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"Rcarya sankaracaryat)

matam advaitam eva tuff

I - ,
The great teacher Sri Sailkara proclaimed that Non-

duali ty is the only Reality based on Vedanta. His Non-

I -

dualism or monism is not the qualified monism of Sri

For, he accepts, everything as -

saccidananda, 1
Reality, Consciousness and Bliss. Sruti says "all this
• I 2
lS Brahman I • Advaita is best declared as Atma-advaita,

the concept of the Non-dual Reality. The Ultimate Reality

of Advaita is a unique category, i.e. Brahman. Brahman is

described as the Absolute, the Absolute is Non-dual.

There is nothing real besides it. The central doctrines

of .Advaita Vedanta are, on the practical side, the concept

of NirguQa Brahman as the Ultimate Reality with the

implied belief in the maya doctrine, the concept of the

identity of the individual soul with Brahman, and the

conception of moksa as the merging of the soul in

Brahman, the Ultimate Reality. On the practical side, the

1. sarva~ hi saccid~nandam, D.M. ~ .10.

2. 8rahmaiva idam sarvam.
- 126 -

knowledge of Brahman alone is the means of realisatiion of

I _ I

Ultimate Reality. Sri Sankara in his commentary on

Maq9ukyakarika, asserts that with the help of reason also

Advaita, 3
Non-dualism, can be proved. It puts the

spiritual experience of the Non-dual Reality of Brahman-Atman

as the Ultimate truth, based on Veda, Vedanta, reason and



• - , - (¥-

Reality is only one. Sri Sankara says that mithyajnana

is the cause of the mind and experience of the empirical

and apparent realities. The Ultimate Reality is the basis

of the whole universe. Advai ta accepts' three levels of

Reality, viz. (1) pra tibhasika, (2) vyavaharika and (3)

paramarthika. Rope-snake, shell-silver, etc. have

only Empirical Reality (pratibhasika) which will be

sublated by the knowledge of the subtratum (o.df,l~ i'-n~

. -i:t.~ ),
i.e.! rope, shell, etc. The Pratibhasika Reality exists

only at the time of illusory cognition. The whole \vorld,

Le.nam'arupa I has empirical Reality. All the Vaidika

. (Vedic) and Laukika (worldly) knowledge, with its

objects, is cognised as valid, till the dawn of the

knowledge, i.e. intuition of Brahman-~tman',4 which is the

3. M.K., C.U. 11.

4. M.A.V., pp.39-40.
- 127 _

substr~tum of tile whole 'No'-lc1.
... Bruhman alone is tile
paramarthika Reulity, L c., the Ultimately real, wllicll
will not be sublutec1, for, it is Infinite. Adv~it~ Veduntu

is empllatic that tile underlying subst<:1nce tllat is Brallmun

has no real attributes, such as thougllt and extension. It

~.s u fuct tllat tile wor ld Ilas no basis otller tllan Bralullan.

:'~le wor ld uppeur s in 3r<:1l1lllun, Wllich is its substance ~nd

its ground. TIle rel.:ltion between tile ground und tile

grounded cun be no otller tllun tllat of tile real and tIle

il2.u:;or'l. Reulity is tIle ::.:lsis, adhi~~!i.ana of tile

illusory world, .:lnd it i;] :111 pervusive. T[1U~ Br~hrllun' is

::UJ.;.d~ment~lly indic.::lted by ~eulity. 6

, .
Sunk.::lr~'~ contribution

-:0 InL1iun pllilosoplly i;:; tile concept tl)ut Brahman-Atman

~~ the Ultimute Reulity, 1.13., Non-dual Reulity. BriJllmun

I I ,

1 " '00
--~....... - Atman is referred to in liter~ture duting b.::lck to

tl)e Ffg Veda, .:l~ brahma1]aspatifl or jye~tarajam brahmaI}am

brahmaI}dspateh. These occurrences in tile mantr.::ls,

!1Qwever, ulso cleur ly SllOW that Brallman is tile Ultimate

~eality, tIle busis of empir ical <:1nd apparent reulities.

':'Ilis Advaitic Reality cun :,e understood througll tile

I - }

of Sri Sankura.

Sru ti S.::lys tilut Brallman is the Creator, preserver,

iJnd tile destroyer of tile world and tllis constitute tile

_____ L _

5. R.V. 11.23.1.

6. C.S., p.153.
- 128 -

definition with reference to uccidents (ta~astha1ak~al}a).

Th eTa itt ·11 r i ya Up ani ~ a d says, "yatho va imani bhutani jayante,

yena jatani jivanti, yat prayant~abhivi~anti tat

vij ifnasasva, ta t
7 } - J
Brahma II Sri Sunki:lra 'says tllat
all. the creational Srutis lead to the Non-dual Brahman.

Brahman as Creator, Preserver and Destroyer

In treating Brahman as creutor, the implicutions of

the Atman must be born in mind. Creation may conveniently

be divided into t·wo orders, i.e., tile microcosmic order und

the mucrocosmic order. Thi~ is of course un artificial

distinction. Becuuse of tile disconnected nature of tile

Upani~adic texts, seldom are ,Jll the tllree Qspects of· ·tlle

mi:lnifest BrQllman found together. TIlliS in tile fir 3t chapter

of BFhadara~ayaka Upanisad
. . ,8 there ure six creational

stories ,Jlone, but little discus3ion of Br,Jhman '13 preserver

occurs in luter Upani~ads or in otller passuges. Before taking

ttl is view, let us look at tIle implicutions of Bru(lman I s

relation to the created world or in more cosmological langu-

age how "Bral1mun entered creation". In the one tlleory of

division in involution Br<:lhman clearly becomes active und

all tllirlgs are merely the coating around the manifest Bratuilan

so divided. That is to say, Brahman unmanifest became the

7. T.U., 111.1.

B.B.U., 1.4.1, 5.
- 129 _

dipolar Brahman-Atman and the subsequent expansion to

create mul tipl.:tcity arose from iI11lerent Cllari:lcter istics of

an Atman being the unity in tIle diversity of potential

manifold ·puru~as~· This point will be discussed While

considering Brahman -A tman.

- Here further ligl1t Ci:ln be slled,

in terms of creation, upon tllis dipolar A tman.

- Thus tile

universal -
Atman is prajapati, HiraI}yagarbl1a. Tile dif-

ferent levels of tile I k os a analysis constitUte the inl1erent

nature as levels of being of tllis' A tman)

- i.e., Brallmi:ln.

Tl1us, in the tlleory of creation, tlwre i.:3 no problem of tile

reli:ltion of tile world to Brallman- tile world literally is

brahman as the active manifc=st Srallman or the dipolar A tman.

The other, substrate evolutional tlleory does encounter
l ' foC
01 .
~1CU 1 ty 1n
. rc= l '
i:lt1ng BralTili:ln
1 .
to creat1on. 9

As has been seen in tIle introduction to our discus-

Gion of rilanifest BrallInan, passi:lges referring to a triune

3rallrilan the creator, preserver i:lnd that to Wllicll all crc=aturc=s

return i:lre reli:ltively few. Tllere are tllree aspects Wllic!l we

lillSt discuss regarding Brallman i:lS tile source of dissolution.

First, we rinlst eXi:lm~!e tlle meaning and iIilport of tile indivi-

dual or microcosm II rGturning to 3rQ.[lman". Secondly, tile

sense in wl1icll the macrocosms migllt be said to be dissolved

9. cf. The Vision of Self in early Vedanta (William Beidler, B.S.,

Delhi, 1975), pp.67-68.
- 130 -

by Brul1man; thirdly, Brallm.:ln uS tile source of dissolution

und its role in giving order und purpose to the triune

manifest 3r'hhman. Tllese ctlaracteristics of Brallm.::ln, uS

creator, preserver .:J.nd tIle source of "dissolution, ure

described thus:

/lAS a 'spider spreads out and witlldraws (its thread)

3S an tIle eurtll grow the :lerbs, and as from tile living man

issues out on tIle Ilead and body, so out of the

Immutable does tbe univer3e emerge Ilere.

As tIle wor ld i.3 ..:J. -

oroduct of Brallman, it will

dissol ve in Brallman i tsel£, .:J.s tllere is no otller basis for

tl1e universe.

