What is ‘brahman’ like?

We all know that ‘brahman‘ being ‘avAngmanasagocara‘ (अवाङ्ग्मनसगोचर – 1, vedAntasAra), is ‘beyond the reach of words and thought.’ It is NOT available for perceptual knowledge either through the five senses or the mind within this time-space-causational world we live in and interact with. Hence, there is no way to show brahman, “It is like this” by pointing with a finger.

The kena Upanishad admits this fact openly; it says, “We don’t know how to teach It.” – (1.3).

The mANDUkya Upanishad speaks about It in apophatic terms for a little while, but hastens to declare that “It is inexpressible” and even adds, “It is unthinkable” – (mantra 7) !

However, the brihadAraNyaka sticks its neck out and gives not one or two, but three illustrations to show how brahman is like.

Gems From 1.4.7, BUB

“He who meditates upon each of the totality of aspects of the Self does not know. The Self alone is to be meditated upon, for all these are unified in It. Of all these, this Self alone should be realized “– 1.4.7, BU

Shankara has written one of his longest of commentaries on the mantra at 1.4.7, brihadAraNyaka Upanishad. He presents therein a very lucid, comprehensive and highly instructive account of the entire spectrum of Advaita teaching — right from the origination of the manifest manifold to its sublation and attainment of liberation. I feel that it is a “must-study” for all earnest seekers. I recapitulate below a few of the Gems that I could glean from his bhAshya.

1.  All Vedic means consist of meditation and rites are co-extensive with this manifested, relative universe. They depend on several factors such as the agent. They culminate in identity with Hiranyagarbha. It’s a result achieved through effort. Continue reading

Free Will and Choice in the Dualistic World

S&T is a creature of S and T!
In the absence of S and T, S&T gets asphyxiated; S&T doesn’t survive.

Perhaps, you have already guessed S&T stands for Science and Technology; S and T are Space and Time.

Science and Scientists work where Space, Time and Substance (material) exist out there facilitating an observation. Their entire edifice is based on causal relatonships – a prior cause, p1, giving raise to an effect, p2, over a time interval. The mAdhyamika Buddhist philosophy also is based on this principle. A given effect in the present is said to result from summation of all the antecedent causes. The cause-effect relationship invokes “Mind space,” when there is no tangible physical space present,

But what happens if Space and Time are merely “unreal or imaginary”? Can causal relationships exist without a mind? Continue reading

World, The Only Hospital

Swedish Health | P2S Inc.The entire world is like a huge Hospital!

We get admitted into it when we are afflicted by the “Disease” called “ajnAna” (i.e. ignorance of Knowing what we are in truth – disembodied brahman). This disease manifests with many symptoms – unique to each patient. There is no other place in the whole Universe where one can work to rid oneself from his/her disease. 

There are many specialists, doctors, nurses, ward boys and so on to help the patients to administer a medicinal antidote suitable for each so that they may get rid of their disease. But each patient has to take his/her medicine. Just looking at others or listening to the talks of their caregivers and wishes of their well-wishers will not work, however beautiful may be the doctors or however enthralling their words and blessings may be. Howsoever superhuman a patient may imagine the caregivers to be, they are still a part of the Hospital only.

After all, none has really lost his/her health! Everyone is eternally Healthy (swasthata). But that health got “infected.” None need to acquire “Health.” Each patient just has to lose ‘the infection.’ His/her normal health will automatically be back and s/he gets discharged (liberated) from the Hospital. One cannot cleverly manipulate a discharge, for, one surely comes back to the Hospital with a more severe relapse of the disease!

Be Healthy Ever. 

[guru pUrNima day – 07/03/2023]

Imaginary ‘mokSha’ for Imagined ‘bandha’ – Shri P. Neti – 3/3

[Continued from Part – 2]

Question 3: The body that (notionally) housed previously a seeker….

Please Sir, body does not really house Consciousness. Not even the so-called limited consciousness. But it is Consciousness in which body appears just like any other object – and this is easily graspable even to the so-called limited consciousness, with a bit of subtle and impartial observation.

Question 3 (Contd.): … who is now liberated, (the body) is just a part of the ‘world’ which only exists as an “appearance” in the perception of the ‘ignoramuses.’ That body is now ‘without’ anyone as a claimant of ‘ownership’ to it. …

Let it be so. What is the problem if there is no claimant of ownership to a body?, I ask the ignoramuses. Continue reading

Only ‘mukti,’ No ‘mukta’ — Shri P. Neti – 2/3

[Continued from Part – 1]

Does this all amount to showing disrespect or arriving at too quick an intellectual claim that “I am brahman and after all this guru (of mine) is also my dream character?”

