Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Dvaita, Vishistadvaita and Advaita - The true significance.

As per fellow blogger Krishna's request, I am posting this topic. This thread contains high voltage spiritual stuff and its a very important read if you have an inclination towards Hinduism and Spirituality :) ..Please take your time to read it :)

bhaktya tu ananyaya sakya
aham evam-vidho 'rjuna
jnatum drashtum ca tattvena
praveshtum ca parantapa

(Bhagwat Gita Chapter 11, Verse 54)

bhaktya -- by devotional service; tu -- but; ananyaya -- without being mixed with fruitive activities or speculative knowledge; sakyah -- possible; aham -- I; evam-vidhah -- like this; arjuna -- O Arjuna; jnatum -- to know; drashtum -- to see; ca -- and; tattvena -- in fact; praveshtum -- to enter into; ca -- also; parantapa -- O mighty-armed one

The above word to word meaning was given by Srila Prabhupada, who is the founder of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness.

The following are the excerpts of Bhagwan Sathya Sai Baba on the three concepts of Hinduism that is required for self realization:

The Three Stages on the Spiritual Path

Fill your heart with one-pointed devotion and God will reveal himself within you. Then you will see him as he truly is. In time, you will merge with him and become one with him.

Embodiments of Love,

There are three principal stages that you must follow on the spiritual path in order to reach your spiritual goal. They have been described in a number of different ways in the Gita. At the end of the 11th chapter, wherein Lord Krishna gives Arjuna the vision of his cosmic form, you will find the three stages presented as follows:

First, you must know that God is here (Jnatum). Then you must have a direct vision of him (Drashtum). Finally, you must merge with him (Praveshtum). These three steps will lead you to liberation.

In the first step, you learn through the words of the scriptures or a teacher, that God really exists. But merely knowing this truth does not give you unlimited joy. You discover that God is here, but you also realize that you and God are separate. This feeling of separation can serve as the basis for subsequent steps on the path, but in itself it does not provide much lasting satisfaction.

Gradually, the anguish of separation from God moves you on to the next step. The desire develops in you to gain the direct personal experience and vision of God. You feel, "I want to see you, dear Lord. How can I experience you directly?" But, you find that it does not happen so easily just by wishing for it. You must deeply pine and yearn for this vision; you must constantly aspire to see him. Whatever form or aspect of God you have come to love in your devotion, you must now yearn for it with all your heart and wish to see it directly. If your yearning is sincere, then after some time he will make himself known to you in a most personal way, and give you this sought-for vision of himself. Here is a small story to illustrate this.

There was a poor cowherd boy, who had a great deal of faith and an intense yearning to see God. One day, in the village where this boy lived, a preacher came to deliver some spiritual discourses. The preacher would gather together an audience and sing the glories and exploits of the Lord. It was not possible for this cowherd boy to give up his work and come to all the meetings, because all day long he had to attend to his cows. But in the evenings he would bring the animals into a sheltered place and then go to hear the preacher give his talk. The cowherd boy would listen with great earnestness and care to all that was being said.

The preacher was a follower of Lord Vishnu, and so he related the characteristic features of God in the form of Vishnu, or Narayana, as he is also called. In the course of the discourse the preacher repeatedly described the traditional image of the Lord as one who was dark complexioned, who wore a white mark on his forehead and rode on a white eagle. The preacher also explained that Lord Vishnu was always prepared to go to the rescue of those who sought shelter in him, and that he would accept as an offering anything that was given to him with full faith and love.

As the preacher repeatedly described these characteristics of the Lord, they made an indelible impression on the heart of that boy. The preacher also said that God is a great lover of music, and that he could be won by directing one's prayers to him in song, sung most reverently from the heart.

Well, this cowherd boy used to carry some food with him for his noontime lunch. Daily he would offer this food to God with all sincerity and devotion, praying to the Lord to partake of it. He began his prayers by singing this song, "O loving Lord, You ride on a white eagle, so I have been told. Come. Please come to me and accept this food." The boy went on praying like this to the Lord for one whole week continuously. He never touched his food because it was not shared by the Lord. By the end of the week he became extremely weak. Besides his weakened physical condition, he was also suffering from extreme anguish because he felt that he wasn't singing properly and therefore the Lord did not respond. He was sure that it was because of his own shortcomings in his songs that the Lord did not come to partake of his food. And so with great determination and devotion he continued to practice his singing, thinking that in the end he would surely win the grace of the Lord.

In his weakened condition he reached the forest. He was feeling extremely exhausted but he was determined not to eat unless his offering was accepted by the Lord. Now his prayerful song poured out of him in a most melodious and sacred way. The boy just kept on singing and singing all the time, imploring the Lord to come down and accept the food and drink that he was offering with so much yearning. When there was perfect harmony in the feeling, in the tune and in the content of the song, the Lord descended. How did he appear before that cowherd boy? He came as a boy of the same age, wearing the simple ochre cloth of a saddhu, a mendicant holy man.

