Posted by: adbhutam | November 23, 2015


The status of ‘antaryāmī’ in Advaita

The concept of ‘antaryāmī’ is widely prevalent in the scriptures. In the prasthānatraya too one can find references to this entity. There is a famous section in the Bṛhadāraṇyakopaniṣad called ‘anataryāmi-brāhmaṇam.’ There is also the word ‘antaryāmī’ occurring in the Māṇḍūkya upaniṣad 6th mantra. A comprehensive study is undertaken here to determine the true status of this entity in Advaita.

The Bṛhadāraṇyakopaniṣad reference is found, for example, in 3.7.3:

यः पृथिव्यां तिष्ठन्पृथिव्या अन्तरो यं पृथिवी न वेद यस्य पृथिवी शरीरं यः पृथिवीमन्तरो यमयत्येष त आत्मान्तर्याम्यमृतः ॥ ३ ॥

[3· He who inhabits the earth but is within it, whom the earth does not know, whose body is the earth, and who controls the earth from within, is the Internal Ruler, your own immortal self.]

The bhāṣyam for the above mantra is:

यः पृथिव्यां तिष्ठन्भवति, सोऽन्तर्यामी । सर्वः पृथिव्यां तिष्ठतीति सर्वत्र प्रसङ्गो मा भूदिति विशिनष्टि — पृथिव्या अन्तरः अभ्यन्तरः । तत्रैतत्स्यात्, पृथिवी देवतैव अन्तर्यामीति — अत आह — यमन्तर्यामिणं पृथिवी देवतापि न वेद — मय्यन्यः कश्चिद्वर्तत इति । यस्य पृथिवी शरीरम् — यस्य च पृथिव्येव शरीरम्, नान्यत् — पृथिवीदेवताया यच्छरीरम्, तदेव शरीरं यस्य ; शरीरग्रहणं च उपलक्षणार्थम् ; करणं च पृथिव्याः तस्य ; स्वकर्मप्रयुक्तं हि कार्यं करणं च पृथिवीदेवतायाः ; तत् अस्य स्वकर्माभावात् अन्तर्यामिणो नित्यमुक्तत्वात्, परार्थकर्तव्यतास्वभावत्वात् परस्य यत्कार्यं करणं च — तदेवास्य, न स्वतः ; तदाह — यस्य पृथिवी शरीरमिति । देवताकार्यकरणस्य ईश्वरसाक्षिमात्रसान्निध्येन हि नियमेन प्रवृत्तिनिवृत्ती स्याताम् ; य ईदृगीश्वरो नारायणाख्यः, पृथिवीं पृथिवीदेवताम्, यमयति नियमयति स्वव्यापारे, अन्तरः अभ्यन्तरस्तिष्ठन्, एष त आत्मा, ते तव, मम च सर्वभूतानां च इत्युपलक्षणार्थमेतत्, अन्तर्यामी यस्त्वया पृष्टः, अमृतः सर्वसंसारधर्मवर्जित इत्येतत् ॥

Translation by Swami Mādhavānanda:

//He who inhabits the earth …. is the Internal Ruler. Now all people inhabit the earth; so there may be a presumption that the reference is to anyone of them. To preclude this, the text specifies Him by saying, ‘Who is within the earth.’ One may think that the deity identified with the earth is the Internal Ruler; hence the text says, ‘Whom even the deity identified with the earth does not know as a distinct entity dwelling within her.’ Whose body is the earth itself and none other- whose body is the same as that of the deity of the earth. The ‘body’ implies other things as well; i.e. the organs of this deity are also those of the Internal Ruler. The body and organs of the deity of the earth are the result of her own past actions ; they are the body and organs of the Internal Ruler as well, for He has no past actions, being ever-free. Since He is by nature given to doing things for others, the body and organs of the latter serve as His: He has no body and organs of His own. This is expressed as follows: ‘Whose body is the earth.’ The body and organs of the deity of the earth are by default made to work or stop work by the mere presence of the Lord as witness. Such an Iśvara, called ‘Nārāyaṇa’, who controls the deity of the earth, i.e. directs her to her particular work, from within, is the Internal Ruler about whom you have asked, your own immortal self, as also mine and that of all beings. ‘Your’ implies ‘others’ as well. ‘Immortal,’ that is to say, devoid of all relative attributes.//


Here, Shankara teaches that this antaryāmi is not an active doer of anything to execute the ‘controlling’ function; rather he is a passive witness, who is appearing to ‘control’ by his mere presence. This is because, the Nirguṇa Brahman of Advaita is niṣkriyam. This mantra is a mahāvākya mantra since it instructs the aspirant: You are That. So, the aspirant gains the experience/realization: I am Nārāyaṇa, the antaryāmi, the Pure Witness Consciousness. Shankara has specified that this ‘witness’ consciousness is the true self of the jīva in the preamble to the Brahmasūtra bhāṣya:


एवमहंप्रत्ययिनमशेषस्वप्रचारसाक्षिणि प्रत्यगात्मन्यध्यस्य तं च प्रत्यगात्मानं सर्वसाक्षिणं तद्विपर्ययेणान्तःकरणादिष्वध्यस्यति ।


//Thus one superimposes the ‘I’-thought on the All-Witness that is the innermost self and that self that is the All-witness in the mind, etc. //


Here Shankara confirms that the Witness self is the true self of every individual. This is the Pure Consciousness and never the saguṇa Brahman.  Thus the ‘nārāyaṇa’ that Shankara calls ‘Iśvara’ who is the antaryāmi as a mere witness is by no means a saguṇa Brahman.  What other reason is there to hold so? In Advaita, the entity that is spoken of in any juncture is to be decided whether saguṇa or nirguṇa Brahman based on whether the juncture is one teaching upāsana, meditation, or realization, knowledge. When this test is applied to the above Bṛ.up. bhāṣyam, we easily see that the Nārāyaṇa, taught as the ‘mahāvākya’, ‘You are That’, is the nirguṇa Brahman. In Advaita the realization-knowledge for liberation is the nirguṇa Brahman alone and never saguṇa Brahman.


What does ‘antaryāmī’ mean in Advaita?

As per the Bṛ.up. mantra cited above:

// The body and organs of the deity of the earth are regularly made to work or stop work by the mere presence of the Lord as witness. Such an Iśvara, called Narayana, who controls the deity of the earth, i.e. directs her to her particular work, from within, is the Internal Ruler about whom you have asked, your own immortal self, as also mine and that of all beings. ‘Your’ implies ‘others’ as well. ‘Immortal,’ that is to say, devoid of all relative attributes.//

The crux of the above explanation is: ‘antaryāmī’ is that Consciousness that lends power to the body and organs (of the jīva) to engage in any work, prescribed or prohibited. We see this ‘function’ explained in every other upaniṣad, the Kenopaniṣad being the most significant one. Apart from this ‘function’, there is nothing else that the antaryāmī does. Even this ‘function’ is not any active participation on the part of the antaryāmi but a mere passive presence.  This idea, unique to Advaita, is alien and reprehensible to non-advaitic schools that are theistic in nature. For them the proposal that the antaryāmi Brahman is a non-doer is anathema.  That is the reason why those who want the Advaitic ‘early’ Achārya Shankara to be branded a ‘vaiṣṇava’ hold this Bṛ.up.Bhāṣya reference to ‘nārāyaṇa’ as a desperate proof of Shankara’s ‘vaiṣṇavatva’!! That the bhāṣya never even remotely subscribes to such bigoted views is what is laid bare above.


