Advaita Vision

Advaita for the 21st Century

Vedanta - Part 41

VEDĀNTA the solution to our fundamental problem
D. Venugopal

D. Venugopal is a student of Swami Paramarthananda and a direct disciple of Pujya Swami Dayananda. He has successfully completed the long-term residential course in Vedanta and Sanskrit conducted from May 2002 to July 2005 at the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam, Anaikatti.




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VIII - Brahman is advaitam, without the second

Reverting to the subject, we started with the entire manifestation, taking it to be real. Then we considered it as an effect (kärya) caused by Brahman, the käraëa. By the analysis of the relationship between the cause and the effect, we found that the effect is without essential substantiality (mithyä), as it is dependent on the cause for its existence. This being so, the unsubstantial effect (kärya) does not qualify to become the characteristic of Brahman, the cause. That is, Brahman is kärya-vilakñaëa.


There is another outcome from the analysis. It is that Brahman loses the status of the cause, since the effect is insubstantial. This is like the guru ceasing to have the guru-status as soon as he has no disciple. It means that being the cause is not the characteristic of Brahman; nor is Brahman käraëa-vilakñaëa either.


The net result is that Brahman is neither the cause nor the effect. Brahman is kärya-käraëa-vilakñaëa. [264] Even so, the effect and the cause are the indicatory marks for recognising Brahman through the manifestation when the nature of its relationship with Brahman is explained. It is like identifying the house through crow sitting on its roof, even though the crow is not a part of the house. Once we recognize the house, the crow is not a part of the understanding of the house. It is called taöastha-lakñaëa. Similarly, the manifestation serves as the indicator for recognising the actual Brahman, which is niñprapaïca (without the manifestation) and is free from it (prapaïcopaçamam [265). This is the reason why the exact process of manifestation is not of any consequence in recognising Brahman.


We may now set down below the results of the various stages of analysis:

• The cause Brahman is single (eka), while the effects are many (aneka).

Jagat and jéva are not independent of Brahman, as their real basis (adhiñöhänam) is Brahman; they consist of name, form and function and are mithyä.

• Brahman is in and through jagat and jéva; that is, sat Brahman is immanent in the mithyä jagat and jéva, as Brahman is their real basis.

Jagat and jéva are not the content of Brahman, since they are mithyä; but sat Brahman is the content of jagat and jéva, as without it, the mithyä effect is not possible. (This is the same as: rope is not the mistaken snake; but the mistaken snake is the rope.)

• Since the entire manifestation consisting of name and form is mithyä, it cannot be called the characteristic of Brahman (kärya-vilakñaëa); Brahman is free from it (prapañcopaçamam).

• Since the effect is mithyä, there is actually no real manifestation and the käraëa-status of Brahman is mithyä; thus, being the cause is also not the characteristic of Brahman (käraëa-vilakñaëa).

• Even though the mithyä manifestation cannot exist without sat Brahman, sat Brahman is without the manifestation (niñprapaïca), which is mithyä. (This is the same as: the snake cannot exist without the rope; but the snake is not a part of the rope, since the snake is insubstantial.)

• Ésvara is also mithyä, since he is Brahman with mithyä käraëa status.

• Therefore, the only satyam is Brahman.

• Thus, Brahman is advaitam, without the second.




I – Resolution through païca-koça-viveka

Taittiréya Upaniñad reveals Brahman as the jagat-käraëam. It states: “From that (Brahman), which is ätmä, space is born. From space, air is born. From air, fire (is born). From fire, water (is born). From water, earth (is born). From earth, plants are born. From plants, food is born. From food, the human being (is born). The human being consisting of the essence of food is indeed this (body)” [266] The manifestation takes place at the total and at the individual levels. However, the manifestation constitutes adhyäropa or super-imposition, since it makes Brahman to be known by us differently from what it is.


Proceeding from our erroneous notion of taking the manifestation to be real, the Upaniñad corrects the error (apaväda) at each stage of the manifestation both at the individual and total level to reveal Brahman-ätmä in its true nature. Following the arundhaté-darçana-nyäya, it does the correction beginning from the gross physical body (annamaya) and progresses through the subtle präëamaya, manomaya, vijïänamaya and änandamaya and ends with Brahman-ätmä. The result of the correction of error is the resolution of annamaya into präëamaya, präëamaya with resolved annamaya into manomaya, manomaya with resolved präëamaya and annamaya into vijïänamaya and vijïänamaya with resolved manomaya, präëamyaya and annamaya into änandamaya and änandamaya with resolved vijïänamaya, manomaya, präëamaya and annamaya into Brahman-ätmä. The process of manifestation and resolution are set out not for throwing light on these processes but for revealing that whatever exists is only the one vastu, which is Brahman-ätmä. It also shows that ätmä is not the body-mind-sense-complex by negating it at all levels of misunderstanding, namely, annamaya, präëamaya, manomaya, vijïänamaya and änandamaya. The resolution also demonstrates as to how ätmä is none other than Brahman.


264. There is neither any real creation nor any creator. Therefore, there is no real birth. This is Gauḍapädäcärya’s ajäti-väda (Kärikä, 4.22.)
265.Mäëdükya Upaniñad, 7.
266. Taittiréya Upaniñad, Brahmavallé, 1.

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