Explorations in Vedantic Truth

by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura

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Derivative Meaning: -- The intellectualism of the sacred India is associated with the importance of Vedanta Philosophy which has been a much talked of Subject among the erudite advocates of transcendence. The derivation of the word is traced to the highest pinnacle of spiritual knowledge embodied in the Holy Scriptures known as the Vedas. The ontological views of the Vedas build up the mansion of the unalloyed spirit purely based on transcendence beyond phenomena. Later on the theme of Vedanta has been cryptically presented in the form of Aphorisms ascribed to have been written by the greatest sage of India - Krishna Dwaipayana Vedavyasa, utilizing all sorts of rationalistic cosmological metaphysic. Some aphorisms speaking for the Vedanta system may be considered as reconciliative roots of the conflicting hymns of the Vedas which deal with the esoteric questions of Pure Knowledge apart from the material structures and their association in accommodable space, signifying a subtlety.

The Vedas are the emblematic representations in the shape of hymns dealing with higher knowledge in connection with the present predicament of our intellectual speculation. So Vedanta would inculcate the highest esoteric advancement of the rationalistic view for furnishing the means of tracing a cosmic Fountainhead Who can satisfy all our quests for the Being, non-Being and beings. The Vedas, in other words, are the first information reports of human knowledge which go by the name of Scriptures being unveiling agents of hidden knowledge; and Vedanta is concerned with furnishing the true materials where the exoteric phases of different conceptions find a termination.

Different Meanings: -- A certain writer of the so-called monistic school in tracing its fundamental merits went on to establish Vedanta Philosophy as applicable to a subject based on the Scriptures known as Upanishads. The Upanishads are considered as esoteric instructions of the Vedas which form the subject-matter of the treatise dealing with the cosmology of the phenomena, their sustenance and dissolution as well as an attempt at having a peep into the transcendence. A keen observation will tell us that the Aphorisms of Vedanta are meant to meet the apparently conflicting inculcations of the hymns together with a cogent rationalistic view to dispel all erroneous determinations of different scholastic explorations.

Eligibility and Designation of Readers: -- Every endeavour in this matter should be successfully carried out by experts and whenever they are found lacking in capacity, the result will be harmful; so we should learn how to grapple with the theme properly. If we are hasty on-lookers of Vedanta, it may lead us to some incorrect determination. We may utilize that very finding for earthly purposes. We may turn ourselves hunters of curiosity and leave it just after our search is completed; but we may receive the true benefit only if we patiently approach it to have the true conception of what is truly desirable for us. The first two readers will surely miss their aim to utilize properly their time and effort in order to become successful. The aim of studying Vedanta is to scale up the tallowy smooth gnomon of phenomena; but if the slippery position does not allow us to reach the summit of the post, then such an attempt will tend to remind us of the observation of the king of the Highlanders towards the unsuccessful spider. Before we are admitted as students of Vedanta, our attention should not be directed to view perishable limited objects, all of which are usually meant to be lorded over by our senses.

If we are inclined to accept the delineations of Vedanta in the same line with Nature’s limited productions, we are liable to be too confused to make any progress. If the Transcendence is brought in the same category with the sensible world, no positive knowledge could possibly be imparted to us through the Sounds, which have got transcendental values. Ordinary philosophies could not be easily managed by our sensuous exertions. But when we have no support of transcendent Sounds, we are likely to view the reading of Vedanta in the same light with ordinary philosophy and put it as a convict in the dock to answer the charges for which it is not responsible. I am going to tell you now a few words on the Vedanta. My telling craves a reciprocity of your listening to my sound through the aural reception. Sound is the main substratum of the Vedanta which deals with a subject unapproachable by our present crippled imperfect senses. The ear cannot work as a receptacle unless we are willing to admit a sound and this admittance depends on our taste and previous experience. This prior experience invites affairs within the phenomenal range, but the Vedantic sounds, have a different aim. So a more studied reciprocal situation alone will crown our efforts with success, in matters pertaining to Vedanta.

Many of our friends pose themselves as knowers because they have a true taste for knowledge. To acquire such knowledge they utilize their senses for creating their conception of objects and their components. Such knowers claim a subjective position to consider the synthetic as well as analytic values of their determination. The objects before them are known as phenomena which serve to engage their attention while scrutinizing the causes and the laws of all phenomena by their empiric and intuitive reasonings. This is in other words philosophizing the object by mental speculation.

When the knowledge of a being is restricted to phenomena, it passes by the name of natural philosophy, but the psychological dealing with sentiments discloses a branch of knowledge known as mental philosophy.

All the philosophical speculations in connection with our sensuous perception are no bar to our wrangling over them. The outward representations in all cases, if reasoned, need not exactly identify themselves with the true objective stand; as for instance, our impression of a star is much more augmented when we are conversant with the coaching of an adept in astronomy or when scientific methods predominate over our erroneous convictions. The deceptive outward manifestations are not necessarily to be accepted when such delusions are detected by some deeper activity. The seeming reasons often carry us in a wrong direction and we are not favoured with the Truth; and seeming truths though found to be efficacious in particular circumstances show a susceptibility to transformation. So the ontology of unchangeable formation should not be neglected for alternative changing features.

The methods of thinking of different people of different countries are not the same. So we cannot expect identical results in philosophy. Happiness and virtue have been selected as the essence of philosophic speculation by both the Hellenic and Hebraic Schools; whereas in China they were meant for the preservation of a loyal society and local constitutional Government. The mystic philosophy of mediaeval Europe in its different varieties has invited apathetic reflection in the judgment of many thoughtful persons. The animistic conception of Persia as well as the impersonal idea have brought out criticisms from Indian philosophers. The savage conception of philosophy as well has also been discounted by means of critical and ethical arguments.

For a long time Indian Philosophy had been mentioned in six different phases bearing dissimilar methods of exposition but in the course of the unrolling evolutionary process we have had a few dozen philosophic views coming to us for our speculative considerations. Mind has been noticed as the functional agent of agreeing or disagreeing with a standard position within the scope of its finitudinal range. It is termed conscience or Buddhi when it is fixed. The egotistic function of mind in respect of mundane objects is called Ahankaar or the subjective tendency of lording it over a partial phenomenal aspect. The Jiva or soul is different from phenomenal denomination, but the fettered condition of an individual soul has association with the material world.

The five old schools of philosophy of India do not vouchsafe to bear identical attitudes with the Vedanta philosophy. Some supersensuous methods are revealed in comparative studies, though in the beginning such warnings need not be offered to the students of the Vedanta. The science of the Vedanta philosophy has also dealt with the aspects of the constant changes of form resulting from inevitable development and also elucidated the position of permanent unalterable elements in ever-altering forms.

The Vedanta deals with a theme beyond the finite views of phenomena. The subject dealt with in that particular philosophy is not confined to any part of the material space, any definite span of time or any object of sensuous perception made up of any substance of this Universe. The activities of a being are measured in time, the playground of a being either linear, superficial or cubical is accommodated in space and the limited subjectivity or fleshly entity is confined to phenomena. The Vedantic scheme is quite different from such limited structural monuments though some people attempted to bring Vedanta within the prison bars of their senses.

Though Vedanta expresses itself in ordinary language quite dove-tailed into the views of our ordinary intelligence, it gradually heaves us up to the super-sensuous regions where the senses cannot work by their present implements or cannot help us with the words of our ordinary commerce with friends. The transcendental topics are imparted slowly through the linguistic and rationalistic attainments by differentiating the plane of transcendence from the undesirable transformable plane of enjoyments. As it help us on this progressive journey of understanding we should not stick to a stagnant view in order to gratify our senses just because the rationality and harmonious language of the Vedanta seem to fit our whims. So the method of studying this particular philosophy involves a process of eliminating all chances of confusing the transcendence with our present plane of thought.

Apprehending Community: -- The special feature of Vedanta has a marked distinction from other views of different schools of thought. The epistemology, the cosmology and the ontology of Vedantic views do not necessarily follow the hackneyed path of worldly argumentations based on phenomenal conceptions. Its specifications and special feature do not exactly dovetail into the conceptions of various schools; so there is every possibility of differing views being received with some sort of apprehension, by other schools, for fear of losing their own merits.

As there are different views maintained by the non-Vedantic community regarding the nature and essence of metaphysical advancement, we find on every side apprehensions among the ontological explorers.

We are naturally victimized by the pressures imposed on us through agents who are inclined only to participate with transformable things and passing thoughts arising out of their association with the transitory positions of different objects they come across. The new phase of thought exhibited by the Vedantists may appear to some of the thinkers to be tampering with the peaceful abode with invincible strong walls which they sought to build round themselves. Some men consider the treatise of Vedanta as a bugbear because it destroys the very root of ignorance in which they are steeped due to their close affinity with natural associations. Among the readers of Vedanta, we shall surely meet men who have vehement oppositions to counter in order to maintain their position. Some of us have become complete slaves of our present senses and find ourselves incapable of grappling with the situation when some new and powerful contending views are offered by Vedantic invasion. Misapprehensions arising from bitter experiences of this world may indicate to us the undesirability of invoking the Vedantic thought among the sensible community. The Time-serving attitude of the common man would never invite Vedantic inculcations as none of us is inclined to disturb our ease-loving aspirations.

