dkspost_2021 Posts 81 to 100

10/12/2021 Post 81

Pronunciation is emphasized as important in Taitriya upanishad.

Because teaching is based on oral talking, pronunciation is essential for understanding.

Among  the  Six  Vedangas  of  Shiksha-Kalpa-Vyakarana-Nirukti-Chhandas  and  Jyotisha,  Shiksha  is  of high  significance.  Shiksha here means speaking clearly with correct intonations.  Swara  or  notation  is  the  key  to pronunciation.  It  is  about  the  Science  of  Pronunciation  of  Shiksha  or  Instruction  by  a  Guru  that  is  an  integral  part  of  teaching  to  a  student.  The  rudiments  of this  Shiksha  covers  the  full  range  of  the  Science  be  it  ‘Varnas’ or  alphabets,  ‘svaras’  or    accents  of  both ‘Udaatta’  or  elevated  ,  ‘svarita’  or  pitched  and  ‘anudaatta’,  ‘maatra’or  measures  or  time  required  for  the pronunciation  requiring  ‘balam’  or  emphasis,  ‘Saamah’  or  uniformity  and  ‘santaanah’  of  Saama  or  the   juxtaposition  viz.  the  conjoining  of  letters  and  so  on.  Hence  the  “ukta’  or  what  is  stated  and  clarified  in the  Sikshaadhyaaya  or  the  Chapter  of  pronunciation. Examples are given when a change in intonation led to the opposite effect. So great care and concentration are required to learn shiksha.

The upanishad looks at five kinds of  Vigjnana .

Let us the slokam.


saha nau yaśaḥ . saha nau brahmavarcasam .

athātaḥ sagͫhitāyā upaniṣadam vyākhyāsyāmaḥ .

pañcasvadhikaraṇeṣu .

adhilokam adhijyauti ṣamadhividyam adhiprajamadhyātmam .

tā mahāsagͫhitā ityācakṣate . athādhilokam .

pṛthivī pūrvarūpam . dyauruttararūpam .

ākāśaḥ sandhiḥ. vāyuḥ sandhānam . ityadhilokam . ..”

The pupils say: ‘May we both, teacher and disciple, have the glory and effulgence born of holy life and scriptural study.’ The teacher says ‘now we shall explain the secret of teaching of the concept of conjunction.’ This teaching is based on five perceptible objects: a) Universe, b) Luminaries ( light)  c) Learning and knowledge , d) Progeny, e) Body to soul – pancha koshas.  These they call ‘the great combinations (or blendings)’. The teaching concerning the universe is this: The earth is the prior form, the heaven (firmament) is the posterior form. Atmosphere is the junction. Air is the junction( medium). Thus one should meditate upon the Universe.

This concept of conjunction is interesting. We have entities and a medium and an outcome .

It is a quadruple relation but outcome is defined. Each entity is having characteristics. For example, consider teacher Student relation. Two entities here are-  teacher and students. The medium is teaching – self study and lectures- and outcome is knowledge. Our relational algebra or network theory has no straightforward way of representation of this concept. Data flow diagram can be modified to handle this conjunction.

More in next.


Let us look self realisation and its importance. Others can’t do your job.

51. A father has got his sons and others to free him from his debts, but he has got none but himself to remove his bondage.

52. Trouble such as that caused by a load on the head can be removed by others, but none but one’s own self can put a stop to the pain which is caused by hunger and the like.

53. The patient who takes (the proper) diet and medicine is alone seen to recover completely – not through work done by others.

10/14/2021 Post 82

Let us see some connections.

Now as to the lights: fire the first form, sun the second form ,water the junction ,lightning the medium.. The Upanishad combines water with fire May be due to the fact lighting is associated with rain.

Now as to the  knowledge: master is the first form, pupil the second form ,knowledge is  the junction,instruction or teaching is  the medium. Here Acharya is used for teacher.

Now as to progeny:  mother is the first form, father the second form ,progeny the junction, procreation the medium.

There are prayers for ones health and prosperity.  Let us see the worlds. It is now four.

:  ‘Bhu or   the  Earth,  ‘Bhuva’  or  the Intermediate  Space,  and  ‘Suvaha’  is  the  extra  terrestrial  world  yonder  or  the  higher  worlds.  Maha is sun denoting all other worlds.

 Many interpretations follow.  Now,  if  Bhu  is Agni,  Bhuva  is  Vayu,  Suvaha  is  Surya  then  Maha  is  Chandra  and  the  last  is  what  the  luminaries  sparkle  and glorify!

 Indeed  if  Vyahriti  is  called  the  trunk  of  the  body  of  Hiranyagarbha  Brahman,  then  the  limbs  are  : bhu  or  the  legs,  bhuvah  or  the  hands  and  suvaha  is  the  head!.