Apart from the above-cited Bṛ Up. manatra/bhāṣya, we have another crucial evidence to show that the antaryāmi is none other than one’s true self, verily nirguṇa Brahman, in the Brahmasūtra bhāṣya:


‘एष त आत्मान्तर्याम्यमृतः’ इति चात्मत्वामृतत्वे मुख्ये परमात्मन उपपद्येते । BSB 1.2.18 [‘This is your Self, the antaryāmi, immortal’ – thus too, the epithet of being the self and being immortal are absolute ones that apply to the Supreme Self alone.]  Shankara is citing the above Bṛ.up. mantra here, in the BSB, as well.

In the BSB 1.2.18: यद्यप्यदृष्टत्वादिव्यपदेशः प्रधानस्य सम्भवति, तथापि न द्रष्टृत्वादिव्यपदेशः सम्भवति, प्रधानस्याचेतनत्वेन तैरभ्युपगमात् । ‘अदृष्टो द्रष्टाश्रुतः श्रोतामतो मन्ताविज्ञातो विज्ञाता’ (बृ. उ. ३-७-२३) इति हि वाक्यशेष इह भवति । [………the epithet  of being the witness (draṣṭā) taught in the Bṛ.up 3.7.23 (again antaryāmi brāhmaṇa) will be applicable to the sentient upaniṣadic self alone (and not the inert pradhāna of the Sānkhyas).]  Here too we see Shankara invoking the ‘witness’ reason to conclude that the antaryāmi is nirguṇa Brahman alone.


In the BSB 1.2.20: तस्माच्छारीरादन्य ईश्वरोऽन्तर्यामीति सिद्धम् । कथं पुनरेकस्मिन्देहे द्वौ द्रष्टारावुपपद्येते — यश्चायमीश्वरोऽन्तर्यामी, यश्चायमितरः शारीरः? का पुनरिहानुपपत्तिः ? ‘नान्योऽतोऽस्ति द्रष्टा’ इत्यादिश्रुतिवचनं विरुध्येत । अत्र हि प्रकृतादन्तर्यामिणोऽन्यं द्रष्टारं श्रोतारं मन्तारं विज्ञातारं चात्मानं प्रतिषेधति । [Therefore it is certain that Īśvara, the one different/distinct from the jīva, is the antaryāmī. How then can there be two ‘witnesses’ in one body – one Īśvara the antaryāmī and the jīva who is also the seer? What is the problem here? The śruti itself teaches: the seer is none other than the Supreme. It is negating anyone other than the supreme consciousness, the antaryāmi, to be the seer, hearer, thinker, knower, self.]


Here too, Shankara invokes the antaryāmī-self-witness argument to settle the issue. This entity is the nirguṇa Brahman, which is the self of the jīva. One can note the word ‘Īśvara’ used by Shankara here too, just as in the Bṛ.up. bhāṣya where he used the word ‘nārāyaṇa’ along with the word ‘Iśvara’ and taught that entity to be the self of the jīva, through that mahāvākya of the upaniṣad itself.


There is yet another instance: the Kenopaniṣat 1.2:


श्रोत्रस्य श्रोत्रं मनसो मनो यद्वाचो ह वाचं स उ प्राणस्य प्राणः ।
चक्षुषश्चक्षुरतिमुच्य धीराः प्रेत्यास्माल्लोकादमृता भवन्ति ॥ २ ॥



शृणु यत् त्वं पृच्छसि, मनआदिकरणजातस्य को देवः स्वविषयं प्रति प्रेरयिता कथं वा प्रेरयतीति । श्रोत्रस्य श्रोत्रं शृणोत्यनेनेति श्रोत्रम्, शब्दस्य श्रवणं प्रति करणं शब्दाभिव्यञ्जकं श्रोत्रमिन्द्रियम्, तस्य श्रोत्रं सः यस्त्वया पृष्टः ‘चक्षुःश्रोत्रं क उ देवो युनक्ति’ (के. उ. १-१)इति ।….[Who is the impeller of the mind, etc. organs, to act in their fields and how does he impel? He is the ‘Ear’ of the ear, ..


श्रोत्राद्येव सर्वस्यात्मभूतं चेतनमिति प्रसिद्धम् ; तदिह निवर्त्यते । अस्ति किमपि विद्वद्बुद्धिगम्यं सर्वान्तरतमं कूटस्थमजमजरममृतमभयं श्रोत्रादेरपि श्रोत्रादि तत्सामर्थ्यनिमित्तम् इति प्रतिवचनं शब्दार्थश्चोपपद्यत एव । तथा मनसः अन्तःकरणस्य मनः । न ह्यन्तःकरणम् अन्तरेण चैतन्यज्योतिषो दीधितिं स्वविषयसङ्कल्पाध्यवसायादिसमर्थं स्यात् । तस्मान्मनसोऽपि मन इति । इह बुद्धिमनसी एकीकृत्य निर्देशो मनस इति । यद्वाचो ह वाचम् ; यच्छब्दो यस्मादर्थे श्रोत्रादिभिः सर्वैः सम्बध्यते — यस्माच्छ्रोत्रस्य श्रोत्रम्, यस्मान्मनसो मन इत्येवम् ।

[It is well known that the ear, etc. alone are the sentient self of all – such an erroneous thinking is dispelled here. There is an entity that is recognized/perceived by the Knowers, that is the innermost immutable birthless, devoid of old age, deathless, fearless, that is the Ear, etc. of even the ear, etc. which lends power to the ear, etc. It is the Mind of the mind.


प्रष्टुः पृष्टस्यार्थस्य ज्ञातुमिष्टत्वात् श्रोत्रादेः श्रोत्रादिलक्षणं यथोक्तं ब्रह्म ‘ज्ञात्वा’ इत्यध्याह्रियते ; अमृता भवन्ति इति फलश्रुतेश्च । ज्ञानाद्ध्यमृतत्वं प्राप्यते । ज्ञात्वा अतिमुच्य इति सामर्थ्यात् श्रोत्रादिकरणकलापमुज्झित्वा — श्रोत्रादौ ह्यात्मभावं कृत्वा, तदुपाधिः सन्, तदात्मना जायते म्रियते संसरति च । अतः श्रोत्रादेः श्रोत्रादिलक्षणं ब्रह्मात्मेति विदित्वा, अतिमुच्य श्रोत्राद्यात्मभावं परित्यज्य — ये श्रोत्राद्यात्मभावं परित्यजन्ति, ते धीराः धीमन्तः ।


The aspirant ‘knows’ this Ear of the ear, etc. and thereby becomes liberated. This fruit is stated in the veda. By knowledge alone indeed one attains immortality. Before knowing this, one identified with the ear, etc. organs and was subject to death and birth. Now, knowing that He himself is Brahman, the Ear of the ear, etc. gives up the false identification with the ear etc.


In the above bhāṣya quotes it is clear that the ‘impeller’, antaryāmi, is Brahman, which is none other than the Self of the jīva-aspirant. That shows that the terms ‘īśvara and nārāyaṇa’ of the Bṛ.up. bhāṣya 3.7.3 is none other than nirguṇa brahman.