Appreciating Community: -- As we find different mentalities of people, we may secure friends of Vedanta from the communities who have had an unwelcome experience of this world during their sojourn in life. Scholars of this pessimistic temperament would come forward to pay their full attention to Vedantic thoughts to corroborate their long-nurtured views. The accumulated treasurers of Vedanta would thus acquire a different thought to fill up the shelves of its records of mental speculation.

The treatises and discourses on Vedanta may serve also the purpose of the students of knowledge and seekers after Essential Bliss by regulating the temper which would entangle them in temporary situations. The optimists will also show themselves apt to aggrandize their hopeful and aspiring temper; but we are not confident that every optimist will welcome the Vedantic thought. Among these thinkers we cannot hope to secure sympathy of one and all, as there may be a certain section of people who are busy to participate in earthly things for their present needs and would not look after a permanent incoming treasure. The efficacy of Vedanta is truly observed when sentient existences are found to meet all their wants of present life and after. When they can understand that this emporium is a true repository to dove-tail their eternal purpose, a true appreciation will then be found in them.

When the Absolute becomes the goal of a sentient being, such sentientism, has got a character not circumscribed by the nature of the phenomenal restrictions. But when it tends to limit activities to finite things and phenomena, it leads to a temper of lording it over the finite things having only mundane relativity among them. All activities of the spirit in the direction of the transcendental Absolute have to come under devotion or Bhakti whereas gratification of the senses leads to an activity known as karma of the actor. The Absolute has an unalterable complete situation void of the three positions of the observer, observation and the observed, according to the conception of the Gnostic or jnanins. The Factor of time cannot have any supremacy over the Absolute.

Unlike phenomena where everything is liable to transformation during the course of time, the Absolute does not undergo any change. The Absolute cannot be enjoyed by sensuous activities meant to bring any profit to mind and body. All the profits that accrue by offering our services to the Absolute are never meant for our temporary happiness, depriving others of the benefit. The Vedanta would actually deprive of Bliss the human frame and subtle body, which are wrongly incorporated with the unalloyed absolute infinitesimals. By the word absolute infinitesimal I mean the individuation of the identical quality and not the quantity. The stuff of the Absolute is not liable to any change. No factor of time would have any potency to mutilate it. No space is reserved for it as for material entities. The Absolute when analysed will go to show a division between the parts and the whole. The character of the Absolute will differ from that of the non-Absolute as estimated by the properties of perfection and imperfection. The undesirable experience of regions of imperfection and inadequacies need not be carried over to the eternal aspects of the origin, nature and ontological essence of the Vedanta.

The knowledge of the Vedantic field need not be restricted to the more elementary formula that conveys the Smaarta elucidation and to treatises of such workers as have deviated from the strict path of Shruti. In fact the untenable sectional views need not be included at all under the category of the Vedanta. The different explanations of several creative thinkers and destructive explorers should not be confused with the Satwata Puranas and Pancharatras.

Besides the Smaarta development of the Vedanta we have got to deal with the various treatises written by the Vedanta scholars to enlighten us on various points in our practical life. So we find that the Vedanta includes four aspects which pass by the names of (1) Shruti Prasthan, (2) Nyaya Prasthan, (3) Smriti Prasthan and (4) Prakarana Prasthan. The first two series are accepted by impersonalists, with a very few quotations from books known as Smriti whereas they do not admit the whole arena of Smriti for their Vedantic advancement.

The Upanishads are Scriptures accepted as the Vedas or Shrutis. They are not only the Vedas but considered as the acme of Vedic literature. The rational version of the Upanishads should be considered philosophical in comparison with the adorative songs of the Samhitas towards a pantheon of Vedic gods. Though the various Upanishadic Mantras have apparently conflicting features, they are reconciled by the aphorisms of Shri Vyasa in his Uttar-mimamsa philosophy under different systematic logical categories known as Nyayas or Adhikaranas. Each theme of an Adhikarana has been fully dealt with by Panchanga or five-fold positions of the logical system to meet all opposing controversies. The aphorisms have been subjected to the polemical views of different philosophical systems which may be proved to go against the truth of the Shrutis; and again the aphorisms are supported by the Upanishad-Mantras followed by Smritis and reasons offered in favour of the citatory passages termed as Bhashyas and their commentaries by erudite savants.

The leaders of interpretations have given us first hand information regarding the classified subjects, Nyayas or Adhikaranas briefly treated in the Sutras. Among these interpreters we find contending views and explanations. Some of them differed from others in grouping together the Mantras under the same heading of a particular subject, and sometimes their views were found palpably varying with one another due to designed observations. They are all liable to contract the four-fold defects of misconception, inebriation, organic shortcomings and inclination for deception which do not permit them to have correct views.

Aim and Object: -- The aim of the Vedanta Philosophy is Transcendental Love of the Absolute, though the Absolute has not been fully explained as “Akhilarasamrita-Moorti” (Ever-manifested Emporium of relational beatitudes); but the subject treated in Vedanta will explain that Vedanta aims at no other object than the Personality of the Absolute - undeviated and unvitiated knowledge. The object of inculcating the unique philosophy of Vedanta can be traced in the first two chapters of “Relativity’ and the third chapter of Procedure to gain the only aim or goal. The object can further be traced in reconciling the apparently conflicting intellectual hymns of the Upanishads, all of which tend to the three-fold aspect of the unity viz., (1) the relative positions of the Absolute, (2) the procedure of uniting the two positions of lover and the loved, apart from the temporal vitiation, deformities of individuation, interception of non-transparent stumbling block and from opaque wrangling intransigentism due to our poor incapable senses, and (3) the incessant beatitude.

The restless nature of mental speculation for variegated entities of this temporal experienced through the senses has dissuaded us from having our final rest in indistinctive and undifferentiated manifestation. The erroneous idea of cornering the Absolute in impersonalism in order to avoid the miscomprehension of plurality and temporal position of the objects in our view should not lead us to ‘a zero-making policy’ to get rid of the numerals. The very project of eliminating the concepts of the Absolute, though apparently it leads us to One, will not be satisfied till we banish the idea of Oneness having been troubled by the numerical reference of dualism in our establishment of unity. The impersonal suggestions of dismissing the Knower would end our exploit of discoursing about the Absolute.

If we are satisfied with having gained what we wanted, that is to float on the waters of Knowledge, there will be no occasion for opening the question again. An annihilative spirit gets his final rest when he considers himself quite successful to have gained his aim. By the very proposition he has stopped his iterance of an impersonal aspect of the Absolute, so no lien can be traced of any other explanation to be offered in the quest of the Absolute Knowledge. All sorts of being-hood, unalloyed situation of Knowledge and incessant Bliss could have no operation again on his speculation.

Before delineating the objects of Vedanta we should have a thorough relative knowledge of being and non-being, knowledge and ignorance, happiness and pain; though these prove to have a temporal mundane reference, still to evade an attack of the opposers, we must explain our position in transcendental region where no such opposition need be confronted. The object may have two-fold aspects - the ingredient or the Material Cause free from mundane association, and the existence of the Manifestive Nature of the Efficient Cause. The two causes are paralysed in the impersonal conception of the indistinctive or undifferentiative monists when they talk of the Absolute, whereas the ontology of Vedanta will show as the Eternal Manifestive Play of the Absolute.

The Transcendental Entities eternally represented as the Fountain-head of the two causes will never be found in an indolent mood such as we find in insentient beings void of animation but they will be united by the tie of love for Eternal Manifestive purposes to keep up their reciprocal eternal spotless activities. The Predominating Transcendental Singular Actor will be superimposed on the predominated plural beings who are associated to serve Him and All-love.

Whenever we find a dissention between the entities of predominated ingredients, they do not agree with the sole aim of loving the All-love. So they are relieved from eternally working with the same spirit for the singular Predominating Entity. This dissension facilitates their welcoming a vitiated field of work where they get temporal affinity or apathetic feelings among them. The Vedanta has taken the difficult task of imparting instructions to relieve these rapturous tendencies among the ignorant who are prone to succumb to the tempting influence of the deluding Potency, Maya.

Background of Vedanta

Question of Time: -- The Factor of Time is an inseparable ingredient of every theme on the qualitative plane. Every existence is traced in the units of Time and it will be natural to enquire when and from which quarter and by whom this particular school of thought has been brought to light. This question dealt with by Vedanta has arisen in the individual soul of man since his attaining puberty of receiving Knowledge. So it hinges upon ascertaining the halcyon days of civilization when human Knowledge determined man’s real self. Critics have already come forward with fixing the date of Vedanta after the ritualistic activities of the Indians of early days, as Vedanta itself discloses a rationalistic aspect apart from attending to the homestead performances.

