Bhaskar Y.R. bhaskar.yr at IN.ABB.COM
Tue May 16 23:20:19 CDT 2000

Dear Prabhujis of Advita-L,

Sripada   Shankaracharya  had  projected  the  verse,  'tat  tvam  asi'  as  the
Maha-vakya.  But  "Aum" or "Om" is the Pranava-mantra as well as the Maha-vakya,
as  far  as the Vedic Scriptures are concerned. This fact is well established in
the  Bhagavad  Gita  also.  The  verse,  'Om Tat Sat' is a representation of the
Supreme Absolute Truth.
In the Bhagavad Gita, the Lord confirms this as follows:
om tat sad iti nirdeso
brahmanas tri-vidhah smrtah
brahmanas tena vedas ca
yajnas ca vihitah pura
"From  the  beginning  of  creation,  the  three  words  om tat sat were used to
indicate  the  Supreme Absolute Truth. These three symbolic representations were
used  by  brahmanas  while chanting the hymns of the Vedas and during sacrifices
for the satisfaction of the Supreme."
tad ity anabhisandhaya
phalam yajna-tapah-kriyah
dana-kriyas ca vividhah
kriyante moksa-kanksibhih
"Without  desiring  fruitive  results,  one  should  perform  various  kinds  of
sacrifice,  penance  and  charity  with  the  word  tat.  The  purpose  of  such
transcendental activities is to get free from material entanglement."
'Om Tat Sat' is derived from the following verses:
'Om ity etad brahmano nedistham nama', which is known as the first goal,
'tat tvam asi', which is known as the second goal, and
'sad eva saumya', which is known as the third goal.
The first words of these three mantras represent the Supreme Absolute Truth. The
verse "Om tat sat" is always used in conjunction with "Om tad visnoh". The verse
'tat  tvam  asi' is from the Chandogya Upansihad (6.8.7) and the actual verse is
'tat tvam asi, ayam atma brahma: both are spirit'. The explanations given by the
advitins  for  the  verses  'tat  tvam  asi'  would  be  to  prove  their monist
philosophy. They would say it means 'thou art that' and thus the jivatma and the
Paramatma  are  the  same.  This  explanation  would  be interesting for a first
standard kid. To a first standard kid, we can say, "you also are an animal", and
he  would  understand  and  accept  that  the  human species also belongs to the
division  of  animals.  But to a tenth standard student, one has to also explain
the  similarities  between  the two classes, since he'd know that humans are not
completely  similar  to  that  of,  say  a  dog,  but  there are certain similar
characteristics which allows the human species to be classified under the animal
class  of  living  entities.  'tat  tvam asi' meaning 'you are the same' and 'so
aham'  meaning  'I  am  the  same',  convey  to  us the fact that the jivatma is
qualitatively  the same as the Paramatma. This is the basis of understanding the
Supreme Absolute Truth.
Even  very  prominent  western  philsophers  have done extensive research on the
beginning of pantheism in so-called Hindusim, due to the influence of the advita
philosophy.  The  Lord  says  in  the  Bhagavad  Gita  that though He is present
everywhere  in His impersonal form, and everything rests on Him, still He is not
present     everywhere    personally.    This    is    the    basis    of    the
achinthya-bedhabedha-tattva,  the  philosophy  of inconceivable and simultaneous
oneness  and  difference.  The  complete denial of the existence of the personal
Bhagavan  feature  of  the Lord is  like that of the understaing capability of a
first  standard  boy. The Lord clearly says that He (the person Lord Krishna) is
the  original  source  of  the  all-pervading  impersonal  Brahman, 'brahmano hi
prathisthaham'.  He  also  says  that there is no truth which is superior to Him
(Lord Krishna), 'mattah parataram nanyat'. We've been sent to the material world
from  the  Spiritual  World,  to  rectify  and  reform our defect of considering
ourselves  equal  to  the  Lord,  and  even  if here we cling on to a  theory of
oneness,  it  is  a sign of perpetual ignorance of the jivatma through many many
This is confirmed by Srila Madhvacharya as follows:
sarva-bhinnam paratmanam
vismaran samsared iha
abhinnam samsaram yati
tamo nasty atra samsayah
"When  one  thinks  that the living entity is non-different in all respects from
the Supreme Lord, there is no doubt that he is in ignorance (tamah)".
As  for the projection that 'tat tvam asi' is the Maha-vakya, it is unacceptable
as  long  as  one complies with the authority of the Vedic Scriptures. Omkara is
the  Pranava-mantra.  Omkara  is  the  Maha-vakya. Omkara is the principle Vedic
mantra. Omkara is the sound incarnation of the Lord Himself.
This is confirmed by the Lord in the Bhagavad Gita as follows:
pitaham asya jagato
mata dhata pitamahah
vedyam pavitram omkara
rk sama yajur eva ca
"I  am the father of this universe, the mother, the support and the grandsire. I
am  the object of knowledge, the purifier and the syllable Om. I am also the Rg,
the Sama and the Yajur Vedas."
raso 'ham apsu kaunteya
prabhasmi sasi-suryayoh
pranavah sarva-vedesu
sabdah khe paurusam nrsu
"O son of Kunti, I am the taste of water, the light of the sun and the moon, the
syllable Om in the Vedic mantras; I am the sound in ether and ability in man."
The Lord also emphasises on the significance of the Pranava-mantra as follows,
om ity ekaksaram brahma
vyaharan mam anusmaran
yah prayati tyajan deham
sa yati paramam gatim
"After  being  situated  in this yoga practice and vibrating the sacred syllable
Om, the supreme combination of letters, if one thinks of the Supreme Personality
of Godhead and quits his body, he will certainly reach the spiritual planets."
tasmad om ity udahrtya
pravartante vidhanoktah
satatam brahma-vadinam
"Therefore,  transcendentalists  undertaking  performances of sacrifice, charity
and  penance  in accordance with scriptural regulations begin always with Om, to
attain the Supreme."
It  is  clearly  stated in the above verse that all Vedic mantras are begun with
the  Maha-mantra  Om.  All performances of sacrifice, charity and penance should
also  be  begun with Om. Considering all these facts as in the Vedic Scriptures,
one cannot but to accept this whole-heartedly.

Right  now  I  am  reading  one  book titled "Maha Yoga" written by WHO ( Mr. K.
Lakshmana  Sharma)  published  by  Ramanashramam, Tiruvannamali.  In this book I
have  come  across  one  beautiful  article  on  "BHAKTI"  marga, I request your
permission to share this among Advita-L members.

Your Humble Servant

Hari Hari Hari Bol!!!

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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