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What is Vedanta?

Vedanta is the world’s foremost school of thought on self-management. It finds its’ origin in the Vedas, the sacred scriptures of the world.

The word ‘Vedanta’ is a combination of the two words 'Veda' which means ‘knowledge’ and 'Anta' which means ‘the end of’ or ‘the goal of’. So ‘Vedanta’ literally means ‘the culmination of knowledge’

Vedanta is a science and must be approached as one would physics, chemistry or mathematics. The concepts must be questioned, tested and made one’s own by living the principles. Only then can you say that you are a Vedantin, a lover of Truth.  

Just as science is the amalgam of the knowledges contributed by numerous scientists, So it is with Vedanta. Vedanta is the ultimate philosophy laid down by several subjective scientists who were Self-realised masters.

Vedanta, a philosophy and science of our true identity, the Supreme Indivisible Absolute Pure CONSCIOUSNESS, contains four yogas of devotion, selfless service, knowledge and meditation which are found in Buddhism, Christianity, Sikhism, Hinduism, Islam and the practices of all who seek peace and joy in the oneness that uplifts and unifies us.

Hence, Vedanta is the cornerstone of all religions, revealing the truth of our life that leads to the ultimate liberation, free from suffering and bondage and attaining a state of immortality, everlasting peace and fulfilment.

The knowledge of Vedanta provides us with a blueprint for action knowing which we can gain not only material prosperity but more importantly access to our true nature, the Divine Self within. It may be a knowledge that is thousands of years old but it has remained a source of eternal wisdom for several generations and will remain so for many more to come. Hence, Its eternal and universal application appeals to all lovers of truth.

The most unique feature of Vedanta is that it does not base itself on any personalities for authority. It is a knowledge that is founded on its own authority. Its truth is its authority. It trains you to think for yourself. To analyse, investigate and realise the quintessence of life. Not to submit yourself to blind faith, superstitious belief or mechanical ritual.

 

The Kingdom of Heaven within You

Vedanta declares, “Thou art That.” This means your true nature is essentially Divine, of completeness, of Supreme  bliss and Happiness.

Behind the conditioned consciousness, the individual ego (I, me and mine) that is created by thoughts, there is the real Self, the true ‘I’.

The ego is a false projection of thoughts; the true Self ( the Indivisible Absolute Unconditioned Pure CONSCIOUSNESS) is the reality. This ultimate truth of life is supported by several scientific corroboratory evidences which stand to reason. A careful and scientific analysis of life's experiences would provide us enough reason to substantiate this ultimate in human perfection, the ultimate state of Self-realisationGod-realisation.

                   Self-knowledge is the key to freedom. It is like waking up from a terrible dream, to find out you are quite alright and the entire dream, including your identity within it, was a mere appearance. When you mistakenly see and superimpose a snake upon a rope lying by the roadside, you have fear. In clearer light, you discover the rope and all fear ends. Similarly all your personal insecurity and fear ends upon the discovery of who you really are, your true identity - the Supreme Self!

The truth of who I am is revealed upon negating the false I-thoughts of the finite, limited body, mind and intellect. A thousand ideas of who we are arise on the false foundation of the belief that we are the body-mind-intellect complex. “I am born; I am aging and getting old; I am physically challenged; I will die,” and so on are examples of thoughts of the self coming forth from the body-identification. “I am jealous; I am sad; I am dull,” and so on are examples of I-thoughts arising from the identification with the finite mind and intellect.

Following the revelation of Vedanta, a seeker stays alert and questions one's habitual ideas of the self. In the erasure of the ego (the false self), the true Self shines forth just as the bright sun stands out upon the moving away of clouds.

 

Spiritual Practice

You are already free and Divine; you do not have to become something different from what you really are. you just have to know it, experience it, realize it.

the seeker engages with Vedanta through study, listening (Shravana), reflection (Manana) and meditation (Dhyana).

With The pursuit of The appropriate yogas ( Spiritual disciplines) of  Karma Yoga ( Right Action), Bhakti Yoga ( Devotion) and Jnana Yoga ( True Knowledge) in accordance with one's inner nature,  The mind is freed from all misunderstanding and ignorance, is driven away from all the unwarranted fears that arise out of one's wrong perception.

These spiritual disciplines helps one investigate the mystery of life and answer the baffling questions:


•  Who am I?
•  Who are you? 
•  Where have I come from?
•  Why are we here? 
•  When, Wherefrom & Why this World?
•  What is the goal of human life?
•  What is the source of true and permanent happiness?
•  How do I bring that happiness into myself and the world?
•  What is permanent, impermanent?

Until through subjective inquiry we arrive at the core of our personality and understand that lasting happiness ultimately lies beyond the external world and can only be found internally within one’s own Self.

 

The Transformation

The profound and practical wisdom of Vedanta brings about a psychological revolution. A thousand fears disappear; a thousand beliefs based on duality vanish. With this sublime wisdom one sees God alone everywhere. He experiences The unifying Divinity in  The  diversities of The world. No divisions. No demarcations. No denominations. Only Divinity.

