then, the symbol itself is the Truth alone, and that the Truth itself puts on the garb of the symbol. Similarly the entire Anaatma merges with the Aatma which alone remains. This aspect Sri Bhagavat Paada revealed clearly in his ‘Nirvana Dasakam’: ‘Na Sastra Na Sastram, Na Sishyoe Na Sikshaa, Na Chatwam Na Chaaham, Na Vaayam Prapanchaha, Swaroopaavaboadho, Vikalpaa Sahishnoe, Tadaykoavasishtam Sivaha Kayvaloaham’. There is no Preceptor, no Sastra, no disciple, no any teaching that is imparted. ‘Na Chatvam’. If you are there at all! ‘No chaaham’. If I am there at all! ‘Na Vaayam Prapanchaha’. If the world that you see, is there at all! Why? ‘Swaroopaavaboadhoe’. Because I have realised that all the above are Swaroopa (Nature of self) alone. Then, where are these differences at all? ‘Vikalpaa Sahishnuhu’: It does not tolerate change. The Eternal changeless Swaroopa cannot bear with change or alteration. It gets upset. ‘Tadaykoe avasishtaha’. What exists is one alone. ’Sivaha’: That which is auspicious and immortal. ‘Kayvaloaham’: That one without a second, is ‘Aham’ I myself. ‘I am That’. Sri Bhagvat Paada’s ten sloaka-s of ‘Nirvaana Dasakam’ are a superb and lucid revelation of the Divine Principle.

‘Advaita Gnyaana Avasaanatvaat’: once Advaita principle is understood and assimilated, the Dvaitic concepts disappear. This means, ‘Sastra, Sishya, Saasanaadi Dvaita Baydha’, when the entire diversity and multiplicity end up in Unity, what remains is only Unity, just as all the rivers flow miles and miles and ultimately merge into the ocean. ‘Anya Tamaavasthaa Nayhay’: Even if one of them (disciple, Preceptor or Sastra) remains, ‘Viroadhasyaat Avasthitasya’: it would be a severe setback in attaining the Brahmic Experience. Similarly, when you are regaling the nectar of ‘Sut Chit’, if you were to get a thought-wave of say the word ‘Sishya’, it would be a disturbance to that Experience. ‘Itarayta Raapaykshatvaat Sastra Sishya Saasanaanaam Na Anyatamoapi Avasishyatay’: But there is no fear, no problem. To whatever you refer to, it would not be there. If you really attain the Advaitic Experience, then, none of them would remain. The ‘upaadhi-s’ could be there (the media and equipment), but the Advaitic exeprience fully permeates them all. Into that ‘Aham’ (the Awareness that ‘I am’), all these thought-waves of ‘Idam’ (‘This’, the worldly phenomena) just merge, dissolve into It. ‘Itarayta Raapaykshatvaat: In the field of relativity, each is dependant on the other. It is only when there is a thing called ‘bad’, there could be its opposite the ‘good’. If there were to be no ‘bad’, then, all is ‘good’. So is the case with all ‘pairs of opposites’ (dwandwa-s), e.g., joys and sorrows, teacher and the taught, heat and cold etc. ‘Na Anyata moapi Avasishtatay’. In those ‘two’, not ‘one’ would remain. ‘Sarva Samaaptoatu’: All would be dissolved. ‘Kasya Viroadhaha?’ Where is the question of incompatibility? When there are no so many, then, all is One. Even that ‘One’ is not different from you. It is you alone. ‘Advaitay Kayvalay Siveh Siddhay’. That is Advaita. Pure and simple. No pollution whatsoever. Ever benevolent. ‘Siddhay’, already established. Nothing that one has to strive for and ‘obtain’, or ‘newly attain’. There are no compatibilities and imcompatibilities,contradictions or otherwise, or such ‘pairs of opposites’ (dwandwa’s). Hence, let there be no illusion that in the Advaitic concept, there is any differentiation.

In response to your proposition that one can accept both Dvaita and Advaita, arguments and answers have been presented from various angles. Alright, one thing. When you say we must conceive the Reality Principle as one accomodating both Dvaita and Advaita, is it not that we must think that that Brahman can be Unitary as well as multifarious, that It signifies both Unity and Diversity? If you say so, you would be contradicting the Sastra itself. While taking the illustrative example of Ocean, waves and froth, your argument was that there is Dvaita in waves and froth, while as water, being homogenous, it is Advaita. There is contradiction in this example too. Because, ‘Ekam Hi Param Brahma’, have you not agreed that Para Brahma is one only? So you say that That is Dvaita as well as Advaita. Now, stick to that statement. But you are on slippery ground, remember! ‘Soaka Moahaadi Ateetatwaat Upadesam Na Kaankshati’. Does Brahmam have ‘Soaka’ (sorrow) and ‘Moaha’ (Desire)? Is It not immune to these? If so, it needs no instruction. ‘Na Cha Upadeshta Anyaha Brahmanaha’. If there be a Preceptor for this, it is Brahmam alone. The disciple seated in front, and lending his ears, is also Brahmam. ‘Dvaitaadvaita Roopasya Brahmanaha Aykasyaiva’. Be it Dvaita or Advaita, if there is only one Brahmam, what is the meaning of Brahmam instructing Brahmam, and Brahmam listening to Brahmam i.e., Itself? You better clarify how this is meaningful.”

Prativaadi (Opponent): “ ‘Adhadvaita Vishayasya Anaykatvaat Anyoanyoapadesaha’: In Dvaitic form there can be instruction. Brahmam is in the Advaita portion, as well as in Dvaita portion. In such a case, is it not possible that there can be Guru – Sishya (Teacher and taught), as also instruction, in the Dvaita component i.e., where there is scope for diversity and multiplicity? And, Advaita can be ascribed to Brahmam. Then, both can coexist. Is it not?”

Sri Bhagavat Paada: “you state that not only Advaita, but all Dvaita also is Brahmam. Then, where is the place for Guru and Sishya? There is not even an iota of place without Brahmam. Is it not? ‘Na Brahma Vishayaa Upadesaha’: you say that the instruction is not for Brahmam. ‘Tadaa Dvaitaadvaitaatmakam Aykam Brahma Na Anyadasteeti, Viruddhatay,: To say that Dvaita and Advaita, both are Brahmam, and there is nothing else, is not valid. Because,you brought another pair of entities called Teacher and the taught. Now that place is of Brahmam, or , of Guru-Sishya? If your thought be on Guru–Sishya, then, at that moment, the thought of Brahmam is absent in you. On the other hand, if your thought was centred on Brahmam, then, Guru-Sishya have no place in your thought. Brahmam implies just One. Besides that, when you state that Guru is Brahmam, and Sishya also is Brahmam, in such a case, where is the question of instruction? Thus in your reasoning, the illustrative example of Ocean and waves, is not valid. The Ocean, as water, is just One, Advaita. Similarly, this Bahmam also, as Gnyaana (Awareness), is just One (without a second). In such a Totality of Essence of Knowledge, you are now perceiving Ignorance in It. Imagining that that is Guru, this is Sishya. In that Pure and thoroughly homogenous One ‘Rasa’ (Essence), there is no scope for any pollutant. If any discordant thought were to come, then it becomes ‘Dvaita’.

Alright. Answer the following question. ‘Nahi Hastaadi Dvaitaadvaitaatmikay Devadattay’. There is a person named Devadatta. He is a normal person physically. ‘Vaak Karna Yoahoe Devadatta Ayka Desa Bhoota Yoahoe’: He speaks and hears as any other person does. His body has all the limbs and organs. What you are telling is. ‘Vaakku Upadeshti’. The tongue is speaking, and that is the Preceptor. ‘Karnaha Kayvalaha Upadesasya Graheetaa’: Those ears alone are hearing the teaching, and those ears alone, are the disciple. That Devadatta, by himself, is neither speaking, nor hearing. How meaningless and insensible such a talk is! So is your argument. You accept that all is Brahmam. But, in It, half is Dvaita, and other half Advaita. In that half portion of Dvaita, one is the Preceptor rendering the teaching, and the other the disciple receiving the teaching. But, Brahmam is neither teaching nor listening! As Brahmam, nothing is happening. In the Advaita portion, nothing is taking place, but only in the Dvaita part. Even then, both Dvaita and Advaita are Brahmam. See how inconsistent and meaningless your reasoning is. As meaningless as saying that Devadatta’s tongue is speaking, and ears are hearing, but Devadatta himself is neither speaking, nor hearing! But, actually, it is Devadatta alone performing both the tasks; the tongue and ears are mere ‘upaadhi-s’ (instruments). When it is said that everything is happening in the realm of Brahma Swaroopa, where is the question of differentiation and diverse thoughts? All is nothing but Bramham. No truck with Dvaita at all. Comprehend this. Do not argue for argument’s sake. What you need is perseverance, not eloquence!”.

The illustrative example that Sri Bhagavat Paada has just given, is of use not only to counter the Dvaitist, but also for Advaitic ‘Saadhana’ and ‘anubhava’ (experience). Just like the example of the one and only one Devadatta, here is the one Brahma Swaroopa. In That itself there is the aspect of non action. That is Its primal unchanging aspect, Its Swaroopa State. Again in That itself there are the cycles of creation, sustenance and dissolution. (Srishti, Sthiti and Laya). That Brahmam alone, transformed as Eeswara, undertook creation, and, as Jeeva, got entangled. Again if you were to view these as that Brahmam alone, then, no Jeeva, no Eeswara. You would realise you are Brahmam alone. That means, by then, the ‘Brahmaakaara Vritti’ (the idea of the Supreme Form) has occured in your mind. If you view with the Brahmaakaara Vritti, then, all this diversity will dissolve into Unity. But, if you were to conceive that Brahmam alone is doing all these works, then, your vision would tend to shift from Brahmam over to these things. Again it would veer from Unity to diversity. Hence, you better first get a grip over Unity, distancing from diversity. Consider that Unity as your Real Nature. With vision so oriented, then, look at the diversity. This is the approach and counsel of Advaitists. Instead of that, one should not go contrary to the theoretical postulation. In the practical example of Sri Bhagawat Paada, in case of Devadatta, there was just one Consciousness from head to foot, just as there is nothing but water in the entire Ocean. It is the same Consciousness, whether speaking with tongue, hearing with ears, or, just sitting quiet without any thought, reflecting ‘Ahamasmi’ (I am). When everything has been synthesized into one ‘Vignyaana’ (Consciousness, Awareness), would there be one Vignyaana to speak, and another Vignyaana to hear? Would there be two Vignyaana-s? Would there be separately a pot-sky (ghataakaasa), a room-sky, and then the universal sky? There could be differences in forms and attributes, or in equipments, but never in ‘Swaroopa’. But the thing is, the opponent (Dvaitist) is seeing differences not only in ‘Upaadhi’s’ (equipments, forms and attibutes), but also in ‘Swaroopa’ (the True Nature of Self). That is the basic mistake. For that matter, Advaitist also states that there are Unity and Diversity. It is found in Bhagavad Geeta itself: ‘Sarva Bhootasta Maatmaanam, Sarva Bhootaani Chaatmani Veekshatay’. Is this Advaita or Dvaita? In the Isavaasya Upanishad is stated: ‘It moves, does not move. It is inside, It is outside’. Is it Advaita or Dvaita? The words seem mutually contradictory. The thing is, the Dvaitist sees differences in Swaroopa itself. Advaitist does not tamper with Swaroopa, not ascribe anything to It. He throws everything on to the ‘Upaadhi-s’ (media and equipments). But at the end, dissolves everything in the Swaroopa. Speaking or not speaking, hearing or not hearing, all such ‘Pairs of Opposites’, he finally merges them with the Swaroopa. The question is, did the Swaroopa. Itself come into these ‘Dvandwa-s’ (pairs of opposites), or, did the Dwandwa-s themselves proceeded and merged into the Swaroopa? There lies the kink. Normally, whoever it is, they forget about Swaroopa, and see or talk about the dwandwa-s alone. The Advaitist on the other hand, gets a grasp of the Swaroopa, via these dwandwa-s. He views these dwandwa-s with that vision, so oriented. He views them as Swaroopa itself, and denies their individual existence. If these be viewed as the manifest forms of Swaroopa, one can recognize the existence of both. With Paraamatma’s vision, one calls them His ‘Vibhooti (manifestation). With Jeevaatma’s vision, one calls them ‘Samsaara’. From the level of this Samsaara, the Saadhaka’s (Aspirant’s) vision, raises higher and higher, and seeks to reach the level of Vibhooti. After attaining the Vibhooti level, then, working through it, reaches Swaroopa. Being in that state, one endeavours to view Samsaara as Paramaatma’s Vibhooti (external manifestation).

5. Overview of Arguments

Thus, in the above way, the arguments have been concluded. In this discussion, let us critically evaluate and see whether the Advaitist gained the upper hand. Can he be declared victorious? For this reasoning process we have to render the concluding remarks. Let us take an overall view. How did this start? What actually prevails, is it Advaita or Dvaita? We have to settle the matter once for all. Let us concisely review what Advaita and Dvaita declare, what their principal stands are.