The young cowherd asked the boy he saw standing before him, "Please, dear friend, may I know who you are? Are you a traveler passing through this forest?" The holy boy answered, "I am the Lord. I am Narayana. You prayed to see me and so I have come to give you a vision of myself." Remembering that the Lord liked the sweet sound of music, the cowherd boy continued his questioning in the form of a most melodious song, "But you don't conform to the description given of the Lord, who is dark complexioned, who wears a white mark on his forehead and who rides a white eagle. The preacher said that is how we can know the Lord. But it doesn't seem to be true. O, dear one, if you are really the blessed Lord, please resolve my doubt and let me see you in your true form."

The boy had heard a description of the Lord; now he wanted to see and experience him directly, exactly as he had heard him described and come to believe in him. But God doesn't have any specific name or form; he has a thousand eyes, a thousand ears, a thousand hands and a thousand feet. Yet in order to please and satisfy his devotees who are aspiring to see him, he takes on the particular form which has been earnestly prayed for. To satisfy this cowherd boy the Lord revealed himself by taking on the lustrous form of Vishnu, and accepted the food and drink so lovingly offered by the boy. This is the second stage when one yearns for the vision of the Lord. Even when that vision comes, it will still not be the true form of God but the one chosen through the prayers of the devotee. God loves sincere, heartfelt feelings, and therefore, in keeping with the feeling of his devotee, he will give his vision in the form which pleases the devotee most.

After the Lord left the boy thought to himself, "First I heard a description of him, and then I prayed for a vision of him. Now he has come down and I have seen him directly. But, how can I reach him and be ever with him?" By merely knowing that God exists, a devotee will not be satisfied. Nor does he get full satisfaction by just having a vision of the Lord. Having had the vision, he yearns to be fully merged with him. It is only then that the devotee will be in unending bliss. In the case of this boy, the Lord had given a vision of himself, and then disappeared. But from that moment on the boy kept the picture of the Lord as he had just seen him, in the form of Vishnu, continuously imprinted in his heart. With that lovely form in his mind's eye, he now began inquiring and thinking only of how he could reach him and merge with him. This is the third stage.

In the same way, by either listening to learned people or by reading and studying the scriptures you can get some idea of what God is like. But ultimately you will not be satisfied and happy with just this. It is still only a stage of dualism, for in this stage you and God remain separate. Therefore, you will make an attempt to go beyond the stage of dualism to the next step, which is qualified non-dualism. This refers to the deep aspiration to see and experience God directly. How can you get a vision of him? By picturing in your own heart the form of God you heard described, and then continuously thinking and contemplating on that form. Whatever you do, whatever you say, whatever you see and whatever you listen to, you have to become one with that sacred form.

The specific form of God you have pictured becomes a thought form in your mind. The thought form should then become saturated with the feeling of devotion so that it becomes a feeling form in your heart. Gradually, gradually, these feelings will deepen and strengthen until one day you will have a real vision of the Lord. So, first the Lord is heard of and thought of, then he is sought through intense feelings of devotion and yearning, and finally he reveals himself in form and can be directly experienced. In other words, the thought form turns into a feeling form, which then becomes transformed into real experience. That describes the second stage on the path. Not only do you get the personal vision of the Lord, whom you have aspired to see, but you also get the chance to converse with him face-to-face.

After seeing the Lord thus and talking to him directly, you gain a little more satisfaction. But if you are a true devotee, even this golden opportunity will not give you the full joy you long for. Now you want to reach God and merge with him. You think, "I have heard... I have seen... now I must reach him and be one with him." In the first stage, when through reading and hearing you come to know that God exists, you feel that God is separate and you are separate. This is the state of dualism (Dvaita). But in the second stage you see the Lord and get the feeling that you are part of him. This is the state of qualified non-dualism (Vishistadvaita). Finally you move on to the feeling, 'The Lord and I are one and the same'. This is the Advaita stage of complete non-dualism. Here you think, 'Either I must get merged with him or he must become one with me.' Then there is complete unity.

So long as there remains a separate river distant from the ocean, which is its source and its goal, then the river will retain a separate name and have an individual identity. But once the river merges into the ocean it gets the taste of the ocean, it gets the form of the ocean, and it takes on the name of the ocean. If you want to become one with the Lord, you have to acquire the feelings of the Lord, you have to acquire the form of the Lord and you have to acquire all the sacred characteristics of the Lord. Only then will you be one with him.

You have to feel that all the attributes of the Lord must manifest themselves in you. Affirm to yourself: "The broadmindedness of the Lord is within me. All the selfless feelings of the Lord are within me. The unbounded love of the Lord is within me." When you faithfully live this conviction then you eventually attain the realization that you and he are one. Then there is perfect unity.

You must continuously strive for this feeling of unity. You must make every effort to gain it. Then you will reach that fulfillment one day. This is the ultimate goal of human life. It is only when you reach that place, the place from which you have originally come, that true fulfillment will be yours.

Excerpts from "Discourses on Bhagavad Gita" by Bhagwan Sathya Sai Baba


At August 11, 2005 5:31 AM, Blogger Sriram C S said...