Here is yet another instance, from the Bṛ.up. itself, where the impelling entity is none other than nirguṇa Brahman:

Br.up. 3.4.1:


अथ हैनमुषस्तश्चाक्रायणः पप्रच्छ याज्ञवल्क्येति होवाच यत्साक्षादपरोक्षाद्ब्रह्म य आत्मा सर्वान्तरस्तं मे व्याचक्ष्वेत्येष त आत्मा सर्वान्तरः कतमो याज्ञवल्क्य सर्वान्तरो यः प्राणेन प्राणिति स त आत्मा सर्वान्तरो योऽपानेनापानीति स त आत्मा सर्वान्तरो यो व्यानेन व्यानीति स त आत्मा सर्वान्तरो य उदानेनोदानिति स त आत्मा सर्वान्तर एष त आत्मा सर्वान्तरः ॥ १ ॥


  1. Then Uṣasta, the son of Cakra, asked him. ‘Yajñavalkya,’ said he, ‘Explain to me the Brahman that is immediate and direct-the self that is within all.’ 1 This is your self that is within all.’ 1 Which is within all, Yājñavalkya?’ ‘That which breathes through the Prāṇa is your self that is within all. That which moves downwards through the Apāna is your self that is within all. That which pervades through the Vyāna is your self that is within all. That which goes out through the Udana is your self that is within all. This is your self that is within all.’



अथ ह एनं प्रकृतं याज्ञवल्क्यम्, उषस्तो नामतः, चक्रस्यापत्यं चाक्रायणः, पप्रच्छ । यत् ब्रह्म साक्षात् अव्यवहितं केनचित् द्रष्टुः अपरोक्षात् — अगौणम् — न श्रोत्रब्रह्मादिवत् — किं तत् ? य आत्मा — आत्मशब्देन प्रत्यगात्मोच्यते, तत्र आत्मशब्दस्य प्रसिद्धत्वात् ; सर्वस्याभ्यन्तरः सर्वान्तरः ; यद्यःशब्दाभ्यां प्रसिद्ध आत्मा ब्रह्मेति — तम् आत्मानम्, मे मह्यम्, व्याचक्ष्वेति — विस्पष्टं शृङ्गे गृहीत्वा यथा गां दर्शयति तथा आचक्ष्व, सोऽयमित्येवं कथयस्वेत्यर्थः । एवमुक्तः प्रत्याह याज्ञवल्क्यः — एषः ते तव आत्मा सर्वान्तरः सर्वस्याभ्यन्तरः ; सर्वविशेषणोपलक्षणार्थं सर्वान्तरग्रहणम् ; यत् साक्षात् अव्यवहितम् अपरोक्षात् अगौणम् ब्रह्म बृहत्तमम् आत्मा सर्वस्य सर्वस्याभ्यन्तरः, एतैर्गुणैः समस्तैर्युक्तः एषः, कोऽसौ तवात्मा ? योऽयं कार्यकरणसङ्घातः तव सः येनात्मना आत्मवान् स एष तव आत्मा — तव कार्यकरणसङ्घातस्येत्यर्थः । तत्र पिण्डः, तस्याभ्यन्तरे लिङ्गात्मा करणसङ्घातः, तृतीयो यश्च सन्दिह्यमानः — तेषु कतमो मम आत्मा सर्वान्तरः त्वया विवक्षित इत्युक्ते इतर आह — यः प्राणेन मुखनासिकासञ्चारिणा प्राणिति प्राणचेष्टां करोति, येन प्राणः प्रणीयत इत्यर्थः — सः ते तव कार्यकरणसङ्घातस्य आत्मा विज्ञानमयः ; समानमन्यत् ; योऽपानेनापानीति यो व्यानेन व्यानीतीति — छान्दसं दैर्घ्यम् । सर्वाः कार्यकरणसङ्घातगताः प्राणनादिचेष्टा दारुयन्त्रस्येव येन क्रियन्ते — न हि चेतनावदनधिष्ठितस्य दारुयन्त्रस्येव प्राणनादिचेष्टा विद्यन्ते ; तस्मात् विज्ञानमयेनाधिष्ठितं विलक्षणेन दारुयन्त्रवत् प्राणनादिचेष्टां प्रतिपद्यते — तस्मात् सोऽस्ति कार्यकरणसङ्घातविलक्षणः, यश्चेष्टयति ॥

Translation by Swami Mādhavānanda:

//Then Uṣasta, the son of Cakra. asked him, Yājñavalkya, who has already been introduced. The

Brahman that is immediate, not obstructed from the seer or subject by anything, and direct, not used in

a figurative sense, like the ear and so forth, which are considered to be Brahman. What is that? The self

that is within all. The word ‘self’ refers to the inner (individual) self, that being the accepted meaning of

the term. The words ‘Yat’ and ‘Yaḥ’ indicate that the self familiar to all is identical with Brahman.

Explain that self to me, tell about it clearly, as one shows a cow by taking hold of its horns, as much as

to say, ~This is it.’ Thus addressed, Yajñavalkya replied, ‘This is your self that is within all.’ The qualification ‘that is within all’ is suggestive of all qualifications whatsoever. That which is ‘immediate’ or unobstructed and ‘direct’ or used in its primary sense, and which is ‘Brahman’ or the vastest, the self of all and within all – all these specifications refer to the self. ‘What is this self of yours?’ ‘That by which your body and organs are ensouled is your self, i.e. the self of the body and organs.’ ‘There is first the body ; within it is the subtle body consisting of the organs ; and the third is that whose existence is being doubted. Which of these do you mean as my self that is within all?’ Thus spoken to, Yājñavalkya said, ‘That which breathes (lit. does the function of the Prāṇa through the Prāṇa which operates in the mouth and nose, in other words, “which makes the Prāṇa breathe” (Ke.I. 9), is your self, i.e. the individual self of the body and organs.’ The rest is similar in meaning. That which moves downwards through the Apāna, Which pervades through the Vyāna- the long in the two verbs is a Vedic licence – by which the body and

organs are made to breathe and do other functions, like a wooden puppet. Unless they are operated by

an intelligent principle, they cannot do any function such as breathing, as is the case with the wooden

puppet. Therefore it is by being operated by the individual self, which is distinct from them, that they

breathe and do other functions, as does the puppet. Hence that principle distinct from the body and organs exists which makes them function.//


The above is also a statement of nirguṇa Brahman, where Shankara even cites the Kenopaniṣat. This is the ‘function’ of the antaryāmi, to enable the organs to function.


The Mundakopanishat 3.1.2: anyam īśam….


समाने वृक्षे पुरुषो निमग्नोऽनीशया शोचति मुह्यमानः ।
जुष्टं यदा पश्यत्यन्यमीशमस्य महिमानमिति वीतशोकः ॥ २ ॥


[In the same body-tree the jīva-bird, is bewildered, deluded and miserable owing to its incapacities. When it comes to meditate and behold the Īśvara-bird, it realizes itself to be exalted and is freed of misery.]


The mantra itself uses the word ‘Iśa’ (Īśvara) as the ‘object’ of realization by the jīva. Surely such ‘īśvara’ is no saguṇa Brahman.