As per Advaitist, Aatma alone is Real. He would, of course, not say that the world is false,he brands it as an ‘aabhaasa’ (mere appearance, illusory). For whomsoever it be, both Aatma and Anaatma are clearly evident, for the common man or woman, for the scientist, for the Dvaitist and Visishtaadvaitist including. For the Adwaitist as well as others, what are glaringly felt are the two: One is ‘I’ and the other ‘Mine’. If you were to consider Eeswara, even He has to come into one of these two categories only. Whatever entity you consider, it has to be classified under one of these two categories alone, no third one at all. If Eeswara is assigned to the Anaatma category, then, he is also absent. He would be in the ‘aabhaasa’ group. If He has to really exist, He must enter the Aatma assemblage. Because, Aatma which means ‘I’, that one alone is True, Real. Then, whatever you are viewing as ‘mine’, every one of them is ‘aabhaasa’. The Advaitist should name it as ‘aabhaasa’, but not un-truth. Those who call it so, are Nagarjuna, Soonya-vaadi-s (proponents of Void theory) and Maadhyamika-s (Centrists). It is not Substratum and Real like Aatma. Nor is it a void, as per the Buddhist Doctrine. Nor is it an un-truth. Advaitist call it merely ‘aabhaasa’.

On the other hand, all those who are not Advaitists, and are in the other camp, state that both ‘I’ and ‘Mine’ are Real. As both Individual (Jeevaatma) and the World are so vividly visible, they say those are Real. But as per Advaitist, as the world is not by itself manifesting, its Reality is denied. It is not an independant entity appearing on its own. For example, there appears to be water in a mirage. It is clearly visible, we do not deny it. To the extent it is visible, we do not deny it. But, that appearance is not inherently based on itself. It has for its support the sunshine.Hence we brand it as un-real.That sunshine alone is Real. Is it not? That is why that water, which is merely appearing, we call it an ‘aabhaasa’. By this is meant a substance that exists, but not by itself, and there is another material which is appearing as this, then, that ‘this’ is called an ‘aabhaasa’. But if there be a material which is evident all by itself, without any external help, then, that material is Real. That is called ‘Vastu’. Coming to the present topic, there is Aatma that is existing all by itself, with Self-Awareness. Now in your case, are you able to say ‘I am, and I am existing all by myself’? Or, you think you are existing with the support of some offer Agency? You say you are existing all by yourself. Since when? You say, ever since you could think. To have such a thought, is in itself an indication of freedom. That itself is ‘Substance’. That is that which is well established. I have my own Awareness. I am self-existent and self-evident. OK. What is the proof that you exist? You say ‘Myself’. That is, you are yourself the proof for yourself. What is it telling? ‘You are”. Which is telling? You say ‘My Gnyaana (Awareness, Consciousness)’. You cannot but say ‘What is expressing, is the Gnyaana. What is existing, is also the Gnyaana’. What is expressing, is the ‘Chit’, and, what is existing, is the ‘Sut’. Again, ‘That’ which is expressing, and ‘That’ which is existing, are one and the same; hence, ‘Sut, Chit’ both are one. When it is said ‘I Am’, in that there are both ‘I’ (the Self), and the Existence’. That which is existing is ‘I’, and I am ‘existing’. The ‘Existence’ has pervaded the ‘I’, and ‘I the Awareness’ has pervaded the ‘Existence’. When that be so, those ‘Awareness’ and ‘Existence’ cannot be two entities. It is one and the same Reality, the Truth. Because, there is no scope for being as two. Because, they are not ‘Saakaara’ (with form). Existence is formless. So also is Awareness. Hence no divisibility, no interruption. The Existence and Awareness are so thoroughly interwoven. So thoroughly merged, each into the other. Both are seen as one. That is ‘Aatma’. It being Formless, is ‘Existing’ with the awareness of ‘I Am’. Then, what is that Formless perceiving? It is first witnessing your thoughts. It is observing your life breath. It is seeing your sense-organs, your eyes, nose and ears when they are functioning. It is perceiving your inanimate body. Then, coming out of the body, it is observing your relatives and friends, your belongings and assets. Seeing everything. Seeing up to the sky. Seeing into the past. Thinking about the future. It is bursting forth on to the world, plunging into hectic activity. Moving hither and thither in the realm of Time. Going on observing every animate and inanimate being and matter in all the above, those that are stationary and those on the move. Fully permeates space, time and substance, everything in its sweep. Reason? Because of being Formless. Emerging from ‘you’, It pervades all that is ‘yours’. Emerging from ‘I’, It permeates all of ‘Mine’. Otherwise, I would not become aware of ‘Mine’. Having pervaded, It is grasping them. In that act of grasping, know that all these -this my wife, these children, this my house, these my possessions, these experiences of joy and sorrow - are all being grasped by ‘Me’ i.e., my ‘Awareness’. As I am grasping all that are external to me, ‘I’ must have come out of my body. Such a scope can exist as I am Formless. Similarly, whether you know it or not, you are also Formless. Being Formless, you are able to come out of your body, interact with various forms, pervading them, and holding them.

Now at this stage, the Dvaitist is registering a complaint. He says: “As you are an Embodiment of Gnyaana, your emerging out of the body and permeating everything, may be true. What I am saying is as all those are Real, how can they be deemed as ‘aabhaasa’? Apart from that, what is the meaning of permeating the illusory (aabhaasa)?

Advaitist:When it has come up to the body, it has measured the body. It is ‘Gnyaana’ that is measuring. What was measured is the body. Similarly, one body after another, the Gnyaana is measuring. The Gnyaana is pervading. What are not expanding, are the bodies. They are ‘visesha-s’ (particulars), finite entities, fragmented ones. You say that those bodies are real. I say they are not. What is the proof that they are? It is only when someone observes, that their existence is recognized. It is only when their existence is established, can one say that they are existing. Is it not? This implies that there must be a witness for anything to exist. What is that witness? That is indeed your Pure Consciousness only. An awareness. That is ever expanding and recognizing and telling that it is so-and-so body. It is I who has seen it, named it, told about it, measured it. Whatever I am elaborating, it is my Gnyaana that is doing the job. Whatever I am saying, is visible to my Gnyaana alone. That ‘form’ is not speaking. That body is not telling. It is Advaita alone that is telling about the Dvaitic ‘Visesha-s’. This means that the proof and evidence for Dvaita, is Advaita alone. It is pervading them and telling. If Advaita did not tell, it means there is no evidence of that object. If it is not ‘known’, one has to say it is ‘not’ there. For anything to exist, it is only when it is observed with that Gnyaana, that that Awareness becomes the evidence for that existence. An existence without Awareness is unimaginable. That is what is implied when it is asserted that materials do not exist all by themselves. They are just dependant on that Awareness. That idea, thing and activity, all these are dependant on that Awareness. ‘Naamam’ is thought. ‘Roopa’ is that external object. ‘Kriya’ is the interaction, their movement. Gnyaana fully permeates all these three. They do not exist all by themselves. Why? Because they are ‘Visesha-s’ (Particulars). The particular is in the tight grip of the ‘Saamaanya’ (the Universal, Omnipresent). The Universal, the Infinite cannot just be accommodated within the tiny ‘Visesha’. Because, if the visesha attempts to hold Saamanya, the latter escapes and holds another visesha. If that visesha attempts to hold, then the Saamanya goes on to yet another visesha, and so on. Nothing can find something which is witnessing all and everything, and is without form. Can we bind air or sky? The Saamaanya enters your body in the form of inhaling breath. Again exits through the exhaling breath. Similarly in all bodies. That is the great privilege of being Niraakaara (being without form). ‘Saakaara’ (being with form) cannot afford to have it. This Niraakaara, from moment to moment, goes on assessing and evaluating the Saakaara. If the evidence and proof of Niraakaara is not there, then, the Saakaara has no existence. If existence is not there, then, it is absent. It is Gnyaana, being self-existent, establishes existence for other things. Whatever can be ‘on its own’ all by itself, to that, is ascribed Existence. Not to something dependant on another. The ‘observed’ is totally dependant on the ‘observer’. On the other hand, the ‘observer’ is not dependant on the ‘observed’ Even if not observing anything at all, still, the Gnyaana (observer) can exist all by itself. Its Existence itself, is the existence of the observed. Hence, It is ‘I’ alone that exists. I myself am appearing to me as ‘Mine’. This is similar to my image in the mirror. The image is not there all by itself. My face is its basis. The existence of my face alone, is the existence of the image. There are no two existences. The reflection is not independent. Still, it is seen. But its appearance is of appearance of ‘me’. It is not a question of my existence and its appearance. I am existing, and appearing in that form. That is ‘abhaasa’. Similarly, the entire world is an ‘aabhaasa’ of the Aatma. The argument of the opponent is, that the image is Real. Then our counter-argument is, let that image exist without my standing before the mirror! If that could happen, then, that image is not concerned with my Existence and my Awareness. But, is it not certain that that image would be absent without me? That means the image has merged with my face. Similarly, Anaatma merges into the Aatma. If I realize that that is ‘I’ myself, it just dissolves. That is the state of the Nature of Self. Then, if I were to see it as ‘mine’, it would be appearing to me as my own ‘vibhooti’ (manifestation, appearance). But forgetting ‘I’, if seen, then, what appears is the ‘Samsaara’, the worldly mundane existence with all its inherent problems from birth to death. This is the subject-matter in a nut-shell. One has to reflect on this with utmost concentration. One has to go deeper and deeper to the crux of the problem, and assimilate the Truth. Then alone, it becomes a part of oneself.

Now, by all the above discussions and reflections, what is it that the Advaitist has achieved by way of practical utility? Solving the problem, only an Advaitist can do. What is the problem in general? The stress and anxiety caused by the world, and the pining to escape from it. This implies freeing oneself from the shackles of strife and struggle associated with the mundane existence, from the distress and anguish caused by ‘Samsaara’. This freeing may be termed as ‘Moaksha’ or Deliverance or Salvation. Whatever it be, the ‘problem’ is ‘Samsaara’, and, the ‘solution’ is ‘Deliverance’. But one thing to be noted and thought of. If that so-called ‘Samsaara’ be True and Real, can you ever escape? If you indeed believe that this world and this ‘Samsaara’ are as True and Real as Aatma is, then, not only in the current life, but even in any future life, you cannot extricate yourself from the manacles of the Samsaara. To make this point clear, here is an illustrative example: The rope-snake episode. At dusk, in failing light, at a distance, when you see a meander-shaped thing lying on the road, you may rush to the conclusion that it is a snake, though actually it is a rope. However, you seem to see a snake there. As long as you think it is ‘really’ there, you cannot escape from its fright. Your look of dread, your sweating, and tendency to run away, would all be there. As long as idea of snake is haunting you, all these are inevitable. When can you get relieved of the fear, and the consequent responses is, only when you realize that it is not real, it is only a mere appearance, out of illusion; when you gain the awareness that the rope itself is so appearing in the dim light. Similarly this ‘Samsaara’ (the problematic riddle-filled woeful worldly phenomena) is like that ‘snake’. As long as you look at this as ‘real’, - wife and children, friends and relatives, wealth and possessions, up to even thought-waves, and pairs of opposites like joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain etc - they would not stop their onslaughts on you. ‘Mrityoasya Mrityu Naapnoati yaiha Naanaiva Pasyati’: meaning, from the jaws of one death into the jaws of another. Hence, if at all a solution to the problem is desired, all these should not be viewed as ‘true and real’, but as an ‘aabhaasa’. This implies that the ‘Substance’ (Substratum) Itself is putting on all this show, and ‘appearing’ in all these different forms, as various beings and things. So must you think. With this ‘aabhaasa’ there is a double disadvantage. One is, the Substratum lies concealed. The other is, instead of ‘That’, some other things prop up, and are seen. If only the Thing to be seen is visible, and, things not to be seen are not seen, then, it would have been a double advantage. Not being so, the false and unreal being glaringly visible, and the Truth not at all being seen, - due to these dual mishaps, the Samsaara has pounced on you. Alright. Now, what is the Reality, the Truth? Aatma Swaroopa (Nature of the Real Self). That is invisible. The false world of Anaatma keeps staring at you, even if you do not want. That is the crux of the problem. Hence, it is obvious that the solution lies in perceiving the Truth. Then, It would cease posing as ‘aabhaasa’. It would reveal Itself in Its true colors. Then the two gains are, the false disappears i.e., you can bid good-bye to the bothering ‘Samsaara’, and, the Aatma reveals as yourself, hence no question of not being seen. Advaita alone offers such a total solution. It would have become evident by now that the Dvaitic world has only problems to offer, but not solutions. It has thus become clear that our problems can never be solved, unless we view this world as indeed an ‘aabhaasa’, and not as Real. Just as the illusion of snake would not vanish until you see the rope. Not seeing the rope is itself ignorance (Avidya). Seeing it is Wisdom. Through ignorance, the serpent comes up to frighten you. Through Wisdom, the serpent gives place to the rope. By ignorance, the Dvaitic concept prevails. Through Wisdom the Advaitic lustre shines. This only is the key to all problems. Now, applying this to the subject under study, that rope is your Real Self, your True Nature. That serpent is this entire universe. If you wish to seek Deliverance from this world of woe, you must realise your True Nature, your Real Self. That itself is Brahma Vidya, Aatma Gnyaana (Self-Realization). Unless you know what is not ‘you’ but your reflection, it will not merge into you. Presently what you are thinking as ‘I’ is a ‘pseudo I’. That is why it does not matter whether you know it or not. Just as it is the same whether the blind eye is open or closed. What we wish to know is not the ‘I’ linked to the body. To grasp the ‘Real I’ it is not one tied with Praana (life-breath) or Mind. We have to keep aside all the three - the body, praana and mind - and then endeavour to grasp it. That is ‘Pratyagaatma’ (Innermost core, the Real Self). This ‘false self’ is ‘Midhyaatma’ (Illusory Self). This just poses as Real Self and appears to us. If you believe in this dressed up Illusory Self, it is like the snake in the Rope snake example. As a result, It subjects you to bear the burden of this Samsaara. Then springs up ‘Mamakaara’, the sense of ‘My-ness’. That is termed as ‘Gounaatma’, the Self associated with ‘guna-s’ (qualities and attributes). The moment you lower yourself to the Midhyaatma level, then, the ‘Gounaatma’ would be ready to pounce upon you. That is why, the problem is not how to get rid of Gounaatma. If you wish to overcome ‘My ness’, first you have to eradicate ‘ego’. Hence renunciation of the mind, is indeed true renunciation. It is not just abandoning wife and children, wealth and possessions. Not merely donning amber robe. The main thing is, you must get to your ‘Real Self’. How would that be? It should not be viewed as your body. Nor your life-breath or mind. It should be comprehended as Pure Consciousness that is merely witnessing all these. Then it gets separated from these. The knot would get untied. This is the untying of the ‘Grandhi’ (knot) referred to in the Kathoapanishad. It has become tied up with mind. That has to be untied. So is the case with praana and body. That untying of all these knots results in Salvation or Deliverance. Then the Aatma emerges out of the Anaatma. At that juncture, Awareness dawns on you. The Awareness of the ‘Real Self’. Not the ‘I’ (the false self) that one is now thinking of : the ‘I’ that has taken into its fold all these. That True Real Self has been called ‘Pratyak’. Also can be termed ‘Pratyagaatma’, ‘Antaraatma’ (Inner Self), ‘Saakshi’ (Witness). It is mind alone that enquires how the ‘Swaroopa’ (Intrinsic Nature) of ‘That’ is. It is the same mind that clung to the ‘false self’. Thus the mind can grasp the ‘pseudo-self’ as well as the ‘Real Self’. That is why it has been said: ‘Manayeva Manushyaanaam Kaaranam Bandha Moakshayoe’: ‘The human mind is the cause of being bound, as well as of Deliverance’. Hence you have to trust your mind. If you have put your faith in a Preceptor, he must be of an enlightened mind. As yours is not yet that, he has become your Teacher, and you his student. If the Teacher imparts such knowledge and training, and enlightens your mind also, then, he has accomplished his task. If you have grasped it and got transformed, you have accomplished yours. Then you would rise to the status of a Guru (Teacher). Then you have, and you do not have, a Guru. Even Sastra (Science) becomes like that. Thus the Teacher, the taught, and the Sastra have combinedly fulfilled their endeavour.

