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Tat Twam Asi-2

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Chhaandogya Upanishad

Tat Twam Asi-2
Reply to the First Article on Tat Twam Asi   by Shrisha Rao

Upadesh means taught. Where is granting Moksh indicated here? The meaning of this Sootra is Аtat. Because liberation is taught to one who is devoted to That - Аtat. The word Atat because Atat obviously indicates a reference to the previous Sootra or Sootra(s). What is being discussed here is that the Pradhaan of the Saankhya is not the cause of the universe and that the insentient Pradhaan is not the meaning of the word "Self". So what is taught here is the need of devotedness to That, for a sentient being to be liberated. Even He does not grant Moksh; of course His grace is needed, but the seeker himself has to walk the walk to realize Moksh.

By teaching "That thou art" to an arrogant Shwetketu, why do you think Chhaandogya context was not mutilated? Chhaandogya's context is not mutilated by teaching Аtat - "That thou art"; In fact Chhaandogya's context has been mutilated by speculating what Uddaalak meant by Аtat .."Tat Twam Asi".

So what do you think that the arrogant Shwetketu, is actually blaming his own teacher, and he is still the eligible candidate for getting the greatest knowledge on earth? On the same grounds, if someone finds a legitimate fault with your teacher, what makes you think he is not eligible for the highest knowledge coming from Ved or Geetaa or Sootra?

They are not my words. They are Shwetketu's words. If Chhaandogya said that, it is there for a reason, and it is not for me and you to speculate them why they are there. Now for a change, let us look at the Mundak Mantra - "To realize Brahm, the seeker has to go to a Guru alone. His obligation is to serve the teacher, indicated by the Guru's qualifications, he has faith in Shruti and be established in Brahm. For his part, Shwetketu served the teacher for 12 years. The teacher taught him what he was qualified to teach. We can just speculate whether Shwetketu was unqualified to receive Brahm Vidyaa or the teacher was unqualified to teach him Brahm Vidyaa. Either way, it is inconsequential. On receiving no answer to his question, Uddaalak offered to teach Shwetketu Brahm Vidyaa; then (1) Uddaalak is either cheating of his qualifications to teach Brahm Vidyaa; or (2) Uddaalak is unable to determine if Shwetketu is qualified for Brahm Vidyaa.Are you saying that Uddaalak is not a qualified teacher? Now tell me who is speculating?

Did Chaaandogya teach you that Roop is not real? If you think so, you are plainly wrong. Study Chhaandogya again. The same Chhaandogya also teaches, "Treeni Roopaani Ityeva Satyam". You need to correct what you have written on "mrittikaa ityeva satyam", keeping in view that the same Chhaandogya also teaches "Roopaani Ityeva Satyam". You can't say anymore, Roop is unreal, only mud is the reality. Can you? According to Chhaandogya, if mud is the reality then so is Roop, and if Roop is unreality, then so is mud. Your way of translating it, is making Chhaandogya contradict itself.

One has to study these two, come back and write a reply without creating contradictions in your own knowledge of Chhaandogya. Here is a question: How much hypocritical one can be? Let me help you correctly understand this Mantra, which contains the phrase you have quoted "Treeni Roopaani Ityeva Satyam" and show you how it is identical to "Mrittikaa Ityeva Satyam". Here is the full Mantra.

The red form of Agni is its radiance; the white form of Agni is water and the black form of Agni is that of Earth (Anna is also translated as Earth); The fireness is replaced by fire; modification is only in name, the three forms is real. (there are three more similar Mantra for other entities). The context of this Mantra is the description of the process of "Trivrutkarana". For those, who may not have come across this term, Trivrutkarana describes the process of subtle elements combining to form gross elements. We all know that there are five elements called the Panch Mahaa Bhoot - Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. the process by which three of these combine to form a gross element is called Trivrutkarana. There is an other process by which all the five elements combine to form a gross element is called Pancheekaran.

