Tattvabodha – Part 5

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPart 5 of the commentary by Dr. VIshnu Bapat on Shankara’s Tattvabodha.This is a key work which introduces all of the key concepts of Advaita in a systematic manner.

The commentary is based upon those by several other authors, together with the audio lectures of Swami Paramarthananda. It includes word-by-word breakdown of the Sanskrit shloka-s so should be of interest to everyone, from complete beginners to advanced students.

Part 5 continues to look at the six sAdhanA-s (shamAdhi shakti sampatti), and in this part addresses uparama (observance of duty), titikshA (forbearance) and shraddhA (faith). There is also a hyperlinked Contents List, which will be updated as each new part is published.

Tattvabodha – Part 4

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPart 4 of the commentary by Dr. VIshnu Bapat on Shankara’s Tattvabodha.This is a key work which introduces all of the key concepts of Advaita in a systematic manner.

The commentary is based upon those by several other authors, together with the audio lectures of Swami Paramarthananda. It includes word-by-word breakdown of the Sanskrit shloka-s so should be of interest to everyone, from complete beginners to advanced students.

Part 4 begins to look at the six sAdhanA-s (shamAdhi shakti sampatti), and in this part addresses shama (control of mind) and dama (control of senses). There is also a hyperlinked Contents List, which will be updated as each new part is published.

Tattvabodha – Part 3

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPart 3 of the commentary by Dr. VIshnu Bapat on Shankara’s Tattvabodha.This is a key work which introduces all of the key concepts of Advaita in a systematic manner.

The commentary is based upon those by several other authors, together with the audio lectures of Swami Paramarthananda. It includes word-by-word breakdown of the Sanskrit shloka-s so should be of interest to everyone, from complete beginners to advanced students.

Part 3 discusses viveka (discrimination) and vairAgya (dispassion) in the ‘fourfold attainment’, sAdhana chatuShTAya sampatti. There is also a hyperlinked Contents List, which will be updated as each new part is published.

Tattvabodha – Part 2

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPart 2 of the commentary by Dr. VIshnu Bapat on Shankara’s Tattvabodha.This is a key work which introduces all of the key concepts of Advaita in a systematic manner.

The commentary is based upon those by several other authors, together with the audio lectures of Swami Paramarthananda. It includes word-by-word breakdown of the Sanskrit shloka-s so should be of interest to everyone, from complete beginners to advanced students.

Part 2 provides an introduction to the series and begins the discussion of sAdhana chatuShTAya sampatti. There is also a hyperlinked Contents List, which will be updated as each new part is published.

Tattvabodha – Part 1

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am pleased to announce that Dr. VIshnu Bapat has granted permission for us to host his unpublished commentary on Shankara’s Tattvabodha.This is a key work which introduces all of the key concepts of Advaita in a systematic manner.

The commentary is based upon those by several other authors, together with the audio lectures of Swami Paramarthananda. It includes word-by-word breakdown of the Sanskrit shloka-s so should be of interest to everyone, from complete beginners to advanced students.

Here is the link to Part 1. This provides an introduction to the series and covers the Invocation. There is also a hyperlinked Contents List, which will be updated as each new part is published.

Sanskrit for Seekers

sanskrit_for_seekers

Since you are reading this blog, you are presumably a spiritual seeker interested in Advaita. It is also very probable that your knowledge of Sanskrit is minimal or non-existent. I receive occasional complaints about the use of ITRANS – the transliterated ‘English’ form of Sanskrit words – so even that causes problems for many, let alone the original script (called Devanagari) which Sanskrit uses. So why would you want to learn anything at all about the language? Well, if you really are interested in Advaita (or Buddhism, if it comes to that), it is a fact of life that most of the original material from which these teachings derive was written in Sanskrit. Without any knowledge of the language, without even the ability to look up a word in a dictionary, you are forced to rely upon the abilities, and the integrity, of whichever author happened to ‘translate’ the original text on which he or she is commenting. I am currently writing a book on the Mandukya Upanishad and Gaudapada kArikA-s, and this has involved me in referencing many different translations of the original text. [Note that this is a good example why you need to know some Sanskrit. The word kArikA means ‘a verse, commentary or treatise’ but if you ignore the capitals and write this as ‘karika’, it means ‘an elephant’!] And it would amaze you how it is possible to render quite different meanings. Whether this is because of language ability or because the author has a vested interest in propagating a particular point of view is not always possible to say. What I can say, is that is essential to be able to check specific words from time to time to ensure one gleans original intent rather than a modern, possibly biased interpretation. And, before I continue, here is a confession from the introduction to the book: Continue reading

Topic of the Month – Atman derivation

The word Atman is derived from the root Ad which means to pervade (Ad vyApane). Atman thus means the invisible reality or substance that pervades the individuated visible forms, just as gold is the substance that pervades the visible form of an ornament. This visible form in the case of living beings includes in it the physical phenomenon called body as well as the phenomenon known as the soul.

From Karma and Reincarnation, Swami Muni Naryanana Prasad, D.K. Printworld (P) Ltd., 1993, ISBN 81-246-0022-8. Buy from Amazon US, Buy from Amazon UK

OM: Its Purpose and Meaning – Janani (Jane Cleary)

The word OM is probably more likely to be recognized by its symbol, even though it is the sound of OM that is the point of focus whenever it is used. It comes from the Hindu scriptures known as the Vedas, which are as old as the Indian culture itself.

What is the language and derivation of OM? The word is in Sanskrit, the language of the Vedas, which according to tradition originated at the same time as the Vedas. OM as both a sound and a written symbol is deeply revered in the Hindu tradition, a fact that can be readily understood once its meaning and power are known. The repetition of the word produces a sound that emanates in the form of a benign and beneficent resonance. The symbol, when reverentially visualized, creates a steadying and calming influence on the mind. Moreover, it has these effects even when the meaning may not be fully understood. Continue reading

Free Sanskrit Resource

This Reader introduces India’s Sanskrit literature. The selection of more than 1600 verses covers subjects essential for the understanding of ancient Indian culture and modern Hinduism.
It consists of 300 pages A4, and is available for 25 Euro plus postage. You can order from:  kontakt@vedischer-kulturverein.de. Alternatively, the best price (£12.24) is from the publisher.

You can view the first 18 pages here.

Even more amazing, however, is that you can download an 800 page Sanskrit Reader Course for free. This utilizes verses from the scriptures to illustrate the introduction of the alphabet and grammar, declensions and conjugations. There is also a list of dhatu-s and all of the words in the Bhagavad Gita, together with an indication of their derivation.

Heiko Kretschmer from Germany is to be congratulated on what has clearly been a labor of love in providing this wonderful resource. Download here (nearly 4MB).

Meaning of ‘Advaita’ (Q. 306)

Q: In Sanskrit, a word’s meaning is determined by the meaning of the dhatu at the heart of the word, modified by the meanings of prefixes and suffixes. So according to Monier-Williams:

  • a is a prefix having a negative or privative or contrary sense. This gives us NOT-<whatever follows>, but also indicates the absence of it, or the opposite of it.
  • dva means two or both. Continue reading