Hence all effort and perseverance is by mind alone. You have to perceive everything as ‘Rope’ in that example. You must transform the false (pseudo) self as the Real Self. For that you must develop the Real-Self vision. That is Brahma Vidya, i.e., a thought associated with Aatma, should sprout in your mind. ‘Tadaakaara Aakaarita’: Your mind should fill fully with that form, that idea. The great quality that mind has is, that whatever it observes, its thought enters the mind, apart from the image formed in it. Mind is not any material. It is actually nothing. If anything comes across, then only it is felt. That thought itself indicates to you as mind. Now, whatever worldly thoughts you entertain, the mind goes on changing accordingly. That is what is meant by ‘Tad Bhaava Bhaavitaa’, as per Bhagavad Geeta. It entirely gets filled up with that idea, like the mango fruit soaked in honey and fully saturated. Even if the fruit be sour, it acquires sweetness due to the honey. Similarly, the mind too has to eschew its sourness and acquire sweetness. That sourness is caused by the worldly latencies - wife and children, wealth and possessions, thoughts and experiences - all these. The mind is filled with all these. If that sourness is to be got rid off, here in place of honey, the thought of the Divine Effulgence is needed. That indeed is ‘Gaayatri’ Mantra: ‘Bhargoe Devasya Dheemahi’, If we fill our minds with those Divine Rays, then, ‘Dhiyoe yoanaha Prachoadayaat’: All the worldly thoughts will be got rid off like that sourness in the example. That is why while performing Gaayatri Japa, one must grasp the deeper inner meaning of it before chanting. Then only the extraneous and discordant thoughts will vanish like that sour taste. For the sourness to disappear, sweetening has to take place. Unless light shines, darkness will not disappear. That is why, first is Gnyaana’ (Awareness), and then renunciation. Actually, first should be ‘Abhyaasa’, practice, sustained effort. Bhagavad Geeta also spells out the same: ‘Abhyaasaynatu Kounteya, Vyraagyenacha Grihyatay’. Patanjali also stressed the same ‘Abhyaasa Vyraagyaabhyaam Tanniroadhaha’. First the sustained effort and perseverance, and then renunciation. Unless your mind continues its journey towards Brahmam, it is certain that the world and its latencies would not recede, would not be washed off; just as darkness would not disappear unless light advances. Similarly, one has to ‘visualize’ Aatma Swaroopa (True Nature of Self). If your doubt is that it was said earlier that Aatma cannot be ‘seen’, let it be known that it was meant for listeners only and not for ‘saadhaka-s’ (aspirants). As mere listeners may not have yet acquired the needed comprehending capability, it was necessary to say so. Even Yaagnyavalka (in Brahadaaramyaka Upanishad) told Maitreyi ‘Aatmaa Vaaray Drashtavyaha’ (Aatma has to be ‘seen’). The implication in that ‘seeing’ is, we must take it to mean, ‘conceive’ it as Gnyaana (Awareness) and not as Gneya (the observed) i.e., subjectively and not objectively. Otherwise, that ‘seeing’ may be construed to mean seeing an object. Hence it be ‘seen’ as Gnyaana. Brushing aside the objective out-look, one must stop there. Then, as a lightning flash, the Brahmic thought would by itself dazzle and appear. As a listener one may falter, but the seasoned aspirant at the ripe stage, would not. One need not go jitters at the word ‘seeing’. For example, are we ‘seeing’ the sky or not? Just as you are seeing all these things, you are seeing also the emptiness in between them. If not how are you aware of that emptiness? It is ‘seen’, you tell about it, but you cannot show it. Because, anything with form cannot show the Formless. The Formless can see the form, but, form cannot see the Formless. A good example for this is our Gnyaana (Awareness) and our vision. Both are without form, but can see objects with form. Same thing happening in creation. But what cannot happen is, anything with form cannot see that ‘vision’. This itself is ‘Saadhana’ (pursuit on the path to Truth). Listening itself is tantamount to it. Advaitist always comer close to life, and tells applying the concepts to life in practice. His is practical Vedanta. When it is said that entire life the individual, the world and all is Brahmam, it instils any amount of courage, affords any amount of happiness. All our sensual pleasures, all types of our material happiness are but specks of that ‘Brahmaananda’ (Infinite Bliss), a mere trace, so proclaim the Upanishad-s. If the vast Ocean signifies that Brahmaananda, all small pleasures are Its mere droplets. The happiness that is derived from wife and children, friends and relatives, howsoever close they may be to you, is not even a thousandth of that ‘Brahmaananda’. To experience that bliss, one needs an Aatma-oriented vision. One can visualize, if nothing obstructs. When the mind is fully emptied, the Awareness of ‘I’ is grasped automatically. If the mind is full, that cannot be achieved. If the mind be full of Anatmic thoughts, the Aatma cannot shine. When the mind be emptied, the mind itself ‘is’ ‘That’! Being full, is symptomatic of world and samsara. Being empty, is suggestive of Brahmam, the Eternal Blisss. Empty means ‘nirguna’ (attributeless), but not ‘soonya’ (vaccum). This is emptiness with vision. If vacuum be deemed as ‘Sut’, the vision is ‘Chit’. Thus Sut is the abstract emptiness, and Chit the faculty of vision. This is ‘Chidambaram’ (the firmament of Consciousness) not ‘Jadambaram’ (the inanimate physical sky)! This subtlety should be grasped by the mind. Mind alone is our instrument, our means. Hence this should be purified. Through this alone ‘ Brahmam’ has to be realised. The metamorphosis of the mind into ‘Brahmam’ is itself ‘Moaksha’, Deliverance. That alone is the solution to the problem. The sustained effort to empty the mind (of needless thoughts),and comprehend the Brahmic Principle, is ‘Dhyaana’ (Meditation). This is the Advaitic Meditation, Advaitic ‘Upaasana’. Here ‘Upaasana’ implies the process of grasping the Attributeless Real-Self Tattwa (Principle).

6. Advaitic Upaasana-s

What Upanishad postulates is the ‘Gnyaana Maarga’ (path of Knowledge). In Brihadaaranyaka Upanishad, the ‘Khila Braahmana’ portion tells a Mantra. That Mantra is : ‘Om Kham Brahma’. Its utility is in Advaita meditation alone. Through this there is scope for grasping the Brahmic concept. Now, what is that? By ‘Kham’ is meant ‘sky’. That means, sky is telling about that Brahmam. So, we can keep aside the idols of God and Goddess. Here, the idol is sky itself! That is an idol that is not an idol. That emptiness alone reveals the Brahmam! The path that that emptiness chalks out is ‘Nayti, Nayti’. The sky itself is that emptiness. We normally do not pay attention to it. We observe people, houses, vehicles and many other things but never think of or ‘see’ the space between them. We never reflect that all those things, as also towns and cities, are contained in the space, in the womb of emptiness. Unless we look deeper into and concentrate our thought on that emptiness, we cannot conceive Brahmam. Sky is a ‘Visayshana’, a particular that indicates. Brahmam is ‘Visayshya’, that which is indicated. One more illustrative example: When we say ‘black lotus’ the black color is in the lotus itself. It is one with the lotus itself. Similarly when we say’ white wall’, the whiteness and the wall are one and the same. That is termed as ‘Saamaanyaadhi Kaaranya’ (equating the two). Similarly, emptiness and Brahmam are at one and the same place. The sky does not seem to tolerate in whatever other way we conceive ‘Brahmam’. Conversely, in any other way if we were to look at the sky, then, Brahmam would not seem to tolerate. ‘If you wish to see Me, do so but see Me along with sky’, so Brahmam seems to be saying. Similarly, the sky seems to be imploring that if we wish to observe it, let that be along with Brahmam. The implication is that, the Brahmam is the ‘sight’, and sky the ‘existence’. To put it in another way, ‘Brahmam is ‘Chit’ (Consciousness, Awareness), and sky the ‘existence’ (sut). This way of reflecting is itself ‘Saadhana’, treading the path to Truth, and knowing its direction.

In the above context, I remember a ‘Keertana’ (devotional song) of Sri Thyaagaraja, which begins with ‘Daarini Kanugonti’ (Found the way). The next line is ‘Sundareeni Kanugonti’ (Found the Damsel). When wondering who that ‘Damsel’ is, it is revealed in the very next line: ‘Tripura Sundareeni Kanugonti’ (Found the Tripura Sundari). It is a superb song. The ‘way’ is being shown by ‘Tripura Sundari’ (Mother Deity). That is verily the ‘Brahmaakaara Vritti’ (the thought of the Divine Form). That reveals the Brahmam. That is the meaning of the song, from an Advaitic point of view. How much Upanishadic knowledge the composer must have had! His other compositions include ‘Sangeeta Gnyaanamu Bhakti Vinaa’ (Without devotion and musical knowledge...), and ‘ Moakshamu Kaladaa Bhuviloe Sudbhaktulu Kaani Vaaralaku’ (In this world, for those who are not good devotees, can there be Salvation?). How ripe he should have been with Advaitic Gnyaana! His outpourings in music are but an expression of his deep inner experience through the medium of musical sounds (Naada). Through such musical sounds one has to grasp ‘That’ which is beyond sound. The Mother Deity bears the name ‘Bindu Naada Kalaateetaa’, the One beyond ‘dot, sound and art’ (beyond properties and attributes).