First time here on your BLOG...really useful and informative. And looks like we share similar interests. Visit my BLOG(s) sometime as well.

At August 11, 2005 6:51 AM, Blogger krishna said...

that was a great read..the idea of relating the three major philosophical thots with the steps to reach the abode of Narayana definitely seems to be very interesting and true..

You have to feel that all the attributes of the Lord must manifest themselves in you. Affirm to yourself: "The broadmindedness of the Lord is within me. All the selfless feelings of the Lord are within me. The unbounded love of the Lord is within me." When you faithfully live this conviction then you eventually attain the realization that you and he are one. Then there is perfect unity.

Guess one shuld often brood on these thots...thots that wud definitely help us accumulate better qualities by letting go of Maaya..

At August 11, 2005 9:47 AM, Blogger TJ said...

Enjoyed Reading this!
Thanks Arjuna!!

At August 11, 2005 11:28 AM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Agnibharathi thanks for visiting :) - Sure - I will visit your blog now..

At August 11, 2005 11:29 AM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Krishna - yes true :) - I shall definitely post many such articles - ella pugalum Bhagwan Sathya Sai Baba-vukae :)

At August 11, 2005 11:29 AM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

tj - you are welcome :)

At August 11, 2005 2:05 PM, Blogger Ganesh said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At August 11, 2005 2:15 PM, Blogger Ganesh said...

Very good. Eventhough I kind of lean towards Advaita.
Nowadays I dont classify or differentiate since God is beyond all these, its only us who classify these things.

Having said that, I am more of Ambal/Devi guy ;)

At August 11, 2005 2:29 PM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

ganesh - thanks for your comments :)

At August 11, 2005 7:41 PM, Blogger Kasthuri Srinivasan said...

I think merging with pure consciousness is a matter of choice than necessity after some stage...anyway nice blog.

At August 11, 2005 7:50 PM, Blogger chutneypopcorn said...

My heart aches and my eyes tears reading this translation.

The purport of this verse is given by an Advaita phylosopher. Adavaitam is a bonafide path but it is tasteless according to ME. Sorry to be harsh. Adaviatam is for the brain not MY soul.

When I read the word to word translation I come to the following conclusion:


"My dear Arjuna, only by undivided devotional service can I be understood as I am , standing before you, and can thus be seen directly. Only in this way can you enter into the mysteries of My understanding"

If you notice the word devotional service is not present in the verse translation even though present in the verse and word to word meaning. Why? That is because the person interpreting is either addressing an adaviatic audience or is one himself.

Bhakti is the beauty of the soul, jyana is futile effort. The jiva-atma is so insignificant that they cannot understand jyana after a certain level. That is why the Advaitic talk about merging with the Lord. Its is in some sense similar to giving up.

The sentence: "I am with you" is to ME to be with my Lord Khannan not merging with him. If I merge with how can I cook for im or kiss him or play with him. Why would I merge with him when I can play with him.

My understanding of this is derived by the param vaishnava shiva himself (See Srimad Bhagavatam). Shiva incarnate Sripad Adi Sankara, during his end days prayed Bhaja Govindam and Glories of Radha, I think its called Radhastakam. When Sankara was bathing in the yamuna his hand touched a flower from a women hair. As a sanyasis he is not supposed to touch a women. But when he felt this flower it was the grace of Srimati Radharani and he started glorifying Radhe. How can you be a worshipper of Radhe and be advaitic. She is the embodiment of Bhakti and personal form of Lord. When during rasa dance krishna became Narayana and she ignored him saying, you are not my Lord. The cowheard boy is my lord.


Bhagavt Gita is Krishnas vani, Who better to understand Krishna than thru Radha. Forget the janis, follow the gopis and you will get the lord.

Om Tat Sat.

At August 11, 2005 8:40 PM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

chutneypopcorn - I admire your devotion to Lord Krishna :) - Very proud of you. Here is the explaination of Bhakthi and Jnana by Bhagwan Sathya Sai Baba.

There is no distinction between Bhakthi and Jnana. Just as Suguna becomes Nirguna, Bhakthi too becomes Jnana. I will not agree that Karma, Bhakthi and Jnana are separate. I do not even like to classify one of these as first, the other as the second and next as the third. I will not accept a mixture of all the three or even a samuchchaya, a merger of the three. Karma is Bhakthi and Bhakthi is Jnana: A block of Mysorepak has sweetness, weight and shape; the three cannot be separated, one from the other. Each little part of it has sweetness, weight and shape. We do not find shape in one part, weight in another and sweetness in a third. And when it is placed on the tongue taste is recognized, weight is lessened and shape is modified, all at the same time. So too, the Jiva, the Atma, and the Paramatma are not separate; they are one and the same.