 Bhuriti  vaa  Ruchah  Bhuva  iti Samaani  Suvariti  yajumsi,  Maha  iti  Brahma,  Braahmana  vaava  sarve  vedaa  ma  maheeyante/  Bhurita  vai Pranah,  Bhuva  ityapaanah  suvariti  vyaanah  maha  ityannam  annena  vaava  sarve  praanaa  maheeyante/ Taa  vaa  etatas  chaturdhaah  chaturasro  vyahritayah,  taa  yo  veda  saeda  Brahma,  Saveshmai  Deva  balim aavahanti/

 (The word ‘Bhu’connotes Rig  Veda, ‘Bhuvah’  Saama Veda,  and  ‘Suvaaha’  for  Yajur  Veda  while Maha  is  ‘Om’  or  Brahman.  Also  ‘Bhu’  is  the  ‘Praana’,  ‘Bhuvah’  is  ‘Apaana’,  ‘Suvah’  is  ‘Vyana’,  and ‘Mahah’  is  ‘Anna’  or  food.  Thus  the  ‘vyahritis’  of  Brahman  are  expressed  in  four  significant  viz. Brahman  as  Tri  Lokas  of  ‘Bhurbhuvassvah’;  as  three  Devas  of  Agni,  Surya  and  Chandra;  three    Vedas  of Rik-Saama-Yaju  and  three  Pranas  viz.  Apana-Vyana-Suvana.  Indeed  he  who    absorbs  these  details  attains supremacy  of  Brahman to himself  as Devas  offer  a variety  of  gifts to him.

The term ” bhurbhuvasvaha ” is used extensively in prayers . So we see several interpretations given in this upanishad.

So one can see multiple views of representations of the term ” bhurbhuvasuvaha”..

Similarly five factors are represented – five senses, five actions.

Another  type  of  meditation  is  to  the  Pancha  Pranas  viz.  Praana-Vyaana-Apaana-Udaana-Samaanas  or  the Vital  Force  performing  exhaling,  pervading,  inhaling,  leaving  the  body  and  digesting.

 Yet  another  one  is stated as  ‘Pankti’  or  the  five  feet/  five  lettered  ‘Chandhobhaga’  or  Prosody  the Vedanga  devoted to  poetry and  prose  scripting.  Further  meditation  is  for  the  welfare  of  Pancha  Karmendriyas  and  Pancha Jnanendriyas  of  eyes-ears-mouth-nose  and  skin  and  the  counter  part  senses  of  vision,  hearing,  speech, smell  and  touch.  The  Pankti  or  the  row  of  five  possessions  that  a  father  counsels  to  his  son  as  the  former draws  nears  his  death  and  the  five  possessions  acquired  worthy  of  sacrifice  were  his  wife,  sons,  human wealth,  divine  wealth  and  the  Self!  Essentially  thus  the  Universe  is  made  of  Pancha  Bhutas  or  Five  Gross Elements air, water,fire,earth and ether or akasha that  Prajapati  Himself  is  all  about!.  

More in the next post.


There are steps in the ladder to reach higher levels. First we saw that one should go beyond duties and karma and Bhakti.  Now we are Urged to go beyond scriptures.

59. The study of the Scriptures is useless so long as the highest Truth is unknown, and it is equally useless when the highest Truth has already been known.

60. The Scriptures consisting of many words are a dense forest which merely causes the mind to ramble. Hence men of wisdom should earnestly set about knowing the true nature of the Self.

10/16/2021 Post 83

Mr MGPL Narayana sent an interesting comment.

Women should be Valiant.~Yajur Veda 10.03

Women should earn Fame. ~Atharva Veda 14.1.20

Women should be Scholars. ~Atharva Veda 11.5.18

Women should be Illuminating. ~Atharva Veda 14.2.74

Women should be Prosperous and Wealth. ~Atharva Veda 7.47.2

Women should be Intelligent and Knowledgable. ~Atharva Veda 7.47.1

Women should take part in Legislative Chambers. ~Atharva Veda 7.38.4

Women should be given lead stage for Rulling nation. ~Rig Veda 10.85.46

Women should be given lead stage for Society works. ~Rig Veda 10.85.46

Women should be given lead stage in Governmental Organizations. ~Rig Veda 10.85.46

Women should have same right as Son over Father’s Property. ~Rig Veda 3.31.1

Women should be protecter of Family and Society. ~Atharva Veda 14.1.20

Women should be provider of Wealth, Food. ~Atharva Veda 11.1.17

Women should be provider of Prosperity. ~Atharva Veda 11.1.17

Women should ride on Chariots. ~Atharva Veda 9.9.2

Women should participate in War. ~Yajur Veda 16.44

यत्र नार्यस्तु पूजयन्ते तत्र रमन्ते देवता ः

it says all about women’s status in Hinduism. Women are revered by society in Sanatan Dharama. It’s only women who take all responsibilities of whole family , so her place is considered highest , she shape the personality of her children. Whole family trust her and that’s why depend on her for many things. Chhatrapati Shivaji & Maharana Pratap returned women and children with all respect & protection to enemy when they won in battlefield from mughals.

Women are worshipped in form of Kali, Laxmi, Durga. Hindus have great regard for women.

By : Devendra Jha

My response

We saw in Rig veda there are as many independent goddesses as gods.  Many like savitr have a lot of power. The concept of consort is not known then. It came with puranas. I have seen the statements quoted by you. Many deal with goddesses and not women . I am giving below two quotes from Rig and Atharva Veda. I do not find quotes for others . It is clear that rig veda says “welcome  the bride and ask her to take charge “

Mr Griffith has translated Rig Yajur and Atharva Vedas in English. I am quoting from his translation.

