The scriptural basis for sarIra sarIri tattva of Sri
A Brief Analysis of certain verses of Vedaanta
The Vedaanta is composed of declarative
statements, which impart knowledge regarding the Brahman's Swaroopa (reality-nature), Roopa (Form), Guna
(Attributes/Characteristics), Vibhuthi (Property) and Iswaryam (Lordship). Let us do a brief analysis of certain
verses of Vedaanta. The Upanishad (Vedaanta-Sruthi) Verses are of three types.
The Abheda Sruthis seems to state
that the universe (all chit and achit entities) and the Brahman are one and the same. They seem to convey the identity of
the universe and the Brahman.
The Bhedha Sruthis seems to categorically
declare the difference between the Brahman and the universe.
The Ghataka Sruthi synchronizes
the above two types of sruthis and resolves the apparent contradiction in the above mentioned two types of Sruthis. The explanation
follows. The following paragraphs are written as simple as possible but still requires lot of concentration to comprehend
the meaning of the same. It is requested that the reader should carefully and fully read these paragraphs and then comprehend
"Tat Tvam Asi", "Sarvam Kalu Idam Brahma", "Aham Brahmaasmi" are a few verses amoung the Abedha Sruthis.
"Tat Tvam Asi" seems to tell that the Jeevaatman (Chit) and the Brahman (Iswara) are one and the same.
"Sarvam Kalu Idam Brahma" seems to tell that the universe and the Brahman are one and the same.
"Aham Brahmaasmi" seems to tell that "I (Jeevaatman) am the Brahman". These verses have declared that the universe and the Brahman are
one and the same.
On the other hand, the Bheda Srutis
"Prutak Aatmaanam Preritaaram cha mathva jushtasthathastenaamrutavamethi",
"Bhoktha Bhogyam Prerithaaram cha mathva sarvam
proktham trividham brahma ethat",
"Nithyo Nithyaanaam chethanas chethanaanaam Eko
bhayuuaam yo vidadhaathi kaamaan",
declare that the Chit, Achit and Iswara are different
from one another and are well distinguished entities.
"Prutak Aatmaanam Preritaaram cha
mathva jushtasthathastenaamrutavamethi" means that the Jeevaatman who comprehends and does
Bhakthi that he is different from Brahman, who rules him, becomes blessed by the Brahman's grace and by this knowledge of
Bhedam (difference between Jeevaatman and Brahman), attains liberation (Moksha). This sruthi not only confirms the difference
between the Jeevaatman and the Paramaatman (Brahman) but also stresses that the "Tatva-iGnyaana" (Knowledge about the reality
of chit, achit and Iswara that are different from one another) is a means for attaining liberation.
"Bhoktha Bhogyam Prerithaaram cha
mathva sarvam proktham trividham brahma ethat" means "Bhotha" is Jeevaatman (Chit) who enjoys
the results of his own karma. Bhogyam is Achit that is enjoyed by the Jeevaatman according to his own karma. Preritha denotes
Iswara who controls all the Chit and Achit entities. Further "cha mathva sarvam proktham trividham brahma ethat" in this verse
confirms that the Brahman has the Chit and Achit as his modes/forms and he is with his own unique reality. Therefore the Veda
has clearly ascertained the reality of three different entities namely chit, achit and Iswara.
"Nithyo Nithyaanaam chethanas chethanaanaam
Eko bhahuunaam yo vidadhaathi kaamaan" clearly states that among the innumerable eternally
existing Aatmans, an Aatman is eternally existing who is distinguished from all the Aatmans as he grants and fulfills the
wishes of all the other Aatmans. Amoung the inumerable Aatmans who have knowledge, there exist an Aatman who is having knowledge
who is distinguished from all the Aatmans as he grants and fulfills the wishes of all the other Aatmans. Here the Veda has
clearly declared that the Iswara is different from the Jeevaatmans as it says "That One Aatman who is different from all other
Aatmans because of his unparalleled and unsurpassed supreme qualities that are unique to him"
"Pradhaana Kshetragjnya pathir guNesha:" means that Iswara is the Lord is of Achit and Chit and Iswara is with divine qualities namely Power,
Strength, Lordship, Firmness, Knowledge and Glory which are beyond the reach of all words and sense organs.
