Those with avidyA cannot understand shruti directly

Anand Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Apr 17 11:01:00 CDT 1998

 The following verses occur in the mahAvAkyadarpaNa:

 shrutyA samIritastvartho mohAnnAdrIyate janaiH |
 saMsArAbdhau patantyandhA iva tenaiva doShataH ||

 Out of delusion (caused by avidyA), people do not respect the
 purport of the shruti (Vedas). Due to the same defect (caused by
 avidyA or ajnAna) they fall into the ocean of saMsAra (transmigratory
 existence) just as the blind (fall into a pit).

 Here, Shankara says that people who are in the clutches of avidyA
 do not respect the sayings of the Vedas. For example, they may
 think that the Vedas are just poems or speculations of bards from
 an ancient civilization. Even though the Vedas contain the highest
 truth, yet people search for it elsewhere in many kinds of
 philosophies or religion. They believe in different Gods of such
 religions that are not based on the Vedas. And they try to satisfy
 or appease such Gods with austerities and religious observances.

 adyAShTamIti navamIti chaturdashIti
  jyotiShkavAchopavasanti bhaktyA  |
 shrutestvaho tattvamasIti vAkyaM
 na vishvasantyadbhutametadeva    ||

 "Today is aShTamI", "today is navaMI", "today is chaturdashI",
 saying thus and with faith in the words of the astrologers, people
 fast with all sincerity. But when the shruti says, "Thou Art That
 (Brahman)", people do not trust these words! Oh! This is indeed

 This verse requires some clarification. It may seem that there is
 a conflict with bhakti yogA here. But that is not the case.
 Certainly, bhakti to God is highly commendable, because it can
 enable one to know the essence of God which is nondifferent from
 the Self. The GItA (18.55) clearly expresses the role of bhakti or

  bhaktyA mAmabhijAnAti yAvAn.h yashchAsmi tattvataH |
  tato mAm.h tattvataH GYAtvA vishate tadanantaraM   ||

  Through bhakti, he (the devotee) knows My extent and who I am
  in reality. Knowing Me thus in reality, he then enters (Me, the

   As Shankara explains in his commentary on this verse, the devotee
  who realizes thus actually realizes that 1) the extent of God or
 the greatness, divine qualities, etc. of God is really due to the
 upAdhi's or limiting adjuncts and that 2) God is essentially free
 from all upAdhi's. Becoming a jnAni (in the sense of the four kinds
 of devotees mentioned in the GItA), he then realizes God as
 Consciousness, unending, limitless.
 At this point, he immediately enters God or becomes one with God.
 And this is the same objective as that of one who takes to jnAna.

  Therefore in the verse above from the mahAvAkya-darpaNa, it is
 clear that the AchArya is not speaking of devotees who are intent
 on realizing God in this way. He is speaking about those who
 worship God out of some selfish motive, and who are only interested
 in the external form of worship without caring to know about the
 true purpose of cultivating bhakti. Such people are very regular
 in performing the rituals of external worship (pUjA), observances
 and fasts (vrata's, upavAsa's) etc., but they do not understand the
 ultimate objective of such practice. Consequently, they find it
 hard to comprehend and believe the words of the Shruti, "You are
 That Brahman."


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>From  Fri Apr 17 22:35:42 1998
Message-Id: <FRI.17.APR.1998.223542.0530.>
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 22:35:42 +0530
Reply-To: kamal at
To: "Advaita (non-duality) with reverence" <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
From: Kamal Kothari <kamal at HOMEINDIA.COM>
Organization: Oriental Corporate Consultants Pvt. Ltd.
Subject: Request : Digest form
Comments: To: "Advaita (non-duality) with reverence" <ADVAITA-L at>
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Dear Ravi,

I am new to the list and enjoying the posts and learning as well. A
small request. Can you please make my subsription to "Digest" mode?

Thanks,    Kamal
Kamal Kothari
Oriental Corporate Consultants Pvt. Ltd.
Tel : +91-22-2831756
E-Mail : kamal at
"Let's teach ourselves that honourable stop, not to outsport discretion"
(Shakespeare in "Othello")

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