Scriptures of Yore and their Apparently Contending Hymns: -- The Vedas are recognized in some quarters as the oldest of books, not only of India but of the whole world. They incorporate at the same time later productions of treatises dealing with Gnostic activities. These rationalistic old books go by the name of ‘Upanishads,’ whereas the old hymns are collected under the name of ‘Samhitas’. The word ‘Upanishad’ is acknowledged to have the supreme seat in the hymns of the Veda and they are placed at the very top of Gnostic productions. The derivative meaning of the word ‘Upanishad’ discloses the fact of enquirers before the instructors, so as to reveal a special feature of the Vedas which is termed ‘Apaurusheya’ or not written by any human agent. Critics would advance their surmise that no historical tracing of the author has been justified to have such non-designative authorship.

The Upanishads as well as the hymns of the collected part of adorative songs towards different subjects of worship are designated by the name of “Shruti” or recollection of what they heard before when scripts were not in vogue. The normal demeanour of determined self has to receive sounds which are but symbolical representations of thought. This sort of imparting knowledge first characterized the shape of the Vedas or store-house of knowledge in emblematic forms. As the intellectual aspects of the Vedas are many in number and apparently conflicting statements are found in them, a necessity was felt of putting them together in an assimilated form in the shape of aphorisms. We shall deal later on with the divisions and sub-chapters and ‘Adhikarans’ (Themes), etc.

The back-ground of the Vedanta System is found in the Upanishads which are opposed to thoughts found elsewhere so that, contradictions had also to be met with when dealing with questions. The rationalistic aspect when judged by different individuals with varied tastes was bound to end in a decisive combat with the result of victory of one and defeat of the others. The ‘Puranas and Pancharatras’ dealt with the explanations of the aphorisms that led in the direction of positive interpretation.

The chroniclers would tell us that the Upanishads came into existence after the hymns of the Samhitas and before the advent of aphorisms, Puranas and Pancharatras. And if they are to be put in the standard of time, they may be traced back to a date three millenniums of solar years back from the present age, if not earlier. So the aphorisms of Badarayana were composed before the present Puranic and Pancharatrik interpretation as well as before the advent of the Mahabharata.

The Aphorisms did not cement the conflicting hymns of the Upanishads, but they mention the different thoughts of treatises of Ashmarathya, Kashakrtsna, Badari and Audolomy, besides thoughts of five different systems of Indian Philosophy. The rationalistic arrangement of the Aphorisms gave vent to the new System of Shakyasimha and Vardhamanagnatiputra. Though these cannot claim precedence, some hasty scholars want to consider their age as just preceding the writings of the Aphorisms.

The apparently contending hymns of different Upanishads have caused doubts in the minds of rationalists who have come forward with their respective arguments. The Aphorisms played a good part to justify or to reconcile the conflicting thoughts of diverse schools. The dominating influence of Aphorisms has done a great deal of good to settle the combatants’ views. The bona fide readers are the best judges to decide the successful arrangement of the Aphorisms.

Preceptorial Lineage of the Author: -- The history of India has supplied us with the combating spirit dominating the rationalistic period on account of different agents and they have been singularly met by the progenitor of the succeeding schools of religion and the authorship has been ascribed to Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa.

This author had to edit the hymns of the Vedas in four different books and had to coach up many disciples to deal with the different branches of knowledge pertaining to the use and practice of the then civilized section of cultured society. His lineage is traced to the progenitor of the human race known as Brahma by the discipular order through the sage Narada, which ascription has been contradicted by the Impersonalist school.

The old history of the country has described the lineage together with the texts of Upanishads which disclose many branches in discipular order from Brahma.

Vedanta and other Schools of Thought

Animism in the Hymns: -- It is a belief among the Philologists that India is the cradle of a civilization where, in days of yore, were inculcated the systems of perpetuating human thoughts in script. And this theory of the primitive culture of a civilized people has been unnecessarily criticised by mala fide misinterpretations of designing people. The original script of intellectual representation has been traced to Brahmi and the devising of Kharousti aided it and developed cultural advancement later on.

The civilization of the Mongolians of Central Asia has exercised a further clarifying influence and added to our knowledge through Shanki scripts which are also found to have been used for the purpose of mathematical tabulations.

The old language of the Aryans has furnished us with the root ’Ana’ and the Hellenic form of the word is found in ’Pneuma’ considered to be identical with Prana or Mukhya-Vaaya. A sentient body which can take initiative has been traced to have a possession of Pneuma by which it is designated as a body known to have animaa or soul. Behind the natural aspect there is a trace of separate existence of spirit in each different phase. This has given rise to polytheism and its followers who maintain diverse Godheads instead of the Supreme Power in the Immanents.

The system of Vedanta does not inculcate this sort of polytheistic ideas. Some henotheistic views are introduced to pacify the animistic thought to some extent. The introduction of the Supreme Power of one Impersonal as substratum, whenever any object of worship is taken into consideration, is an instance. The henotheists do not discourage another member who may have a different turn of mind in establishing another object of worship. The idea of Immanence is sometimes fixed in the Supreme Power and on another occasion the Immanence is separately determined. The Pantheistic determination accepts a synthetical foreclosure of all attributional reference to One, neglecting outward features.

Zend-Avesta and Vandidad: -- The animistic thought in Zend-Avesta and in Vandidad has almost similar consideration like Vedic Samhitas of India except that the terms are apparently different in many cases. The Suras or gods have got opposite specification from the Asuras; whereas, the writings of Zoroaster and his followers differ from the Vedic gods and their utility. The impression of Ahurmajda and Angora Maiynu has a dualistic conception among them like virtue and vice, light and darkness. The phases of gods are known as fire, air, water, etc., like the later gods of Greek and Roman mythology. Vedic India has given to the western lands of Persia their polytheistic gods through Pahlavi books and Gathas which were carried to serve the civilized mythical thoughts of Southern Europe in days of yore.

The Hebraic impressions of the semities more or less reveal a vague idea of the Supreme Integer against all polytheistic impressions of the civilized world as well as the savages. The principle of grouping together in One can be traced from the different entities found in the powerful fountain-head experienced through the senses and they are again analysed by marking different representations coming out from one source; in other words, animism and more or less polytheistic experiences have terminated into the One Supreme Spiritual existence of the Immanence of the Transcendence of Vedanta.

Taoism and Confucianism: -- In China we find Taoism inculcated by Lautze and later on the theory of Confucius went on to inculcate the methodic order of Society. The systems of different countries are all based on the principle of examining the outward feature of this mundane world. But the Vedanta philosophy has gone in a quite different direction to dispel all the apparent sides. The religious views entertained in old days in different countries might not have invaded India to add to more or less polytheistic thoughts, but in order to reconcile all apparently conflicting ideas. The rationalistic hymns traced all manifestations to One purpose of Immanence and easily counteracted the different propositions of polytheistic impressions which served the purposes of different societies.

Nilotic and Semitic Notions: -- The Nilotic achievements and the semitic impressions were much in vogue in the northern part of Africa and Southern Europe, though these have very little to do with their promulgation in Northern India. The ancient sculptors carving emblematic impressions on stone, as well as the preserved mummies would surely go to show an aptitude for establishing an emporium for visitors of Museums, in succeeding years. The semites of the Nilotic region became advocates of one birth instead of examining the separate existence of the spirit apart from the seeming material structure. The story of reflection of the external body is the best specimen of retaining the transformable situation of perishable things; whereas, the ontology of the Permanent is carefully neglected. The society of Vedantists was never dissuaded by these foreign thoughts and some sort of intrusion can be traced in the aphorisms of Vedanta which stultify their critical reasons.

Subject-matter of Vedanta

Arrangement According to Panchaanga Nyaaya: -- The arrangement of the Aphorisms is classified in four principal chapters and each chapter is again divided into four sub-chapters known as Paadas or quarters of the principal heads. Each Paada has dealt with a different subject and this department consists of some aphorisms or a singular aphorism even where five different syllogistic aspects are dealt with. Whenever a theme is under consideration of a particular Adhikarana we observe the five stages of dealing with the subject, viz., Vishaya (subject), Samshaya (doubt), Purvapaksha (opposite argument), Siddhanta (harmonized conclusions) and Sangati (consistency of the conclusion). No subject-matter can be confidently accepted unless it passes through the five processes of logical or rational departments. The different commentators have arranged and treated the subjects in different ways. So the Adhikarans are not accepted in the same line by every commentator. Some Aphorisms are accepted by a particular commentator as Purvapaksha and by another as Siddhanta. So there is a change traceable in dealing with the Aphorisms.

The Subject-matter of different Chapters of Brahma Sutras: -- The four chapters are designated as (1) reconciliation of all Shastras in Scriptures (Samanvaya), (2) consistent reconciliation of apparently conflicting hymns (Avirodha), (3) the process of attaining the Goal (Saadhanaa), and (4) the desired fruit accrued by such procedure (Phala).

The subject-matter of the Adhikaranas is delineated in different ways according to the different views of the commentators. A short list of the principal subjects dealt with in the Aphorisms is furnished below:


Sub-Chapter I: -- The first sub-chapter has dealt with the cause of this universe mentioning Shri Purushottama as the object of our quest as well as with the reconciliation of the apparently contrary interpretations.