यदा यस्मिन्काले पश्यति ध्यायमानः अन्यं वृक्षोपाधिलक्षणाद्विलक्षणम् ईशम् असंसारिणमशनायापिपासाशोकमोहजरामृत्य्वतीतमीशं सर्वस्य जगतोऽयमहमस्म्यात्मा सर्वस्य समः सर्वभूतस्थो नेतरोऽविद्याजनितोपाधिपरिच्छिन्नो मायात्मेति महिमानं विभूतिं च जगद्रूपमस्यैव मम परमेश्वरस्य इति यदैवं द्रष्टा, तदा वीतशोकः भवति सर्वस्माच्छोकसागराद्विप्रमुच्यते, कृतकृत्यो भवतीत्यर्थः ॥

[When the jīva, engaged in nididhyāsanam, beholds the ‘other’, ‘Iśa’, (that is distinct from the body-upādhi entity) that transcends samsāra, hunger, thirst, old age, death, etc. he (the jīva) realizes himself as ‘I am this (Īśa) that is the self of the entire creation, one, equal, with all, everything, the one residing in every being. I am not anyone (different from That (Īśa)) that is identified with the limiting upādhis created by ignorance, false entity. This vibhūti, mahimā, splendor, of ‘being of the form of the world’ is mine alone, that am the Parameśvara.’ When such a realization arises, he, the jīva, is freed of all misery and becomes liberated. ]

We can see here that Shankara uses the terms ‘Īśa’ and ‘Parameśvara’ to identify the jīva who realizes his true self. Surely, this is not a context of upāsana and the terms ‘Īśa’ and ‘Parameśvara’ are therefore not any reference to a saguṇa Brahman. This context is ‘jñānam’, realization, for liberation, here and now. The Bṛ.up. antaryāmī context where too Shankara has used the terms ‘Īśvara and Nārāyaṇa’ as adjectives for the antaryāmī that is ‘controlling’ by its ‘mere’ presence as the witness, is also the one exactly similar to the above Muṇḍaka instance where the mahāvākya instruction/realization is present.

Only those who have long exposure to the study of the Advaita śāstra under a competent Āchārya can know and realize that there are two such contexts across the bhāṣya: upāsanā and jñāna, and clearly tell the one from the other.  Others who have no such exposure but have to depend on mere translations and dictionaries to ‘study’ the Shānkara Bhāṣyas can never come to such an understanding as the above. They cannot think beyond a saguṇa entity, with form and location, whenever they encounter terms like ‘Viṣṇu, Nārāyaṇa, Vāsudeva, etc.’ in the Bhāṣya.

Here is another instance from the Bhagavadgītā:


BG 18.61: ईश्वरः सर्वभूतानां and bhāṣya  dāruyantra:

ईश्वरः सर्वभूतानां हृद्देशेऽर्जुन तिष्ठति ।
भ्रामयन्सर्वभूतानि यन्त्रारूढानि मायया ॥ ६१ ॥


Shankara’s commentary:

।।18.61।। — ईश्वरः ईशनशीलः नारायणः सर्वभूतानां सर्वप्राणिनां हृद्देशे हृदयदेशेअर्जुन शुक्लान्तरात्मस्वभावः विशुद्धान्तःकरणः — अहश्च कृष्णमहरर्जुनं च (ऋ. सं. 6।9।1) इति दर्शनात् — तिष्ठति स्थितिं लभते। तेषु सः कथं तिष्ठतीति? आह — भ्रामयन् भ्रमणं कारयन् सर्वभूतानि यन्त्रारूढानि यन्त्राणि आरूढानि अधिष्ठितानि इव — इति इवशब्दः अत्र द्रष्टव्यः — यथा दारुकृतपुरुषादीनि यन्त्रारूढानि। मायया च्छद्मना भ्रामयन् तिष्ठति इति संबन्धः।।


18.61 Arjuna, O Arjuna-one whose self is naturally white (pure), i.e. one possessing a pure internal organ. This follows from the Vedic text, ‘The day is dark and the day is arjuna (white) (Rg. 6.9.1). Isvarah, the Lord , Narayana the Ruler; tisthati, resides, remains seated; hrd-deśe, in the region of the heart; sarva-bhūtānām, of all creatures, of all living beings. How does He reside? In answer the Lord says: bhramayan, revolving; mayaya, through Maya, through delusion; sarva-bhutani, all the creatures; as though yantra-arudhani, mounted on a machine-like man’ etc., made of wood, mounted on a machine. The word iva (as though) has to be thus understood here. Bhrāmayan, revolving, is to be connected with tisthati, resides (conveying the idea, ‘resides’ while revolving’).


One can notice here that Shankara uses the terms ‘Īśvara’ ‘nārāyaṇa’ to denote that entity which ‘revolves’ the jīvas by remaining unseen inside. And the jīvas are likened to puppets, icons made of wood. This example Shankara uses in the above cited Bṛ.up. antaryāmi mantra too, even as he uses the words ‘Īśvara’ ‘nārāyaṇa’ there as well. So, this BG verse, too, like the Bṛ.up. mantra on antaryāmi, is not any upāsana instance but clearly one for realization of that ‘revolver’ nārāyaṇa, as oneself.


Āntaryāmī in Māṇḍūkya upaniṣat: 6th mantra:


एष सर्वेश्वर एष सर्वज्ञ एषोऽन्तर्याम्येष योनिः सर्वस्य प्रभवाप्ययौ हि भूतानाम् ॥ ६ ॥

He (the jīva-consciousness, in the deep sleep state, that was described in the previous mantra) is the Lord-of-all, omniscient, the inner-controller, and the source of all creation and dissolution of all beings.


एषः हि स्वरूपावस्थः सर्वेश्वरः साधिदैविकस्य भेदजातस्य सर्वस्य ईश्वरः ईशिता ; नैतस्माज्जात्यन्तरभूतोऽन्येषामिव,‘प्राणबन्धनं हि सोम्य मनः’ (छा. उ. ६-८-२) इति श्रुतेः । अयमेव हि सर्वस्य सर्वभेदावस्थो ज्ञातेति एषः सर्वज्ञः । अत एव एषः अन्तर्यामी, अन्तरनुप्रविश्य सर्वेषां भूतानां यमयिता नियन्ताप्येष एव । अत एव यथोक्तं सभेदं जगत्प्रसूयत इति एषः योनिः सर्वस्य । यत एवम्, प्रभवश्चाप्ययश्च प्रभवाप्ययौ हि भूतानामेष एव ॥

Here as well, the antaryāmī is taught as non-different from the jīva, and the one that controls all from inside. The gloss by Ānandagiri too brings out this fact. However, here the antaryāmi is listed along with other epithets such as ‘sarvajña, sarveśvara, abode of origin and dissolution of all.’ It is this combination that marks the māṇḍūkya instance of ‘antaryāmi’ from the Bṛ.up. 3.7.3. In the former it is not singled out to be taught as a mahāvākya whereas in the latter it is. That makes the difference.

In any case, the ‘controlling’ epithet of antaryāmi too is not any real. What is to be understood by that? It is to be realized that Brahman (antaryāmī) is only the substratum on which the superimposition of the activity of the organs, mind, etc. happen. That is what Shankara conveys by the words: ‘mere presence, witness’.

