by T. M. P. Mahadevan | 1968 | 179,170 words | ISBN-13: 9788185208510
The Advaita tradition traces its inspiration to God Himself — as Śrīman-Nārāyaṇa or as Sadā-Śiva. The supreme Lord revealed the wisdom of Advaita to Brahma, the Creator, who in turn imparted it to Vasiṣṭha....
V. Jagadeesvara Sastri
There have been many great saints and mystics in our country, in every century. But it is only a very few, who have not only been distinguished and great souls on their own, but have been formal heads of established monastic institutions whose mission is to cater to the spiritual needs of mankind.
The Kāñchī Kāmakoṭi Pīṭha is an ancient one, having been adorned by great saints and sages in an unbroken line from Śrī Śaṅkara Bhagavatpāda. Among the great souls who adorned the illustrious Kāmakoṭī Pīṭha, Śrī Paramaśivendra Sarasvatī, who was a great saint and author of works on Advaita, was the fifty-seventh āchārya. He had several śiṣyas. One of his śiṣyas was the famous jīvanmukta of our land Śrī Sadāśiva Brahmendra Sarasvatī.
Paramaśivendra Sarasvatī was a contemporary of Trayam-baka-makhi, Śaṅkaranārāyaṇa makhi, Śrī Rāmendra and Śrī Varadarāja. This can be known from the statement of Paramaśivendra himself at the end of his Daharavidyāprakāśa:
eṣā trayambakamakhinaḥ Śrī rāmendrasya varadarājasya
śaṅkaranārayaṇamakhivarasya cha abhyarthanāvaśat rachitā
Paramaśivendra has written several works. Mention may be made here of a few:
- and Vedānta-nāma-ratna-sahasra-vyākhyā or Svarūpānu-sandhāna.
Among the works of Śrī Paramaśivendra Vēdānta-nāma-ratna-sahasra-vyākhyā is a very important one. It is in the nature of an encyclopaedia of the words that are applied to Brahman in the Upaniṣads. Śrī Sadāśiva Brahmendra Sarasvatī in his Ātmānusandhāna has dealt with several names that were described by Paramaśivendra in his work referred to above. Śrī Sadāśivendra declares as follows :
śrīmatparamaśivendradeśikānām vayam mudā advaitānanda-
mādhvikamaṅghripadmamupāsmahe Śrī deśikokta vedānta-nāmasāhasramadhyagānkāṃśchinnāmamaṇīn padmadāmabhirgrathayāmyaham
The work Vedānta-nāma-ratna-sahasra-vyākhyā is available in manuscript [D. 15508] in the Madras Government Oriental Manuscripts Library. We shall now explain the aim of this work.
According to Advaita, the intuitive knowledge of Brahman is the means to liberation. The performance of rituals purifies the mind of the aspirant and generates in his mind the desire to know Brahman. Possessed of the fourfold means, namely, nityā-nitya-vastu-viveka, ihāmutrārthabhogavirāga, śama-damādi-sadhana-saṃpat and mumukṣutvam, the aspirant resorts to a preceptor and pursues śravaṇa, manana and nididhyāsana. By śravaṇa is meant the ascertainment that the final import of the Upaniṣads is the absolute Brahman. Manana is arguing within oneself, after knowing definitely what the Upaniṣads teach with a view to convince oneself that that teaching alone is true. Nididhyāsana is the profound meditation upon the identity of the individual Soul and brahman.
It has been said that the knowledge of Brahman is the sole means to liberation. And that could arise only from the major texts of the Upaniṣads like tat tvam asi , etc. The knowledge thus arising from the texts is not effective in dispelling avidyā, because the intellect of the aspirant who has such a knowledge is confounded by latent impressions arisen from enjoyment of worldly objects (viṣaya-bhoga-vāsanā) , doubt regarding the validity of the Upaniṣadic passages (pramāṇāsaṃbhāvanā), contrary notion as regards the import of the Upaniṣadic texts (prameyāsaṃ-bhāvanā) and an unconscious reassertion of old habits of thought (viparītūbhāvanā) incompatible with the truth since learnt. The four-fold means removes viṣayabhogavāsanā. Śravaṇa and manana remove pramaṇāsaṃbhāvanā and prameyāsaṃbhavana. And, viparīta-bhāvanā could be removed only by nididhyāsana. The latter consists in the meditation on one’s nature as free from body, senses, etc.
Our author states:
‘ātmatattva-sākṣātkāravato’pi anekaśatasahasrajanma vāsanā-vaśāt anuvartamānā dehādyātmabuddhirūpā viparītabhāvanā madhye madhye punaḥ punaḥ anuvartate; . . . . . .
ataḥ tannirāsāya viraktasya kṛta-śravaṇasya tyaktasarvaiṣaṇasya labdhasākṣāt-kāravato’pi nirantaram dehendṛyādi-dṛśya-prapañcha-pravilāpana-purassaram svarūpānusandhānaṃ kartavyam’ (p. 3).
Meditation upon one’s nature as free from body, senses, etc., and as identical with Brahman should be pursued with the help of the words of the Upaniṣadic texts which convey the true nature of Brahman.
svarūpānusandhānam kartavyam’ (p. 7).
Words like satya, etc., found in the Upaniṣadic texts convey in an affirmative manner the nature of Brahman as satya, etc. And words like asthūla, etc., found in the Upaniṣadic texts convey in a negative way the nature of Brahman as free from duality, etc. The author of the Brahma-sūtra prescribes a method of gathering the unrepeated words found in the affirmative Upaniṣadic passages in the aphorism— ānandādayaḥ pradhānasya (3.3.11), and applies the same consideration to the words found in the negative Upaniṣadic passages in the aphorism—
aksḥaradhiyām tvavarodhaḥ sāmānya-tadbhāvābhyām-aupasa-davat taduktam (3.3.33).
Our author states:
taduktam sūtrakāraiḥ : ‘ānandādayaḥ pradhānasya’ iti ānandā-dayaḥ śabdāḥ vidhimukhena brahmasvarūpam pratipādayitum pravṛttaḥ; anye asthūlādayaḥ śabdāḥ dehendṛyādidṛśyaprapañcha-nishedhamukhena pravṛttāh — tadapyuktam-akṣaradhiyām tvava-rodhaḥ sāmānya-tadbhāvābhyām aupasadavat taduktam. (p. 7).
ataḥ . . . . . . nāmnām sahasram īśāvāsyādyāsu tāpaniyāntīsu śrutishu buddhisaukaryāya akārādikṣakārāntatayā saṃgṛhītam (p. 11).
The words that are affirmative in character cannot convey Brahman through primary signification. Every word employed to denote a thing denotes that thing as associated with a certain genus, or act, or quality, or mode of relation. But Brahman which transcends both speech and mind, which is free from all qualities, has no genus, possesses no qualities, does not act, and is related to nothing else; therefore the primary signification would not hold good. The words that are affirmative in character convey the nature of Brahman only through secondary signification. The words that are negative in character negate all duality in Brahman and thereby indicate that the latter is devoid of any relation, quality, part, etc. It should be noted here that the words that are negative in character merely negate the forms brought about by avidyā in Brahman. They do not, like the affirmative ones, refer to some form and convey it as the essential nature of Brahman.
Thus, by collecting and giving the meaning of one thousand words from the Upaniṣads, Śrī Paramaśivendra Sarasvatī has rendered a solid service to the cause of Advaita, particularly to those who, having reached the higher stage of manana , are desirous of overcoming viparītabhāvanā by meditating upon the nature of Brahman conveyed by the numerous words constituting the Upaniṣads.