There was duality before, characterized by the divisions of what I am and what I should become. There was also the sense of the small me and the big God. There was comparison, competition. There were the painful judgements of doing poorly, failing, hurting and getting hurt. When you abide in your Infinite Self, you rise above all these. It is therefore called absolute or complete transformation.

  

The Blissful Core of Your Being

Finally Vedanta, through meditation, takes you  to the realm of the Infinite. This is the essential nature and goal of every human being. Your core.

Boundless you are and will not settle for any less, driven by the nostalgia for the Infinite. Vedanta takes you to that supreme Goal - systematically, one step at a time.

The wisdom of Vedanta is the final flowering of all spiritual thought, It is a very simple philosophy - Man is essentially the Spirit and the Spirit is the Supreme Indivisible Absolute CONSCIOUSNESS. There exists nothing but The One Non-dual Reality- the Infinite Unconditioned Pure Awareness!

This awareness can be realised by selfless work and meditation. This understanding helps us to live in this world as a very creative and dynamic human being, enjoying genuine prosperity with  reduced stress levels and permanent peace of mind. . Invoking the Loveful & Blissful CONSCIOUSNESS in and through our activities. It is a matter of shifting your perspective from the ‘I am the Body’ to ‘I am the Supreme Indivisible Absolute Pure CONSCIOUSNESS’. A simple leap from the limited awareness to the limitless awareness, a marvelous leap from the finite to the Infinite!

All of us seek to be happy, content, creative, loving - this becomes your natural state of being when you realise that you are the loveful & blissful Awareness in the presence of which everything happens.

An  integrated  mind lives in harmony internally as well as externally – ie. with the totality .

his  Harmonious situation is  the what  drives  Dharma . All dictates of Dharma ( Niti ) ensure such a situation ultimately. 

  Fundamentals of Vedanta - I

ATOMS NOT THE CAUSE - BS - II.11-11TO 17

      Vaisheshikas  postulate  that ……

 

-         Atoms (  the  smallest particle , and hence have to be sub atomic particles) are the cause of the world.

-         Matter is divided and sudivided, we reach a stage beyond which no division is possible, the undivisible element of matter is Parmanu.

-         The universe exists in the atomic state in the state of Pralaya or dissolution

-         The atoms are imperceptible, indestructible and eternal.

-          That except Akash (ether), all other elements were physically palpable and hence comprised miniscule particles of matter.

-         These  Parmanu combine with another , while in motion. When two Parmanu belonging to one class of substance combined, a dwayanuka (binary molecule) was the result. This dwayauka had properties similar to the two parent Parmanu. The unseen merits and demerits of the souls are the ones that set the atom in motion – Adhrushta ,  that unseen principle )

-         An individual anu doesn't possess any property, but as it combines with another anu, a diatomic molecule ( dwayanuka ) is formed, which, in turn, combines with other three similar molecules to produce a tri-molecules ( trayanuka ) , only then the properties are perceived. These 'trayanukas' further combine to give the structure of gross bodies and their properties become suitable for direct perception.

-         Atoms  ( Paramanu ) are spherical ..but dyads  don’t have  the spherical nature of the atoms.

 

The very first point taken up by Sankaracharya is that ..the qualities of the atoms ( the Cause) not present in the effect ( Dyads and so on ) . hence the argument against Vedanta’s postulate that Brahman is the  cause , on the ground  that the World which is insentient originated from the sentient / intelligent Brahman ,  is not tenable. The same argument  applies Vaisheshika’s  postulate as well.

 

    What  Causes  the motion and  subsequently the  combination of atoms . Adhrushta is       

    insentient and has to bepresent in the soul .Being present in soul)  it can not set the motion

    of atoms . If it is inherent in atom, as it being  always present dissolution is never  possible ,

    for  the atoms  will always be active. Hence , there is no possibility for original motion in the

   atoms ( without an efficient cause)

 

   Atoms cannot be the  cause also  on account  of  Samavya  (inherence) cited  by Vaisheshikas       

   as this will lead to regressus  infinitum. The dyads are said  to be connected to the atoms,

   which are their constituents. This  connection is  required  as Dyads  and atoms  are said to be    

   of different qualities. However , since Samvaya itself being different  from these ie. The Dyads

   and atoms which it  connects , another Samavaya will be required for this connection andthat  

   Samvaya will require another Samvaya , thus  rendering the argument  defective   

 

  Thirdly the nature of  atoms ( if  taken as the ultimate cause particles)  cannot be permanent   

  activity or inactivity .If  they are active  always , dissolution is not possible. If , on the other

  hand , they are inactive , creation is not possible. Their  nature cannot be activity ( or,

  integration ) and inactivity  ( or, disintegration)  as they are contradictory.

 

  Atoms  thus would  require an efficient  cause for  their activity or inactivity .The earlier post

  Has already  taken up the issue of  their  eternality in detail.

