Posted by: adbhutam | May 29, 2016


Dvaita Accepts Body Adhyāsa

An article on the above topic is available here for download:

Posted by: adbhutam | May 25, 2016



A Shānkara Bhāṣya Pārāyaṇa Sattram, an annual feature, was held from May 14 to 18, 2016, at  Japadakaṭṭe (Japyakshetram) near K.R.Nagar, Mysore.  During the evenings there were lectures on the theme of Mandukya Upanishad with the four-part kārikās.  Eminent scholars –  MM Swaminathan Sharma, Sri Mani Dravid Sastrinaḥ, and Sri  M.L.Narasimhamurthy discoursed on the four prakaraṇam-s, in Sanskrit.
Another feature of the sattram was a shāstra seva during the ashṭāvadhāna seva at the shrine of Bhagavatpada Shankara where scholars make a short presentation from the prasthana traya on topics of their choice in Sanskrit.  Sangeeta seva too was there along with chaturveda seva.
At the close of the event scholars including MM R.Krishnamurthy Sastrinah, Vidvan Ganesha Ishwara Bhatta (RSS Sringeri and a member of BVP), Vidwan Ananta Sharma Bhuvanagiri spoke in Sanskrit.
The recordings of the above are available for download here:
Kindly share the same with your friends and other related forums.

Yet another Mahāvākya in the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad

Here is an article on the above topic:

Posted by: adbhutam | May 10, 2016

The Sutasamhita – Brihadaranyaka Part 1

The  first part of a new article series on the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad as taught in the  Sūta samhitā is available here:ṛhadaraṇyakopaniṣat-part-1/

Posted by: adbhutam | April 21, 2016


‘Praṇāma rāmāyaṇam’ – Sanskrit – Tamil

The above work, a verse-composition based on the Valmiki Ramayana, authored by Pattamaḍai Sri Subrahmanya Sastriṇaḥ (1830-1910), consisting of 680 verses over the six kāṇḍa-s, was first published in 1970.  Now, the book is republished with a fine Tamil Translation.  This book contains the verses in Devanagari, a Tamil transliteration and a translation by Sri Rāmā Ghanapāṭhinaḥ.    

Since the images cannot be attached to this post, pl. view them here:
Posted by: adbhutam | April 18, 2016


Sutasamhitā Chāndogya Upaniṣat  Part 11

The above article is available for reading here:
Posted by: adbhutam | March 23, 2016


A Fine Resource Centre for Sādhana


A friend in Bangalore has prepared a file detailing the resources at his disposal which can be gainfully utilized by sādhakas. The file can be downloaded from the link given below.  Please share the file with your friends and other sites.
Posted by: adbhutam | March 17, 2016


Here are two articles in the Upanishad Article series:

The concluding part of the Prashnopanishad:

Part 10 of the Sūtasamhitā Chandogya Upanishad:

Posted by: adbhutam | March 13, 2016


The Advaitic Brahman is All-pervading

The idea that the Brahman of the Vedanta is all-pervading is well enshrined in the Bhāṣya-s of Shankaracharya.  Here is a short exposition on the topic along with a few peripheral ones too.

In the following blog it is said:

//Coming back, the above verse by Sureshvara is a beautiful word play comparing Ganga to Vedantic knowledge, and is also a double entendre on the name ‘Shankara’, which stands for both the name of the Acharya as well as Rudra who bears the Ganga as his crown. So is “padAnuga” too a word play dwelling on two meanings – Ganga’s abiding place (lotus feet of viShNu) as well as the supreme inherent nature (adhiShThAnam)  as nirguNa caitanya that the saguNa brahman (viShNu) abides in (by virtue of sattva upAdhIs).//


The claim above ‘saguNa brahman (viShNu)’ has no basis in Shankara’s prasthāna traya bhāṣyas. Shankara has very clearly stated in the kāryādhikaraṇa that ‘saguṇam kāryam aparam’ which makes the saguṇa Brahman an effect and lower in status. Nowhere in the bhāṣyas has Shankara stated ‘Viṣṇu’ as an effect, a created one. Nor has he specified ‘Viṣṇu’ to be ‘lower.’