Rig veda 10.85.46

This talks about a woman who is getting married.

Go to the house to be the household’s mistress and speak as lady ito thy gathered people.

27. Happy be thou and prosper witlh thy children here: be vigilant to rule thy household in this home.

46.“Be a queen to your father-in-law, be a queen to your mother-in-law, be a queen to your husband’ssister, be a queen to your husband’s brother.”

45. O Bounteous Indra, make this bride blest in her sons and fortunate.

     Vouchsafe to her ten sons, and make her husband the eleventh man.

46. Over thy husband’s father and thy husband’s mother bear full sway.

45. O Bounteous Indra, make this bride blest in her sons and fortunate.

     Vouchsafe to her ten sons, and make her husband the eleventh man.

46. Over thy husband’s father and thy husband’s mother bear full sway

Over the sister of thy lord, over his brothers rule supreme.

Atharva veda 14.1

 So be imperial queen when thou hast come within thy husband’s


44Over thy husband’s fathers and his brothers be imperial queen.

  Over thy husband’s sister and, his mother bear supreme control.

45They who have spun, and woven, and extended Goddesses who

   have drawn the ends together,

From Viveka chudamani-

Qualities required for learning:

68. Listen attentively, O learned one, to what I am going to say. By listening to it thou shalt be instantly free from the bondage of Samsara. ( Listen)

69. The first step to Liberation is the extreme aversion to all perishable things, then follow calmness, self-control, forbearance, and the utter relinquishment of all work enjoined in the Scriptures.

70. Then come hearing, reflection on that, and long, constant and unbroken meditation on the Truth for the Muni. After that the learned seeker attains the supreme Nirvikalpa state and realises the bliss of Nirvana even in this life.

71. Now I am going to tell thee fully about what thou oughtst to know – the discrimination between the Self and the non-Self. Listen to it and decide about it in thy mind.

10/18/2021 Post 84

Let us conclude the shikshavalli of Taittriya Upanishad with this post.

It has many learnings for us on education.

Students and teacher should work together. Collaboration is an important step and requirement for studies and cognition

Speak the truth. Follow your duties. Respect mother, father, teacher and guests.

Learning is by lectures , discussions and most importantly swadyaya – self learning.

There are qualities defined . It applies to both. First is shraddha – interest. Then calmness of mind, concentration . Then approach the subject with detachment.

           dama  is  self-control  of           physical  and  internal  organs,  learning  and  teaching,    saama  or inherent  balance  of  thought  and  deed  ,

 Agnihotra  or  Sacrifice,  practice  of    austerities,   . ( We saw these qualities prescribed by Shankaracharya in vivekachudamani). Learn now. Don’t postpone tasks.

Learning is also for health ,welfare, progeny ,  prosperity – means for living comfortably.  But the ultimate goal is to understand and realise the  Brahman. So we need to learn living skills definitely , mental skills and realisation of God.

Repetition is required. Learn repeatedly . Contemplate to understand it fully.

Learn continuously.

Perform good acts only.

Understand the universe, nature, resources  and your body and mind. They are interconnected.  Observe the happenings.


These explain the fact that truth is beyond senses. The senses don’t give the true picture. The Advaita says everything is illusion and the whole world lives in ignorance and needs to learn more deeply. Remember the saying – what we learnt is just a handful, what we have not learnt fills the world.

72. Composed of the seven ingredients, viz. marrow, bones, fat, flesh, blood, skin and cuticle, and consisting of the following limbs and their parts – legs, thighs, the chest, arms, the back and the head:

73. This body, reputed to be the abode of the delusion of’I and mine’, is designated by sages as the gross body. The sky, air, fire, water and earth are subtle elements. They –

74. Being united with parts of one another and becoming gross, (they) form the gross body. And their subtle essences form sense-objects – the group of five such as sound, which conduce to the happiness of the experiencer, the individual soul.

75. Those fools who are tied to these sense-objects by the stout cord of attachment, so very difficult to snap, come and depart, up and down, carried amain by the powerful emissary of their past action.

10/20/2021 Post 85

Do we have an overall and total framework of our human system , not just physical body ?. Modern Medical sciences definitely progressed over a long period but gaps still  exist . ( That is one reason Shankaracharya calls jagat mitya or maya – our ignorance). But an overall framework has been proposed in brahmananda valli section of Taittriya Upanishad. Some aspects are still not understood in modern science and some like breathing are not accepted by our modern science. The pancha koshas lay a good foundation for healthy , happy and intelligent living. They also give us a good understanding of the body ,both physical and subtle and mental.

The upanishad says the following.

The important key  statement is

satyam  jnanam  anantam  brahma, .  It can be construed as a mahavakya like prajnanam Brahma we saw in Aitareya upanishad. We see a better picture here.

That is  , this  Supreme  Truth Knowledge-Bliss-Infinity  is, of  course, Brahman as  has  been  mentioned before.  

Brahman is Truth, Knowledge and Infinity. He who knows it as existing hidden in the heart, realises all his desires instantaneously and without succession, as the omniscient Brahman.