"iGnyaagnyow iDvaavajaaveesaaneesow" means that there are two entities which are eternal of which one is the Iswara and the other is Jeevaatman
which is different from Iswara. Iswara is omnisecient. Jeevaatman is ignorant. Therefore this verse also ascertains the difference
between chit, achit and Iswara.
From the above discussion and literal
meaning of the verses, the Veda appears to have mutually contradicting statements. We have to accept one type of statment
and reject the other otherwise both lose their nature of being source of knowledge. Which type of the sruthi is to be accepted
and which is to be rejected? There is no answer for this question in the Veda. Both (Abheda and Bheda) sruthies are in the
same Veda and therefore both need to be accepted as authority. When one studies the Veda very carefully, he finds another
type of Sruthis called Ghataka Sruthis which reconcile these two (Abheda and Bheda) and does a synthesis and establishes
that both these (Abheda and Bheda) sruthies convey the same meaning but in different angles without any contradiction.
What does "Ghataka Sruthi" convey?
The Ghataka Sruthi declares that the Brahman
is the inner controler (Antaryaamin - Aatma) Soul present inside all chit and achit entities and all chit and achit entities
are the body (Sareeram) of Brahman. This Sareera-atma Bhaavam (body-soul) relationship between the universe and the Brahman
is conveyed by the "Ghataka Sruthi" This makes it clear that both the Abheda and Bheda sruthis convey the same meaning without
any contradiction. The Veda is therefore consistent in imparting knowledge regarding Brahman. It is explained in detail as
The Ghataka Sruthies are
"Ya: Pruthviyaam tishtan prutviyaa antharo yam
pruthvii na veda yasya pruthvii sareeram",
"Ya: Aatmani tishtan aatmano antharo yam aatmaa
na veda yasya aatmaa sareeram",
"ya: pruthviimaantharo sancharan yasya prthvii
sareeram yam pruthvii na veda, yo aksharamanthare sancharan yasyaaksharam sareeram yamaksharam na veda yo mruthumanthare sancharan
yasya mruthussareeram yam mruthyurna veda esha sarvabhootaantaraatmaa apahatha paapmaa divyo deva: eko NaaraayaNa:",
"iDvaa suparNaa sayujaa sakhaayaa samaanam vruksham
pareshasvajaathe - tayoranya: pipalam swaadvathyanasnan anyoo abhichaakaseethi",
"Antha: pravishta saastha janaanaam sarvaatma",
"Tath Srushtvaa thadevaanupraavisath tadanupravishya
"Satyam chaanrutham cha satyamabhavath",
"Ya: Pruthviyaam tishtan prutviyaa
antharo yam pruthvii na veda yasya pruthvii sareeram" is in the Kaanva Shaaka of Bruhadaaranyaka
Upanishad in Veda. It declares that the "Brahman is in the earth, entered inside it, who is not known by the earth and has
the earth as his body/mode and controls the earth as Antaryaami" The Brahman is untouched by the impurities of the earth as
he is the soul of it.
"Ya: Aatmani tishtan aatmano antharo
yam aatmaa na veda yasya aatmaa sareeram" is in the Maadyanthina Shaaka of the same Uupanishad
in Veda. It declares that the "Brahman is in the Jeevaatman, entered inside it, who is not known by the Jeevaatman and has
the Jeevaatman as his body/mode and controls the Jeevaatman as Antaryaami" The Brahman is untouched by the impurities of the
Jeevaatman as he is the soul of it.
The above two quotes from Veda are given
to explain that the Brahman is the soul of all Achit and Chit entities and all the Achit and Chit entities are the body of
the Brahman who is Shreeman Naaraayanan.
