Taitreya Upanishad, Class 10

Greetings All,

Chapter # 1, Anuvakaha # 4, Shloka # 3:

May I become successful among the people. Svaha. Mau I become superior among rich. Svaha. O lord of Prosperity, may I enter into thee. Svaha. Mayest thou enter into me. In that Self of Thine with a thousand branches. O lord may I purify myself from all of my sins. Svaha. As water flows downwards, as months fly into years, so too O creator, may students of Brahmavidya come to me from everywhere. Svaha. Thou art refuge! Beam upon me! Come to me!

Continuing his teaching of the Upanishad, Swami Paramarthananda concluded the Anuvakaha # 4. In summary, this anuvakaha talks of two sadhanas, Japa and Homa. Both are meant for Gyana Yogyata as well as Gyana Praptihi. These sadhanas can be performed both as Sakama Karma as well as Nishkama Karma.  Sakama Karma is for fulfilling worldly desires while Nishkama karma is performed for Chitta shudhi without any specific desire. Kamya karmas must always be performed properly, if not the results may not be positive. Nishkama karma always produces positive results.

Chapter # 1, Anuvakaha # 5,  Shloka # 1:

Bhuh, Bhuvah, Suvah are the three short utterances of mystical significance. In addition to these, there is, the fourth one Mahah, made known by seer, Mahacamasya. That is Brahman. That is the body; other gods are its limbs.

This is the second Upasana of Shikshavalli named Vyahriti. As a reminder, the first Upasana was Samshito Upasana.

In Samshito Upasana we took four factors that served as symbols for invoking various objects. We meditated upon those objects. A symbol is known as an Alambanam in Sanskrit.

Now, in Vyahriti Upasana, the Vyahriti mantras are used as alamabanam. On these mantras four objects are invoked. What are these four mantras? They are Bhu, Bhuvaha, Suvaha and Mahaha. Why is it called Vyahriti mantra? It is so called because Brahmaji took the essence of the three Vedas (Rig, Yajur and Sama) to create AUM, the Omkara mantra. Omkara expanded is Vyahrithi and Vyahrithi expanded is Gayathri mantra. Brahmaji uttered the Vyahriti mantra for the first time hence it is very sacred. A second meaning is that since Brahmaji uttered it and since it is an extract of the Vedas, it is very scared. Chanting this mantra removes all papapams. So second meaning is that it is a destroyer of all papams. Later a fourth mantra, Mahaha, was added.

These four mantras are symbols or alambanams. We invoke four objects on these symbols and meditate upon them. By chanting the mantras Bhu, Bhuvaha, and Suvaha everything is sanctified. These mantras are used in many rituals including Karma Kanda, Upasana Kanda and Gyana Kanda. Bhu, Bhuvaha and Suvaha all together become Vai. The word Vai then becomes Vaa as per rules of Sanskrit grammar.

Now the fourth Vyahriti is added. Who discovered this fourth vyahriti? Sage Mahachamasya, son of Mahachamas, discovered it. Mahachamas means one who uses big spoons in a yaga. He is supposed to have revealed the fourth Alambanam.

Now the objects are introduced. What types of objects are introduced? One is a main object and others are subordinate objects. Main object is called an Angi while subordinates one’s are called angani. The glory of the main mantra pervades all subordinate mantras as well. It is like a prime minister who dominates his ministers.

In this shloka, the fourth Vyahriti, Mahah, is the main while other three mantras are subordinate ones. Since Maha is main mantra it is also called Atma.

Chapter # 1, Anuvakaha # 5,  Shloka # 2:

Bhu is this world. Bhuvaha is the sky. Suvah is the next world. Mahah is the sun. It is by the sun that all worlds are nourished.

Four objects are invoked. They are in the form of four Lokas or known as Adhilokas. The four objects are taken from Adhilokas. So, imagine four chairs.

They are:

Bhu: Bhu Loka (The chair is Bhu and Bhu Loka devata is sitting on it)

Bhuva: Antariksham or Bhuvar Loka

Suvaha: Suvar loka or Swarga Loka.

Mahah: Aditya Loka.

All Lokas function due to grace of Aditya or Sun. Hence it is main Loka. In the Gita too Sun is glorified. The four lokas have been identified. Here, Surya is the Angi. After meditation the Lokas are requested to move on.

Chapter # 1, Anuvakaha # 5,  Shloka # 3:

Bhu is fire. Bhuvah is air. Suvah is the sun. Mahah is the moon. Indeed, it is by the moon that all vitalities thrive.

The next four objects are now selected. They are from field of Devatas. Thus they are:

Bhu: Agni

Bhuvaha: Vayu

Suvaha: Aditya

Maha: Chandra

Why is Chandra Devata Mahah? All other devatas are glorious due to blessing of Chandra Devata.  How can Chandra Devata bless Surya? After all Chandra Prakasha is borrowed from Surya? We are discussing about Devatas not physical objects, here. Devatas have powers. Thus:

Aditya presides over Chakshu indriya.

Chandra presides over antahakarana or the mind.

Thus, organs cannot function without the mind. Swamiji says some people in our class can’t hear as their mind is elsewhere. You are here but don’t hear. Mind, however, can function without sense organs as evident in the state of meditation. Hence Chandra is the Angi and others are Angani.

Chapter # 1, Anuvakaha # 5,  Shloka # 4:

Bhu is the Rk. Bhuvah is the Saman. Suvah is the Yajus. Mahah is the Brahman (as represented by the symbol Om). It is by Brahman, indeed, that Vedas thrive.

Continuing the Vyahriti Upasana another four objects from field of Vedas are chosen. Thus, it is known as Adhiveda Vyahriti.

Bhu: Rig veda

Bhuvaha: Sama Veda

Suvaha: Yajur Veda

Mahah: Brahma or Omkara.

Brahma here means Omkara. Omkara has the essence of three Vedas. Omkara pervades all Vedas. All Vedas get glory from Omkara.

Chapter # 1, Anuvakaha # 5,  Shloka # 5:

Bhu is prana. Bhuvaha is apana. Suvaha is Vyana. Mahah is food. Indeed, it is by food that the pranas thrive.

This is the fourth and final Vyahrithi Upasana. Objects are chosen from field of Prana hence it is called Adhi Prana Vyahriti Upasana.

Bhu: Prana

Bhuvaha: Apana

Suvaha: Vyana

Mahah: Annam

All pranas function only with food. Without food they become weak. All pranas are glorious until food is available. Hence it is called Adi Prana Upasana.

A total of 16 objects are invoked in Vyahriti Upasana.

Chapter # 1, Anuvakaha # 5,  Shloka # 6:

These above mentioned four are themselves fourfold and the four Vyahrtis are each four in number. He, who knows these, knows Brahman. All the devas carry offering unto Him.

This is the concluding shloka. In this manner four Vyahriti’s are meditated upon in four fold ways. Four objects are meditated upon in each Vyahriti. Thus, a total of 16 objects were meditated upon. Shankaracharya says, one has to invoke the deities in the same order as prescribed in the Upanishad

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy


Baghawat Geeta, Class 79 – Chapter 5 Summary

Gita, Class # 79, Ch 5, 7/15/17:

Continuing his teaching of Gita and concluding chapter five Swami Paramarthananda summarized the chapter today.

Sri Krishna has given us the entire teaching of the Gita in chapters 2, 3 and 4 respectively. Chapter 5 is a summary of all the previous three chapters and in a sense it gives us the very essence of the Gita and the Vedas. This chapter can be classified into following four parts.

  • Nishta Dvayam or two types of life styles.
  • Sadhana Dvayam or two types of spiritual disciplines.
  • Sadhana phalam or benefits of these sadhanas.
  • Introduction to meditation as foundation for chapter six.

The Nishta- dvayam are: 1) Grihasthashrama, and 2) Sanyasashrama. In grihasthashrama one has possessions and is part of society while in Sanyasahrama one has no possessions nor is one a part of society. Grihasthashrama is called Pravrithimarga, an active life, and Sanyasashrama is called Nivrithimarga, a secluded life.

The other two ashramas, Brahmacharya and Vana-prastha, are preparations for these two lifestyles. Thus brahmacharya is a preparation for grihasthashrama. vanaprastha is a preparation for sanyasashrama. These ashramas are called nishtas. The two lifestyles have been prescribed by the Vedas.

In chapter five, Arjuna starts off the chapter saying he is confused about Sanyasa. He wants to know if Sanyasa is a requirement for liberation. Answering him, Sri Krishna says that Sanyasa is not compulsory. Any one of the two life styles can be chosen. Thus, we have a choice with respect to ashrama or lifestyle. One has to decide if one wants to be a monk or get married. There are advantages and disadvantages to both lifestyles. In Grihasthashrama the advantage is that one has wealth and supportive people. This gives him a feeling (real or unreal) of security. Sanyasi does not have wealth nor people and thus no security as well.