From this Atman is Akasa (ether) born; from Akasa, air( well we know oxygen is needed for life and also hydrogen); from air, fire ( from oxygen); from fire, water( combine oxygen and hydrogen to get water); from water, earth; from earth, the herbs, plants and vegetables; from herbs, etc., food; from food, man. ( the sequence is clear and accepted). Thus man is made of the essence of food. The physical embodiment has its parts, such as the head, the right and left parts, the trunk, the support, etc.

There are five kosas or sheaths in which the Self Manifests Himself as the Ego, namely, the Annamaya or the one  composed of food ,thePranamaya  or the one composed of  vitality ,the Manonmaya or the one composed of thought ,the Vijnanamaya or the one composed of intelligence ,and the  anandamaya  or the one composed of bliss;

and corresponding to these there are five kosas or sheaths in which the  same Self manifests Himself as the objective ,as the  non-Ego, namely, Anna or food, Prana Or Vitality, Manas or thought,Vijnana or intelligence ,and ananda or bliss.So That,ultimately,there are five principles, Anna, Prana., Manas, Vijnana and ananda . Also they are related . They constitute physical activities and senses , subtle activities and mental activities.

We do not have a good concept of prana. We think it is air or oxygen. But it means more.

Let us see it in next post


Sankaracharya warns us about our belief in the gross body

The total absorption in sensual pleasures and gross body will keep us in ignorance and difficulties. It won’t give bliss – happiness.

81. Know that death quickly overtakes the stupid man who walks along the dreadful ways of sense-pleasure; whereas one who walks in accordance with the instructions of a well-wishing and worthy Guru, as also with his own reasoning, achieves his end – know this to be true.

82. If indeed thou hast a craving for Liberation, shun sense-objects from a good distance as thou wouldst do poison, and always cultivate carefully the nectar-like virtues of contentment, compassion, forgiveness, straight-forwardness, calmness and self-control.

83. Whoever leaves aside what should always be attempted, viz. emancipation from the bondage of Ignorance without beginning, and passionately seeks to nourish this body, which is an object for others to enjoy, commits suicide thereby.

84. Whoever seeks to realise the Self by devoting himself to the nourishment of the body, proceeds to cross a river by catching hold of a crocodile, mistaking it for a log.

10/22/2021 Post 86

The taittriya upanishad says about prana that More than this one formed of food-essence – annamayakosa- ,there is another self within, formed of  prana by him this one is filled. 

What is prana. It is not air or oxygen.

Prana is a life giving energy . It has several components to nurture various parts of body. While oxygen or air goes to lungs, prana flows through the body. There are channels through which the nutritions flow. These are called nadis.  I am not able to correlate nadis with known parts of body. Nadis transmit signals and energy and nutrients. So the nervous system is a part of this in addition to blood circulation.  But what else ?   There are 74000 nadis according to one account. The nutrients flow through blood to flesh to muscles to bones ànd bone marrow.

Prana consists of five parts – prana, apana , udana, samana, and vyana. These take care of inhalation or input, exhalation or expelling , circulation and balancing.

Prāṇa    deals with Head, lungs, and heart.     Movement is inward and downward, it is the vital life force. Balanced prāṇa leads to a balanced and calm mind and emotions.

Apāna relates to     Lower abdomen.    Movement is outward and downward, it is related to processes of elimination, reproduction and skeletal health (absorption of nutrients). Balanced apāna leads to a healthy digestive and reproductive system.

Udāna     uses Diaphragm,and  throat.    Movement is upward, it is related to the respiratory functions, speech and functioning of the brain. Balanced udāna leads to a healthy respiratory system, clarity of speech, healthy mind, good memory, creativity, etc.

Samāna is in    Navel    . Movement is spiral, concentrated around the navel, like a churning motion, it is related to digestion on all levels. Balanced samāna leads to a healthy metabolism.

Vyāna    is Originating from the heart, and  distributed throughout.    Movement is outward, like the circulatory process. It is related to circulatory system, nervous system and cardiac system. Balanced vyāna leads to a healthy heart, circulation and balanced nerves.

The importance of prana can be seen from the hymn of Atharva Veda.

1Homage to Prāna, him who hath dominion o’er the universe,

Who hath become the Sovereign Lord of all, on whom the whole depends!

2Homage, O Prāna, to thy roar, to thunder-peal and lightning flash!

Homage, O Prāna, unto thee what time thou sendest down thy rain!

3When Prāna with a thunderous voice shouts his loud message to the plants,

They straightway are impregnate, they conceive, and bear abundantly.

4When the due season hath arrived and Prāna shouteth to herbs,

Then all is joyful, yea, each thing upon the surface of the earth.

5When Prāna hath poured down his flood of rain upon the mighty land.

Cattle and beasts rejoice thereat: Now great will he our strength, they cry.

6Watered by Prāna’s rain the plants have raised their voices in accord:

Thou hast prolonged our life, they say, and given fragrance to us all.

7Homage to thee when coming nigh, homage to thee departing hence!

Homage, O Prāna, be to thee when standing and when sitting still.

8Homage to thee at every breath thou drawest in and sendest forth!

Homage to thee when turned away, homage to thee seen face to

face! This reverence be to all of thee!

