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A very warm welcome to the blog of Madhwa Brahmins community.
We, Madhwa Brahmins are followers of Jagadguru Sriman Madhwacharya. We originally hail from places in Karnataka and the neighboring states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Our main dialects are Kannada, Tulu, Marathi, Telugu and Konkani.

A brief background of Jagadguru Sri Madhwacharya:

prathamO hanumAn nAma dviteeyO bheema Eva cha |
pUrNaprajna tRuteeyastu bhagavat kAryasAdhakaH ||

As the above shloka from khila vAyustuti explains, Sri Madhwacharya (also known by the names Poornaprajna and Anandateertha) is the third incarnation of Lord MukhyaprAna Vaayu, after Lord Hanuman and Lord Bheemasena. He is the chief proponent of TattvavAda, popularly known as Dvaita. He was born on Vijayadashami day of 1238 CE at Paajaka Kshetra, a small village near Udupi. He is the 22nd commentator on the Brahma sutras of Lord Sri Veda Vyasa.

Kindly note that this blog contains important topics discussed in our Orkut community and some articles on tattvavAda philosophy. All the topics can be found in the BLOG ARCHIVE (right side)

13 December, 2009

Aham Brahmasmi: An explanation from Tatvavada view

aham brahmAsmi: an explanation from tatvavAda view

Hare Srinivasa

Source: dvaita dot org

Author: Sri NAPS Rao


These postings shall touch upon Advaitic interpretations of Aham BrahmAsmi and how the explanation of Acharya Madhwa counters the explanation of Advaita and then gives the correct interpretation of this term.

(Note: Discussions at the end of explanation)


At the outset, I quote a few beautiful shlokas from Sri Vadiraja :

"grushtyOrmithO virOdhE hi hathvaikam aparangmukheem,
VirodhashAnthim kah kuryAth vinA MlEcchakumarakAn"
"ThrunapinyAkadAnEna krithvArthAntharalAlasAm,
thathah prachyAvayEdEkAm kruddhApyanyAdhvanA vrajeth"
"YEvam shruthayO virodhEpi yAvAganyArthavarthinI,
thAm thadarthaparam krithvA mOchayEth kalaham thayOh"
"AthathvAvEdikAthvEkA thathvasyAvedikA parA.
ithyadyukthisthvamAnathvaprApthyA suthyAjanam shruthEh"

A simple translation is as under :

When two very young cows (each having only one calf) are fighting without any respite, who except a Mleccha boy will kill one and end the fighting. He will try to tempt one or both of them by offering young green grass, fodder etc., make it interested in some other object and stop the fighting,even if they are still angry with each other.

Similarly, when two Vedic texts appear to make opposite statements, they should be reconciled with each other by interpreting the one which is NiravakAsha (can only be interpreted in one manner) and then interpreting the other which is SAvakAsha (can be interpreted in more than one manner) according to the first text, to remove the conflict in meanings.


Sri Vadiraja has used the following words with double meanings in the above shlokas - Go - cows and vedas, AparAngmukheem - irreconciliable differences, ArthaparAm - divert the cow with another object of desire, interpret the shruthi text to remove the conflict in meanings.

The underlying principle is just as cows should not be killed to remove conflict among them, Shruthi texts can not be discarded by calling some of them as AthathvAvedaka - not conveying absolute truth and accepting as valid only some of them, which may superficially appear to support a particular doctrine - as Advaitha does.

The Vedas being ApaurushEya and free of all defects can not be treated in this manner - as there will always be the doubt as to which set of texts should be treated as valid (why not he other set? etc) and the very reasonable question that if some part of the infallible Vedas is saying untruths, why not all of them?.

Even if it is assumed that some part of the Vedas do tell the absolute truth, it will be impossible to decide which part, unless we have some other pramana to judge their validity. In the case of nonsensory objects like Dharma, God etc. it is apparent that there is no other such pramana, unless one chooses to accept somebody's statements - as in all Paurusheya texts.

The only source which is known to be Apaurusheya and infallible is thus rendered totally useless, if the absolute validity of ALL Apaurusheya texts is not fully accepted without any reservations.

It is very important to understand that Acharya Madhva alone has stressed the inescapable necessity of accepting ALL the Vedas as the fountainhead of valid Thathvas and has been extremely rigorous in reconciling all of them to show that his Thathvavada is the essence of the Vedic religion, unlike other schools which while accepting Apaurusheyathva of the Vedas, also postulate the unreality or invalidity of some of them.

The question of discarding or relegating to a secondary level any statement like "Aham BrahmAsmi" on the plea that it appears to go against our doctrine JUST DOES NOT ARISE, in Madhva philosophy.


The simplistic translation of the expression - "Aham Brahmasmi" is that I am Brahma. The Advaitha interpretation of this passage is well illustrated by the Siddhantha of Sri Shankara explained in his composition - "PraudAnubhUthi. To keep it short only a very short extract is reproduced here :

"Dvaitham mayyakhilam samutthitham idam mithyAmanahkalpitham
nirdvaithOsmyaham asmi nirmalachidAkAshosmi poornosmyaham
nirmAyOsmi nirantharOsmi vipulapraudhaprakashOsmyaham
matthOnyannahi kinchidasthi yadi chidbhramyanthathasthanmrusha
poornOsmi dvayavarjithOsmi vipulAkAshOsmi nithyOsmyaham
..........................
shrOthvyam cha kimasthi poornasadrushO mithyAparokshasya me
manthavyam cha na mEsthi kinchidapiva nihsamshayajyothishah
sathyAnandachidatmakaya vipulaprajnAya MAHYAM NAMAH"

A simplifed summary of the above passage is :

The Dvaitha (duality) which is observed in the world (such as me, you, he etc) is due to the unreal Avidya. I (represented by Aham) , the immanent spirit which is unique and one only, is complete and fulfilled (needing nothing else). I am free from Maya, eternal, self efflugent and there is nothing else which exists apart from me.

I require no Shravana (listening to the scriptures), Manana (assimilation of all the valid Thathvas correctly with the help of Yukthis). I have no doubts and I have infinite knowledge as I am of the nature of Sath, Chith and Ananda. Salutations to myself.


Thus in the plane of absolute reality, the Chethana which appears in the form of various living things with differences of mind, perception, knowledge, happiness or misery etc is one. There is none other. This Chethana is the Shuddha Brahma of Advaitha. This is indicated by the word Brahma in Vedantha - such as Brahma Suthras, Upanishach as Aham BrahmAsmi etc.

The expression Aham in this case must therefore refer to the realisation of the Advaitha consciousness - Aham (Soul) is totally identical with Brahman. Sri Sankara has even offered his salutations to "himself' in the sense, that after this realisation, the person saluting and saluted are the same.

Advaitha does make provision for different degrees of reality such as PrAthibhAsica, VyAvahArika, and PAramAarthika. The last one is the absolute reality, which is not subject to BAdha or sublation at any time.

Advaitha also accepts that Brahman, Shuddha Chethana is the only entity which exists in absolute reality. The Jivas, their bondage and happiness, the material world and even the Avidya which causes these to be manifested from beginningless time, till Brahma realisation are all having their existence only in the VyAvahArika level.

An example of such existence is the actions and entities inhabiting the dream world, all of which vanish into absolute nothingness when the sleeper awakes. The sleeper also knows later that though he was part of it, they never existed.

Even the Vedas, Vedanta and the tools of self-realisation like the Mind, Anthahkarana etc., teacher and the taught (which may "cause the sleeper to awake") themselves are also VyAvahArika only and after such realisation the Shuddha Brahman does not even cognise
them as real or even as an unreal past experience.

This doctrine therefore, is postulated as the acceptance of only one entity as PAramArthika reality and all others as nonexistent in that plane. The real problems start when writing equations of entities which exist in only one plane of reality with others which exist in the
others.

The other famous Expression "Thatthvamasi" is also interpreted by Advaitha similarly with Thath being interpreted as the Brahman and Thvam, in this case, Shwethakethu, who was being addressed, being the Jiva who is identical to the former after taking the Lakshanika or indicated secondary meaning for the two words has to be applied to make the equation valid.

This is because when one makes a statement that a = b, a and b will have to be of the same kind - say 2 horses, cows etc. The Identity statement can be made in the form that Thath = Brahma which is identical with Thvam = Aham, only when both refer to the underlying reality of the Chethana.