The disadvantage in grihasthashrama is that one has a lot of responsibility that can be burdensome. Sanyasi does not have this responsibility. In life, whenever a choice is involved, conflict always comes in.

Sri Krishna tells Arjuna that the Grihasthashrama is more suitable for him. He says this ashrama is suitable for most of the people. Human relationship is very important in maintaining mental sanity. Thus, both ashramas are acceptable. However, only a prepared person should consider taking up sanyasashrama. Shloka 1 through # 6 discusses this topic of lifestyle.

2) Sadhana Dvayam: They are Karma yoga sadhana and Gyana yoga sadhana. Both sadhanas are required to be followed. Sri Krishna says there is no choice between the sadhanas.

Swamiji says there is a very big misconception in this area that there are several paths to liberation. Thus, some people feel karma yoga alone will lead to moksha while others feel bhakti yoga alone will lead to moksha. Others think raja yoga will get them moksha while still others think kundalini yoga will also get them moksha.

He clarified that neither the Vedas nor Gita supports this point of view.

Everybody has to go through Karma yoga followed by Gyana yoga. They should be performed, in sequence, one after the other, that too gradually. Karma Yoga has to be learnt and adopted first, as it is a required preparation for Gyana yoga. Then, through Gyana yoga, one obtains liberation. This is the Vaidic margaha. Thus, in first phase, karma yoga is dominant while in second phase Gyana yoga is dominant.

Karma Yoga: Shlokas # 7 through 12 deals with karma yoga. Chapter # 3 also discussed karma yoga at great length. Karma Yoga can be defined as Proper action performed with a Proper attitude.

Proper action: Proper action can be graded based on the spiritual progress that it can provide. In this gradation, selfless actions come on top, as most people are benefited by such actions.  Nishkama karmani also called satvika karmani are the best kind of actions that contribute to the maximum purity and spiritual progress.

Therefore, a karma yogi should give utmost importance to satvika karmani and then to rajasa karmani and lastly to tamasa karmas. Performance of Tamas karmani should be negligible or none at all. This is called proper action.

Sakama karma is action that leads to benefits for one-self. They are Rajasic in nature and provide least benefit spiritually.

Tamasic karmani are actions that are harmful to society.  Here I get the benefit but society is injured. They pull down a person spiritually.

Therefore, in karma yoga, our focus should be on actions that are Satvic in nature.

Proper Attitude: Here I perform all actions as worship to God. All my actions (satvic, tamasic and rajasic) are dedicated to God. And then, whatever the consequences of my action, I accept it as a prasadam. This is the proper attitude.

Citing an example, swamiji says, even thieves in India were devotees. They prayed to God before going on a theft.  Even their mind changes with time through association with God. Shankaracharya says even a nishidha karma should be performed as an offering to God.

 Every experience in life is a result of my own actions. What have I done for this great suffering, when I have not done any great wrong, is a question that comes to our mind. Remember our experiences include ones from our previous lives as well. Whatever I get, I deserve. Don’t ask, “why me”, at all. Rather ask, O God, give me the strength to go through this and learn. This attitude called padmapatram iva ambasa and has been defined in chapter 5, shloka # 10. This is proper action with the proper attitude.

And what will happen as a result of karma yoga? The result is that the mind becomes oriented towards the spirit, materialistic tendencies weaken, spiritual tendencies strengthen and interest in Gita increases. With this interest in the shastra also increases.

Thus, everyone has to go through purifying actions. Even a Sanyasi has to go through them. While the type of actions may differ, between a Sanyasi and a Grihastha, both have to go through karma yoga.

Gyana Yoga Sadhana: Shlokas # 13 through 21 deals with this topic. Gyana yoga is a requirement for moksha. Many consider Gyana yoga a dry path while they consider Bhakti yoga as a wet path. It is considered a wet path as you shed tears in a state of bhakti. Swamiji says this again is a misconception. Chapter # 7 discusses Bhakti yoga.

So, what is Gyana yoga? It is Vedanta vichara consisting of sravanam, mananam and nidhidhyasanam. It consists of the systematic, consistent and continuous study of scriptures under a competent acharya. Jumping from one Guru to another is not recommended as each Guru will have a different way of communication.

What will such a study lead to? This study will lead to the recognition of atma, the real nature of every individual. This study will lead to the recognition of atma, which is the real nature, the essential nature, the core nature and the higher nature of the individual.

What is the nature of this discovery or the nature of atma?

We have studied this elaborately in the Chapter 2.

Krishna hints at it here again as follows. The atma is of the nature of consciousness. What is the nature of consciousness? Important features of consciousness include:

  • Consciousness is not a part, property or product of the body.
  • Consciousness is an independent entity that pervades and enlivens the body.
  • Consciousness is not limited by the boundaries of the body. In short, it is all pervading.
  • Consciousness survives or continues to exist even after the fall of the body.
  • Consciousness is the only one, that pervades all the bodies of the creation, which means bodies are many, but the pervading consciousness is one.
  • Consciousness being one and all pervading like space; it is free from all the actions.
  • Consciousness is not only an akarta but also an abhokta as well.
  • Consciousness is, thus, also free from all karmas. Therefore, it also does not have papam or punyam.

Citing an example, while all actions occur in space, space itself does not act. Similarly while light illumines, it does not act. So also with consciousness, it does not act.

The stages of Gyana yoga:

First stage is identification with this consciousness.  Citing an example, when I ask you what is here you will say there is a hand. Even if I ask you 100 times you will still say it is only a hand. Then, when I tell you that this hand itself is seen because of a light principle that is pervading the hand only then you realize that the light alone is pervading.  Consciousness is like the light. This is the teaching of the Upanishad.

Second stage is learning to identify with the consciousness as myself.  At present we have learnt to identify with the body; and this learning is so intense and so ingrained in our mind; that the moment we use the word I, we remember, I am a male, I am a female, I am so many years old; I am the child of so and so. In fact, you remember all the bio-data associated with the body alone. So, therefore, we have to do a lot of unlearning. And the new process is learning to identify with the consciousness and instead of saying I-am-the-body I have to learn to say that I-am-the-consciousness-pervading-the-body. This body is subject to arrival and departure. This body belongs to the material world. This body is a temporary gift from the Lord. I can use it for sometime, as a medium of transaction but I cannot hold on to it permanently. So, I have to learn to say that “ I am the consciousness in the body” and not “I am the body”. This is shifting the “I”.

If I know I am consciousness, I will look at you as well as the consciousness of your body. Right now I only see your physical personality. I am atma, You are also atma. This unity of vision is possible only through unity of spiritual wisdom. All other talk of unity is only lip service. On one side we all say we are Indians, but we still fight and kill others. We can never have a true transformation without getting this wisdom.

With this knowledge the fear of mortality also goes. I realize that I am the immortal consciousness functioning through this body. Our problem is not with mortality of body, rather it is that I think “ I” am mortal. This notion changes with Gyanam. I realize “I” am immortal. This leads to wisdom and poornatvam.

With this, Sri Krishna concludes the topic of gyana yoga, shlokas #13. to 21. Here karma yoga was the first stage and gyana yoga the second stage. Gyana yoga leads to the wisdom that I am full, that I am immortal and  Aham poornah. This is freedom from limitation.

Benefits of Gyana Yoga :

Shloka 21 through 26 discusses benefits. One benefit is the development of the spiritual value known as Vairagyam. Vairagyam is independence from external factors for happiness. We normally tend to depend upon external factors for our happiness and this poses a big problem. External factors are not in my control. Most situations that we come across related to family, servant, children etc. are not in our control. Psychological dependence is sorrow. Physical dependence may be difficult to avoid. The problem is with us and not with the world. The solution is to go from dependence to independence. Learn to depend upon your Self (higher self) for security, shanti and poornatvam. This attitude is called Vairagyam. This is dropping psychological dependence.

The benefits include: Jivan mukti. It means inner independence here and now. Regarding outer freedom, I am still bound by rules of society. Chapter # 2 discusses Sthitha Pragyaha Lakhanani. So this is jivan mukthi and he will live like that until the prarabdhah karma is over. Until then the physical body will continue.

Therefore, as long as karma is there the body survives. Once the karma is gone, body also goes and thereafter he is one with Brahman, without any individuality. This stage is called videha mukthi and Sri Krishna calls it brahma nirvana.

With shlokas # 22 through # 26 the chapter five’s main purpose is over.