TIle Concept of Non-du.:J.l Reality in Advaita

In the vision of A.dvaita vedanta, the identity of

the individual soul with orallman, i.e. Non-dual Ultim.::lte

Reali ty, is expressed in four mallavakyas.

(1) prajnanam brahma (Consciousness in Brallman) 12

(2) Tat tvam asi (That tll0U art) 13

10. cf. V.S.E. pp.67-69.

11. ya tho r 1) a nab h i r s f j ate g:r; h':J a.-te. c a ,
yaiha rrthivyam o~adhayaQ sQ,mbhavanti
\ yatha satah purusat kesalomani
t~a~hak~ar~t, sa~bhavatlha visvam. Mu.U.1.1.7.
12. A.U.111.3.
13. C.U.VI.vii.7.
- 1j1 -

Ayam "itma brahma (This self is Brahman)14

Aham bralJma aST[li (I am Brah.'Ilan) J

The first vakya, prajnanam brahma appears in

the Aitareya Upani~ad in the f.g Veda. This mahavakya
makes a general declaration that consciousness is Brahman.
Consciousness is the common subtratum for both microcosm
and macrocosm. 'fhat all-pervading consciousness is like
. 16
total space. The material of the pot cannot-divide
space into parts. For the sake of particular reference we
may give space different as pot-space, room-space, open-
space, etc. But space as such is indivisible. Space is
one homogeneous entity. Pot-sp~ce or whatever other space
we call it, nnd the tobl all-pervading space, ar,e nne and
the same. Similarly, we may give consciousness different
names with respect to different embodiments but conscious-
1 r'

ness remains ever one homogeneous all-pervading Reality. (

But the ultimate basis of the Whole universe is pure
consciousness, i.e. the Ultimate Reality, Brahman. Thus the
Non-dual pure consciousness is the true nature of Brahman,
really not different from Atman.

The second mahavakya "ta t tvam asi II is found

in the Sama Veda. It is a

universal declar:J.tion to all mankind, IlThat thou art l ' .

14. B.U.1.iv.10.
15. M.U.11.ii and B.S.B.1.i.4.
16. Vedanta Treatise, (A.Parthasarathy,Bombay,1984),pp.305~306.

17. Y.T., pp.316-317.

- 132 -

'That' refers to tile Supreme Reality, and 'thou' to the

core of one's personality. The mahavakya expl.:1ins that

it is one's own self, Le., Atman 1 tlla·t pervades every-

wl1ere as Reality. Reali ty is not anything different from

one's essential being of the self, L e. pure consciousness.

The consciousness in every being is the same .:1S tl1e

.:111-pervading consciousness of Brahman-Atman. TIle self

is Infinite Reality. T11at Reality tl10U art. TI1is mahavakya

is in tl1e form of advice to a seeke,r of trutl1. It is

called Upade~a-:vakya I me.:1ning "statement of advice" 18

TI1e self is Srul1man of sa t -ci t -ananda nature, one only

without a second; wilen one realices tl1e non-dual trut!l,

tIle ignor.:lnce .:1nd its products, Le., mind and tl1e duality,

will be destroyed.

TIle tt1ird mahavakya II ayam atma brahma" is in

the ..
Mandukya Upanisad. I in t11e Atharva Veda. Ayam atma

means 'this self'. 'This self' refers to A tman which

activates tl1e body, tl1e mind and the intellect. BrahmiJn

activates tt1e entire universe. The activating principle

in t11e individual and tl1e universe is tl1e same.


is Brahman. Atman is' related to Brahman as spark is to

conflagr3tion. Spark is fire; conflagra~ion. is fire. Botl1

are of the Silme element, fire. In that sense, spark is

18. cf.V.T., pp.315 - 316.

- 133 -

confliJgration. Likewise, the mahavakya provides.::l

formuliJ for un aspir\Jnt to practise .:lnd discover the

oneness of
A tman and Brahman tllrougll tile pructice of 'j09fL'

Hence it is called abhyasavakya - statement of practice.

Tile ego, mind, body, senses etc. are tile products of maya.

iJ(len the non-dual and partless knowledge of -

Brahman -A tman

is realised, maya \Jnd its wl10le products will be destroyed.

Thus, one can realise tl1e Non-dual Ultim;:lte Reulity as one's

own A tman itself, and th;:lt A tman is tile Brahman itself

in tIle state of turiya beyond tl1e reulm of vi~va, taijasa

unc1 praj"na througll tIle destruction of ignor\:lnce \:lnd it:J

product i. e. , duality. TllUS one can re.:llise tllat tile

Reali ty of j i va i:.:> Suprelile Non-duQI Reality, aralllil;:ln i:J

onG only without .::l ::econd.

Tile fourth mahavakya, " Aham brahmasmi"

appear s in tIle

The mahavakya is the Vltililate pronouncelilent of the miJn of

, • , I '- )
self-realisation: aham means I', asmi means lam'.

Brallman is the VI tirll.:lte Reality. The self-reulized lilan

affirms t!l;:lt tile self is tile pure 3ru!ui\;:ln itself. Prior to

re\Jlis\Jtion of self ene lilay !l\:lVe exper iences in tile wor ld

as a waker, clJ:e<lliler I or deep-sleeper in tIle realm of samsara,

due to ignorunce of aVidya. One may believe oneself to

be a particul\:lr per sen in tile w\:lking st\:lte of consciousness.

- 134 -

As he leaves tIle waking stute and enter~ the dreum state

of consciousness, he experiences himself to be a totully

different person. Tlle waking and dreum stutes ure the

product of mind or maya. Again, when he moves to the

deep-sleep, /he ussumes u third personulity uS deep-sleeper

after wllicl1 l1e wakes up from sleep. He remembers "c!lut l1e

W.::lS enj oying happiness in tile deep sleep, but he •..l.::lS not

uware of any duality. Tile irony of it is thut one muy use

I I' in all tllree stutes i. e. , I I' pervudes the tl1r8e stutes

assumiug tl1r8e altogether different personalities in tile

waking, dream und deep-sleep stutes. In truth 'I' or

is the reul self. In these tllree states of vis'Ca, taijasa

and praj'na l tile self is conditioned by tile gross, .:;ubtle

and causul bodies,19 which ure the creutionsof avidya.

It is not in its pure nature of

-Atman the Ul ti1l13"ce

Re.::llity. :"1hen one transcends tIle lirait:utions of 11is gross,

subtle uno cuusal bodies, he reulizes llis pure 581f i"cself,

i.e., Brullmun. Thel:e is no duality in Bru!lm3n for one C.::ln

realize tile non-dual consciousness of Brahman -A tman

in tile turiya sto?te. In that pure st.::lte, one C3n .::lttain·

tIle pure Ultimute Reality, i.e., Bral1DKln itself. There is

no difference between tIle self and A tman) but tIle great

sayings procl.::lim tlo'e Non-dual Reality of Ji va uno 3rullman,

one only without a second. Sfuti says:

} " ekameva
advitiyam- -
20 'Pure self is Bru(lmun'. I I um Bruhli1an I .
------------------- --------------
19. cf. V.T., pp.318 - 319.
20. C.V.VI.iLl
- 135 -

II .::lm the ull-perv.:lding ;{e.:llityl. The mahavakya is tl1e

declarution of tIle seeker, WllO g.:lins tile Ul tirilute exper ience

or turlya state.

Hence it is culled 'anubhava-vakya st.:ltement of experi-

ence, i.e., I .:Jm 3ral1rilan, nothing else. Tl1e experience of

Non-duul Rei:llity -e.:ln be .:lttClined, by tile gruce of great

teuchers, in the pure mnd ttlrougl1 tlle knowledge of Br.::l11ffiun.

Advaita u.ccepts jnana-yoga .::IS tile main way for tile finul

'reuli::;ation of tile Non-dual Reuli ty of

A tman. Karma-yoga

und bhakti-yoga .::Ire the means for tile pur ific.:ltion· of

the mind, .::lnd tile purified mind alone will be eligible for

tile Non-dual knOWledge of the Ultim.::lte Reuli~.