//Hence, “padAnugA” refers to that brahma vidyA that “follows” (figuratively, as it were) the reality-consciousness-bliss, the true nature of (viShNor vyApanashIlasya jagatkAraNasya) the saguNa-brahman Lord Vishnu, who is the all-pervading creator of the universe. (nirguNa brahman cannot have attributes such as sarvavyApakatva and jagatkAraNatva).//


Again, the idea of ‘saguṇa Brahman = viṣṇu’ has no basis in Advaita. Also, the statement ‘(nirguNa brahman cannot have attributes such as sarvavyApakatva and jagatkAraNatva)’ is not a correct representation of Advaita. For instance in the Mundakopanishad 3.2.6 bhashya Shankara says:


परामृताः परम् अमृतम् अमरणधर्मकं ब्रह्म आत्मभूतं येषां ते परामृता जीवन्त एव ब्रह्मभूताः, परामृताः सन्तः परिमुच्यन्ति परि समन्तात्प्रदीपनिर्वाणवद्भिन्नघटाकाशवच्च निवृत्तिमुपयान्ति परिमुच्यन्ति परि समन्तान्मुच्यन्ते सर्वे, न देशान्तरं गन्तव्यमपेक्षन्ते । ‘शकुनीनामिवाकाशे जले वारिचरस्य वा । पदं यथा न दृश्येत तथा ज्ञानवतां गतिः’ (मो. ध. १८१-९) ‘अनध्वगा अध्वसु पारयिष्णवः’ (?) इति श्रुतिस्मृतिभ्याम् ; देशपरिच्छिन्ना हि गतिः संसारविषयैव, परिच्छिन्नसाधनसाध्यत्वात् । ब्रह्म तु समस्तत्वान्न देशपरिच्छेदेन गन्तव्यम् यदि हि देशपरिच्छिन्नं ब्रह्म स्यात्, मूर्तद्रव्यवदाद्यन्तवदन्याश्रितं सावयवमनित्यं कृतकं च स्यात् । न त्वेवंविधं ब्रह्म भवितुमर्हति । अतस्तत्प्राप्तिश्च नैव देशपरिच्छिन्ना भवितुं युक्ता ॥

//The liberated do not travel to any other place/loka, for any such travel will imply that the jiva is still in samsara.  Since Brahman is infinite, the jnani who has realized his identity with Brahman, also being the Infinite Brahman alone, does not go anywhere upon death.  For, Brahman is not a finite place to be reached/attained.  If Brahman were located in a place then Brahman, being no different from any formed object, will have to have a beginning and end, and be dependent on something else, be made of parts, and ephemeral, and a produced one.  Brahman can never be of this nature.  Thus, the ‘attainment’ of Brahman cannot be involving any locating in some other place.//

In the above commentary Shankara clearly says the Brahman that is ‘attained’ by the Advaitic realization is not finite in space, deśaparicchinnam. This only means that Brahman is ‘all-pervading’, sarva-vyāpakam. Again, in the Kaṭhopaniṣat, where the mantra itself says Brahman is vyāpakam, Shankara says:


काठकोपनिषद्भाष्यम् । द्वितीयोऽध्यायः । षष्ठी वल्ली । मन्त्रः ८ – भाष्यम्

अव्यक्तात्तु परः पुरुषः व्यापकः, व्यापकस्याप्याकाशादेः सर्वस्य कारणत्वात् । अलिङ्गः लिङ्ग्यते गम्यते येन तल्लिङ्गं बुद्ध्यादि, तदविद्यमानं यस्य सोऽयमलिङ्गः एव च ; सर्वसंसारधर्मवर्जित इत्येतत् । यं ज्ञात्वा आचार्यतः शास्त्रतश्च मुच्यते जन्तुः अविद्यादिहृदयग्रन्थिभिर्जीवन्नेव; पतितेऽपि शरीरे अमृतत्वं च गच्छति । सोऽलिङ्गः परोऽव्यक्तात्पुरुष इति पूर्वेणैव सम्बन्धः ॥

In the above bhāṣya, Shankara says that Brahman, that is realized as oneself for liberation, is both ‘vyāpaka’ (all-pervading) and kāraṇam of everything. In advaita the kāraṇatva of Brahman is admitted also as vivartopādāna kāraṇam where the entire world, the effect, is an appearance of Brahman, the cause just as a rope appears, owing to ignorance, as a snake. So also in the Mundaka bhashyam 1.1.6: सर्वगतं व्यापकमाकाशवत्सुसूक्ष्मम् । [all-pervading…subtle].  Again in the Taittiriya bhāṣyam 2.6.1 Shankara says अमूर्तत्वात्, आकाशादिकारणस्य आत्मनः व्यापकत्वात् । [Atman is formless, the cause of ether, etc. and is pervading].