In Shloka’s 27-29 Sri Krishna introduces meditation.

The last three shloka are beeja shlokas. They are seed verses for the tree of 6th chapter, which is to come next.

This chapter, the sixth, is called sanyasa yogah or karma sanyasa yogah. Here Sri Krishna clarifies what is sanyasa to Arjuna. What is this clarification? That, the outer sanyasa is not important rather it is the inner sanyasa alone that is real. That external renunciation is not compulsory, however, inner renunciation is the real renunciation.

Take Away:

  1. Karma Yoga can be defined as Proper action performed with a Proper attitude.
  2. Every experience in life is a result of my own actions. What have I done for this great suffering is a wrong question to ask. Karmas from our past lives are also a factor.
  3. “ I am the consciousness in the body” and not “I am the body”. This is shifting of the “I”.

With Best Wishes

Ram Ramaswamy



Taitreya Upanishad, Class 3

Greetings All,

Continuing his introduction to the Upanishad, Swami Paramarthananda said, in the last class he pointed out that among many Upanishads ten are most important due to Shankaracharya writing commentaries on them. All of them are chosen from the Vedas. Taittiriya Upanishad is from Yajur Veda. Yajur veda has two branches. Krishna Yajur and Shukla Yajur veda. Katho and Taittiriya Upanishads are from Krishna Yajur Veda. Ishavasa and Brihadaranyaka Upanishads are from Shukla Yajur Veda.  Taittiriya Upanishad occurs at the end of of  Taittirya Aranyakam. This Aranyakam has 10 chapters. The last 4 chapters are philosophical ones. The famour Suyra namaskra or Aruna Prashna occurs in Taittiriya Aranyakam. Last four chapters 7,8, 9 and 10 of the Aranyakam are called Taittiriya Upanishad. Shankaracharya has commented on chapters 7, 8 and 9 only. He did not comment on the last chapter 10 called Mahanarayanam. Taittiriya and Ishawasa Upanishads have an uniqueness to them. They are used for pararayanam due to their swaras or intonation. They were preserved in the sampradaya of chanting. Mundako and Keno upanishad’s were not preserved in the sampradya of chanting. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad also has swaras but they are not very popular.

Two reasons are given as to how the name Taittiriya Upanishad has come about.

The first story comes from the Puranas or is of mythological origins and is considered more a symbolic one. Once there was a sage by name of Vaishampayana and he had a great disciple by the name of Yagnavalkiya.  Yagnavalkiya was a brilliant student. On one occasion he insulted one of his classmates. Vaishampayana came to know about it. He knew Yagnavalkiya had a big ego. He wanted to punish him. He asked Yagynavalkiya to return all the Vedas taught to him. Yagnavalkiya vomited all the food he had eaten and in that vomit all Vedas were surrendered as well. He lost all the wisdom he had learnt. In the vomit was also all his well-digested knowledge. A bird also digests its food and feeds that to its young. All the Rishi’s who were with Yagnavalkiya thought it would be a great idea if they could become birds and eat his vomit, so that they would get the wisdom very quickly. So all Rishi’s converted themselves to Tittiri birds (partridge) and they ate up his vomit. The Tittiri bird is small but it can consume a lot of food. Thus, all the Rishi’s gained wisdom. It is said that because the vomit was mixed with some blood it had become dark or “Krishna”, hence this knowledge is known as Krishna Yajur Veda. Later, Yagnavalkiya learnt the Vedas from Surya Bhagavan and he created the Shukla Yajur Veda. All the Rishi’s who got their wisdom from the vomit, taught others the Krishna Yajur Veda and thus the Veda spread.

The symbology in this story is that Yagnavalkiya’s vomit was like teaching the students a second time. Brilliant students usually grasp information very fast or the very first time. Others, slower students, need more time. It was not unusual for a teacher to ask his brilliant student to teach the slower students or his Co-brahmachari’s. So, Yagnavalkiya is supposed to have taught the students who were also very eager to learn. The Tittiri bird also symbolizes a desire to learn quickly. Thus, like a Tittiri bird they received their teaching.

The second story is a simpler one. There was a Rishi named Taittiri. It was an Acharyas name not that of a bird. He was from Yajur veda paramapara. Hence, the name of the Upanishad.

This Upanishad has 3 sections that were commented upon by Shankaracharya. He did not comment on the fourth section. The last or fourth section (chapter) is the Narayanavalli and it is usually chanted while welcoming a Sanyasi. Each of the three chapters or sections is named after the very first word used in the chapter.

Thus, chapter 1, beginning with word Shiksha, is called Shikshavalli.

The chapter 2 begins with Brahma and is called Brahmavalli.

Chapter 3 begins with Brighu and as such is called Brighuvalli.

Fourth chapter is called Narayanavalli but it is not studied.

First and third chapters are not dealing with Vedanta. Vedanta occurs only in chapter 2 and is the most important one. Shankaracharya’s commentary on this chapter is very famous. Chapters 1 and 2 are about preparation for gaining Gyanam and deal with Karma Yoga and Upasana.

These two subjects are discussed in chapters 1 and 3. Between these three chapters they have two shanti pathas. First chapter has a Shanti patha and chapters 2 and 3 together have another shanti patha. The invocation Sahana Vavatu comes from this shanti patha.

Shikshavalli or chapter 1:

The Shanti patha:

May Mitra be propitious to us. May Varuna bless us. May the blessings of Aryama be with us. May the grace of Indra and Brihaspathi be upon us. May Vishnu, the all pervading (wide –striding) be propitious to us. Salutations to Brahman. Salutations to Thee O Vayu! Thou art the visible Brahman. Thee alone shall I consider as the visible Brahman. I shall declare: Thou art the “Right”; Thou art the “Good”. May that protect me; may that protect the speaker. Please protect me. Please protect the speaker.

 Through shanti patha students are asking for Gyana Yogyatha prapthihi. All of my organs must be in a fit condition to receive knowledge. The 17 organs (The karmendriyas, Gyanendriyas etc.) should also cooperate. During Sravanam my gyanendriyas must be active, not Karmendriyas. I must obtain Karana Yogyata prapthihi. Each organ has a Devata. I invoke these devatas so that they keep my organs fit. Various Devatas are mentioned in prayers. Prayers ask that there be no obstacles. Parthibandha Nibhadhyathi.

In this shanti patha following seven gods are invoked. They are:

Mitra: God of exhalation (outbound breath)

Varuna: Apana: God of inhalation

Aryama or Surya: God of the Eyes.

Indra: God of the hand.

Brihaspati: God of wisdom, intelligence and communication.  The ability to communicate and ask questions is important. Precision and brevity in communication is required.

Urukruma or Vishnu: Is God of the feet or the ability to move and sit. Urukrama means one with big strides.

Vayu: is the Hiranyagarbha Devata or the Total subtle body. It is not visible. The visible part is Prana or Vayu. Samashti Prana is Vayu. It is total Sukshma shariram.

He is the Mangala Karta perceptible through the breath in our nostrils.

Students invoke these seven gods for auspiciousness,  strength and Mangala Karta. This prayer includes prayer for fitness of teacher as well. It prays for teacher’s organs and memory as well.

Naha: Student and teacher.

Namaha: Prostrating to Hiranyagarbha Tatva as it includes all Devatas or the Totality.

Hence, we worship the Pancha Maha Bhutas of Prithvi, Jalam, Vayu, Agni, and Akash Tatvam. All are worshipped during Sandhya Vandanam as well.

You are the perceptible God. I want to spread the good news.

Ritum: Living a life according to my studies. Not being a hypocrite.

Satyam: Since I should act according to my knowledge, my knowledge should be the right understanding. My knowledge should be right. It should be Right knowledge in keeping with Shastra, Reasoning and my Experience. When these three sources of knowledge are right, I have right knowledge. Satyam is Right knowledge.

Ritum and Satyam are embodied in Hiranyagarbha. All these are prayers for Yogya Prapthihi.

Prathibandha Nivrithi: means May god protect me. Let the obstacles go away. May God bless the Guru (Vaktaram) as well.

The Shantihi is chanted three times for removal of obstacles. These obstacles are Adhidaivika (of divine origin), Adhibhautika (originated in the physical, material beings) and Adhyatmika (created by ourselves).