Advaitha siddhantha is undoubtedly attractive as it seems to promise an exalted status to all creatures - that of identity with the Brahman, who is of the essence of Truth, and Bliss. Valiant attempts are made to answer valid objections from other schools supporting Duality - starting from SAmkhyas and ending with MAdhva philosophy.

It is also noteworhy that except Advaitha, no other religion in the world preaches total identity of the soul subject to births and deaths and misery etc. with the changeless and immanent Spirit or Brahman.

It is also necessary to examine how Advaitha explains the different elements of the sentence - Aham Brahmasmi. The first word Aham represents the Jiva which according to Advaitha is Shuddha Chethana qualified by the inert (Jada) thathva Anthakarana, which is also unreal in the absolute sense and is the product of unreal Avidya.

It is necessary to leave out the qualifying thathva and consider only the underlying chethana, when interpreting the text as preaching identity. When considering the second element in the equation - Brahma, we come up against the same problem in a different way. The word means that He is full of all auspicious qualities.

The Shuddha Chethana of Advaitha is defined as Nirdharmaka (with no attributes what so ever), Akhanda (indivisible into parts) etc. The word Brahma according to Advaitha in this expression can only mean the underlying substratum, Shuddha Chethana.

The expression therefore really means that the Shuddha Chethana (which is underlying the Jiva) and the Shuddha indicated as a secondary or Lakshnika meaning by the word Brahma are identical. In other words, instead of the Jiva as he is (you, I and him etc) being identical with Brahma, he is stripped of the unreal Avidya, (which strips him of the You-ness, I-ness
and He-ness) which makes him the same as Shuddha Chethana, when declaring identity with the latter.

Being Nirdharmaka, Shuddha can not have any positive qualifying attributes such as Jnana, Bliss etc. But he is still called Sath Chith Ananda, as these qualities are part of his Swaroopa or essence and they can not be compared with the conventional qualities indicated by these words. If an element like a quality is stated to be the property of the Shuddha, he is no longer Nirdharmaka.

Advaitha goes to great lengths in trying to explain the significance of numerous Shruthi texts defining Brahman as possessed of such auspicious qualities - finally ending up with the proposition that as He is attributeless, He is also indefinable and the inability to explain these
for the understanding of the human intellect is not a disadvantage, but is actually an indication of the greatness of the Advaitha doctrine.

The Advaitha explanations have been discussed as at great length by MAdhva teachers. It is pointed out that such expression of identity can be used in any of the following : -

i. When describing similarity - an example is calling some one as a lion - when what is obviously meant is congruence of certain qualities.

ii. When showing the total dependence of the Jiva on Brahman.

The Jiva is a Sahachara (always coexisting), Ashritha (always resting on), Thathojjjathah (being born or originating from), AdhInah (fully subservient), Athideshah (an extension of the same qualities), Anathryami vyaptha (always controlled by the inner controller, God), KarayithA (who gets things done by the Jiva etc.

Some examples of such use are -

Hitler invaded Russia - when describing some one of very great importance, as representing his country.

This dog (of my neighbour's) is a constant visitor in my house - implies the familiarity of the neighbour and not the dog.

The white house issued the following press note. (It is not the house, but its main inhabitant.
Kennedy has always been a very prominent family.

Your office has asked for the following information.

Wall street controls most of the economic activities of the developed world.


The quote by SrimadAchArya exemplifies the total dependence as under -

"Dravyam karma cha kAlashcha svabhAvO jiva eva cha
yadanugrhathah santhi na santhi yadupekshayA"

Shri Vyasaraja points out in NyayAmrutha, that in such interpretations it is not necessary to leave out the primary meaning (mukhyartha) of both the expressions Aham and Brahma and take only Lakshanika (indicated or secondary meanings) as done by Advaitha.

Atleast one of the words will always be taken with its primary meaning. According to Dvaitha Aham indicates the Jiva as its MukhyArtha, as it represents not the Anthahkarana alone (which is real), but the SAkshi, which is the Swaroopa (cognitive) faculty of the soul.

Brahma is defined by the actual meaning of the word indicating the Supreme being, the limitless ocean of infinite auspicious qualities. The expression Asmi is not indicative of absolute identity, but of limited "identity" based on the many aspects of similarity and total dependence of the former on the latter.

Earlier an introduction to this important text from BrihadAranyaka Upanishath was given to make the following points :

I. Vedas being Apaurusheya and self-validated, with no other means available for further validation, it would be self-defeating for any school of Vedic religion to argue that they will consider only some parts of the Upanishaths as ThathvAvEdaka (conveying the absolute truth), while rejecting the rest on various grounds. The entire mass of the Vedic literature must either be accepted as valid or totally given up. The arguments of Advaitha which advocate a contrary view will be discussed
seperately.

II. Luckily for us, thanks to the method of preservation and perpetuation of the Vedas, while there are minor differences between different ShAkhAs in a few texts which APPEAR to be the same passage, there is no dispute between rival Veda based religious schools as to what is the actual statement or even the pronunciation etc of any Vedic text.

Interpretation thus becomes crucial, and various factors which govern it have to be studied to make a success of it. Irrespective of apparent meanings assigned to these texts favouring one or the other school, no one can ever even think of abandoning "inconvenient" texts unexplained. The basic proposition that Vedas have YEka VAkyathA - coherent and consistent doctrines is also accepted by all Vedic schools.

Thus the intellectual efforts to see the total picture and explain all the apparent contradictions and disparities is the common feature of all AchAryas claiming to interpret the Vedas. Sri VEdavyAsa has set the example by His Brahma Suthras, to do exactly this. Writing a commentary on Brahma Suthras to accord with the directions briefly indicated by their author has always been considered as the starting point of all VEdic schools.

III. The problem of validity of intrepretation has to be judged by adherence to the norms of interpretation, self consistency and external consistency with other texts so interpreted. Most of the polemical literature is based on this approach. Occasionally, Grammatical or literary errors are also shown, but the standards being set are so high and in view of the flexibility of Sanskrit language and differences in Vedic grammar on occasion, these do not assume significance.

The interpretation has to perforce follow the path shown by Sri Vedavyasa - the greatest minds of Vedic schools have never questioned His authority or tried to formulate some other set of rules - or Suthras. Sri Madhwa has not only offered unquestioned allegiance to Sri Vedavyasa, who is a manifestation of Vishnu Himself, but is also his own Guru, at whose lotus feet he learnt all the shasthras in Badarikashrama, not accessible to human vision.

IV. The science of Nyaya has thus become crucial - as the material being interpreted is fixed and accepted on all sides, and the general rules of intrepretation being known and accepted with some significant differences. The titles of our most famous compositions - "NyAya SudhA", NyAyAmrutha" etc indicate the significance of this. But, NyAya by itself can not answer all questions - ultimately it has to be verified and the Anubhava (personal cognition or experience) of some one who can be trusted to tell the truth or by oneself as the ultimate basis for acceptance.

In Athindriya entities, how ever, where such personal cognition is not possible except for those blessed with Yogic Prathyaksha etc., the Apaurusheya texts, which are also the Yogi Prathyaksha of saints of the past are considered as PramAna. Even the validity of the statement that the Vedas are Apaurusheya is based on the statement of such saints, who are "Seers' of the specific passages. No body has ever claimed to have "composed" the Vedas as in the case of other Paurusheya compostions like MahAbhAratha etc.

V. The interpretations of the statement "Aham BrahmAsmi" according to Advaitha and Dvaitha schools had been briefly given earlier to give a general appreciation of the wide gulf which seperates the two. The Dvaitha savants have always taken Advaitha interpretations as possible PUrva Paksha (erroneous interpretations which will be examined in detail and demolished them on proper grounds of inconsistency, invalid method of proof etc.) and then given their own "correct" interpretation or SiddhAntha.

Thus it is always left to the student to convince himself of the correctness of the final position. The depth of analysis, the total fidelity of reproducing the opponent's position, systematic and all embracing sprit of enquiry which usually anticipates the intelligent student's possible doubts and answers them and other unmistakeable features of a sincere, open but critical intellect of a very high caliber can not but carry conviction to any dispassionate student.

Sri Surendranath Dasgupta, who has written his monumental work "A HISTORY OF INDIAN PHILOSOPHY" has said as follows :

"In my opinion JayaTirtha and VyasaTirtha present the highest dialectical skill in Indian thought. There is a general belief amongst many that monism of Sankara presents the final phase of Indian thought. The realistic and dualistic thought of the samkhya and the Yoga had undergone a compromise with monism both in the PurAnAs and in the hands of the later writers.