9Prāna, communicate to us thy dear, thy very dearest form.

Whatever healing balm thou hast, give us thereof that we may live.

10Prāna robes living creatures as a father his beloved son. Prāna is sovereign Lord of all, of all that breathes not, all that breathes

14The human infant in the womb draws vital breath and sends it out:

When thou, O Prāna, quickenest the babe it springs anew to life.

15The name of Prāna is bestowed on Mātarisvan and on Wind.

On Prāna, past and future, yea, on Prāna everything depends.

16All herbs and plants spring forth and grow when thou, O Prāna quickenest,

Plants of Atharvan, Angiras, plants of the deities and men.

17When Prāna hath poured down his flood of rain upon the mighty earth,

The plants are wakened into life, and every herb that grows on ground.

18The man who knows this truth of thee, O Prāna, and what bears thee up

To him will all present their gift of tribute in that loftiest will

all present their gift of tribute in that loftiest world.

19As all these living creatures are thy tributaries, Prāna, so

Shall they bring tribute unto him who hears thee with attentive ears.

20Filled with a babe, mid deities he wanders: grown; near at hand, he springs again to being.

That Father, grown the present and the future, hath past into the son with mighty powers.

21Hansa, what time he rises up, leaves in the flood one foot un-moved.

If he withdrew it there would be no more tomorrow or to-day,

Never would there be night, no more would daylight shine or morning flush.

22It rolleth on, eight-wheeled and single-fellied, and with a thousand eyes, forward and backward.

With one half it engendered all creation. What sign is there to tell us of the other?

23Homage, O Prāna unto thee armed with swift bow among the rest,

In whose dominion is this All of varied sort that stirs and works!

24May he who rules this Universe of varied sort, that stirs and works,

Prāna, alert and resolute, assist me through the prayer I pray.

25Erect among the sleepers he wakes, and is never laid at length,

No one hath ever heard that he hath been asleep while others slept.

26Thou, Prāna, never shalt be hid, never shalt be estranged from me.

I bind thee on myself for life, O Prāna, like the Waters’ germ.

10/24/2021 Post 87

Prana wa considered as a vayu in samkhya darshana. But Shankaracharya refutes it and says it is a principle . Pranamaya kosha pervades everywhere and prana is a life force or energy. So it includes nutrients.

My guess is nadis refer to lymphatic system. We have many lymph nodes at many parts of the body. There is a lymph liquid flow in the body. Are chakras symbolise cluster of lymph nodes?. These help in creating and controlling emotions. They provide immunity against infections. Many yoga exercises based on nadi allow increased flow of lymph fluids.  Kundalini focuses on the base of spinal cord.

 Kundalini is described as a sleeping, dormant potential force in the human organism. It is one of the components of an esoteric description of the “subtle body”, which consists of nadis (energy channels), chakras (psychic centres), prana (subtle energy), and bindu (drops of essence).

Swami Sivananda Saraswati of the Divine Life Society stated in his book Kundalini Yoga that “Supersensual visions appear before the mental eye of the aspirant, new worlds with indescribable wonders and charms unfold themselves before the Yogi, planes after planes reveal their existence and grandeur to the practitioner and the Yogi gets divine knowledge, power and bliss, in increasing degrees, when Kundalini passes through Chakra after Chakra, making them to bloom in all their glory…”

As the ancient writers have said, it is the vital force or prana which is spread over both the macrocosm, the entire Universe, and the microcosm, the human body… The atom is contained in both of these. Prana is life-energy responsible for the phenomena of terrestrial life and for life on other planets in the universe. Prana in its universal aspect is immaterial. But in the human body, Prana creates a fine biochemical substance which works in the whole organism and is the main agent of activity in the nervous system and in the brain. The brain is alive only because of Prana.

Sir John Woodroffe (1865–1936) – also known by his pseudonym Arthur Avalon – was a British Orientalist whose published works stimulated a far-reaching interest in Hindu philosophy and Yogic practices. While serving as a High Court Judge in Calcutta, he studied Sanskrit and Hindu Philosophy, particularly as it related to Hindu Tantra. He translated numerous original Sanskrit texts and lectured on Indian philosophy, Yoga and Tantra. His book, The Serpent Power: The Secrets of Tantric and Shaktic Yoga became a major source for many modern Western adaptations of Kundalini yoga practice. It presents an academically and philosophically sophisticated translation of, and commentary on, two key Eastern texts: Shatchakranirūpana (Description and Investigation into the Six Bodily Centers) written by Tantrik Pūrnānanda Svāmī (1526) and the Paduka-Pancakā from the Sanskrit of a commentary by Kālīcharana (Five-fold Footstool of the Guru). The Sanskrit term “Kundali Shakti” translates as “Serpent Power”. Kundalini is thought to be an energy released within an individual using specific meditation techniques. It is represented symbolically as a serpent coiled at the base of the spine.

In his book Artistic Form and Yoga in the Sacred Images of India, Heinrich Zimmer wrote in praise of the writings of Sir John Woodroffe.