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy

Foot Note:


1.pāyu – the excretory organ.
Is the organ of excretion. Associated with the mooladhara chakra and the earth element.
2.upastha – the sexual organs
This is the generative organ.
3.pāda – the locomotion organ
Legs are the locomotory organs.
4.pāni – the organ of apprehension
Hands are the most complex organ of action as they can express,feel and touch.
5.vāk – the speech organ

 Gyanendriyas: are the five sense organs :1. ghrāṇa – nose 2.rasanā – tongue 3.cakṣu – eye 4.tvak – skin 5.śrotra – ear

1)Prithivi (earth) corresponds to the mooladhara chakra
2)Apas or Jala (water) corresponds to the Svadhistana chakra
3)Agni (fire) corresponds to the manipura chakra
4)Vayu (air) corresponds to the anahata chakra
5)Akasha (ether) corresponds to the vishuddha chakra.

Kaivalya Upanishads Chanting

Please click on the link below to chant along Kaivalya Upanishad.  This is a recording of Kaivalya Upanishads chanting by Sri Ganesh Gurukul of the Gayatri temple in Lockport, Illinois.

Nirupadhika and Sopadhika

This post is to explain Shloka 21, of Kaivalya Upanishads

Adhyasa is of two kinds. When a rope is mistaken for a snake, the snake alone is seen. The existence of the rope is not known at all. Here the snake is said to be superimposed on the rope. This is known as Svarupa-Adhyasa. The second kind of superimposition is when a crystal appears to be red in the proximity of a red flower. Here both the crystal and the flower are seen as existing, and the redness of the flower is attributed to the crystal also. This is known as Samsarga-Adhyasa. Both these kinds of Adhyasa are present in the mutual superimposition of the self and the non-self.

Because of the superimposition of the non-self on the self, the existence of the self is not recognized at all, and the non-self, (that is, the body, mind and organs), is alone recognized as existing. This is Svarupa-Adhyasa. In the superimposition of the self on the non-self, only the existence and consciousness aspects of the self are attributed to the body, mind and organs. This is Samsarga-Adhyasa. The result of this mutual superimposition is that every one identifies himself with the body. This is the root cause of all suffering. Giving up this wrong identification with the body-mind complex and realizing that one is the self which is beyond all suffering and all the pairs of opposites such as heat and cold, success and failure and so on, is Vidya or knowledge. It is this knowledge that is contained in the Upanishads.

Svarupa-Adhyasa is also known as Nirupadhika-Adhyasa or superimposition without a limiting adjunct or Upadhi. The superimposition of an illusory snake on a rope is of this type. Upadhi has been defined by Bhaskararaya in his commentary on the name Nirupadhih (No.154) in the Lalitāsahasranāmabhāsya as Upa samipe adadhati sviyam dharmam that which imparts its own quality to an object near it. A red flower which makes a transparent crystal near it look red is an upadhi. The superimposition of the red colour on the crystal is a superimposition with upadhi and it is known as Sopadhika-Adhyasa, which is the same as samsarga-adhyasa.

In the superimposition of the snake on the rope, the substratum is considered to be the rope. But the snake itself is not real, and is a superimposition on Brahman or pure Consciousness. Therefore it is said in Vedanta that the substratum is Rajju-upahita chaitanyam or pure Consciousness apparently limited by the rope. Every object in this world should therefore be looked upon as Brahman limited by that object or Brahman in the form of that object Sarvam khalu idam brahma. The illusory snake is described as Pratibhasika or illusory; the rope, like everything in this world, is Vyavaharika or empirical reality. Brahman alone is Paramarthika or absolute reality. The aim of Vedanta is to enable one to attain this realization.

Karanam and Karyam

Portion of Swamiji’s lecture on Shivarthri:

In the first stage of Ishwara Aradhanam we defined Ishwara as shrithi-shruthi-laya kartha. We use the word jagat kartha but in the second stage, Ishwara jnanam, the language is slightly changed. Instead of the word “kartha” we use the word “karanam”. Now we define God as the cause of the universe, the source of the universe, and origin of the universe. Even modern scientists accept that the universe originated at a particular time which they study in cosmology where they talk about Big Bang etc. We need not go deeper but what I am saying is even the scientists talk about origination or evolution of the universe. Which means from non-origin state the origin state must come for from non-existent thing nothing can come. There is a fundamental cause that exists and this karanam is called Ishwara. And the entire universe is a product evolving or originating from that karanam. That is why Bhagavan is called karaneeshwara which is a famous temple.

Once you understand Ishwara as karanam (cause) and the world is the effect then we can analyse the nature of both Ishwara and the world. The scriptures help us understand that through many examples. Like gold as the karanam and ornaments as the karyam, as clay as the karanam and pots as the karyam, or iron as the karanam and various kinds of hardware as the karyam. Based on these examples given in the Upanishad we have to understand Ishwara. Studying the examples we can know the features of karanam and the important features of karyam. On this auspicious Shivaratri day I will recount four important features of both karanam and karyam that you are all aware as upanishadic students.

  1. Gold the cause is ekam (one) and from that lump we have several ornaments. Therefore karanam ekam and karyam anakam. So how many Gods are there? God can only be ONE but HE can be invoked in several forms.
  2. The second feature is Gold is the karanam and ornaments karyam. The ornaments cannot exist without gold as gold alone is the content of all the ornaments. Therefore we can conclude karanam is the CONTENT (saaram) for the entire universe which is the karyam. Now tell me where is God? In kailasam or Vaikuntam or etc. Since god is the very saaram, god has to be behind everything. God cannot have a particular location as God is behind all the products which are like different ornaments in different names and forms. So god is saaram and world is asaaram (which is pit less and hollow).
  3.  The third important feature is “gold existed before the arrival of ornaments, during the existence of ornaments and after the melting of ornaments. Gold exists in the past, in the present, and the future but the ornaments have got a beginning. And anything with a beginning will also have an ending.” Therefore karanam in nityam and karyam is anityam. God is nityah and the world is fleeting.
  4. The fourth feature is “gold, the karanam, by itself exists INDEPENDENTLY. It does not depend on the ornaments for its existence. Therefore swantantra tattvam whereas the ornaments, the products, does not exist independently and they all have borrowed existence. They do not have real existence. Whatever has independent existence is called Satyam and whatever is seemingly existent with borrowed existence, they are called asatyam. Ishwara ekah satyah while jagat is asatyah.

When we get Ishwara jnanam we understand these four features: ekah, saarah, nityam and satyam. God is one, hold or fit, eternal, and the only real one. And the world is nekah, asaarah, anityam and asatyam. By analysing further we discover another important practical message. The ornaments are very useful for beautifying our body. Ornaments are used for hands, legs, neck, tongue and even eye-brows (new and new fashions). Ornaments have got beauty, ornaments have got variety, ornaments have got novelty. But when you want financial security, security does it depend on ornaments or gold? When ornament is brought or sold people only look at the gold. The karyam gives beauty but what gives security? The karanam alone can give security. The world is beautiful, wonderful, it has variety. But whenever you want security, you have to hold on to only God. So if you want security, if you want peace you never depend upon anything in the world (whether they are things, beings, or positions, or possessions for nothing is reliable). You have to hold on to Ishwara and Ishwara only. Initially Ishwara aradhanam and later Ishwara alambanam. If a sanyasi can renounce everything, from where does he get that courage? He does not want to depend on anything he is renouncing. Even after renouncing he has got self-confidence because he feels that his security is not the share market that is crashing every other day, not the bank money whose interest is coming down, not the people around me. I only depend on Ishwara as my alambanam. For me God is the truth beyond all forms and HE is the truth behind everything. The rationalist say God is no where while we Hindus say that the God is NOW HERE. God is there is the speck and also in the pillar. And if Ishwara is everywhere is ekah, saarah, nityam and satyam then that Ishwara must be in me also. This is the first stage of self-enquiry and then we come to the next higher state. It is very subtle and very abstract. And who is the ekah, saara, nitya, satyam Bhagavan residing in me? There are two things that are constantly there in every living being – chaitanyam (consciousness) and achatanam (matter). The body is continuously changing, the thoughts are continuously changing and what is the constant changeless factor? I am aware of all these changes and this chaitanyam is the nature of Bhagavan. The second factor is when I introduce myself as a body, male or young or old. I am old, I am young, I am handsome, I am a man etc. In all of them what is the constant factor? I AM. This is existence or satyam principle. Sat chit ananda is the Karanam Ishwara principle who is everywhere and who is in me also. And when I learn to identify with that core then I can say: aham brahma asmi. This makes my life purnam.