Sub-Chapters II and III: -- The second and the third sub-chapters have dealt with the various doubtful misleading interpretations residing in the object.

Sub-Chapter IV: -- The fourth sub-chapter contains a reconciliation of contending thoughts of Saankhya Philosophy.


Sub-Chapter V and VI: -- The fifth and sixth sub-chapters contain refutations of Saankhya inculcations. The sixth is specially meant for the condemnation of the offered oppositions.

Sub-Chapter VII: -- The seventh sub-chapter has traced the functions of souls together with the Origin of the manifestive world and its dissolution and a refutation of opposition offered in connection with the ”Naimittic Avataars”.

Sub-Chapter VIII: -- The eighth sub-chapter deals with the refutation of contending arguments against ’Pneuma’.


Sub-Chapter IX and X: -- The ninth and tenth sub-chapters deal with the nullification of undesirable aptitudes and the positive assertion of desirable aspirations.

Sub-Chapter XI and XII: -- The eleventh and the twelfth sub-chapters are meant to inculcate the respective procedure of dignity and essence to reach the desired Goal.


Sub-Chapter XIII: -- The rest of the sub-chapters have delineated the result of the procedure, of which the thirteenth is a declaration of the result of ritualistic performances.

Sub-Chapter XIV: -- The fourteenth sub-chapter has described the process of different forms of dissociation of the Jiva souls from the body.

Sub-Chapter XV: -- The fifteenth sub-chapter speaks of the way to attain to Brahma-Loka as well as the ascertainment of the aspect of Brahman.

Sub-Chapter XVI: -- The last and sixteenth sub-chapter discerns the majestic aspect of the Final Situation.

Different Commentaries

A. Shrimad Bhagavatam: -- We often hear that the different systems of religious currents in India have more or less derived their origin from the different interpretations of Vedanta. None is recognized as the leader of a school unless he can maintain his position as a commentator of Vedanta-Darshan which is known as the treatise on the Vedas as well as an authoritative refutation of all the different systems that might oppose the original source of religions of India. Two contending parties have decided the fate of Religious India, viz., the philosophers who have got a tendency to differ from the religionists by their rationalism, and secondly, the communities who have secular views different from those entertained by religionists. Early inculcations of religious views would show us a less civilized interpretation of usages in society; whereas when they were opposed by different scholastic views, they mended their course a little to meet the invaders and their exploitations.

The Aphorisms were meant to give an undeviated decision of the apparently conflicting impressions of the hymns, but a frustration of the aim and object to gain some designed results transpired according to the whimsical temperament of the anti-Vedantists who had an inimical motive of attacking the undeviated devotional principles. An apprehension was detected by the writer of Aphorisms of such insinuations; so he undertook the task of furnishing a true interpretation that might check the exploiting stultifier from diverting the people from the Absolute Truth.

The Puranas are the supplementary elucidating religious instruction of the Veda. People, who are interested in having an interpretation of the Vedas in their own light, demand some supporting views to foster their cause; and so the supplementary writings were written to suit the different tastes of Raajasas, Taamasas and Saattvatas. The Saattvatas are truly ethical, whereas the other two are busy to maintain their respective notions. So the Aphorisms as explained by the commentators of these two schools, viz., the Taamasas and Raajasas seek to disturb the inner essence of the writer by their commentaries.

At present we have in our possession a dozen commentaries of the Aphorisms of Vedanta. It is difficult for a reader to select the genuine commentary of Vedanta-Darshan, when the commentators themselves are more or less victims to misconception (Bhrama), inebriation (Pramaada), defective observation through their sensuous experience, (Karnapaatava) and instigation to delusive enterprises by dissuading from the Truth Vipralipsaa). It is said that a true sage is quite free from such defective possessions, so we should rely on the true devotees who have no other ambition than to serve the Absolute. The commentators who have some definite design of floating tendentious explanations to mislead honest but unwary enquiries by their stultifying suggestions and to oppose the true functions of the unalloyed soul, have often led only to the delusive features of the non-absolute.

From the pen of commentators who are victims of the triple qualities of this defective and limited world, we cannot expect the Positive Truth. Most of them are misguided by their wrong preceptors; some are found to be actuated by their short-sighted policy, being unaided by the Personality of the Absolute owing to their non-devotional attitude, and some have got unusual affinity, to lord it over the limited things. So going in quest of the genuine commentator of the Aphorisms has become a puzzling problem.

Each writer comes forward with his own treatise which, he says, is the Genuine Commentary of the Aphorisms, but since none has shown the shlokas culled from the vast religious lore side by side with the aphorisms as explanatory comments, the commentators have found a loop-hole to introduce their whimsical writings as true explanations of the Aphorisms, asserting at the same time the vouchsafing words of Shrimad Bhagavatam to be vague in themselves. But the Bhagavatas always, when reading that book with all scrutiny, substantiate the assertion by recollecting the particular aphorisms exactly dove-tailing into the context. So Shrimad Bhagavatam should have the first place among the dozen schools of commentaries, and whenever there is any conflicting view in the writings of the commentators, a reference may be made on the point to the genuine commentary, Shrimad Bhagavatam.

Shrimad Bhagavatam’s Two Great Annotators: Shridhara and Shri Jeeva: -- Swami Shridhara has been appropriated by the Impersonal School as one of their members, but the Supreme Lord has reckoned him as one of the supreme defenders of devotion. Shri Jeeva Gosvami has given the true spirit of the author of Bhagavatam in his ’Krama-Sandarbha’ (explanations following each shloka) specially in his Shatshandarva (Six treaties) and Sarvasamvadini (Reconciliation of different discourses). So we need not misunderstand Shridhara to have followed the Kevala-advaita-Vaada School (undifferenced Monism). Shridhara’s Suddhaadvaita (unalloyed monotheism) interpretations are quite different from Kevaladvaita views. Maayaavaadina, the advocates of Illusory theory in explaining the non-manifestive phase of the Absolute, are really pitiable objects in the estimation of the Devotional School.

It would be a tremendous task to supply Bhagavata verses to serve as commentaties [sic] of the Aphorisms in this short narration; so we give up the idea of that undertaking to exhibit the eighteen thousand slokas as the commentaries of the Aphorisms which are a quarter less six hundred only.

B. Sattwata Pancharatras. -- The Sattwata Pancharatras are also accepted as commentaries of the Aphorisms, though none has attempted to arrange them accordingly under each item of different adhikaranas.

C. The Famous Commentators: Theistic and Non-Theistic. -- The other ten commentaries claim to explain the sutras by citation of different hymns of Upanishads in which the Sutrakara by following the divisional method has arranged them into particular themes. There were several commentaries before the attempts of Kevalaadwaita School through the pen of Shri Shankaracharya. Sri Ramanuja and others have referred to the names of Bharuchi, Kapardi, Bodhayana, Audolomi, Tanka, Guha and some other older commentaries. We find half a dozen Bhaashyas and several dozen annotations of the same after Shankara had given out his own interpretation. Among them, Shri-Bhaashyam of Shri Ramanuja, Purnaprajna Bhaashyam of Shri Madhava and his Anuvyaakhyaanam are the most famous, and later on we find that Vallabhacharya’s Anubhaashyam and Nimbarka’s Paarijaata Saurava (the origin of Keshava-Kashmiri’s thoughts of Kaustuva), Bhaskara’s interpretation of the Dvaitaadvaita view and Shrikantha’s Shaiva Vishistaadvaita Bhaashyam and lastly Baladeva Vidyabhushan’s Govinda Bhaashyam have added multifarious interpretations of the Aphorisms. Each Bhashyakara has got several annotations to explain their methods by way of elucidating their writings and chiefly to indicate the direction in which their interpretations differed from the opinion of a particular School, instead of participating in a common view. Bijnana Bhikshu has also given a Bhaashyam of his own. One Sarvajna Muni’s ’Sankshepa Shaarirakam’ is also an attempt to explain the views of the Aphorisms according to the undifferentiated monistic school, while Brajanatha, Purushottama and others have backed up the writer of Anubhaashya.

We are also at a later period accosted by the thundering muse of the writings tending to explain the Aphorisms by the Shaakta method and to proselytize the Masculine or Neuter aspect of the Fountainhead to the Feminine store-house of all energies. Sectarians are not wanting now-a-days to come up with Bhaasyam of recent days alleged to have been written by Swami Ramananda which has not a little deviation from the views of his old preceptorial chair. It is not possible to give a brief survey of all the contending thoughts of different Bhashyakaras except what we dealt with previously in the preceding theme of this article.

The principal differences inculcated in the different Bhaashyams are principally the two contradicting phases of the Personality of the Object and His Impersonal Phase. Shankara maintained Impersonality through and through, rejecting all the mundane relativities here and in the region he is going to enter. His idea of the Absolute is not fostered by the other schools, except that Shrikantha’s follower, Appaya Dikshita who has shown similar sympathetic views in his “Parimala’ shifting himself from his position in his older writings ‘Nyaya-Rakshamani’ and ‘Shivarkamanidipika’ and refuting at the same time what Alavandar and Lakshmana-Deshika had posited in their treatises.