Therefore, each individual deed must be full of the spirit of Seva, of Prema and of Jnana. In other words each group of life's activities must be saturated with Karma, Bhakthi and Jnana. This is verily the Purushothama Yoga. It has to be acted in practice, not merely spoken in words, Sadhana should be done constantly with ever-expanding heart full of Bhakthi and Jnana. The sweetness of nectar or the Lord's name is the charm of life; the internal joy derived from the Name is akin to the external joy of the outer life.

When one performs a kriya as an offering to the Lord, his good, the higher good and the highest good Swartha, Parartha and Paramartha, all become one. First I and you become we. Next we and He becomes identified. The Jiva (i.e. the Individual soul, I) should accomplish identity, with the Paramatma (i.e. the Prakrithi, You) and then with the Paramatma (i.e. the Supreme Soul, He). This indeed is the significance of the mantra, Om Tat Sat.

Today, yesterday and tomorrow Om Tat Sat is, was and will be. 'He' and 'I' are there always. The Sadhana is also there always. Just as the sun is inseparable and is never apart from its rays, under no circumstances should any aspirant be without his sadhana. It is only when the sadhak adheres to his sadhana in such an incessant manner can he be said to be one with Om.

At August 11, 2005 8:43 PM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Ok Chutneypopcorn - what do u mean my Jiva-Atma? :)

At August 11, 2005 8:45 PM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

"If you notice the word devotional service is not present in the verse translation even though present in the verse and word to word meaning. Why? That is because the person interpreting is either addressing an adaviatic audience or is one himself."

Infact I copied and pasted the Bhagwad Gita verse and the word to word meaning from the ISKCON site. It was not said by Bhagwan Sathya Sai Baba. I should have pointed that out in my thread :) - will do now..

At August 11, 2005 8:56 PM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Chutneypopcorn - devotional service or bhakthi along with karma yoga i.e by doing your duty without seeking the fruits of your action and dedicating the fruits of your action to God leads finally to Jnana. This is the Spiritual path. If you see Ramana Maharishi who was considered to be one of the greatest Advaita teacher in India, was a great devotee of Lord Arunachala. Even though he knew that he was God - he was constantly praying to Lord Arunachala. For him the only real thing is the Absolute brahman. What he saw before him is also brahman. They see brahman everywhere. That is why Adi Shankara composed the Bhaja Govindam and the other songs. These songs were composed for the welfare of the humanity to tread the path of Bhakthi to reach Jnana. Hope this clarifies.

But I really like your devotion towards Lord Krishna - who is my favourite form of the Para Brahman along with Arunachala :)

At August 11, 2005 9:00 PM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

thanks Kasthuri :)

At August 11, 2005 9:06 PM, Blogger chutneypopcorn said...

I disagree,

Every path has a pit fall. One of the biggest pit fall of Jnana is to feel I am God.

But before I comment further, one should define what is "I am God".

1. Jiva is God.
2. Jiva has the same nature of God, hence God.
3. Jiva become the omnipotent, omnipresent God.
4. God is with in me and hence I am God.
5. God is with in me but I am still a part and parcel of God and not God itself in entirety.
6. etc. Your interpretation.

Please pin your definition clearly to have further discussion.

Om Tat Sat

At August 11, 2005 9:08 PM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

chutneypopcorn - here you go - more explanation:

Sankara in his Sivananda-Lahari (Verse No.81): Sometime in worshipping the lotus-feet of God, sometime in meditation and concentration, sometime in offering obeisance, sometime in listening to His stories, sometime in looking at His form, sometime in singing His praise, he who gains such a state in exhultation, having surrendered his mind to God, is verily a Jivan-mukta , the highest state of Spiritual Love.

It is the same Sankara who declares through all his commentaries and prakarana-granthas that Knowledge alone -- neither an integration of Knowledge and Works nor an integration of Knowledge and Devotion -- that leads to moksha. But to get to that state of Knowledge where one perceives nothing else, because there is only the Perceiver, he strongly recommends the doing of Works in a desireless unattached way and with a one-pointed devotion to the Ultimate.

In order to impress upon us laymen that this is the only way to ascend to spiritual heights, he tours the whole country more than once, visits almost every important temple and place of pilgrimage and sings his compositions in praise of the revered deities of that place in the most eloquent poetry. He it is who has established the tradition of ritually worshipping together all the five divinities – sUrya, the Sun-God; Sakti, the Mother; Vishnu, gaNeSa and Siva -- of the Hindu tradition through a sophisticated ritual called the panchAyatana pUja, meaning worship at five altars. Here the divinities are worshipped not in their human-like forms but in certain symbols in the form of stones, which are nothing but certain rock formations available in specified locations in the country. This tradition may be taken as an intermediate stage between the worship of Godhead with form and the worship of the formless, because the symbols of worship as rock formations have certainly a form but they are also formless in that they have no parts like face, eyes, body, hands or feet. It is as though the devotee trains himself to take the mind from the forms to the formless while at the same time allowing full scope for his emotional feelings of devotion and surrender. It is because of this that invocation mantras in the advaitic tradition contain effectively the following idea as the core of the mantra. Oh God! I know you are omnipresent. But, for the purpose of my concentration and worship please condescend to make your presence felt here in this idol (image, picture or stone or whatever) for the period of the pUjA; maybe I am insulting your omnipresence by requesting you to confine yourself to this form and space, but please pardon me; I know no other way’.

