Advaita Vision

Advaita for the 21st Century

Tattvabodha - Part 23

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.




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47. The meaning of “you” and “That”

त्वम् पद, तत् पद वाच्च्यार्थः,लक्ष्यार्थः

इति चेन्न ।स्थूलसूक्ष्मशरीराभिमानी त्वम्पदवाच्यार्थः

उपाधिविनिमुक्त्ं समाधिदशासम्पन्नं शुद्धं चैतन्यं त्वम्पद लक्ष्यार्थः ।

एवं सर्वज्ञात्त्वादि विशिष्ट ईश्वरः तत्पद वाच्यार्थः ।

उपाधिशून्यं शुद्धचैतन्यं तत्पद लक्ष्यार्थः ।

एवं च जॆवॆश्वरयॊः चैतन्यरूपेणाऽभेदे बाधकाभावः । ।

इति चेत् – if asked thus न No. स्थूल-सूक्ष्म-शरीर-अभिमानी – one identified with gross, subtle and causal bodies त्वम् पद वाच्च्यार्थः – is the literal meaning of the word ‘thou ’उपाधि विनिमुक्तम् – free from all conditionings समाधि-दशासम्पन्नम् – in the state of deep meditation शुद्धम् - pure चैतन्यम् – consciousness त्वंपद -लक्ष्यार्थः – is the implied meaning of the word ‘thou’ ऎवम् – in the same way सर्वज्ञात्त्वादि-विशिष्टः – one endowed with omniscience etc., ईश्वरः – the lord त्वम् पद वाच्च्यार्थः - is the literal meaning of the word ‘that’ उपाधिशून्यम् - free from all conditionings शुद्धचैतन्यम् – pure consciousness तत् पद लक्ष्यार्थः - that is the implied meaning of the word ‘that’एवम् – thus च – and जीव ईश्वरयोः - of the individual and the lord चैतन्यरूपेण – from the standpoint of awareness अभेदे बाधक-अभावः – there is no objection to their oneness.

If there is such a doubt it is not so. The literal meaning of the word ‘thou’ is the jiva or individual identified with gross and subtle bodies. But the implied meaning of the word “thou” is pure consciousness which is free from all attributes and which is appreciated in a state of deep meditation.

Similarly the literal meaning of the word ‘that’ is the lord who is endowed with omniscience but its implied meaning is the pure consciousness free from all conditions. Thus there is no contradiction between the Jiva and the lord from the standpoint of consciousness.

From the stand point of the body and reflecting medium jiva and Ishwara are totally different (उपाधि द्रष्ट्या भेदःअस्ति). From the stand point of chaitanya or consciousness there is no difference. Although we have a single sun, his reflected light in a clear mirror and a tainted mirror are different.

Before we proceed to understand the purport of this paragraph, it will be beneficial to explain the meanings of tat, idam, vācyārtha, and śabdārtha (तत्, इदम्, वाच्यर्थः, and शब्दार्थः)

Tat or ‘that’ refers to Brahman the supreme consciousness. He is called tat because he cannot be perceived by sense organs, beyond description and all pervading. Idam or ‘this’ refers to all sensory perceived objects up to the level of mind (including buddhi, chitta and ahankara).

वाच्यर्थः, refers to actual meaning conveyed by the sentence and शब्दार्थः refers to the implied meaning conveyed by the sentence.


Most of the sentences in our daily transactions have a directly expressed or conveyed meaning or वाच्यार्थ. “Gopal, go home". This is a direct sentence which has no implied meaning. But some sentences have an indirectly expressed or implied or intended meaning or लक्ष्यार्थ. For example, when we say “Gopal is a lion” we do not mean that Gopal is indeed a lion, but he is as brave as a lion.

The mahavakya says “thou art that” or you are that or “You are the Lord”. The literal meaning of “thou” is the individual identified with three bodies (शरीर त्रयम्), three states (अवस्थात्रय), and five sheaths (पञ्चकॊश). Here instead of literal meaning of ‘thou’ what is intended in this sentence is that you, the self, free from all the above conditionings (उपाधि)” are the Lord.

Similarly, the literal meaning of the word ‘that’ refers to the Lord who is omnipresent. But the intended meaning is that your consciousness is the same as existence-consciousness-bliss. Thus there is no difference between तत् and त्वम्.


स्थूल-सूक्ष्म-शरीर-अभिमानी त्वम् पद वाच्च्यार्थः उपाधि विनिमुक्तम् – The literal meaning of the word “thou” is the jiva or individual who is identified with gross and subtle bodies.

समाधि-दशासम्पन्नम् शुद्धम् चैतन्यम् सर्वज्ञात्त्वादि-विशिष्टः ईश्वरः त्वंपद -लक्ष्यार्थः –The implied meaning of the word “thou” is pure consciousness which is free from all conditionings and fully realized in a state of deep meditation. Samadhi is self knowledge. दश means condition. At the state of self-knowledge, I do not identify with upadhi. सम्पन्नम् is accomplished. शुद्धम् चैतन्यम् means consciousness devoid of all conditionings.

उपाधिशून्यम् शुद्धचैतन्यम् तत् पद लक्ष्यार्थः - Pure consciousness devoid of conditionings. The Lord has no conditioning of gross, subtle or causal bodies.

एवम् जीव ईश्वरयोःचैतन्यरूपेण अभेदे बाधक-अभावः – Thus there is no difference between jiva and lord from the point of consciousness. अभेदे identity from the standpoint of pure awareness बाधक-अभावः freedom from defect or objection.


There is a story that once Mother Sita asked Hanuman “What is your relation with Rama”, the reply given by Hanuman, explains the meaning of this paragraph. “In body consciousness Rama is the Lord I am his slave, In Brahma consciousness I am Rama’. There is no Hanuman”


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