Shankar and Shrikantha are more or less analogous to each other, though Shrikantha has admitted the personality of Brahman in Shiva for some time, apart from henotheistic views, unlike Ramanuja whose conception of the Personality of Brahman in Vishnu-nomenclature is not a transitory element to be dissolved in an indistinctive phase of Brahman. The Shrikantha cult merged in the system of Shankar together with his follower Appayya Dikshit whose conversion to Shankara’s view has destroyed more or less his former writings of Shivarka Mandipika and Nyaya Rakshamani. According to Shankara has adoption of the illusory theory of Maya has explained the unreal position of Jiva or individual soul and material world, whereas the theory of devotion or Bhakti has been accepted by theists as the sole medium of reaching the eternal destination. Shankara’s concept of ultimate salvation, Nirvana, can be had through inflated unalloyed knowledge of an individual, free from the reference of eternal existence and beatitude, by annihilating himself to the non-perspective situation of Brahman, where he should have no retention of individuality of his unalloyed entity save and except assumption of a hallucinative universality dispelling all empiric ignorance and bitter experience of defective designative finiteness. This would give him a theoretic relief of his existence.

D. The Differentiating Features of the two main Divisions of the Commentaries: -- The conception of the Personality of Vishnu and Krishna had been a bugbear in the apprehensive eyes of later commentators of the Impersonal School and they were frightened at the very sight of the manifestive references dealing with the relativities discovered in the Absolute. Shrikantha’s Shaivism is considered as a corresponding Shaivite replica in the line of Shri Ramanuja, though he was backed up by some of the Shiva Adwaitins who talked of the personality of the object of Vedanta later on dissolving into nothingness.

The eternal manifestive Phases are more or less ignored by the process of distillation which eliminated all specific aspects of the concretized mundane impressions. These are never required to be carried to the region of the transcendence where deficiency and transitoriness should never form a factor. The knowledge which has accrued through the medium of senses is no doubt drawn from tranformable [sic] objects of phenomena. So they can have no absolute value according to the estimation of sensuous critics. But such impressions can have some lien when the phenomenal existence is considered as an imperfect and perverted reflection of the Original Transcendental Manifestation.

If we start through the synthetic process and from the mundane level, we surely neutralize the variegated positions of the phenomena and are naturally found to pose as impersonalists in the long run. But that situation is likely to suffer a change when the manifestive Absolute Phases are traced as the Eternal source of this eclipsed and imperfect vision of the phenomena. The mundane things stand in our visual range as an opaque screen preventing us from having a full sight of the transcendental tabula rasa.

Madhwa’s eternal associative duality always maintains eternal devotional attitude which is the common basis of all the four inculcators of Positive Truth. Maya or delusive energy is to be abandoned or over-powered by devotion which will give eternal relief to conditioned individual soul or spirit. Individual spirit is never to indulge itself in the imaginary inflation for becoming the universal non-designative Spirit. Individuals are eternally atomic isolated numberless entities. They have eternal cognitional, volitional and emotional attributes in them. They are prone to be forgetful of the direction of service towards the Absolute, and such inattention has made them non-diligent towards their Eternal Master, the Fountainhead. In salvation they are never to lose their eternal special individuality and this temporary captive individuation in the present sheath should never be considered as permanently neglecting the eternal ontological transcendental form. The individual souls and matter are not temporary production, but they are emanated from Brahman and they have reciprocal relations. The Personal Body of Brahman known as Vishnu is the very center of all energies and attributes, be they temporary or eternal. He is All-potent and His Service is the eternal function of the individual spirits. The worldly pretensions of Maya are traced in the unusual desire of elevationists The devotees have got no such pretensions like the fictitious believers of enjoyment or the Salvationists like the Vedanta interpreter Shankar. Madhva’s interpretation of the Efficient Cause is not challenged by his opponents, but his conception of material cause of the world has been misunderstood by the Maayaavaadins to be different from the unique situation of Brahman. The phase of the material cause is not isolated from Brahman but the yieldings of the material cause should in no case be confused as identical with Brahman. The material cause has produced this phenomenon to befool conditioned Jivas or individual captive spirits, who have by their indolent mood behaved as enjoyers but the real cause should be seen to have emanated from Him through one of His conflicting potencies for that purpose which is misunderstood by a hasty idealistic conception from outward reading. A true insight would surely convince a student of the Vedanta endowed with a true theistic mood that the unique existence of Brahman has brought forth simultaneously the phenomena of sentients and insentients.

In fine we may mention that considerate thinkers of Transcendence do not quarrel with the nomenclature of the Object Who is a non-differentiated Knowledge of substratum exactly identifiable with the varieties of Energies inherent in Him. The spectator of the transcendence may find the object to be non-distinctive Brahman when all attributional references are eliminated, being frightened with the better impression of concretized blockages which, according to his sectarian views, is an irreconcilable item in reaching the position of the Fountainhead. The ideas of Yogins have continuously been persisting in beinghood of non-being as well as the phenomenal capacity attributed to Him.

The Bhagavatas or the devotees on the other hand did not exclude the three different aspects of their vehicular energy to approach the Fountain-head when they speak of the fullness of Majesty, Power, Beatitude, Glory, Gnosticism and Dissociative Renunciation and of the infinitesimal and of the parts traced as the infinitesimal unalloyed spectator of the whole. The transcendental concretizing method has been eliminated in the transcendental conception of Impersonalists as weighty cumbrous odds which will grind their subtle entities like mustard seeds.

The impersonal school has resorted to Vivarta-Vaada instead of invoking the powers of Inherent Energies with the Absolute, viz., the Saktiparinaama vaada (the Doctrine of the transforming Energies). In the Arambhavaada (doctrine of basic activity) and Vastuvikaaravaada (the Doctrine of Transformation) these Vivartavadins (followers of the doctrine of mis-conception) or Mayavadins have found many defects; so they do not want to follow them, but their evasive policy will not brand them as wise.

In is said that modern religions except those that are mentioned in the very body of the Aphorisms are the outcome of the Vedantic system. They are not acknowledged to have the support of the Vedantic thought and we find even refutations of them in that book. Some chroniclers predate the advent of the Sankhya system before the thought of Vedanta came into existence. We need not subscribe to this opinion as we find the Shankhayans have got a tendency to condemn the Vedantists as well. Some critics have deemed it fit to reject the present Aphorisms of Sankhya as original, but their view gravitates towards a neo-Sankhy system made out of the old policy of that school. They are found to tell us that Iswara Krishna’s work Kaarikaa was commented on by Gaudapada who is said to have been the preceptor of Govinda, the Guru of Shri Shankaracharya. In the Upanishads themselves we find both the views of Sankhya and Vedanta side by side which has given rise to the religious views now in vogue. So these two systems are correlated whenever they are spoken of.

The Personal Phase of Brahman has been differentiated from all objects of the phenomena, so they have come strictly under the calculations of Sankhya. But as we cannot do away with our present concept of phenomena, the system of Sankhya has got involuntarily mixed up with the ritualistic aspects of all religious evolution. The cosmological view of phenomena has resulted in the elimination of all the objects realisable through the senses from final representation of the source.

The realistic view has deemed it fit to consider the elements as the cause of action. Even the Efficient cause is but a peculiar composition of differently distributed elements; whereas the other theory would tell us that the seat of true knowledge is eclipsed by the foreign intrusion of ignorance in the shape of elements. The peculiar formation of the sense has led to the mutilation of the objects in the chamber of subjectivity according to the particular predominating quality.

The manifestive Aspects of the Unalloyed Spirit, void of all gross relation with matter, are simply hidden by the lack of transcendental impression, because the theory of enjoyment by senses has given rise to the dismissal of the phenomenal representation. The devotional aptitude, having no connection with the enjoying mood of the recipient, will give them relief by advancing the overwhelming nature of the efficient cause with the power of eliminating and rubbing out all sorts of objective ingredients. We are apt to realize the position of the object of adoration by our predilections, so that the dominating qualities play an active part in constructing a figure of the non-Absolute personality to suit our purpose. This mental speculation has produced Cathenotheistic formulation in our mind with a remote termination in Impersonalism. As our mind cannot receive things which are not included within the jurisdiction of the senses, we are compelled to apparel the Impersonal substratum by associating It with our impressions of phenomenal garments. So this has produced at the very outset the triple objects of worship - Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, who are the descended aspects of the Impersonal Origin.

The Vedic henotheism has got a different phase in Panchopaasanaa whereby the adored objects are entreated to supply our present demands. We approach Ganadevata when we are in need of dispelling the opposing forces; we want to invoke Shakti when we desire to satisfy the needs of our senses; when we are in an ethical mood, we find solace in the sun-god and when we want to retire from enjoying the phenomenal world, we approach the dissolving Energy in Shiva. The Sankhya system has explained the Triple energies that are recognized as the active principles of the different aspects of Nature; in other words, they are the three qualities -- Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas, and their different compositions have instigated us to paint the Fountainhead according to our requirements.