Western awareness of kundalini was strengthened by the interest of Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Dr. Carl Jung (1875–1961). Jung’s seminar on Kundalini yoga presented to the Psychological Club in Zurich in 1932 was widely regarded as a milestone in the psychological understanding of Eastern thought and of the symbolic transformations of inner experience. Kundalini yoga presented Jung with a model for the developmental phases of higher consciousness, and he interpreted its symbols in terms of the process of individuation, with sensitivity towards a new generation’s interest in alternative religions and psychological exploration.

In the introduction to Jung’s book The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga, Sonu Shamdasani puts forth “The emergence of depth psychology was historically paralleled by the translation and widespread dissemination of the texts of yoga… for the depth psychologies sought to liberate themselves from the stultifying limitations of Western thought to develop maps of inner experience grounded in the transformative potential of therapeutic practices. A similar alignment of “theory” and “practice” seemed to be embodied in the yogic texts that moreover had developed independently of the bindings of Western thought. Further, the initiatory structure adopted by institutions of psychotherapy brought its social organization into proximity with that of yoga. Hence, an opportunity for a new form of comparative psychology opened up.”

With many talking about chakras , nadis and kundalini yoga, it is worth and also essential to study these deeply with the help of modern scientific approaches .

10/26/2021 Post 88

You may be wondering why I am spending more time on Taitriya upanishad? There are many reasons.

Many intellectuals have a myopic view on Hinduism by only  looking at the behaviour of people and ignoring everything else . They forget materialistic behaviour is the same in people of all religions. Greed , money and consumption dominate most of us including the Hinduism phobic people . All ,without exception , business books and most business leaders suggest highly materialistic paths for success. They don’t synchronize with Upanishads thoughts. Fortunately , many scientists in India believe in the upanishadic concepts and are ridiculed for their non-scientific approach. This is the first lesson on maya, the advaitic principle of ignorance, a highly biased and localised and miopic opinion.  But Taitreya upanishad gives very moral guidelines for living and prosperity. Success in life is defined by speaking truth , following dharmic paths, following order,  respecting all, giving freely without expectation  and in abundance, having concern for all and nature, and understanding the purpose and goal in life.

Vedas and Upanishads talk about an all pervasive , infinite , all aware entity without attributes called Brahman. It is a scientific definition of God. Upanishads do not speak of god or gods except in an utilitarian view. Upanishads do not take a materialistic view or even a religious view. They talk of higher moral , altruistic, universal , thought provoking and ethical values.

Most Upanishads concentrate on Brahman a lot. But Taitreya upanishad looks at education, living,  ethics, human systems in detail. True values are preached in most Upanishads.  But a good look at the pancha koshas and shiksha are its merits deserving our attention. These descriptions apply even today . So you can say they are timeless. Neuro experts like Carl Jung appreciate this.

Hence my focus on this upanishad to open our eyes.

The conception of five kosas that is sheaths is interesting and important to understand. It gives a holistic picture of a human , not body alone. Each kosa has its objectives , functions and indriyas that are units.  Even the brain is a set of units.

These  sheaths  in  us—the  physical, vital,  mental,  intellectual  and  causal—are the inverted  forms  of the otherwise-vertical,  we  may say,  forms  of  the  cosmic  sheaths which  are in  the form  of  the five elements—earth,  water,  fire,  air and  ether,  going  upwards  from  below. These kosas are circular with multiple interactions between them.  These koshas are interrelated.

Prana is controlled by the mind and hormones. Children have a balanced flow, but for adults, emotions change the flows.  The distinction of mind and intellect – manas and vijnana is thought provoking.

More on the koshas in the next post.


Relevant to the pancha koshas

92. The ears, skin, eyes, nose and tongue are organs of knowledge, for they help us to cognise objects; the vocal organs, hands, legs, etc., are organs of action, owing to their tendency to work.

93-94. The inner organ (Antahkarana) is called Manas, Buddhi, ego or Chitta, according to their respective functions: Manas, from its considering the pros and cons of a thing; Buddhi, from its property of determining the truth of objects; the ego, from its identification with this body as one’s own self; and Chitta, from its function of remembering things it is interested in.

95. One and the same Prana (vital force) becomes Prana, Apana, Vyana, Udana and Samana according to their diversity of functions and modifications, like gold, water, etc.

96. The five organs of action such as speech, the five organs of knowledge such as the ear, the group of five Pranas, the five elements ending with the ether, together with Buddhi and the rest as also Nescience, desire and action – these eight “cities” make up what is called the subtle body.

10/28/2021 Post 89

Let us continue with the koshas.

Understanding annamayakosa- and satvik food –  improves our health -first step. Also our moods. It gives us a good mood and energy to work. Some foods give mental health also. ( It is claimed now that processed food leads to dimentia.)

Understanding pranamaya kosha improves our health – second step ; it makes us understand breathing ,production of hormones , calm our mind and the impacts of emotions more clearly. We understand our body better.  It can help us fight infections, control emotions. I read a 2020 published book on breathing by James Nestor. He talks about the relief he got on the first day of doing breathing exercises. He says he didn’t feel anything for about 20 minutes. Then he saw the change. So I don’t subscribe to two minutes pranayama suggested by many yoga professionals. My Ayurveda consultant suggested 20 minimum minutes of pranayama. I follow it even now.  You can start with nadi suddhi where you only inhale and exhale but don’t hold the breath. This may be followed by pranayama where you hold your breath for about 15 seconds for inhale hold and exhale cycle. There are some who say I can’t sit beyond five minutes . I loose interest. They should start with five minutes and keep increasing every day by a few minutes. Being without breath is important as inhaling the air fully and exhaling it fully. Like a child, we need to breathe slowly, steadily . Nestor says 90 % of people don’t breathe correctly. Most diseases are due to this improper breathing.