There are more such instances where the Nirguṇa Brahman is stated to be ‘vyāpakam’ and ‘kāraṇam’. Also, the above instances are not of the saguṇa brahman.  It is only those who have had a long exposure to the Advaita Bhāṣya-s expounded by a qualified Āchārya can discern the instances in the bhāṣya as whether they are saguṇa or nirguṇa describing ones.

So, the blogger’s thinking that these epithets do not apply to Nirguna Brahman (and apply only to saguna Brahman which he erroneously considers to be ‘Viṣṇu’) are not based on the Advaita bhashyam.

Says the blogger: {My responses are in between [… ] } That which is outside the […] are the words of the blog in this section.

// Jnanottama’s commentary continues further thus:


yāmevaṃvidhāṃ vidyāṃ gaṅgāṃ ca bhagavatpādācāryaḥ parameśvaraśca yogasāmarthyādavāpa tamācāryaṃ sarvajñaṃ brahmasaṃsthaṃ munigaṇaiḥ sahitaṃ bhaktyā samyagabhyarcya tasmātpravaraguṇanidher ācāryāt tāṃ vedāntadīptāṃ parameśvaraṃ samabhyarcya tasmādbhagīratho vedāntadīptāṃ sitāsite “imaṃ me gaṅge” ityādi vedāntapratipādyāṃ gaṅgāmiva sākalyena ahaṃ prāpya ārthibhyaḥ sakāraṇasaṃsāra nivṛttaye avocam ityarthaḥ

(Jnanottama’s Candrika)


Here, a few things are to be noted:


  • By comparing Shiva and Adi Shankara and saying both are subordinate to Vishnu, jnAnottama establishes that Shiva is only a realised guru according to advaita tradition.


[Nowhere Jnanottama says that ‘Shiva and Adi Shankara are subordinate to Vishnu’ and nor does he establish that ‘Shiva is only a realized guru according to Advaita tradition.’ Such ideas have no basis in Advaita.]


It is of no use to say that a realised guru is equal to Brahman, because even according to advaita tradition, these gurus – Shiva and Adi Shankara – are realised because they are saguNopAsaka-s and meditate on Vishnu. Just because they understand thenirguNa tattva does not mean they become saguNa brahman or that their bodies are worthy of meditation in the same manner as saguNa brahman.


[There is a mantra (3.2.1) in the Mundakopanishat that the Jnani is to be worshiped by a mumukshu and the fruit of such worship is liberating knowledge/liberation. Shankara has not brought in the ideas of any saguna Brahman there nor has he made any reference to the worship of any ‘antaryāmi’ of the Jnani there. In fact Shankara says, ‘’whoever worships such a Jñānī ‘as one would the Supreme Deva’ ….’’]


  • Note that jnAnottama uses “bhagavadpAda”and “parameshvara” as comparable names of Adi Shankara and Shiva. Here, “bhagavadpAda”denotes the jnAna (by the definition of “bhagavAn” in Vishnu Purana) and viShNu-bhakti of Adi Shankara by which he became famously known.


[There is no proof for this statement that ‘Shankara became famously known because of Vishnu bhakti’.  In fact Shankara is famously known only as a Hari-Hara abheda and sarva-devatā paratva vādin.  For that matter, one can say that even Sri Vācaspati Misra, the famed author of the Bhāmati, is famously known because of his Shiva-bhakti.]


So, a comparison only implies that the name “parameshvara” for Shiva also has the same meaning, ie, Shiva is called “parameshvara” because he has the parama-aishvaryam of jnAna and viShNu-bhakti. Therefore, this “Ishvaratvam” of Shiva is NOT saguNa-Ishvaratva of viShNu, but only in terms of jnAna.


