'Text-days' are for delving into the words and theory of Advaita Vedanta.
Last week it was mentioned that 'Tat' means 'Sat' = 'truth' in an absolute sense. In Vedanta Truth is synonymous with Reality. TattvabodaH can therefore also be interpreted as 'learning about Reality'. How can this be said? There are three grades of reality, or truth.
प्रातिभासिक सत्य/praatibhaasika satya - equating to 'dream' - that which shines for some time, implying short existence; temporary in nature and therefore only a 'seeming reality'. It is only real for as long as it exists. (A classic example will be shown, which is the snake and rope illusion.)
व्यावहारिक सत्य/vyaavahaarika satya - equating to 'waking' - transactional reality'; it overrides praatibhaasika insofar as, when we awake from dream, all that existed as a reality for us in there cease to be. Now we are in a state where existences are longer and appear to have a greater reality, as compared to that of praatibhaasika. Nothing which was valid in dream can be considered as such in waking. The classic example is the 'silver' seen shining in a shell - in dream we may be able to purchase goods with that 'silver' but in waking we know this is nonsense. However, vyaavhaarika satya is still only a relative reality, still temporary and can be invalidated by...
पारमार्तिक सत्य/paaramaartika satya - absoluteness - here lies the total truth, or tattva. Here we discover that even the waking state to which we are so attached can be overridden and holds no true value at all. We now have जीवब्रह्मैक्य मोक्ष/jiivabrahmaikya moksha, the full understanding that this little self is nothing other than the Great Self. The whole of Vedanta is the Philosophy of the Great Self for which so many words are required to explain its essence.
Thus the requirement of TattvabodaH.
It is a prakarana grantha because it does not cover the entirety of the Philosophy, neither does it look closely at any single aspect (specialist), but rather, gives an overview and focus on important principles and elaborates on the terminology.
It is the nature of Sanskrit texts to be composed in metric stanzas. This aids memorising and gives a rhythm which adds to the learning experience. Every text begins with an invocational prayer (mantra), known as the मङ्गलाचरण/mangala-acharana (prayer-offering). Mangala means 'auspiciousness' and the prayer is offered for inspiration, confidence, remembrance of Lord/Guru and the removal of obstruction (in this case at the intellectual level). Patanjali, a great master of Sanskrit grammar, wrote that any who undertakes any works, but particularly in writing, ought to offer prayer before, during and after the work and then they cannot fail to succeed in their purpose. Those who study, ought also to offer prayer accordingly, to learn clearly with minimal trouble.
What can be obstacles in such work? विघ्न/vighna (obstacles), or प्रतिबन्दक/pratibandaka ('things which bind'), or ताप/taapa (problems); it is said - any work will surely have problems… it is also said that the more noble the work, the greater the problems!
From where come these obstacles?
आध्यात्मिक/aadhyaatmika - from within ourselves; e.g. we sit to revise but have no control of our mind and drift away on what ifs and if onlys…
आधिभौतिक /aadhibhautika - from things or beings around ourselves; e.g. we sit to revise but are interrupted by the fellow next door and become easily distracted (sometimes necessarily but not always)
आदिदैविक/aadhidaivika - from realms of destiny/environment; we sit to revise but some action or event takes place externally over which we have no control at all.
At the very least then we can pray that these three obstacles be minimised or removed for the duration of our work and/or study. Prayer is not beggary - it is supplication, an invocation of blessings in order to overcome difficulties.
If you have not already done so, now is the time to set up a notebook (or spreadsheet or other method you prefer for memorising) to note down the terms given thus far. It may seem like a drudge. Think on this however; you really really really want to understand astrophysics. You go along to some presentations and lectures. All is good until you want to delve deeper and start forming your own thoughts on the subject. What is more, you would like to start conversing with the tutors without looking like a total novice. What needs doing?