"ya: pruthviimaantharo sancharan yasya
prthvii sareeram yam pruthvii na veda, yo aksharamanthare sancharan yasyaaksharam sareeram yamaksharam na veda yo mruthumanthare
sancharan yasya mruthussareeram yam mruthyurna veda esha sarvabhootaantaraatmaa apahatha paapmaa divyo deva: eko NaaraayaNa:"
is in the Subaalopanishad of Veda. In
the same way as told above it declares that the Brahman is the soul of Prutvi (earth), Jeevaatman, Mrutyu (representative
god of death) etc., and all these are the body (sareeram) of Brahman. The Brahman is untouched by the impurities of all chit
and achit entities and the Brahman is with divine auspicious qualities. Shreeman Narayanan is the only God (Brahman) and He
is the Antaryaami-Antaraatma of all the entities"
"iDvaa suparNaa sayujaa sakhaayaa samaanam
vruksham pareshasvajaathe - tayoranya: pipalam swaadvathyanasnan anyoo abhichaakaseethi"
This is in MuNdakopanishad of Veda. It says that "Two birds having some attributes similar to each other
are friends and are seated in a branch of one tree. Of these two birds, one bird eats the fruits of the tree, which are ripe.
On the other hand the other bird does not eat the fruits and as such shines extraordinarily" From this verse, it is made clear
by the Veda that both the Jeevaatman and the Paramaatman (Brahman-Vishnu) are present in the same body. The Jeevaatman enjoys
and experiences the results of his karma (actions). On the other hand the Brahman just witnesses it and being untouched by
such impurities shines with his natural greatness which is immeasurable. The Veda has ascertained that the Jeevaatman and
the Paramaatman are always present together inseparably and also categorically ascertained the differences between the Jeevaatman
and the Paramaatman.
"Antha: pravishta saastha janaanaam
sarvaatma" states that the Paramaatman (Brahman) has entered into all the souls-jeevaatmans.
The Brahman having entered into all the jeevaatmans rules them as Antaryaami and is the soul of all souls-jeevaatmans. Therefore
the difference between the Brahman and the Jeevaatman is clear. Also, the inseparable relationship between Brahman and the
Jeevaatman is also clear and this is what is declared as "the Brahman is everything" meaning, - "the Brahman is the Sarvaatma-the
soul of everything - soul of all jeevaatmans and achit tatvas".
"Tath Srushtvaa thadevaanupraavisath tadanupravishya
"Satyam chaanrutham cha satyamabhavath"
This verse is in the Taitreeya Upanishad of Veda. It says "The Brahman created all the entities (by expanding
them (making them as StUla with name, form etc) which were in subtle (Suksha without name, form etc) form. After creating
them, the Brahman entered into all the created entities as "Antaryaami - Antaraatma". After being entered as such, he took
the unchanging Jeevaatman and the changing Achit as his form (sareeram). This has very clearly told by the Veda that the Brahman
himself is not Chit and Achit but the Brahman is the soul of Chit and Achit entities and therefore calls everything as Brahman.
The differences between the Brahman's Swaroopa (nature-reality) and the chit and achit entities are very clear.
"Anena jeevenaanmanaa" is in the Chaandokya Upanishad. The "Sat Vidya" portion of it where this occurs is outlined as follows:
The Chandokya Upanishad says - Aruna's son is Uddalaka. Uddalaka's son is Swethaketu. Uddalaka addressed his son
"Swetaketo! Do the prescribed study of Veda under the
guidance of qualified preceptor!"
Swetaketu obeyed his father's order and
completed the prescribed study of Veda and returned back to his house after years. Swethaketu thought that he has mastered
everything. On seeing his son, Uddalaka understood that his son is yet to know the Brahman. Uddalaka therefore wanted him
to get knowledge about the Brahman. In order to invoke his interest regarding the Brahman, Uddalaka questioned Swetaketu as
"Utha tamaadesam apraakshya: yenaasrutam
srutham bhavathi amatham matham avignyaatham vignyaatham" - "O son! Do you know that "Aadesa",
by knowing which all things which were not heard becomes heard (known), all that which were not contemplated becomes contemplated
and all unknown becomes known?"
Swethaketu should have got shocked on
being questioned like this and doubted the question's logic itself. He did not know the answer any way. He asked his father
"Katham Tu Bhagava: Sa: - How is that revered Sir?"
His father first made it clear to his
son that the question is logical and then answered it in detail. He quoted examples -
"Yatha Somya ekena mruth pindena sarvam mrunmayam
vignyaatham isyaath" - By knowing the material cause "Clay", things (like pot which are
effects) made of clay becomes to be known".