To conclude:

  • The antaryāmī in Advaita is Pure Consciousness and not any personal god.
  • Its ‘function’ is to enable the body and organs to function.
  • Its ‘contribution’ is mere sentience, chaitanyam. Even this is not volitional on its part.
  • It does this by merely being present, as a witness consciousness
  • It is non-different from the jīva-consciousness
  • There are no two consciousnesses in the body. This is the argument that clinches the fact that the antaryāmī is none other than the jīva’s true nature and not any entity different from the true nature of the jīva. This is what Shankara has achieved in the ‘antaryāmi brāhmaṇam’ of the Bṛ.upaniṣad and the corresponding ‘antaryāmyadhikaraṇam’ of the Brahmasūtra.
  • One Consciousness alone appears as the controlling power and the controlled organs
  • The one that is controlled does not know that anyone other than themselves is controlling
  • The controller remains unseen
  • The example of puppet is apt, drawn from the BG 18.61 verse ‘yantrārūḍha’(mounted on a wooden contrivance).
  • Realizing that one is truly the ‘controller’ and not the one identified with the controlled inert organs constitutes liberating knowledge
  • It is to enable the jīva secure this knowledge that the concept of ‘antaryāmī’ is introduced, adhyāropa, by the scripture.
  • Actually there is no real control since Brahman is niṣkriya
  • This is because there are no organs like mind to Brahman, to resolve ‘let me control these’ and execute that resolution through any of Its organs like hand, etc.
  • The terms ‘Iśvara’ and ‘nārāyaṇa’ refer to this niṣkriya, bodiless, organs-less, Consciousness
  • The experience of the Advaitic jñāni is expressed sometimes as ‘aham nārāyaṇa’, for example, in the Vivekachūḍamaṇi. Those who think this work may not be that of Shankaracharya need not worry, for this expression can be directly, explicitly, derived from Shankara’s bhāṣya, cited above, for the antaryāmi brāhmaṇa of the Bṛ.upaniṣat where Shankara has named that niṣkriya Brahman, that is a mere witness, by its mere presence, enables, empowers, the body-mind complex of every jīva, as ‘nārāyaṇa.’ And to top it, has taught ‘you are that antaryāmī nārāyaṇa.’ Thus ‘nārāyaṇo’ham’ like ‘vāsudevo’ham’ of the BGB, is an expression of the nirguṇa jñānam realization of the jīva.
  • The mānḍūkya mantra containing ‘antaryāmī’ is a depiction of Brahman with other upādhis as well and hence is not a mahāvākya mantra
  • The Bṛ.up.3.7.3 is the depiction of Brahman as ‘antaryāmī’ without other upādhis and hence is an explicit teaching of the mahāvākya: एष त आत्मा अन्तर्याम्यमृतः [‘this antaryāmi is your immortal self’]
  • The Kenopaniṣad and the BG 18.61 with the bhāṣya help in understanding this concept
  • Shankara in fact cites the Kenopaniṣat in the Br.up. bhāṣya more than once


With these points for contemplation, on the basis of the śruti, smṛti, sūtra and their bhāṣyas and yukti one can appreciate that the antaryāmi, called by the epithets ‘īśvara, nārāyaṇa’ along with the other adjectives ‘mere presence, witness’, is nirguṇa Brahman, the self of the jiva-aspirant. In advaita the realization of the identity is never with the saguna Brahman.


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Om Tat Sat





Posted by: adbhutam | November 23, 2015

Publication : shrImadbhagavadgItA with three commentaries

shrI-daxiNAmUrtti-maThaH of vArANasI has published shrImadbhagavadgItA with three commentaries:

1. TippaNam of shrI-anubhUtisvarUpAchAryaH (published for first time)
2. TIkA of shrI-Ananda-giriH
3. bhAShyArkaprakAshaH of bellamakoNDa-rAmarAya-kaviH

It is edited by shrI maNi drAviDa shAstrI, a scholar of pUrva and uttara mImAMsA-s.
It is published in two volumes, each containing nine chapters.
It has more than 1000 pages with introduction, index, etc.
The price is nominal, ₹ 200.
It can be bought from chaukhambA vidyA bhavan. They are authorized sellers.
Their contact details is :

श्रीदक्षिणामूर्त्तिमठेन वाराणसीस्थेन श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता टीकात्रयसंयुता प्रकाशितास्ति :
१. अनुभूतिस्वरूपाचार्य्यस्य भाष्यटिप्पणम्
२. आनन्दगिरेष्टीका
३. बेल्लङ्कोण्डरामरायकवेर्भाष्यार्कप्रकाशः
च तत्र विदुषा मणिद्राविडशास्त्रिणा सम्पाद्य निवेशिताः सन्ति ।
तत्र तत्र च सम्पादकेन मध्वादिमतपरामर्शाय टिप्पण्योपि रचिताः ।
मूल्यमस्य द्विशतरूप्यकमेवास्ति , यद्यप्यत्र पत्राणां सङ्ख्या सहस्राधिका ।
चौखम्बाविद्याभवनादेतत्प्राप्तुं शक्यते ।
तेषां दूरवाणीसङ्ख्या – ०५४२-२४२०४०४
Posted by: adbhutam | November 16, 2015


Even a Buffalo can be saguṇa Brahman

In Advaita, as taught by Shankaracharya and handed down in the tradition, there is no strict prescription of such and such entity alone should be the saguṇa Brahman. The purpose of saguṇa Brahman is purely to enable the aspirant of the Vedāntic realization of the Nirguṇa Brahman to practice the sādhana of preparing the mind to receive that liberating knowledge. Thus, the concept of saguṇa Brahman is that which is not a natural ontological reality in Vedanta but a devised method which is used for the purpose it is intended and left behind subsequently.  This ‘leaving behind’ is not any deliberate act on the part of the aspirant but a natural culmination of the attainment of the realization of the Nirguṇa Brahman as the only secondless Truth.

In the Panchadaśi of Swami Vidyāraṇya, we have, in the 9th chapter this set of verses:

पुनःपुनर्विचारोऽपि त्रिविधप्रतिबन्धतः ।

न वेत्ति तत्त्वमित्येतद्वार्तिके सम्यगीरितम् ॥ ३८॥

  1. In spite of repeated enquiry a man does not realize the truth because of three kinds of impediments. This has been clearly pointed out in his Vārtika by Āchārya Sureśvara.


कुतस्तज्ज्ञानमिति चेत्तद्धि बन्धपरिक्षयात् ।

असावपि च भूतो वा भावी वा वर्तते तथा ॥ ३९॥

  1. If you ask why the realization (which did not arise before) comes now, we shall reply that knowledge comes only with the total removal of impediments which may be past, present or future.


अधीतवेदवेदार्थोऽप्यत एव न मुच्यते ।

हिरण्यनिधिदृष्टान्तादिदमेव हि दर्शितम् ॥ ४०॥

  1. Therefore even by studying the Veda and its meaning a man is not released. This has been shown in the example of hidden gold.


अतीतेनापि महिषीस्नेहेन प्रतिबन्धतः ।

भिक्षुस्तत्त्वं न वेदेति गाथा लोके प्रगीयते ॥ ४१॥

  1. There is the popular song saying that a monk could not realize the truth, the impediment being his past attachment to a she-buffalo.


अनुसृत्य गुरुः स्नेहं महिष्यां तत्त्वमुक्तवान् ।

ततो यथावद्वेदैष प्रतिबन्धस्य सङ्क्षयात् ॥ ४२॥

  1. His teacher instructed him of Brahman knowing his attachment to it (by telling him that buffalo is the upādhi of Brahman). When the impediment was removed, the monk realized the truth properly.