At August 11, 2005 9:12 PM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

chutney -> again the question leads to what is "I". :)

Until you have Ego the "I" and "GOD" are different..when the ego vanishes and jnana comes - "I" and "GOD" become one - so that leads to "I am GOD"

At August 11, 2005 9:14 PM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

in this case the "I" means Atman which is present in you, me, everyone, everywhere..

At August 11, 2005 9:17 PM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Lord Krishna declared, Deho Devalaya Prokto Jeevo Deva Sanathana (body is the temple and the indweller is God Himself).

Mahanarayanopanishad says, "In the centre of the body is the sinless lotus of the heart, which is the Abode of the Supreme Being. Further within that, is the Sorrowless Ether or Reality".

Similarly Ramana Maharishi asks: 'Who am I?' The physical body, composed of the seven dhatus, is not 'I'. The five sense organs… and the five types of perception known through the senses… are not 'I'. The five parts of the body which act… and their functions… are not 'I'. The five vital airs such as prana, which perform the five vital functions such as respiration, are not 'I'. Even the mind that thinks is not 'I'. In the state of deep sleep vishaya vasanas remain. Devoid of sensory knowledge and activity, even this [state] is not 'I'. After negating all of the above as 'not I, not I', the knowledge that alone remains is itself 'I'. The nature of knowledge is sat-chit-ananda [being-consciousness-bliss].

At August 11, 2005 9:42 PM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

It is interesting to note the two words Jiv-atma and Param-atma. Both have the word 'atma' in common. Atma means the Self, that which reveals as the 'I' in the hearts of all. When this 'I' is seen to have a sense of limitation, along with a sense of enjoyership & doership, then such 'I' is referred to as the Jiva-atma. A Jiva is someone who sees himself to be limited by space & time - he is at one place alone and not everywhere, and his existence is at a particular time alone and not at all times. When these sense of limitations are inquired upon and are realized to be an error then this sense of limitation drops and the same 'I' is seen to be free from these limitations of time & space then this very 'I' is referred to as the Paramatma. Param means that which is free from all limitations of time, space & objectivity i.e. that which is there at all times, all places and in all objects. Thus the word atma which is the common denominator in both these words shows that God is always realized as the very subjective essence of a person and not as some objective reality. The science which facilitates us to conduct this inquiry into the Self is Vedanta, the culmination of which is in the discovery of oneself to be free from all limitations.

At August 11, 2005 9:48 PM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

According to Hindu scriptures at the center of man is Atman and encircling it are five different sheaths or bodies. First is the physical body, called variously as the gross body, sthula sarira or annamaya kosa. It is made of food or earth and contains the senses and the organs of action. From food verily are produced all creatures of earth. Food verily is the eldest born of beings (annam hi bhutanam jyeshtham).Food is eaten and eats things. (Taittiriya II.2.1).

The second is the vital body or the breath body, called pranamaya kosa. Air is the food for this body. Breath is the life of beings (prano hi bhutanam ayuh). It is called sarira atma (the embodies soul of the gross body). It is part of the subtle body, sukshma sarira in contrast to the gross body. The autonomous nervous system is under its control.

The third is the mental body, called manomaya kosa which uses the five senses and the five organs of action (speech, hands, feet, excretory organs and sexual organs). The breath body and the mental body together constitute the subtle body, or sukhsma sareera. Thoughts are its food.

The fourth is the intelligence body, called vignanamayakosa or buddhi. It is the reasoning aspect of man, the discriminatory, regulatory, selecting and directing awareness in us, which provides direction to our activities and shapes our destinies and our very existence. It is also called the casual body, because it is the cause of an individual's karma. It directs the sacrifice as well as the deeds ( vignanam yagna tanute, karman tanute). The gods (senses) worship buddhi is the eldest Brahman (brahma jyeshtham). Sometimes buddhi is also described as a constituent of subtle body. But these distinctions do not effect our understanding of the different sheaths.

The fifth is the bliss body, called anandamaya kosa, which is transcendental and beyond ordinary human experience. Very few individuals are capable of knowing it or experiencing it, as it is beyond the sensory and mental fields. It is only through restraining of the senses, the mind and the buddhi one can gain access to it. It is the very essence (rasa or ether) of our existence for who can live in this world unless there is bliss in the space? (Taittiriya II.7.1).

We can further learn from the same Upanishad that the Non-Being who was alone in the beginning produced the Being who made itself a soul which was the Bliss Body called the well made.

The sixth is the Atman, the eternal soul, the real self, the very Brahman in Its pure microcosmic state. It is the First Being , the unchanging, imperishable self in man. It is beyond the senses, beyond all conscious human experience. It is also called Purusha. It is the Truth Body. Words return from it not attaining it along with the mind. He who attains it becomes freed from fear. He is not perplexed or tormented by conflicting thoughts. His mind becomes tranquil.