He actually pointed out the oneness of
cause (material cause - Upaadaana Kaaranam) and the effect (Kaaryam). To make him understand that Pot and Clay are same (but
only different forms), he said
"Vaacha-Aarambhanam Vikaaro Namadheyam mruthikethyeva
satyam". Though we think the pot is different from clay, it is in fact the clay itself in
a changed mode, which has got a shape which is called as pot".
His father quoted few more examples in
this regard. Swethakethu requested his father to kindly teach him that "Aadesa", knowing which everything becomes known! "Aadesa"
means Brahman who controls everything by ruling everything. It is derived in Sanskrit as "Aadichyate Anena Ithi Aadesa:".
The upadesam (teaching) was started
by his father - "Sat Eva Somya edmagre aaseeth ekameya adveteeyam". "O Somya (who is fit to drink the Soma juice (prepared in Soma yagnya)) the universe which you see now with manifold
forms and names was not like this before its creation but was present subtle (difficult to distinguish) form of "Sat". Nothing
is its support other than Sat.
The "Sat" wished "Tat Ikshatha Bahusyaam Prayaayethi". That is, the "Sat" wished that "I become the
multitudinous (expanded-StUla) chit and achit tatvas ie., the universe". The "Sat" became many, as it wished. This is "Sat's"
first Sankalpam (Wish).
The "Sat" wished again - "SOyam Devataykshatha Hanthaaham Imaa: Tisra: Devataa: Anena JevEna Aatmanaa Anupravisya Nama Roope iVyaakaravaaNi"
that is the Sat wished "by having the representative divinities of Tejas (fire/light), Ap
(Water) and Annam (Prutvi-matter) as Sareeram (body/mode), I enter into them as soul and give manifold names and forms to
them". It became as it wished.
The Brahman (Sat) is therefore declared
as the "Cause" (Kaaranam) of the universe. By the first sankalpam, the Brahman did the "Samashti Srushti" and by the second
sankalpam he did the "Vyashti Srushti". "Samashti Srushti" means creating the universe in its amass form and "Vyashti Srushti"
means creating the universe in its clearly diversified form. Further the Sat Vidyaa continues as follows "Sath Moolaa: Somya Imaa: Prajaa:" meaning the Brahman is the cause for all these
chit tatvas (not only achit tatvas) also.
All the chit and achit tatvaas where in
the subtle form (sUkshma - without form, name and identifications) as body/mode of Brahman before creation as "Sat" in such
a way that it was hard to differentiate them with individual name, form and species identification. All these things (all
the chit and achit entities) have no independent nature, existence and its continuance and actions without the support, control
and lordship of Brahman. The Brahman controls all these chit and achit entities and their creation is purely dependent on
Brahman. They all have the Brahman as "soul" and they all form the body of Brahman. Their continuance and destruction are
also dependent on Brahman.
After these teachings, Uddaalaka
concluded his sermon "Ithadaatmiyam Idam Sarvam Tat Satyam Sa Aatmaa Tat Tvam Asi Swethaketho"
meaning, "The universe composed of innumerable chit and achit entities are pervaded by the
"Sat" (Brahman) and has the Brahman as its Aatmaa (soul). The Sat is the universe therefore because of this inseparable body-soul
relationship. (Similarly) You (Swethaketu) are also the same Brahman (as you (a Jeevaatman) are also pervaded by the same
Brahman and you are having the Brahman as your Soul (aatma) and you are the body/mode of the same Brahman). The verse "Tat
Tvam Asi" leads to a debate as the Advaitins tell their own personal idea as its meaning, which is different from the "Sareera-Aatma"
bhaavam as discussed above.
The Brahman is the UpAdAna kAraNam and
the Nimitha kAraNam for all chit and achit entities. This does NOT mean that his "Swaroopam" gets changed to Chit and Achit.
But only his "Roopam" (Sareeram) which was subtle (sUkshma) chit, achits becomes expanded (stUla) chit, achits ie., the chit
achits gets form,name etc.,. Therefore, the Brahman is "Satyam-Ignyaanam-Anantam" only, even though the Brahman is the UpAdAna
kAraNam. The example for "clay" in this context is for understanding the concept. The changes in his "Roopam" does not in
any way contradict "Satyam-Ignyaanam-Anantam". The same is the case with his divine "Roopam" (divya mangala vigraham) also
which changes as per his wish in various avataaras. The Brahman who had subtle chit and achit as his "Roopam/Sareeram" is
the same Brahman who is having expanded chit and achit as his "Roopam/Sareeram". Therefore the Brahman is UpAdAna kAraNam
(Visistayoho Advaitam Visistadvaitam). As the Brahman wished and created the universe, the same Brahman is the "Nimitha kAraNam".