Alright. The present subject is ‘Kham Brahma’. Brahmam insists that It be grasped coupled with the sky. Actually what is Brahmam? ‘Brihad Vastu Maatraaspadaha Avisayshita’. Unless one is told accurately the exact meaning, there is scope for misunderstanding. If you were to look in the dictionary, ‘Brihad Vastu’ means ‘very big material’. Normally also we say ‘he made a Brahmic effort’, thereby meaning ‘he made a Herculian i.e., very big effort’. Similarly, there is the word ‘Brahmaanandam’, meaning ‘extremely or supremely i.e., very happy’. Thus it implies that It is bigger than anything whatsoever. One may ask ‘How big it is?’. The answer to that itself is ‘Kham Brahma’, ‘as big as the sky’. This indicates that Brahmam is as all-pervasive as the sky.

‘Yadyat kham Brahma, Tat Om sabda Vaakyam’. The Upanishad Rishi is now coming to the word ‘Om’. Brahmam is nothing but your very Awareness (Gnyaanam) alone that is vastly expansive, and all-pervasive like the sky. That itself is indicated in ‘Aham Brahmaasmi’. How to comprehend and grasp It, is through ‘Omkara’. Brahmam is the sense for the sound ‘Om’. It means, when you are uttering the word ‘Om’, its meaning is ‘Brahmam’. In Sanskrit, ‘Vaachakam’ means ‘Sound’. ‘Vaakyam’ means ‘the meaning, essence’. ‘Om’ is Vaachakam, that which tells. We have to understand the subtle implication of these words. ‘Om Sabda Swaroopa mayvavaa’. Apart from being the meaning, if Brahmam were to utter ‘Om’, it becomes the very Swaroopa. It means this sound becomes the essence itself. When ‘That’ is mentioned, It is Swaroopa. ‘Ubhaya taapi’, in whatever way we consider, ‘Saamaanaadhi Karanyam Aviruddham’. To say that both are One is indisputable. Here,. in order to adore Brahmam, i.e., to bring It to our minds,and fix our vision on It, we are using ‘Om’. While using it, we are using it as an indicator. We are actually thinking on that which it indicates. The evidence for this is given in the Mundaka Upanishad. In this manner reciting ‘Om Om’ bring, somehow or other, Aatma to your mind. That itself would place Aatma in your mind. ‘Om’ is not Aatma. It is merely a sound, a vibration that tells you of, or indicates Aatma. In case ‘Om’ itself is Aatma, then, that ‘Om’ becomes imperceptible. While indicating it is ‘Vaachakam’. After becoming, it is Swaroopa. ‘Yadhaa Anyatraa Om Iti Samsati’, meaning, it is not the Om that one comes across in Ritualistic process and in Mantra Sastra. This ‘Om’,in the present context, is one that is of use in the Path of Knowledge. Hence, it should be utilised in this way only. ‘Tasmaat Gnyaana Saadhanatvay Naiva Omkaara Sabdasya Upadesaha’: This omkara is being dealt with as a means to Dhyaana (Meditation). Even if there be other sounds that are indicative of the Brahma Tattwa, none of them are as indicative as Omkara. Omkara comes closest to that Tattwa (Principle). That is why, if you wish to bring Brahmam into your field of experience, this is the most superior means. That too, it works in two ways. It functions as Its indicator, in the way the Venkateswara Deity idol is shown, and told that It is Vishnu Swaroopa. The stone Idol transforms Itself into Vishnu Swaroopa. This is symbolism. Similarly, the sound, the vibrations of ‘Om’ should be construed as Brahmam, that is beyond sound and vibration. When the bells in the temple are ringing, they are but the vibrations of Omkaara. The roar of the Ocean is also suggestive of Omkaara. Through these vibrations of the sound of Omkaara, Brahmam becomes propitious and responsive. Your mind becomes tranquil. The thought of Brahmaakaara sprouts. If the mind be merged with the sound vibrations, then,they prevent the mind from going astray. As and when the vibrations come to a stop, that state itself is Brahmam.

To revert back to Kham, no sooner the word ‘Kham’ is said to mean ‘sky’, one gets reminded of the physical sky, which is inanimate. But here, by ‘Kham’ is meant the ‘Puraanic Kham’, meaning Paramaatma (Supreme Self). Sri Bhagavat Paada, in his Commentary on Bhagavad Geeta, interpreted the meaning of ‘Puraana’ as ‘Puraati Navayayvayti Puraana’. ‘Puraa’ means ‘Oldish’. ‘Nava’ signifies ‘new’. Though oldish, whatever appears as new from moment to moment i.e., forever, is ‘Puraanava’. In gradual usage, that word got transformed into ‘Puraana’. Normally in the everyday world, old is old, and, new is new. The ‘new’ slowly changes into the ‘old’. It is believed that Brahma Tattwa is not of that type. As much as It gets ‘oldish and oldish’, so much so It gets simultaneously transformed into ‘newish and newish’. Such a phenomena does not ever exist in the Creation itself, except in the Creator. He alone is Brahmam. He goes on getting oldish. When the aspirant attains his objective and establishes in It, He becomes oldish to his view. But, to the aspirant, He is newish. To the Realised Soul that is Brahmam Himself, He is felt oldish. n the Omkaara. That is why the elders instruct you Omkaara. First to cleanse and purify your mind, Omkaara is taught. But it should be noted that it is at best a symbol, a pointer, an indicator. It is a ‘Vaachakam’, something which tells. If the Omkaara is uttered externally, audibly, it is ‘Sajapa’ (external worship). If recited in the mind inwardly, it is ‘Ajapa’. In any case, the result is mind purification. the devotees whole-heartedly look upon that stone idol as indeed Vishnu Swaroopa. The mind, without any distracting thoughts, would develop concentraton. The mind would be surcharged with that single thought. The thought - process gets sublime. Similarly, in this world we ‘see’ the sky when filled with wind. Where there is wind,there we feel the presence of sky, because we cannot ‘hold’ the sky. But this physical sky is not that Puranic sky. So said a sage who was the son of one called Kouravyaayani. He had stated that one should hold that Puranic sky by our vision, and that in order to accomplish it, one should keep on reciting one word, and that word is Omkaara. That sky is the Primary sky. Nevertheless,to begin with, one should hold on to the physical inanimate sky with forms and attributes, and then later the ‘Chidaakaasa’ the sky of consciousness, that has merged into itself all the primal elements like wind, and become free from any strains of heterogenity and particularities, i.e., hold on to a homogenity that has dissolved into itself all types of heterogenities. But one has to stealthily go ahead with the help of Omkaara which would aid and hasten the process. Omkaara is Veda itself. By Veda is meant that through which anything becomes known, i.e., that which makes us aware of. As it is Omkaara that is making us aware of the Supreme Consciousness, we are calling it Veda. As we are becoming aware of everything, we are calling it Veda. Though there be allegations of overpraise, one is constrained to say so, because humans are neglecting it without considering it seriously. Hence to direct our vision on to it, we are inclined to say it is Brahmam Itself. The purpose of saying ‘Omkaara itself is Brahmam’ is to prevent us from neglecting and glossing over it, and, to hold on to it for atleast sometime. Also, another reason for saying so is, traditionally one should not recite any Mantra without uttering Omkaara at the beginning and at the end of the Mantra. The existence of any Veda whatsoever, is dependent on Omkaara. The sound of Omkaara echoes through all the four Veda-s, Rig, Yajur, Saama and Atharva. It seems to be their very embodiment. Hence it being called Veda. Hence, Omkaara should never be forgotten. We must know and keep it as our support and means. All Brahma Gnyaani-s (Seekers of Truth) have tread the path, with Omkaara as their support to lean over. That itself is called ‘Pranava’. If we were to put this into practice, we would become entitled to the virtue of having studied all the Veda-s, as also the resulting Wisdom. This is regarding Omkaara. By now we dealt with one Saadhana Maarga (Path of the Aspirant).

We keep on talking of ‘Brahmam’, ‘Brahmam’ all the while. Where is that Brahmam? What we term as Brahmam, is ‘Paroaksha’, an external, outer Agency. It cannot be experienced unless it becomes ‘Aparoaksha’, an inner realisation, within oneself. While being Paroaksha,It is somewhere far away. You lift your hand and point out high above. It is of no use. Each and everyone has to point the finger towards oneself and say it. That ‘Oneself’ is Aatma. Point towards that Aatma and say Brahmam. There is incredible difference between showing your finger yonder there, and pointing at oneself. Without Self Realisaton, just talking of Brahmam implies Its Paroaksha nature. If it be said pointing towards oneself, then It is Aparoaksha. What is needed is, not Aatma merging into Brahmam, but, Brahmam merging into Aatma. What should ultimately remain, is Aatma. ‘TadayKoe Avasishtaha Sivaha Kayvalaha Aham’ Every ‘Idam’ must transform into ‘Aham’ (I) and appear. As long as it appears as ‘Idam’, it is indeed Anaatma (Un-Aatma). It is only when It is experienced as Self (Aham), then alone It is Aatma. If the entire ‘Idam’ merges into ‘Aham’, then there will be no more ‘Idam’. ‘Aham’ alone remains. That means there is no more Anaatma, all is Aatma. Aatma alone fills the void of Anaatma. In place of Anaatma, Aatma alone exists. This is termed as ‘Aykaatma’. This name has been coined in Maandookya Upanishad, which called it ‘Aykaatma Pratyaya Saaram’. However, that Aykaatma you better comprehend with the help of your ‘Pratyaya’, thought process. ‘Pratyaya’ means ‘thought’, ‘reflection’. Now the thought that sprouts in your mind, is not a reflection on the ‘Brahmam form’, but on the ‘Aatma-form’. Or else, it may be combinedly called ‘Brahmaatmaakaara Vritti’, a Brahmam-cum-Aatman form of thought. Bhagawat Paada, without losing hold of Brahmam on the one hand, and Aatma on the other, deftly linked the two, calling It ‘Brahmaatma’. It is a new coinage that comes across only in his commentories. In reality, Brahmam is Aatma, and, Aatma is Brahmam. But, as mentioned earlier, merely calling it Brahmam, may distance it as “Paroaksha’ (somewhere far away). However, to you as Saadhaka (an aspirant), that Paroaksha itself later transforms into Aparoaksha, and comes within the orbit of your experience. On the other hand, if, without the thought of Brahmam, you consider yourself as mere Aatma, that would not suffice. Because, one may not be sure whether it is Real Aatma, or False one. Cannot be sure whether one is unwittingly referring to Dehaatma, Praanaatma, Indriyaatma, Buddhyaatma or Jeevaatma, not knowing which of them, (Referring to the Self at the level of body, life, senses,intellect or ego). Though the True, Real Self be within you, It is not showing up, not becoming aware. That is why one has to bring Brahmam to one’s mind. This implies that you must construe your Aatma (Self) as a ‘colossal Self’. Without merely viewing your ‘Self’ as being confined to your body alone, let it cross the borders of your body, and visualize it as pervading the entire universe. You have to provisionally consider Brahmam as you would do with ‘x’ in a mathematical problem. Keeping It as your ideal, you have to grow and expand. Then Brahmam itself becomes Aatma, your Real Self. That very Brahmam which you were seeking yonder far away, becomes one with your infinitely expanded Aatma. As long as your ‘Self’ was finite and diminutive, Brahmam was imagined as ‘That’, ‘there somewhere’. The moment your Self expanded infinitely and became all-pervasive, that same Brahmam is seen ‘here’ within the fold of your Aatma itself. That is why, the Advaita Mahaa Mantra is, not merely ‘Aham Brahmaasmi’, but ‘Brahmam Ahamasmi’! It is said that one must first think ‘I am Brahmam’. Later, that ‘That Brahmam am I’. The reason why one should first think ‘I am Brahmam’ is, to realize that oneself is not limited to the mere physical body, but is omnipresent. By that the defect of finitude and limitedness would be eradicated. Then, ‘That’ Brahmam has to be brought over and identified with oneself. Then you yourself alone would remain. The ultimate Remnant should be Aatma (you, the True Self) and not Brahmam. When ‘That’ Brahmam yonder there comes unto and into you, the defect of externality, indirectness, non-cognizability, vanishes. With that, the ‘This’ that has overcome its finitude and limitation, and, the ‘That’ that has come out of its ‘Paroakshatva’ (externality), when these two merge into One, that indeed is ‘Paripoorna Aparoaksha Anubhava’, the full and total Experience of Self-Realisation, the direct Experience of the Universal Self, the One without a second. In being ‘Paripoorna’ (Full and Total) the Jeevaatma has vanished. In being ‘Aparoaksha’ (having direct inner experience), ‘That’ Eeswara also disappeared. Both vanished, and are now as Aatma (one’s Real Self). That is the ‘Aykaatma’. That must be comprehended by your intellect. As the Brahmic thought keeps on showing you the path, you must proceed accordingly. You must stealthily follow it. Then it is ‘Sa Aatma’, your Real Self. ‘Sa Vigneyam’. You must experience it. So concluded Maandookya Upanishad. This is the last of the twelve Mantra-s of that Upanishad. Though Maandookya Upanishad is the smallest of all, its message is deep and profound. When Brihadaaranyaka Upanishad proclaimed ‘Aham Brahmaasmi’, Maandookya seems to want us to modify it as ‘Brahmam Ahamasmi’!