3r.:lllm.::ln .:lS tile Ul tirilute Reul i ty·

Vedanta expluins the essential nuture of Bru.!llil.::ln

as follows:-

Reulity, ~!owledge, Infinitude, is Brul1IilUn. Tl1ere

are tl1ree definitions in tile satyadi staterilents:-

(1 ) satyain brahma (Reality is Brallman)

(2 ) jnanam brahma (Consciousness is Braluuan)

(3 ) anantam brahma (Infinitude is Bral1man)


21. T.U., l1.i.

- 136 _

Each discriminutive word is independent but urlited

with the word Brahman. The word sa tyam denotes tlle

Supreme Reality which has no limiting adjuncts, i.e., I7lind

etc. This Absolute Reality in the Advaita Vedanta ter:nino-

logy is culled Brullmun, Le., the unbounded or unlimited and

absolutely undivided, indivisible. The conception of 2xis-

tence, reality, etc., as deducted from the objects in -..;hich

it is inllerent, is known as existent. real etc. It is

sui tubly applicable only in the case of tile phenomena !..;hich

derive tlleir terminal existence and relative Reality from

. 22
Brallman. Tllerefore. the dU.:llity of the world [las a condi-

tioned and limited existence, but [las not Absolute Reality.

) _ I

Sr i Sank.:::lru clearly decl.:::lres thut tile sentence "Re.:ll,

Consciousness, Infinite is Brallman,,23 forms the definition

witll reference to the essence

Tile threefold nature of Brallman indicated by this

Vedantu passage is essential to it, because it constitutes

tile essential nature of Bral1man and serves to distinguisll i t

from the non-eternal world wl1icl1 is unreal (anl~ta) }

non-intelligent (ja9a) and of the nature of misery

TIle three words beginning with satya §re

rLleant to distiDguisll BrahrLlan which is intended as the being

22. C.S., p.149.

23. T.U.ll1.i.
24. svarupameva laksanam svarupalak~a~am, V.P., p.114.
- 137 -

to be known: it follows that Brahman is tile subst.:lntive.

Brahman being qualified by tile three adjectives, sat yam

etc., is marked out from tile other nouns. 25 Br.:lhman is

eternal consciousness which is beyond the durkness of

delusion. It l1as no greater bliss tllan itself and it is

tile embodiment of Existence, KrlOwledge, Infinitude. 26

liAS regards tIle exact nature of tile svariipalak~a!,!a,

there ure a few minor difference of views. All .:lre

agreed tll.:lt tIle Up.:lni:;Jadic affirmations SUCll uS sa tyam

{nanam anantam brahma 27 , constitute the essenticJ.l defini-

tion of tile Ul timate Reality, Brullman. But tIle question

(las beenl mooted whether all these .:lre to be taken together

as constituting .:l single definition of Brullman, or each of

tl1ese like sat yam, j'nanam, und so on, is to be treated

as u separate definition. TIle view at Brul1manundus.:lr.:lsvuti,

tfle aut!lOr of Ratnavali).:ln authorit.:ltive commentury on

the siddhantabindu) is tllut the three expressions sat yam/

etc. together const~tute the essential definition of

Reality. To t.:lke e.:lcll by itself is to suggest falsely

tllat there are three Realities. Tile autllor of Vendantparibhasa

• J

on the other l1und, maintains tl1.:lt tile question of plurality

25. See s.B. on T.U., II.i.

26. Ibid.
27. T.U., 11.i.
- 138 -

of Brahmun would not arise at all in view of tile reference

• • , -: . 28
to one .:Jnd the sume world C.:l\lse in tile TaLtte~2yopan2~ad

and so, tile tllree expressions sa tyam 'J etc. may be deemed

to be tl1ree indepentlent definitions of one und'the'same

29 ,oJ _

non-duul Brallman. The words sat yam, jnanam , and

anantam are unrelated among tllemsel ves; they are meunt

to be applied to the subst.:lntive. Accordingly, eacl1 of tile

attributive words is thus related to tlle word Brullffiun.

E.:lch disc!riminative word is independently united with tIle

word Brahman: sat yam brahma, /nanam brahman, anantam

brahma. Sat yam is thut Wllich [luS no cll.:Jnge, the

n.:Jture tl1ut is .:lscertained to be its own; .:lnd a thing is

s.:lid to be UIu:eal,wllen it cllanges tile nature th.:lt is

uscertained to be its own. Hence a mutable thing is unreal,

for tile Scripture says, "A mutable tiling, pot, etc., exists
, , 31
only in n.:lme depending on speech; the eartll alone is real ;

it l1as been empllasised that "ttle existing alone is sat l ' . 32

So tile pllrase sat yam brahma distinguishes Brallman from

unreal things. For 'Reality' denotes the pure Being, wl1icl1

is extremely subtle, indefinable, all-pe~vading, one,

28. T.U., 111.1.

29. ·C.M.A., pp.21S-216.
30. See S.B. on T.U., 11.1.

3/- C·u.· VI· /' 4·

31.' C·(J· VI· /I. "l
- 139 -

stainless, .
indivisible, purely conscJ.ous. 33
It is absolute,

great consisting in being eternally pure, and so on. Tllere

must exist Brallman, who, by nature, is pure, conscious and

free. The etymology of tile word I Brallman I points- indeed

to wl121tis eternally pure .::lnd so is in accordance with the

!i1e.::lning of the root I br h I _ Th.::lt this is no intended

meaning of the word will be clear from tile definition,

"Real, consciousness, .::lnd Infinite is Brallman", tile Ultimate

. 34-
Reality in Adv.::lita Ved.::lnta. According to Advaita, Brahman

alone is ~l1e Ul tim.:lte Re.::llity, and everytIling else is


Tile Up.::1~Ji~ads decl.::lre tllat liver ily, .::l11 tllis is

Brallm.:ln" (Brahmai vedamjsarvamJ . TilL.:.; does not mean tllat

things are Brallm.:ln or t!l.::lt n.::lture is Brallm.::ln or ttl.::lt tllere

is an equiv.:llence bet\.oJeen Bralui1an .::lnd tile wor Id. It meiJns

tll.::lt 3rCl!lm.:ln .::llone is, not the things. "All t!le universe

known t!lrough speech <lnd lilind is nettling but Reality, i. e.,

Brahm.:ln, tl1ere is nothing besides I Reali ty I, whic!l exists

beyond tile utmost range of the prak:rti. 35 "Hhere one

sees nothing else, he.::lrs notl1ing else, tllat is Infinite". 36

Tllat is, Brallman is tile only Reality. So according to


33. Vide S.B. on C.U. VI.ii.2.

34. C.S., p.152.
35. V.C., 51.392.
36.C.U. VII, xxiv.l.
- 140 -

A itiTI5 the "t iew o£ Di aitin~ who llccept the :.3e!xlr ll te

Re lity of Go , so s world Cllnnot be llpproved C"1 the

b sis of ed ntu, sr uti , yukti

3nd experience. Sunkuru

cle I_ t tes .... lut JJ~1e niverse is un unbroken seriBs of

p.erception f Brahman; hencc, i t is in all respect;] nothing

but B·'lbJilan l i.e., Reulity seen with the eye of illuminu-

tion uTI Q Serene mind n'er ull cirCUfi1stances. Hus one

wbo IT35 eyes, ever fo nd all urolli'"ld unyt!1ing else but forms?

-l r I wl1 t is there to engage tile cOi1sciousness of u

ower of Br l1mun, exccpt 3ruhman?u37 Sruti

th knower of :3rll!Jm n beccIile~ BrallIil.:ln it::elf.

l L., :::or -:::lle n<lture of 3rullri1.:li1 is eXi.:;t8nce,

'11ere i3 no 1'1 r ity'- 3r.:lllm.:ln which is pure Bli..;::;. So

the iews of the Dvait~inG th<lt the world is rC.:::ll llS

Bru!mllln, ; t11tit there are sep.:lr.:lte Realities of j i va)

C:lJ,""JDCt be .:lccepteu on the basis of Ved.:lnt.:l and re.:::lsons

.:l so.


