[Advaita-l] Interpretations of Tat Tvam Asi

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Mon Jan 23 00:59:55 CST 2012

On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 10:59 PM, Rajaram Venkataramani <
rajaramvenk at gmail.com> wrote:

>   1. Are there multiple interpretations of Tat Tvam Asi within Advaita
>   tradition?

To my knowledge there is only one way Tat Tvam asi is interpreted in the
Advaita tradition.

  2. Can a sannyasi in Advaita tradition consider himself to be a
>   bhagavath bhakta? I have seen many examples of that but wanted to know
> if it is technically accepted in the tradition.

There is no rule that a sannyasin should not be a Bhagavad-bhakta.  He may
not indulge in vigraha ArAdhanam (excepting when he is a pontiff required
to perform worship) but he can recite stotras on deities, recite the
srirudram, etc. Here are some quotes:

The commentary to the shruti sAra samuddharaNam 174 cites a verse:

 यावदायुस्त्रयो वन्द्या वेदान्तो गुरुरीश्वरः ।
आदौ विद्याप्रसिद्ध्यर्थं कृतघ्नत्वापनुत्तये ॥ source not known.

[ As long as one lives the threesome: shAstram, the Guru and Ishwara - are
to be worshiped.  The first two for knowledge to arise and the to avoid the
folly of ingratitude.]

and commences commenting on 176 thus:

गुरुदेवताभक्तियुक्तानां परमहंसानामस्मिन्प्रकरणेऽधिकारः...

From the above we know that a paramahasmasanyasin seeking to gain Jnana is
supposed to be a bhagavad-bhakta too.  From the first quoted verse it is
clear that even a Jnani will have to be devoted to Ishwara till his last
breath.  So, whether a Jnani or not, a sannyasi is a bhakta.  Here we have
another verse, from Shankaracharya's 'kaupeena panchakam' also called 'yati

पञ्चाक्षरं पावनमुच्चरन्तः पतिं पशूनां हृदि भावयन्तः
भिक्षाटनाद्दिक्षु चरन्तः कौपीनवन्तः खलु भाग्यवन्तः ॥

Here the sannyasi is said to be ever engaged in contemplating/uttering the
panchAksharI of Shiva.


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