[Advaita-l] meaning of parama

subhanu saxena subhanu at hotmail.com
Fri May 25 18:33:09 CDT 2012

Ajit Krishnan

I haven't heard this explanation for
'kRSh' before. i.e. to enlarge. Is

this from Bhatta Bhaskara's gloss, or
from somewhere else?


No this is
not in the gloss. In the dhatu patha 1.1145 and 6.6  we find kṛṣ->vilekhane, with the sense “to
draw out”, which is then combined with the upasarga “pra”. 

I was intruiged
in Bhatta Bhaskara’s commentary when he added the descriptor tapas to paramam
to qualify paramam as the supreme means,since tapas is one of the means provisionally
described as supreme in the text itself ( “tapasā devā…tasmāt tapaḥ paramam
vadanti”), later rescinded to nyāsa as the ultimate means  “nyāsa ityāhur…”
(cf bhāllavī shruti quoted in SV220 sarvakarmanirāsena tasmād ātmadhiyo janiḥ,
also BUBV 2.4.26 sarvaḥ sannyasta karmaiva jñānāt kaivalyam ucyate). 
It is a
bit of a tautology, even though the sense of what he means is clear, as he
follows Shankara’s commentary in BSB III.iv.20, where  “nyāsa iti brahmā…” from the prior anuvaka in
the Mahanarayana shruti text is quoted. 
Here Shankara says :

iti hi brahmaṇi parisamāptir ananya-vyāpāratā-rūpam tanniṣṭhatvam abhidhīyate”

Here is it
said that steadfastness in Brahman is none other than total consummation in Brahman
to the exclusion of all other pre-occupations, which is why it is termed

He then
explains that such focus to the exclusion of all other pre-occupations is not
available to the other 3 ashramas as they are engaged in duties they cannot
give up according to the dicates of dharma shastra. Hence only a parivrājaka, who
has renounced all activities, and for whom virtues such as shama and dama which
characterize him, strengthen his steadfastness in Brahman, can follow the best
path to liberation, resting in their true nature as Brahman. 
Hence “paramam” in
the Mahanarayana Upanishad text can be qualified to signify the supreme means to



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