3 _ v. C- 51.522.
- 141 _

Brallmuu as tile pUJ.:e Non-dual Reality

Ultimate Reality. Dvuitu uccepts LoJ.:d Visnu .::.lS t.he
Independent Reulity. Advaita Veduntu describes the real
Ultim\.lte nuture of Reulity of Bruhman. Brallman ~s . .'
. )

lluving no sajatiya, vijatIya and svagata bhedas. Tllat.

is, 3rahm.::.ln being' all-pervasive, tllere is no other being

outside Him who is similar to Him, like God, und from Whom
He cun be differentiated. So ,
He has no 'sajatiyabheda' J

or difference from a being or un object belonging to u

different cluss. Again, apart from tile above two kind:::; of


extern\.ll differences, Brahman 11as no svagata bhedas' or

internal differences. Qualities (gur: as ) , po'wvers (sakti),
purts (a mlo., ) etc., constitute the svagata bhedas or
internul differences of a thing. Bra!lffiun, being ab..Jolutely
nirgu!1 a and .
I has no qualities, powers, purts
und all tile rest. So, lle is witllOut I svagata bhedas' J

, 4 t 1

too, and, as such, :-Ie is totally nirv., i.e.,

without ( .'
or ~bhedas) or differences of any kind
W!liJt::;oever. TIlis is tile view of the ekatattvavadins or
monists. Tllus tIle Non-dual Reality, Brahm.:ln, wi tllout any
qualities, sllines as pure Non-dual Reality itself.
- 142 -

The concept of nirguI)a-brahman is tlle most

di3tillguishing feature of AdviJi~a

VedantiJ. viiciJspiJti, tIle
great commentiJtor of Bhamati iJnd iJ true follower of
, - )'

Si: i Sailk.:ua' s expositions of tile main thesis of Advui ta,

.:JCC8ptS that Brallman is the true essence of tile iIldividual

self (j iva) wnd tllat Brullman or the Absolute is devoid of

.:Jny qualities iJnd distinctions wlwtsoever. It is pure

consciousness and does not undergo uny chiJnge on account

of creation. BriJlnoon in its true niJture is ~~OSmiC

(ni!2prapanca) and hence cannot be defined in positive

terms. According to v5caspti, the Ultim.:Jte ReiJlity which

may be termed ei tiler Brulnilan or

Atma n is one .:1nd only

one. It is independent, pure .:1nd devoid of .:111 determinunts.

It is pure uS it is i~.:1terial, bodyless, und free from

pain. It is eternal as it has no cause of destruc::tion. It

is undecaying. It is L~tuble uS it is devoiq of modifi-

cations, of properties, of characteristics, and of all

. 38
states. And because it is eternul, it cunnot l1'uve uctivity.

Furt[ler, activity cannot be regarded uS an attribute of

Brahman-Atman in so far as action makes it mutiJble;

action is the· caUSe of a modificiJtion in its substrate witll

'the consequence tl1ut Brahman becomes non..e:ernal. As

3S" B h a. 1 . i . 4 ., p. 1 35 .
- 143 -

V5casp a ti says: "If action subsists in anotller entity, tile

action cannot produce an \:lid in Brallman, for inotance,

rubbing a mirror cannqt ~ke a gem pure". fu'rther,

according to Vucasputi, Brahman, tile VI timute Reality is

ucosmic (ni~prapa~ce) as, nothing, not even cosmic expla-

nation, cun eXll\:lUst it. For, to exlwust it is to limit it,

but being infinite (ananta) it can never be limited lest

it should cease to be L""1fi.ilite. It trunscendo the categories
of tIle desirables and tIle unde;;,ir\:lbles. It C\:lnnot be

defined in terms of categor ies, for tlJere is no tiling besides

it. Explunation and description, strictly speuking, do not

apply to Brallm\:ln as tllese presuppose sometlling other tllan

Brallmun in terms of Which Br\:lIHi1\:ln m\:lY be described. But,

according to Adv\:li t\:l, there is nothing other tllan Brahman.

It is flOn-rel\:ltiona.l. It is free frOlil all internal und

exter~al rel\:ltions. It llas no inter~\:ll V\:lr iety (s va~a ta

bheda). ' One c;)n tllink of tile relational, only with

reference to a second tiling. But \:lccording to Advaita,

- .
It is ekamevadv2t2yam
, ~
there is no second to Bral'lm\:ln.
111 ,
(one witilout a second). It' i s asp a r sa) to pu t i t in

the words of wuqupada. It is un<Jffected (o.:sanga) \:lnd

39. Bha.1.i.4, pp.126-127.
40.' Bha., p.87.
41. C .U.VI.ii.1.
- 144 _

aloof (kevala). Tllere is nothing otller tllan it witll

which it may be related and in terms of whic[l it may be

def ined. Furtller:, whatever is experienced is limited,

impure, non-intelligent and destructible. Being of the

nature of purity, intelligence, etc., tIle n.:lture of Brahman

cannot be defined by the knowledge of these. No lmlilan

exoression of it can be affirmed. It can r.:lther inade-

quately be described, not in positive terms but only in

terms of wllat it is not. Tllat is to say .:l positive defini-

tion of Brallman is impossible; only iJ. negative definition

'not tlds', 'not this' (neti, neti)

inadequiJ.te, may be attempted. All tlJis rilay be summed up

as under; it is nirvisesa (featureless), nirvi~ayaka

(objectle~s) nirgu~a (attributeless), niravayava

(partless), ni~prapanca (.:lcosmic) , nirakara (formless),

niranj ana (spotless), ni tya (eterniJ.I), nir;:he tuka

(c.:luseless), ni~kriya (non-active), ananta (infinite) ,

amala (pure) 42, aj a (unbo r n) , am r t a (deatilless) ,

aksara ,(indestructible) , a c}ia 1 a (iI7lI'i10vable) ,

apariI)ami (non~transfor:mable) or ktl~astha:nitya

. (immutably eternal), aspar~a or asanga (non-relational) ,

abhaya (fearless), akartr (non-doer), ajnat~

(non-knower: ) , abhoktr (non-enj oyer) • Thus Brahman is

42. Bha.ll.iii.40.
- 145 -

really indeterminate, uniform homogeneous consciousness

and existence. 43

Reality of Jiva in Advaita

According to Dvaita Vedanta, souls are entirely

different from Lord Visnu and the world. But in Visistadvaita
Jl va is an amsa of qualified Brahman, which is the one
I _ ,

Ultimate Reality. But Sri Sankara and his followers refuted

the view of separate Realities of jiva and Brahman of
.Dvaita Vedanta, and established that the Non-dual jiva

consciousness is alone the Ultimate Reality. Thus they

refuted the Ultimate Reality of qualt'fied Brahman of
advaita and established that -
jiva is saccidananda

itself. The jiva or the individual soul is Brahman itself,

and nothing else.
1 _ )

Sri Gauqapada, the paramaguru of Sankara, says

that the whole universe is maya. But really the Non-dual
Reali ty of j i va and Brahman alone is the Ultima te Reality. 44-
Jiva and the world appear as long as maya functions.
According to Advaita Vedanta, -
jiva is the presiding principle.
The jiva is neither the sense organs nor the physical body,
but it is different from gross, subtle and causal bodies.4~
All the system~ of Advaita, Visi~~=advaita and Dvaita are
43. °Ibid.ll1.ii.ll; 111.ii.12.
44. mayamatram idam sarvam
i~vaitam param~rt~atap I _

45,s9u1a s~k~ma and kara~a sarira. V.C.Sl.91. p p.497-498.

- 146 -

fundamentally based on the Vedas, the Upani~ads and the

Bhagavai Glta)and they are mainly concerned w!th the nature
of the concept of Reality of jiva and its liberation. The
Non-dual Ultimate Reality, i.e., Brahman, of Advaita Vedanta
manifests itself through 'maya in the three concepts of
Isvara, world and jlva. Really, the essence of fiv£l.
is the imperishable Brahman as saccidananda only, for,
the Reality of Brahman and Atman is one only without a
, - .
second. Sri Sankara says that the soul (jiva) also origi-
nates and perishes like all else, because experience shows
how man is born and dies and even celebrates his birth by
special ceremonies. But the idea is contradicted by
Scripture which accompanies its commands and prohibitions
with promises and threats, and they are only accomplished
in future existence. Therefore, being born and dying refer
only to the body. For the soul, on the other hand, no more
than the entering into the phenomenal world as body and
passing out of it again (pradurbhava and tirobhava)

therefore birth is only to be regarded as the union of the

. . 4G
soul with the body, death·as the separation from the body.
The scripture 1s the final authority ~egarding the self as
serving to eliminate the adhyaropa or superimposition
, - ,
with its attributes on the self. Sri Sahkara says that
is the cause. of the empirical world as well
as of the knowledge of the separate souL. The essence of

46. B.G.l1.22.
- 147 -

jiva is really eternal, Non-dual Reality, i. e., Bra.llffiuil.

