shrutisAra samuddharaNam (Part 3)

The shrutisAra samuddharaNam


shri toTakAchArya

An Overview by C.S.Baskaran
(Part 3)

Read Part 2

In spite of the contradiction pointed out to his theory as above, the Dvaitin contends further that by the same argument the principal statement “tat tvam asi” renders the indwelling self unreal, in which case what is the difference between the two sentences   “mind is Brahman” and “indwelling self is Brahman”? This is answered as follows:

Taking the first sentence “mind is Brahman”, the relationship between the two words mind and Brahman is that of effect and cause. Hence we understand the unreality of the effect – the mind – as in the case of  “pot is clay”. As for the second, the indwelling self can never be created and never be born – only the body has birth.

Therefore the indwelling self and Brahman are intrinsically the same and therefore one only. In all the Upanishads mind is said to be the product of the cause that is Brahman. Hence the mind is clearly understood as unreal. However the Upanishads never mention the indwelling self as having been created by Brahman, for he entered in all beings as the indwelling self. Therefore, that the indwelling self is different from mind, body, space, etc, is recognized.

This ‘entry as indwelling self’ statement should not be misunderstood as a product from Brahman as there is no cause-effect relation. Hence, one cannot look upon the indwelling self as unreal. In this context, the Principal statements like “tat tvam asi “ and others between indwelling self and Brahman, having the same case ending relationship, should not lead to the misunderstanding of the indwelling self as unreal, as in the statement “salt water” ( lavaNam jalam ) where ocean is the cause  for the salt. In view of the above refutations, the indwelling self is not even a little different from Brahman.

Again the opponent asks why, having spoken of the entry of Brahman into all beings as the indwelling self, there is the necessity for all the Principal statements and what really they declare. The reply is that in such a case of even the slightest difference being accepted as intrinsic to the indwelling self, then the consequent bondage (saMsAritvam) could never be eliminated by any number of injunctions or Principal statements. In the world, it is found that the inherent quality of an object is quite natural to it and cannot be negated by words. For example the coolness of water is a natural quality and the phrase “hot water” does not affect that quality existing in it. It would be illogical to imagine the influence of any mere statement of words to change the intrinsic quality of a substance, whereas accidental qualities superimposed by association with another substance can be negated by the statement of the real nature of the original substance. These refutations show that the statement “tat tvam asi” is not meant for meditation as an instruction. It is also not meant to eulogies the inner self.

Thus we have the refutation of the opponent’s claim that Brahman is of the nature of individual self  alone: the cause of the Universe, Brahman, is known as the indwelling self when it is available with a limiting adjunct (upAdhi), the gross, subtle and causal bodies (sthUla sUkShma  karaNa sharIram-s). It is just like the outer space encased as pot space inside a pot, being all pervasive. Vedanta does not reveal Brahman to be of the nature of the individual self at all. If Brahman is attributed with the individual self’s finite status, then the subtlety and infinitude will get falsified, where as the alternative is to invalidate the  individual’s nature in bondage. Also the Principal statement will not serve the purpose of eliminating the finitude of the seeker.

Further, a grammatical analysis of the Principal sentence disproves the opponent’s interpretation and supports the above refutation. While interpreting a sentence, first the subject (noun) is combined with a verb and afterwards the remaining part of the sentence is arranged to convey its complete meaning. In the Principal statement the first word “tvam”, which is the subject, is combined with the verb “asi” to mean thou art (tvam asi). Then there arises the eagerness to know “what I am” by the student hearing those two words from his Guru. To fulfill the eagerness or expectancy of the student/seeker, the word “tat” which refers to Brahman is provided to convey “thou art that”. The natural order (anvaya) of the words should be “tvam tat asi”. Without the verb even a thousand nouns if not connected syntactically will not convey any idea. Therefore among the words of a sentence, the verbs alone are predicated to complete the expectancy of the listener/reader, since it produces the knowledge of either an instruction or prohibition or a revelation of a fact.

As per Panini sUtra I.iv.105, the word “asi ” refers to a second person (maddhyama purusha eka vachanam) and is always connected to the noun (yuShmati ) “tvam” is the meaning. There is no exception to this rule. Therefore, the “tvam” word of the Principal statement should join with the verb “asi” and finally with “tat” to complete. Whereas, as per the statement of the opponent, the sentence formed would be “tadasi tvam”, which is totally wrong grammatically. This was explained in the beginning, with the indwelling self having been introduced to the knowledge of its elevated Brahman status by the word “tvam” in the Principal statement “tat tvam asi”. The grammatical analysis reveals the same. When the student is told “you are” by the Guru interpreting the principal statement “tat tvam asi”, the question “what am I?” arises to the student. That is answered by the Guru as “you are that Brahman” (tat tvam asi). The term “tat” here refers to existence (sat) which has been introduced in the scripture as “ in the beginning this was existence alone, one only, without a second” (Ch.Up.VI.ii.1).

Why does one not experience the bliss, if the Principal statement revealing the oneness with Brahman is true? One should have known this already. Why is there a need for a scriptural statement? The sense organs of the individual are naturally inclined towards worldly pleasures. Starting with ignorance, a person gains knowledge through the sense organs of the external world of pleasures. One never attempts to know the true nature of oneself, since everything is designed to know the non-self until one takes up to Vedanta. This is evidenced by the scriptures as well: “the self existent Lord afflicted the outgoing senses, therefore one sees the outer world and not the inner-self. The rare discriminating man, desiring immortality, turns his eyes away from all ( sense objects ) and then sees the indwelling self” (Ka.Up. II.i.1). The Gita also declares “just as the wind carries away a boat on the waters, the mind that yields to the wandering senses, carries away his discrimination” (II.67). Again in VI.24 it says, “completely giving up all desires arising from thoughts of the world, and fully restraining the senses with the mind itself, from all sides…”

Because of the above reasons, one should not blindly assert that there cannot be any oneness of the individual self with Brahman. Many shruti sentences reveal this oneness of individual self with Brahman (in the beginning, sustenance and dissolution of the creation), at all times. Liberation is unconditional and attained through the knowledge of the self. However, one should have the desire for liberation and has to qualify through the four fold practice of disciplines (sAdhana chatuShTaya sampatti). If there is an insistence still on meditation as a means for liberation in the future, it is refuted that such an instruction is not there in the Principal sentences. Also, regarding a possible suggestion to add the word meditate (upAsva) to the Principal sentence, this would affect the  “apouruSheyatvam” as veda is anAdi. Vedas are manifest by Ishvara. Hence no words can be added. Also, it is against the Mimamsa rule that one cannot drop or add words to the messages of Veda. Neither does the shruti give any such injunctions that can generate liberation.

Read Part 4 (final)