If a, b, and c are three subtle elements, and A, B, and C are the respective gross elements, then Trivrutkarana says A= 1/2a+1/4b+1/4c; similarly B=1/2b+1/4a+1/4c and so on. Here A, B and C are the effect and a, b, and c are the causes. The above Mantra is telling us that a, b, and c are the real, with respect to A, B, and C (because they are the cause) and A, B and C are names only, they don't have an independent existence, only a modification. Thus Agni is a modification defined by a name, and radiance, Water, and Earth (the three forms) are real with espect to Agni -"Treeni Roopaani Ityeva Satyam". Now let us come to the Mantra "Mrittikaa Ityeva Satyam". The pots and pans are effect, lump of mud is cause. Lump of mud is real; pots and pans are name and form. In the case of lump of mud, one is real and different names and forms like plate, cup etc. In the case of Agni, three real and one name and form only Agni. There is absolutely no contradiction. Chhaandogya preceded A-Dwait and it has clearly laid out the basis of reality and names or forms.

Did Chhaandogya teach you that Roop is not real? If you think so, you are plainly wrong. Study Chhaandogya again. Here is a Brahm Sootra that endorses the above Chhaandogya Mantra. There is non-difference of those (cause and effect) - on account of the texts about origin etc - (The distinction can well exist as observed in common experience, but in reality, this difference does not exist, since a non-difference between those cause and effect is recognized the effect is the universe, diversified as space etc, and the cause is the Supreme Brahm) The Vedaant curve is drawn by Ved Vyaas. If you stay close to Ved Vyaas' teachings, there is no need to move any data points. Ved Vyaas has drawn no curve neither a Dwait curve, nor an A-Dwait curve. Where are you? His Brahm Sootra text is addressing apparent discrepancies in the Upanishad(s). The Sootra are terse aphorisms, most of the times even lacking a verb. It needs extreme scholarship of the Upanishad(s) to interpret these aphorisms. Because of the nature of the Sootra, they can be bent to suit any commentator's philosophy; all the Aachaarya (as many as five or six) have written commentary on Brahm Sootra, that reflects their stated philosophy. Sorry, my friend, no one owns Sri Ved Vyaas.

Nachiketaa who is Shwetketu's brother, is a Uttam Adhikaaree for Gyaan. Study Kath Upanishad. Yam somehow forgot to teach him "That thou art" - the greatest teaching on Earth, whereas, his brother Shwetketu who has no Vairaagya, no Guru Bhakti on his Gurukul teachers, and has to be made to starve for 15 days to get the point across, is such a Shwetketu your best candidate for teaching "That thou art"?

Vedaant is not a one size fits all solution? Yam knows that Nachiketaa is a graduate student and Uddaalak knows that Shwetketu is a grade school student. Nachiketaa traveled all the way to Yam's place and was waiting at his door steps for three days; he rejects all worldly pleasures offered by Yam and demands that he wants "That" and only "That". One can himself recognize that Nachiketaa was Uttam Adhikaaree. So why would you teach Nachiketaa "Tat Twam Asi", when he is asking for "That" (he already knows what is "Tat" and has gone to learn how to achieve that "Tat"). Are you are belittling Yam, to expect him to teach Nachiketaa "Tat Twam Asi"?

Yam did the sensible thing of not teaching "Tat Twam Asi". Tat Twam Asi is a grade school instruction to be taught only to Madhyam Adhikaaree like Shwetketu. Yam taught Nachiketaa advanced teachings in accordance with his Uttam Adhikaaratwa. He could not insult a Graduate student by teaching him multiplication tables? One should read the story of Satyakaam in Chhaandogya; he got almost no teaching from his teacher Haaridrumat and yet the teacher declared him as Brahmavitta. Don't do the mistake of asking why Satyakaam was not taught "Tat Twam Asi". This is where the Guru comes to help the student. He first understands the intellectual and emotional makeup of the student and then teaches him the appropriate curriculum to help the student advance in his goal. [If you want additional information on how to treat a Guru, who may not be qualified, review Shaanti Parv, chapter 57. Ved Vyaas has never used "Tat Twam Asi" anywhere in his works. Obviously, he knew Chaaandogya Upanishad too. Obviously he missed the Mahaa-Vaakya, in spite of the presence of Chhaandogya. In spite of him being the father of Vedaant.

Because "Tat Twam Asi" is a settled issue and there is no apparent discrepancy in Tat Twam Asi. It is about as settled as multiplication tables. Ved Vyaas did not repeat many Mantra of many Upanishad(s). If this is your test for the validity of an Upanishad or Mantra, then you should be throwing away all these Upanishad(s).