There is a great degree of learning and science in this. Many yoga teachers don’t understand the importance of prana in yoga. They do calisthenics and gymnastics.

Swimming needs great breath control. Deep divers without oxygen have phenomenal control on holding the breath. Good breath control is needed for singing also . Well, good breathing and control leads to a long and healthy life for all.

We are not familiar with the many aspects of prana and we ignored them and forgot about them for a long time. We felt it is foolish as western science and allopathy do not accept prana. I am not knowledgeable  about  this. One can look at YouTube for good guidance.

Let us continue further in the next post

10/30/2021 Post 90

Let us look at manomaya kosha next.

The mind, along with the five sensory organs, is said to constitute the manomaya kosha. The manomaya kosha, or “mind-sheath” is said more truly to approximate personhood than annamaya kosa and pranamaya kosha.

This third layer directly corresponds to our psyche, emotions, and the nervous system. It is expressed as a way of thoughts, feelings and sensations. Manomaya kosha, is derived from the word manas, meaning our mind or thought processes.

our mental body is where we experience the senses. It acts like a sheath that performs various activities like receiving, absorbing and processing information, and governs our automatic responses and reflexes. An overactive manomaya kosha is one which plays on our  emotions. In such a case, Yoga helps us to calm  our mind and soothe our nervous system, allowing us  to overcome the effects of stress and fatigue.

Actually both annamaya and pranamaya deals with the human body. It is the way we develop our mind that makes us human person. From childhood , we start building the mind with a lot of beliefs, emotions, habits, behaviours , and  actions . This learning and building our mind does not happen in the schools. It is this accumulation of a large volume of data and procedures that guides our actions and the actions and responses make us a good or bad person or a successful person or a failure, an educated person or a dutyful person or a helpful person. This determines our life

The mind is initially filled with very little data. We learn coping with situations like regularity in brushing teeth and bathing, ways of eating and knowing what to eat and how much, how to behave with others, how to respond to danger , fear and how to control emotions. Actually we build procedures for each activity like bathing, eating, sleeping, breathing etc initially and talking, discussing etc later . Once a snapshot of an activity is built in the mind we follow it subconsciously without much attention particularly for routine and simple tasks.

Now the question is how does one acquire good habits , behaviours , beliefs etc and how does one control emotions and senses so that one becomes successful and famous.

Our shastras and Taitreya upanishad tell us one important first step. Choose a proper guru. We can learn from many but there should be one guru.

The qualities of a guru are explained in the upanishad and vivekachudamani .

It is:

Choose a guru Who is versed in the Vedas, sinless, selfless, unsmitten by desire and a knower of Brahman par excellence, who has withdrawn himself into Brahman; who is calm, like fire that has consumed its fuel, who is a boundless reservoir of mercy that knows no reason, and a friend of all good people who prostrate themselves before him. He has a high degree of knowledge, Viveka , shraddha and other qualities we have enumerated. The Guru should have good and desirable qualities .

This selection of a guru or mentor is the most important step in making one a good , great ,and successful and helpful person. This is lacking now. Most children are directionless. Can we not identify ten to twenty or more mentors in each village who need not have modern education but are wise and willing to help and build ethical characters in children.

I was extremely fortunate to have a mentor for about fifteen years of my young life. It is my uncle. He was a scholar imparting knowledge till he was eighty years old. He was a simple person having a frugal life with no desires. He was socially active participating/ guiding and performing most activities in the village and town where he lived. His integrity is remarkable. I learnt ledger posting and accounting from him.

I learnt by following him, observing his actions and listening to him. It built my social and intellectual capabilities.

We need to identify, train and build lakhs of mentors so that children have an opportunity to develop  good behaviours . The building of future successful India depends on this.

This shows the importance of manas or mind in a human.

11/01/2021 Post 91

Let us see the fourth kosha.

The third layer is essentially an autonomous and subconscious layer with less of  thinking activities.

Beneath the constant stream of thoughts, feelings, and sensations, lies the fourth inner sheath of higher intelligence in your wisdom body, which is called the vijnanamaya kosha, derived from vijnana, or “intellect.” this is the cognition layer

our intuition, conscience, and various other aspects of our consciousness comprise our wisdom body. Here, we  develop our awareness and deeper insight into ourselves and the world around us. We develop analytical and problem solving skills. As Dr Atul Gawande,an eminent surgeon and writer of several books , says , this layer helps us to get out of ineptitude and solve problems better. We understand and apply existing techniques to innovate new aspects and techniques.  It uses enquiry methods and analysis techniques. This layer tells us we don’t know much, be curious , observe, listen , discuss and come with a new and deep awareness . We apply our new views to get solutions to our problems. We encounter many complex problems in our life and need a correct solution.  Practicing yoga helps to still the mental body so that you can listen to your wisdom body as it begins to guide you. Simply paying attention to any internal sensations can help you feel this kosha layer.