The Gita says "He is never born, ilor does he die at any

time, nor h'aving once come to be, will aga'fn ceuse to be. He

is unborn, eternal~ permanent and primevul. He is not slain,

wIlen t,le
I . san.
body ~s I i 47 J ust .
as ~n t Ile war ld a mun ca.s t s

off the dirty and worn out clothes \lnc1 puts on new ones, the

erilbodied self abandons old, decaying and perishuble bodies,

. I
w~t lout und"
ergo~ng \lny c Ilanges ) 46
(b havav~kara·
- . - S0 tl le

Reulity of Atman will not be sUblated, for, it is eternal

consciousness. Tile Reality of j i va - is tIle Non-dual Reulity

of Br~lml<ln.

\ - I
Madlmsudana, the follower of Sri SankClru, holds tlle

view tll.:1t tile knOWledge of the true n.:lture of self or j iva

ar ises from that of the true me.:1ning of tile great suying

(tat t yam as~.
(thClt tilOU art), etc. As long as people do not
get the re\ll knowledge of tllese terrilS ttley in bondQge or

samsara such people ure carried into the Whirlpool of birth

and deatll. According to the mahavakya/ Wllich deuls wittl tile

tat and tvam padZlrthas, wilen the respective upadhis are

• - I
removed, tllere is ne~tller Isvaranor tile, ]iva nor the existent

'15 such, but only the Non-du\ll ty. Tile upadhis of the
- - )
jivaand Isvara \lre different and tlleir identity cunnot be

47. B.G.ll.20 and K.U.ll.18.

48. B.G.l1.22
- 14d -

- I
8.ccepted. l:ihen the upadhis of the {Tva and Isvara
are removed, one can realise pure consciousness through the
Non-du'l1 Reali ty"v through the knm'!ledge of the maha vakya

in samadhi. The aVidya and its effects (vikaras), i.e.


- -
l?amarupa -
of the jiva '" ,
andIsvaraand the world •. - ri.eally
jiva as the Ultimate Reality has neither external relation,
nor internal differentiation. The jIva is the Ul timate
Reality,49 i.e., identical with Brahman.

Brahman is c~lled the individual soul (jIva)

when it is viewed in association with the five sheaths; as
a man is called father and a grandson from different points
of viev/. 3rahman is the irillermost of all the sheaths begin-
ning from the physic31 sheatil and ending with the blissful
one. As corrmared with this self made of the' essence of IlJ'-.ld
as said before, there is another inner self Nhich is made of
air,50 with a view to revealing, through knowledge, that
Brahman is the indwelling self. this view is explained by
following a process of eliminating the five sheathS, just
as rice is extracted from the oarain called 'kodrava' that
has many husks. 'rhe grossest of the sheaths is the annamaya-
kosa; the physical body made of lood; prar:amaya is the
sheath of the Vital airs and it is the energizer of the body;
manomaya is the sheath of the mind; subtler than that is the
..J_ ,
vijnanamaya-kosa. the sheath of the int;?llect with the power
of cogontion, and the subtlest of all .is the anandamayako§a,
the sheath of enjoyment enveloped in ignorance or maya.
49. S.B. 51.1.

50. tasmat va etasmad annarasamayat anyo antaratma prar:amaya~.

- 149 -

Tilese five sheuths lie one witllin tile other in u seriul

order; und tllat Wllich i;;:; witllin takes on the forTi1 of tllut

Wllicll is wittlOut like mercury tllut is poured into u crucible.

TIle Non-dual Re'ulity, Le., Brahman-Atman) which is the

;;:;ubtratum of all negation of .:111 stleatl1s, superimposed by

ignor<.1nce" is tIle support of tile blis;;:;ful self for this

self culmin3tes ii1 unity .J.nd this Atman is the self subtr<.1-

tur,\ of tIle duality. TIlliS the subtr.J.tum of tIle ego .J.nJ tIle'

wllole universe is the Non-dual pure consciousness of j iva

.J.nd Bru!lTi1un .::lS one only.

P.J.d5rtllas are recognised to be superimposed und

unreal. Tile implied me.:lning of the greut suying I ta t tvam asi

i.:~ only pure consciousness Le. tile Ultimute Re.:llity.

I _ ,

Sri sank,Jr.J. decl.J.res that tile verdict of ull discussions of

Vedant.::l is ~llut the j iva .:md the wl101e world notlling
but the Ncn-duul Reulity itself. For .:lll srutis, viz.,

\ ta t tvam asi' etc. ure tIle .J.uthority for the Non-dual Re.J.lity

or Brallman.
The n.J.ture of the -
j i va as Re.:lli ty is not

different from tllut of Brullman. T.M.P. MaI1q.devun says, "All

tile mal1QV~kyus tile sume trutll, nume ly, the oneness of

Brullm.::ln und the self. Each of tile sent(:mces 11u:::; two words,

at the leust, one of t[lem signifying tile individual self and

the other the univers.::ll Reulity. TIle expressed meanings of


51T5ee V .. C. 515.414-415.
- 150 -

tile word do not convey the doctr ine of i~entity • The incli-

vidual self conditioned by the finite intellect and lir.lited

by ignorance cann,ot be the same as the omhiscien:t and omni-

present Isvara. But, when we tuke the second<:lry implica-
c I
tions of the words tat tvam into consideration, we realize.

tllat both the words in each of the filallavakyus declare tile

- J
same Reality. t11len the self and Isvara are stripped of

their extraneous adjuncts, aVid.ya and mayq, they are

realized to be identic<:ll. This is achieved by exclusive,

non-exclusive, secondary implication. Vlhen the qualities of

tile {i'Ia I like limited knowledge, etc., and those' of Isvara.1

like omniscience, creatorsllip, etc., are recognis~d to ~e

mere, GUper.iri1positions, then botll of tllem are realised to be

identical. TIle self is the Ul timute trutll, not differ~mt

from Brullman. 5"2.

Jiva is not a part of Bra(lman

, -
. Tile Advaitin does not c3ccept the view of Sri R5.manuja
tll<:lt jiva is a part of. Bralllilc3n. In tile Advaita Vedunta the

position of Brallffi.::ln is undoubtedly the highest, because

Br.:::lhmun is the only subject of the Adv.::lita Vedant.::l. But the

position of the j iva is important in tile sense that tile

52. P. D ., p. 56 .
· - 151 -

teuchings of Ved~ntiJ ure meunt for the jiva to bring iJbout

i tz liberation. So t1adlmsiidanu S~raswatl1y, the follower of

I - I • _ 5l
Sri Suhk~ru, aser ibes primary importunce to tl1e j i va. ~t is

not easy to find out of tl1e real n~ture (svariipa)

the support of III consciousness (ahain··pratyaya). The

Buddhists regard tl1e j i va uS a moment.:lry conscious entity.

In f.:Jct, tile pl1ilosopl1ers give differGnt expositions of the

jiva's nature uccording to the views peculiur to the indivi-

du.:JI sy~tems to whiell tl1ey belong. According to Advaita

Vedanta, j i va ultimately being identicul with Br.:lIHnan, is

devoid of all limitution~; it is eternul, real und is essen-

tiully eonsciousnes~ and bliss. The existence of jiva

or tile soul can be proved by tile experience of deep sleep(su~upti)

Wilen tile body .:lnd tile mind ll.:lve no .:Jctivity, und the soul

still exists und enj oys tile pleusure. The soul being identi-

cal witl1 the Ultimute self, is always eXisting.

Imagirlary nature of Jivu is not tile Ultimate trut11.

wugapada cleurly states thut the jiva - is i~gined

and tllen tile j iva im.:lgines tile various other entities of

tile world.
Sailkuru expluins the imuginury nature of j i va
in terIilS of cause and effect. It is further ch~racterised

by SUdl ideas as I I do tllis I , I I urn happy or miserable I ,

etc. Furtl1er, such jiva

- is imagined in the pure and

53. S.B., p.56.

- 152 -

unrelated reality as the substratum of .:lll ideas, like the

imagination of the snake in tile rope. TIle knowledge of the

j i va itself is imagined through tile power of maya J Wllich

is postul.:lted from the causal standpoint. The j i va exists

as variouz entities, both subjective and objective, such as

the agent t the .:lction and the result of the action. Tile -

is tile product of imagination Wllicll is competent to effect

furtller imagination. Its knowledge is always followeel by

memory, similar to tllat knowledge itself.

