Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


Here is a place to linger, to let your intellect roam. Aatmaavrajanam is being written as a progressive study and, as such, can be read like a book. Anyone arriving at any time can simply start at the very first post and work their way through at their own pace. Please take time to read the info tabs and ensure you don't miss a post, by subscribing to the blog. Interaction is welcomed. Don't be a spectator - be a participator!

Contextual Difference

Hari OM

'Text-days' are for delving into the words and theory of Advaita Vedanta.

[You are reminded that reviewing the previous week's posts will become essential as the meanings of the Sanskrit terms may not be repeated. There may come additional or alternative meanings, but all should be noted. As study progresses, the technical terms must necessarily become 'second nature' to the student. When the Sanskrit is used, the translation will fall easily into place - or likewise, if the English is used, the Sanskrit term must easily come forwards.]

Please revisit THIS post and chant the mangala-charana. Please use the TattvabodhaH label to access all posts relevant to this text.

This text is a primer for technical language, but also in how to approach the study of Vedantic philosophy. This becomes very apparent in the question just asked by the shishya (last week's post beginning with "nanu…"), which is pertinent and demonstrates alertness. Having been told by the Guru that there was a direct relationship between jiiva and Iisvara, such that they were one and the same, the doubt immediately came as to the voracity of such a statement as 'tat tvam asi'. There is a clear case of opposites - apparently. The Guru now goes on with an introduction of how to analyse the great statements and other teachings in the Vedic scriptures. This of course will be developed with each succeeding text, just as maths or chemistry at school build on the basic arithmetic and formulae we learn in junior year. Something to take on board just now is that there are different ways of assessing; by direct word meaning (वाच्यार्थ  /vaachyaartha**),  or by implied meaning ( लक्ष्यार्थ  /lakshyaartha). For example, some fellow says to you, "look out here comes Devadatta the jackal."… you look to see where the jackal is but see only a man. You have understood by the words only, that there is a canid form somewhere nearby. However, the other fellow had meant by implication, that Devadatta, the man, had the qualities associated with a jackal so as to describe him thus. Lakshyaartha is not always so readily 'seen'! Here, though, the Guru introduces the concept in response to the shishya's query.

इति चेन्न। स्थूलसूक्ष्मशरीराभिमानी त्वंपदवाच्यार्थः
उपाधिविनिर्मुक्तं समाधिदशासंपन्नं शुद्धं चैतन्यं
त्वंपदलक्ष्यार्थः। एवं सर्वज्ञत्वादिविशिष्ट ईश्वरः
तत्पदवाच्यार्थः। उपाधिशून्यं शुद्धचैतन्यं तत्पद्लक्ष्यार्थः।
एवं जीवेश्वरयोः चैतन्यरुपेणाभेदे बाधकाभावः।
iti cenna. sthuulasuuxmashariiraabhimaanii tvaMpadavaacyaaarthaH
upaadhivinirmuktaM samaadhidashaasaMpannaM shuddhaM chaitanyaM
tvaMpadalaxyaarthaH. evaM sarvaGYatvaadivishiSTa iishvaraH
tatpadavaacyaarthaH. upaadhishuunyaM shuddhachaitanyaM tatpadlaxyaarthaH.
evaM ca jiiveshvarayoH caitanyarupeNaabhede baadhakaabhaavaH.

"If there is such a doubt, no [it could not be so]. The literal meaning of the word 'thou' is the one identified with the gross and subtle bodies. The implied meaning of the word 'thou' is the Pure Consciousness which is free of all conditionings and which is appreciated in the state of samaadhi. Likewise, the literal meaning of the word 'That' is Iisvara having omniscience and so on. The implied meaning of the word 'That' is the Pure Consciousness free from al conditionings. Thus there is no contradiction regarding the identity between jiiva and Iishvara… from the standpoint of Consciousness."

Read that again, slowly and carefully. This is a very important component of this study… it is about context. If, indeed, we read a phrase of "you are That" without proper context, it is easy to become confused and even doubt the sanity of the speaker! It implies that as you look at the screen just now, you also are that screen… we find this extremely difficult to comprehend in our current, trapped and bound, conditionings (upaadhis) which have us believing we are finite, individual components… even if we subscribe to a 'whole'. Majority consider themselves to be cogs in Nature's workings. What Advaita brings is a sense of not simply being the cog, but of being the engineer as well. To do this we have to alter our frame of reference.

Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi was asked if the Lord was with or without form. He said, ' it depends on what you think you are. If you think you are with form, He too is with form. If you think you are formless, then He too, being formless, is one with you."

Thus, in one suutra, the Guru has 'upped the game' on the shishya. For proper enquiry, he has been rewarded with an insight to a much higher level of thinking. Eventually, we must work our way to the ease of context. Till then, we can only begin with what we know - currently that is form and individuality. To gain the Knowledge of our Universality, our Divinity, is the key purpose of being given human life. The tool we have been provided is the antaH-karana. However we start, there must come the point for every student of spiritual philosophy where the question "Who am I in essence?" arises. In seeking Self, we find God.  अहं ब्रह्मास्मि /aham brahmaasmi… "I Am Truth."

**please note in your books for future reference, there is another word which looks almost identical - वाक्यार्थ /vaakyaartha - which is the general meaning of a phrase or sentence.

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Hari OM
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