But the readers of the present volume (vol 4) who will be introduced to the philosophy of JayaTirtha and particularly VyasaTirtha will realise the strength and uncompromising impressiveness of the Dualistic position.

THE LOGICAL SKILL AND DEPTH OF ACUTE DIALECTICAL THINKING SHOWN BY VYASA TIRTHA STANDS ALMOST UNRIVALLED IN THE WHOLE FIELD OF INDIAN THOUGHT".


Narasimha:-

If we look at the statement at the outset its understood as "I am Brahman". Usually the meaning for "aham" according to the present day dictionary is "I". But the etimological meaning or the meaning of Aham according to the vedic days was "something without which u cant exist " . Similarly "Ham" means "something without which u exist" .We may leave ur friends, food , relatives, samsara etc but u can never leave urself and thats " Myself " . We can only be Aham for ourself thats it..similarly i can be Aham for myself..neither can i be Aham for anyone nor anyone can be Aham for me..But Brahman or the supreme godhead is the only independent reality whos Aham for everyone and hence Aham and Asmi are nothing but his secret name or his gupyha nama..he's understood himself that i am Aham for eveyone..Acharya Madhwa was the first to come up with this interpretation that made many scholars to think about..If the bimba roopi paramatma was not present in us then we wouldn't have even been able to use the term "I"..Jivas do not have swatantra kartrutva at any point of time as our purnathe(fullness) is only "Sapeksha"..every jiva has got its own capacity..for eg when u fill a 1 litre & a 2 litre bottle u still see that both the bottles are full but they are full according to their own capacities..akhanda purnathe(infinite) is only that of Sriman Narayana..as i said earlier for a jiva to get liberated its important that he realizes its own capacity..the supreme godhead being omnipresent he's poorna even when he's in u, he's poorna even when he's out of u and where ever he is his purnathe is anadi & thats the reason his purnathe is "Nirapeksha". So when u worship u need to worship to realize the bimba roopi paramatma in u & by being in u he has given to the eligibility to use the term "I"..So Aham and Asmi are his own secret names.

Brahmavit Brahmaiva Bhavathi

The term "Brahmavit Brahmaiva Bhavati" has been completely misinterpreted among various schools of thought. If anyone reads this term one can interpret it as one who knows Brahman or one who gets complete awareness of Brahman becomes Brahman himself. But this interpretation is absolutely meaningless because its an universal truth that if u get complete awareness of any entity u cannot become that entity itself. For eg there are 2 persons person "A" and person "B". If person "A" gets to know person "B" completely then "A" cannot beome "B" and vice versa "B" cannot become "A". If a poor man gains money he becomes rich but he dosent end being money itself. Hence the term "gaining" is completely different to the term "becoming". So according to the samskritha of the vedic days the term Bhavati had 2 meanings 1. to be 2. to get. Bhavati comes from "Bhu" dhathu which also had another meaning "prapnothi" which means "to get". I can quote an verse from Vedas as an eg for the same " Tam Yatha Yatha Upasathe Tadeva Bhavati" it means one who does niranthara upasane of Brahman will merge with him by his blessings and will have an opportunity to do his niranthara seva during liberation. Hence we have to understand the etimological meaning of the statement "Brahmavit Brahmaiva Bhavati" which is "to get" and not "to be". Every jiva has got its own swabhava and its own capacity. Every Jiva based on his sadhane and his limits gets to know Brahman. Liberation is to realise who ur completely but its not to become someone else or to be Brahman. If liberation is to realise ur Brahman or become like Brahman then the jiva is losing its own astitva and scriptures will never proclaim that. When ur vyaktitva or character attains poorna vikasa that'll be a moksha for a individual. But how can one attain the poorna vikasa of his own vyaktitva - its by knowing Brahman - by surrendering to him through immense bhakthi and gaining the right knowledge abt him through the scriptures because the entire scriptures talk only abt him.


Author :-

After giving the background of the text, general differences in interpretation and method of analysis, I will venture to give a Layman's picture, shorn of high scholarship and grammar, of the logical structure of the correct interpretation of this statement, which Advaitha has considered as the corner stone of its philosophy.

The phrase `ahaM brahmAsmi' occurs in the bR^ihadAraNyaka upanishhad:

brahma vA idamagra AsIt.h | tadAtmAnamevAvedaham.h brahmAsmIti |
tasmAttat.h sarvamabhavat.h |tadyo yo devAnAm.h pratyabudhyat.h sa eva tadabhavath |

tatharshhINAm.h |tathA manushhyANAm.h |
tad.hdhaitat.h pashyanh R^ishhirvAmadevaH pratipede "aham.h manurabhavat.h sUryashch"eti |

tadidamapyetarhi ya evam veda "aham.h brahmAsmI"ti sa idam.h sarvam.h bhavati | tasyA Ha na devAshcha nAbhUtyA Ishate |AthmA hyeshAm sa bhavathi |


A superficial translation of the whole passage is as follows :

In the beginning (before creation), Brahma alone existed. He knew Himself as Brahma, who alone exists. Therefore, he became every thing else (sarvam) in the world {the entire process of creation is implied here). Who ever knew Brahman in this manner amongst the Devas, Rishis and Manushyas (men) they became that. Sri Vamadeva Rishi also cognised Him in this manner that he became Manu, Surya etc. Therefore, who ever cognises "Aham BrahmAsmi" will become everything (sarvam). This can not be prevented even by gods or by any body else.

The key to the correct interpretation of the full text is whether the statement - "Aham BrahmAsmi" is a simple grammatical sentence - in which Aham is a first person pronoun, Brahma is the entity which is the main subject of the Upanishath (what ever it may be interpreted as) and Asmi - is a verb, indicating the status of Aham. The Upanishath has itself offered the following clues to indicate its purpose :

I. Before creation only Brahman existed, to the exclusion of everything else.

II. It knew itself existing as Brahman.
The use of the word AtmAnam (its own self) appears to be redundant, if the purpose was only to convey the simple meaning - that it knew itself to be Brahma - "Thad veda aham brahmAsmi ithi". Further, the entire sentence appears to be unnecessary, as the first sentence makes it clear that only Brahman existed in the beginning - unless the Upanishath wanted to convey that earlier it was ignorant of who it was and became aware later on.

This is not obviously the purpose, as Brahman knew itself as Brahman all the time as a cognising entity, unless there was something else which could obscure it. Such an entity apart from Brahman did not exist. This statement also disallows one of the main doctrines of Advaitha that Brahman can not be the object of self-knowldege.

III.The entire passage makes another obvious point that the knowledge represented by the sentence - "Aham BrahmAsmi" has the effect on the knower, who ever he may be, a god, Rishi or man, that he becomes "sarva" infallibly and even the gods can not stop it. A case study of Sri Vamadeva who realised this becoming Manu, Surya etc is also quoted as an illustration.

In order to suit an Advaita connotation, Sri Shankara interprets the first sentence "Brahma vA idam agra AsIth" with a number of ideas added not easily related to the main burden of the sentence. Thus, he says - I quote this part from Sri B N K Sharma's book -

" The self now experiencing itself as embodied, was in fact the unconditioned Brahma itself, even before realising itself to be so (agre). Therefore, it is all that exists in reality. How ever through superimposition, it has come to regard itself as NOT BRAHMAN (a-brahma) NOT ALL (a-sarvam) and to suppose itself to be a doer, enjoyer and a transmigrating self. When its eyes are opened by a compassionate teacher of Vedantha, that Brahman comes to discover itself as the pure objectless consciousness, free from superimposed individual awareness.

Thus Brahman's coming to know itself as Brahman consists merely in the removal of the superimposition caused by ignorance and is not at all an act of knowing itself as a real object of its own consciousness. en ignorance vanishes, its effect is also wiped out. With their disappearance, pure consciousness emerges as all that there is (sarvam abhavath)"


Sri Shankara himself has interpreted "agre" earlier as "before the creation of the world". The multiple and unwarranted assumptions of his theory of Adhyasa entirely unrelated to creation can not be supported by just one word AGRE in the Upanishath when the same word in a similar context has been used a few lines earlier to denote "before creation". It is also note worthy that even if we accept his explanation for arguments sake - the following inconsistencies still remain.

I. ThadAthmAnam eva aveth - Brahman knew itself as it was. As per Advaitha, Shuddha can not have attributes like knowing itself (as an object) etc. There can not also be the taint of "Aham", which is the product of Avidya. If the sentence has to be interpreted as proposed, Shuddha Brahma could not have existed before creation, but only a conditioned Brahma.