We start from Ishwara aradhanam and go to Ishwara jnanam and understand that Ishwara is in everything and understand that Ishwara is in me and then come to the conclusion that Ishwara is me. This is the journey of a Hindu and it is possible to achieve this purnatvam in one life itself. This teaching has been given in the Vedas and Vedas have been given by the Lord Parameshwara and hence we are always indebted to Bhagavan. Sadasiva samarambham, shankaracharya madhyamam, asmad acharya paryantam vande Guru paramparam. On this auspicious Shivaratri day we do the aradhanam of Ishwara and we receive the knowledge of Ishwara and we have to discover this purnatvam which is the journey for all of us

Kaivalya Upanishad, Class 2

Swamiji continued with his introductory talk. He talked about necessity of self-inquiry. Our idea of our selves and vision of scriptures about us are different. I feel “I am full of defects”. I am searching to free myself of these defects. Scriptures say, “You are free of Doshas.” There is a contradiction between what I am and what scriptures say.

The instrument to know this knowledge (via self enquiry) is known as Pramanam. There are five types of Pramanam’s also known as Pancha Pramanani. All these are Paurusheya Pramanani or human instruments.

The Pancha Pramanani are:

pratyaksha = direct perception or cognition

anumana = inference, reasoning, deduction

agamah = authority, testimony, validation, competent evidence

pramanani = valid means of knowing, proofs, sources of correct knowing

viparyaya = Incorrect knowledge or illusion. Perceiving a thing as being other than what it really is.

Other than Pratyaksha all other four instruments are derived from perceptual data. Can anyone of them help me with self-enquiry? All five are human instruments and are extrovert in nature. Thus, an eye can see outside but not itself. Science also depends on extrovert sense organs. When we get data based on objective world, knowledge will be of the object. What I need is subjective data. The five instruments are inadequate for Self Knowledge. Every instrument can perform only in its field of operation. Self is not in the field of any instrument.

Why not meditate and get knowledge? Stopping thought cannot produce any new knowledge. Available instruments do not help. Meditation also does not do it. What should I do?

There is a sixth Pramanam. It is not of human origin. It is from outside. It is called Shabda Pramanam. It is a spoken or oral pramanam.

Shabda Pramanam are of two types:

  • Laukika Shabda Pramanam, of human origin.
  • Shastriya Shabda Pramanam that comes from God.

Laukika pramanam can only deal with objects. Example given was gravitational force. How did newton get this knowledge? He got it from Paurusheya pramanam or from human evidence.

Shastriya Pramanam is unique and is meant for revealing my true nature. Veda is a unique instrument of knowledge. It is not available from any other source. One who is performing self-enquiry has to use Shastriya Shabda Pramanam. When eye cannot see it self unless you use a mirror. Using the mirror, this is wisdom. I use Shastriya knowledge or Upanishad or Vedanta as a Pramana or mirror. Shastriya knowledge is looking into myself or looking inwards. The clearer I look the clearer is my knowledge. So, I need to study Shastriya Pramanam thoroughly.

Now there are some difficulties in obtaining this clarity of understanding.

Primary difficulty is our own habits. We always assume Shastra is talking about a new object. So, we tend to objectify it and then want to experience the object. We, thus obtain a bookish knowledge, while what we need is experiential knowledge.

Why does this mistake happen? Because we think Brahman is a new object without realizing that it is my own true nature. I should own up to my true nature. Our method of listening to Shastras also should be somewhat different, therefore Shastras insist upon following:

  1. You require a Guru. He will constantly point out Brahman is You and not outside.
  2. Since I, the self, am an observer, I am different from everything else, observed. I am unique. I cannot be observed. For this we do not have an example to fall back upon. Scriptures use of peculiar methods of communication that makes it difficult to comprehend. Words like dvaita and advaita are often used. Extracting information from scriptures is not easy and a specific method is followed. This method is called Sampradya or mimamsa or Vichara. The scriptures have six indicators that tell me what is the revelation about my true nature. The six indicators are known as Tatparya Lingani. The six indicators reveal the central theme of Upanishads. It requires study of beginning portion (Upakrama) and ending portion ( Upasamhara) and this reveals what is in central portion as well. An example of this is, while listening to the news in TV or Radio; the main points are brought out at beginning and end of the news.

A good speaker should follow the following rules for the six indicators

  1.  Upakrama and Upasamhara.
  2. Abhyasa or repetition. An aspect of scripture is repeated again and again indicating its importance.
  3. Apoorvata or Uniqueness. Scriptures reveal what science cannot reveal. Science cannot study consciousness. Vedanta reveals about consciousness and the observer. The subject is not available to science.
  4. Phalam: The benefits. The study of scriptures provides benefits. Also called Prayojanam from Advaitam.
  5. Arthavadaha: Ninda stuthi.  This means glorification and criticism.  If you look at yourself as a finite being it should be condemned. If you consider yourself infinite, it should be glorified.
  6. Upapathihi: Knowledge supported by logic. It is not a blind logic. Example: Scriptures say life in heaven is eternal. This is illogical. Whatever is acquired in time is also lost in time. Consciousness is eternal. It is logical. It cannot be disproved.

These above six are called Shat-tatparya -Lingani.

The body, mind and world are perishable. Behind the Observed, is the consciousness. Example: Camera is not in photo; does not mean camera does not exist. So, also, proof of object is proof of consciousness.

Aham Brahma Asmi. If I get this knowledge I need not get anything else for Poornatvam.So struggles for Poornatvam (or end of samsara) will a also end.  Therefore end of Vedas is called Vedantaha. It is also called Gyana Kandam or Atma Vidya or  Brahma Vidya.

After this knowledge all my struggles end. Giving example of puri (the flat bread), the flat dough when it is placed in hot oil rises up and becomes a big round puri. It is so with us too. Now, I live with Poornathvam and life becomes a Lila.

Hence it is called Upani-shad.Upani means wisdom or bringing together (you and knowledge).

This wisdom, Upanishad, occurs at end of each of the four Vedas. Since a Guru is compulsory, A Guru Shishya dialogue occurs in all Upanishads.

Ashvalayana is a Guru. Even Rama and Krishna had Guru’s. One or a group of dialogues is called Upanishad. Originally many Vedas were reportedly there. Many were lost in time. Now there are supposed to be 280 Upanishads. Of these 11 are very important and Shankaracharya, Ramanuja and other Acharyas wrote commentaries on them. Of these 11, six are usually studied. They are: Isha, Kena, Mandukya, Katha, Prasna and Brihadaranyaka.  Kaivalya is over and above the six. Between these seven Upanishads the essence of Vedanta is imparted. Kaivalya belongs to Atharvana Veda.

With best wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy

Prasna Upaishad, Class 22

Greetings All,

Swamiji continued his talks on Chapter 6 of Prasna Upanishad.

Shloka # 2: The sixth and last student asked for the sixteen part Purusha or Param Brahman. Here the Teacher is going to reveal Brahman through Srishti Prakaranam as Jagat Karanam. The Universe comes out of, exists and goes back into Brahman. This Upadana Karanam is Brahman. In this Lakshanam, the unknown Brahman is revealed through the world, that is known. How does Srishti point Brahman out?

If World is Karyam (the effect) then its Karanam (cause) Brahman is revealed. Karya Prapancha is the tool to describe this phenomenon. Is this world an integral part of Brahman? It is not, as Brahman is Nirvikalpa ( without another). So, Brahman is revealed through something else.

There are two types of Lakshanams.

1)    If I describe a person’s long face, his long nose, etc,. I am revealing a person through his features, an integral part of the person, also called Swaroopa Lakshanam.

2)    If I describe a person through his son, not his integral part, it is called Tatastha Lakshanam.

When Brahman is revealed through Satyam, Chaitanyam, Gyanam etc., it is Swaroopa Lakshanam.  But when Brahman is revealed through this world, not an integral part of it, then it is called Tatastha-lakshanam.  Tatastha-lakshanam is more often used. Srishti Prakriya is through Tatastha-lakshanam. Here, in Prasna Upanishad, the teacher wants to reveal Brahman through Tatastha-lakshanam.

Here Karyam (the effect) Prapancha is divided into sixteen parts. Brahman is revealed through the world, which has sixteen parts. Hence the name Shodashakala Purusha.  It should be noted that the Purusha does not have sixteen parts; rather it is the world that has sixteen parts. Brahman is Nishkala or without parts.

Srishti Prakriya reveals through Tatastha-lakshanam.

In Srishti Prakriya world is revealed as Karyam (effect) and Brahman as its Material cause.

Thus, Jagat (the Karyam or effect) is caused by Brahman (Upadana Karanam, the cause). The clay and pot analogy is used.

(My note: Stage 1. The pot is presented as the effect of clay.

Stage 2. Clay is presented as the cause of the pot.

Stage 3. Now, the teacher asks me to find out if I can see the pot without the clay. I look at the pot on all sides and conclude that everywhere it is clay alone. It is not available as different from clay, its cause. The conclusion: the effect is non-different from the cause.