The Brahman with all the chit and
achit tatvas as his body and who is with infinite divine attributes and untouched by all impurities is unparalleled and unsurpassed
(Visistasya Advaitam Visistadvaitam). "Satyam-Ignyaanam-Anantam" states the nature
(swaroopa) of Brahman as unchanging, sentient infinite is the nature of Brahman. The "Satyam" term makes it clear that the
Brahman is different form Achit. The "Ignyaanam" term makes it clear that the Brahman is different from Baddha Jeevaatmans.
The "Ananta" term makes it clear that the Brahman is different from the Muktha and Nitya Jeevaatmans. Therefore the Brahman
is "Purushothama:" Shreeman Narayananan. The sruthi "Anena Jeeveenaatmana Anupravisya Naama RUpe Vaakaravaani" confirms the Sareera-Aatma Bhaavam between the universe and the Brahman.
Up to this, the Upanishad has stated the
Knowing one entity, everything becomes known (is the
Prathignya (oath)), which is the Brahman who is the material cause (Upaadaana Kaaranam)
The instrumental (efficient) cause of the universe is
also the Brahman as he "Wished" and creates the universe.
The body-soul relationship (Sareera-Aatma-Bhaavam) between
the universe and the Brahman.
As the Brahman is the soul of the entire universe, the
Brahman himself is denoted as the universe. In the very same meaning, the Veda denotes a Jeevaatman (here Swetaketu - "Tvam")
as Brahman "Tat" in its verse "Tat Tvam Asi" This is because the Jeevaatman is also the form (sareeram) of Brahman and having
the Brahman as his soul. The Brahman is Shreeman Narayana: - Purushoththama: known as Vishnu: Vaasudeva:
Thus the Ghataka Sruthi does the
synthesis of all the Bheda and Abheda sruties and establishes that the Brahman is the soul of all chit and achit
entities and the entire chit and achit entities are the body of Brahman. When the Gataka Sruthi is used to synchronize, the
Abheda sruthi verses mean to tell that nothing other than the Brahman qualified by the universe as his body exists. In the
same way when the Gataka sruthi verses are used to synchronize, the bheda sruthi verses mean to tell that the Brahman, who
is the soul of the universe, is different from the universe, which is his body. Body and soul are different entities but they
are inseparably related. The body is therefore called "Aprutak Siddha Visheshanam" meaning the body becomes the inseparable
attribute of the soul. The term "Aprutak Siddha" rules out independent existence of the body. Without the soul, the body cannot
have swaroopam, stiti and pravruiti. Also, the soul has no mode without the body and therefore the body is called
the mode (Prakaram) of the soul. Thus the Veda is consistently explaining only Visistadvaita Shree Vaishnavam without
The Meaning of the term "Visistadvaita"
Let us examine the meaning of the
term "Visistadvaita". It is derived by two ways - "Visistasya Advaitam - Visistadvaitam"
and "Visistayoho Advaitam - Visistadvaitam".
"Visistasya Advaitam" means - The Brahman qualified by all chit and achit entities
as his Saareeram/Prakaaram/Viseshanam (body/mode/attribute) is without a second entity meaning unparalleled and unsurpassed.
This brings out the ultimate supremacy of Shreeman Narayana Para Brahman who is Akila Heya Pratyaneeka: and Ananta Kalyaana
"Visistayoho Advaitam" means - The Brahman having the subtle (sukshma) chit and achit
entities as his Saareeram/Prakaaram/Viseshanam (body/mode/attribute) before creation is the same Brahman having the expanded
(stUla) chit and achit entities as his Saareeram/Prakaaram/Viseshanam (body/mode/attribute) after creation. This brings out
the fact that Shreeman Narayana Para Brahman is the only material cause and efficient cause of the universe.