But Shuddha is defined as Nithya-shuddha-buddha-muktha- svarUpa. As Brahman could not have existed in both forms simultaneously before creation - "It alone existed" as per Upanishath, it has to be the Shuddha only. Such a form could never qualify for the statement "it knew itself".

II. The state of ignorance (affliction of Avidya) which is implied with this intrepretation of agre - cannot apply to Shuddha Brahma, which is free from this at all times. If it applies to the conditioned Brahma only, one has to explain how such a Brahma came to existence first before creation. If it is argued that Agre does not mean the state before creation at all, but only the state of the Brahma before "knowing itself", the use of the word earlier by the Upanishath in the earlier sense (as interpreted by Sri Sankara himself) and in this context are so grossly different, that it is difficult to justify it.

III. Further, the statement "Sarvam abhavath" is being interpreted by Sri Shankara, in a manner opposite to the concept of creation which is being discussed by the Upanishath. Thus, Before the state of knowing "Aham Brahmasmi", we can have a qualified Brahma, which concepts like Aham (myself), Brahma (full of attributes), Asmi (cognition of unique existence) etc.

After this knowledge, what emerges is Shuddha Brahma, which is free of all names, forms, attributes and qualities. This is actually creation-in-reverse. The word Sarvam would hardly be appropriate in the circumstances. What is being concluded is "Sarvam Brahma abhavath". But Sarvam did not exist earlier as per the Upanishath itself.

IV. The example of Sri Vamadeva, who "became" Manu, Surya etc after he realised that "Aham Brahmasmi" is also illustrating the meaning of Sarva. It is obvious that what is meant here is the act of one becoming many by some entity, implying creation rather than one which is already many becoming one, as a result of this knowledge.

V. The expression "sa idam sarvam bhavathi" has to be interpreted as per Sri Shankara that any one knowing this will become all this (world), which is sublated and unreal. The entity Sa, who is the knower thus ceases to exist!.

It is therefore clear, that trying to interpret the extremely abstract thoughts of the statements in the Upanishath in the manner attempted by Advaitha leads us to a quagmire of logical contradictions and inconsistencies of known Advaitha formulations. The popular concept that the sentence preaches Identity of the soul with Brahman is not fitting in either with the context of creation of the world or the attainment of special objectives by Sri VAmadeva etc by understanding this truth.

Sri Madhva in his Bhashya of the Upanishath points out the keys to the correct understanding of the text -

A. The word Sarva indicates completeness or Poornathva. only with this definition could all the statements of attainment of Sarvathva by any god, rishi or man who understands the correct meaning of "Aham Brahmasmi" could be explained. All of them will attain Poornathva or full and complete knowledge, bliss etc according to their innate capacity.

B. The word Aham analysed according to the root words and grammar means one with the quality of Aheyathva - Undiscardable by any other being. Brahman who is immanent in all creatures and resides in the innermost core and controls absolutely the very existence of the being is obviously totally UNDISCARDABLE. It can not be a first person pronoun .

Further while Brahman with qualified limitations (Visheshya) could become Manu, Surya etc. even according to Advaitha, Sri Vamadeva can not do so as Vamadeva. It is clear that when Sri Vamadeva here, he was referring to his antharyAmi Brahman and not himself.

C. As the word Aham is being interpreted to establish the most relevant quality of Brahman to all others - Aheyathva, and the word Brahma itself means one who is full of auspicious attributes, the word Asmi is also interpreted from the point of view of Anatharyami, whose existence always is not subject any dimunition, negation or limitation - such as dependence or conrol by some one else, periodical transformation of form or attributes etc.

With this key, it becomes very simple and elegant to understand the meaning of the Upanishath : -

Before creation of the world, Brahma alone existed. He was aware of his own unique qualities of AhEyathva (for all other entities), Gunapoornathva (being full of auspicious attributes) and Asmi ( untrammelled and independent existence). Therefore, He was always Poorna (sarva) - complete and lacking in nothing. Which ever among the gods understood Him thus, they also achieved poornathva (according to their own innate nature - swaroopa). Similarly the rishis did.

So did the men. Sri VAmadeva realised these qualities of Brahman with the help of the SUktha "Aham manurabhavam sUryashcha". This is not only so in the past, but even now, who ever realises Brahman's unique qualities of AhEyathva, Gunapoornathva and Eternal inedependent existence will also attain their fullness of knowledge and bliss etc. No body, even the gods, can or will stop this attainment of the result obtained by this Jnana as He (Brahman) is the Athman (antharyami) of all including the gods.


In the earlier part, an attempt was made to explain the importance of this text amongst others to determine the philosophical truths about the relationships between the supreme being and the souls.The interpretations as made by Advaitha and Dvaitha were briefly explained along with the methods used. Some criticisms were also offered against the Advaitha interpretation of Sri Shankara, keeping in view the context of the BrihadAranyaka Upanishath, where the text occurs, the internal and external consistency problems which arise with it.

The superficial interpretation preaching the identity of all souls with the supreme being, as commonly understood by those who have not gone into the subject in depth was shown to be not only not according to the Dvaitha tenets, but even Advaitha philosophy also.

A masterly analysis of the subject has been made by Sri Vyasatirtha in NyAyAmrutha, where the interpretations have been analysed in searching detail and great depth. I propose to give a brief and admittedly unscholarly account of this analysis, mainly with a view to familiarise the readers with the very strong case against the claim that this text supports Identity of the soul with the supreme being. Any shortcomings in this presentation including errors of understanding, omission or commission of facts or arguments, incorrect representation of the contending schools etc are entirely mine and I would be humbly grateful if they are pointed out.

Those with the necessary intellectual and other equipments should see and study the originals themselves and possibly also go into Advaithasiddhi and Tharangini texts which have examined each issue at great length and in great depth. I would consider that my own puny efforts would have been well worthwhile if a dispassionate reader comes to the conclusion That this text can not be simply called as an "Advaitha" text, and on the other hand requires very careful study to determine its true import.

In NyAyAmrutha, Sri VyAsatIrtha has dealt with his issue in his Dvithiya Pariccheda. After examining the Advaitha tenets of Identity of the soul with the Supreme being and all the arguments and bases offered by Advaitha for trying to establish these, Sri Vyasatirtha takes up in two specific sections the two famous MahAvAkyas relied upon by Advaitha to "prove" the concordance of their tenets with the Shruthi.

As Identity is so obviously opposed by Prathyaksha (direct cognition) and can not be
proved only by Anumana alone (as counter Anumanas galore can be offered to prove the opposite), Advaitha must rest their case on the point that the infallible Shruthi states this beyond all possible doubts.

The two popularly known texts are "Thathvamasi" and "Aham BrahmAsmi". The former
is discussed first in very great detail and a large number of points made in that context which are equally applicable to the second. This seems to be very appropriate as Thathvamasi is not just a bald statement, but has been profusely illustrated with examples in the Upanishath itself.

It is well known that subject to limitations of similarities pertinent to the points under consideration, the use of illustrations MUST show very clearly the intentions and meanings of the texts. It is shown that even according to Advaitha, it is not argued that Shwethakethu (Thvam) is identical to the Supreme being (Thath). In the present context however, I will not go into this part in detail except to refer to the similar arguments in passing, but will confine myself to the other so called MahAvAkya - Aham BrahmAsmi.

The following defects are pointed out :

1. The Advaitha interpretation needs the assumption that both key factors in the similarity equation - Thath and Thvam or Aham and Brahma must necessarily be endowed with indirect (lakshana) meanings and not the main and direct meanings (Mukhyartha). This is considered improper when it is possible to interpret the text with at least one direct meaning, with the other used indirectly.

Earlier I had already indicated that for Dvaitha interpretation based on total dependence, control, similarity etc by the supreme being it is possible to use identity as an example - He is a lion etc. The word Aham being used to denote Vishnu, who is SarvAntharyAmi is supported by smrithi text, which means that Vishnu is called by all names as he is the AntharyAmi in all -thus, Yesha (he), Thvam (you), Asau (I) etc are all capable of being given its direct meaning of denoting Vishnu as the inner controller of the Jivas and the second word Thath (or brahma) is given the Lakshanika meaning.