Shree Madhwa had to correct the "That thou art" interpretation of Chhaandogya, because, in the context of that Upanishad, it does not make any sense whatsoever to teach "That thou art" when both the theory and the 9 examples that follow, all point to what is consistent with other Pramaan - Pratyaksh, Anumaan and Aagam. A great contribution! The A-Paurusheyatwa of the Ved must be wondering how it got there, while turning in the grave! If Shree Madhwa thinks that Chhaandogya is in error to correct it, let us review Shree Srisha Prasad's comments below: He tries to artificially create a dichotomy of standards in Praamaanya, with himself as the arbiter. Then, as Madhwa points out, and as I believe to be perfectly correct, the sanctity of the scriptures themselves vanishes, since the Guru who decides which is worthwhile and which is not, is above them both, and as then we might just as well use him as the Pramaan, instead of trying to pore through scriptures most of which are supposed to lie. This is akin to saying that in a dictatorship, where the dictator decides which of the courts' decisions are valid and which not, we do not have a free judiciary, and we might as well go straight to the dictator and not bother with the courts, as what they say will not be the final word, anyhow.

So let us throw all the Upanishads and be happy with the dictator? Is this double standard or hypocrisy? Sri Kesava Rao, where are you? You have been shouting of double standard? Now let me come also add that, if you recall, in my first message on this thread, I described the attributes of "Tat", defined "Twam" using the three states model and made a correlation between the attributes of "Tat" and the experience of Twam in the deep sleep state and explained how "Tat Twam Asi" came together. In one of my subsequent messages, I asked that "Atat" and "Twam" be defined. Neither you nor anybody cared to respond. Probably it was below the scholarship of the Dwait Sampradaaya to define such lowly things as "Atat" and "Twam". Let me see if I can do it for you. Vedaant is the study of the relationship between three entities - (1) Eeshwar, generally described by "Tat" in Vedaantik terminology, (2) Jeev, referred to as "Twam" and (3) Jagat, denoted by "Idam" or Jad. Shree Madhwa had to correct that thou art of Chhaandogya to non-that "thou art". Let us stay with this for a moment (if you prefer to use "Not That" instead of "non-That", that is OK with me - "not" qualifies "That"; it cannot qualify  "art"). In the Vedaantik context, "non-That" will mean either (1) Jeev or (2) Jad (because there are only three entities; if you rule out one, it has to be one of the other two). So re-phrasing "non-that thou art" will yield one of these two possibilities.

(1) "Jeev thou art" - This phrase may mean nothing and can be ignored; or if you get into technicalities, this may be a violation of the Jeev-Jeev Bhed of Dwait Siddhaant.
(2) "Jad thou art" - On one hand, I would advise you to mind your teeth (lest they be a victim); on the other hand it could again be a violation of the Jeev-Jad Bhed of Dwait Siddhaant.

Wait! There seems to be another problem. Looking from a higher plane (the proverbial 30,000 feet view), if you take away the Eeshwar from the equation, it may not be Vedaant any more. No body said relation between Jeev and Jad is Vedaant. It is an A-Paraa Vidyaa or secular knowledge. Unknowingly, you have evicted yourself out of the Vedaant ball field and you are kicking air from the side lines, thinking it is the ball. Please help the silent readers out of this conundrum and explain how "Tat Twam Asi" is a Vedaantik statement, lest they may think it is a sentence in a Paperback novel. "That thou art" was taught long before A-Dwait ever came into picture. Somebody else did not leave the Upanishad alone though, and dirtied it up anyway ---. No one is taking away anything that Shree Shankar was able to achieve in a short span of 32 years. We don't talk about personalities either.

We only talk about Vedaant from the Prasthaan-traya (A collective name of Upanishad, Bhagvad Geetaa and Vedaant Sootra), and the different schools of thoughts. Oh! really? Let us look at the introduction by Sri Srisha Rao in his posting on Tat Twam Asi or Atat Twam Asi. In fact, as some of you may be aware, there is the famous story that Shankar himself recanted his life's work while on his death-bed, as he felt that in spite of his vast knowledge and intellect, he had left fatal flaws in the theory he propounded, and as he was then convinced that his erstwhile theory could not be supported -- he then composed the famous song "Bhaja Govindam," even though he had never bothered with worship throughout his life.