The subtle implication of Bhagawat Paada’s words is, ‘That Brahmam alone is the sky!’. To think big, on the macro scale, he wants us to medidate on the sky. The mind has the tendency and ability to become as big as we think. Whatever idol we reflect upon, the mind grows as big as the idol. But however big an idol may be, an idol is after all an idol. But sky is such a superb idol that no one has crafted, and is an infinite space. In short, no where it is not. Hence, if you wish to bring Brahmam to your mind, you must first bring sky to your mind. When your vision encompasses the sky, then it is ‘Puraanam kham’. Not the ordinary sky. It is like adding spice to the soup, without which the taste is drab. Similarly when the spice of our vision gets mixed with the sky, then it springs with life, and acquires incredible awareness. It can relate to itself ‘Aham asmi’. That is the ‘Puraanam kham’. We must grasp that awareness. It means we must reflect upon that ‘Chidaakaasa’, that ‘sky of consciousness’. Omkaara has come to aid that process. Now, how can we reflect upon that ‘Chidaakaasa’ via this omkaara? Now, the Maandookya, Chandoagya and Brihadaaranyaka Upanishads enter the arena. All these three dwelt extensively on Omkaara.

‘Om’ has been derived from ‘Soaham’. Uttering repeatedly ‘Soaham, Soaham, Soaham......’ gradually resulted in a contracted form as ‘Om’. In fact, the actual meaning of ‘Soa-ham’ is: ‘Saha’ means ‘That’. ‘Aham’ means ‘I’. Combining both, it is ‘That am I’ ‘That’ refers to Brahmam. ‘I’ indicates ‘Aatma’. What Bhagavat Paada combined the two into ‘Brahmaatma’, That itself is this ‘Soaham’. This implies that ‘I’ am none other but ‘That’ alone. If asked who that ‘That’ is, the answer is ‘I’. Sureswaracharya (the prime disciple of Sankara) in his treatise ’Maana soallaasa’, has dwelt upon to some extent on ‘Omkaara’. He also opined that ‘Soaham’ gradually transformed into ‘Om’. However, Maandookyoapanishad extended this further. It stated that that ‘Om’ was nothing but the synthesized product of the three letters ‘A’, ‘U’ and ‘M’. It termed them as three ‘Maatra-s’. ‘Maatra’ means ‘measuring’. Measuring what? Measuring Aatma. What is there to ‘measure’ Aatma? That is the wonder! Out of these three letters A, U and M, the first letter ‘A’ measured out Aatma as ‘Viswa’, i.e., assigned it to the waking-state. From there, the journey should proceed to letter ‘U’. That means towards ‘Taijasa’ i.e., dream-state. From waking to dream state. When you are in wakeful state, you do not seem to be careful! To see wakeful state carefully means, you must view it as a dream. Because you are not viewing it carefully, the dream is appearing as a wakeful state. On the other hand, if your were to carefully view the waking state, then it should appear as dream! This necessitates that all that you see should be construed as mere images, pictures. That implies ‘Aabhaasa’. It means that you must view the wakeful state not a ‘Vastu’ (Reality), but as an ‘Aabhaasa’ (Illusion). Then the world of Anaatmic nature, would seem to be just floating. This indicates that ‘A’ is transforming into ‘U’, which means waking-state is becoming dream-state, i.e., Viswa has changed to Taijasa. Next, by the time ‘U’ transmutes into ‘M’, the dream-state should sink into ‘Sushupti’ i.e., deep-sleep. Thus Aabhaasa also disappears and merges with the Swaroopa (Intrinsic Real Nature of self). That is what is meant by saying that in Sushupti, Aatma merges with Paramaatma, and becomes One with It, meaning that it regained its True Nature, being Real Self. But, even coming to ‘M’ is not everything. The thirst is not quenched, the quest is not over. Because, though you have gained the state of ‘Swaroopa’, you have at that time no awareness that you have attained it. This is because you are still holding on to ‘M’. As you come to the stage of ‘M’, you must observe silence. In uttering ‘M’, the two lips meet. As the lips close, so also should mind. The silence should go beyond sound, beyond vibration. How many times should one chant ‘Om’? Until mind closes its shop. Until it transforms itself into ‘Aykaatma Pratyaya’, the single thought of being the one and only one True Self. Till then, one should undergo training. That is the implication of elders asking you to continue to meditate on ‘Omkara’ without interruption. That too not just mechanically uttering ‘Om Om’. Even while reciting itself, the transformations should take place .... from ‘A’ to ‘U’, which means you are viewing the waking state as a prolonged dream, then later, from ‘U’ to ‘M’ i.e., dissolve the dream-world into the utter silence of the deep-sleep state (sushupti), which means, reflecting that the earlier observations of fellow-beings wife and children, relatives and friends included were all but images, pantomimes, or, nothing but pictures on the screen. Then gradually they lose the lustre, become dull and slowly fade away, until finally they totally disappear leaving the screen alone as the sole remnant. That is ‘sushupti’ indeed. No more pictures. No more images. Not only that, you must acquire the wisdom that that screen is ‘yourself’. For that to happen, Naada (sound) becomes an obstruction, a hindrance. Sound is a vibration, a movement. That should cease. You must go beyond sound, beyond vibration. Sound has no form, but has movement. Bereft of form, it is like sky. Having movement, it resembles wind. That is why omkaara is called ‘Udgeetham’, meaning life and mobility. We must endeavour to take it to the Immobile steady Imperturbable state. If we wish to leave one thing, we should do so only after holding on to another. River Ganga would not shed its Swaroopa (its flowy nature) until it seeks refuge in the ocean. Similarly unless you find solace in the Immutable Eternal Existence, you cannot get over the ever-changing flux of the fleeting phenomena. Hence you have to come out of the field of Omkaara. Again, these vibrations of the tongue (speech), and those vibrations of the mind (thoughts), both have to be shed. Taittareeya Upanishad had stated: ‘Yathoe Vaachoe Nivartanteh Apraapya Manasaasaha Aanandam Brahmanoe Vidwaan Na Vibhayti Kadaachana’. This means: That Brahmic Principle from which, unable to comprehend and grasp, words turn back, as also the mind, that Principle is Brahmam.

The implication of Yogi-s holding breath (Kumbhakam) while reciting Pranava (Omkaara) is, their stupendous effort to transform the vibrations of that sound into steadfast silence, a total stilling of sound emission. But there is no use whatsoever, if that happens without one’s awareness. The vibrations should cease with your full awareness that they ceased after merging into you yourself. Such an awareness should prevail. ‘Pragnyaanam Brahma’, it is said, Brahma is that Total Awareness. These vibrations and movements stop at that. They should become totally silent. ‘Nissabdam Brahma Muchyatay,: ‘Utter silence itself is Brahmic Principle’. Utter silence is firmament too. But not this physical one. That is why it has been termed ‘Puraanic Kham’ . That is, the sky that is ‘I’. This sky before us is ‘mine’. Hence if we were to comprehend the sky with Awareness, then, boredom can be avoided. If it be in Swaroopa state alone, then boredom is inevitable. Thanks to Mother Deity, there would be enshrouding (totally covering up all over) defect. For that to be rectified, the vision must turn towards the world. That is the reason why a Man of Wisdom never forsakes the world. Those who do so are the Yogi’-s, Taantrik-s, Maantrik-s etc. A ‘Gnyaani’ would never renounce the world. He needs the world. His renunciation is merely a mental renunciation. To avoid falling asleep, and to escape from ‘Aavarana’ (enveloped by Maaya) influence, you have to be looking at the world. Then, the Mother Deity lures you with one exhibit after another and draws you into it. This is called ‘Vikshaypa’ or distraction. Having fallen in its deep water, and getting carried away by it, we get farther and farther away from Reality, from Brahmam. Then we must struggle and endeavour to peep into the Reality behind all this phantasmagoria. Viewing all this as ‘manifestation’ (Vibhooti), you must be covertly attempting at glimpses of the ‘Adhishtaana’ (Substratum) behind the Vibhooti. Then the Mother Deity would no more be misleading you. ‘Oh, this aspirant is glancing at both ‘This’ and ‘That’, and has realized the meaning of ‘Sarva Bhootasta Maatmaanam, Sarva Bhootaanichaatmani’ (of Gita), so inferring, She would let you go. In this way, the answer to ‘Vikshaypa’ (distraction) is concentration. Without getting bored or disheartened, it is looking at the world with the right vision. Thus Advaitic meditation need not be confined to being seated at one place. It can be any where. This is the help rendered by omkaara to you. The other aid is the sky (Kham) which is the sky of Consciousness. That is none else but our Swaroopa, Real Self.

Towards the concluding pages, Brihadaaranyaka Upanishad elaborates on what Advaita ‘Saadhana’ (pursuit of the aspirant) is. Advaita Saadhana is nothing else but the path to Gnyaana (spiritual wisdom). But if such wisdom is not easily accessible, then the thought-process to ascertain what is obstructing it, and the effort to remove those hurdles, are what is meant by Saadhana here. That is nothing else but ‘Dhyaana’ (Meditation) which is the means to Gnyaana. And, Gnyaana is the means to ‘Moaksha’ (Deliverance, Salvation). Hence the process is Dhyaana and Gnyaana which culminates in Moaksha. The main thing to understand and realise is, It is not something to be newly created, not a product to be freshly fabricated. That should be clearly understood. What you are proposing to investigate and grasp, that is already established. It has been ever there. Not something ‘to be obtained’. However, even Dhyaana is an effort. Worship is a bit more. Ritualism is further more. All these are trials, and involve effort. It means it is a work. Whatever is the result of any work, it is not True, not Eternal. Paramaatma is ‘Satyam and Nityam’ (True and Eternal). It was there before your effort, is there when you are striving, and even when you are happy with the fulfillment of your effort, It is not newly discovered and found, It was there even earlier. Then, why say you have worked for it and found it? Trying to grasp something which is already within your grasp! Like search for the necklace which is already around your neck! It was just forgotten, and then remembered. Where is any ‘effort’ in it? We have forgotten that all ‘This’ is Paramaatma. Consequently It Itself is appearing as the world. This is the sum and substance of all knowledge. Avidya (Ignorance) is, forgetting that all ‘This’ is Paramaatma. Hence remembering that, is knowledge and wisdom. Ignorance leads to binding, fetters and restriction, whereas knowledge and wisdom bless us with Deliverance. There is nothing else beyond this. Wisdom in a nutshell! Well now, such a flash of wisdom would accrue immediately to an’Uttamaadhikaari’, one of superior intellect. It would accrue while listening itself. If one is a ‘Madhyamaadhikaari’ (of mediocre intellect, middle type) one has to, after listening, undertake some reflection, i.e., clear up any doubts and secure clear knowledge. Then comes the third category, a ‘Mandaadhikaari’ (one of dull intellect), who after the stages of listening and reflection (sravana and manana) and acquiring clear knowledge, has to further take up ‘Nidhi Dhyaasana’. That means, whenever alien and discordant thoughts sprout from the mind, one has to direct them towards the Brahmic thought, a process of conversion from heterogeneous to homogeneous. If asked how long, answer is, till you realize your true self, till deliverance from all bondage. Just like we have to pound paddy till all husk is eliminated, and clear rice grains appear. Again, it is mind alone that does the ‘Nidhi Dhyaasana’. Mind is the only means and equipment we have. It is in mind alone the thought sprouts to perform karma (Ritual). It is in mind alone that the idea comes to perform yoga practice, or to undertake ‘Upaasana’ and gain entry into the abode of Gods. At last, it is in mind alone that the realization dawns that all that we are observing is afterall Paramaatma Swaroopa, and nothing else. That Brahmic thought also sprouts in the mind. Hence the knowledge and wisdom that we aspire for, has also to be acquired by the mind itself. But it is not happening at once. Yet it has to happen. For that, the provisional aid and support is ‘Dhyaanam’ (Meditation). That has to be done, as mentioned earlier, aiming at ‘Puraana Kham’, meaning ‘Chidaakaasa’ (the sky of Consciousness). We must be ever reflecting and musing upon it. The method lies in the contemplation ‘Aham Aakaasoasmi’, ‘I am verily that sky’. Then the mind itself transforms into Chidaakaasa’. The moment you begin uttering ‘Aham Aakaasaha’ (I am the sky), then, the ‘Aham’ component conforms to ‘Chit’, and the ‘Aakaasaha’ to ‘Sut’. These two conjoin and begin appearing to us. That thought which becomes all-expansive, and identifies itself with space (form of the sky), is termed as ‘Brahmaakaara Vritti’. If one were to ask how and when to comprehend such a dimension for the thought, the advice is to take the help of ‘Omkaara’, which itself is ‘Soaham’. One has to have the vision and perception ‘I am that Chidaakaasa’. When we realize that that Chidaakaasa is verily your own Nature, your own Real Self, That Itself is ‘Aatmaakaara Vritti’. Then, it is no more a meditation but transformation into Gnyaana (Wisdom). There is a very subtle hairbreadth difference between ‘Dhyaana’ and Gnyaana’. If you are conceiving something external, and riveting your vision on it, that is ‘Dhyaanam’ (Meditation). Instead, realizing ‘That’ is ‘I’, and Keeping the Vision on Self steadfast, that is ‘Gnyaana’ (wisdom). In meditation there is an object that is meditated upon. When it is some ‘particular’ object, that cannot be ‘yourself’. That is at best ‘yours’. Thus, if you bring to your mind something ‘yours’, that is Meditation. If you can bring ‘yourself’ to your mind, that is wisdom. However, for some period initially, you have to meditate upon that ‘yours’. Because, ‘That’ is not so very an embodiment of ‘name and form’, or, to be precise ‘ideas and things’. That is a ‘yours’ bereft of ‘form’. That is the sky. It does not take long time to be transformed into ‘I’. If you have come to the stage of sky, you have indeed come very close to ‘I’, because of being formless. It does not take much time for formless ‘Anaatma’ to be transformed into formless ‘Aatma’. That is why it is better to hold on to sky that is formless, rather than idols of innumerable forms, and, Mantra-s and Tantra-s etc. As you grasp it with awareness, it gets converted into ‘Gnyaanaakaasa’ (conscious sky). Sri Bhagavat Paada named it ‘Paramaatmaakaasa’. It is easy to comprehend it through this mantra of Om. That Om should not be construed as a mere sound. Its deeper meaning and implication should be reflected upon. Even Sage Patanjali opined so: ‘Ta sya Eeswarasya Vaachakaha Pranavaha’ is his Sootram (maxim). Another Sootram of his is: ‘Tut Japaha’. You must be meditating upon it either aloud or mentally. Even while meditating, ‘Tut Ardha Bhaavanam’. One must reflect upon its meaning. Whatever indestructible Principle or Concept those words are indicating. That means your mind should be filled with not the echo of its sound, but with its meaning and essence. When the word ‘Brahmam’ is utterred, no use tuning your mind to the sound of that word. The meaning of that word i.e., ‘Asti Bhaati’, ‘Sut Chit Aananda’...... on these, one’s thoughts should be chanelled. When someone says something, they often enquire of you ‘Did you understand?’. They would not ask ‘Did you hear’?. They utter the sound; but what they ask, is the meaning. A thing not understood is a sheer waste.