Stage 4. This much is not enough, for the concept of cause and effect does exist. Now the teacher states that since it was concluded that the effect does not exist apart from the cause, it would be correct to hold that the cause alone really exists. But this still limits the cause as a cause. The vision born of wisdom is: There is no longer any need to call the clay as the cause. As clay alone matters in that wise vision, it would be appropriate to divest the clay of its status of a cause. Thus, divested of this status, clay remains as the one that transcends the cause-effect duality.)

The Jagat or world is nama roopa only. It is not different from Brahman. This is advaita.

Brahman is Upadanam Karanam (Cause). There are two types of Upadana Karanam. One is Parinami and other is Aparinami or Vivartha.

Example of Parinami Upadana Karanam: Milk changing to Curd. Here the cause is one, which changes to produce effects.

Example of Aparinami Upadana Karanam: Rope seems to be Serpent. This is also called changeless cause. The cause has not changed.

Parinami Upadana Karanam will not work here because:

1)    Here Brahman is subject to change and that means Brahman will die.

2)    Also, The world will become the earth and tree. Tree is a modification of the earth. This results in duality. Brahman is then subject to duality.

In Aparinami or Vivartha Upadana Karanam, Brahman does not change. Karyam, the effect, does not enjoy same degree of reality. Snake is not as real as the rope.

Shloka # 2: means, the world of sixteen parts is falsely born out of Brahman.

Shloka # 3:

Before Srishthi, Brahman visualized the whole universe to be created. When we say Brahman is material cause, usually material causes are inert, like gold or Clay. They are all inert or Jada. In that case, Brahman also becomes Jada. However, Upanishad says, it is the Chaitnaya Brahman (infused with Chaitanya), which is not Jada.

The second implication is, even if clay is cause of the pot, another cause has to be involved to create the pot, like a potter. Meaning somebody has to make the pot from the clay. Here Clay is the Upadana Karanam (material cause), while the potter is the Nimitha Karanam (or intelligent cause).

Brahman is both the material and intelligent cause of the world (abhinna nimitta upadana karanam).

Just like a spider is cause of the web, so also Brahman is the cause of the universe. Therefore Brahman’s thought is the cause of the universe.

Process of Creation:

First Brahman wanted to create Prana. He wished,“I want to create such a thing in whom a person’s life or Chaitanya will come and in whose presence also the “I” chaitanya will not be present.” Prana performs this function. Prana allows Chaitanya to come in, giving life and later allows it to go out, causing death.

So he created Prana. It was Samashthi Prana or Hiranyagarbha, where in, manifest consciousness comes into the Prana.

Then he created the sixteen Kala’s. They are:

  • Prana
  • Shradha
  • The five elements: earth, water, fire, air and space.
  • The five indriyani: vision, hearing, smell, taste and touch.
  • Manaha-Mind
  • Annam-Food
  • Viryam-Energy
  • Tapaha-Prayaschitha or penance for one’s wrong karmas.
  • Mantraha: Sacred prayer
  • Karma: All types, including Upasana.
  • Lokas: All Lokas
  • Nama Karanam: Naming. You need a name for everything.

The above are the Sixteen Kalas or limbs of Srishti Prakranam. With this the Adhya-Roopa-Prakaranam is completed. Srishti is over.

Shloka # 5: Now Apavada Prakaranam starts.

River, coming out of ocean, merges back into ocean. In between, there is nama roopa. All rivers are flowing down to the ocean. They reach the ocean and disappear. River’s water has not disappeared, as matter cannot be created or destroyed. Only their name and form is gone. The Ganga name is gone once it merges into the ocean. The Ganga has lost its nama and roopa and is now called Samudra.

Swamiji says, we alone give names as well as remove names.  Human life is just adding a name and removing a name.

From this Purusha, the sixteen Kalas arose. They all go towards the Purusha. They reach the same Purusha and disappear. Their nama and roopa is completely destroyed. Thus, the Prapancha becomes Purusha.  In Pralayam, there is dissolution, however, it is not permanent. Only with Gyanam does permanent dissolution occur. This is the Apavada Prakaranam.

The question can come: Since Kalas come out of Brahman, does Brahman have Kalas? Upanishad says Brahman does not have even potentiality for Kalas. Kalas are Mithya. In potential form they are Maya. In dynamic form they are Jagat.

Shloka # 6:

Brahmana Upanishad’s always have a shloka.

“The whole Prapancha is born out of Brahman and resolves in Brahman.”

The example of a wheel is used. The spoke of a wheel is sustained by its central part. The spokes and rims cause action, however, the motionless central hub holds the wheel. Like spokes in a wheel, all sixteen Kalas are based upon Purusha. If a person knows that Vedyam Purusha (which is worth knowing), mortality will not torment him. Amrithatvam is the phalam. This shloka is also the Phala Shruthi.

Shloka # 7:

After answering the Sixth student Pipillada says: About Param Brahma, I know only this much. Hearing this students are confused. Is there more to know?

Guru says there is nothing more to be known.

Shloka # 8:

The students then worshipped their teacher.

They said: You are our father (a father who has given them Brahma Shariram or the immortal I). You have taken us to the supreme, the other shore of the ocean of ignorance or Samsara Sagaram. I prostrate to the entire Guru Parampara, and all previous Gurus as well.

With this the Sixth question has been answered and the Upanishad also concludes.

My Notes: The spider designs its web. So it is the intelligent cause of the web. Raw material is also produced by the spider itself (normally any raw material is different from the maker). So here spider is the intelligent as well as the material cause of the web. In many cases like furniture, ornaments etc, the carpenter,who is the intelligent cause is different from wood,which is the material cause.Goldsmith is different from gold. Intelligent cause is called Nimitta Karanam. Material cause is called Upadana Karanam. So spider is Abhinna Nimitta Upadana Karanam. So is Brahman. It alone visualizes the creation; it alone is also the material. So he is the cosmic architect. Other than him there is nothing; no time, no space, so there is no question of searching for material cause.

My Notes: Till now shrI shaMkara has described that knowledge gives liberation and supporting sAdhanA-s only give us the readiness for knowledge. He also described that the root cause of our problems is ignorance and karma being unopposed to ignorance can’t remove it. Knowledge is the only antidote for ignorance. Now he talks about the problems ignorance gives. There are two kinds of problems faced due to ignorance. Firstly, I superimpose something else as reality and this causes misery. Apart from superimposing and projecting, I take the unreal world as real; this is the second mistake.

How come the world is unreal when I experience is it rock solid? This is a technical topic in vedAnta. Let us first briefly look at this topic before entering the next verse. There are essentially two natures (prakRRiti) viz. the lower nature (aparA prakRRiti) consisting of material world and body and Higher nature (parA PrakRRiti) which is Atma, the self. aparA prakRRiti includes the whole cosmos and laws of nature. Atma is also known as brahman in the scriptures. brahman is the cause of everything. The entire aparA prakRRiti has its basis in parA PrakRRiti. I, the Atma (brahman) am the cause from which everything manifests and everything resolves into. In other words aparA prakRRiti has no existence apart from me.

It is seen commonly that any cause undergoes a change to become an effect. A seed modifies to become a tree. Milk modifies to become yogurt. So does Atma undergo change to become the world?

No. We know that Atma is nirvikAra– changeless. So how is the world emerging without changing the Atma. That is possible if and only if the world is mithyA, meaning, seemingly existent. This can be supported by the example of a magician. He appears to slit the throat of a lady. The audience stare in disbelief as the body is separated into two parts. But there is no change in the lady; she comes back in one piece. It was just an apparent cutting. I see a rope as snake in darkness. Upon using a flashlight I realize that it is a rope. So do I need to run away from any snake, or is it going to bite me. No because the snake was ‘as though’ existent. The basis of the ‘as though’ existent snake is the rope.

Then what is the world? World does not have any existence apart from Me the Atma. World is just seemingly apparent (mithyA). Everything I see in this world carries a name and form which can be traced to its cause which in turn is also a name and form. E.g. – the cause hunting for furniture would be -> wood ->tree -> seed -> earth -> water -> fire -> air -> space -> brahman.

The next question could be how the world can be mithyA. Anything can be categorized as seemingly existent (mithyA) only on apprehending the reality (satyam); e.g. snake can be dismissed as mithyA only after knowing the rope. What is the definition of mithyA? Anything that has a dependent existence is mithyA. Pot is only a pot for a person who knows not the clay. But for a person who knows that pot is made of nothing but clay, for him the pot becomes name and form while clay is the only truth.

brahman has mAyA as its upAdhi to create the world. For creation to manifest, two types of causes are required, material cause (upAdAna kAraNam) and Intelligent cause (nimitta kAraNam). Applying this to the furniture example; wood is the material for furniture, so it is the material cause. Wood need to be cut , shaped and assembled together. Wood being insentient by itself, a sentient cause is required to turn wood to furniture. The carpenter who has this skill is the intelligent cause. We see that material and intelligent cause are different for furniture (wood and carpenter respectively).