While he was dying, he was asked by his concerned Shishya if the illness which was taking away his life at a young age was too painful -- he replied "Rogo na baadhyate, sahayogo baadhyate" (the illness is not the obstruction, the togetherness [of the soul and Lord -- implying difference] is the obstruction). The question is this how famous is this story? Is there anyone out to retell this history? When someone makes as serious a claim as above, it is only fair at a minimum to cite the source; in fact literary standards demand citation of all sources. One wonders if Shree Srisha Rao, or Shree Madhwa or somebody else in between was sitting in the mind of Shree Shankar, so they observed his thoughts and are reporting so! So the burden is on the Dwait Sampradaaya to prove this story, or apologize if they can't prove this non-sense.

All the reports of the life of Aadi Shankar, that I have come across, say the following with respect to the two events cited by Sri Srisha Rao ---
(1) Bhaja Govindam was composed by Shankar on witnessing an old man committing to memory, and the rules of grammar. In the composition, he advises the old man of the futility of learning grammar at his age; instead to focus his mind on Govind so that he could succeed in liberation, in this life itself, reflecting the sentiment of the Geetaa verse  (Who-so-ever leaves the body, thinking of what-so-ever object, form or being, he reaches that only) What a compassion? What a teacher? The teaching was appropriate to a Mandhamaadhikaaree. The old man did not have time on his side in his life, to do any Saadhanaa; so to help him achieve Moksh, he taught him the fastest way for liberation, to think of Govind, so he could reach Govind. Anyone, who understands the verses of Bhaja Govindam clearly understands the emotion of the verses.

If Ved Vyaas teaches "Om bhed vyapadeshaat Om" and "Om bhed vyapdeshaat cha anyaha Om", A-Dwait teaches quite the opposite in "Jeevo brahmaiva naaparaha". Bhed vyapadesh because of the assertion of difference. Wow! Let us not get excited at the sight of the word Bhed to mean duality. This Sootra appears in the Aanandamaya Adhikaran. "I am Anand" is a statement of experience; to that extent duality is still implied. So all the Sootra are saying is that. For an ignorant person, Bhed between Jeevaatmaa and Paramaatmaa is asserted.

Brihadaaranyak Upanishad Mantra "Adrishto Drishtaa Ashrutah Shrotaa , Avigyaato Vigyaat Anaanyah ato asti Drishtaa Naanyah ato asti Shrotaa.... upholds this. "Ananya Prokte Gatiratranaasti" of the Kathopanishad, has denied identity between Jeevaatmaa and Paramaatmaa in no uncertain terms. Let us see what is "Ananya Prokt". Ananya means not different, not seeing that he is different from Aatmaa. If such a person Prokt = declares or recognizes. If a person who does not see himself as different from Aatmaa (that he is a realized person), then there is no gati = need for knowing anything - there is no need to know anything. The Jeevaatmaan and Paramaatmaa are not described here? And if so, then it does not relate to Gatiraatra Naasti. We have accepted "Vyaasaaya Vishnuroopaaya Vyaas Roopaaya Vishnave".

As we  follow the Ved, Upanishad, Geetaa, Sootra, we do not distinguish between one form of Vaidik God with another form of Vaidik God. I am glad to note that you are gravitating towards "Tat Twam Asi". Here is where you need to articulate properly, not just making a statement like "Following Ved, Upanishad, Geetaa, Sootra, we do not distinguish between one form of Vaidik God with another form of Vaidik God. Vishnu, Indra, Varun, Agni etc are generally recognized as Vaidik gods.

Ved and Upanishad preceded Vyaas and so they did not identify Vyaas as a Vaidik God as such. Equating him to Vaidik God is out of place. He is the son of Paraashar and Satyavatee; so he is generally a human being like you and me, at least in that form. Believe me, Ved Vyaas is as much esteem to me, as you can recognize, but my frame of reference is different. What does "Vyaasaaya vishnuroopaaya vyaasaroopaaya vishnave" mean? Vyaas is of the form of Vishnu; Vyaas form is also Vishnu; this statement says about what is common between them. This commonness is "Tat Twam Asi". From this we can also conclude "Nelamangalaaya Vishnuroopaaya" and "Nelamangala Roopaaya Vishnave". The only difference between these two statements is that "Vyaas Vishnuroopaaya" is Tat Twam Asi realized and "Nelamangalaaya Vishnuroopaaya" is "Tat Twam Asi" potential.

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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/05
Updated on 09/16/11