7. Mind and its purification

(Dakaara Traya)

It can thus be seen that, for proper Saadhana to achieve the cherished objective of life, you must bring the Tattwa (Reality, Truth) to your mind. But the fickle mind goes hither and thither. So difficult to hold it steady. Hence we must first have a clear idea of what mind is. We must assess its faults and defects. The chief fault lies in the qualities (guna-s) that envelope it. They are bestowed by Nature. Those are the three primary qualities (Guna-Traya) viz, ‘Sutwa, Rujus and Tamas’. They would be normally coming in the way. That ‘guna-traya’ (the trio of qualities) push and pull the mind in all directions, preventing it from grasping the Nirguna Tattwa’, the principle without attributes and qualities. Hence one has to go beyond the ‘guna-traya’. Then only the mind gets cleansed. Then only would concentration develop. Then anything can be grasped. To facilitate the crossing over of this ‘guna-traya’, the Brihadaaranyaka Upanishad is relating a grand strategy, a grand path of ‘saadhana’. It is starting with a story. If we intently hear that story, and can bring to our mind its deeper meaning and significance, then the path becomes evident . But even before listening to that story, let us closely examine what those ‘guna-s’ are.

The attributes, qualities in the ‘guna-traya’: Sutwum, Rujus and Tamas. Among these, Tamas means absence of any awareness in the mind, total dullness, inanimateness. A total arrest of the mind, as though plunged in darkness. ‘Nothing is coming to my mind’ to say, is Tamas. Next, Rujus is characterized by extreme distraction of the mind, not one or two but a thousand thoughts pounding the mind. Not steady on anything. Going hither and thither, jumping from thought to thought, in total disarray. A nature of mind ever subject to distraction. Tamas is being frozen from any activity whereas, Rujus is extrerme extroversion. Both are futile. Now the third is Sutwum. This is neither overactivity nor total inactivity. Could it be just sitting quiet? Nay. May not do anything bad, but there must be an intention of atleast doing some good. Otherwise Sutwum too is of no use. Hence Sutwum has to become ‘Sudhha Sutwum’ i.e., Purified Sutwum. The thing is, both Rujus and Tamas, though their propensities are different, still, in form of latencies, they lie dormant in Sutwum. It does not take much time for them to transform Sutwum into either Rujus or Tamas. Hence, it is said that Sutwum should be rendered seedless, i.e., the latent seeds should also be destroyed, so that they can never again sprout up. Then, the Sutwum is said to be purified. That is why though Sutwa guna is undoubtedly superior to Rujus and Tamas, if it is not conducive to progress, there is just no use. If Sutwum is to be of any use for progress on the spiritual path, is must first get purified. It should not again slip back into Rujus and Tamas. It should be conducive to the pursuits of ‘sravana (listening) and ‘manana’ (reflection) etc.

The question arose how to cross over these ‘guna-s’. For these three guna-s, there are said to be three solutions, three treatments. These are stated to be ‘Damam, Daanam and Daya’ (Control of external sense-organs,charity and compassion). This is termed as ‘Damaadi Saadhana Traya’ (the trio of pursuits of Damam etc). In this context, the following story has been related in the Brihadaaranyaka Upanishad:

It is said that Prajaapati (Brahma of the Trinity) has three sons. They are Deva-s (dwellers of Heaven), Maanava-s (Humans on earth), and Raakshasa-s (Demons, all over). All the three are said to have once come to him. Without a thought that they all were his offspring, they approached regarding him as their Preceptor. They came after observing a vow of celibacy, implying that they came desirous of acquiring Brahma Gnyaana. After resting for a while, they addresssed their Guru thus: “Oh Sire! We are ready to receive whatever teaching you wish to impart. Please instruct us”. The Father-Guru having understood their desire, just uttered: ‘Da Da Da’. He uttered that same letter thrice, but never explained or elaborated. Then he enquired of them: “The message has been given. Have you understood its implication?”. Then the celestial Deva-s replied: “Yes, we have understood. You have instructed us to practice ‘Damam’”. Damam means self-control. Then, the Teacher enquired how they understood, and came to that conclusion. They responded:”You rightly understood what we lack. We, by nature, lack self-control. We indulge in whatever we feel like. We are addicted to luxuries and passion. We seek pleasure in the dances of the Apsara damsels. We regale amrit (nectar) and think we are immortal. Having foreseen all these traits, you have counselled that we practice “Damam’, and that that alone, sometime or other, would do us good.” Then the Guru, Brahma Deva, uttered ‘Om’ (which has one of its meanings ‘yes’ in Sanskrit), and added that they recognised rightly, and that in their case ‘Damam’ alone applies. He thus confirmed his message for the celestial denizens.

Next, Brahma Deva turned his eyes towards the ‘Maanava s’, terrestrial humans,and inquired what they understood. They replied: “Sire! In your opinion, none is as miserly as we are; we do not extend any charities; we are addicted to collecting and hoarding, in which we have great expertise. Having known all this, you have advised us to be charitable to others i.e., perform ‘Daanam’ to the extent we can, distribute and share with others what we have.” The Preceptor, realizing that it was ‘Loabha’ (covertousness, avarice) that is pulling them down and devouring them, rendered that advice to the humans, to become charitable. They in turn felt very happy that the Teacher imparted to them very thoughtful and needed advice.

Next, the Prajaapati looked towards the Raakshasa-s, and asked what they made out of their ‘Da’. They responded: “We are by nature cruel, and inflict suffering on others. Hence, not only regarding humans and celestials, but to all living beings, we must cease to cause suffering, and have compassion (Daya) towards all. Hence, you meant ‘Daya’ when you said Da for us. This is what we understood.” Brahma Deva instantly accepted what they said.

In the above manner, for the three categories of persons viz., the celestial Deva-s, the terrestrial Maanava-s, and the Raakshasa tribe, the precepts of Brahma Deva have been conveyed. The wonder is, it is said that what he instructed aeons back, is even now heard! It is said that that divine message, through the voice of the sky, is even now echoing. Especially during the rainy season, when the sky is overcast with clouds, we hear the roar of thunder, which seems to simulate the thumping sounds of ‘Da Da Da’! we can at least so imagine, and generate a mental picture. It is a reflection of the Upanishad Rishi that Brahma’s voice is even now thundering. “Learn to live with self-control. Discipline your sense-organs. Shedding miserliness, learn to be charitable to others. Cause not injury or harm to any living being.” This message of Brahma, as Aakaasa Vaani (voice of the sky) is even now announcing aloud, to wipe off the three-fold defects. The thunder roars again and again, dinning into our ears, as though repetitively, to convey the commands and to ensure they are implemented. The purpose is to see that we benefit by following the said instructions. in everyone’s mind, strong determination to do so has to be inculcated. Not only Sruti (Veda) but even Smriti (Bhagavad Geeta) also seems to be reiterating it :

“Trividham Naraka Syaydam
Dwaram Naasana Maatmanaha
Kaamaha Kroadhas Tadaa Loabhas
Tasmaa Daytatrayam Tyajeth” (16-21)

‘If you wish to be totally ruined, pass through the following three gates, to reach Hell. The three gates are: Kaama, Kroadha,Loabha’. (Thus these are the ailments. To eradicate the disease of ‘Kaama’, the treatment is ‘damam’. To get rid of the ailment of ‘Loabha’, the medicine is ‘daanam’. To overcome ‘Kroadha’, what is needed is ‘daya’). In this way, Bhagavad Geeta, made explicit the three defects. ‘Instead, if you are aspiring for Paradise, discard these three entrances, and you will see the gate to Swarga (Paradise)’. Thus said Geeta.

In this way Prajaapati showed the three aspirants the ‘saadhana maarga’, the path of right pursuit, through those three ‘Da-s’. What is the inner deeper meaning of this? The Guru merely uttered ‘Da’ thrice. He did not reveal which for whom. Yet those three aspirants correctly identified that which is applicable to them. This could happen because, each of them was fully conscious of their own defect. For the person who has commited a mistake, no one need tell him of the mistake. He would be aware of it. That is the reason why each of them, in accordance with their particular defect, mentioned the corresponding ‘Da’ solution to overcome the defect. It was the conviction of Brahma that when a person is clearly conscious of his defect or weakness, it should not be so difficult, or take so long, to overcome it, rectify, it.

One more small doubt. It is said that the ‘dakaara traya’ (the three ‘da’s) which were uttered by Brahma Deva aeons back, is even now evident in the roars of clouds, and in thunder. However now there are no celestial denizens and raakshasa-s, but only humans, is it not that presently only humans are hearing all that? Whatever be the number of ‘da’s, we alone are hearing them. However, is it not that only one ‘d’a’ is applicable to us? Then, why three? That ‘damam’ and ‘daya’, why do we need? What Raakshasa-s have to practice, why should we practice? With a premonition that such queries may be asked, the Upanishadic Rishi-s thought at the beginning itself, and clarified as follows: When there are those three specified faults, it is better to overcome them whoever they be. They must be distanced. Hence, the antidotes of ‘damam’, ‘daanam’ and ‘daya’ for the trio of faults, can be observed and practiced by humans as well. This is one answer.

There is one more answer too. The Deva-s, Maanava-s and the Asura-s, all these three, are afterall the offspring of the Prajapati. The father should ever tell whatever is benevolent to his children. Prajapati is a benevolent person. He knows what is good and benevolent. Hence his duty was to relate those three. As humans also are his offspring, even they must practice all those three disciplines. This is the view of some.

In this context Sri Bhagavat Paada expressed his view that sounds very modern! He said “Actually where are those ‘Devata s’ and ‘Daanava-s’ (celestial beings and demonic tribes)? It is all humans alone. The other two we are just imagining! Among humans itself, there is one class of persons, born with golden spoon in the mouth who are enjoying celestial luxuries and pleasures, without any restraint or self-control. They alone are termed ‘Devata-s’. On the other hand, there are among humans another sort, who gloat in doing wanton misdeeds, causing pain and injury to others, behaving worse than beasts, and lead ignominious lives. They are the Daanava-s (Raakshasa-s). They have the demonic tendencies and natures. Whatever it be, whether Devata-s or Daanava-s, they are none different from humans. Those who indulge in unrestrained pleasures are the Devata-s, and those who inflict wanton suffering and pain an others, are the Daanava-s, or Rakshasa-s, with cruel natures. Hence, all are humans alone, and none else”.

It is an extraordinary thing that in the eighth century A.D, Sri Bhagavat Paada expressed the above views, as anyone would do nowadays. All are ‘maanava-s’ (humIt is an extraordinary thing that in the eighth century A.D, Sri Bhagavat Paada expressed the above views, as anyone would do nowadays. All are ‘maanava-s’ (human) alone. Hence, without being maligned as Raakshasa-s, or labelled as Devata-s, or even called derisively as humans, lead on your lives, he said. It implied that the celestial denizen (Devta-s) are not afterall as great as they are normally thought of: the Demons are not somewhere far away; though living as humans, better they be not just content with their present state.

