Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed May 17 03:41:55 CDT 2000

Bhaskar Y.R. <bhaskar.yr at IN.ABB.COM> wrote:

>Dear Prabhujis of Advita-L,
>Sripada   Shankaracharya  had  projected  the  verse,  'tat  tvam  asi'  as
>Maha-vakya.  But  "Aum" or "Om" is the Pranava-mantra as well as the
>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.

It looks like we have to start conducting a rudimentary Sanskrit vocabulary
class here. I presume everybody knows English. "tat tvam asi" is not a
verse. It is a sentence. In Sanskrit, a "sentence" is called a "vAkya." tat
tvam asi is a "great sentence," hence it is called a "mahA-vAkya." The
Sanskrit word for "verse" would be "Sloka". Om, the Pranava, is not a vAkya,
hence it is not a mahA-vAkya. It is a mono-syllable, called "akshara" in
Sanskrit. You generally need a subject and a predicate to form a sentence.
Can you point out the subject and predicate in Om?

om ity eka-aksharaM brahma vyAharan mAM ca anusmaran - Gita 8. 13.
om ity etad aksharaM brahma - mANDUkya upanishad.

How more "Vedic scripture" can you get than these two texts? Perhaps you
want to refer to the Caitanya Caritamrita?

"Om Tat Sat" is not a verse. It is not a sentence either, as there is no
assumed verb here. The Gita says, "trividhas smRtaH", i.e. "om," "tat" and
"sat" are three synonymous words denoting Brahman, the Supreme Absolute
Truth. As such, "Om Tat Sat" is simply a collection of synonyms that stand
for Brahman.

And pray, what is meant by "representation" in your quoted sentence? Does it
mean a symbol? Or a verse? Or a sentence? Or a word? You cannot construct
your own philosophical system or question another's, if you are not clear
about such basic rules of language use as what is meant by "word,"
"sentence," "verse" and "representation." Never use language loosely, it is
sacred. It is painful to see it being violated like this.

>verse "Om tat sat" is always used in conjunction with "Om tad visnoh".

Always used in conjunction, by whom? Does the Gita refer to tad vishNoH
paramaM padam in conjunction with om tat sat? Where? Don't point me to the
"As it is" version of Srila Prabhupada. Give me a Gita verse number, pure
and simple, not anybody's interpretation.

>'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'.

Pick up any standard publication on the Upanishads, where the text of the
Chandogya is given. It reads, "sa AtmA. tat tvam asi Svetaketo." This is
repeated a few times, and taught through various analogies.

There is no "ayam AtmA brahma" in the Chandogya Upanishad. Also, the
Upanishad is mostly in prose. You don't get "verses" in prose passages. And
it looks like in addition to vocabulary classes, we need to teach proper
referencing methods. And again, pray, what is meant by "spirit"?

Finally, are you sure you are not violating somebody's copyright somewhere,
by quoting extensively from ISKCON publications? Why not try to understand
their perspective and ask your questions in your own words? If you can't do
that, why don't you just post details of whatever book/website you are
reading? Anybody who is interested can look it up. Why deluge the list and
everybody's mailboxes with such extensive quotations?

As you once mentioned that you live in Bangalore, if you are interested in
Advaita, why study it through the prism of ISKCON? Go up to the Shankar Math
Road, walk into the Sringeri Math branch office and temple there, and talk
to some of the Shastris there. I presume you can speak/understand Kannada or
Telugu or Tamil. You can learn how to worship Krishna and also study
Advaita, but be prepared to invest a lot of intellectual effort into it. Or
else, if you are more comfortable with the devotional service to Krishna
among the Madhvas, go study with Madhva Pundits in Bangalore. You can learn
about Advaita from them too, and infinitely better than anything from ISKCON

Best Regards,

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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