 

 

Conclusion : Atoms cannot be the cause of the universe.

 

A Century after Rutherford’s  findings and journey into quarks and Leptoquarks Science  is struggling to identify the  ultimate cause for the actions of these particles . Even is  we  accord

Vaccum which  has to have  energy as  per t he singularity Theorems , what accosts energy  to Vaccum  would  still remain a mystery, which  will continue even if Higgs Boson  are isolated.  

 

 Fundamentals of  Vedanta – II : KNOWLEDGE 

We have discussed , in part I  that whatever  is the  nature of the  mind , it is only with  the  mind  that  we can have knowledge . What is knowledge ?  

1) Knowledge is eternal

2) Ignorance appears to obliterate the knowledge of objects

3) Knowledge of objects takes place by the removal of  the ignorance covering the

    knowledge  of the object.

4) Objective knowledge is  only attributive knowledge .

5) Knowledge can be gained only by a conscious entity- essentially the  Consciousness

   has to illumine the thought related to the object , for the knowledge of the object to

   occur. This entity alone is  the substantive.

6) The  Reality  is devoid  of any attribute.- Nirguna .

6) Saastraas alone are  the  tools  or Pramaana , for gaining the knowledge of

    the substantive.

7) Saastras indicate a process of  negation in the understanding of the  Reality and  call

    that as the pure  knowledge

When Ignorance that is covering the knowledge of the objects is removed we discover the existence of those objects. Implication of this is that knowledge is eternal and self-evident, but gets revealed when the ignorance that appears to cover the object of knowledge is removed ‘ignorance’ desists us from the knowledge of an object , but it is more like a darkness covering the knowledge of all the objects in a dark room

However , I am also  aware of the darkness and  this  awareness is also an object of knowledge -  the Consciousness , because   of  which  I have the knowledge of  the darkness itself , is not opposite to darkness.

The  Knowledge we ‘gain’ is  only a qualified knowledge and termed as objective knowledge and  is defined as being aware  of object’s existence and aware of its attributes that are perceived through senses. The precise definition of an object rests on the precise definition of its distinguishing attributes.

Objective knowledge is only attributive knowledge since senses can measure only the attributes of an object and the attributes of the substantive that can be perceive directly by them. Senses  cannot  gather substantive itself.

The attributes perceptible to the senses and that differentiate the objects  belong to

the objects and not the substantive .For example the attributes of Gold  which is of

the substantive are  not all readily  visible to  the senses  and these attributes cannot differentiate one object of Gold from the other. The malleability of the gold which distinguishes it from other metals is not apparent and it  cannot differentiate a gold  ring from a set of  bangles. 

Once we understand that it is  the substantive which matters really we shall understand

the objects in the real  perspective – the ring , the bangles are all in essence the  gold itself in different  forms.  

The  substantive is one without a second ,and hence  there is nothing to differentiate the Reality  from any other entity. Existence ,Consciousness ,Bliss are not attributes of the Reality . They are its intrinsic structure to differentiate it from all unconscious entities .

The self is wrongly  viewed as a subject in relation to an object .

Object is not a self-existent entity, since it is not self-conscious. For an object’s

Existence to be established , a conscious entity has  to illumine its existence.

Pure knowledge, on the other hand ,is pure consciousness – this  knowledge is ‘objectless awareness’.   

Knowledge of the substantive can only be gained by Saastra Pramaana.

The  means knowledge – that  which  is operative for the  knowledge to take place is called  Pramaana -  ‘Pramaa karanam pramaanam’

The Process of  valid knowledge involves  three constituents :  the subject –Predicate-Object structure (Triputi)

 ….. The knower or ‘Pramaata’ - subject who owns that knowledge .

….  Vishaya  or ‘Prameya’ - Object of knowledge

….. ‘Pramiti’ - knowledge of the object

Pramaana is  that which is   ‘non-negatable’ – which is not  sublated  subsequently. Absolute knowledge is defined as that which can never be negated or contradicted at any time -  which is  real :  ‘Trikaala abaadhitam satyam

 Sruti alone becomes the source of  that knowledge of the material cause from all

objects in the universe , being concerned  with the Reality while  other  Pramaanaas like

Perception ( Pratyaksha Pramaanaa) are  concerned  with  empirical things .

The insight ,Sruti provides through its  teaching is  mediate knowledge ( Paroksha Jnana ) and  the reason , purified & sharpened again by  the  teachings of the sruti , plays  an important role in the transformation of the mediate  knowledge  into an  immediate one (Aparoksha jnana)

The Vedic revelation, is an absolutely independent (Nirapeksham) and self-constituting authority (Svarthe pramanyam). But human dicta  (Purusha-vacasam) are dependent upon an external basis and mediated (Vyavahita) by memory (Smrti) and discourse (Vaktr).

Hence it  must be recalled  that the search for  the Absolute  cannot  be  outside our experience. It  is from our  day to day  experience  that we  have  to find the Truth – the Absolute , which is  indeed the  self  of the individual . Faith on the  Saastras  helps  us in this pursuit.