Atma is both the material and intelligent cause of the world (abhinna nimitta upAdAna kAraNam). Abhinna means non different. There are no two different causes because there are no two things, there is only Atma. Atma uses mAyA as the limiting adjunct for manifestation of creation. It must be noted that mAyA is as much mithyA as the world because it depends on brahman for its existence. mAyA undergoes change to create the world hence it is called the pariNAmi upAdAna kAraNam; meaning a cause which changes to produce effects.  Atma does not undergo any change to manifest the world and hence is called vivarta upAdAna kAraNam; meaning a cause that does not undergo change to produce effect.

With reference to brahman I say the Lord (Ishvara) is the changeless cause of creation (i.e in this context Lord means brahman). When we talk of the world as non separate from the Lord, we are talking about Lord from the standpoint of mAyA which undergoes change to produce the elements. So based on the context the word Lord (Ishvara) has to be interpreted differently.

mAyA has three guna-s; satva, rajas and tamas. From these aspects of mAyA the elementals are produced. These elementals mix in different ways to produce the elements which in turn form the gross  world. So clearly, mAyA which is mithyA, undergoes change to produce world while Atma is the changeless cause of the world.  The world is created, sustained and resolved in Atma.

The world appears to be true till brahman, the nondual, the support of all is not recognized. It is like the illusion of silver on the pearl.

In my dream, I project a dream world and become a part of it as a dream individual. The whole dream time and dream space is supported by me, the waker. Once I wake up everything pertaining to the dream is negated. So, the dream world was created, sustained and resolved in the waker. The waker was the truth, basis for the dream. The waker is the reality while the dream is the projection.

So also, when I wake to my own higher nature as consciousness, the world is negated as mithyA. The basis, satya for the world is brahman. The basis for the cloth is the thread, the fibre is the basis for the thread and so on. Hence cloth is just name and form. It has dependent existence, meaning it cannot exist without the very thing from which it is deriving existence from. One independent basis for all utensils made of clay is clay alone. The wave, froth, wavelets, spray everything derive their existence from water alone. They are all nothing but water. So also all the jagat we see.  Due to ignorance we pay importance to name and form. We pay more heed to the form- ‘ring’ than the gold. Once we realize the world to be name and form and the come to realize Atma itself to be the basis of creation, till then the world with names, forms and events will victimize us. If the truth, the basis of all this is known as Atma then the world is dismissed as mithyA.

shrI shaMkara uses the example of shell silver. One can mistake a shell for silver due to the sunlight reflecting off it. But on going near, one realizes that there is no silver, it was just an illusion. The shell is apprehended as the only truth. Similarly, due to non apprehension of reality, one misapprehends the world to be something else and consequently faces misery. Due to misapprehensions, he either runs away from certain things (like snake example) or gets attracted to certain things (like shell silver example). This is how the whole life is spent without recognizing the satya, the basis of this entire creation. Clay is present everywhere in the pot. It is not present partially in the top and partially in the bottom. It is in fact nothing but clay. Clay is inherent throughout the pot. So also brahman is the warp and woof of this entire creation, the basis of all names and forms, the substratum of all objects, sentient or non sentient. On recognition of this brahman i.e. Atma as my own self, I dismiss the world as mithyA. It does NOT mean I will not interact with the world. It only means that one stops depending on the world for happiness. He finds the infinite repository of happiness within himself. This infinite Atma is within and pervading everywhere else also. shrI shaMkara has used the word sarvAdhiShThAnam to explain this. He quickly uses the word advayam to reiterate that there is one and only one basis Atma.

Just as we do not mistake a sparkling shell for silver on having known it, similarly on having discovered my own true nature, the world will never be taken as real or as separate from the Atma. I, the Atma am in and through the world and all pervasive.

References: Teachings of svAmi paramArthAnanda

With best wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy

Prasna Upanishad, Class 20

Greetings All,

Swamiji continued his talks on Chapter 5 of Prasna Upanishad.

Omkara Upasana is of three types.  Eka Matra Omkara Upasana or A kara is concentrated upon. Next upasana is on A kara and U kara. Third one is on A, U and M Karas.

First Upasana, Eka Matra, leads to Manushya Loka or Bhu Loka.

Second Upasana, Dvi matra, Leads to Pitra Loka, Soma Loka or Bhuvar Loka. This is obtained through Krishna Gathi.

Third Upasana, Tri matra, Leads to Brahma Loka or Suvar Loka. Here all papam’s are gone. Like a snake shedding its skin one sheds the entire past. The taint of the old skin is gone. It is an effortless and total process. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad also references the snake skinmanalogy. Here the path is Shukla Gathi.

In Brahma Loka he can perform Omakara Vichara to obtain Turiyam. Here he gains pure Brahman. Brahmaji is the teacher in Brahma Loka. So, an ideal condition exists in Brahma Loka and he becomes liberated on obtaining Krama Mukthi.

Eka and Dvi matras give only Samsara phalam. They do not result in Krama Mukthi. Therefore the Third Upasana is most important.

Shloka # 6:

Atharvana Veda gives us the Rk Mantras.  If Omkara Upasana of Eka and Dvi matras are used then it results in an
incomplete Upasana. The phalam one gets is Manushya loka or Soma Loka.  All three matras, when used separately, or not totally, only provide finite or ephemeral results.

They become properly employed when they are mutually connected as one whole Omkara. So they must be wholly used to become holy. Double negatives are used in these mantras to emphasize.

Why say properly employed? Only when it is done in totality as Omkara that one obtains Mukthi, also called Purna phalam or Nithya phalam.

When three matras are properly employed in meditation it means Jagat, Swapna and Sushupthi.

A Kara is Jagat, Vishva or Virat.
U Kara is Swapna or Tejas or Hiranyagarbha.
M Kara is Sushupthi or Pragyaha or Ishwara.

One who obtains mukthi will not tremble, will not have fear, will be free from Samsara or will obtain liberation.

Shloka # 7:

This shloka is another Rk mantra through Rig Devata.  It says, if Omkara mantras are incompletely used, it gives only finite results.  It also says, if Omkarar mantras are completely used, it will provide infinite results.

A Kara results in manushya loka or Bhu loka.
U Kara results in anthariksha loka or Bhuvar or Soma Loka.
M Kara results in Brahma Loka.

Swamiji says all three results can be obtained in total Omkara Upasana or 3 in 1. Ayatanam means Symbol. After obtaining Brahma loka same Omkara mantra can be used for Vichara to obtain mukthi. The Mukthi phalam results in: Peacefulness, Freedom from Jara, Freedom from mortality, and Freedom from fear.

With this the Rk Veda quotation is over. The chapter 5 also has concluded.

Swamiji says the first two matras are only to glorify the third. The first two are not primary matras.

Sixth Question/ Sixth Chapter:

Shloka # 1:

After answering question of Satyakama, now the sixth student Bharadwaja Sukesha asks his question.

Swamiji reminded us that in the beginning, in introduction, the first student was Bhardwaja, however, in order of questioning, he is the last one.

He, Sukesha, narrates an incident to the Guru. He was approached by a Rajput prince, Hirayanabha, of Koshala Desa, who asked him a question.

“ Oh Pippilada Guru, He asked me: Oh Bhardwaja Sukesha, the Purusha with 16 parts, do you know him?” While Sukesha was well versed he did not know about this Purusha. He, Sukesha, was a man of great intellectual honesty. He said, I do not know. The prince did not accept this answer. I told him if I had known this Purusha, why would
I have not told you? I have no reason to hide. Moreover, I do not lie. Lying can destroy a person from his roots.

Pippilada, hearing this, gets a hint about the Sukesha, that he is a man of great values and a well-qualified student for Vedanta.  In this context, Swamji says, study of scriptures without values results in Agyanam, while one with values can obtain Gyanam.

Furthermore, Swamiji says, Satyam is speaking the truth. Brahman is also Satyam. Satyam as Brahman is known as Paramarthika Satyam, while Speaking the truth is known as Vyavaharika Satyam. First speak the truth only then the greater truth can be obtained.

( My note: The Vyavaharika state refers to the Dual (Dwaita) state of reference. Most people understand the Universe from this plane. They perceive the duality of object and the subject. There is the world (Jagat) and there is Individual (Jiva) and the God (Ishwara) all separate. The Paramarthika state refers to the Absolute Non-dual (Advaita) state of reference, where only Brahman/Atman is. There is no difference between God or Individual or the world.  The former is a temporary and relative state of existence whereas the latter is the absolute-permanent state of existence. It should be kept in mind that world is constantly changing, so Vyavaharika is a relative state.)

