[Advaita-l] manana, etc.

S.N. Sastri sn.sastri at gmail.com
Mon Feb 20 22:57:04 CST 2006

*Sravana, manana and nididhyAsana  *

Sage YAjnavalkya tells MaitreyI in bRhadAraNyaka upanishad, "The Self should
be heard about, reflected on and meditated upon". Sravana, manana and
nididhyAsana  are the means for realization. What is the exact meaning of
each of these terms and what is the purpose served by each of them? These
are given below:

>From vedAntasAra of sadAnanda, ch.5, para 182—*Hearing* is the
determination, by the application of the six characteristic signs,
(shaDlinga) that the purport of the entire vedAnta is the non-dual Brahman.
The six signs are—(1) the beginning and the conclusion, (2) repetition, (3)
originality, (4) result, (5) eulogy and (6) demonstration. The Sanskrit
terms for these are, respectively, *upakramopasamhAra, abhyAsa, apUrvatA,
phala, arthavAda, *and* upapatti. *Each of these terms is explained below.

vedAntasAra,ch.5. para 185—The term ' the beginning and the conclusion'
means the presentation of the subject matter of a section at the beginning
and at the end of the section. For example, in the sixth chapter of the
chAndogya upanishad, Brahman, which is the subject-matter of the chapter, is
introduced at the beginning with the words, "One only without a second",
etc. (6.2.1). At the end of the chapter Brahman is again spoken of in the
words, "In It all that exists has its Self", etc. (6.8.7).

Para 186—Repetition is the repeated presentation of the subject-matter in
the section. In the same chapter, Brahman, the One without a second, is
mentioned nine times by the sentence "That thou art".

Para 187—'Originality' means that the subject-matter of the section is not
known through any other source of knowledge. For instance, the subject
matter of the above section, namely, Brahman, cannot be known through any
source of knowledge other than the *S**ruti.*

Para 188—The 'result' is the utility of the subject-matter. For example, in
the same section, we find the sentences" One who has a teacher realizes
Brahman. He has to wait only as long as he is not freed from the body; then
he is united with Brahman". (6.14.2). Here the utility of the knowledge is
attainment of Brahman.

Para 189—Eulogy is the praise of the subject-matter. The words in this
section, "Did you ask for that instruction by which one knows what has not
been known, etc" (6.1.3) are spoken in praise of Brahman.

Para 190—Demonstration is the reasoning in support of the subject-matter,
adduced at different places in the same section. An example is—"My dear, as
by one lump of clay all that is made of clay is known, every modification
being only a name, and being real only as clay"—(6.4.1). This shows that the
universe has no reality except as an apparent modification of Brahman, the
only Reality.

Para 191—*Reflection* is the constant thinking of Brahman, the One without a
second, already heard about from the teacher, by making use of arguments in
a constructive manner.

Para 192—*Meditation* is keeping the mind fixed on the thought of Brahman,
uninterrupted by any other thought.   * *

* **The result achieved by 'hearing' etc. ***

'Hearing' removes the doubt whether the upanishadic text which is the *pramANa
*purports to teach about Brahman or about some other entity. This doubt is
known as *pramANa-asambhAvanA, *or the doubt about the *pramANa *itself. The
pramANa here is the upanishad.

'Reflection' removes the doubt whether Brahman and the *jIva *are identical
or not. This doubt is called *prameya-asambhAvanA, *doubt about the
subject-matter. * *

'Meditation' is intended to remove wrong notions such as "The universe is
real; the difference between Brahman and *jIva *is real", which are contrary
to the teachings of the upanishads, by developing concentration of the mind.
Such wrong notions are known as *viparIta-bhAvanA.*   * *

                  Thus the purpose of hearing, reflection and meditation is
the removal of obstacles in the form of doubts and wrong notions that stand
in the way of the origination of Self-knowledge.


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