The very process of ‘ knowing ’  involves subject-object distinction .The self in itself is not a knowing subject .Nor can the  mind by  itself  know anything ,being inert (Jada)

In the  absence of the   knowing subject , there is no scope of for  any  Pramaanaa.

For a knowing  subject  to  be  available , a blend of  the Self  and the mind is required , as is a mutual  superimposition of the  self  and  the  not-self (itaretaraadhyaasaa

 SUM  UP :

The substantive cannot be grasped  by the  senses – Agraahya / Apremya. The method of

Vedanta  is one of negation which in that process differentiates the Reality from   all objects in the Universe. When I know who I am, what I will know is I am the substantive for all - the intellect, the mind and the body as well.

The Reality cannot be objectified, it can be recognised  only as the witness-consciousness behind the mind

I am functioning as the knower (pramata). If Brahman is limitless, It cannot be a prameyam, because prameyam is limited by pramata; prameyam is notpramata. So we have to negate all known objects ( all prameyams); but this is an endless job. The best way to negate prameyams is to negate pramata. If there is no pramata, there is no prameyam.

 Method of Vedanta     3  -  The Reality  

 

Self – the only Reality  -  The Substantive 

 

The  general belief is that the world consists of  objects (entities) which are perceived  or otherwise presumed to exist as entities, bysubjects (observers).These  subjects are defined  as  , by  various philosophies as the Individual , the mind or the consciousness.

 
The subject-object relation arises  with the mind or in the mind, ontological status of each or both of them is a philosophical question that is closely related to the analysis of the mind. 

 

As Krishna says in the  Bhagavd Gita (13.2)

 

Know that I am the Knower of the field (kshetrajna) in all the fields (kshetras). The knowledge of kshetra and of kshetrajna is what I call true wisdom . 

 

But , the Self is  Aprameya – not cognizable  ( by  senses)  ……

Etat aprameyam” (It is unknowable)  - Brhadaranyaka Upanishad : IV.iv.21

None of the criteria by which we know things is applicable in respect of Brahman - Attributes (guna),species (jati), relationship (sambandha) and function ( kriya)-Brahman being without attributes  (Nirguna), without any  Relation (Asanga)  and  without involved in Action (Akarta).

 

“Yato Vacho Nivartante apraapya manasa saha” ( Words, alongwith  mind, return without  reaching it)  - Taittriya Upanishad  2.4.1

 

How , then , to know the Self -  Generally the means is  to  distinguish the Reality from whatever  is cognizable by us . The  sruti  again  says ,

Manasaa eva anudrashtavyam” (Through the mind alone It is to be realised)- Brhadaranyaka Upanishad : IV.iv.20

To  overcome this  difficulty Vedanta employs a synthesis of  objective and subjective method .

 

Even  though, in Vedanta ,Sruti  alone  is taken as  the Pramanaa , it doesnot  mean that there is  no  place for  reason in the system.Sruti does not supersede reason  nor  soes reason  become  superfluous  on account of  Sruti . Even as Sruti  provides  insight  into  the nature of the Reality 

Reasom has  to  explicate  it , make it intelligible and  tenable , and  prepare the ground  for direct and  immediate apprehension of the Reality. Reason plays an  important  role in  transformation of  mediate  knowledge  into an immediate ( Aparoksha Jnan) knowledge.

 

The synthetic  method of  Vedanta emerges beautifully in Chandyoga  Upanishad  where Uddalaka

describes the  objective  manifestation of the  self  of the Universe ,and immediately takes a swift turn  to state that the Universal  Self is identical  with the self  the disciple Svetaketu

 

Let us look  at some scriptural statements first,  to  distinguish the   Reality …..

 

-  …Ekam  eva  Adhvitiyam ( Only one  without a  second– ( Ch.Up 6.2.1)    

 

- …. Satyam Jnanam Anantam Brahma  (  Existence-Consciousness-Infinity )  [Taitt.Up. 2.1.]

 

To  understand  these  statements we shall now  dwell in  further details…

 

( A ) Looking  at  - “ Ekam  eva  Adhvitiyam”.

 

One way of establishing duality  is  by proving the reality of difference. Differences are of three kinds:

 

Svagata bheda:The difference of a tree from its leaves, flowers, fruits, etc, is the difference within an object. 

 

Sajaatiiya bheda :  The difference of one tree from another tree is the difference between objects of the same species.

 

Vijaatiiya bheda :The difference of a tree from a rock is the difference between objects of different species.

 

None of these differences exists with regard to the Reality (Brahman), since there is nothing else of the same species (Ekam)  or of a different species (Adhvitiya) and there is no internal difference because Brahman is homogeneous and  does not have parts ( Avibhakta).

 

So,  there is nothing like it , nothing  unlike it .