We approach Ganapati when the two influences of Sattwa and Tamas become prominent features. The combination of Sattwa and Rajas qualities drives us to the sun-god and that of Rajas and Tamas qualities drags us to Shakti-phase of the Absolute in Nature. The unalloyed Rajas quality will lead us to the progenitor Brahma, the Sattwa quality to the sustainer Vishnu, and the Tamas quality to the destroyer Shiva. So we subscribe ourselves to evolution, sustenance and dissolution when we do not require a combination of the different qualities. The Henotheists would claim by their particular taste to approach a temporal godly figure whom they call the Supreme manifestation of the Eternal Impersonal Phase and they would not discourage their friends of different schools actuated by the same principle in finding and painting their own Supreme reverential Object in some other demonstrative aspect in turn. So different phases of theism would not disturb one another when they have a common object of tending towards Impersonation in the long run.

The Vedantic idea has been proselytized to the pantheistic impression by people who ignore the different faculties of temporary senses. Whatever is perceived through the senses is but a relative impression susceptible to come under our sensuous activities with no permanent value in themselves. The phenomenal subjectivity should be obliterated by the intrusion of the destructive energy in the self. The Illusive theory of Maya will then act on them to lose their self by merging into the Absolute where the axiomatic view will enforce the common idea of the Absolute. They can give effect to these views when the position of the observer, the observation and the observed is conglomerated.

But theism has got a different situation from pantheism. The Personality of Godhead is the Principal Object to mark and the personality of the observer is set free from foreign invading elements - the soul proper is eternal and the magnitude of the soul has been found as an associative subservient to the Full Personality of the Fountainhead. The Vedanta wants to establish this pure theism and no phase of henotheism or pantheism should mutilate the position of pure theism.

Theism in some cases is troubled by Hellenic and Hebraic ideas concocted by people to suit best the altruistic practices among them. But we should be cautious not to welcome anthropomorphic or apotheotic interpretations. Neither should philanthropic attempts commit any offence against the true Vedantists. The Greek and Roman mythologies are no doubt good illustrations of the influence of anthropomorphic ideas in ascribing various situations to different gods, and in some cases the Indo-Aryan mythology is not found to be free from these faulty associations.

The apotheotic tendency has made many a hero to pretend as identical with different gods and the theory of social amelioration through altruistic activities has also obstructed us from receiving the Scriptures in a true light and thereby wrongly applied Biblical references to philanthropic exploitations.

The Supreme Lord Shri Krishna Chaitanya has endowed the unalloyed intelligentsia versed in pure Transcendental Manifestations with an entirely different eternal relationship of the pure essence which is not allied with the mundane decrepit condition.

Many apathetic hearts are found to oppose theism in different ways by their participating in a particular phase of epistemology in which they do not understood [sic] the spirit of the transcendental position of Theism in the Vedanta system.

The short-sighted conception of Impersonalism offered by the busty mundane philosophers cannot be relied on when they have got no authority to pass any opinion about transcendence to which they have had no access. The conviction and experience stored up in the mundane thesaurus cannot possibly accommodate the subject-matter of Vedanta which is beyond the realization of the impoverished senses and no previous experience could possibly judge the merits which cannot submit to the area of the ordinary senses.

The Aphorisms of Vedanta do not go so far as to delineate all the Manifestive Phases of the Absolute but give some directions which find further exposition in supplementary books; so we need not expect all sorts of perspective views of the Transcendence through the cryptic words and pithy expressions of the Aphorisms.

We have noticed some abuses among the so-called Vedantists when they associate themselves with mundane thoughts under the pantheistic interpretations of Vedanta. The pseudo-Vaishnavas, viz., Bauls and Sahajiyas together with a section of the Smartas, have shown a degraded phase in their worldly behaviour based on a distorted view of Vedanta. The very connotation of the word “Daridra Narayana” of the altruistic school is a vivid illustration of the gross abuse of the Vedantic thought in the hands of naturalists, atheists, skeptics and agnostics who all claim to be exponents of the ideas of Vedantic school. Wherever pure theism is crossed in the least we notice a feeling of paramount degradation in their hearts, intent on defiling the pure devotion of the unalloyed schools. The undigested food offered by Vedanta-Darshan will not nourish the intelligentsia, even if they have got possession of it through their linguistic attainments but vitiated by the contamination and misuse of foreign ideas.


The ontological view will surely tell us that Eternal Brahman is the all-Pervading Supreme Cause of all manifestive eternal and transforming domains. All the Vedantic literature viz., Shruti, Nyaya, Smriti and Prakarana tend to delineate the Personality of the Unique Owner of all Eternal manifestations and their opposites and the conception of His Personality need not be morphologised by worldly temporal transforming attributes and at the same time He should not be denied His Spiritual Form, Attributions and spiritual eternal innumerable transcendental Qualities and unending and unrestricted Pastimes, Owing to His supersensuous situation, frivolous attempts should not be directed against Him by our anti-theistic exploitations. He should be approached through Shruti or pure aural reception of transcendental Sounds which should not be confused with mundane sounds which are temporary and meant for the gratifications of our senses. The mundane sounds have to submit to our inspectorial staff of the senses, whereas cogent transcendental Sounds are enriched with superior delegated powers of Divinity to regulate the previous conviction of an enjoying captivated object who poses himself as a subject to lord it over the phenomena. The mind and all other wrong activities of senses are to be regulated by means of devotional temperament to proceed to the Region of eternal transcendental Beatitude. The approaching activity along the path of devotion will empower all individual captivated entities to throw off the thralldom of this enjoying region.

Over this, we can trace as well the development of the Vedantic aspects in history and in many ritualistic works, known as Satwata Pancharatra, all of which show an advanced thought of practical Vedanta. Moreover the commentators on the Puranas and the Pancharatras also give us facility to dive deep into the conception of the Transcendental Truth which will form an enterprise of the Vedantic extension. Some of the Prakarana books show a definite tendency to move towards the impersonal goal. The analytical development has given us a long list of arguments refuting pure impersonalists where we find a foliation of “Rasa’ apart from its indolent aspects. This is no doubt a valuable addition to the Vedanta library. Vigilant writers will come up in the field of the Vedanta in its dualistic phase, vehemently protesting against the ideas of indolent pantheists by their synthetic propaganda towards the Absolute. This process may appear to us as an inductive process leading to pantheistic vision in the long run shaping convergently to one point. Many schools of philosophy in their progress tend to convert themselves to one thought where specification is utterly denied; in other words, they speak of many things which will be proselytized to one thing viz., indistinctive monism.

Some of the adventurers have been found to transform the substratum itself or proselytize their mundane exploitive journey to the theory of misconception. The analytic process meets the synthetic aspirant at a point and we find a combined attempt of their development in literature which is also included later on in the Vedantic School. Dwaitadwaits scholars of the Bhaskara and the Nimbarka schools have given us such views. The empiric starting from a perishable plane aiming at the direction of the indestructible could bring for us a cumulative view of the terminus. The system of the Vedanta philosophy should always look forward to approach the Absolute and not to any search of the non-absolute. The mundane morphological march need not be considered identical with the transcendental morphology which cannot in any case show either transiency or altering phases.

The origin of the Vedanta is innate in knowledge and inseparable from the same, though its practical phases may insist on tracing the cause where it submits to inspection. Nature seems to undergo a transformation, but a vigilant eye could easily discern the unalterable situation, as she has two perceptible aspects, viz., measurable and immeasurable. The measurable attributes vary according as the temporality and permanency of the measurer. Transcendental measurement is perfect and true and not liable to become a victim of mundane controversy arising out of transforming, imperfect, unretentive and finite relativities. The purpose or essence of the Vedanta is not conflicting as it has been reduced by wranglers to polemic exploitations which simply puzzle the observer.

The Absolute Infinity and absolute infinitesimals are not at loggerheads with one another. So the subjectivity and the objectivity described in the Vedanta Philosophy have different denominations from the present conception of the limited idealists who disown all types of objectivity. If we keep a keen watch over the transcendental object we can eliminate the grossness and the mundane subtleties. The new state of the spirit need not have any relation with mundane manifestations. The unalloyed soul should not be disturbed by cutting asunder the transcendental links inseparable from the entity of the unalloyed spirit. We should not anthropomorphise our present crippled ideas when we traverse the Vedantic path. The potency of the Personality of the Transcendental Absolute (Purushottama) need not be restricted out of our poor experience of this world which is of a faulty nature. The apotheotic conception should not prevail in the region of transcendence, as that plane is not to be confused with the world of three dimensions. The passionate views of imperfect limitations, if carried over to that region, would give a speculative transitory result which we should avoid for the safety of this particular philosophy. The origin of the Vedanta need not be epistemologised from the limited experience of phenomena. Of course, our restless mind cannot resist such temptations, but we should be cautious not to disturb the peace and the harmonious system of transcendence. We are to approach, and not to mutilate, the receiprocal [sic] entities of transcendence. Our intuitive faculty shows an unlimited scope of designing and shaping things according to our whims, but those are of no use, if such whimsical orders are not carried out by the transcendental Authority for reasons best known to Him. We have marked that our mind is offered viands for its consumption in the fettered situation and with the same we cannot utilize our mind and mental activities however ethical, and however much they may impress on us here for our future movements in the eternal path of welcoming our volitional and cognitional enterprises. An empiric mind with its intuitive aspirations cannot possibly work, unless helped by the spiritual Power Who does not bear the same attitude to the present phenomenal impressions. It would be better for us if our exploited innovations do not accompany us during our acceptance of the conception of the Transcendence. Our present consciousness and mind with all their paraphernalia cannot possibly claim the suzerainty of the Transcendence when our poor ego is quite adaptable to and contented with the dolls of the phenomena. We have got an enjoying caliber when we tread on the worldly path receiving the help of our gross body and flickering mind. We have noticed that phenomena have direct connection with the mind and its paraphernalia. The mundane phenomena have got a perishable value, whereas the distinctive character of phenomena beyond our conception, is not identical with our present store of knowledge. The phenomenal objects require modification and our different philosophical speculations require rectification, whereas the transcendental Region does not submit to such regulative admonition and chastisement. We are to approach the transcendental Truth Who does not tolerate any aggressive exploitation from any other quarter. The summum bonum of all knowledge, beatitude and unending time, should not be mutilated for the sake of the safety of our eternal entity, which is absolute infinitesimal and not Absolute Infinity, as the inflation of our quantitative eternal ego is not expected to go beyond our own. The imperfection of grossness and subtlety should not claim to have their location in that region, as Paravyoma is never meant to accommodate the special characteristics of worldly phenomena. The subject-matter of the Vedanta is not an innovation, as the origin was lying dormant in spirit, and the Vedantic sound need not have had any origination in this material world. The transcendental Sound, though specified to exhibit a differentiative character, is not to be enjoyed by our enjoying senses.

We must necessarily convince ourselves that the essence of the Vedanta philosophy should terminate in the principle of devotion.

The last aphorism of the Vedanta Sutras tends to the impression that Sound will bring us to the Region wherefrom a return journey along the path of knowledge is not possible. It goes to show a process leading to the Transcendence, where no foreign invasion can be invited to form an opposite party who can persuade a sojourner to shift himself from the transcendental termination. The place is not meant for an indolent being to benumb his unending progressive activity for dissociating his connections with the transitory dark and undesirable element. By the constant chanting of the Transcendental Name the aim of spiritual aspiration will be fulfilled and no other process can remedy the evil of accepting the undeserving position of a worldly enjoyer. The whole line of our religious associative transaction should terminate in our activity of being an instrument of the transcendental Sound. The constant uttering from the lips of a transcendental devotee can only help a man to get rid of his limited activity for the limited perishable objects. The aural receptive entity is not to exert its influence to impede the course of the transcendental Sound who would be pouring in with the purpose of regulating the erring ego.

So an eternal devotee should not cease to chant the Eternal Name of Hari constantly without any interruption. The interceding - repelling and covering - energy of the Absolute will otherwise act on him. The anti-devotional attitude will keep a reader of the Vedanta far off from the Absolute Truth. The sincere student of the Vedanta is expected to realize the presence of the Object of his eternal devotion and to be emotional. The mellow quality will display some symptoms which will bear testimony to his transcendental realization; otherwise it would prove his impervious character resembling that of a stone or adamant, or in other words, he would be considered to be an unsuccessful reader of the subject. The conception of the Absolute Truth will never be in his possession, if he confines himself to his sensuous activities and always desiring to lord it over the worldly phenomena.

If he cares to learn from others the real nature of their experience to bring himself in touch with the objects that have not been within the range of his senses, he will profit much by such an association and try to add to the store of his knowledge, which he could not have gathered by his attempts through the senses. When he welcomes the unprecedented nature of the Vedanta working in him his sensuous aggrandizement, he erroneously thinks himself amply rewarded by the acquisitio0n of experience of an expert who is running after an impersonal object void of all sorts of designation. He can avail himself of a partial view of the indeterminate non-designative plane where the triple forms of the mundane qualities are not expected to preponderate in exhibiting their significance. The transcendental Sound becomes his sole engagement, he having secured the position of setting himself free from the egoistic exploitations of the phenomenal plane. Such a position would offer him the conception of the Absolute to Whom his only duty would be to offer his eternal services. This stage I known as regaining imprisonment as an enjoyer. Now he is in his proper health to engage himself as the eternal servitor of the Absolute, knowing his own position. The full conception of the Absolute will give him the facility of serving the eternal Master in the highest capacity of devotion. In the Dahara Chapter of the Chhandogya Upanishad, we find that all these passionate activities are fulfilled when true salvation is acquired. The passionate activities are proselytized to most perfect engagement with the Absolute. So eternal full recognition will render a servitor exactly fitting the Great Consort for Whom every unalloyed spirit should have her only activity.

The Consort Absolute will wait for the consort servitor. The parent servitor will meet the Child Absolute, the object of his or her only engagement. The eternal friend servitor will regain his position as such. The personal attendant servitors will meet their Master and offer their confidential services, for sheer love. The confidential service offered by the neutrul [sic] entity will indirectly be directed to the Absolute without any recognizance on the part of the unalloyed individual spirit.

The different readings of the Vedanta under true guidance will give us the result that Personality of Godhead is not approached by identifying oneself with the transcendental Effulgence (Brahman) coming out from the transcendental Body of the Absolute and that the all-engrossing features (Paramatma or Universal Godhead) are but a part of the Absolute in Whom a freed soul does not merge. After such association the devotional aptitude will have a free play to join as a transcendental factor of His Pastimes. He is the very Emporium of all potencies and the resortive ocean of all sorts of love. The detachable border-land potency, though liable to come under the clutch of a disposition to enjoy Nature’s products and to welcome them as temporary servitors, can get a true direction by exchanging the enjoying mood for eternal devotion. The transcendental manifestation as well as the transformable mundane manifestations are simultaneously incorporated in the Absolute and differ from Himself like the rays of the sun and the flowing disc. The isolated individual phase of the servitor is eternally associated with Him. The analogy is drawn from the sun. The spirit, the flowing disc, the emanated rays and the penumbra are the four aspects concerning the sun and inseparable from the existence of the sun. So the manifested world has association with the integral position of the Absolute. True devotion should be the method of reaching Him, where all activities of the freed souls should tend finally to the eternal service to please their Absolute Object of service. The one phase of harmony of the Absolute need not be metamorphosed into rupture, by courting different phases of the goal.

The Supreme Lord Shri Krishna Chaitanya, by inculcation of His loving attitude towards absolute infinitesimals has disclosed the reading of the Shrimad Bhagavatam as a standard light-house in our journey of life through the rough waters of the phenomenal ocean.

A temperament for renouncing all uncongenial phenomena has been ordained by instructing philosophers and theologians. The imaginary ideas of blind Salvationists who had no occasion to witness the Absolute Truth have not been approved by the Supreme Lord, but He has advised us to acquaint ourselves with the reading of Krishna’s Pastimes and to direct our services to the Adhokshaja; and in that case our feeble limbs and senses cannot claim to approach Him unless we have a true serving mood. We would fail to offer our services to Him, if we think that our present acquisitions are enough to approach Him Who has always reserved the right of not being exposed to the mundane activities of the enjoyers of matter and motion.

Vyasa, when he had an adorative temperament and sat for Samadhi with his devotional aptitude, witnessed, with his spiritual eye, the full transcendental Form of the Absolute incorporating the negative energy of Nescience which has the power to cover the senses of individual spirits who have been apathetic to their Master and indulged in their enjoying mood, posing as lords with predilections for embracing the triple mundane energy. Though the border-land potency is more powerful than the triple qualities of transformable nature and prefers to wait to serve at their command, still its predilecting nature can at any moment throw off the clutches of, and the affinity for, the phenomena, if she comes to know the desirability of her turning towards her Master, the Eternal Fountain-head, the transcendental Bhagawan Krishna, which will give her permanent release from her exploitative march of courting the most undesirable position of an enjoyer here. This fact of devotional instruction has not been imparted before to the undeserving humanity, but the kind-hearted writer of the aphorisms in his genuine commentary Shrimad Bhagavatam exposed the truth for the benefit of deserving souls. He was like a kind-hearted shepherd of the congregation of individual souls who were sheep under his protection. He managed to hand over the cattle to the transcendental Cowherd to learn the nature of worship and desirability of flocking to Him. None was so kind to mankind as He, to disclose the fact that the object of service to any other phase of Krishna would not be so profitable as to aim at the object of unalloyed devotion to Krishna Who will, by and by, help them to cut off their connection and the unusual affinity with the perishable objects. The unalloyed soul will be rescued from all apprehension arising out of the apathetic mood lying latent in the individual soul. The devotional engagement will enable us to comprehend the real position of self and no tempting nature would be able to win over the heart of the individual soul, dissuading him from his spontaneous transcendental loving service. The individual soul will be set free by his devotional practices to endure the affliction of separation of tempting things and will prefer to appreciate the only desirable object and to court His sweet pleasure, His sweet beatitude.


A. Common Basic Agreement. -- All the interpretations of the Aphorisms would show that the Fountainhead is One without a Second. He is Positive Knowledge and is not to be captivated by mundane speculative method. He is both Transcendent and Immanent. All the commentators conjoin in subscribing that the Immaterial Plane is an essential need of the unalloyed Spiritual Entity. Every view has corroborated the emancipating policy of Vedanta; so they do not differ in the matter of its renunciating principle. But the principle of dissociation of temporal thought and observation is dealt with in different ways.

B. True Reconciliation by the Supreme Lord Himself. -- The Supreme Lord Shri Krishna Chaitanya has furnished a true reconciliative principle by which the cardinal points of difference in reading the Aphorisms are harmonized. And the ‘Govinda-Bhashyam’ may be accepted as a true attempt to meet the conflicting impressions that have arisen from different angles of vision. The manifestation of the Spirit has got a different aspect from the mundane impression of the enjoyers which is given an opportunity to corroborate in a harmonious spirit. In going back to our original situation, the soul is disentangled from the inadequacies and shortcoming of natural manifestations.

C. So-called Denouncement of Vedaanta by the Supreme Lord: -- Shri Krishna Chaitanya is often observed by silly eyes to have rejected Vedanta, because a sectarian interpretation of the same has renounced the manifestive phase in the transcendence. In order to remove the common impression of the nomenclature of Vedanta such words were incidentally recorded through the foresight of Shri Krishna Das Kaviraj Prabhu as he did critically expose the erroneous impressions among the pedants of the day who guided the masses. The Supreme Lord was misunderstood by Sarvabhauma and Prakashananda in their common belief of henotheists. So the real and true explanations through Transcendental Sounds from the Supreme Lord regulated and removed their inadvertencies in the true conception of Vedanta.

Shri Jeeva Gosvami Prabhu has given a very clear conception of the true view published before the Krishna-loving demeanour of the devotees. The Akhilarasamritamoorti, Krishna’s nomenclature, is delineated in the Aphorisms under guarded words which have a characteristic of brevity meant to delude and confuse the barren, unsoft, unripe, non-relative amplifiers of their impoverished reasons. Moreover, misunderstood versions of Vedanta will again mislead people just like the misconceptions of the Udipi Pandits when the Supreme Lord accosted them at their very seat.

The common interpretations of the Aphorisms would tell an unwary reader that Saadhanaa will lead to mukti (Saayujya or complete merging into the Absolute) or four others, (viz., Saalokya, Saarshti, Saamipya and Saarupya), which are more or less indexes of mundane reference instead of Prema or Transcendental Love.

The misguided theists have drawn wrong conclusions in their incorrect readings of the Aphorisms of both Jaimini and Vyasa. So the correct transcendental position may be inculcated into the brains of non-devotees when they recollect several passages of Bhagavatam which reject the erroneous abstracted ideas of phenomena. Shri Govinda Bhasyam has supplied some more additional enlightenments to the writings of Shri Jeeva, specially because all vague observers have demanded a positive interpretation of the ’Achintya-Bhedaabheda-Siddhaanta’ of the Supreme Lord.

The really anti-Vedic speculations like those of the Samkhya, Patanjala, Nyaya and Vaisheshika schools, and even the Purva-Minamsa which is fond of exclusive fruitive activity in conformity with the teaching of only one portion of the Vedas, may be said to have come into existence by relying outwardly on the Vedanta itself. After discarding all these speculations one should adopt the Ultimate Principle identical with the doctrine of Achintya-Bhedaabheda which postulates ‘inconceivable simultaneous distinction and non-difference.’ This makes one eligible for being a true devotee.

The basic principle is that this animate world is made up of jives and the inanimate world is constituted of matter. Of these, the jives have been manifested by His Tatastha (Intermediary) Potency, and this phenomenal world has been manifested by His Vahiranga (apara) potency. He is consequently to be deemed the cause of all causes. To explain it in another manner, He regulates all of them by the Power of His Will, although He is not an entity different from the Marginal and Material (Tatasthaa and a-chit) Potencies. By the transformation of those distinct Potencies have been produced the three; Praadhaana (substantive material principle), Prakriti (material cause) and Purusha (efficient cause). Hence although as regards the subjective nature of Potency, He is Pradhana, Prakriti and Purusha, yet as the possessor of power He is eternally distinct from all those separate potencies.

This simultaneous distinction and non-difference has also sprung from His inconceivable Power. The speculations of other schools cannot be said to contain this Truth that holds good in all positions. Shri Jeeva Goswami in his exposition of Brahma-Samhita has shown that the attainment of love for Krishna by the practice of pure devotion through the knowledge of the mutual true relationship between Jieva, Jada and Krishna is posited in Achintya-Bhedaa-bheda-Vaada. The Vedanta interpreted with the aid of the Bhagavatam leads to the same conclusion.

D. Disagreeing Characteristics. -- In the different interpretation by the readers of the Aphorisms, we find that the Absolute One has the greatest magnitude in comparison with the other items of reference, viz., Jivas (Individual souls), Prakriti (Material Energy), Kala (Time) and Karma (Fruitive work). Energy is not accepted along with the One Fountainhead. Others have seen all sorts of energies centered in that One. There are Manifestive Natures of that One that are opposed by a particular school of Absolutists who deny all sorts of potencies, inasmuch as these are the outcome of temporal senses. So the question of potency in the Fountainhead has been made a controversial point. The phenomenal world is a production of the Efficient and Material Causes which are denied in the long run by the analogy of Vivarta. So Devotion has not been accepted as the medium of approaching the manifested Transcendental Absolute. According to their secular view no distinctive process should be asserted in the Integral situation of the Greatest Magnitude.

Other commentators dissenting from this view have established Distinctive Monism and Differentiated Synthetic Dualism by polemical controversies. The Distinctive Monism has established Ever-Existing Vishnu as the Supreme Authority of the Personality of Godhead. But there is again a dissension between this Vaishnavite view and the Shaivite aggression where the Impersonal termination is figured by the Phallic Emblematic Form of Representation of a temporal existence. They have a distinct motive of establishing Impersonalism in the long run, though for the sake of argument they come forward with a quarrelling attitude with regard to the Eternal situation of the Personality of God-head.

Commentators also differ in the divisibility of the Integral Brahman by suspecting Swagata, Sajaatiya and Vijaatiya Bhedas which we always meet in the gross objects of this temporal world; whereas manifestive distinctions are and can be found in the transcendence as well without any rupture or unwholesomeness of this gross and mundane region.

E. Transcendental Spontaneous Import: Vidvat-Ruddhi-Vritti of Shrutis. -- There may occur a doubt as to why the Commentators have shown different temperaments from the reading of an identical passage in the Aphorisms. We may say in reply that they have been guided by wrong recollective convictions of Nature’s qualitative products instead of having any true aural transcendental reception from the lips of true devotees. The transcendental Sounds are not located in the different chambers of the museum of mundane relativity, but they have got ’Rudhi-Vritti’ which kills functional references of sounds which are quite adaptable to the senses.

F. Aspect of Shri Moorti. -- The Impersonal school believes that the conception of ‘Indistinctive Brahman’ and the partial conception of the All-wide Paramaatmaa should be the final decision of the Vedanta-Darshana. But as the polemic side of the Aphorisms was meant for the infant class of theological seminary, no elucidating treatises should be inserted in the Aphorisms which would be rather perplexing to unfledged youths who are busy with their puerile mundane impressions. The juvenile thought is supplemented by the true transcendental pastimes of the Personality of Adhokshaja and not by a particular Aspect of the One Who is considered as the Fountainhead of all Personalities of Godhead. Akhilarasamritamoorti Krishna has solved the whole question in all its phases by including the fullest identify of Brahman where transcendental relativities do not form cataracts to the eyes of readers, and in approaching Him the interpretations of Bhagavatam and Satwata Pancharatras have paved the way to get the true ontological aspect of Vedanta. So the five descending Aspects of Krishna in five planes are no barriers as they are to the shortsighted policy of the Mayavadins and Karmins.

In the fifth Aspect of Archaa we find the best suitability of regulating the wrong activities of our senses which actuate us as enjoyers of mundane phenomena and of having a devotional temperament to regain the relationship with the Absolute Krishna. The monists may claim that the five transcendental projections of the Absolute are detrimental to their whims; so the Supreme Lord may redeem those fallen souls of Mayavadins and Karmins, when they do approach Archaa (Facsimile of the Transcendental Manifested Absolute in mundane region), Antaryaami (Immanent Aspect of the Transcendental Manifested Absolute), Vaibhava (Manifestive Transcendental Aspects of the Personal Absolute in the Eternal as well as their disclosures in this mundane spheres), Vyuha (Transcendent Quadrantal Manifestations of the Personal Absolute), and Paraa (Integral Origin of the Personal Absolute), instead of shouting with their tentative arguments which have no locus standi.

Published in The Harmonist (Sree Sajjanatoshani)

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