(The quotes from the Panchadaśī ends here]


The commentator, Sri Rāmakṛṣṇa clarifies on the ‘popular saying’: A sannyāsin, in his householder life, had developed a deep attachment to a buffalo. Even after coming to be instructed of the Vedānta, he remained inattentive to the lessons.  His preceptor noticed this and questioned him as to what was distracting his attention. On hearing about the disciple-monk’s buffalo-affinity, the Āchārya instructed him the highest Brahman with the buffalo-upādhi. In due course the monk became free of the past impediment, the buffalo-attachment, and realized Brahman as taught by the Āchārya and became enlightened.


Holding an animal such as a buffalo as a saguṇa Brahman is not new to Vedānta. We have in our tradition instances of fish (matsya), tortoise (kūrma), pig (varāha), man-lion (narasimha) etc. which are regarded as upādhis in which Brahman (Viṣṇu) appeared to bless the aspirants. Shankar has said in the Brahmasūtra bhāṣya:

स्यात्परमेश्वरस्यापि इच्छावशात् मायामयं रूपं साधकानुग्रहार्थम् । (1.1.vii.20)

(Īśhwara, out of compassion, takes on, by His Maya, a form to grace the spiritual aspirant.)

We can see from the above quotes that the buffalo-form was taken upon by Īśwara to bless that particular aspirant.

One can add to this Sureśwara’s verse in the Vārtika:

यया यया भवेत् पुंसां  व्युत्पत्तिः प्रत्यगात्मनि ।
सा सैव प्रक्रियेह स्यात् साध्वी सा चानवस्थिता ॥

Since the aspirants’ make-up can be varied, whichever method that suits one is good enough.  Ultimately, one has to come to the Goal. Such means are infinite. The means do not matter at that stage.

We have, as pointed out by Vidyāraṇya himself, in the Panchadaśī, instances of the aśvattha tree (pipul) being an object of worship.  There is a famous verse that authorizes such a worship:

मूलतो ब्रह्मरूपाय मध्यतो विष्णुरूपिणे।

अग्रत: शिवरूपाय वृक्षराजाय ते नम:।।

[Obeisance to the king of trees in whom Brahmā resides at the root, Viṣṇu in the middle and Śiva at the top.]

It is easy to see how our elders have taught trimūrti-aikya, on the basis of the very second Brahma sūtra of Veda Vyāsa – ‘janmādyasya yataḥ, and tried their best to eschew bigotry. By invoking the trimūrtis in the tree, one is holding that tree itself to be the jagat janmādi kāraṇam. The trimūrti aikya is reinforced by Veda Vyāsa in the Viṣṇupurāṇam (VP) Sec.1, ch.2:

After having shown that Viṣṇu, the Paramātman, as the One Only truth, prior to creation, the VP goes on to demonstrate how that Supreme Reality assumed various forms to bring about creation, etc.

जुषन रजोगुणं तत्र स्वयं विश्वेश्वरो हरिः ।
ब्रह्मा भूत्वास्य जगतो विसृष्टौ सम्प्रवर्त्तते ॥६१॥

Assuming rajoguṇa He Himself the Universal Lord Hari, became Brahmā and engaged in the act of creation of the universe.

सृष्टं च पात्यनुयुगं यावत्कल्पविकल्पना ।
सत्त्वभृद्भगवान्विष्णुरप्रमेयपराक्रमः ॥६२॥

In order to preserve/protect/sustain the created world of varieties, Bhagavān Viṣṇu of unparalleled might, assumed sattva guṇa.

तमोद्रेकी चा कल्पान्ते रुद्ररूपी जनार्दनः ।
मैत्रेयाखिलभूतानि भक्षयत्यतिदारुणः ॥६३॥

At the end of the kalpa, with a predominance of tamas, Janārdana Himself, O Maitrya, swallows up the entire created beings, in the form of Rudra, the Fierce form.

भक्षयित्वा च भूतानि जगत्येकार्णवीकृते ।
नागपर्यंकशयने शेते च परमेश्वरः ॥६४॥

Having withdrawn the creation, making the variegated world into one ocean, the Lord reclines on the snake-bed.

प्रबुद्धश्च पुनः सृष्टिं करोति ब्रह्मरूपधृक् ॥६५॥

Waking up, again he engages in creation taking upon the form of Brahmā.

सृष्टिस्थित्यन्तकरणीं ब्रह्मविष्णुशिवात्मिकाम् ।
स संज्ञां याति भगवानेक एव जनार्दनः ॥६६॥

One Only Janārdana, assumes the names of brahmā, viṣṇu and śiva corresponding to the functions of creation, etc.

स्त्रष्टा सृजति चात्मानं विष्णुः पाल्यंच पाति च ।
उपसंह्रियते चान्ते संहर्ता च स्वयं प्रभुः ॥६७॥

Viṣṇu, the Creator, creates Himself as the world and the creatures to be protected and himself protects them too. In the end he himself destroys the creation.

स एव सृज्यः स च सर्गकर्ता स एव पात्यत्ति च पाल्यते च ।
ब्रह्माद्यवस्थाभिरशेषमूर्ति र्विष्णुर्वरिष्ठो वरदो वरेण्यः ॥७०॥

He is Himself the created, the creator, the protector and destroys. He, Viṣṇu, does that by assuming the states of brahmā, etc.

Thus, the Viṣṇupurāṇam categorically denies any difference between the trimūrtis. There is absolutely no truth in the bigoted claims that ‘Rudra is tāmasika devatā, Brahmā a rājasica and Viṣṇu alone is sattva. The VP clearly proves this wrong. The One Truth, which has the name Viṣṇu/janārdana alone assumes these three forms, the three guṇas and the three names for performing the three functions. This is the truth that Advaitins alone hold. The Trimūrti abheda is crystal clear in the above account of the VP. It is in no way different from the popular Viṣṇu assuming various forms of matsya, kūrma, etc. for executing specific tasks. None would view the various avatāras of Viṣṇu as really different gods; one would naturally consider all these forms as Viṣṇu alone. So, too Veda Vyasa holds the trimūrtis to be one only.

Our tradition holds reverence to Garuḍa (kite), Nāgarāja (snake), Gangā (river), Himāchala (mountain), etc. Even a woman of bewitching beauty is held in reverence as Mohini, a form that Viṣṇu assumed. The elephant is idolized and worshiped as Gaṇapati.  Shankaracharya has held Gaṇapati as the jagat janmādi kāraṇam in his Prapancha sāra, a work authenticated by a great Advaita Acharya of the 13 CE. Sarvajñātman, another important Advaita Acharya of the 9th CE too holds Gaṇapati as the world creator.

It should be noted that Sarvajātman is a Vedāntin and not a ‘gāṇapatya’. Just because some people have arrived at a conclusion that the Gaṇeśa purāṇam was composed in the 11 CE by the Gāṇāpatyas, Sarvajnātman will never become a follower of that cult.  He has the precedent of his pūrvāchārya, Shankara, to hold Gaṇapati as the world-creator. He will not have to depend on an alleged newly created purāṇa to influence his doctrine. He has also held Viśṇu as world-creator.