Some Advaitins bold tllat the j i va conditioned by

nescience is itself the Witness, because it is the direct

seer. The nClture of being the witness is directly possible

in tIle j i va) wIdell is non-.:lttached, indifferent .:lnel luminouz.

Agency, etc., .:lre superimposed on tile jlva in its own n.:lture.

The j i v C4. is indifferent and it is tIle Non-dual Reulity.

TIle nature of Reality is realised. through perception

.:lS well. .
In tile -Drgdrsya -viveka
. )
Sank.:lra says, 'Tllere are

five aspects of Reality; existence, shining, bliss, form and

name. The first three (existence, sllining, bliss) <:Ire of the

nature of
Brahman -A tman) the last two (form .:lnd n.:lme) .:lre of

the nature of the world. Jl va is of saccidananda nature

of Brahman itself. Tile non-sentient world possesses name

and ~orm. It h.:ls no power to slline by itself, for it is

non-sentient. TIle empirical forms of jlva are only .:l projec-

tion of mayaor milld and they are super-imposeel due to

- 153 -

I - J
ignorunce or aVidya. So Sri Sunkuru refutes tile imuginury

nuture of j i va and establishes the real nuture of .~on-duul

Rea·li ty of j i va ,
- BrulHTIun und tl1e war ld. In Advui ta tile

~~on-dual ty alone is reul; tile upZldhis of tile tvam

padartha} i.e.# jiva ,u.nd tat padartha, saguJ!a brahman}

.::lre recognised to be super-imposed u.nd unreal. Tile implied

me.:lning of the terms tat padartha .:lnd tvam padartha IS

only pure Non-duu.l RealitY not tile sagul}a Brahman.

Tile ~dvu.itins u.ccept tile Non-duu.lity of tile Reu.lity,

and tile fu.ct thu.t tile wl101e universe is unreu.l becuuse it was

oreu.ted by the mi tj;aj nana

or maya.
.- ,
Sri Su.hkuru. S.:lys: In

other words, tile negu.tive metllod der ives wl1u.t it llu.d eU.r lier

super imposed on Bruhmu.n, t!le Ul timu. te ty .:lnd t!ms the

sa.praparlco.. becomes tl1e tne.:lns only, u.nd the Ultimu.te Reu.lity,

i. e. n is pra pa ii ca the end. 5~ So mi tjyaj"n ana is tlle C.::luse
. -
of samsara or tile empir iC.:ll war Id u.nd tIle sep.:lru. te concept

of Re.:Jlity of j i va. Only by tile gr.::lce of God one C.:ln

releuse thrall-gIl tile knOWledge of Non-du.:ll Reulity. :Htll tile

knowledge of ~-Jon-du.:ll Reality, Le., Br u llli1u.n, ignoL.mce or

maya will be destroyed. Guuq\Jp;3d\J, tile pur\ of S\Jnk.:lru.,

S\Jys th.:lt tile l·~on-du.:ll rteu.lity i~ tlle Ultim.:1t:e truth in

AdV.:lit:l und everyttling else is maya only.

54. G.P., pp.135-136.

- 154 -

The Conceot of Non-dual Reality and May'Q in Advuit~

The concept of maya is u unique contribution in

Advaita. Vedunta. Maya is the c~use of the mind, whicil L:;

the c~use of samsara and misery. In the wuking and dream

stutes we experience dU~lity outside and inside respectively •

So maya or mind is tile cause of duality <:lnd

. -
samsara. As

tile mind remains in its own niJture (kararyarupa) in tlw stute

of deep sleep, we are not aware of <:lny du~lity, but we iJre

getting the glimpses of Ilappiness of Atman the UI t:imiJte


Non-dual Reality. When we "vake up froILl deep-sleep we remember

tile Iluppiness wIdell W<:lS experienced in the deep-sleep. But we

are not a"'J.:Jre of anything regiJrding tIle universe. Tile purified

mind alone is the CiJuse of pure Non-JuGl knowledge and rele<:lse.

In otller words, purified mind muy get purtless Non-duul

knOWledge iJnd uttuin the finul reiJlisution of Non-duiJl Reulity.

GaudiJp.3d<:l S<:lys liThe dUulity will not be experienced through

tile destruction of ILlind or maya ~ Tilere is no dUiJlity of

knOWledge in tile final realisation. 'Tile dUulity of the world

is a product of maya or mind only. So tIle study of tile mind

or maya is very importunt to understGnd the UI timiJte trutll

Which is really the Ultimate pure bliss. So the study of maya

is reully useful to understiJnd tile unreul world in the tllree

55. mana so hi amanibhave

dvaitam naivopalabhyate.
- 155 -

states (w.::lking, dre.::lm Q.nd deep-sleep), so tl1Q.t tile wise C3n

Q.ttain the VI timate Non-dual Reality Wllicll is tIle final aim

of Ilumani ty •

, - ) .
Sri SankarQ., tile great teacher of AdvQ.ita VedQ.nta,

explained- tllat maya is indefinable; Maya is not real, or

unreal, or real Q.nd unreal, but it is anirvacaniya. It is

tile cause of tIle world Wllicll is exper ienced in name Q.nd fcrILl.
, ')'"
Both physical and mental experiences appear to us as pheno-

mena only. TllUs tlley are correctly indicQ.ted by tIle category

of 'tllisness' or objectivity. In fQ.ct maya or world. has no

ILletapllysic.:ll vQ.lue .:lnd is bazed only upon convenient groupings

~ 56
of pllenomenQ., for objective and scientific study. The

Ultimate Non-dual Reality, i.e., Brallman, Q.nd Anatman or

rna ya
.:lre tile two concepts in tIle met.:lpllysics of .o.dviJita
Vedunta. The distinction of entities as Atman is also meta-

physicully significant; for it niJturally Q.nd .invQ.riably gives

rise to t!le problems of unity of subst<:lnce. Tilese two

concepts are diaTiletr ically opposed to each otller, as there is

no similarity between the Non-dual Reality <:lnd maya.

Gaudapada says "Maya alone is all tllis world of duality, the

real being is tile non-dual". 5S In .:lnotller place stutes,

56. M.A.V., p.135.

57. Ibid., pp.135-136.
58.'M.K., 1.17
- 156 _

IIJust like 3' dream or -magic (maya) the entire cosmos is

- -))59
only maya. He further explains tIle creation of the plleno-

menu thus: IIT11e a tman imagines himself by himself tllrough

the power of mayq . Maya is ulso s<:lid to be tile beginning-

less cosmic principle wllicll hides reality from the vision of

man. GauSlapada expounds his philosoplly of non-or igin<:ltion

or non-birtll in several ways througll rnuny arguments <:lnd

establislles in u gener<:ll wuy that there is only one Re<:llity

<:lnd tllut the manifold world is only maya or illusion.

Advaita Vedanta accepts the Vi vartavada doctrine of

false trunsformation, uS opposed to Parinamavada. According

to Vi va~avada or Mayavada , all effects iJre illusions only -

superimposed upon tile Ultim.:lte Reality. Advait<:l regards

Reality, the eternal, as the Ultim<:lte cause of the Whole

universe. Adopting tile method of adhyaropa (superimposition)

and apavada (subsequent removal), Vedanta denies all attri-

- - ) 63-
butes, name and form ( namarupa. Tile attributeless Brahman,

i.e., Ultimate Reulity itself, is incomprehensible (agrahya) •

59. M.K., 2.31.

60. M.K.111.10. S.B. on M.K.11.16
61. S.B. on .M.K. 1.16
62. See G.P., pp.133-134.
63. G.P., p.135.
- 157 -

So the Upani~ad '~ccepts the idea of superimposition at

first on 3rahman, with self-illusory aspects (attributes)
such as causality in respect of the world, so facili-
tate~meditation and through it, realisation of Reality.64
According to Advait~, the scriptures pursue the negative
method of denying what it had earlier superimposed on
3ra~~an and thus the becomes a means only and
the Ultimate Reality, i. e., nisprapanca the end.
Sri Vidyaranya says that the world is illusory, maya and
w e A-tman .
~s 0 f tl1e ha tur e 0f pure .
consc~ousness. 66 S0
he proclaims that the lcnower is convinced that van:ra.... asrama

etc. are creations of maya only and ~ha~ they refer to the
body, not to the Atman which is of the nature of pure l'lOn-
dual consciousness. 67 . The Atman is asarigat:1 (association-
less) and everything other than the Atman is a display of
the magic of maya. 68 The non-ternal alone requires explana-
tion; and it is completely explained when we say ~at it is
grounded in the etl!rnal, and· lurther, its appearance t.'1ere is
due to the power of error. Error creates only illusions and
these illusions require no further explanations. b9 So the
statement that the whole universe is maya only is reasonable
based on Vedanta and experience. So the vision of Non-dual

65. G.P., p.136.

65. G.f., pp.135-136.
66. P.D., IX.BB.
67. Ibid" p.l0l.
·6 B. I bid., p. 104 .
69. M.A.V., p.147.
-. - J.:::>ts -

Reality is the basis of the whole universe, and it is the

pure existence und it is eternal bliss itself.