The first four sheaths, namely, the gross body, the two subtle bodies and the casual body (which is sometimes grouped together with the life and mental bodies as casual body), constitute the Jiva.

Jiva is the living element, the product of Prakriti who comes under the influence of illusion and develops ahamkara or the ego consciousness which gives rise to feelings of separation and alienation from the rest of the creation and failure to perceive the omnipresence of God.

It is the Jiva which together with Atman goes through the chain of repeated births and deaths. While Atman is impervious to change and suffering during this process of evolution, the Jiva remains at the center of desire oriented sensory activity and suffers from its consequences. At the time of death it leaves behind the gross body and goes to the other worlds with his subtle and casual bodies, where after exhausting its karma it returns again to take birth in this world in accordance with its previous samskaras or residual memories of its past lives.

The Taittiriya and Katha Upanishads are important sources of information for our understanding of the constitution of man. In the Katha Upanishad says Lord Yama, " Beyond the senses are the objects and beyond the objects is the mind. Beyond the mind is buddhi and beyond buddhi is the great self (mahan atma)".

At August 11, 2005 11:18 PM, Blogger Aatma said...

A layman's question - What is "the jnana" and what is the use of jnana - Do u do bhakthi to attain jnana ?

I have read all the dialogues between u and chutneypopcorn(my friend) we have these discussion, but he is more well versed than me, so i invited him to your blog

At August 12, 2005 4:35 AM, Blogger krishna said...

Dear Krishna and chutney...

Am glad that u guys have added quite a lot to the discussion..

time 2 add the few that i can afford..

I guess,At this point of time, there is no point in debating over which path to bhakthi is better or is jnana truly required for bhakthi? or how they are related if at all??

I guess that all varies from person to person..Without doubt , the Gopikas dint want to and didnt have to have the jnana..coz they were implicitly present in them

The following is an excerpt from

<--Actually who are these gopikas? According to Bhagwatham, they are the Gods who wanted to share the glory of the Avatar, and came down to the world as witnesses and shared in the Divine Leela. They came for a purpose. They are not ordinary village folks who could be dismissed as a crowd of voluptuous women. They saw in every gesture and gait, every word and phrase of Krishna, the Divine, not human at all. They had no occasion or chance to be agitated by a secular vrithi; all vrithis were awakened by Divine prompting.


But how close are we to the nature of the gopikas..there are a very few people like Tyagayya who developed this kind of Divine love for god (as in Noukka Charithram)
So,,if one can actually get so personal with god, he doesnt need the jnana..else especially in the kali yuga , one has to proceed slowly from
Dasya bhakthi (Saranagathi)and then gradually start the process of mingling with god thru good jnana,karma or watever means..

The following account has got realted stuff..


At August 12, 2005 5:04 AM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Chutney and Aatma - Jnana is not saying that "I am God" - that leads to Ego! It is something that automatically comes to the a spiritual aspirant. Jnana is something that cannot be got through reading scriptures or listening to teachers. Jnana is possible only through the path of Bhakthi and the path of Karma.

Again you need to understand that Jnana is not a thought process. You dont think that you are God..It is something above the realms of the mind - You need to conquer all the four sheaths or Koshas to attain Jnana - which again can be done only through Bhakthi, Karma and different Yogas.

Bhakthi and Karma Yoga are the greatest paths according to me since you are always merged with God - merging here means your mind is always fixed on Him. Gradually, you attain Jnana. Everyone in this world have to obtain Jnana even if they want or not want to :).

Ramana Maharishi did not read any scriptures or listened to any teachers to attain Jnana - he followed the path of Bhakthi and attained Jnana.

You need to remember Jnana is not textual knowledge or merely thinking "I am God - Aham Brahmasmi" - but is above the realms of mind and intelligence..Its pure consciousness..

Try reading the Kandhar Anubhuthi..St Arunagirinathar says how Jnana can be obtained..and it can be obtained only when the mind is silent! That is what Lord Murga said to him - " Suma Iru " - which means the mind should be silent - and only when the mind is silent - will Jnana be obtained. Inorder to be silent - you need bhakthi - else how will you silent the mind which is always wavering? Selfless devotion to the Lord will always lead you Jnana.

At August 12, 2005 5:09 AM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Krishna - well said :)

God is just awesome - I am in a state of bliss now - every action of Him has so much inner significance and we need to dwell into it to understand Him..Only then will all these religion based wars will come to an end. Just reading the outer concepts of God and trying to understand them in a wrong way is the cause of all problems that is happening today in this world.

All the above said things by me, does not mean I am a devoted guy or successfully treading the path of Bhakthi towards Jnana - I am just a DOG!! I need to tread a long way to become GOD!!

I dont do anything properly. My mind is all over the place! I am useless!

At August 12, 2005 5:10 AM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

So its better to be like Chutney rather than being like me. He is devoted to God than me. And I am sure he will attain Jnana..Its going to take millions of birth for me to attain Jnana! I am a SINNER!

