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Vedanta Unveiled By Swami Advayananda

This is a series of 44 articles written by Swami Advay?nanda (erstwhile Br. Sam?hita Chaitanya), the Acharya of the Chinmaya International Foundation (CIF), for the Tapovan Prasad, the international spiritual monthly magazine of the Chinmaya Mission, from the years 2002 to 2006. This series of articles covers all the important principles of Advaita Vedanta and have been found very useful by the students of Vedanta for gaining clarity on the Vedantic concepts. Initially this series was titled Vedanta Made Easy but the very depth of these articles caused the Editor of Tapovan Prasad to rename the series as Vedanta Unveiled!

What does Upanishad mean To approach (Upa) + To be steadfast (Ni) + To destroy (Sad) Upanishad is that knowledge, which destroys the ignorance of those who approach its teaching and steadfastly abide in it. Sri Shankaracharya presents this idea in h
Anubandha Chatustaya The word means Chatustaya means ‘four’. Anubandha means ‘con-nection’. So Anubandha-Chatustaya literally means ‘the four connections’. Since it is only on enquiry into the above-mentioned four questions that one would decide to
Saddhana Chatustaya - Part 1 This first one of Sadhana Chatustaya is called ‘viveka’ and is translated as ‘discrimination’. Its full form is ‘nitya-anitya-vastu-viveka’ Vedanta Sara defines it thus: ”Discrimination between things permanent and trans
Saddhana Chatustaya - Part 2 The word vairagya literally means the ‘state of absence (vigata) of attachment (raga) - vigataragasya bhavah vairagyah'. It can be translated as detachment, desirelessness or dispassion. Vairagya is of three types:
Saddhana Chatustaya - Part 3 Samadhana is the constant concentration of the restrained mind on Sravana etc., and in those activities conducive to the Vedantic pursuit (like the service of the guru, the cultivation of values like humility, modesty, n
Saddhana Chatustaya - Part 4 The yearning for liberation is very rare. The Bhagavad Geeta (VII, 3) says that among thousands, one rare individual strives for liberation. Why is it so? It is because of the strength of one’s visaya vasanas (pleasure s
Gurupasadhana - Part 1 A person endowed with Sadhana Chatustaya (four-fo1d qualifications) i.e., viveka (discrimination), vairagya (dispassion), samadi satka sampatti (the six-fold disciplines beginning with sama) and mumusksutvam (yearning for li
Gurupasadhana - Part 2 Do we require a Guru to guide us to the knowledge of brahman or is it possible to gain it without any guidance? Some people opine that one can dispense with both the Guru and the Sastras(Scripture), while others say that since
Two types of Teaching On listening to the pauranic description of Lord Siva or Visnu one gets only a paroksa-jnana i.e. indirect knowledge of them. In the same way the manda and madhyama attain only paroksa-jnana of the Self. From paroksa they have
Adhyaropa and Apavada - A brief outline We have seen in detail the various introductory topics like the nature of the adhikari (qualified aspirant), the mode of approaching the Guru, the questions to be inquired upon and the way the Guru propounds t
Maya The student in his ignorance has already superimposed the world of names and forms on Brahman. The Guru in order to help him come out of this illu-sion of the existence of the world and to enable him to realise his true nature points out that M
Iswara and Prajna Consciousness conditioned by total ignorance is called Isvara and the same consciousness when conditioned by individual ignorance is called Prajna.
The two powers of Maya Maya in its samasti (collective or total) and vyasti (individual) aspects becomes the upadhis of Isvara and Prajna respectively.
Isvara the Creator Isvara is Brahman with the upadhi or conditioning of maya. The two powers of maya are the avarana and viksepa sakti. Avarana sakti veils the self and the viksepa sakti projects the world of names and forms.
Tanmatra From this essay onwards we shall describe the process of creation according to the Vedantic adhydropa. First comes the creation of subtle elements which are called suksma-bhutas or more commonly as tanmatras.
Suksmasrsti - Part I The term Suksma-srsti literally means the 'Creation of the subtle', as compared to the term Sthula-srsti which is the creation of the gross world that is perceived through the senses.
Suksmasrsti - Part II We are now on the topic of srsti or creation. From maya the subtle elements or the tanmatras are born and the tanmatras in turn create the subtle-world (Suksma-Srsti) and the gross world (sthula-srsti).