 

The word “one’ negates Sajaatiiya bheda, the word ‘only’ negates Svagata bheda and the words ‘without a second’ negates Vijaatiiya bheda. Brahman is free from all limitations.

 

It  is to be  rememberd that ‘The Only  one without a second ‘ is a  clarifying statement and not a causal  statement stated along with  the causal statement .

B.(i) Visheshana is that characteristic by which an object can be separated (or marked out) from other objects that belong to the same class. Examples are the color of a flower that distinguishes it from other flowers, like yellow color separating a yellow flower from red flower. Yellow or red color is the Visheshana among the class of flowers. Similarly the thick soft skin in the neck of a cow is the Visheshana  that distinguishes the cow from other four leg animals.

Lakshana is a marker (or a quality) that separates an object from all objects that does not belong to its class.

Space allows all objects to be contained in it, yet none of the objects have this quality of space. So the Lakshana of space is to contain all objects.Brahman is Unlimited / Infinite. Infinity is the Bhavarupa Visheshana of Brahman that separates Him from the humans.

We will now apply the Visheshana to distinguish Brahman from the multitude of names and  forms .

Brahman and humans belong to the same class ,  for , both have knowledge . However the

humans have limited knowledge, while Brahman is omniscient (infinite knowledge)

Thus infinity is the (Bhavarupa ) Visheshana of Brahman that distinguishes Him from the humans.

Abhava Rupa Visheshana of Brahman (  of  the ‘is not’ type) -  

Brahman is described as…

apahatapapma vijaro vimrutyu vishoko vijighatso apipasaha ‘ - (Ishopanishad – verse 8)

Brahman is not affected by dharma and adharma, he is not subject to change( Avikaara) , he is not subject to destruction ( Avinaashi) , he  neither has emotions like sorrow nor does he feel hunger and thirst etc. , unlike the humans . For all these human qualities of  "is", Brahman exhibits "is not". So "is not" is the Abhavarupa Visheshana that separates Brahman from humans - of names and forms .

It is clear from the above that the Visheshanas "infinite” and "is not" separate Brahman from the humans .

 

( C ) Now taking  the second  scriptural statement – ‘satyam Jnanam Anantham’..  we shall review the Lakshanas (Characteristics) that help us understand Brahman

In the statement  “satyam jnanam anantam brahma” each of the  three words, satyam, jnanam and anantam has a different meaning, but together they denote brahman. Here satyam, jnanam anantam are identical with Brahman , for herein  they do  not  denote attributes ( Visheshana) ,  but function as a Distinguishers that characterise . A particular quality which distinguishes any given entity is called lakshana – It is a lakshanam because it is a  distinguisher (vyavartakam )

 

Satyamn, jnanam anantam Brahman dwells on  lakshana of Brahman -  both Svaroopa Lakshna and  Tatastha Lakshana .

 

 

Svaruupalakshanam : Refers  to the essential nature which is  present in that thing as long as the it  lasts and distinguishes it  from the  rest

 

  'Svaroopam sat vyavartakam svaroopa lakshanam' - That which is intrinsic to a thing

and at the same time it distinguishes the thing from all the other objects

 

 

Tatasthalakshanam—  an accidental attribute and  not intrinsic to the thing , which helps to distinguish the thing as long as  the distinguishing factor is present  or associated with the thing -the Tatastha   Lakshana

 

Is an indicative meaning , pointer and  is incidental. Is  an non-intrinsic lakshana.-as in  pointing to the river from a  distance , since the same cannot be seen , one would point to a tall tree on its  bank ....The  tree  here is the Tatstha Lakshana of the river.

 

'Kadachit kartve sati vyavartakam tatastha lakshanam'.

 

Brahman as Cause of the creation (jagat karana ) is a Tatastha Lakshana.

C (i) Satyam :

The Jagat which  is  the effect (Karya) is a variation in name and form; the essence belongs to the Cause , the Kaarana . The variation of form in effect  (Karya) was not there prior to  the existence of  the effect , manifests  during the period of  the effect  and disappears again when the effect  dissolves. But the instrumental cause  of  the effect always maintains its  swarupa .

So we conclude that the  effect is asatya (unreal) and the  cause  is satya (real).

yat rupena yat nischitam tat rupam na vyabhicharati tat satyam” ( Once an object known in a form always maintains that form is real)

yat rupena yat nischitam tat rupam vyabhicharat tat anritam " (An object once known in a form, fails to present in that form always, is unreal).

So Jagat as effect  is unreal; Brahman as the  cause  Real. This is the first Lashana separating Brahman from Jiva.

“ Satyam” indicates that the entity is an eternally existing entity (Trikale api thishtathi) , the word,”Jnanam” is juxtaposed to show that the entity is not inert but that it is a conscious entity.

When two or more words in a sentence, each of which has a different meaning, together denote one and the same object, they are said to be in apposition (Samanadhikaranyam )

That is  the literal  meaning is not  taken. Here the Sruti employs  ekatve  Samanadhikaranyam – referring to  attribute description to distinguish/Identify the thing . Although the three words are distinguishers ( Vyavartakas ), they are  not Just  attributes ( Visheshana).

Satyam thus indicates essential menaing (lakshyartha) not  word meaning  (vachyartha)

Likewise , each word is a explanatory equivalent and in its fullest meaning, governs the other two and thereby gives new, expanded meanings  rendering the knowledge  general ( nirvishesha ) 

C ( ii ) Jnanam : The intellect perceives the knowledge of pot, cloth etc. These are distinctive knowledge, specific to the pot, cloth respectively. This mode of mind ( vritti jnana)  is a specific attribute of the object like pot or cloth. The pot, cloth etc. are substantive (visheshya) and the specific knowledge of pot cloth etc. are attributive knowledge (visheshana). The attributive knowledge is unreal because , without substantive, there cannot be attribute knowledge - the pot, cloth etc. appear and or disappear now and  then .

Hence when Sruti declares that Brahman is knowledge (Consciousness), it cannot be the vritti jnana, because Brahman is real; the consciousness that is described in the Saastras is the attributive to the substantive Brahman, which is Real.

But even such an entity , eternally existing and  conscious as well  can be a limited entity, with a limited location, existing along with other entities, i.e., one among many.

Hence  ‘Anantam’ is juxtaposed to show that it is infinite , space-wise, time-  besides It there is no other entity ( of the same ontological status)

C (iii) Anantham : Brahman being Real, is different from all Karya or effects. Brahman being of the nature of consciousness, is different from Jada. Now there is the Jiva who is neither Karya nor Jada. So if Brahman is shown to be different from Jiva, then we have separated Brahman from everything else, for which we have to focus on the Lakshana which separates Brahman from the Jivas. The scriptures call Brahman as Anantha or limitless.

The famous sutra  in  Brahma Sutra - : Janmadyasyayatah ( ...tat Brahmah ) which  means

Brahman is that from which Creation ( shristi ) etc. (as also Sthiti and Laya) takes place.

Brahman is Utpathi shristi, sthiti, laya karanam. These  are Brahman’s  Thatastha  lakshanam

 

But being the cause of Creation etc. is not intrinsic to the nature of Brahman. However ,these  ( shristyadi karanatva lakshana ) help us to distinguish Brahman from jagat or jiva

 

 

The Sruti , Acharya says , has used  the words  ingeniously.. Satyam word is used but the

limitation created by the word Satyam will be neutralised by Anantam. Likewise the limitation

created by the word Jnanam  is be neutralised  by Satyam and by Anantam.

 

So This statement  indicates the  one  indivisible Brahman

 

(D) Vedanta employs  another method of  negation (nishedha mukha bodhanam) : By the elimination of all differences due to limiting adjuncts - “Neti , Neti”.

One positive method (‘vidhi mukha bodhanam’) which we can use, with a slight modification. We said that Brahman cannot be defined by relationship, because Brahman is asanga. While this is so, in so far as  real relationship is concerned, it is not so  when it comes to a question of unreal relationship.  As an unreal relationship between Substratum (adhishtanam) and adhyasa, Brahman can be defined.

Satyam Jnanam Anantam 

We have  understood the  Reality  w.r.t. Bheda and Visheshana

Now taking  the second  scriptural statement – ‘satyam Jnanam Anantham’..  we shall review the Lakshanas (Characteristics) that help us understand Brahman

In the statement  “satyam jnanam anantam brahma” each of the  three words, satyam, jnanam and anantam has a different meaning, but together they denote brahman. Even as they are Lakshanas, they do  not  denote attributes ( Visheshana),but function as a Distinguisher (vyavartakam)

Satyamn, jnanam anantam Brahman dwells on  lakshana of Brahman -  both Svaroopa Lakshna and  Tatastha Lakshana .

Svaruupalakshanam : Refers  to the essential nature which is  present in that thing as long as the it  lasts and distinguishes it  from the  rest .

 'Svaroopam sat vyavartakam svaroopa lakshanam' - That which is intrinsic to a thing

and at the same time it distinguishes the thing from all the other objects

 - Tatasthalakshanam—  an accidental attribute and  not intrinsic to the thing , which helps to distinguish the thing as long as  the distinguishing factor is  present  or associated with the thing -the Tatastha   Lakshana .     'Kadachit kartve sati vyavartakam tatastha lakshanam'.

 Brahman as Cause of the creation (jagat karana )  is a Tatastha Lakshana.

C (i) Satyam :

The Jagat which  is  the effect (Karya) is a variation in name and form; the essence belongs to the Cause , the Kaaran . The variation of form in effect  ( Karya) was not there prior to  the existence of  the effect , manifests  during the period of  the effect  and disappears again when the effect  dissolves. But  the instrumental cause of  the effect always maintains its  swarupa .

So we conclude that the  effect is asatya (unreal) and the  cause  is satya (real).

yat rupena yat nischitam tat rupam na vyabhicharati tat satyam” ( Once an object known in a form always maintains that form is real)

So Jagat as effect  is unreal; Brahman as the  cause  Real.

The root meaning of  Sat is existence  but the  construed meaning  is  ‘is’  ie. ‘existence in time’  thereby being  time-bound. This cannot  denote Brahman.

When juxtaposed with the word Anantam the word  Satyam  gets released from the time bound concept thereby rendering the Lakshyartha ( Indicated Meaning) - Timeless existence

“ Satyam” thus indicates that the entity is an eternally existing entity (Trikale api thishtathi) and hence is  Real .

When juxtaposed  with the word,”Jnanam” it means that the entity is not inert but that it is a conscious entity. Renders the meaning as ever existing, changeless knowledge  .

C ( ii ) Jnanam : The intellect perceives the knowledge of pot, cloth etc. These are distinctive knowledge, specific to the pot, cloth respectively. This mode of mind ( vritti jnana)  is a specific attribute of the object like pot or cloth. The pot, cloth etc. are substantive (visheshya) and the specific knowledge of pot cloth etc. are attributive knowledge (visheshana). The attributive knowledge is unreal because , without substantive, there cannot be attribute knowledge - the pot, cloth etc. appear and or disappear now and  then.

Hence when Sruti declares that Brahman is knowledge (Consciousness), it cannot be the vritti jnana, because Brahman is real; the consciousness that is described in the Saastras is the attributive to the substantive Brahman, which is Real.

But even such an entity , eternally existing and  conscious as well  can be a limited entity, with    a limited location, existing along with other entities, i.e., one among many- a  la Universe .                             

Hence  ‘Anantam’ is juxtaposed to show that it is infinite , space-wise, time-wise. Besides it    there is no other entity (of the same ontological status).This thus signifies limitless knowledge       or the knowledge itself. Having negated the limited aspect of knowledge, knowledge is freed       from   all limitation -  Knowledge that  is Real & Eternal

C (iii) Anantham : Brahman being Real, is different from all Karya or effects. Brahman being of the nature of consciousness, is different from Jada. Now there is the Jiva who is neither Karya nor Jada. So if Brahman is shown to be different from Jiva, then we have separated Brahman from all entities .                   

The Sruti , Acharya says , has used  the words  ingeniously.. Satyam word is used but the

limitation created by the word Satyam will be neutralised by Anantam. Likewise the limitation  created by the word Jnanam  is be neutralised  by Satyam and by Anantam.                                          

What remains is limitless knowledge—awareness—that which is
the invariable in all forms of knowledge. Therefore, awareness is Satyam and this
awareness – satyam - is limitless Brahman.                                                                                                          

This, then, is how Brahman is revealed by known words—by implication (lakshana) alone, not as the direct meaning of these words

The famous sutra  in  Brahma Sutra - : Janmadyasyayatah ( ...tat Brahmah ) which  means

Brahman is that from which Creation ( shristi ) etc. (as also Sthiti and Laya) takes place.

Brahman is Utpathi shristi, sthiti, laya karanam. These  are Brahman’s  Thatastha  lakshanam

But being the cause of Creation etc. is not intrinsic to the nature of Brahman. However ,these        

(shristyadi karanatva lakshana ) help us to distinguish Brahman from jagat or jiva

So This statement  indicates the  one  indivisible Brahman 

Such  harmony  is achieved  by  directing the mind  inwards – Nivritti , meaning  renouncing the external  objects and bringing the thoughts back – inwards thus  achieving tranquility of mind.

Happiness we  seek  is thus  ensured .

 ...Let  us now  see what can the mind  contribute and how......

- Antahkarana : Manas / Buddhi / Chitta (Memory)/ Ahampratyaya or Ahamartha (I

  notion  / ego) – All this together is  the Mind.

-  The mind is an entity that expresses as  thoughts ( Vritti)

-  Thoughts are momentary , as they  keep changing from moment to moment

-   Yet there is an awareness of these changes that is constant – that is the changeless        

   Consciouness.

 

-         The reflection of this changeless consciouness  renders the mind sentient and the mind is   able  to  Cognise the world of  objects.

-         This reflected consciousness in the mind is called  “Chidabhasa

-         The Mind and Chidabhasa together are called “Ahamkara” – the changing ‘I ‘).

-         The body, the ahamkara and atma together are called "jiva"- (‘I am the Karta / Bhogta’)

-         The Changeless I is  invoked  as a continuing entity  - is  the Sakshi , being the witness of the changing mind.

-         Hence there are  Two consciousness in existence - a knower-consciousness and another consciousness which is the substratum of that consciousness

 

     Prior  to  detailing these terms  Chidabhasa , Jiva , Brahman etc. we  shall touch  upon the  concept  of  mind.

 

   Nature & Function of the Mind :

 

In Vedanta, mind is considered as 'flow of thoughts' (Vritti Dhaara) . Just as a flow of water is called ‘river’, a flow of thoughts is the ‘mind’.More correctly it may be described as ‘the basis on which the thoughts flow, rather than the flow itself’. It is the mind which determines the nature of the flow of  thoughts. Just as Mumbai’s Mithi river is  quantum leaps away from the Ganges , the individual minds differ vastly in being the basis on which each  mind operates.

 

-   Mind  is a Subtle Matter.

-   Is a  Dravya (  Substance ) – is one  of the  nine categories of padarthas

-   Mind is a matter  since  it has  Gunaas ( Quality) – Budhi , a component  of  Mind is a one of

    the  24 Gunas (  among  14  that  apply to the  self ) 

-  Mind  is a matter  since  it has Gunaas

-  Mind  is  not an agent  of  knowledge  but  an instrument of  knowledge

    ( The  Agent is the  Individual Soul – Jiva )

-  Is also the locus of  valid  knowledge

-  Is an invariable accompaniment of  the self. Knowledge arises in the Self on account of the

   mind

To  understand this description , let us detail  the classification of  objects.The entire universe is divided into two sets:

 

Bhava-padartha                                                   Abhava-padartha                        

Dravya ( 5 elements,time,space,Mind)                     ---------|--------------         

Guna  (Visesha,Samanya & others)           Samsargabhava                      Anyonya Abhava

Karman                                                  (relational absence)                   (Mutual  Absence)

Samanya                                               Atyantabhava(absolute  absence)                       

Visesha                                                 Pragabhava   (pre-absence)

Samavaya                                             Pradhvamsabhava (destruction)         

                                               

 

 

Qualities reside in a locus which is different from the qualities ( Gunaas) and that locus is called a substance ( Dravya)

 Dravya  is a Bhava Padaartha ( Matter).Matter is something that has relative presence  but Jada  (nescience).

Mind & Brain :

Brain is static,Whereas mind is dynamic. Mind has to move to provide accessibility of the world to the knower by plugging in and plugging off the senses.

If the mind were just a function of the body, then we cannot explain with any clarity the Avasthaas - the waking state, dream, deep sleep, and super consciousness.

 For example, if the ego is the primary by-product of the workings of the brain, then what happens to it during deep sleep.

This  brings us to the  unique method of  Vedanta , which  explores the deep sleep state :

However , we shall discuss briefly  the concept of the Self  first and then  proceed.

Vedanta had a clear conception of the self , steers  itself  away  from  the  western dilemmas of Body Vs Mind , Self  Vs Ego , Mind Vs Consciousness etc in a  single stroke of defining the Self .

The Self  alone is the  subject. All others are not-self . As  Sankaracharya says- ‘It is obvious that the subject and the object — that is, the Self  and the Not-Self, which are as different as darkness and light are — cannot be identified with each other.

The Self is  different from the body , mind  and intellect.

The self  alone persists under all circumstances and is beyond  Space & Time .

However , the self   is conditioned  in  its  manifestation in the empirical  world.We shall see the different aspect of  the conditioning of the  Self later.

 Method of Vedanta - Brief Introduction 

Recognition of a continuous I without a vritti is  possible only if there is a constant consciousness other than the momentary consciousness of the mind, a constant I that exists even when the mind is absorbed  in thoughts relating to an external occurrence and is, therefore, not in a position to  entertain an ahamartha vritti. 

 To understand this Unchanging Consciousness as an object is  not possible , it being the subject.

‘You  cannot  know  the knower  of knowledge’- Br.Up.3-4-2

 ‘When  the  false identification of  the non-self is  removed , the intrinsic nature of Self  alone remains. This  is what is  meant  by saying  the Atman is known.

Vedanta , hence , reaches out to this understanding through a  process of  negation. However , there is one positive  method - as an ‘relationless relationship’ between the substratum and the  superimposition ( Adhishtana  and Adhyasa )

The method of  negation involves analysis of  the Three States (Avasthaa Trayaa) or the Five  sheaths  (Pancha Kosha ).This  analysis stand above all philosophical  exercises including  Speculative  philosophies.  Further, the analysis singularly reinforces the Concept of the  Self  in Indian Philosophical systems.

Fundamentals of vedAnta - Introduction

http://www.advaita-academy.org/talks/Fundamentals-of-vedAnta---Intr...

vedAnta Fundamentals: What vedAnta offers the world

http://advaita-academy.org/talks/vedAnta-Fundamentals-What-vedAnta-...

The Complete Vedanta Page- An important Article

http://c-radhakrishnan.info/advaitha.htm

Fundamentals of Vedanta Philosophy

http://books.google.ae/books/about/The_Fundamentals_of_Vedanta_Phil...

~Aham Brahmasmi~

~Tat Tvam Asi~

~Sat Chit Ananda~

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Replies to This Discussion

wow brilliant thank u

Excellent and well-organized material! Thankyou so very much!  Leda

Brilliant! This article really spoke to me on a deeper level... I will certainly be researching and walking the path of this philosophy and science of true "identity" called Vedanta...

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