At August 12, 2005 6:01 AM, Blogger Sriram C S said...

Interesting discussions there. All I can comment is something that I read on the net...In truth there is no teaching, no dogma, there is no way to be or not to be to do or not to do. In truth there is only the ever deepening ever knowing that it is not the seer, the seeing or the seen that matters but the place in which all three rest, the awareness of all three. This is who you are. He who knows the truth can only say Om tat sat (Om that is truth) and nothing more...

At August 12, 2005 8:50 AM, Blogger Aatma said...

:) Arjun, I am just asking what according to u is jnana ? what is the so called knowledge and what does this knowledge tell us - is it similar to attaining nirvana ?

A very very basic question ? And i am asking because i really don't know. Atleast with bhakthi, i know i am serving the lord, my duty is to serve him.

At August 12, 2005 10:07 AM, Blogger chutneypopcorn said...


Currently I am in the state of Trishanku. So no where. I was in thepath of bhakti, trying atleast for several years. My frustration with the religious schools made me cast doubt on the path. As I mentioned before every path has a pitfall.

In bhakti the pitfall is Faith, when you doubt Him then everything else comes falling like a loose brick wall. That is my situation. My situation is like a man who has tasted the sweetness of dancing to Krishna's pastimes but with a doubt on the head, whether this is my head speaking. A classic case of fighting between the head and the heart.

Anyways, just to let everyone know... I am just one basket case LOL

Om Tat Sat

At August 12, 2005 10:14 AM, Blogger chutneypopcorn said...

An interesting article about Jnana and Bhakti.

Srimad Bhagavatam 10th Canto

The Rasa Dance. Sri Lakhmi had a desire to join the rasa dance one full moon night. Vrinda Devi, (The goddess of Vrindavan) stopped her at the enterance of the arena. Informed her that she can enter only if she forgets that Krishna is the supreme lord and her husband. The only thing she should know is that he is a cowheard boy. Lakshmi who is full of knowledge could not forget her husband since it will make her unchaste. So Vrinda Devi told her to go away.

Her jnana came in her way. When you drop the jnana and only see the boyish apperance of the Lord can one comprehend Radha Raman.

Hari Hari,

May some pure devotee bestow me pure love of God.

At August 12, 2005 10:15 AM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Aatma - Check this link:

Read this first:

Then read this:

All your questions would be answered :)

At August 12, 2005 10:18 AM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Chutney - I guess many of us are in the state of "Trishanku" :)) - particularly me! The only thing is pray, pray and pray and do your duties! But I dont do my duties!! So I dont have the right to ask you to do the duties :(. I am not picture perfect. I have friend called Sriram V Iyer. He is the most perfect guy who does his duties and does his prayers properly. He follows the path of Bhakthi properly. I have asked him to come and respond to your queries.

At August 12, 2005 10:18 AM, Blogger chutneypopcorn said...

"... the seer, seing and seen...."

Sounds like Drg Drishya Viveka. That is one mind bogling book I attempted to read. Made me more insane. I recomend everyone to read that. feels like a matrix plot

At August 12, 2005 10:23 AM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Chutney - I am not able to comprehend the story you have said..Some explanations please :)

Regarding your last sentence - why do u wait for some pure devotee to bestow the love of God? :) - You should try all means to get the love of God.

read this if time permits:

At August 12, 2005 10:24 AM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At August 12, 2005 10:26 AM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

This is the best one :)

At August 12, 2005 3:39 PM, Blogger krishna said...

nice 2 find more comments added up by u this morning..

will check them out in leisure..
Thanks both of u guys 4 providing some valuable info and links..

the funny thing is..despite acquiring so much info (jnana and not THE JNANA) about the bhakthi ..we can easily find that still everyone is struggling to develop the true divine luv towards god .(as the gopikas)..


y is ur blog inactive.????

At August 12, 2005 5:08 PM, Blogger Sriram V Iyer said...

With the Grace of Sri Subrahmanya Swami, may what I want to intend be reflected in my words.

Adwaitam Vs Dwaitam is one of the favorite topics I get dragged into and I am not really in favor of discussing the topic. Since my dear friend Arjuna has asked me, I thought I'd write. (I am not perfect as described by Arjuna, though)

Adwaitam says only God exists. Nothing else. He alone IS. If there is something other than God, doesnt it mean God is incomplete?

First devotee after intense bhakti sees God in the personal form. After sometime he looks around - He is surprised. The God to whom he prayed is everywhere! He looks around every where, Sri Hari, is every where! That is why Sri Hari is called Vishnu, one who is all pervading! (Rundram ends with saying, 'Om namo Rudraya Vishnave, mrityur me pahi' - I bow to Lord Rudra, who is all pervading, to protect me from death). Note the use of word Vishnu as attribute of Rudra (Shiva) also.

After he sees God everywhere, he looks at him. Voila! He sees God there too! He and His God are one! (Me and My Father are one said Jesus Christ). When we see God as a different Personality, it is DWaitam. When we see him as encompassing all the souls, it is Vishsishtadwaitam. When the difference is removed and when the realization of God alone exists and that is 'I' , Adwaitam is realized. We cannot get any further.

