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Thread: Brahma Sutras

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    Brahma Sutras

    Hari Om
    ~~~~~

    Namaste

    This is a continuation from the Ocean of Knoweldge post in the New to Sanatana Dharma folder.

    The discussion of the Brahma Sutras is not an entry level conversation, hence is posted here.

    It supposes that one have read some of the key Upanishads with comprehension. Now 100% comprehension? Nope as this would mean reading is no longer needed and one knows Brahman - and living this Reality.
    Now a good recommendation on reading was from sarabhanga's post:
    http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showpost.php?p=15630&postcount=13 and is oriented to a persons' level of development / progress in their spiritual pursuits. There are others and I will list a few out with the next post.

    That said, I offered to extend the conversation a bit to the Brahman Sutras and this post is that commitment. Am I the final autority? Nope and not even close. Just offering my progress and readings for those that have interest or curious at best.

    Brahma Sutras - Why?
    First and formost - ther realization and understanding of Brahman. Why else did Krsna Dwaipayana Vyasa ( Ved Vyasa) compose this? To remove any doubts on the discussion of Brahman in the Upanishads. That is, one Upanishad may say X and in another it says Y e.g. in this Upanishad it suggests Brahman is akasha, and what of Prana? and in this other Upanishad it mentions another position. I can give several additional examples, but lets leave that for a latter post.

    There is a reason they are called sutra's for a few reasons: Maximum concentrated knowledge of satyam (Truth) in the smallest amount of verbiage that allowed the student (sisya) to memorize these slokas easily.

    They are also concise, to limit and minimize the misreading of the sutra. Therein lies the pickle. They are so terse, that we (me) need an achara to assist us to extract the fruit. So enters all the sages that are realized in Paramarthika Satta or this Absolute Reality of Brahman. for it is they that extract the maximum yield from Vyasa's work.

    These sages wrote bhashyas or commentaries ( they , the sages are then are called Bhashyakarakas) on this work. There are some 14 bhashyas (+/-). to this great work Yet enter some of the great minds:
    Adi Shankara - Kevala Advaita View of Reality [unqualified, non-dual vision of Reality]
    Sri Ramanujachara - Visishtadvaita View of Reality [Qualified monism view of Reality]
    Sri Madhvacharya - Dvaita View Of Reality [dualism vision of Reality]
    These IMHO are the 3 main views, yet there are others i.e.
    Sri Nimbarkacharaya - Bhedabheda Philosophy
    Sri Vallabha and Suddhadcvaita [pure monism view], etc.

    So, if I were listening to Adi Shankra and the others, I would interpret what he says in the following way:
    Man/humans are identical with Brahman. One Brahman who is Sat-Chit-ananda, perfectly homogeneous. And this world is just a modification, vivarta, and is accomplished by this notion of maya.


    Ramanuja would most likely say , Man is a spark of the Divine. Brahman has attributes some say savisesha. This Brahman has all auspicious qualities. He contains within HimSELF every thing that exists. So for Ramanuja, Brahman is not totally homogeneous. He says 'just a milk is transformed into curd, so also Brahman has transformed HImSELF into the Universe' . The jiva are parts of the Supreme and controlled by Him. (I use male gender, only being consistent with the sages writings we find in the Upanishads).

    Madhva would say , Man is a servant unto God. There is God and there is jiva.

    Sri Nimbarkacharaya that was mentioned, he would say The universe is not unreal ( maya) but a manifestation of Brahman (niguna value or the absolute). Brahman is both Niguna (Absolute) and Saguna Relative field of creation with qualities) - the efficient and material cause of the world ( that is, of all creation).

    Now how often have you heard these views on HDF? Many many times. Its how one looks at Reality; The sages are all touching the same elephant, yet at different parts ( a reasonable metaphor that can be shaken apart, but indulge me with this orientation for now). Why so? This Reality we speak of is very Whole in itSELF.

    Pending the intellectual caliber and spiritual experiences of the acharayas describing this Truth, it may sound different or look different yet, it is just a different rung on the same latter getting the aspirant, sadhu, sanyasin to Reality.