[Such ideas may exist in bigoted schools but not in Advaita. Shankara does not make a distinction between ‘parameśwara’ and the jīva:  प्रतिषिध्यत एव तु परमार्थतः सर्वज्ञात्परमेश्वरादन्यो द्रष्टा श्रोता वा ‘नान्योऽतोऽस्ति द्रष्टा’ (बृ. उ. ३-७-२३) इत्यादिना । BSB 1.1.17 (‘The śruti denies the existence of anyone distinct from the Omniscient Parameśvara that is a seer, hearer, thinker, etc.’ That means, for Shankara, the jīva that is appearing to see, hear, think, etc. is verily Parameśvara. एवं मिथ्याज्ञानकृत एव जीवपरमेश्वरयोर्भेदः, न वस्तुकृतः ; व्योमवदसङ्गत्वाविशेषात् । BSB 1.3.19.  जन्ममरणप्रतिषेधेन प्रतिपाद्यमानं शारीरपरमेश्वरयोरभेदं दर्शयति ; BSB 1.4.6.  एवं प्राप्ते, ब्रूमः — आत्मेत्येव परमेश्वरः प्रतिपत्तव्यः । तथा हि परमेश्वरप्रक्रियायां जाबाला आत्मत्वेनैव एतमुपगच्छन्ति — ‘त्वं वा अहमस्मि भगवो देवतेऽहं वै त्वमसि भगवो देवते’ इति ; तथा अन्येऽपि ‘अहं ब्रह्मास्मि’ इत्येवमादय आत्मत्वोपगमा द्रष्टव्याः ।BSB 4.1.3 ‘One should realize the Parameśvara as oneseḷf, the ātman. Thus in the context of the parameśvara the Jābāla upaniṣad says: ‘you indeed am I, O, Devatā, I am indeed you.’ Other teachings such as ‘aham brahma asmi’ are to be thus understood in this light.’ So, for Shankara, such instances where the Advaitic realization is had, the term Parameśvara means the nirguna chaitanyam, non-different from the true nature of the jīva.]


Therefore, when Shankara uses the term “sarvaj~na Ishvara” in the kenopaniShad for Shiva, he implies that Shiva is a realised guru due to hisjnAna and not that he is saguNa Ishvara.//


[In fact, in the BG 15th ch. end there is the word ‘sarvavit’ which is an epithet for the Jnani.

यो मामेवमसंमूढो जानाति पुरुषोत्तमम् ।
स सर्वविद्भजति मां सर्वभावेन भारत ॥ १९ ॥


यः माम् ईश्वरं यथोक्तविशेषणम् एवं यथोक्तेन प्रकारेण असंमूढः संमोहवर्जितः सन् जानाति ‘अयम् अहम् अस्मि’ इति पुरुषोत्तमं सः सर्ववित् सर्वात्मना सर्वं वेत्तीति सर्वज्ञः सर्वभूतस्थं भजति मां सर्वभावेन सर्वात्मतया हे भारत ॥ [Here Shankara holds the jnāni to be sarvajna, on the words of the Lord.]


In Mandukya kārika 4.89 for the word ‘sarvajna’ Shankara has commented that ‘the Jnani, verily Jñānam,  is ‘all’ and verily ‘jña’, pure consciousness: स्वयमेव आत्मस्वरूपमेव सर्वज्ञता सर्वश्चासौ ज्ञश्च सर्वज्ञः, तद्भावः सर्वज्ञता]


The terms ‘Īśvara, parameśvara, sarvajña, etc.’ are tricky ones in Advaita.  Only with long practice and keen attentiveness one discerns the exact sense in which these are used in the particular instances in the bhāṣya-s. The above two particular instances are proof of the fact that the word ‘sarvajña’ need not mean the omniscient saguṇa Brahman. And there is no reason to disbelieve that Shankara is indeed referring to Shiva (Īśvara) as ‘sarvajña’ to mean the Lord of the universe as he has specified Umā, the brahmavidyā svarūpiṇi, as the one who is ever present with her spouse.

Om Tat Sat







Posted by: adbhutam | March 2, 2016


Shankara’s conception of a ‘vaiṣṇava’

An article on the above topic is available here for download:

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