2. The expression Aham Manurabhavamshcha ... etc in the Upanishath can not refer to VAmadEva rishi, but to his AnathryAmi only. Even according to Advaitha, the Vishishta Brahma swaroopa (qualified Brahma associated with the Upadhi responsible for his being called) VAmadEva could not become Manu, Surya etc which are also other Vishishta Brahma Swaroopas. Use of Aham to represent ChinmAthra or Shuddha Brahma can not permit the use of Asmi.

3. Sri Vyasaraja quoes some shrutis to justify the use of Aham to represent Vishnu or Hari:

i. ThasmAdaham nAmAbhavath
ii. ThasyOpanishadaham ithi
iii. Aham nAMA harirnithyam ahEyathvAth prakIrthithah
iv. Aham thatthejo rashmIth nArAyanam purusham jAthamagrathah
v. Thamimaham vijAnAthi
vi. Sa yashchAyam purushe yashchAsavAdithye sa yEkah
vii. Aham harih sarvamidam janArdanah

The interpretation of these shruti texts has to be made on the basis of AntharyAmi only- otherwise the texts will have grammatical errors in Vibhakti endings.

4. Sri Vyasaraja shows that interpretation of statements in ChAndOgya etc in the direct manner results in contradictions with the succeeding statements (Utthara vakya virodha) unless the Anatharyami vivaksha is taken. (I will not explain the meanings in each case, but rest content in just quoting the examples)

a. Chandogya - Ya yesha AdithyE purusho drushyathe sOhamasmi
U. vakya - Sa yenAn brahma gamayathi

b. IshAvAsya - YOsAvasau purushah sOhamasmi
U. Vakya - vAyuranilamamruthamathedam bhasmantham sharIram
- AgnE naya supathA rAyE asman

c. AitharEya - ThadyOham sOasau yOasau sOham
Chakshurmithrasya varunasyAgnEh

d. BrihadAranyaka - Brahma vA idamagra AsIth thadathmAnameva aveth Aham
ThadyO yO devAnAm prathyabuddhyatha thathA rushInam manushyAnAm

5. Sri Vyasaraja also points out that there is another way of interpreting the expression Aham Brahmasmi - by taking the meaning of the word Brahma as Jiva only. There is no need for the contorted meanings - Lakshana - and the simple direct or Mukhya meanings can be taken to all the words. He gives examples from Shruthi, Smruthi etc for this. In this case, the text means that the Jiva (Aham) becomes possessed of Brumhithathva - or Brahmathva , which means poorna according to his capacity - Svayogya poornathva, which is his swaroopa or essence.

Shruthi texts speaking of attaining Brahman - "ParAthparam purusham upaithi divyam" support this meaning rather than becoming one with Him. The previous sentence is "niranjanah paramam samyam upaithi" - which talks of equality rather than identity. A worldly example for this - "Sampoojya brahmanam bhakthya shudropi brahmano bhaveth" - the shudra does not become one with the Brahmana, but attains Brahmanathva (while remaining seperate).

6. Sri Vyasaraja also points out that there is another way of interpreting the expression Aham Brahmasmi - by taking the meaning of the word Brahma as Jiva only. There is no need for the contorted meanings - Lakshana - and the simple direct or Mukhya meanings can be taken to all the words. He gives examples from Shruthi, Smruthi etc for this. In this case, the text means that the Jiva (Aham) becomes possessed of Brumhithathva - or Brahmathva , which means poorna according to his capacity - Svayogya poornathva, which is his swaroopa or essence.

Shruthi texts speaking of attaining Brahman - "ParAthparam purusham upaithi divyam" support this meaning rather than becoming one with Him. The previous sentence is
"niranjanah paramam samyam upaithi" - which talks of equality rather than identity. A worldly example for this - "Sampoojya brahmanam bhakthya shudropi brahmano bhaveth" - the shudra does not become one with the Brahmana, but attains brahmanathva (while remaining seperate).

Shri Madhva has shown in Vishnuthathvavinirnaya that other texts generally assumed as supporting Advaitha should also be interpreted to be consistent with the main purport of the shruthies. The passages "Thadyoham .... Soham", "Yosavadithye ..... evahamasmi" etc are to be interpreted as to refer to the Antharyami (inner controller). The words - the sanskrit "A", "Aham" in the passages "Sa yaschayam ...... ekah", A ithi ..... aham" etc refer to God (Brahma).

The Narayana shruthi passage "Aham nama ....Bahuh" is quoted in this context. Shri Hari is called AHAM as He is Aheya,(not suffering destruction at any time). Similarly the words Thvam, Sah etc also refer to God. All words in all tenses, numbers (Singular, Plural etc) referring to I, You, We, Our, Your , He, Their etc all refer to Hari in the main as He is the only independent inner controller of all, who is different from every body and every thing else, as understood and referred to by the Learned (VidvadrUdhi).

The same words refer to souls, and other things etc only due to the association of Hari with them, as secondary and associated meanings, used normally by people not learned in the Shashthras. That is why Lord Vishnu who dwells in all things, animate and inanimate, and is different from all others is referred to by the words denoting all - sarva. The Githa passage "Sarvabhutheshu ..... Satthvikam" is also quoted to support the Shruthi text interpretation.

Shri Madhva has considered and rejected the argument that the Veda texts which speak of Difference are Athathvavedaka. He states that these shruthies are not telling a paramarthika untruth and quotes various texts to prove his point. "Sathyamenamanu ...... Maghonah" , Sathyah ........Viprarajye" , "Sathya Aathma ...... Maivaruvanyah" , "Aathma hi ....... alpakah" etc.

The simple meaning of these texts is as follows: Both the world and it's creator are true and is worshipped as such by gods headed by Indra. In sacrifices we praise the true greatness and auspicious qualities of the Lord and we obtain the boon of happiness. Both the souls and God are true and so is the difference between them.

The words stating that the difference between Souls and God is true are repeated thrice to make it absolutely certain and for ruling out all contrary theories. Such worship can only be made by those who are free of all ignorance and defective thinking.

The difference between the souls and the God is further stressed by pointing out that Aathma, the inner controller of the souls (God) is completely independent, all knowing, all powerful, full of bliss and is greater than all, while the souls controlled by God have intrinsically little knowledge, capacity, suffer from worldly miseries .

Thus, there can not be the remotest possibility of God and the souls being one, due the exact opposite nature of their characteristics. Thus, according to these
Shruthi texts also Bheda (difference) is true and the statement that these are Athathvavedaka can not be sustained.

Shri Madhva dismisses the argument that these texts though true are only so from the point of view of the external world and in the ultimate analysis of the absolute truth, they are not true. (Vyavaharika sathya). He gives quotes from the shruthies themselves which can not but be interpreted to support the doctrine of Difference, thus meeting Advaitha on its strongest base, if not in the fields of logic and direct sensory perception.

"Yo veda nihitham .....gayannasthe" , "Rucham Thvah .... thvah" , "Paramjyothim ......... ajnathibhirva" , "Yathra ... vijaniyath" , "Yathodakam ...... Bhavathi" , "Thada ... Upaithi" , "Amruthasyaisha sethuh" , "Akshanvanthah .... dadrushe" ,"Ishamashrithya ....utharotharam" etc These clearly indicate the persistence of Bheda (Difference) even after Moksha (Liberation).

He also quotes the Githa shloka "Idam jnanamapashrithya .... vyathayanthi cha" and the Brahma suthras "Aum Jagadvyapara Varjyam" , "Prakaranadasannihithathvaccha" and others of the kind not specifically quoted to illustrate that Bheda or Difference is eternal , intrinsic in nature and hence indestructible

The meanings of these passages : The passage "Yo veda ... " clearly says that those who know God resident in the inner space of their hearts, will enjoy full bliss along with Brahma (God), clearly showing no unity of entities even after Brahma Jnana. After reaching God, full of bliss (Anandamaya), liberated soul moves as desired in all the worlds, and obtains all his desires.

The next passage describes the liberated Brahmas (Chathurmukha, the most exalted souls in creation) - one who is full of bliss singing Riks with great fervour, another, who sings Sama gayana in sacrifices, another, who teaches Paurusheya texts to other liberated souls, and one more who contemplates the supreme creator in isolation.

This passage speaks of several souls in the liberated state who are engaged in various activities of their volition and in the fullness of their bliss, and their continued Difference from God even after Liberation. The next passage describes liberated souls who have reached God (His proximity), enjoy bliss of various kinds with friends, vehicles and consorts.

Sri Krishnaarpanamastu.