Suksmasrsti - Part III The creation of the jnanendriyas and the antahkarana from the sattva aspect of the five tanmatras.
Sthulasrsti – Part I We have covered the topics "of karana and Suksma Srsti quite elaborately. We now enter into the sthula-srsti, which is the creation (srsti) of the gross world (sthula).
Sthulasrsti – Part II Pancikarana - the pentamerous division and combination of the five elements by which the suksma-tanmtras (subtle elements) transform themselves into sthula-panca-maha-bhatas(gross elements).
Apavada The topic of adhyaropa has been covered in a total of eleven essays. It would be only in the fitness of things to summarise this vast topic of adhyaropa and have a comprehensive understanding before we proceed to the next step of apavada (ne
Mahavakya The Upanisads emphatically proclaim - 'sarvam khalvidam brahma'- All this is Brahman alone.
Tat Tvam Asi – Part I We shall analyse a sample mahavakya,'Tat tvam asi - That thou art' and study the interpretative process involved in deciphering it.
Tat Tvam Asi – Part II The 'tat-pada' refers to lsvara and 'tvam-pada' refers to jiva. The 'asi-pada' or verbal form 'asi' is the aikya-pada (the word indicating oneness) which performs the function or action
Tat Tvam Asi – Part III A student has to take three knowledge-steps in understanding the advaitic import of the mahavakya 'Tat tvam asi'.
Tat Tvam Asi – Part IV The 'akhandartha' or the advaitic import-of oneness between the tat- padartha-isvara and tvam-padartha-jiva is comprehended through three sequential knowledge-steps - (a) samandhika-ranya-sa mbandha-inanam, (b) vises
Tat Tvam Asi – Part V When viewed grammatically, the sentence 'nilam utpalam asti - there is a blue lotus' and the Mahavakya 'Tat tvam asi', look similar. Both nilapada (word 'blue') and utpalapada (word 'lotus
Tat Tvam Asi – Part VI The earlier essay 'Tat Tvam Asi – Part V' and the present essay 'Tat Tvam Asi - Part VI' are basically meant to set the foundation for laksya-laksanata-samdandha-jnanam which is the third knowledge-step re
Tat Tvam Asi – Part VII Since mukhya-vrtti (direct connotation or signification) failed to give a cogent meaning for the Mahavakya 'Tat Tvam Asi', we had to take recourse to laksana-vrtti i.e., secondary connotation or secondary significat
Tat Tvam Asi – Part VIII The Mahavakya 'Tat tvam asi - That thou art' envisages the identity between 'Tat' and 'tvam'.
Tat Tvam Asi – Part IX The vacyarthas (literal meanings) of the tat-pada as Isvara and tvam-pada as jiva, arrived at by mukhyavrtti (direct connotation) are incompatible with the akhandartha envisaged by the Mahavakya ‘Tat tvam asi’.
Brahmakaravrtti – Part I The Guru (teacher) builds the Vedantic teaching using the adhyaropa-apavada-prakriya, i.e, the methodology of deliberate superimposition and subsequent negation and then concludes his teaching with the Mahavakya upadesa ‘Tat
Brahmakaravrtti – Part II Consider a dark room in which is placed a book veiled by a cloth. To see the book, two steps are required:
Brahmakaravrtti – Part III The avarana (veil) shrouding an object is removed by vrttiyapti alone. Brahman too is veiled by avarana and hence Vedanta Acharyas admit vrttivyapti even in the case of brahmajnana.
Four Sadhanas - Part I – Sravana Samsara ends when the firm thought 'aham brahmasmi' – termed 'brahmakaravrtti' or 'akhandakaravrtti' - destroys the veil of ignorance covering Brahman and the self-effulgent Brahman reve
Four Sadhanas - Part II – Manana Brahmakaravrtti puts an end to ajnana (ignorance) and bestows the Knowledge of Brahman.
Four Sadhanas - Part III – Nididhyasana We have already seen the nature, purpose and importance of sravana (listening) and manana (reflection), the first two of sadhana (means) for Realisation.
Four Sadhanas - Part IV – Samadhi “Jnanad eva tu kaivalyam – jnana alone is the direct means for Liberation.” Nevertheless, this brahmatmaikya-jnana (Brahman-Atman-identity-Knowledge) that has been attained through the first two steps – sravana (lis
Four Sadhanas - Part V – Nirvikalpa-Samadhi The uttama-adhikarins (the highly accomplished seekers), who are fully endowed with sadhana-catustaya (the fourfold qualification) – viveka, vairagya, sadhana, samadhisatkasampatti and mumuksutvam.
Sapta-jnana-bhumikas- Seven Stages of Spiritual Unfoldment Spiritual unfoldment is attained by sustained effort and it is the gradual flowering of the inner personality. Seekers often wonder how far they have progressed and when they will finally re
Jivanmukti - Part 1
From Jivanmukti to Videhamukti



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