Bruhman is really eternal. and attributeless

Reality. It is of the nature of liberation itself. Really

all are release, but due to ignorance or maya we are not

aware of the truth. So Sfuti says, tllat vimuktasca vimu~cyate,

The Upani~ads teac!l the unoriginated nature of A tman )

i.e. the Ultimate Non-dual Reality. This Reality is not

the cause of creation as there is notlling else besides it.

So the atmatattva (Reality) is aja (unborn) and advaya

(Non-dual); it has no int.ernal distinctions or external

distinctions. Tile term maya llelps GiJuqap5du to establish

tile illusory nature und clluracteristics of tile plurulity of

tile world ratller tllan' the sale Reality of the absolute. It

is tile negutive uspect of tile formula of maya that fasci-

nates the mi11d of GiJuc}:l~da. It is by this urgument tllat

aj at i vada to analyse the Concept of

Non-dual Rea Ii ty. vlhen a man has realised the Highest, the

knots of his lleart are sundered all his doubts are dispelled,

and 0311 his aGtions perish. MUl}c!akofJani~ad also ascertains

that actions originate from ignorunce, und with the dawn of
mowledge of Ultimate Reality they are bound to vanish.

Tile knOWledge of Bruhman will destroy the ignorunce of

Bralun<ln (m;-IA'jo...j ho.n.o..) .
70. M.U. 11.2-9.
- 159 -

J _ ,

Sri S.::lnkurc3 S.::lys in the introduction of Brahma

sutra bh8!fya that mi tt;fnana is tIle C.::luse of the

J _ I _

eIi1piric.::lI world. Sri R.:iIi1anuj.::l in 11is Sri Bha~ya severely

criticize~ the view of ignor.::lnce or mayapf Adv.::litins. The

maya .::lS real divine power of Brahm.::ln is .::lccepted by

I - , _

Sr i Ram3nuj.::l, Sri r1.::ldh.::lv.::l and other' dualistic Ved.::lntins.

But they do not .::lccept tIle AdV.::litins I concept of maya

uS ignor.::lnce, tile f.::llse indefin.::lble entity existing in

Br.::lllIi1an, tile pure UI tim.::lte Non-dual Reality.

The Visi9t;fJvc3itins .:lccept qU.::llified Brc3hman uS tIle

higl)(~st Re.:llity: the Prak:rti is the body of Br.::lllm.:J.n, like

tile souls. But tIle Adv.::litins 1l0ld tIle view cl1ut the vedic
passuges vrha~tosya dharmah etc. Wllich refer to the

·qu.::llified 'Br.:llllTI.::ln ure only for tIle purpose of upasana. Sruti

says, 'brahmai va idam sarvam', 'neha. nanasti. kincana'

etc. to est.::lblisll tIle falsity of the sep.::lrate Reality of

tIle Universe and the sep.:lr.::lte Reality of tIle souls. For,


the S~u ti S.::lys th<Jt there is only one Re.::llity witllOut a

second. TI)e empiric.::ll Real~ty of tIle Universe .::lnd separ<Jte

souls is ·only in the rec3lm of maya or avidya.

I - J _ _ '

Sri Suresvar.::lch.:lrY<J refutes! the tlleory of difference

between mulavidya <Jnd tii 1 dvi dya,.::lnd milintaios th.:lt BrallIi1<Jn

is itself both the locus and tile object,
of aVidya In 'developing these arguments he gives the

ontologic3l status of tllis c<Jtegory of aVidya. The

view of. vivara!1d 00 tile concept of maya is thilt aVidya is

71. N.S., pp.10S-106.

- 160 _


located in pure consciousness. But at the same time it is

partial to the individual self.

According to Advaita Vedanta, the world is a crea-

tion of maya,but it does not declare that creation is real.

So the real purport of the scriptures is to explode the

theory of creation and prove creation illusory. Then alone

the teachings of tile Scriptures will be intelligible. The

sense in which the purport of the scriptures is to be taken

must be ascertained through inquiry. This purport must be

made intelligible in tile light of reasoning. Tile scriptural

texts dealing witll creation are but a device (upaya) to

introduce the true teacllings Wllicll relate to tile Non-dual

Reality.?,l Hence the reason~ng that Brahman cannot be a

knower and so cannot have nescience. Actually, psychologi-

cal ignorance is only a function of aVidya, its operation

of -
avara!la or obscurationT it has a universal reference and

stQtus, though empirical, in the context of its association

with ,
Isvara when it is better known as maya. 73

I _

Sri Gauqapada establishes tlie empirical Reality of

visva, taijasa and prajna as due to ignorance or maya

only. But the advaitam, tile Ultimate Non-dual Reality is

72. C.P., G.P., p.134., 11.K. 111.15

73. C.M., pp.322-323.
- 161 -

explained in the. tur iya state, which is beyond the realm
I _ •

of maya. Thus Sri Sankara establishes the Concept of

Reality in the empirical level, to understand the Non-dual
Reality, in his famous commentaries of pras~anatraya>Brahmasiitra
Upanl~ad and Gl ta with reason and experienc.e. In Advaita,
ultimate Reality is unborn, Non-dual. Gaudapada establishes

the illusory nature and char.:lcteristics of plurality of the
world, and emphasises tIe sole Reality of the absolute with
the help of the concept of maya. TllUs the concept of maya
occupies a pivatol position in Advaita to estabiish the
Non-dual Reality, refuting the vi~ws of Dvaitins and
'. -
Visl.~~advaitins on the concept of prakrti I based on Vedanta,
reason and experience.

The Reality of the world in Advaita.

Dvaitinssay th.:lt just as Brahman is real, the world

is also real. In Advaita, Brahman is the Ultimate Reality
and the world is the product of maya. The world is mutable,
non-intelligent, finite only.. It is also a manifold of
changing phenomena, fleeting events and finite things.
Brahm.:ln is the material cause of the world. Brahman is
neither the originating cause, nor the transformed cause of
the wotld. It illusorily appears as the world, and it
- 162 _

suffers notl1ing by SUc!l appearance. The faults and foibles

of the world cannot affect the pu~ity of Bralullan. The attri-

butes of a serpent do not really belong to the rope. Tile

rope remaL""'ls in its own nature even at tile time wll-en it is

mistaken for a snake. Tl1e impurities seen in tile reflection

do not spell the prototype face. 74 The "t'lorld is an illusory

manifestation of Sagu~a-Brahman. SagulJa - Brahman means,

Brallman endowed witll attributes. Vedanta declures that

"tllere is nothing tllat it Ilas to cr~ate, nor hClS it any

extraneous instrument or meQns; nottling equal to or greater

than it is to be seen. His lligll power is revealed as manifold,

~sL""'lllerent, acting as fOl:ce and knowledge. Tile reality

wi tIl tile natuI:ul power maya or prak;-ti, creates the world.

The power of Bro.llman or Prakrti was Ilidden in Ilis own

qualities. God or .Bro.hman is tile magicio.n_ (mayin) and
maya Prakrti 7T
is His Here God is described o.s a
magician. His maya is Prakrti Wllic!l is subordinate to Him.

Prak~ti is only the IX>wer of Brahman. So the creation of

tile world is the manifestation of the power- of Brahman.

74. P. A., p. 228.

75. S.U., IV.10.
76. Ibid., L 3, B.S.B., 11.1.24.
77. Ibid.; iv.10
- 163 -

The power of BrClhmCln is believed to be immanent

in Brahman. It is the power of BrClllm<ln, not unfoided in

name and form, w[lich is the original stClte (pragavastha)

of the world of names Clnd forms. The world WClS 'Asadeva'

prior to its creation.