The answer is that it will never be the case for a proper adhikAri.

It is always like how  bhagavatpAda Shri Shankara expresses in a concluding salutation for mANDUkya kArikA:

यत्प्रज्ञालोकभासा प्रतिहतिमगमत्स्वान्तमोहान्धकारो

मज्जोन्मज्जच्च घोरे ह्यसकृदुपजनोदन्वति त्रासने मे

यत्पादावाश्रितानां श्रुतिशमविनयप्राप्तिरग्न्या ह्यमोघा

तत्पादौ पावनीयौ भवभयविनुदौ सर्वभावैर्नमस्ये ॥  —  verse 3, Shankara at the end of mANDUkya kArikA. Continue reading

On ‘jIvanmukti’ – Shri P. Neti – 1/3

[‘jIvanmukti,’ as per Advaita Vedanta shAstra, has been recently explained by Shri Prasanth Neti Ji in a profound and refreshing way (not usually available) at a Social Networking site. I have taken the liberty to post a slightly edited version, as the topic may be of interest to many Readers here.]

What Vedanta (or Acharya) refers to as adhyAsa or avidyA is only a label used for the sake of instruction while imparting the Non-dual (Advaita) message. Shankaracharya never actually meant that an entity called avidyA/adhyAsa ever really exists.

And this labelling is made taking into account the already *observable and existing* human behavior. That is why we do not explain avidyA/adhyAsa as anything other than (or beyond) the very natural human behavior based on the fundamental notions —  ‘I am this’ and ‘this is mine.’ This is a very very important point to be always kept in mind, in my opinion. Continue reading

Verse 18.66 – Bhagavad Gita [ Part 2/2]


18.66सर्वधर्मान्परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं व्रज।
अहं त्वा सर्वपापेभ्यो मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुचः।।18.66।।
Meaning: Abandoning all forms of rites and duties, take refuge in Me alone. I shall free you from all sins. (Therefore) do not grieve. [Gambhirananda]. Bhasyam is extensive as it should be [Translation: Gambhirananda]. It discusses four topics.
1 Renunciation of rites and duties
Sarva-dharman includes dhrma (virtuous) and adharma (non-virtuous), i.e., renunciation of all actions as both dhArmic and adhArmic actions are the cause of bondage.  That evil actions have to be given up does not need any explanation. Take refuge in Me, the Self, that exists in all beings without exception. The necessary sAdhnA is to identify with the Self and not with the mind and body. As the Self is action-free, renunciation of virtuous ones follows. Furthermore, as the Self is free from birth, old age, and death, liberation is assured. Arjuna should not grieve if he engages in war and kills friends and foes. He will incur no sin. He who has not the feeling of egoism, whose intellect is not tainted, he does not kill, nor does he become bound even by killing these creatures! (18.17-Gambhirananda)

Continue reading

‘sarvAtmabhAva’ – 4/4

Part – 3

Words play a significant role in any communication. In imparting the Truth of the Truth, which is the aim of Advaita Vedanta, words, however, lose their rigidity and attain certain fluidity in pointing to something beyond or prior to what their immediate referent stands for. Therefore, it is often suggested that a seeker on the Advaitic path has to approach a teacher who is well-versed with scriptures so that a correct meaning for the words as per the context in the shruti are obtained by a seeker.

In our normal parlance, words refer to something that has one or other of a ‘distinguishing mark such as name, or form, or action, or heterogeneity, or species, or qualities.’ Continue reading

‘sarvAtmabhAva’ – 3/4

Part – 2

We shall continue with the shruti and bhAShya citations on sarvAtmabhAva in this Part of the Series. Continuing from Part – 2 :

(iv)  विद्यायाश्च कार्यं सर्वात्मभावापत्तिरित्येतत् सङ्क्षेपतो दर्शितम् । सर्वा हि इयमुपनिषत् विद्याविद्याविभागप्रदर्शनेनैवोपक्षीणा यथा एषोऽर्थः कृत्स्नस्य शास्त्रस्य तथा प्रदर्शयिष्यामः   — 1.4.10, BUB.

While the effect of Knowledge (meditation) has been briefly shown to be identity with all, the whole of this Upanishad is exclusively devoted to showing the distinction between the spheres of Knowledge and ignorance. We shall show that this is the import of the whole book. Continue reading