So, therefore, I cannot tell you a lie. Hearing this, Hirayanabha was disappointed that he did not get an answer. He quietly got into his chariot and drove away. Swamiji says he was probably impressed with the honesty of Sukesha as well.

So Gurudev, now I want to ask you about this Purusha of 16 parts.  Where is this 16-part Purusha available? This is my question.

With best wishes,
Ram Ramaswamy

Prasna Upanishad, Class 21

Greetings All,

Swamiji continued his talks on Chapter 6 of Prasna Upanishad.

Sukesa Bharadwaja asks the sixth and last question. Before asking his question he narrates an incident. The Rajput prince Hiranyanabha asked him about the sixteen-part Purusha. Sukesha told him he did not know about this Purusha.  Now, Sukesa, asks his Guru, Pippilada, about this sixteen-part Purusha.  Swamiji asked why narrate the incident at all?

Two reasons were presented:

1)  To teach the value of Satyam. When one does not know the answer, one should not give the wrong answer. One should accept one’s ignorance.

2)  A prince approached Sukesha Bharadwaja. This indicates he , Sukesha, was held in high esteem. The fact that he did not know the answer indicates that it is a rare knowledge. Here rareness of knowledge is emphasized.

Finally student asks where the sixteen-part Purusha is? He does not ask who the sixteen-part Purusha is first. Swamiji says, this maybe because he may have some idea about whom he is. So the question is who is he? And where is he?

Shloka # 2:

To that student, who has approached his Guru properly, who is truthful and deserving this knowledge, Guru Pippilada says:

O Somya, or Pleasing one, He is within the body within Hridayam as the awareness.

Note: Shankara says: When a student is deserving, the teacher has to impart him knowledge.

Brahman in Antahakarana means it is manifest in anatahakarana. It is outside as well and as such all-pervasive. Being all-pervasive does not mean it manifests everywhere. This is the answer to the question where is the Purusha.

Now, who is this Purusha? Purusha, here, means Brahman. Upanishad says Purusha is Niravyavam or Niskalaha. Student is asking about Sakala Purusha, while Brahman is Nishkala.

Teacher is going to reveal Nishkala (without limbs) Brahman. How can Teacher reveal a Brahman without Limbs? Where eyes do not go, intellect does not go, how can one reveal such a Brahman? So, an extraordinary method is used. It is called Adhyaropa Apavada. It is a four-step process.

First step: Introduce the world itself as an effect or Karyam. Material world, according to our experience, is always there. The world of matter is always there. It is also called Jada Prapancha.

Second step: If the world is a Karyam, then there must be a Karanam, which people do not know about. The cause of the Material universe is Satyam or Gyanam. Gyanam or Chaitnaya is the cause of matter.

Note: As per Science, matter is the basis and Consciousness is the product of matter or life.

First and second step together are called Adyaropa or Srishti.

Third Step: Karyam does not have an existence separate from Karanam. I have to show this. I am negating Karyam as separate from Karanam.There is no matter separate from Consciousness.

Fourth Step: Once Karya Budhi is negated, Karana kartavyam is negated from Karanam.

The third and fourth steps together are known as Apavada.

From Pot thought to Clay thought or Clay Budhi. Keeping clay thought , where is the pot? It does not exist. Keeping eye on clay, I negate the Pot (Karyam). Clay can be the cause only as long as Pot is there.

Therefore Clay thought is> Clay was>Clay will be. The word pot caused the confusion.

At this stage Avasishtam or Jada Rahita Chaitanya remains or Adhyaropa Chaitanya or consciousness alone is. Adhyaropa Parkriya begins as Srishti.

Srishti is explained in different Upanishads in different ways. Thus, there are Krama, Akrama, and Vikrama Srishti’s. Why this inconsistency in Upanishads? It is only a temporary introduction, eventually it is all negated.

In Prasna Upanishad Srishthi is introduced as the sixteen parts. Using the sixteen parts Purusha, the teacher reveals the Nishkala Purusha.

Thus, the sixteen-part Purusha is born from Nishkala Purusha and then again resolved in Brahman.

Thus: Sixteen part Purusha> Born from Brahman> Again Resolved in Brahman.

Sodasha Kala Adishtanam Param Brahma is a new name for Brahman.  Swamii says Shodasha Kala is only an indicator for Brahman.

One more question can come up. When we say Brahman is Karanam, how can Brahman be the Karanam? Karanam undergoes change. Thus, Clay becomes pot or changes to pot. Here Shankara says: Brahman is Karanam. It does not mean Brahman is Karanam. Karanatvam is only a temporary status assigned to Brahman. So, don’t go deep into it. It is for this that the concept of Maya is introduced. Karanathvam is Maya.

This sixteen part Material universe is the basis for Universe. What are the sixteen Kalas?

{My Notes: Got this from internet on Adhyaropa Apavada. In the Vedanta, even though the Supreme Purport is in Advaita, we do encounter passages declaring creation implying the duality of a created world (and jIva-s) and the Creator Brahman. This suggests a cause-effect relationship between Brahman and the world. One can appreciate this seeming contradiction, that is, the declaration of Advaita on the one hand and the presence of creation passages on the other, by understanding the principle of adhyAropa – apavAda or the Method of Deliberate Superimposition and Negation.

The source of this idea is the explanation of the principle by Swami Paramarthananda in the course of his mANDUkya kArikA discourse.

The example of a pot is considered for the purpose of understanding the principle. I have a ‘pot’ vision. The teacher wants to change this vision of mine as he wants me to have the correct vision, that of the clay. This is accomplished in FOUR stages:

Stage 1. The pot is presented as the effect of clay.

Stage 2. Clay is presented as the cause of the pot.

Stage 3. Now, the teacher asks me to find out if I can see the pot without the clay. I look at the pot on all sides and conclude that everywhere it is clay alone. It is not available as different from clay, its cause. The conclusion: the effect is non-different from the cause.

Stage 4. This much is not enough, for the concept of cause and effect does exist. Now the teacher states that since it was concluded that the effect does not exist apart from the cause, it would be correct to hold that the cause alone really exists. But this still limits the cause as a cause. The vision born of wisdom is: There is no longer any need to call the clay as the cause. As clay alone matters in that wise vision, it would be appropriate to divest the clay of its status of a cause. Thus, divested of this status, clay remains as the one that transcends the cause-effect duality.

The first two stages are the ‘adhyAropa’ stages where the ‘effect’- hood of the pot and the ’cause’-hood of the clay were superimposed deliberately. This is done in order to afford the foundation for finally negating them and driving home the non-dual nature.

The latter two stages constitute the ‘apavAda’ stages where the supposed effect-hood of the pot is negated and even its substantiality is shown to be only in the clay. The pot is shown to be insubstantial as apart from its substance, the clay. Next, and finally, even the causehood of the clay is negated, for when the effect-hood is admitted to be of no consequence, to accord the cause- status to the clay is meaningless. The clay can exist without that definition as the cause.}

{My Notes: More From Internet on Adhyaropa Prakriya:

“May I add my own (2 cents), more with the idea of learning more on the fundamentals of Advaita Vedanta.

Adhyasa is not Knowledge. Adhyasa leads to �mithya-gnanam� and because of this �mithya-gnanam� one makes wrong conclusions about himself and the world. It is mithya-gnanam because such knowledge changes (budhi vyabhicharati) when one enquires into it.

Adhyasa takes place, just like cooking takes place, when the various factors required for adhyasa to take place are present. This is a natural law.

Adhyaropa and Apavada is the methodology or prakriya used in Vedanta for one to understand that Adhyasa exists and it is like a natural law, but it leads to mithya gnana and fools people. The prakriya is used only to correct the mithya-gnana, (and not to remove Adhyasa) because the appearance of one thing as another thing, or one thing appears as having the qualities of another thing and vice-versa, can continue. The prakriya has nothing to do with the objects, as all it does is to correct one�s Budhi, i.e. intellect, so that one does no more get fooled by the mithya-gnana resulting from Adhyasa.

Samsara, rather Samsara Budhi, takes place only because of Adhyasa i.e. Atmani Anatma Budhi and Anatmani Atma Budhi,(intellectual appreciation of what is real as unreal and what is unreal as real). The Adhyaropa-Apavada Prakriya removes this wrong intellectual appreciation, and corrects it with Atmani Atmabudhi and Anatmani Anatmabudhi (intellectual appreciation of what is real as real and what is unreal as unreal). “}

With best wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy