SrI: SrImathE SatakOpAya nama: SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama: SrImadh varavaramunayE nama:
The comprehension of the import of Vedas
Criticism of Advaita
The father seeks to clarify to the son what he has in mind. The Brahman’s true character is
consciousness and bliss untainted by blemish. Its glory is endless. It is the abode of limitless
auspicious qualities like trueness of will. Its true character is changeless. This Brahman has for
its body, sentient and non-sentient entities which are in a subtle state where they cannot be
distinguished into forms and named. By its own desire to sport, the Brahman transforms its body into and sustains countless and variegated stationary and moving forms. By knowing this
Brahman, everything can be known. To make this point, the father points to the relation of
identity between cause and effect observed in this world.
In this world, we see that the cause is non-different from the effect. The clay is non-different
from the part. Gold is non-different from the ornament. The cause undergoes a change of state and becomes effect. The effect undergoes a change of state and returns as the cause. We call
the former process ‘creation’, and the latter process ‘destruction’. The Brahman is always
fulfilled and has no motive to transform His body. So, the process is called a ‘sport’ since there
is no ulterior motive in sporting.
By the same clay, several objects can be formed and named separately as ‘jar’, ‘pot’, etc. But,
only the clay is true. Everything else is a name attached to identify a particular configuration of
clay. Based on the manner in which it is configured, it takes various forms and gets named as
pots, jars, etc. However, the pot is non-different from clay, the jar is non-different from clay.
They are all the same – clay. In that sense, one can say that by knowing clay, one knows about
pots and jars because they are all nothing more than configurations of clay.
omprehend how Brahman could be single cause of all the diverse objects
perceived in the universe. So, he told his father, “Sire, please explain this to me yourself.” In
order to teach that the Brahman which is omniscient and omnipotent is the sole cause of the
universe, the father said, “This was only Being (sat) in the beginning, only one, without a
second.” “This” refers to this universe. “In the beginning” denotes the time before ‘creation’. The universe was in a state where it could not be resolved into forms or named. It could only said to have existed. In other words, it has Being (Brahman) for its soul. By “only one”, it is conveyed that there was nothing else – no other material cause existed for this universe. By “without a
second”, it is stated that there was no other creative cause for the universe.
This explanation makes clear what the father had in mind when he asked, “Have you listened to
that ādeśa by knowing which the unheard becomes heard of?’ This is further emphasized by the
father’s words, “It (the Being) resolved, ‘May I become many, may I multiply.’
The Being mentioned here is the Highest Brahman, who is omniscient, omnipotent and of true-
will. As the Brahman is always fulfilled, creation is merely sport, without motive for gain. The
Brahman resolved that it shall become many. Its resolution was to become this world full of
diverse sentient and non-sentient entities. For this purpose, it decided to multiply. It created the
fundamental elements like space, etc. out of a ‘part’ of Itself. Then, the Brahman thought, “I will
enter these elements through the individual soul and divide this into names and forms.” This
clarifies that the individual soul or jīva has the Brahman for its deeper self. It also clarifies that
the universe obtains names and forms through the entry of the individual soul which is the body of the Brahman.
By saying that the Brahman made the creative choice “May I become many”, and by indicating
by the same statement that it is the Brahman itself which is becoming many, it becomes clear
that the father had in mind that the Brahman is the creative and material cause of the universe.
The next set of quotations from the Chandogya explain the process in which creation took
As the individual soul acts as a mode of the Brahman by being Its body, the individual soul can
be said to have the Brahman as its self. The manifest form of divine beings, humans, animals,
plants etc. act as modes of the individual soul by serving as its body. As the soul in turn is a
mode of the Brahman, everything is a mode of the Brahman. Therefore, all words which refer to these entities such as ‘man’, ‘plant’, ‘tree’, ‘rock’, ‘pot’, etc., qualify not only those manifest
objects, but by extension, the individual soul that masters them into form, and in turn, to the
Brahman which masters the individual soul. Thus, all names denote the Brahman.
In this manner, it is conveyed that the entire universe has the Brahman for its creative and
material cause. The universe is supported by Being, controlled by Being and is instrumental to
Being. This is what is meant by, “Dear son! All this have Being for their root, Being for their
abode and Being for their support.” Using the relation of cause-effect, the father says, “All this
has the Brahman for its soul. That is truth.” What is truth? The truth is that the entire universe
has the Brahman for its self. The Brahman is the soul of everything, and everything is its body.
In “You are that”, “you” refers to the individual soul of the son. The general view that the
Brahman is the self of the entire universe is made useful by teaching the son that the Brahman
is also therefore the self of the individual soul of the son denoted by “you”. “You are also
brahmātmaka” – this is meaning.
adiyen ranganatha ramanuja dasan
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