Posted by: adbhutam | May 23, 2010

THE ESSENTIALS OF ADVAITA IN ONE VERSE

श्रीगुरुभ्यो नमः

एषा शंकरभारती विजयते निर्वाणसौख्यप्रदा
[ Glory to The words of Shankaracharya that give the bliss of Liberation ]

Here is a verse from the MAdhaveeya Shankara Vijayam

(The dialogue between Shankara and Mandana Mishra)

Eighth Sarga –

ब्रह्मैकं परमार्थसच्चिदमलं विश्वप्रपञ्चात्मना
शुक्ती रूप्यपरात्मनेव बहलाज्ञानावृतं भासते ।
तज्ज्ञानान्निखिलप्रपञ्चनिलया स्वात्मव्यवस्था परं
निर्वाणं जनिमुक्तमभ्युपगतं मानं श्रुतेर्मस्तकम् ॥ 61

[ With darkness enveloped all round and due to the short-sightedness of the eye and also due to its being visible at a long distance, the mother-of-pearl appears as silver.  Similarly, Brahman which is the Absolute and Blemishless Existence, Consciousness and Bliss being enveloped by ignorance, manifests itself as the creations in the world.  If one were to realize the true nature, the vision of the worldly quality will get destroyed leading to freedom from samsara and Brahman alone will remain in all its effulgence.  For this declaration the Vedas are the authority. ]

The above is the statement made by Shankara to Mandana (VishvarUpa) at MAhiShmatI during the famed debate where Ubhaya Bharati played the role of the umpire.

The verse brings to the fore the essentials of Vedanta:

  1. Brahman is One
  2. It is the Absolute Reality of the nature of Sat, Chit and Ananda
  3. It is Pure, untainted by any defects
  4. What is seen as the world is actually Brahman (vivarta)
  5. It is akin to the perception of silver in nacre
  6. It is ajnAna of the substratum that results in the erroneous perception
  7. When the truth of the nature of Brahman as one’s own self is realized, the absolute reality accorded to the world ends
  8. This marks the end of samsara
  9. The Vedanta, Upanishad, is the pramANa in the process of knowing the Truth
  10. AnumAna is a  pramANa too. (This is indicated by the dRShTAnta, shukti-rajata)
  11. AnumAna is the one that is in agreement, supportive of  the Vedanta (Upanishads)
  12. Needless to say, pratyaksha too is pramANa
  13. Anubhava is also shown as pramANa when the Realization is spoken of
  14. The word ‘amalam’ shows that the jiva is innately free of any defects as he is none other than Brahman, Sat Chit Ananda
  15. The words ‘मानं श्रुतेर्मस्तकम्’ (the Upanishads are the pramANa) the verse conveys that the sadhana involved here is: karma yoga (yajna ,daana, tapas, fasting, vedic study indicated by the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad: तमेतं वेदानुवचनेन ब्राह्मणा विविदिषन्ति, यज्ञेन, दानेन तपसा अनाशकेन), upAsana yoga as taught by the Kathopanishad, Taittiriya, etc. and of course, jnAna yoga taught exhaustively across the Upanishads: shravana, manana and nididhyAsana.
  16. These very words मानं श्रुतेर्मस्तकम् also teach the qualifications required for the mumukshu as taught by the Upanishads: शान्तो दान्त उपरतः तितिक्षुः श्रद्धावित्तो भूत्वा आत्मन्येवात्मानं पश्येत् (the aspirant endowed with shama, dama, uparati, titikshA, shraddhaa has to engage in the meditation of the Atman) and  तस्मै स विद्वान् उपसन्नाय सम्यक् प्रशान्तचित्ताय शमान्विताय ( Mundakopanishat)
  17. That he has to get this vidya from the Acharya is also taught by the Upanishads: स गुरुमेवाभिगच्छेत् (let him approach an Acharya alone who is a shrotriya and Brahmanishtha)
  18. The verse eminently talks about three sattA-s: The PaaramArthika satya: Brahman, the vyAvahArika satya: vishvaprapancha and the prAtibhAsika satya: shukti-rajata.
  19. It talks about ‘AvaraNa shakti’ (veiling power) of ajnAna by the word: AvRtam and ‘vikshepa shakti’  (projecting power) by the word: विश्वप्रपञ्चात्मना भासते – the appearance of the variegated universe
  20. The anubandha chatuShTaya of the Vedanta Shastra is also indicated – By the words  ‘janimuktam’ ‘svAtmavyavasthaa’ (freedom from samsara and establishment in Brahman/Atman) the ‘prayojanam’ (fruit) is stated.  Of course, the primary fruit, jnaanam, is also specifically stated which alone results in the other prayojanam of moksha/brahmAtmanA samsthitiH.  The adhikAri is the mumukshu who alone is in samsara now and aspires to get moksha.  The ViShaya is BrahAtmaikyam is also indicated.  The sambandha, the connection between the adhikaari and prayojanam, the vishaya and the shAstram, are also present.

Thus, in this verse we see the problem of samsara, its cause, the solution, the means for it, the ultimate phalam are all condensed.  This makes this verse a fine, crisp teaching of Advaita Vedanta, yet so full of meaning.  The other popular verse: ब्रह्म सत्यं जगन्मिथ्या जीवो ब्रह्मैव नापरः (Brahman is the Truth and the world is false, the jiva is none other than Brahman) does convey the Vedantic truth in a pithy sentence.  However, the content of the Vedanta Shastra is not conveyed in this verse in as detailed a manner and as all-comprehensive a style as the verse of the Shankara Vijayam that we have analyzed above.

Learned members could bring to the fore any other verse or BhAShya / commentary vaakyams that could be akin to the above verse in character.

शंकरः शं करोतु
ऒम् तत् सत्


Responses

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.Nice endeavour indeed.

    V.P.Bhatia

    • Thank you Bhatia j. I am glad that you liked it and find it useful.

  2. Hi, I am agree with your point and also I am adding something which is Advaita Philosophy, or Vedantic Nondualism has become, along with Buddhism, one of the most popular spiritual paths being pursued by those interested in enlightenment today. During the past three decades, Advaita has become more widely recognized in the West through the ever growing popularity of Ramana Maharshi, considered by many to be modern India’s greatest spiritual giant.

    • Thanks Amit for your observation. Bhagavan Ramana has indeed made a great impact on the seeking humanity worldwide.


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