Discussions:

Nag
:-

There is nothing to interpret in this line Aham Brahmasmi.

Aham here does not represent deha. Clearly Vedas and Vedanta talks about Deha, mana and buddhi. I is defined as something is beyond all this, something that is no subjected to the rules of creation. This is accepted by all the 3 acharyas. So I is a thought that is arising from manas. When you drop I all that is left is consciousness. This consciousness is the real identity and is know as I or Brahman or you or whatever.


Adi :-

Regarding the debate, I feel that 'Aham BrahmAsmi' cannot be interpreted in isolation. One has to take into account the background and context in which it was said. You have to take into account the entire passage where Aham BrahmAsmi occurs and how Shankaracharya interprets the complete passage (I have already quoted the superficial meaning of the passage according to Advaita).

I could see that there are lot of inconsistencies in their interpretations regarding the passage which is already pointed out. You can probably go thro them and you can contest the claim if you find them to be wrong.


Nag :-

If you think that way so be it... Good Luck


Adi :-

I suppose that you might have read the Advaiti version of 'Aham BrahmAsmi' and the whole passage. Do you think that the interpretation of Aham BrahmAsmi according to Advaita given here is a flawed interpretation of Advaita?? If yes then why do you think that the interpretation is a flawed one? what is the correct advaitic interpretation of the whole passage?Please do let us know.

If you think that the Advaitic interpretation of the passage given here is the correct Advaiti interpretation then please explain as to what is wrong with the logic used to disprove the interpretation and why it cant be used. Looking forward for answers from you.


Rk :-

There is nothing to interpret in this line Aham Brahmasmi.

really!

Aham here does not represent deha. Clearly Vedas and Vedanta talks about Deha, mana and buddhi.

You have already given an interpretation by saying it is NOT these things.

I is defined as something is beyond all this, something that is no subjected to the rules of creation.

Why is this NOT an interpretation of what Aham stands for?

This is accepted by all the 3 acharyas.

So all 3 Acharyas have given their interpretations. Why would Acharyas need to explain that which is so clear according to you.

So I is a thought that is arising from manas. When you drop I all that is left is consciousness. This consciousness is the real identity and is know as I or Brahman or you or whatever.

So according to you 'I' stands for consciousness. You have to explain so much just to say what is so obvious to you.

Why is this NOT an interpretation?

You say

'When you drop I all that is left is consciousness.'

Then say afterwards

'This consciousness is the real identity'

real identity for whom or what?

Can you define what is consciousness first? If you cannot even define what is consciousness in the first place, then you have NOT said anything here about whom or what 'Aham' refers to.

What you have said is like the following story.

B asked A another where A lives.

A answered he lives near C.

B asked A where C lives.

A answered C lives near A.

No useful information whatsoever.


Nag :-

Very nice play of words.... indeed to complicate things and take it to a mess..

In Samskrutah, Aham is referred to I period there is nothing to interpret here.

I asked a question how do you say I am Nagaraj... you answer either
Aham Nagarajah or Aham Nagaraj Asmi.

period. Notice if you use asmi it is a different word and not merged with Nagaraj.

So when you say Aham Brahmaasmi... it only means I am Brahma himself there is no other meaning to it as per the language of Samskrutah. If you bring a new translation you are interpreting it. When you start interpreting you go away from what is actually written.

All my other explanation were on what is "I", nothing else.


Adi :-

You are just interpreting 'Aham BrahmAsmi' in isolation without taking the whole context which is NOT correct. Moreover this so called 'MahAvAkya' is a fictitious term by Advaita commentators which has no sanctity in shastras. Even Sri Shankaracharya never used the term mahAvAkya in his works (source: Mahavakyas and Mahatatparya of Advaita by Dr BNK Sharma) and it is only the later addition of Advaita scholars.

'Aham BrahmAsmi' which in literal sense means 'I am Brahma' can be applied only to Supreme Brahma and not to individual jivas.


Rk :-

Very nice play of words.... indeed to complicate things and take it to a mess..

I think the same about your play of words.

In Samskrutah, Aham is referred to I period there is nothing to interpret here.

Says you. I do not agree to your interpretation.

Aham has a root meaning of "one who cannot be avoided as He is always inside you"

aham = aheyam = unfit for rejection, impossible to avoid;

Our identity comes from Paramatma within and that is why we refer to ourselves as 'I am so and so'.

'I' or 'Aham' in Sanskrit primarily refers to Paramatma within.

I asked a question how do you say I am Nagaraj... you answer either
Aham Nagarajah or Aham Nagaraj Asmi.


Read above.

period. Notice if you use asmi it is a different word and not merged with Nagaraj.

Read above again.

So when you say Aham Brahmaasmi... it only means I am Brahma himself there is no other meaning to it as per the language of Samskrutah. If you bring a new translation you are interpreting it. When you start interpreting you go away from what is actually written.

Again read the primary meaning of Aham.

All my other explanation were on what is "I", nothing else.

Your explanations are wrong.


Nag :-

Aham is not I ?????

I guess time for me to quit the discussion....


RK :-

You have very little ability to think outside your little box.


Nag :-

Thanks for your comments !! I sincerely appreciate it!

you are just interpreting 'Aham BrahmAsmi' in isolation without taking the whole context which is NOT correct

In general in our society, it is habit to interpret everything, no matter whatever simple topic it is.

Yes I am treating Aham brahmasmi in isolation and letting the syntax and semantics of the language answer all the questions here.

If we treat the entire texts of vedas and vedangas all at once we can never concluded on 1 fact! There are contradictions within these texts. Dont know why the vedas have these contradictions - purposefully done to confuse or some key vedic text were lost in time .. no one knows.

Only our intellect can guide us here.


Dilip :-

Btw...your "I am Nagaraja" in sanskrit is "ahaM nAgarAjaH". That "asmi" is generally not there in colloquial usage.
You should think why there is an "asmi" in "ahaM brahmAsmi".
"ahaM brahmaH" should have sufficed.


Nag :-

Aham Nagaraja Asmi or Aham Nagarajah are both the same. Whats your point?


Adi :-

It is only a myth that vedas have contradictions!!The Apaurusheya vedas which is considered flawless cannot be contradictory at all and is shown by Srimad Acharya as not to be contradictory by correctly interpreting the text in accordance to the strict rules of grammar, self consistency and consistency with other vedic texts..

There is absolutely no logic in holding that Vedas are contradictory in nature when they are already held to be flawless. The flaws if in case they exist are more to do with the limitation of human mind in interpreting the vedic texts more than anything else.


Nag :-

Only vedas are claimed to be unauthored , upanishads are compilation of Q&As as we all know.

Coming back to aham brahmasmi, we are not able to agree upon a common meaning so how can we claim all of vedas are coherent?

This subject of vedas being coherent or not is by itself a big topic to discuss out.

Further we claim there are 4 vedas but during the times of buddha only 3 vedas existed as revealed in the conversations between Buddha and his disciples. Another fact that emerges is that veda were written by Brahmanas and not "apurusheya" as believed in current times. Buddha while referring to vedas says Brahmana vedas and not just vedas.

History is a big Mystery! unless all the vedas referenced each other and made a bold declaration that it stands with one and only one coherent message, we can never be sure.

Read each purana, you will see the author like to depict the hero of the purana as supreme! can we conclude all puranas are coherent?


Kesavan :-

"Na anubhuva vidroha aagmaysa pramanam"
All knowledge and validity of vedic passage has to pass thru litmus test of "Sakshi anubhava".
even your interpretation of mahavakyaa need to pass such litmus test.
Have u got anubhava that you are bhraman? if you ignore this sakshi as litmus test, then the rule has to be compromised in all stages (ie even when u get anubhava that u are brahman after reading Advita's interpretation, what is this proof that u r anubhava is right?)

If you say that u did not got anubhava cos of agyana (ignorance), who veilded you (ie bhrama as per ur interpretation) into Agyana? As per ur theory, Bharma (ie u) is veiled in Agyana (dont know how?) and is getting knowledge or seeking knowledge to know himself? what kind of bhraman is this?

In madhva philosphy- bhraman is paripoorna and nirdosha and dont have any iota of ignorance.

On veda apureshya

How do u say upanisad are only question answers form??
Where is the question answer in taitreya or ishavaasya Upanishad?

Sorry iam reading your post one by one and answering it.

how do u know that upanishad are not intergral form of veda?

for eg- Talavkaara Bhramana of Sama veeda has talvakaara upanishad. u say then that bharamana part is not veda?

