[Advaita-l] Tattvabodha of Adi Sankaracharya - 32

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Sun Mar 21 22:24:26 EDT 2021

(Continued from previous post)
5. That Thou Art : tat-tvam-asi
For convenience, author calls the pratibimba
caitanyam and upadhi (the medium) together
as ahamkaara, the ego. ahamkaara varies be-
tween individuals and also between jiva and
Isvara. For Jiva (vyashTi plane) one thinks 'I
am doing', 'I am the body', 'I am strong', 'I
am great', 'I am small', 'I am limited' etc.
Isvara (samashTi plane) thinks 'I am sarva-
kartA', 'I am sarva-vyApi', 'sarva-Saktimaan'
etc. which represents the samashti ahamkaara
or the ego of all creations put together.
 nanu sAha.nkArasya ki.nchidaj~nasya jIvasya
 niraha.nkArasya sarvaj~nasya Ishvarasya
 tattvamasIti mahAvAkyAt
 kathamabhedabuddhiH syAdubhayoH
 viruddhadharmAkrAntatvAt .
But, the jiva is endowed with ahamkAra (ego)
and his knowledge is limited. While, Isvara is
without ahamkAra and is sarvajna (omniscient);
(then) how can there be the identity, as stated in
the mahAvAkya "tat-tvam-asi" (that thou art),
between these two, who are endowed with
contradictory characteristics?
Ego or ahamkAra is a desired quality to
transact the day to day affairs in the vyAvahArika
plane. Mind and intellect are essential to
establish contact with the outside world and
successfully conduct a vyAvahArika life. But,
depending on how one identifies oneself, either
with the bimba caitanyam or with ahamkAra,
makes a difference. In wakeful and dream states,
one can realize the existence of ahamkAra. But,
in deep sleep state, ahamkAra is resolved and
just 'I am' remains. There is no contact
established in deep sleep state to the outside
world, and the bimba caitanyam exists as a
witness. As long as the Jiva thinks that he/she is
different from Isvara, there is no escape from
Having given the differences between Jiva and
Isavara, the author makes a statement of the
mahAvAkya 'tat-tvam-asi'. The term "tat" always
refers to Isvara; "tvam" refers to Jiva,' And, "asi"
indicates the "aikyam" or identity between them.
The author also indicates how it should be
interpreted; otherwise it might look
contradicting. Looking at the above sloka,
nanu But
viruddhadharmAkrAntatvAt abhyoH Because, both (jiva
and isvara) are endowed with contradicting
attributes; That is,
sAha.nkArasya jIvasya for the jiva who has ahamkAra
ki.nchidaj~nasya has limited knowledge,
While, Ishvarasya for isvara, niraha.nkArasya sarvaj~nasya
who has no ahamkAra and is Omnicient; and so,
kathamabhedabuddhiH syAt.h How there can be a notion
of identity?
If such a question were to arise, the author
proceeds to explain in the following manner.
 iti chenna .
 sthUlasUkShmasharIrAbhimAnI tvaMpadavAchyArthaH .
 upAdhivinirmukta.n samAdhidashAsampanna.n shuddha.n
 chaitanya.n tvaMpadalakShyArthaH .
If so, (if the question were to arise), it is not so.
The literal meaning of the word "Thou" is that
who identifies himself with the gross and subtle
bodies (the jiva). The special or implied meaning
of the word 'thou' is pure Consciousness which is
free from all such contionings and endowed with
the state of samAdhi.
There can be a plain meaning (sAmAnya or
vacyArtha) and a special meaning (lakshArtha)
to a sentence. If one identifies 'aham' with the
ahamkAra component (vAcyArtha), then the
limitations become his. If one identifes 'aham'
or 'I' with the bimba caitanyam (lakshyArtha),
then he realizes the true nature of Brahman or
Atman which is of sat-cit-Ananda svarUpa. If the
samashTi upAdhi and the manifested pratibimba
caitanyam are removed from Isvara and the
vyashTi upAdhi and manifested pratibimba
caitanyam are removed from jiva, then the jiva
and Isvara become one and identical. The
identity is nothing but Brahma or the bimba
caitanyam or Suddha caitanyam. So, there is a
difference between jiva and Isvara only in the
ahamkAra plane. There is no difference in the
Consciousness or knowledge plane. This section
can also be called as mahAvAkya vicAra:, since
'tat tvam asi' (You are That) is stated and its
implied or special meaning is indicated which is
the main objective of tattva viveka. The analyses,
negations and assertions made in previous
sections are just to make this statement and to
support it. Looking at the above sloka,
iti chenna If so, (if the question were to arise),
no (it is not so).
tvaMpadavAchyArthaH the literal meaning of the word
"tvam " is
sthUlasUkShmasharIrAbhimAnI the one who identifies with
the gross, subtle bodies
tvaMpadalakShyArthaH the implied or special meaning of
the word "tvam" is
 upAdhivinirmukta.n samAdhidashAsampanna.n shuddha.n
pure Consciousness, Knowledge,  free from
all conditionings and endowed with the state
of samAdhi.
 eva.n sarvaj~natvAdivishiShTa IshvaraH tatpadavAchyArthaH .
Similarly, the literal meaning of the word "tat" is
the Isvara with Omnicience etc, and
 upAdhishUnya.n shuddhachaitanya.n tatpadalakShyArthaH .
The implied meaning of the word "tat" is the Pure
Consciousness  free  from all conditionings.
 eva.n cha jIveshvarayo chaitanyarUpeNAbhede bAdhakAbhAvaH .
Hence, there is no contradiction regarding the
identity between Jiva and Isvara from the point of
view of Consciousness.
We will continue with discussion of the ben-
efit of this knowledge from the next article.
Om, SAnti: SAnti: SAnti: |
Source material:
1.	Tattvabodha of Sankaracharya, Central
Chinmaya Mission Trust, Bombay. 1995.
2.	Tattvabodha - Lectures by Swami
Paramarthananda, Madras.
(Continued in next post)

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