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Part 8-Experiencing Bhagavat Ramanuja Yatiraja's Divine Works

From: M.S.HARI (Madabhushi Sarangarajan Hari) (
Date: Wed Aug 09 2000 - 07:38:58 PDT

Part 8 - Experiencing Bhagavat Ramanuja Yatiraja's Divine Works

In Vedartha Sangraha, it was established that the Brahman is Akila Heya
PratyanIka: ananta KalyaNa GuNa visishta: Purushoththama:

After ascertaining the meaning of the verse "Tat Tvam Asi", Shree Bhagavath
Ramanuja Yatiraja proceeds to explain that the concept of "Nirvisesha Vastu"
is totally against the PramANam.

The sruthi verse "Satyam JgnyAnam anantam" is considered now. Let us now
examine how Advaita and Visishtadvaita have told the meaning of the verse. If
one examines both the philosophies in this context, it will be easier to
comprehend and ascertain the meaning of this verse.

To understand the unparalleled and unsurpassed greatness of the words of our
Shree VaishNava AchAryas, their own words stands as proof in this regard. The
experience that a student gets on reading the divine works of Bhagavath
Ramanuja cannot be got from some other person's BhAshya on the PrastAna
Trayam. That is why, after experiencing the srI-sOktIs (divine words) of our
Bhagavath Ramanuja Yatiraja, Swamy Shreeman NigamAntha Maha Desika said "yathi
pravara bhArathI rasabharENa nItham vaya:". Swamy Desika says that he spent
his lifetime by enjoying the divine words of Bhagavath Ramanuja Yatiraja.

We continue with the subject of discussion "Satyam JgnyAnam anantam" sruthi
verse. The interpretation given by Advaita and the purport ascertained by
Visishtadvaita are considered now. 

"Sarva prathyanIkAkArathA bOdhnEapi tath-tath prathyanIkA kArathAyAm bhEdasya
avarjanIyathvAnna nirviseshathva siddhi:"

Let us first see what Visishtadvaita has to say regarding this as follows:
The verses of Veda like "yathO vA ImAni bhUtAni jAyantE…" are kAraNa vAkyas
stating Brahman as the only cause of the universe. The verses of Veda like
"satyam jgnyAnam anantam" are sodaka vAkyAs explaining the infinite
divine/auspicious qualities of Brahman - the nature of Brahman is well
explained by these verses. That is, "satyam jgnyAnam anantam" states that the
Brahman is having satyatva-jgnyAnatva-& anantatvams - meaning the
Brahma-swarOpam is having qualities namely eternal-unchanging-existence,
sentient & being infinite. The nature of quality (attribute) is that it
differentiates the entity (substance) which is attributed/qualified by them
from other entities. For example, when we say "red flower", the "red
(redness)" is the quality/attribute and "flower" is that which is
qualified/attributed. This "red" differentiates that flower possessing red
colour from other flowers like "blue flower", "yellow flower" etc.,. In the
same manner, the verse "satyam jgnyAnam anantam" explains the Brahman as
having certain qualities and thus differentiates Brahman from all chit and
achit entities. Let us examine this in detail as follows.

"Satyam" - states that the Brahman is characterised by "eternal unchanging
real existence". The Brahman is declared as the only cause of the universe by
the kAraNa vAkyAs. But we find the "cause" like raw gold, wood etc., to
undergo changes to become "effect" like ornaments, furniture etc in the hands
of the instrumental cause. Now a doubt may arise here - "If the Brahman is
called as the cause of the universe, then is it a changing entity? Also is
there anyone who has Brahman's nature under his control?" To clarify this
doubt and answer the questions, the Satya padam (padam-word) states that the
Brahman's nature of existence is eternal, real and not under the control of
anything (nirupAdikam) natural to itself and is unchanging. This Satya padam
differentiates the Brahman from the achit and Karma-badhda-chit entities. All
the achit entities are having their swarOpa-sthithi-pravruti under the full
control of Brahman. All the achit entities undergo changes. The
karma-baddha-chit (badhda jIvAtmans) entities are having their
swarOpa-sthithi-pravruti under the full control of Brahman. The status of
karma-baddha-chit (badhda jIvAtmans) entities, the changes in their bodies are
under the control (sankalpam) of Brahman. Therefore the Satya padam clearly
establishes that the Brahman is different from achit (all its three types
namely triguNya(misra-satva), satva-sUnya(kAlam), sudhda-satva(aprAkrutam))
and baddha-jIvAtman entities. 

Next we consider the jgnyAna padam. This states that the Brahma swarOpam is
sentient swarOpam and the Brahman has jgnyAna (knowledge-to know) as its
essential attribute. All the AatmAs (jIvAtmans and the ParamAtman-Brahman)
have jgnyAna swarOpam. Also all the AatmAs have knowledge (dharma-bhUtha
jgnyAna) to know other things. To differentiate the Brahman (ParamAtman) from
all muktha-jIvAtmans (liberated jIvAtmans) the Veda uses the jgnyAna padam.
That is, it states that the Brahman has nitya-asankuchita jgnyAna - meaning
the Brahman has (infinite) jgnyAna eternally without any contractions to it..
On the other hand, let us consider the muktha-jIvAtman. He was previously
(before attaining mukthi) in the samsAra bound by his own karma (which has no
beginning - anAdi karma) and therefore had prAkruta-triguNya-sarIram. When he
was in samsAra, his jgnyAna has contracted as per his own karma. Therefore the
muktha-jIvAtman had contracted jgnyAna when they were as badhdha-jIvAtman with
prakruti-sambandam. They got their jgnyAna expanded fully only on attaining
mukthi after getting their prakruti-sambandam fully removed. This is not the
case with Brahman. Therefore the jgnyAna padam clearly states that the Brahman
is different from the muktha-jIvAtmans.