Pls note- entrie veda in all parts- bharamna, arranyaka and upanishads are considered one vedic parampara.

You need to read a lot on dviata -advita dialectics which has grown like a vast ocean of arguments and counter arguments. none of your arguments have new dimensions and has been answered by dviata champions many centuries ago.

u can still post your arguments...all i have to do is to look into what our great seers have written proving those arguments wrong and paste it here in simple english.

u are referring what Boudha has to say on veda? we know his teachings are not in line with vedic teachings.how we can accept his words / writtings as pramana?
Simply because u are not willing to take what vedavaaysa has to say on veda, we also are not willing to take what Boudha has to say on veda. His deciples are free to have there opinion.


Regarding apurusheyatva of Veda:- It is well known in current times it is not regarded as apurusheya- who told u this?
do u have pramana for it is Paurusheya?
do u know what paurusheya (or apurusheya) means? Vedas are known for not having any author from a long tradition. Its is heard by rishis having specific qualities and attributes. These were revealed truths. Hence u see same mantra in veda having multiple rishis. i.e. more than one rishis has sakshatkara of same mantra. If any author is postulated even after such a long tradition then it would be highly superfluous.
Every word (varna) is nitya. Every line in veda is nitya (ie the order which it is grasped and recited).
if impersonal authorship of veda is not accepted, then, there will be no basis of right (Dharma) or wrong (Adharma). - think about it!

How would u prove Dharma (or say Adharma?). If you say there is no such thing as Dharama/ or say Adharma- then my question is how do u know that dharma/ or adharma does not exist. First u have to see Dharma (Pratyaksha), to confer its non existence. E.g. u have seen a black book, then u can say that such a black book is not in my house. If you haven't seem Dharma, how would u prove absence of it?

Hence Dharma/adharma has to have impersonal/ super sensual basis. For us it is Veda. cos we cannot accept paurusheya statements (of like Boudha, or Jina etc) for super sensual knowledge. As it would call for projecting a all knowing person AND further assuming that he would have told us what he knows without vitiating or deviating from the truth etc. This projection is assuming too many things which is not called for here.

Apureshayatva of vedas has been accepted by all Vedatin. Before Madhwa also, loads has been said on this topic favouring its non human authorship by mimasakas.
Kumarila bhatta (hope ur histroy is strong) , much before madhwa had kept his life on line to prove veda pramanyatva (google his name if you want to know more!!)


Nag :-

Just a side note here.. Have u got anubhava that you are bhraman? Excellent comments and I am going to answer and add to what you have said here later . But lets take 1 step at a time..


Kesavan :-

you have not answered any of my question which I have raised on your earlier thread and escaped by apprecting my thread! I thought you will come with more arguments rather than sticking to same old question of getting the meaning of Aham bhramasmi (which has been answered by other members)?

let me ask u another question, in a belief that u will answer this time.

who is saying Aham bhramasmi?


Nag :-

I stand by the definition of the language in interpreting Aham Brahmaasmi, is there anything wrong?

Prove me wrong language wise, or have the guts to accept Aham Brahmaasmi literally means. What is wrong in me sticking to my point of view and arguing with you all? Why this bashing?


Kesavan :-

Still not got answers from you.
But Iam continuing my analysis on what you said- ie how would you call in Sanskrit- Iam Nagrajah”. Then you went on to analyze and replicate the same line to infer the meaning Aham bhramasmi. (in same way as Aham Nagarajah asmi). You did that not once,but many times. Also, you went on to create a separate thread to gather meaning of Aham (not that I oppose this move, but brining the facts here for completing the background). Again you conferred that Bhrama and asmi are together hence the meaning is crystal to support the adviatic view. Though Aditya and Dilip gave you tatvavada take on the shruti passage Aham bhramasmi, you are not willing to take the understanding on the ground that you feel its just a interpretation, as per you (a) Aham Bhramasmi is same and simple as (b)Aham Nagrajah asmi.

Now, your this inference is wrong i.e. equating (a) to (b), as , Pls note there is a great difference between when you say (a) Aham bhramasmi and (b) Aham nagrajah asmi. To quote the major 2 difference,

(1) The attributes and qualities of Aham is same as Nagrajah in sentence (b). But the attributes of Aham is completely different from Bhrama in sentence (a).

(2) In sentence (b) Aham and Nagrajah is know by Pratyaksha. But in sentence (a) Bhrama is not known by Pratyaksha. To know Brahman, only Agama’s can help.

Hence your inference that Aham bhramasmi is same and simple as Aham Nagarajah asmi is not correct.

Further, as per you asmi means “myself”. Your argument that Bhrama and asmi are together to make it crystal advaitic view, is not correct on 2 grounds.

1. Asmi not necessarily means “myself”, but it means “exists” or “present” in normal usage.

2. The Sandhi or Vicheda of a line neither changes the meaning of the word nor gives more prominence to the exiting meaning. I can hardly imagine that in normal Sanskrit language, Sandhi and Vicheda changes or gives prominence to the meaning.


Nag :-

Fundamental mistake by saying

Asmi not necessarily means “myself”, but it means “exists” or “present” in normal usage

When you are learning Samskrutah, haven't you memorized
Me vaha maha
si taha ta
ti ta anti

I dont know about your teacher, my teacher was my mom and I still remember my lessons.

In Samskrutah,

Asmi means I exist
Asti means it or he/she exists

No wonder why you are differing from the actual meaning


Kesavan :-

Dear Nag, not sure what is your point? I said the same thing in my previous thread!!

All Iam saying is Asmi is not "myself" necessarily. Agreed?

Also, before I put some more points, I would appreciate if you could response to my previous questions.

Appreciate when you said you are here for some purpose which is greater than u and I.
I fully agree.

Iam also here for some purpose.

No wonder why you are differing from the actual meaning .

Is still under vivada- right? Its "vimatam." Then how come you decided the actual meaning!!
Also, as per my earlier thread, Iam still wondering what made you wonder when I also said the same thing ie Asmi is "I exist" (not not necessarily "myself").

Coming to the point on Tarka...you can pick any questions and lets discuss one by one.


Nag :-

Logic and sound reasoning are my moola mantras not my background, my religion or my caste or creed... I guess thats little too much to expect from others too..

I sign off from this thread too.. dont want to be named in certain way...

Good Luck folks


Saranagathi :-

The title can be a Bheda Shruthi view, as tattvavada is a philosophy it has taken account of vedas mostly on the Bheda shruthi.
As per the sastraas the major three philosophy says the truth about this or some other mahavakyaas.The vakyaas can be taken in any parameters as acharya saying depending upon the environment & gnana one has on scriptures.


Kesavan :-

Dear Nag

You came into this thread with a fixed conclusion and all the logic presented seem to not shake it or is not allowed to shake it.

I dont see what logic u presented? I guess all the logics were coming from our side only ie tattvavada view. You only stick to one position and didnot answer any of the logical question raised by tattvavada view.
I was ready to discuss further, but you are signing off!
Its abundantly clear who has fixed conclusion!

Of all the Philosophies, Achrayas Philosophy is most rational, logic based and has sound reasoning. Its not my word, ask the people who have read eastern and western Philosophies. All I presented was what tattvavada Champions like Sri Vysathirtha and Sri Jayathirtha has to say on tattvavada presented by Acharya.

As pointed earlier, you have not given any (pls note ANY) sound reasoning, except for interpreting the sruti ignoring logics and reasoning!

By putting above words, you cannot escape without accepting your defeat.

This is open forum, feel free to comeback if you anything further to say.


Saranagathi :-

Have you heard of Bheda, Abheda, Ghataka Sruthies. If you have not come across this terms. please ask the elders or scholars who know more about the philosophy & how the difference of opinion arised for the same vakhyaas of vedanta.


Kesavan :-

Acharya's Tattvavda is not based on certain sruties. Its based on samanvaaya of entire veda and Puranas. Second chapter of Acharyas Bashya on Brahma Sutra is named “Samanvaaya Adhyaya” where in all sruties or puranas having contracdictory meanings have been reconciled.
Iam sorry to say, but, Your posting shows your lack of background in Acharyas vedic prasthanas.


Saranagathi :-

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.

1. Abheda Sruthi
2. Bheda Sruthi
3. Ghataka Sruthi

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 the same.

Abheda Sruthi

"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",

"Pradhaana Kshetragjnyapathirgunesha:",

"iGnyaagnyow iDvaavajaaveesaaneesow"



declare that the Chit, Achit and Iswara are different from one another and are well distinguished entities.