Sri Chinmayananda says, communion with a personal God is good till a certain stage. But if the person refuses to move on to Adwaitam, it is like a child refuses to go to next class, the next year because he likes the syllabus!

The Mandukya Upanishad, with the Karika by Sri Gowdapada, commented by Sri Chinmayananda is the best literature I have read in Adwaitam. It is a must read for people discussing on Adwaitam.

It is nice to have a personal God and yearning for the communion with God is a great step in the right direction. But, it is a mistake to think of it as the final step. The later steps will be shown as the step is reached.

All the points I have said can be debated and we can carry on the debate and beat it to death. But, in someway, if we are able to progress spiritually, this way, then it is good. Otherwise, "Words and Logic get you to nothing" - says Siddha Bhoganthar.

Sri Subrahmanyoham
Sriram V Iyer

At August 12, 2005 7:03 PM, Blogger krishna said...

@ sriram iyer

thanks for expounding some of ur thots

I likes the last paragraph especially..

plz keep leaving ur thots sure they wud be of help in the spiritual progress of the reader..

At August 12, 2005 7:06 PM, Blogger Aatma said...

Thanks Arjun, Sriram and Chutney, this is a wealth of information, it is going to take me some time to read all the links that you all provided.

Arjun, this is your best blog up to date ;)

At August 12, 2005 7:34 PM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Sriram - thanks for taking your time inspite of your busy schedule in Korea :) - Ur reply was awesome dude :)..

We look forward for many such writings from you :)

At August 12, 2005 7:36 PM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Aatma - When I wrote this blog - I thought I am going to get 2 comments only - one from you and one from Aatma - and now I have more than 40 comments - and this blog has got the highest number of comments - and I am very happy, that this spiritual information has reached :)..I hope to write many such things in future :) - thanks for your support

At August 13, 2005 1:52 AM, Blogger krishna said...

Arjuna...can i ask u there is any other thing better than this to blog, write or think on in this world??..

I really hope that u wud keep righting on even these lines of thots even when u get few comments..( which is pretty much unlikely)

At August 13, 2005 6:47 AM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Krishna - you are right :) - Infact the reason I started blogging was to propagate the Truth in Hinduism! Everything is in a state of mess and we should make sure the Eternal Truth reaches atleast a few people - so that they understand what Hinduism is trying to say!

Yeah as I said to Aatma - I thought you and Aatma would be the guys to comment - didnt know I have quite a few readers too :). Thanks for all your support.

I shall be definitely posting loads of stuff. I wanted to make sure I have people to read it and the message goes across :).

At August 14, 2005 9:34 AM, Blogger Sriram V Iyer said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At August 14, 2005 9:35 AM, Blogger Sriram V Iyer said...

Krishna & Aatma (nice name!): Feels good that you liked the post. Will sure keep sharing what I know.

Arjuna: You are one awesome person. I dont know where you find so much energy to maintain a blog like this! When a friend like you asks, work in Korea is only secondary :-)

Sri Subrahmanyoham
Sriram V Iyer

At August 14, 2005 9:50 AM, Blogger Arjuna_Speaks said...

Sriram - thanks boss :)..Its not energy, I am sitting here vetti doing nothing - ithayavathu urupadiya seyvome :)

At December 01, 2005 9:33 PM, Blogger UV-gap said...

If you want to know what the Bhagavad Gita is all about then stay away from all the experts of Advaita and go see the movie Fight Club.
And if you stay away from the experts, who can only explain the word “simple” by complicating it … and if you can think for yourself, you will realize that the Fight Club echoes the exact same story of the Bhagavad Gita. But there is far more. The Fight Club goes so far beyond the Gita with its message of non-duality that it makes it obvious how much the Gita is shackled to social and religious norms that are totally incompatible with understanding non-duality, the one Reality, Atman.

In fact the Fight Club goes into areas of non-duality that even today no society would let even a god like Krishna talk about.

If you don’t get the message it is only because you missed the Gita’s message about “there is no doer” and thus “you have no choice to fight.”
But if you keep the subject “simple” you should realize the Fight Club’s “beyond-Gita-message.” And then you can have a good laugh at what the experts of Advaita have to say when you tell them that the Bhagavad Gita only flirts with the real message of non-duality that only the Fight Club makes obvious.

At January 04, 2006 4:55 AM, Blogger H.H. Swami Saiexposedananda said...

I was a devotee of Sathya Sai Baba for just over a decade, and made six trips to see him in India. Now no longer a devotee, I use this blog to record memories, comments and muses on the SB scenario and also point out inaccuracies in SB's philosophical and theological presentation.:

At June 17, 2007 2:08 AM, Anonymous Joe108 said...

H.H. Swami Saiexposedananda is much more than a former devotee. Click on his name to find out the truth about him.

For a new website the exposes the lies, deceit and dishonesty against Sathya Sai Baba, see


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