Let us now consider the "ananta" padam. anantam means infinite - beyond all
parameters (measures) like dEsa (length, place), kAla (time) and vasthu
(physical mass). These three measures (limits) are called "parichchedam". The
Brahman is present everywhere. Therefore dEsa parichchedam is not applicable
for Brahman. That is limiting the Brahman to a "length" "place" is not
possible. The Brahman is present eternally - always. Therefore kAla
parichchedam is not applicable for Brahman. That is limiting the Brahman to a
"time" is not possible. Also the Brahman has ubhaya-vibhUthi (all chit and
achit entities) as its body. Therefore vasthu parichchedam is not applicable
for Brahman. That is limiting the Brahman to a "vasthu" is not possible. On
the other hand, let us consider the nitya-jIvAtmans (nitya-sUris). Though the
nitya sUris (like Garuda, Adi-sesha, vishvaksena etc.,) are eternally without
karma (hence eternally without prakruti-sambandam), eternally are with full
knowledge, they are having these parichchedams. But the Brahman is not having
the parichchedams. Therefore the "ananta" padam states that the Brahman is
different from Nitya sUris (nitya-jIvAtmans) also. 

Thus the Veda concludes that the Brahman is different from all the achit and
chit entities by stating the unique characteristics/attributes the Brahman has
by stating "satyam jgnyAnam anantam brahma". Veda tells the unparalleled and
unsurpassed greatness of Brahman here. Brahman is Purushoththama:. If someone
still advocates "nirvisEsha chin mAtram brahma", then "nirvisEsha chin mAtram
brahma" is not appropriate to be told before scholars who have studied
properly in detail the Veda-Vedanta, Gita and Brahma Sutras. Even a layman
will not consider "nirvisesha chin mAtram brahma" as it is contradicting even
simple logic.

In this context the verse of Bhagavath Gita (which will be explained after few
postings when we take up SrI Gita bhAshya of Bhagavath  Ramananuja) are given
below with an outline of meaning to substantiate the above words.

Before giving the slokas of Bhagavath Gita, Bhagavath Ramanuja in his
commentary (SrI Gita BhAshya) says "atha: maththa Eva sarva vEdAnAm
sArabhUtham artham sruNu" meaning - 
BhagavAn Shree Krishna ParamAtman addressed Arjuna and said, "Therefore,
listen from Me alone the meaning which is the essence of all the Vedas" 
In the Purushoththama Yogam (15th chapter of Bhagavath Gita), BhagavAn Shree
Krishna ParamAtman (SrIman nArAyaNa:) said -
dvAvimow purushow lOkE ksharaschAkshara Eva cha |
kshara: sarvANi bhUthAni kUtasthOakshara uchyathE || 
The types of jIvAtmans is told here

Uththama: purushasthvanya: paramAthmEthudAhrutha: |
yO lokatrayamAvishya bibharthyavyaya Iswara: || 
The ParamAtma is told here who is different from all chit and achit entities.

yasmAthksharamatIthOhamaksharAdapi chOththama: |
athOasmi lokE vEdE cha prathitha: PURUSHOTHTHAMA: ||
Veda and Smruthies confirm that the God (ParamAtma) is Purushoththama: SrIman
nArAyaNa: VishNu: vAsudeva: (satyam jgnyAnam anantam brahma)

yO mAmEvamasammUDO jAnAthi purushOththamam |
sa sarvavidbhajathi mAm sarvabhAvEna bhAratha ||
He who understands clearly that the one and only God is Purushoththama: SrIman
nArAyaNa:, knows everything.

ithi guhyatamam sAstramidamuktham mayAnagha |
EthadbudhvA buddhimAnsyAthkruthakruthyascha BhAratha ||
He who knows this secret of Purushoththama: which is the essence of vEda,
becomes truly wise.

The Brahma sUtras confirm the same purport.

The four important errors in Advaita's philosophy as far as Advaita
interpreting "tat tvam asi" verse is concerned are 1. The Sruthi telling
infinite divine qualities of Brahman (tat) gets contradicted. 2. There is a
need to tell "lakshaNa" (a technical concept) unnecessarily for "tat" and
"tvam". 3. SAmAnAdhikaraNyam gets violated 4. Upakrama VirOdham arises. This
was mentioned in the previous posting itself. The first point (out of the
given four points above) is considered and that is why the explanation for
"satyam jgnyAnam anantam" was written. Let us now see the meaning of "satyam
jgnyAnam anantam" as told by Advaita and then understand that "The Sruthi
telling infinite divine qualities of Brahman (tat) gets contradicted" and
Advaita's interpretation is against Veda and is erroneous. 

To be continued.. .
Thanks & Regards
M.S.HARI Ramanuja Daasan.

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