    Reading the Brahma Sutras
    If one read the Brahama Sutra's what is one in store for? There are 4 Chapters (adhyaya's, some call canto's) with 16 padas or sections; there are 555 sutras or stitches, suktas to read.What would one read?
    • The 1st Adhyaya is called Samanvaya which unifies Brahman is the foundation for this work.
    • The 2nd Adhyaya is called Avirodha - this refutes or compares and contrasts other viewsfrom the opponents ( a purvapakshin) view i.e. is Brahman something else the Upanishad is discussing?
    • The 3rd Adhyaya is called Sadhana and deals with the destination of the soul, its journey; yet of great import the vidyas as a sadhana to realize Brahman.
    • The 4th Adhyaya called Phala or the fruits and benefit of realizing Brahman while on this earth.
    Lets just post the first sutra from each Adhyaya to give you a flavor:


    From the 1st
    Athato Brahmajijnasa
    Now, therefore, the enquiry into Brahman.

    Atha: now, then, afterwards; Atah: therefore; Brahmajijnasa: a desire for the knowledge of Brahman (the enquiry into the real nature of Brahman).

    From the 2nd
    Smrityanavakasadoshaprasanga iti chet na
    anyasmrityanavakasadoshaprasangat

    If it be objected that (from the doctrine of Brahman being the
    cause of the world) there would result the defect of there being no
    room for certain Smritis (we say) no, because (by the rejection of
    that doctrine) there would result the defect of want of room for some
    other Smriti.

    Smriti: the Sankhya philosophy; Anavakasa: no room; Dosha: defect; Prasangat: Result, chance; Iti: thus; Chet: if; Na: not; Anyasmriti: otherSmritis; Anavakasadoshaprasangat: because there would result the defect of want of room for other Smritis.

    From the 3rd
    Tadantarapratipattau ramhati samparishvaktah
    prasnanirupanabhya

    In order to obtain another body (the soul) goes enveloped (by
    subtle elements) (as appears from) the question and explanation (in
    the scripture, Chhandogya).

    Tadantarapratipattau:for the purpose of obtaining a fresh body (Tat:that, i.e. a body; Antara: different, another; Prati-pattau: in obtaining);Ramhati: goes, departs, Samparishvaktah: enveloped (by subtle elements); Prasna: from question; Nirupanabhyam: aid for explanations.

    From the 4th
    Avrittirasakridupadesat

    The repetition (of hearing, reflection and meditation on Brahman is necessary) on account of the repeated instruction by the scriptures.
    Avrittih: repetition, practice of meditation on Brahman (is necessary);
    Asakrit: not only once, many times, repeatedly; Upadesat: because of
    instruction by the scriptures.


    Let's take a break - the next post will be on the Upanishads commented within the Brahma Sutras e.g. Mundaka - 'the shaving' or the Upanishads for the shaved ones - the sannyasin. And of what orientation ? The a distinction between para vidya and apara vidua ( higher and lower knoweldge) for the sanyas' discrimination.


    Readings that guided these thoughts above: Brahma sutra analysis by Sivanada & Krsnanada; The Principle Upanishads by Sivananada, The Brahma Sutras , Commentary by Adi Shankara + additonal explainations by Swami Vireswarananda, Upanishads by Max muller; 112 Upanishads by KL Joshi.

    pranams,
    Last edited by yajvan; 08 September 2007 at 08:24 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  2. #2
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    Re: Brahma Sutras + Upanishads - A Conversation

    Hari Om
    ~~~~~
    Namaste,

    This post is about some Upanishads to consider and I belive are of great import.

    This was peviously offered and here to set the stage:
    How many potential Upanishads are there? As many Sakhas or branches , some call recensions. But how many? Well, the Rig Veda has 21 recentions, 109 for Yajur Veda, 1000 for Sama Veda and 50 for Atharva Veda = 1,180. Or a perfect 10; 1+1+8+0 = 10: the sum of the digits of 1,180. This 10 says Fullness of the Relative field of life = 1, and Fullness of the Absolute level of life or 0. This 10 is the Fullness of Saguna + Nirguna = Brahman.

    Why then do we hear of 10 core Upanishads? Or 13 found in the Brahma Sutras? We also hear of the 10 ( some say 11) core Upanishads the Adi Shankara commented on. The Muktika Upanishad helps us here. This Upanishad is a discussion between Sri Ram and Hanumanji.

    Sri Ram says the Mandukya Upanishad wisdom is enough to bring Liberation (kaivalya). Yet if one does not achieve this via this Upanishad , then the 10 must be considered. If not the 10, the 32 and one then should stop. He then says if desiring Moksha without the body then read the 108. So , Sri Ramachandra gives us a road map. Listing out the 108 is of little value as one just looks at the list and says 'nice list!' - Lets take a look first at the origin of the 108 to see what Veda they come from.
    Then lets take a look at the core 10 Sri Ram suggests.
    • 10 Upanishads are associated with the Rig Veda.
    • 16 Upanishads are associated with the Sama Veda
    • 19 Upanishads are associated with the White Yajurveda
    • 32 Upanishads are associated with the Black Yajurveda
    • 31Upanishads are associated with the Atharvaveda
      = 108 Upanishads recommended in the Muktika Upanishad
    A quick look at the 10 that are considered core [and that I have made core reading] are listed below. If one said what are your favorites from 10, it would have to be Chandogya & Brihadaranaka Upanishads, yet all of of excellent value.

    The Upanishad and a snippet (sutra) of the subject matter offered.

    1. Isa also known as Vajasaneyi Upanishad - the Inner ruler - all THIS is covered by the Lord
    2. Kena or Talavakara Upanishad - Who (kena) moves this World? This Creation?
    3. Katha - Dialog (katha) with Death (Yama) as the Guru
    4. Prasna - 5 Questions (prasna) and Prana as the breath of Life
    5. Mundaka - The shaving (Mundaka or Munda) for the shaved ones - the sannyasin. Distinction between para vidya and apara vidua ( higher and lower) knowledge.
    6. Mandukya - Frog (Manduka). Consciousness and its various forms. It's thought this Upanishad is called Frog, as the mind leaps from one state of consciousness to another. Also the Lord of the waters Varuna, a symbol for consciousness, assumes the shape of a frog as the rishi and praises Om in the Upanishad.
    7. Aitareya - Aitareya is the rishi Madhidasa Aitareya. The Unity of the individual with the Supreme - some say the relationship of the micro and the macro.
    8. Taittiriya - Birds or partridges (Taittiri's). From food to bliss - this Upanishad covers a complete field of wisdom, that is unparalleled.
    9. Chandogogya - Meter (Chandas of Sama Veda); Chant, Sama and Yajya - the path of wisdom and the re-valuation of Upasana in the light knowing vs. just performing.
    10. Brihadaranakya - The Great forest Book - That is, as it's an arayanaka; it is thought one takes this book for retreat. And it contains a 'forest' i.e. rich, flourishing, offers of knowledge.

    These are considered core as suggested from the Muktika Upanishad. If we added Svetasvatara Upanishad the 11, some say, are the Core Upanishads of that Adi Shankara's commentaries.

    If we added 2 additional Upanishads, Kaushitaki and Mahanarayana gives you the 13 of Veda Vyasa's Brahma Sutras. The 13th Upanishad of Mahanarayana and Maitrayani Upanishad ( that was not listed but recommended by Sivananda as important) is still in question in my mind.

    That said, and a point of reference. If you looked at all the suktas and text in the 13 Upanishads listed, the Brihadaranaka and Chandogya (some write Chhandoga) Upanishad make up 80% of the text of all 13 put together. A wealth of knowledge.

    One other item that is worth mentioning on a the next post is the story behind the naming of Taittiriya Upanishad. One is the classical explanation, the other is the spiritual import of this , and the wisdom of one of the greatest rishi's Yajnavalkya muni. More on this later.

    pranams,
    Last edited by yajvan; 12 September 2007 at 09:46 PM. Reason: adjusted a para here and there.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: Brahma Sutras

    hari Om
    ~~~~~


    Namaste,

    All the great archara's agree with the Brahma sutra's ... all are in harmony , until Badarayana (Ved Vyasa) posts his second sutra!!!

    Then every one says hold on, ' this is what he means' - and so starts the differing views of the same elephant.

    What does that sutra , Adhikarana 1.1.2, say?
    [ note how terse this stitch/sutra is ]

    Janmadyasya yatah
    Janmadi -origin;Asya- of this (world); Yatah - from which.

    (Brahman is implied here, as that is the subject of the Upanishads) from which the origin (i.e. the origin,sustenance and dissolution) of this (world proceed).

    From this, begins the crux of differing views!


    pranams,
    Last edited by yajvan; 09 March 2009 at 09:51 AM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  4. #4

    Re: Brahma Sutras

    Quote Originally Posted by yajvan View Post
    All the great archara's agree with the Brahma sutra's ... all are in harmany , until Badarayana (Ved Vyasa) posts his second sutra!!!

    Then every one says hold on, ' this is what he means' - and so starts the differing views of the same elephant.

    What does that sutra , Adhikarana 1.1.2, say?
    [ note how terse this stitch/sutra is ]

    Janmadyasya yatah
    Janmadi -origin;Asya- of this (world); Yatah - from which.

    (Brahman is implied here, as that is the subject of the Upanishads) from which the origin (i.e. the origin,sustenance and dissolution) of this (world proceed).

    From this, begins the crux of differing views!



    pranams,
    All the major commentaries diverge from the very first sUtra.

    For eg:
    For Shankara; After obtaining the necessary qualifications( mind control, desire for liberation, sacrificing fruits of Karma etc), the enquiry into Brahman is commenced.

    For Ramanuja; After completing the pUrva mImAmsa( and thus knowing its limited fruits), the desire to know Brahman originates.

    For Madhva; Immediately after the eligibility, and then for earning the grace of God for liberation, the enquiry into the nature of Brahman.

    The atha and aTha are given different interpretations by every commentrator.


    Study of every shAstra has some eligibility considerations, a topic of discussion and fruits of learning the shAstra. But what is the eligibility to know vedanta, what is the topic, and what are the benefits? This is addressed in the first sUtra and none of the commentrators are at unison regarding their opinions.
    He is the one on whom our hope depends. For if Hanuman survives, all we though dead are yet alive. But if his precious life be lost though living still we are but dead: He is our hope and sure relief -Jambavan (Yuddha Kanda. 74). Impossibility=Hanuman

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    Re: Brahma Sutras

    The word was infinite in the Param Vyom. Then she became two, three, and infinite numbered.
    That which is without letters (parts) is the Fourth, beyond apprehension through ordinary means, the cessation of the phenomenal world, the auspicious and the non-dual. Thus Om is certainly the Self. He who knows thus enters the Self by the Self.

  6. #6

    Re: Brahma Sutras

    If anyone is interested, we could walk through the principal commentaries of shankara(advaita) , ramanuja(vishistadvaita) and madhva(dvaita), sutra by sutra. For the other schools of bedha-abedha and dvaita-advaita and similar variants, due to the nature of self contradiction in the theory itself( abedha and bedha cannot coexist in absolute truth), there has been no commentrator of the stature of the triad mentioned above.

    Most of the studies done in vedanta are based on shankara and ramanuja, while the views of Madhva were primarily less known or understood due to his penchant for brevity but is getting increasing prominence in the academic circle these days.

    Shankara is unique in that he is one of the very few commentrators who upholds absolutism or non dualism. In his introduction of the BSB, he elaborates what is known as the adyAsa bhAshya( principle of superimposition) where he tries to establish on the basis of logic alone, that the basis of avidya is adyAsa.

    Ramanuja is unique in that he is the propounder of theistic or monotheistic vedanta. His is one of the earliest commentaries( of recent times) that expound the vedanta sutras in terms of a savisesha Brahman. Most of the Bhakti movements in medieval India owe their origin to Ramanuja.


    The most significant way in which Madhva differs from every other commentrator is that he alone posits that Brahman is only the nimitta kArana(instrumental cause) of the jagat, while all others agree that Brahman is both nimitta and upAdAna kAraNa(material cause) of jagat. Also, Madhva introduces the concept of Brahman and jiva being related to each other as bimba-pratibimba. ( object and its image). "God created man in his own image" - is perfectly applicable to Dvaita.

    Though it appears that all these views are correct in their own domain or perspective, each vedantin tries to prove that only his views are correct - thus there are lots of arguments and counter arguments in these commentaries, thus showing that Hindus are not merely blind believers but beleived in arriving at rational conclusions in matters of religion and philosophy. Unlike religions like Christianity and Islam where there is nothing like logic and everything must be accepted on faith, where the religion was propagated primarily through persuasion, threats of hell fire or force - Hindu traditions promoted themselves through logic(showing evidence) and non violence.
    He is the one on whom our hope depends. For if Hanuman survives, all we though dead are yet alive. But if his precious life be lost though living still we are but dead: He is our hope and sure relief -Jambavan (Yuddha Kanda. 74). Impossibility=Hanuman

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    Re: Brahma Sutras: A discussion?

    Hari Om
    ~~~~~~
    Quote Originally Posted by Madhavan View Post
    If anyone is interested, we could walk through the principal commentaries of shankara(advaita) , ramanuja(vishistadvaita) and madhva(dvaita), sutra by sutra.
    Namaste Madhhvan, and those that wish to discuss the Brahma Sutras i.e. Adhikarins:

    I think IMHO that ground work + discussions of sutras would be a valuable asset to consider.
    This has been my intent with the posts above and welcome all help, insights and contributions.

    Let me offer some ideas that I have been pursuing with the current course and speed of these postings:
    • I believe its valuable to compare and contrast the views of the achara's a bit more. I did this in post 1 above, yet going deeper on how they are different increase ones appreciation of the sutrakra's.
      You inherently suggest this in your post and I believe this is of value.
    • How is Brahman being viewed? Niguna, Saguna, etc. This is key and warrants of discussion e.g. qualified monism, non-qualified, etc.
    • Lets be sure we frame what section we're discussing as that creates the 'flavor' and orientation of the
      discussion - Sections 1,2,3 & 4.
    • How do sutrakara's see Brahman as a uniform topic of discussion and not talking of another Shasta? Badarayana exercises the following approach via the 6 (shad) lingas, some call this the 6 marks:
      - Agreement at the beginning and ending of the commentary
      - Repetition (as with Brahman we now this is the subject matter due to the repetition of Brahman)
      - Uniqueness of the subject at hand - that of the subject matter in discussion
      - Fruit (phala) of the knowledge when understood e.g. 'ripening'
      - Praise or athhavada
      - Reasoning (yukti) applied
    • Yet above all, keeping the forest always in view, the wholeness of what is being offered , vs. the leafs on each tree. Brahman is wholeness/fullness and if we sacrifice this for excruciating detail we fracture the essence of the overall value. If this is avoided, then the conversation is one of polemics.

      These things really help the reader and are inferred in the discussion when one compares and contrasts the sutras or any of the knowledge , as it 'teases' out the value.
    If this looks reasonable - lets go slowly. I like your 'sutra at a time' approach. We tend to dump too too much info, and those that are not familiar with the information are overwhelmed - then its just a two person conversation , and this is of little interest to most ( and little interest to me - the goal for me is a community conversation).

    See what you and others think - and add to the proposal above.

    pranams,
    Last edited by yajvan; 13 September 2007 at 09:44 AM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  8. #8

    Re: Brahma Sutras: A discussion?

    Quote Originally Posted by yajvan View Post
    If this looks reasonable - lets go slowly. I like your 'sutra at a time' approach. We tend to dump too too much info, and those that are not familiar with the information are overwhelmed - then its just a two person conversation , and this is of little interest to most ( and little interest to me - the goal for me is a community conversation).

    See what you and others think - and add to the proposal above.
    Pranams,

    That looks ok. What we could do is open a separate thread for each pAda, like Brahma sutra 1.1( first chap., first sec.), Brahma sutra 1.2 etc. In each of these threads, there could be one post made for the view of each of the major commentary - a brief summary of the commentary should suffice as whole translations can make it too big, complicated and full of gory technical details.

    If we keep it to just one sUtra per day, it should make a digestible reading material for all. If someone on this forum has any knowledge of interpretation other than the three principal commentrators, they are welcome to post them alongside these commentaries.

    These sets of posting should make room for an interesting discussion and exchanges. I will try to answer the doubts of anyone to the best of my knowledge.

    Similar comparisons are possible for the commentaries on Gita and principal upanishads at a later date.

    A typical thread might look like this:

    Title: Brahma sutras 1/1 { first pAda(section) of the first adhyAya(chapter) )

    Post 1: General classification by Shankara.
    Post 2: General classification by Ramanuja
    Post 3: General classification by Madhva

    Post 4: sUtra 1 by Shankara
    Post 5: sUtra 1 by Ramanuja
    Post 6: sUtra 1 by Madhva

    ....
    and so on.
    He is the one on whom our hope depends. For if Hanuman survives, all we though dead are yet alive. But if his precious life be lost though living still we are but dead: He is our hope and sure relief -Jambavan (Yuddha Kanda. 74). Impossibility=Hanuman

  9. #9

    Re: Brahma Sutras: A discussion?

    I'll urge Madhavan, Yajvan, atanu et.al to proceed with "a sutra-at-a-time" approach of the BS, covering all the major later commentaries in a summary form. Other like me can join when we have a significant point to add. Even if is a conversation between 2-3 persons, it adds value by means of srabana for others.

    My personal view is that philosophies (including Advaita) have been propounded by acharyas for a more political purpose of lokasangraha. They try to "bend" the actual sutra from their own particular philosophical standpoints.


    However the rational mind can approach the infinite only by means of a philosophical system, and there is no one right or wrong philosophy. Let's absorb the view points on Brahma and also try to understand what Bhagvan Badaranaya actually wanted to say as per our mental capacities ~ with the hope that our antahkarana becomes more purified in persuit of this activity and takes us a step closer to brahma darsana.

    Regards.

    PS: I am biased to advaita system as Badarayana is a Preceptor of the lineage Shankaracharya, while in no other known guru parampara (other than those which have originated from Gaudapada), Ved Vyasa himself appears as a teacher. But many arguments stem from his works .
    What is Here, is Elsewhere. What is not Here, is Nowhere.

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    Re: Brahma Sutras

    Namaste All,

    Can we have links to full english translations of commentaries by three acharyas, if available? I personally like to first obtain the synthetic view, then dissect and finally synthesize again. Also, it may be a good practice to keep related things together for ready reference.

    The major differences have cropped up due to different style of subdividing the sections into topics. Upto the section level, as far as I know, the divisions are unanimously agreed but further division of topic varies considerably. Further Sutras do not specify the references. So every commentator is free to draw upon some Upanishadic passage as the reference and this varies a lot.

    And these differences crop up from predilections. For example Shankara proceeds from the premise that Brahman is indivisible, uniform, and material and efficient cause. From this premise the fragmentation (in the Universe) is apparent and not really real. The premise is that there is no second.

    Ramanuja accepts the fragmentation as real but he accepts the fragmented parts to be of the nature of knowledge (same as Brahman). So, for an observer there is another. For Shankara this is a wrong premise, since Upanishads say the Brahman is the eye of the eye and mind of the mind. Moreover, personally I do not understand what Ramanuja says about the nature of the boundaries? Of what material the boundaries are made of? Ramanuja is also criticized by madhava since Upanishad says "any one seeing any difference in Brahman goes from deathg to death". So, as per Madhava, there cannot be partitions in Brahman.

    Based on the same grounds, Madhava has separated Jiva and Brahman. As per Madhava, a Jiva can never be Brahman. Brahman is only the efficient cause. But Upanishads definitely say "Like rivers losing their identity on merging with ocean -----". More severe will be the problem to explain the nature of the division between Jiva and Brahman. What is the nature of the material that connects Jiva and Brahman? Or if there is no connection, then how Brahman is known to Jiva and Jiva is known to Brahman?

    I feel that Madhava and Shankara, especially, and all Acharyas, in general, are saying nearly the same thing with different emphasis on different aspects required during the so-called journey. The differences are immaterial to attainment of the Goal. It is true that Jiva can never become Brahman. One who has the notion that "I am Jiva", is dvaita. And this remains true till the Advaita Turya is attained with finality.


    Yoga Vasista explains the differences beautifully. It says, whatever transpires in consciousness is true, since consciousness is true.


    My personal view is that philosophies (including Advaita) have been propounded by acharyas for a more political purpose of lokasangraha. They try to "bend" the actual sutra from their own particular philosophical standpoints.
    I rather feel that the Acharyas are nimmitta only. God only gives different views. For a beginner, Advaita is going to be nearly useless. Even till the end, Guru has to be considered another and superior only. Like Ramana says: "Do not apply Advaita to Guru (Ishwara)".


    Now the second level of fight begins. Whom to consider the Guru. Advaitins consider Narayana as Guru and Shadashiva as the object of knowledge. Others consider, Shiva as a mere mortal bhakta of Vishnu-Narayana, who is the goal (in Rig Veda Narayana is the sage who wrote Purusha Sukta).

    Though this difference is hard to overcome, but herein also, I feel it is immaterial for attaining Brahman. In Mahanarayana Upanishad, for example, the sage teaches meditation on any form.


    The commonality, as per me, is the steps enumerated in Yoga Sutras. Attaining concentration with manifested aspects and then transcending to the unmanifested in Samadhi. For concentration on manifested also, first the gross (graspable objects) then concentration on the ungraspable (such as on the awareness).


    'Athato Brahmajijnasa' encomasses this full journey till the end of the enquiry. One may note that the journey begins the moment Jiva separates from Brahman. Initial ignorance of separateness and the consequent troubles are also the part of the journey. This is my view.


    Om Namah Shivaya
    Last edited by atanu; 18 September 2007 at 05:11 AM.
    That which is without letters (parts) is the Fourth, beyond apprehension through ordinary means, the cessation of the phenomenal world, the auspicious and the non-dual. Thus Om is certainly the Self. He who knows thus enters the Self by the Self.

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