8. Guna Traya Doasha

Thus it is the Maanava (Human) alone who has to persevere in the ‘Damaadi’ Saadhana Traya in his endeavour to tread on the spiritual path aimed at Salvation. The humans should not be vulnerable to the ‘tri-doasha’ the three faults indicated earlier. These have been termed in the Sastra as Sutwa Rujoe Tamoe guna-s. These are not to be retained and preserved. One has to get rid of them. That is the reason why in Bhagavad Geeta there is a special chapter entitled ‘Guna Traya Vibhaaga Yoga’. In that it is stated that we have to cross over these three guna s. We have to go beyond Sutwa guna as well. One may wonder at it. In the Advaitic concept, the Sutwa guna of the celestial denizens is also a despicable one. Because, their eyes are directed towards luxury and pleasure; not towards renunciation. Unless the Sutwa quality gets purified, the mind would not lean towards detachment and renunciation. Only after Sutwum is purified, does Gnyaana (wisdom) begin to rise.

The story of the ‘Da’ trio, woven between Prajaapati and his three offspring, as told before, is merely a pretext. Upanishad created this story as a pretext to impart the teaching to the humans, and not that there really are Devata-s and Daanava-s. The entire story is just meant for us. Amongst humans itself are present those have no self-control, those addicted to hoarding, and those prone to cruelty. That is why Krishna Paramaatma exhorted humans alone to discard the doasha-traya (the trio of defects), using Arjuna as a pretext. In order to meditate on a Nirguna Tattwa (Attributeless Principle), one has to go beyond these three guna-s (qualities). Must be bereft of guna-s. se Place-Time-Material trio that are binding us. That we are living in a ‘particular’ place, that we are living in a ‘particular’ time-slot, and, that we have put our trust in a ‘particular’ thing, these are our beliefs. These alone are governing us. When you say ‘I am seated here’, that ‘here’ is the Desa. That is restricting you. You are bound to ‘Desa’. The second one is ‘Kaala’ (Time concept). ‘When were you born? How long you are likely to live?’ You were born at a ‘particular’ time, implies that you were not earlier. Time seems to tell you. It stipulates you are going to be here this long. The line is drawn. The end is decided. It means you are in the grip of ‘Kaala’ (Time). Third is the ‘Vastu’. Refers to your body. ‘You are within these confines. You are not outside these dimensions’ says the Vastu, which thus limits you. These ‘Desa-Kaala-Vastu’ limitations alone are the ‘Sutwa, Rujus, Tamas’ guna-s. When it is said that Sutwa is ‘Desa means ‘Pradesa’, means sky. Any place has to be within the sky, is it not? Hence sky is Sutwa. It means it ‘exists’, so to think, without movement. Quiet existence is Sutwa. Next, the Rujoe guna, is ever on the move. That is ‘Time’. The ‘present’ moves into the ‘past’; the ‘future’ moves into the ‘present’. The flow of ‘time’ is indeed very much faster compared to, say, the flow of the river. That is why when Dharma Raaja (Mahaa Bhaarata), in response to the Yaksha Prasna (question) ‘What is it that goes at maximum speed?’, replied ‘Time’. No sooner a word is spoken, it plunges into the past, just disappears into it. Hence, what whiffs off at an incredible speed, is ‘Time’.

Next the third thing, the guna of ‘Tamas’. All things belong to this guna. They just lie where they are. They cannot expand. They would be in a limited state. They would not move until moved. That is Tamoe guna. Are not the five Primal Elements (Pancha Bhoot-s) inanimate?

Thus ‘Desa, Kaala and Vastu’ (Place, Time and things) are the three ‘guna-s’, Sutwum, Rujus and Tamas. Becoming immune to these guna-s means going beyond ‘Desa, Kaala and Vastu’. First we have to cross the guna of Tamas. This implies that we have to shed ‘body-consciousness’, the thought that ‘I am the body’. That ‘I’ is not the body which is ‘mine’. It is the awareness that is observing that ‘mine’. If you persist in that thought, you would free yourself from its shackles. That means you have overcome Vastu i.e., Tamoe guna. Next is the Rujoe guna, which is within the body itself. Body by itself i.e., bones, flesh, blood etc., is Tamoe guna. But the ‘Praana’ (Life-breath) within the body, is Rujoe Guna. It signifies ‘Kaala’ (Time). Externally it is ‘time’ but internally ‘Praana’. That is why ‘time’ goes on clicking as long as inhaling and exhaling continues. The concept of ‘time’ is a consequence of the ‘life-breath’ phenomena. If you can control ‘Praana’, you can control ‘time’. That is why yogi-s try to win over ‘Praana’. Then only ‘time’ comes within one’s control. Then one can conquer death. ‘Time’ (kaala) itself is symbolic of death. When one says ‘his time has come’, it means ‘his end has come’. Hence, as death is a phenomena in the field of ‘time’, if ‘time’ comes to a standstill, death also halts, which means life continues on. Cessation of Rujoe guna means cessation of movement. Externally you have crossed the confines of the body, and have come out of it. Becoming omnipresent, you are coming to a state of immobility. You have come proximus to ‘Desa’. That is of Sutwa guna. You are in a state of immobility, but you have no awareness of your immobility. That state itself is Sushupti. In that state you have no inkling of your body. No thought of it. Hence, you have subdued Tamoe guna. You have no inkling of time as well. Also in that state of deep sleep you are not even conscious of the pulsations of life, or the heartbeat. Then where are you? You are where you ought to be. Means you are in the ‘Desa’. That ‘mere existence’ itself is Sutwa guna. Viewing from another angle, the waking-state is Tamoe guna, dream-state is Rujoe guna, and the state of deep sleep Sutwa guna. In deep-sleep, you are actually in Sutwa guna. No doubt you are in Sutwam, but are not aware that you are in that. That means Sutwam also has its own defect. You must feel and feel convinced that you are in a liberated state. Else it tantamounts to ‘Soonya Vaada’, the argument advocating ultimate ‘emptiness or vacuum’. Now the difference can be well discerned between the Soonya Vaada of the Buddhists, and the Brahma Vaada of the Advaitists. A Soonya Vaadi cannot tell himself ‘Ahamasmi’. For; him ‘Idam’ (this world) has become absent. ‘Adam’ (That, the supreme consciousness) has also been lost. He is at total loss, a grand negative entity. How can that be Salvation or Deliverance? Salvation is a positive Experience, and Experience is possible only with Awareness (Gnyaana). That is why in deep-sleep as there is no consciousness, the aspect of experience has been lost totally. On the other hand, if deep-sleep were to be coupled with Awareness, then, it would have been crossing Sutwa as well. That would have been going beyond guna-traya (the trio of guna s). That is ‘Nirguna’. It implies absence of finitude and divisibility. When it is said that God has incarnated, it means He has descended, and voluntarily subjected himself to limitation and finitude. But the beauty and speciality is, He fully knew that He chose to become limited. Even after incarnation, the Paramaatma kept on telling to himself ‘It is afterall I alone that chose to be residing in this ‘Upaadhi’ (media or equipment)’. He never forgot his true identity.

In this context it is pertinent to see why in the Bhagavat Geeta Lord Krishna related to Arjuna thus: “Oh Arjuna! My ‘I’ is not like your ‘I’. You have not truly recognized your ‘I’. But in case of my ‘I’, the entire past is known to Me. The present is in any case quite evident. The would-be happenings of the future also, are known to Me. My ‘I’ is hence fully permeating ‘Kaala’ (time) in its entirity. Your ‘I’ has no inkling of any of these. My life is Divine. My work is Divine. Because I am not born, nor am I working with, the doership-and-experiencer attitude. I have come as a Witness, and living as a Witness. Also, I will depart as a Witness. But you are a doer and an experiencer, and not a witness. That is the difference between your life and mine”. This is the revelation of Paramaatma in Geeta.

Incarnation means having gone beyond the three guna-s, being attributeless, being aware of being attributeless (Nirguna), yet still appearing as endowed with guna-s. That is why for Paramaatma, Nirguna and Saguna is all the same. Hence, Advaita is not Nirguna alone. Many Advaitists are under the notion that Advaita means Nirguna Gnyaana and that all others are Saguna (with guna-s) Gnyaana. That is not correct. What you are branding as Nirguna, is also Saguna. What you are branding as Saguna, is also Nirguna. They are like two sides of a coin. He who thus sees, is alone Advaiti, whereas, one who sees only one side and think that side alone is Advaita, and not the other side, is a Dvaiti. He who conceives both as one, is Advaiti. The two sides are: Aatma and Anaatma, Niraakaara and Saakaara (Formless and with form), Nirguna and Saguna (Attributeless and with attributes), Nirupaadhika and Soapaadhika (without media and equipment, and with them), ‘Aham and Mama’ (I and mine), and so on. Holding on to ‘I’ we should not discard ‘Mine’. That is wrong. ‘Holding on to ‘Mine’, we should not discard, or forget about, ‘I’. That is all the more wrong. If you were to hold on to ‘I’ and discard ‘Mine’, you are a Theist. On the other hand, if you were to hold on to ‘Mine’ and reject ‘I’, you are an Athiest. What the Advaitist advocates is, hold on to both ‘I’ and ‘Mine’. If asked how, he would say, just as darkness catches the light. Then, the light remains and the darkness disappears. It disappears into the light. In the same way, the ‘seen’ should merge into the ‘seer’; the object should merge into the subject. The object should be converted into the subject, and seen. There is no doubt that both, the Advaitist and the Jeevan Mukta, would both be observing everything. The Epic Bhagavatam tells the story of the child devotee Prahlaada who, while whatever he was doing, including even taking a glass of water, had his mind set on God. Prahlaada had to satisfy his daily needs of life, much the same way as we do. Where the difference lies is, Prahlaada was not looking at water as just water, but, associating it along with the All-pervasive Divinity.. He beheld that water also as an expression, a manifestation, of that Divinity. Thus he was comprehending, at the same time together, both the Divinity and its Vibhooti (Manifestation). Whosoever continually always visualizes both Swaroopa and Vibhooti together simultaneously, can be deemed as a liberated soul. There is no use of merely looking at Samsaara, with no thought of Swaroopa (True Nature of self). One would get distanced from Swaroopa. One the other hand, if one were to be aware of only Swaroopa and shuts his eyes from Samsaara, even then, it is of no use. Then one would get distanced from Vibhooti. Vibhooti implies ‘Aiswarya’ (Treasure). The world itself is the Treasure. One would loose hold of that. In the Godly name ‘Maadhava’, ‘Maa’ stands for the world, the Treasure. ‘Dhava’ is the Master, the Possessor of that. This is the Advaitic concept.