Thus, Advaitins of all periods have no bigoted views about who or which deity alone should be the world-creator. The Vedānta gives full freedom to the aspirant to choose his iṣṭa devatā and hold that deity or object as the jagat janmādi kāraṇa and offer his devotion thereto.  As this is only a passing phase, Advaita allows that practice.  Ultimately, as there is no world or its creation at all, the ideas superimposed on Brahman as the world-cause, is dropped, on the adhyāropa-apavāda nyāya and Nirguṇa Brahman alone is realized to be the one-only Truth.

Madhusudana Saraswati too approves of the various cult-practices of Gāṇāpatya, śaiva, vaiṣṇava, śākta, etc. as leading to the Supreme Truth:

शैवाः सौराश्च गाणेशा वैष्णवाः शक्तिपूजकाः। भवन्ति यन्मयाः सर्वे सोहमस्मि परः शिवः।।3।। (BG Comm.15th ch.end)

Thus, yet another important Advaita Acharya, known for his Kṛṣṇa bhakti as iṣṭadevatā, proves himself not to be a bigot by according equal status to all upāsakas. What is extremely noteworthy here is that he includes vaiṣṇavas too in that cult-list. That shows that the viṣṇu bhakti of Madhusudana does not come under the popularly known vaiṣṇava cult practiced by non-advaitins.

It is easy to see how our elders have taught trimūrti-aikya and tried their best to eschew bigotry. By invoking the trimūrtis in the tree, one is holding that tree itself to be the jagat janmādi kāraṇam.

A stone too can be saguṇa Brahman by the devotee invoking one or the other deity in it. Shankaracharya has said in the Brahmasūtra bhāṣya 3.3.9: यथा वा प्रतिमादिषु विष्ण्वादिबुद्ध्यध्यासः  [superimposing the idea of Viṣṇu, etc. deities in an idol, etc. objects].

Thus, a buffalo being held as saguṇa Brahman is not unscriptural as there is the acceptance of such an idea by the sampradāya.

Om Tat Sat







Posted by: adbhutam | November 13, 2015


Srīgurubhyo namaḥ

Trimūrti abheda in the Brahmasūtra

The Brahma sūtras of Bhagavān Bādarāyaṇa (admitted to be non-different from Veda Vyāsa by Vedāntins) teach the nature and method of realizing Brahman.  At the start of the sūtras we have ‘atha ato brahmajijñāsā’ which stipulates the need for enquiry into Brahman. In order to help understanding or identifying what this Brahman is whose enquiry is ordained, the second sūtra says: janmādi asya yataḥ. This means: that is Brahman from which the creation, sustenance and dissolution of the world takes place.  Now, in popular parlance it is known that these three functions are associated with three devatās: brahmā, viṣṇu and maheśvara.  Even though there is this popular association, yet, for the sūtrakāra it is one entity only that constitutes the source of creation, etc. of the world. We therefore see that there is a singularity of the Cause and no plurality as misunderstood by many.  We are asked to enquire, know, realize One Brahman and not multiple deities in order to achieve liberation. In order to confirm that singularity the sūtrakāra says in the next sūtra: śāstra yonitvāt’ giving us thereby another indicatory mark by which we can understand the nature of Brahman: that which is the source/author of the scripture.  Shankara also interprets this sūtra alternatively as ‘that which is known only through the medium of the scripture.’

Apart from the above conclusion of the sūtra that Brahman that is the cause of creation, etc. is one only and not multiple deities, we have the upaniṣadic pramāṇa too to show that:

  1. The very ‘viṣaya vākya’ of the stated Brahma sūtra 2 is the Taittiriya passage:

Yato vā imāni bhūtāni jāyante, yena jātāni jīvanti, yat prayantyabhisamviśanti tad vijijñāsasva, tad brahma [Know that to be Brahman whence originates creation, by which it is sustained and in which it lapses] The Upanishad here culminates in identifying this Brahman that is the Cause of creation, etc. as Ananda.  The upaniṣad does not say that the three functions are carried out by three different entities. The Mundaka upaniṣad too says: That in which this entire creation rests is One only and know that to be the Ātman. ‘..tam ekam jānatha ātmānam…’


  1. नमः सवित्रे जगदेकचक्षुषे


त्रयीमयाय त्रिगुणात्मधारिणे

विरञ्चिनारायणशङ्करात्मने ॥१॥


This very popular verse, which smārtas recite thrice a day during their sandhyā worship,  from the Sūrya maṇḍalāṣṭakam says: Sūrya (actually the Supreme Effulgence, which is also the devatā of the Gāyatri mantra) is the Cause of the creation, etc. It gives the additional information that the three functions such as creation take place by the association of Brahman with the three guṇas: sattva, etc. thereby calling the bluff of some disgruntled elements’ erroneous thinking that ‘Śiva is a tāmasa devatā’ without understanding that it is Brahman that is assuming that guṇa (as clarified by Shankaracharya in the Viṣṇu sahasra nāma bhāṣya) which is inevitable to perform Its function of dissolution.  In fact the asura samhāra by Viṣṇu as Narasimha, for instance, is impossible without that guṇa.  This is stated explicitly by the Bhāgavatam in the Narasimha avatāra episode and the Ramayana too where Rāma gets into extreme anger mode during the slaying of opponents. By derogatorily applying that epithet ‘tāmasa’ to Śiva, the vaiṣṇava bigots do not know that they are doing that to Brahman, which they hold to be none but Viṣṇu, which is only confirmed by the Bhāgavatam and the Vālmiki Rāmāyaṇa.


  1. There are innumerable purāṇic verses, several of which Shankaracharya cites in the Viśṇu sahasranāma bhāṣya to the effect that the trimūrtis ought not to be differentiated. And that he who differentiates them will be roasted in the lowliest hells. If these sources are said to be from ‘tāmasik’ purāṇas, then the attribution of tāmasatva to Veda vyāsa, the acclaimed author of these purāṇas, is unavoidable. The Padmapurāṇa, in its section on the praise of the 12th canto of the Bhāgavatam says that ‘he is the true, great, vaiṣṇava who holds Hari, Hara and Durga to be non-different and that they are verily Brahman.’ The question would arise as to why there are several references to the difference across the trimūrtis, sometimes even saying Viṣṇu is the progenitor of Brahmā and Rudra and sometimes that Rudra is the one from whose two shoulders originated Vishnu and Brahmā (in the Mahabharata), that Nārāyaṇa’s invincibility in any battle, even with Rudra, is because of a boon conferred upon the former by the latter as a result of a great penance by Nārāyaṇa aimed at Rudra (Mahābhārata Drona parva)? The reply is simple: it is beyond the capacity of some people to comprehend the Tattva that it is one Brahman that in fact is responsible for the three functions. There is need to provide an occasion for such lower adhikārins to contemplate, upāsana, on individual deities and hence the specifying of the three deities for the three functions. This ‘breaking down’ of the One Brahman into three is resorted to for this purpose alone.  Only Advaitins can understand such nuances.
  2. There is the Praśnopaniṣad reference 2.9 where the Upaniṣad itself says that it is one power, called prāṇa, prajāpati (which is generally accepted as Brahmā, hiraṇyagarbha), that appears as Rudra, the destroyer and the protector. The advaitic commentator on Shankara identifies it as Viṣṇu: ‘viṣṇvādirūpeṇa’. So we have the upaniṣad pramāṇa for the trimurti abheda.
  3. There are some, who are ignorant of Advaita, evidently non-advaitins, who try to gloss over the countless references in the Upanishads, for instance the Atharvaśikhā, the Praśnopaniṣat, the Maitrāyaṇi, and innumerable purāṇas and the Mahābhārata about the non-difference of the trimurtis as an instance of ‘pāramārthika’ abheda. This extremely weak argument suffers from two strong defects: (a) the idea of ‘pāramārthika’ abheda is admitted only in advaita and if they say this, then they are giving up their stance that ‘the śruti, smṛtis and purāṇa, itihāsas never teach advaita.’ In fact those schools came up only with this premise. (b) the ‘pāramārthika’ abheda in advaita is never on individual basis but on the total creation.  For instance in the Tat tvam asi, the ‘tat’ is the cause of the entire creation of sentient and inert.  The jīva consciousness is identified with this ‘tat’. The ‘pāramārthika’ abheda is never achieved by singling out Hari and Hara or the trimurtis.  Those who have no exposure to the Advaita śāstra by a study under a qualified, traditional āchārya but have to depend only on translations, self-study and dictionaries, will never be able to grasp the above idea. For knowing that the incarnations Rāma, Kṛṣṇa and Narasimha are non-different really, one need not go to the advaitic ‘pāramārthika’ abheda.  It is common knowledge, in the vyāvahārika itself, as even non-advaitins hold, that these three are only incarnations of Viṣṇu and thereby are not different really. In fact the Dvaitins declare that seeing a real difference across these incarnations of Viṣṇu will spell eternal samsāra. In the same way, as the Mahābhārata has taught: ‘Rudra and Nārāyaṇa are One Tattvam appearing as two’ or as the Skandopaniṣat teaches ‘śivā and viṣnu are each other’s heart and form’, even in the vyavahāra it is well known that it is one Brahman, in order to execute the creation, sustenance and dissolution functions takes the forms of brahmā, viṣṇu and rudra.  The three are not in any real way different from each other, even as Rāma and Kṛṣṇa are not.

