[Advaita-l] The Advaita Vasudeva Tattva

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Wed Mar 20 04:01:35 EDT 2019

The Advaita Vasudeva Tattva

इन्द्रियाणि मनो बुद्धिः सत्त्वं तेजो बलं धृतिः। वासुदेवात्मकान्याहुः
क्षेत्रं क्षेत्रज्ञ एव च।१३६।।

[The jiva (observer), all that is observed, sense (and motor) organs,
manas, intellect, body, strength, energy and courage are all verily

It is significant that the 13th chapter of the Bh.Gita lists what
constitutes 'kshetram' (observed) and what is the kshetrajna, the observer

In the above verse that occurs at the end of the Vishnu sahasra nama, we
have the special statement that both the kshetra and the kshetrajna are
none other than Vasudeva. In other words, the 'atma' of the kshetram
(prapancha) and the kshetrajna (jiva) is 'Vasudeva'.

This takes us to the other crucial vedic statement: स य
एषोऽणिमैतदात्म्यमिदꣳ सर्वं तत्सत्यꣳ स आत्मा तत्त्वमसि श्वेतकेतो of the
Chandogya 6th chapter.

This mantra says: The most subtle Tattva is the Atma of this entire
observed universe (idam). That is the Truth, abaadhitam,   तदेव सदाख्यं
कारणं सत्यं परमार्थसत् । अतः स एव आत्मा जगतः प्रत्यक्स्वरूपं सतत्त्वं
याथात्म्यम् That Sat, Existence, is the Cause of the world and hence that
is the Atma and therefore the Truth, essence, of the world. And the mantra
says, you, the jiva, O Shvetaketu, are That tattva which is the Atma of the

So, we have in the Upanishad too, the idea that Brahman/Sat is the Atma of
the world (idam, kshetram) and the jiva (aham, kshetrajna).

The idea contained in the above two sources, the verse of the Vishnu
Sahasra Nama and the Chandogya Mahavakya, is encapsulated beautifully in
these words of Yama addressed to his deputies in the Vishnu Puranam:

 सकलमिदमहं च वासुदेवः परमपुमान्परमेश्वरः स एकः । इति मतिर(च)मला भवत्यनन्ते
हृदयगते व्रज तान्विहाय दूरात्  || 3.7.32

[All this, and I, are verily Vasudeva who is the Supreme Brahman, the
Supreme Lord, who is One. Whoever has such an unshakable conviction with
regard to the Infinite Brahman, O Deputies, leave him alone. He is not
someone who is fit to die and be born again.]

Shankara has cited this verse in the VSN bhashyam. .

Thus, this Vasudeva is not a deity, devataa, but a Tattva, the Nirguna
Brahman. This Tattvam alone appears as the jiva, jagat and the bhoga that
occurs as an interaction between the jiva and the jagat. All the
instruments at the disposal of the jiva in securing this bhoga (and
apavarga, moksha, sadhana), is also kshetram and therefore Vasudeva. The
pramaatru, jiva, the observer, is also Vasudeva. Thus, the drshya and
drk/drashTaa are verily one Tattvam. Vedanta Jnana is none other than
realizing 'I am Vasudeva'. The equivalent of this is 'ShivaH kevalo'ham' as
stated by Shankara in the refrain for the Dashashloki which has been
elaborately commented upon by Madhusudana Saraswati who also at the
beginning of the Siddhanta Bindu acknowledges this as a work of Shankara.

Thus the Advaita Vasudeva Tattva is stated by Veda Vyasa in the Mahabharata
(cited above), the Vishnu Puranam on the basis of the Chandogya Upanishad.

Om Tat Sat

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