Ghataka Sruthi

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 sachcha ityaachchaabhavath",

"Satyam chaanrutham cha satyamabhavath",

"Anena jeevenaanmanaa".


All are mahavakyaas for the advaita, dvaita and Vishistadvaita.

So you again check with your people about the difference in sruthies as mentioned before commenting.


Kesavan :-

Dear Saranagati

Before I post, can you tell me- for you entire veda is pramana or only certain shruties?

If entire veda is pramana, then veda cannot teach bheda and abheda at same time?

You are again raising the same arguments.

This thread has discussed Aham BrahmAsmi to state there is no Ahbeda but only Bheda.

Iam happy to discuss all so called mahavakyas one by one.

To start lets create, separate thread to tat tvam asi. Agreed?

Your view is no new one but what is called Bhaskara Achryas siddhanta. Who accepts veda teaches both behda and abheda.

But madhwa has proved that entire veda proves only bedha.

Also pls note there is no concept of so called Mahavakyaas in Dwaita. This is boogey term used in advaita to render all bedha sruties as "attavavadaka" and “anuvadaka”.

Before we go all again and loose the track. I would suggest lets discuss in separate thread. Feel free to dicuss any of the abheda sruties and I will try to put my understanding on tatvavada's take.


Saranagathi :-

This thread has discussed Aham BrahmAsmi to state there is no Ahbeda but only Bheda.
DOnt know to laugh or cry on seeing this line.
If you want to prove or state something you have to tell to the people who dont know or wont believe that statement
What the TS does is he didnt want to prove that in advaita as they have understood the meaning of the statement.
If you are really understood & can state that there is no abheda only bheda please discuss in this community.
http://www.orkut.com/Main#Community?cmm=19399607
Just for information. i know its not the requirement to discuss there. But all the people will go only in the path of the birth or Environment they live for choosing the philosophy.


Kesavan :-

Pls dont get over excited. If you have anything to add on to this thread on the captioned subject pls do that.

I have already told in my elsewhere thread that Iam happy to dicuss with anybody.

I have visited the site which you have copied pasted here, but dont see this topic beign discussed there. Instead, I would say you copy paste this thread in that community.

If you have different opinion pls discuss.


Adi :-

You have not brought out any counter for the information i posted. We have shown ample proof regarding Aham BrahmAsmi regarding why a Jiva cant be a Brahman. Rather than indulging in dry statements like above, bring out the counter proofs that dispute our interpretation. In that way, you will enhance your respect in this community..


Saranagathi :-

^^^ I am not an advaitin to prove your saying is wrong by giving proof to the statement ???
I dont want to destruct one belief, whatever one believe is right upto him.

But if you have the real Knowledge & wants to prove you have to prove it in the open forum than in place where people have the same belief.
Thats the reason for me to give the reference of the external link. as Mr kesavan has not understood properly the different between the sruthis handled in vedanta.


Adi :-

I dont go by what background you are from. I go by what statements you make. You have said that Aham Brahmasmi is an abheda shruti and we have shown here that Aham Brahmasmi is NOT an abheda shruti and how it is to be correctly understood. So the onus is on you to prove that Aham Brahmasmi is an abheda shruti or else please stop passing loose comments.

Please understand that this is a Madhwa Brahmins community and I am obliged to show our community members regarding what Sriman Madhwacharya has said regarding Aham Brahmaasmi. My primary obligation is educating members of this community and not going around the town joining some random advaita communities in orkut and explaining Aham Brahmaasmi. I am not so jobless to do that neither am I interested to do such a thing when I am interested in educating my own people first..

The problem is NOT with Kesavan, but with you for failing to understand the Shruti 'Aham Brahmaasmi' is NOT abheda Shruti. I dont intend to convince you regarding the same but by simply passing certain loose comments, you are only wasting your time and our time in this thread.


Dilip :-

DOnt know to laugh or cry on seeing this line.

Instead of laughing or crying, I would suggest you to learn tatvavAda, that is, if you are truly interested in gaining yatArtha j~jAna.

If you want to prove or state something you have to tell to the people who dont know or wont believe that statement

Irrelevant to current discussion

If you are really understood & can state that there is no abheda only bheda please discuss in this community.

Irrelevant to current discussion. You don’t seem to be adding any matter to the thread!

Just for information. i know its not the requirement to discuss there. But all the people will go only in the path of the birth or Environment they live for choosing the philosophy.


Not always. People follow a particular philosophy depending on their karma and jIva-svabhAva.
Ultimately, it is what the jIva grasps that decides its fate.


Saranagathi :-

lets take one more example why i told to have the title as different.

Christ Jesus : An Explanation of ISCKON view.
christ means krish that is none other than Sri Hari. so jesus is krishna.
What i want to emphasize with this example is.so the real meaning Of christ jesus is given by so called christianity as they have more knowledge on that religon. as ISCKON differentiates from that they have given an a different view of explanation. so its only a view point than the truth.

AHam brahmasmi meaning will do as topic . as you have added as an explanation of tattvavada view. SO there is a possiblity of a real view in different way.

So you try to provide properly to create awareness of Tattvavada Philosophy.


Jay :-

@Saranagathi,

I agree with your comment above. When you discuss your philosophy in an alien community, there you prove your mettle.

But time is the factor. I have seen many such discussions/ or rather fight in so many alien communities.


RK :-


None of us are interested in proving our "mettle" to anybody as we are completely convinced with our Acharya's presentation of the subject and that both Advaita and Visistadvaita are wrong.

If you or anybody have anything logical and relevant to post regarding the post, then we will consider answering further.

But time is the factor. I have seen many such discussions/ or rather fight in so many alien communities.

That is also a reason we shy away from the immature audience.

Pick one Shruti at a time and discuss it in different threads. This thread is about "Aham Brahmasmi" and nothing else should be discussed.


Dear Saranagati,

For once you should read the thread from beginning before telling others to properly create awareness. Instead all you are doing is disrupting the whole thread and posting, actually copy pasting irrelevant stuff.


~~~ THE END ~~~

3 comments:

Srinivas Rao said...

There is probably a contradiction and also no contradiction , may be it is that way. probably the ones who realise may see no contradictions in contradictions. we do not know. without realizing arguments and comments will go on for ever.

Shriram said...

All I can say is this, whether it be any interpretation of the scripture , the Tattvada philosopher will interpret according to his philosophy, the Vishitadvaitin will interpret it according to his own philosophy. If a certain text seems to be having a monistic view and if the monistic view does not fit with the philosophers doctrine it is butchered and possibly misinterpreted and enough justification and logic is given for it. Similarly for other interpretations for other verses. I see that there is always a tendency with in philosophers to find inconsistencies in others philosphies deliberately. I can definitely understand the position of Tatvavada which says that God is some one possessed of Auspiscious qualities why should the Advaitin or Mayavadi says he is without qualities. Also saying "I am God" will leads to chaos. Therefore in order to maintain conduct and righteousness with in the society Tatvavada has to be accepted.

This is the view of a some one who accepts Tatvavada. I see no problem with such a view as I can understand this position. Why is there always this fight and debates between philosophies, the reason is very simple we cannot understand each others view point. If we could understand it from another person's view point there would be no fights. Some one once asked Saint Augustine what was God doing before the creation of the universe, and Saint Augustine replied "he was busy creating hell for people like you who ask question like this" the reason for such a response from Saint Augustine is due to the fact that he could not see the other persons view point. Saint Augustine's view is that of a devout believer in heaven, hell God and so on, such a person will never question any thing. The other person's view was that of a questioner who queries every thing, for him just a belief about a hell, heaven and God will not suffice.

Om Tat Sat

Srivathsa rao i said...

ultimate knowledge is sacchidaanada. sacchidaananda is the personality(swarupa) of brahman....which means .....
sat(always present)....chit(consiousness)......anadnda(bliss) .....when you experience.....this ananda(bliss).......that means your personality have become equal to sacchidaanada....in that state you have become sacchidaanada swarupi.....or in other words.....you have become sacchidaanada rupi brahman .....which is the ultimate knowledge....as vedas says.....
so....you yourself.....have become sacchidaanada....which is ultimate knowledge....thats why vedas say.....prajgnam brahm....or brahman is knowledge.....and you are brahman.......(aham brahmamaasmi)......this is in breaf......the essence of jgnana yoga....