Thus, the very second Brahmasūtra ‘janmādyasya yataḥ’ is an irrefutable pramāṇa for the trimūrti abheda.  Veda Vyāsa does not differentiate between the three functionaries; he calls all of them ‘brahman’, the knowledge of which ‘brahman’ is what is enjoined in the first sūtra: athāto brahmajiñāsā. The third sūtra too reinforces that theme alone.  There are references in the puraṇas for Brahmā, the four-faced, being the originator-disseminator of the veda at the beginning of creation. So are references to Śiva being the source of the Veda. All these apparently contradicting statements have to be resolved only by taking recourse to the above brahmasūtra: janmādyasya yataḥ and śāstrayonitvāt.

Om Tat Sat




Posted by: adbhutam | November 7, 2015


Namaste all,

Forwarding this write-up about an upcoming course in Sanskrit Grammar. Pl. read it through and ponder on its utility to your life.  I read about an 84 year old man from Mumbai registering for a postgraduate course in Sanskrit and completing it.  That shows age is no bar when it comes to learning anything new.  The only requirement: Interest.  In Tamil there is a saying: vaazhum varai kal  – Learn as long as you live.
Pl. share this with youngsters, your children, relatives, etc.
Thanks and warm regards
———- Forwarded message ———-

Namaskara: please pass it on to those who want to master Panini especially youngsters.  

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Rajaram Venkataramani <>
Date: Fri, Nov 6, 2015 at 6:09 PM
Subject: Course Structure
To: पाणिनि <>

Dear All, 

Hari: Om! Welcome again! This 18 month course will lead us to a traditional title “Modern Grammarian” or “अभिनववैयाकरण:“. It will give us an expert level understanding of Sanskrit Grammar that eludes post graduates and for that matter many professors in Sanskrit at Harvard, Oxford or even Indian Universities. However, such an expertise does not come without intense hard work. If we are not committed to give at least 600 hours for this, we cannot achieve the title. This commitment is also the best guru dakshina we can give to Sri Mani Dravid Sastrigal, who has volunteered his time in spite of his busy schedule to teach usIn the past, students spent years learning kavyas and vyakarana in gurukula before proceeding to study Nyaya and Mimamsa. The course has been simplified significantly to suit modern audience using modern technologies but the outcome will be the same. At the end of 18 months, each one of us would have memorised 4000 sutras of Panini, 2000 dhatus from which all words are derived, hundreds of word forms and be able to confidently read, write, speak and listen . We will be able to use Paninian sutras to grammatically analyse any complex Sanskrit text.
The first module is to familiarise us with Sanskrit. If Sanskrit is the only language, we will learn it like children learn their mother tongue by associating sounds with objects and actions. The first module is designed to teach Sanskrit as a mother tongue. However, this module will not be delivered for this batch for two reasons. One, there is a lot of content available from Samskruta Bharathi and other organisations to give language familiarity. Second, we as a group have enough knowledge to understand Sanskrit lectures and should help each other. We will straight away start with Module 2.
Please contact Sri Rajaram Venkataramani on the email id provided above for more details.
Vedanta Bharati takes pleasure in INVITING YOU with family and friends  to the –
to be held on 7-11-2015  from 3:30 to 6:00 pm
at Bangalore Higher Secondary School Auditorium, RV Road, Bangalore
please find invitation and Parayanotsava Pamphlet with details of the programme attached.
you may freely forward the same to the VIPs and friends in your area and extend an invitation to the Auspicious event.
Sri Sri Shankara Bharati Swamiji would grace the occasion and shower His Blessings and Asheervachanam.
Thousands of Parayana-kartas would chant in unison Soundaryalahari and Dakshinamurti Ashtakam and perform Samarpana to Sri Shankaracharya to mark the SHUBHAARAMBHA of Soundarya Lahari Parayanotsava  being conducted across Karnataka.
Please be at the venue by 3:30 pm to witness the Grand Shubhaarambha and partake the Blessings of Sri Shankaracharya.
HNLN Simha
Trustee, Vedanta Bharati
For downloading the material stated above, pl. visit this URL:


The first four Brahmasūtras and their bhāṣya constitute the ‘chatussūtrī’, providing a fine synopsys, a bird’s eye view, of the Advaita Vedanta. The eminent scholar Sri Mani Dravid Sastrigal had lectured on these four sūtra-bhāsyam long ago.  These have been painstakingly translated into English by the late Sri S.N.Sastri ji for his own mananam and the benefit of the seeker community.
He had himself shared these files with me.  Even though these files are available perhaps in some other locations, yet, as a mark of tribute to his departed soul, I am providing links for downloading this excellent material:

warm regards
Posted by: adbhutam | October 21, 2015


A book titled ‘Vidvat Pratibhā’ has been recently released at Sringeri by the Jagadguru Sri Bharati Tirtha Maha Swaminaḥ.  It contains the articles ( all in Sanskrit) of the vākyartha manḍanam in four disciplines by scholars during the Mahaganapati Vākyārtha Sadas, Sringeri, in 2014.
Vedanta: 7 articles
Mīmāmsā: 4
Nyāya : 10
Vyākaraṇa: 18
Total: 39 articles.
The book is in very good print, hard-bound.  It also has the pictures of the various scholars from all over the country who participated in the sadas last year.
Those interested may contact Sri K.Srinivasan, Vidya Bharati Press, Shankara Maṭha Road, Bangalore 560004, email  for details.


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

Posted by: adbhutam | October 11, 2015


The two articles are available here for reading:

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