9. Conclusion

How great and effective is the message through Guna-traya (the trio of guna-s) is a matter to be noted. Using the story involving celestials, humans and demons, as a pretext, it is a profound and powerful message handed over to us. The above is the inner and deeper meaning of that story. It is extremely useful as a means of Saadhana (Pursuit on the Spiritual Path). After purification of the mind, it gets single-pointed and sharp, conducive to concentration. Consequently, whether performing ‘sravana’ (listening to discourses) or ‘manana’ (reflection), there would be considerably speedy progress. Actually, sravana itself would suffice. All other stages could be dovetailed into it. If deeply steeped in concentration, can sprouting of the Brahmic thought be far off? Total comprehension and full understanding would result in such sprouting. That itself is Swaroopa (Real Nature of Self). The thought merges with the Swaroopa. The thought which is a sign, an indicator points towards the Truth. After showing, it merges with it. Because, in our ignorance, the Truth alone appeared as the ‘Sankayta’ (sign, pointer, indicator). Then after the dawn of Gnyaana (Wisdom), the sankayta should no more remain. Then the world itself would come into the field of our experience, in the form of Paramaatma Swaroopa. This is the final Clarion call of the Brihadaaranyaka Upanishad. Commencing with ‘Aswamayadha yaaga’ (the Horse-Sacrifice Ritual), it concludes with the Santi Vaakya of ‘Poorna Madaha’. It is all symbolism. The horse in the Ritual is none else than the mind. It is subjected to ‘Maydhanam’, which though has the meaning ‘killing’, we can consider a more refined interpretation of ‘process of purification’. Hence, for our purpose ‘Aswa maydhanam’ implies ‘purifying our minds’. For that to be done, we have to set on the right path the ‘Praana’ (Life Principle) and its corollaries of activity and mobility. Praana has the capacity to turn the mind in any direction. If turned towards the world, it gets impure. If directed toward Paramaatma, it becomes purified (pollution-free). Hence the message is to get Praana purified. Then, Praana as it rises up, purifies the mind. Then the mind embarks on the quest for the Infinite Universality (Mahaa Saamaanya). In the world we would be coming across ‘Visesha s’ and ‘Saamaanya-s’ (Particulars and Generalities). They are however relative phenomena. With respect to some Visesha-s, something looks a Saamanya (but not the ultimate or absolute Saamannya). That Saamaanya when it faces something bigger and higher than itself, become a Visesha to it. Thus investigating, the Saamaanya-s turn into Visesha-s in due course. Then, if we were to ask exasperatedly if there is a Saamaanya at all, we finally realize that we cannot find it in the Anaatmic world. The greatest Saamaanya (Mammoth or Infinite Universality) is the Aatma itself. That is termed the ‘Mahaa Saamaanya’. All these ‘Naama Roopa Kriya-s’ (Ideas, things and activities, are the Visesha-s (Particulars) of that Mahaa Saamaanya, which is none of those Visesha-s. If it has to be in that generalized state eternally, it has to gather all of them (Visesha-s) into itself, and not get mixed up with them. This is the teaching which Yaagnyavalka rendered to Maitreyi. To get its vision, the stages of ‘Sravana, Manana, and Nidi Dhyaasana’ (listening, reflection and meditation to be established in that Enlightened State) are indispensable. If asked how to assimilate them all, the answer is that they are already assimilated, but you have forgotten. The way of that recollection is, you have to imbibe the ‘Madhu’ i.e., Essence. Everything in this world is held by ‘Upakaarya - Upakaarka’ (helper - helped), mutually satisfying relationship. Each depends on the other. It is like the seed - and - tree phenomena. It is all relative, which if you wish to get over, you have to ask yourself which the source is, the cause for both. For example, take the usual query ‘Did seed come first, or the tree?’. Without seed the tree cannot come, and, without tree the seed cannot come. Well, never can the answer come! The way out is, think of the cause of both. Before both of these came, what was there, was ‘soil’. From the relative field, you have to go to the absolute. The two relative entities are but the intrinsic Nature of the Absolute. That is ‘Madhu’, the Essence. This entire world is of the nature of ‘Jyoati’. By Jyoati is meant the awareness ‘I am’. It is not the physical light like the sun, moon or fire. It is ‘Swayam Jyoati’, self - luminous light (Prakaasam). Another agency need not light it up. Also it is omnipresent. The Aatma that is in you, is pervading the entire world, as In-Dweller in all and everything. Here as Inner Light, and there as In-Dweller and Inner-Controller. It is in the earth, but earth is not aware. Earth is Its body, a media. It pervades everything. The media is inanimate, hence is not aware. The inanimate cannot grasp the Consciousness. But Consciousness can recognize the inanimate. Hence whether the media or equipment, is internal or external, it is within the control of Consciousness. This inner ‘light’ and that external ‘Controller’, both are the same. If you can grasp both these as One, you can cross the Avasthaa Traya. If you were to say that you do not have that capability, the answer is: ‘You are no doubt detached, but you are forgetting that you are so. Just as the whale in the story. The huge marine mammal in the sweep of its swim, occasionally touches either bank. It only touches the bank, but does not have the characteristics of the bank. Its inherent nature is different from that of the banks. Those banks are symbolically the waking and the dream states. But the whale plunged and got drowned in the deep waters of ‘sushupti’ (dreamless deep-sleep). It went down to the bottom, and is not visible at all. Similarly, in deep-sleep state, one’s inherent Nature is not comprehensible to the person. Still, It is very much there. Again, one will spring up. Again one will go forward touching this bank and that. Now, just as for the whale, though it is physically touching the banks, is not concerned with them, and, though got drowned in deep waters, has not become extinct, and has no relationship whatsoever even with that water, similarly, for the Jeeva (Individual Soul) also, there is in reality no connection, no involvement with Avasthaa-Traya (the three states of wakefulness, dream and deep-sleep). Because, the Jeeva is of the intrinsic nature of Consciousness. However, we should deem ourselves to be fortunate if we were to look upon the Avastha Traya as a mere sign or indicator, as a mere illustrative example. The waking and dream states are the pointers, indicators to the ‘Samsaara’ (woeful, riddle-filled worldly phenomena), i.e., bondage. Deep-sleep state is symbolic of the state of Deliverance (Moaksha). Moaksha is nothing but the Realization that the world of the observed, the seen, has been dissolved into the observer, the seer. In the deep-sleep state (Sushupti), this entire world has merged with the seer. In that state, the seer is at the ‘Substance’ level, and not at the intellect level. That is its defect. If it were not to be at the Substance level, there would not have been the opportunity of coming back into the waking state. You would not have had ‘Pratyabhignya’, the recognition of the previous day’s happenings. If ‘you’ were not there, the question of ‘your’ yesterday’s happenings, would not arise at all. That is why in Sushupti, ‘you’ are not absent (abhaavam). It is ‘anupalabdhi’. If a thing totally disappears, it is ‘abhaavam’. But, if the substance is verily there, but not visible, that is ‘anupalabadhi’. The ‘Soonya Vaada’ (the ‘Doctrine of emptiness’) postulated by Buddhists, is indicative of ‘abhaava’, whereas, what the Advaitists enunciate is ‘anupalabdhi’. That is, the Substance by itself is there. But is of no use to me, not being experienced. Even in ‘Sushupti’ there is the awareness of ‘I’, but not at the intellectual level. It is not cognized by my mind. ‘Saadhana’ lies in securing such a cognition. Hence, Sushupti is only an illustrative example for Moaksha, but not a fulfillment. It is only an ‘indicator’ but not the ‘indicated’. That is why Bhagawat Paada states that ultimately we have to discard all illustrative examples (drishtaanta-s), which serve their purpose only upto a point. They should not be carried and extended too far. They are mere signposts and indicators. What we need is what they indicate.

We have to remember essentially two states. One is ‘bondage’ and the other ‘Deliverance’ i.e., ‘bandham’ and ‘Moaksham’. One is ‘Samsaara’, and the other ‘Saayujya’ (Salvation). How this woeful, awful, riddle-filled, problematic worldly existence, this ‘Samsaara’ has come into being, is due to ‘desire’ (Kaama) to begin with. But on further analysis, realizing that desire is the product of ignorance, this Samsaara is the creation of ignorance (avidya), which means lack of ‘gnyaanam’ regarding the true nature of ‘I’. Of course there is plenty of knowledge regarding ‘mine’, i.e., of things and beings belonging and related to me. We have plenty of it regarding wife and children, friends and relatives, wealth and possessions, as also experiences of joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain etc. But we woefully lack the knowledge of ‘That’ which is witnessing all these. Due to absence of that knowledge, this worldly knowledge alone is ruling the roost. Due to this latter knowledge alone, comes the unbearable burden of this Samsaara and its kaleidoscopic experiences. All anxiety and stress is caused by this alone. All this after all is Visesha Gnyaana (‘particularized’ knowledge). Any amount of gnyaana that is unrelated to, and different from, ‘I’, is not going to be anything benevolent. Leave alone benevolence, it sucks you into its whirlpool. That is the bondage that shackles you. The solution to that is to gain Gnyaana concerning ‘you’ proper. This gnyaana would not push you aside, or put you on the wrong track. Not only that, it would curtail the other problematic gnyaana. Presently, the worldly knowledge has become so dominant and powerful that it is easily pulling to its side (as in a tug-of-war tussle) any spiritual knowledge, and subduing it. Hence presently our knowledge is exclusively worldly knowledge only. Nothing else. Universal or generalized knowledge (Saamaanya Gnyaana) is putting on the garb of particularized knowledge (Visesha gnyaana). This is prominent at the cost of the other. However, though the attire is very much glamorously manifest, still, the actor, the wearer, is there inside. The wearer is not seen, but what he wears is glaringly obvious. This attire of Visesha gnyaana is the bondage of Samsaara. The way out, the solution is, to seek the wearer behind the attire. As the knowledge of the ‘wearer’, the ‘Self’ grows, that in turn, does the reversing job and subdues the worldly knowledge and draws it into itself. Now the Visesha gnyaana comes into the fold of the Saamaanya gnyaana. The special noteworthy feature is, when this happens, the Visesha gnyaana is no more seen. That is Moaksha or Deliverance. With that, the recurring hubbub of births and deaths will be no more there. To put it simply, to become shackled, the ‘Saamaanya (Universality) is getting dissolved into ‘Visesha’ (Particularity). To get unshackled and become free, the way is for ‘Visesha’ to get dissolved into ‘Saamaanya’. Our present state is Saamaanya disappearing into Visesha Gnyaana. The Saadhana we have to do lies in the quest for the path that leads from Visesha to Saamaanya Gnyaana. We are now worldly and secular. Our quest is for the stage of Saadhaka. Trying and trying, as we progress in the quest, if we can dissolve the gnyaana of ‘mine’ into the Gnyaana of ‘I’, then, such a state is that of the Accomplished, the Realized Soul. Thus, there are not many stages but only three, as Sri Goudapaada revealed, as the three states: ‘Loukika, Saadhaka, and Siddha’ states (worldly and temporal, spiritual pursuit and quest, and finally, the Accomplished and Realized). This we should always remember. We, each for oneself, being honest to ourselves, must subject ourselves to self-search, self-scrutiny, and ascertain at what stage we are. Are we at the temporal worldly level, or have we stepped on the path of Saadhana, or, Saadhana having borne fruit, are we at the level of Siddhi (experience of total fulfillment, Enlightenment)? We have to answer to ourselves honestly and with self confidence. The third state occasionally reveals itself, as a flash as it were, to the persevering Saadhaka. The person of the first category i.e., the secular worldly type, hears the word ‘Saadhana’ as and when someone mentions it. Once a while a thought sprouts up in his mind that it might be good if he or she also were to go and listen to the discourse on the Vedantic topic. But cannot gather sufficient courage, or generate sufficient willpower to do so. He or she does not feel like coming and be seated. That is the case with the worldly secular type (Loukika). Ninety nine percent of the time the Loukika will be like that. But gradually, one may change and generate sufficient will to do so.

Next, regarding the Saadhaka (the person treading the spiritual path, the aspirant), such a person is half-way. Without being content that the ‘Loukika’ state itself is good enough, the Saadhaka has come far from that stage. He has the determination and commitment towards the process of his ‘Saadhana’, the progress on the spiritual path. Along the journey of the ‘Saadhaka-s’ (those doing Saadhana) themselves, there would be some of them vigorously marching ahead, and some others lagging behind. The person marching fast and is in the forefront, is the Guru (Preceptor). He or She would be now and then tasting the fruit of the Accomplished, Enlightened state (Siddhaavasta). Unless that happens, the Guru cannot make any further progress, nor can lead others. Regarding this (that the Guru occasionally experiences the glow of Siddhaavasta or Realization) there should not be any doubt, either for the Preceptor or for the disciples. Also, one should not doubt oneself. Because, the objective of the quest is not to acquire something new. This fact instils considerable courage. ‘Brahma Tattva’ (The Principle of Supreme Consciousness) pervades the ‘Loukika’ (worldly, temporal) state. That ‘Paramaatma’ (Supreme Self) alone pervades the ‘Saadhaka’ stage. In the state of ‘Siddha-avastha’ (the state of Self-Realization), Paramaatma is anyhow there. Just as before, during and after any journey, the sky is all pervasive, similarly, if one can conceive that in the Loukika, before the commencement of the journey, in the Saadhaka, during the journey, and, in the Siddha after reaching the goal (in all the states) it is That Principle alone that is pervading. Such a recognition itself suffices. That itself is Siddhaavasta. It is as subtle as that. This statement is apt to kindle in us such fervent hope that we should feel we are in Siddaavasta at every moment. That alone is real Saadhana. It is enough if I feel ‘I Am That’. Place, Time and Matter, all just fade away. At that moment, you are Liberated. You have overcome the confines of the ‘Tri gunas,’ i.e., you are in a supreme state beyond qualities and attributes.

The above is the great message that the Upanishadic Mantra ‘Poorna Madaha Poorna Midam’ renders to us. When ‘Poorna Madaha Poorna Midam’ is uttered, it implies that it is Poornam in Siddhaavastha (the state of Fulfillment, Realization), and also in Saadhakaavastha (the stage of pursuit and aspiration). ‘Poornaat Poorna Mudachyatay’: You are pulling out that thought from That Itself. Poornasya Poorna Maadaaya’: It is just by thinking about that which is already in that Poornatwa, ‘Poorna Mayvaa Avasishyatay: that you remain as Poorna. Brihadaaranyaka Upanishad reiterates that there is nothing beyond this, and, to enable us to comprehend and grasp It, it revealed the path of ‘Dhyaana’ (Meditation). If this knowledge and wisdom does not dawn readily and at once, then, one has to contemplate on the medium of sky. It merely enables one to go beyond ‘Awasthaa Traya’ (the three states of waking, dream and deep-sleep). If one can then grasp the sign, the indicator that is ‘Omkaara’ which comprises ‘A, U and M’, then, through it and by its aid, comprehend the thought of ‘Soaham’ (I Am That). Also know that it is the ‘gunatraya’ (the trio of guna-s) that is causing obstruction to such a comprehension. (The three guna-s of Sutwum, Rujus and Tamas). One must stealthily proceed to eliminate them. Ultimately, if Sutwum is also crossed, then, it is rendered pure. The Brihadaaranyaka Upanishad concluded by stating that Brahma Gnyaana would arise in you with the help of that Purified Sutwum.

Om Santihi Santihi Santihi