Advaita Vision

Advaita for the 21st Century

Tattvabodha - Part 3

Notes on Tattvabodha
Dr. Vishnu Bapat

Dr. Bapat (72) was the co-founder of an Ayurvedic Pharmaceutical Industry and served as its Managing Director for 26 years until retirement. He is associated with several professional and spiritual bodies. He is now fully engaged in the study and practice of Vedanta.




Not available in printed form.


----- Unpublished -----

Where to Buy


Go to Part 2

1. Eligibility for self-enquiry (cont)

अधिकारी - Four-fold qualification (cont)

3. Discrimination

नित्यानित्यवस्तुविवेकः कः ? नित्यवस्त्वॆकं ब्रह्म तद्व्यतिरिक्तं सर्वमनित्यम् ।
अयमेव नित्यानित्यवस्तुविवेकः ।।३. ।।

नित्यानित्यवस्तुविवेकः – discrimination between the permanent and impermanent  कः – which are they नित्यवस्तु - the eternal - एकम् – alone - ब्रह्म - the Reality - तत् –व्यतिरिक्तम् – different from that सर्वम् – all - अनित्यम् – are ephemeral - अयम् – this - एव - alone - नित्य – अनित्य – वस्तु –विवेकः - discrimination between the permanent and impermanent.

What is meant by discrimination between the permanent and impermanent? The Reality alone is eternal; everything else is ephemeral. This conviction alone is the discrimination between permanent and impermanent.

नित्यानित्यवस्तुविवेकः – विवेक is the capacity of the intellect to distinguish and categorise one thing from another. This is the first qualification of four-fold discipline. Even animals have some sort of viveka. They can recognize their own species; they can separate edible and inedible objects, a friend from a foe. It is only in humans that this faculty is developed. There are many types of viveka of them नित्यानित्यवस्तुविवेक only is the way to attain God.
अंश-अंशि विवेक – relationship between part and the whole
साधना-साध्य विवेक –
discrimination between the means and the goal
श्रेय-प्रेय विवेक -
discrimination between the good and pleasant
or आत्मा-अनात्मा विवेक - discrimination between the eternal and ephemeral.
We are concerned here with the last viveka viz. eternal and ephemeral nature of object. The world is in a state of flux, all the things are changing, the size and weight changes, and body turns old and the hairs grey, mood changes, moral values change and the relationship changes. The whole world of creation exists within the framework of time and space. There is a date of birth and date of death for the matter, circumstances and relationship. A thing which is not permanent cannot give us permanent security. So we should not depend on it for support and security.

The world can give us a lot of things like entertainment, education, opportunity for service, growth and spiritual Sadhana. But it cannot give permanent support and security. So the viveka says: do not depend on the world for security. The only thing that is permanent and dependable is God or Brahman.

नित्यवस्तु एकम् ब्रह्म तद्व्यतिरिक्तम् सर्वम् अनित्यम् – All the things are changing and it is only Brahman or God who is changeless. The wisdom of this viveka is called nitya-anitya vastu viveka. This is the first lesson we learn. A river flows constantly. Its water changes every moment. But the river bed is the same all the time. Relatively here, water is anitya and river bed is nitya.

अयम् एव नित्य अनित्य वस्तु विवेकः –This is the faculty of discriminating between fixed and fleeting objects.

4. Dispassion

विरागः कः ? इहस्वर्गभोगेषु इच्छाराहित्यम् ।
विरागः - dispassion कः – what इहस्वर्गभोगेषु – in the enjoyments in this world and heaven इच्छाराहित्यम् – lack of desire.

What is dispassion? The absence of desire for enjoyments (of the fruit of action) in this world and in heaven.

विरागः कः – What is dispassion. It is absence of passion. It is also called वैराग्य. This is the second qualification of the four-fold discipline. As one learns that the world cannot give us permanent happiness and security, we should depend less and less on the world for our needs. This weaning away of the world is called viraga or vairagya. This word has been understood wrongly. People think that going away to the forest dejected with the enjoyments of worldly life is dispassion or renunciation. Dispassion does not mean secluded living away from society or despising it. As per the definition given here, dispassion is absence of desire for enjoyment of fruits of action either in this world or the next. Viraga is when a man realizes that the joy is not in the objects but in our attachment to it. Objects per se do not cause passion. Our attachment or desire to enjoy it causes joy or sorrow; likes and dislikes. One with dispassion does not like even the pleasures of heaven. Nachiketa declined all the pleasures of heaven offered to him by the lord of death. Dispassion and discrimination support each other. Dispassion is a natural consequence of Discrimination.

Contact Dr. Bapat at if you have any comments or questions.

Go to Part 4


Page last updated: 19-Jun-2015