79 )

SahkarCl says that Brahman, wllose

name .::lnd form are unmanifested, is implied by the word ( '
. 7~ . I I
non-ex~stence. So SailkClrCl does not admit the 5iinyavada

of Madl1yClmikas, but <:lccepts satkaryavada on the Cluthority

. 8e gl·
of passages of tile Upani::;ads and VedClntCl siitras. BralmlUn

is tile Yoni i.e., tile source of tile world. Here, the word

Yoni denotes tile material cCluse of tile world. There is

really notlling besides Br.::lllman for tile creqtion of tile world.

I _ l

N<:lturally BrClllman it:::;elf ITUst be the source of all. Sri SClnk<:lrCl

<:llso formulClted Cl new theory of cClusation ro:::;ed qn tile best

reason. "Tire omniscient, o~'1ipotent 5agu{la-Brahman is

the efficient CCluse from wldcll proceed tile origin, subsist-

ence Clnd dissolution of this world. The world is differen-

tiated by numes Clnd forms, it contains many Clgents and

enjoyers; it is tile Clbode of the fruits of uction; tllese

fruits hClve their definite plClces, times and C.::lUSes. Since

tile other forms of existence 81. SUdl as increase, decline,

78. C.U.VI.ii.2, VI,i.1.
79.5.8-. on C.U., vi.ii.2
80. T· u.: .. ii,7 and C.U.VI.ii.3
81, B~5.1.i., i.4.16.
82. 5.V., p.124.
- 164 _

etc. Qre included in originQtion, subsistence and dissolu-

tion, orily three states are referred to in the Brahma

- 83

Creation of tile world .in AdvaitQ

Tile sequence of tl1e origination of tl1e world in

AdvQitQ is QS follows. At the original tifi1e of creation,

tl1e Supreme Lord, being associated with (l) the kQrmQns of

Cr2<:ltures, tl1e C.:luses of the diver:::;ity of the world to be

creQted and (2), maya qualified by unlifi1ited Qnd undefined

speciQl potencies, first conceives in 11is intellect the


entire universe of nQme .:lnd form. Sru ti SQys I I GllQll mQke

t!1is I , -JD'd I
t·1Qy I b eceme mQny I • 84 Tlms the five elemGl1tG of

ethcn, ·2tC., -Jrise from Br;)hman. Tllis aka sa (etller) etc.

;)re unquintuplicQted ;)nd are denoted by the word tanmatra·

Of these, the quality of ether is sound; the qualities of

o ir ;)re sound ,Jnd touc!); those of fire ,Jre sound, toucl1 ;)nd
coleur; tllose of water aI:e sound, toucll, coloUI: .:lild t;)Gte,

those of the earth Qre sound, touch, colour, tQste .:lnd smell.

Sound, hewever, i3 not exclusively tl1e quality of ether,

becwuse it L.:; cognized even in ;)ir, etc. Tl1is is <:l delu3ion,

Slnce I
t.lere .
lS no su bl ater. 8s- T[1ese element:.:;, the products

83. B.S.1.i.2.
84. T.U.11.6
8S. V.P., p.llO.
- 165 -

of maya ll-:1ving tllr8e 1 U1?-us, .::Ire ( tllems8lves) o·f tllrGe gui)u.s.

- n~ ::ru ..,
~ ~us ure sattva, 86
rajas und tamas TIley -:1r8
ucc2pted uS sattva , rajas.::lnd tamas of pr a k J; t i , uS iLl
tile S5mkllyu .:lnd Visi~"t;:~JvuitQ systems. But from tllese
e1e!l1ents .:Jssoci.::l ted wi t!l 'tIle sattvagu~a und tuken sep.:lru.- '
tely, tllere .::IriS8 tile :::ive indriyus: sense of Ile.::lring, sense

of touch, senS8 of S~:;llt, sense of t.:lste und sense of smell.

:?rom tile:.;e sume sattvagu~a) u

__ u _ Wl'tl'l
. els!l1ents,

in combinution, tllere .:lrise manas, bUddhi, ahainkara

,:111'd cltta. 87

According to tile }\dvuit-:1 sys~e!TI, tIle unquintuplic.Jt8d

elements, '.oJllcn tumu-gu'Q.u-.:lssoci.::lted, ur i~e the quintuplic.::l~ed

812Iilents. TIle mode of ~uintupliciJtion i..:; uS follows: First

diviJing etller into two; tllen c=-dividiDg ODe Durt of it into

four; -tllere i3 tIle combin.::ltion of eucll of tllsse fourtll::; witll

-:1ir, etc. Similurly, dividing uir into two .:lnd re-J.ividing

one of tllese purts into four tilers is tIle combination of

e-:1cll of tllsse, fourths with etller, etc. Simil.:lrly in the

case OL~ f1''''

r~, etc
~ • u"'l'~o
.;) • TllU~,
- o'nn~ [lalf of 2u.cll elc=ment

is OL~ 1.. ts own i.)atur'"~, Wlll'l,,,,

..... ttl P- o+-Il,"'r
~..... h.::llf is made UD of +-Ile
- ['OUl'

, d s a L~ u""ubtle elemen.....
ot!ler Kln'- , '-~,
• hence, +-here
is tIle <:10_ -plica-

tion I earth' c=tc., in respect of eiJrtll, etc. becuuse of the

B6. V,P., p.120.
B7. V,P., p.121.
- 166 -·e of par"ts with the respective nature. It has

been said: Because of distinctiveness (i.e. predomlnance)

there is that appellation (as earth, etc.).88 From the

I -
unquintuplicated elements arise the liryga~sarira which
makes possi~le the going to 3.nother world, which subsis"ts

until r-:?lease, which is associated with manas andbu·ddhi.,

and is conjoined with the five-fold sense-organs, the iive-
fold JatoI' organs and the five-fold vital airs. It has been
said, 'The subtle body, the instrument of enjoyment, arises
from the un~uintuplicated elements and is associated with
the five pranas, manas, buddhiand the ten indriyas. This
subtle body is of two kinds: superior and inferior. The
superior is the subtle body of Hirar;yagarbha the in:'erior
is the subtle body of the human bei~s. Of these, HiraQyagarbha'~

subtle body is spoken of as mahat-tattva and the

subtle body of lluman beings as ahamkara. Similarly, from
tamo-gul}a, associated \'lith the qUintuplicated elements,
there is the ori~ination of the cosmic spner2 comprising
(a) the seven higher worlds, called earth, antarik~a, svarga,

,mahat, janai), tapaQ and satya and (b) the seven lower vlOrlds
called atala,' vitala, sutala, rasat'ala, talatala, mahatala,
patala and (2) of the four kinds ·of gross bodies called'
\'lomb-born {jarayujaegg-born (ar:~aja) s1;/eat-born (svedaj a)
88. B. 5ee V.P. pp.122-123.
- 167 -

~nd sprout-born (udbhijja). Of these, the jarElyujas are

bodies like men, beast~,
- etc. corn 0f wo mb s, d
a~.ajus ure
bodies like birds, snakes, etc. born of eggs; svedujus are

lice, mosquitos, etc. born of perspiration; ud tlij~s ~re

trees, etc. wllicl1 are born cleuving tile eartl). Tile quality

of being a body belongs even to trees, etc., because of

tlH~ir being the loci for tile exper ience of tIle fruit of

demerit. L"l respect of the originution of the rest of tile

entire war Id, tllrcugll tIle cllannel of

:-tira~lYagarblla, there is

tile evidence of S:u ti, "Lord_entering into these tllree Jieties

. -: d ~ .. 8CJ
~s tlleir ].1 va self, I sllall create name.::tn Iorm. TIlliS

t!le wl101e universe was created by Sagu1}a Brahman or God.

5r i Ram5nuj.::t, tile great teacher of Visistauvai t.::l, and

I _

Sr i MadllV.::t, tile great teacher of Dvai ta, do not agree wi t!l

tl1e ;'dv.::titic concept of :1on--luCl.l rte.::lli ty .::lnd tl18 Concept cf

maya, .::tn;] tile metl1cd of creution of tile '.Jorlcl in AdvaitCl..

~9. c·u· VI.~·'1