Anandamaya means composed of ananda, or bliss; it is the subtlest of the five koshas.  It is a consciousness layer. In the Upanishads the sheath is known also as the causal body. In deep sleep, when the mind and senses cease functioning, it still stands between the finite world and the self.

Happiness is acquired. That is why this layer is called the causal body.  we become happy while giving or appreciating people or while having success in education or job or family life or while doing good to the society.  Happiness is seen in generation of some hormones like endorphins ,dopamine, serotonin , oxytocins etc.  and suppression of some like adrenaline.

(for example , to.make your child more and more happy day by day …

1.Motivate him to play on the ground


2. Appreciate your child for his small or  big achievements


3. inculcate sharing habit through you to your child


4. Hug your child


 But these are transitory. We need to leave desires, condition our mind for renunciation and liberation . Lot of preparations are needed. These are not physical actions but mental ones. Anandamaya, or that which is composed of supreme bliss, is regarded as the innermost of all. The bliss sheath normally has its fullest play during deep sleep: while in the dreaming and wakeful states, it has only a partial manifestation. The blissful sheath (anandamaya kosha) is a reflection of the Atman which is truth, beauty, bliss absolute.

Anandamaya kosha is considered to be the part of being responsible for unconditional love, oneness and complete unity with all beings. Also responsible for peace, love and joy in its purest and most absolute form, it is said to go beyond any emotional or physical experience.

Anandamaya kosha, like all the koshas, is interactive and dependent upon the other layers of the body. It is in anandamaya kosha that the sense of oneness, as opposed to a sense of separation from other beings, is truly realized. Within anandamaya kosha lies the understanding that separation and ego are just an illusion. This recognition is said to total compassion, love and happiness, hence anandamaya kosha being referred to as the bliss body.

That completes the description of the five koshas.

11/03/2021 Post 92

Four Mahavakyas

Dr MGPL Narayana has a request.

Dear Prof. DKS, festive time greetings. Missing your postings. Please continue.

If there is a discourse around the 4 mahavakyas, it would be of great interest.

My response

Let me go in stages.

Most commonly, Mahāvākyas are considered four in number,

1.Prajnanam Brahma (प्रज्ञानम् ब्रह्म) – “Insight  – consciousness – is Brahman,” or “Brahman is insight” (Aitareya Upanishad 3.3 of the Rig Veda)

2.Ayam Atma Brahma (अयम् आत्मा ब्रह्म) – “This Self (Atman) is Brahman” (Mandukya Upanishad , 1.2 of the Atharva Veda)

3.Tat Tvam Asi (तत् त्वम् असि) – “That essence (tat, referring to sat, “the Existent”) are you” (Chandogya Upanishad 6.8.7 of the Sama Veda)

4.Aham Brahma Asmi (अहम् ब्रह्मास्मि) – “I am Brahman” (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.10 of the Sukla Yajur Veda).

Since Mahavakyas form the basis for some Advaita principles let us look at Advaita first.

 Advaita has several abstract concepts. The first is that both  Atman and Brahman mean the same and not two separate and distinct entities. Since Brahman is nirguna , it is referred to as that not he or she.

Both are infinite in consciousness. Brahman is infinity of infinity. Prajnanam Brahma.

Since Atman is Brahman, it is in you or you are that. Tat twam asi. Aham brahmasmi.

Let us start with a simple understanding of Advaita.

These Mahavakyas were identified by Shankaracharya to prove the basic principle of Advaita. They were taken from different Upanishads.

Advaita is based on the scriptures. Advaita Vedānta is the oldest extant sub-school of Vedānta, a tradition of interpretation of the Prasthanatrayi, that is, the Upanishads,the Brahma Sutras, and the Bhagavad Gitā, and one of the six orthodox (āstika) Hindu philosophies (darśana).

Advaita Vedānta emphasizes Jivanmukti, the idea that moksha (freedom, liberation) is achievable in this life in contrast to other Indian philosophies that emphasize videhamukti, or moksha after death. It says absolute conscious knowledge leads us to realise Brahman . Advaita is founded on non duality and Mahavakyas confirm that. While the bhakti concept is easy to understand and follow and has the largest number of temples and followers, it is Advaita that fascinated and challenged the intellect of many and debated.

Advaita uses concepts such as Brahman, Atman, Maya, Avidya, meditation and others that are found in major Indian religious traditions. It provides a strong and clear exposition of these concepts .

Why do we have two terms – Brahman and Atman if they are the same?

Nonduality can be explained as follows.

It means that there is no other reality than Brahman, that “Reality is not constituted by parts,” that is, ever-changing “things” have no existence of their own, but are appearances of the one Existent, Brahman; and that there is no duality between the essence, or Being, of a person (atman), and Brahman, the Ground of Being.

They are two views of one and the same thing.

It is said that Yajnavalkya defined it in brihadaranyaka upanishad as

 An ocean, a single seer without duality becomes he whose world is Brahman,

O King, Yajnavalkya instructed

This is his supreme way. This is his supreme achievement.

—Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.3.32    —Transl: by Stephen Phillips.

A reference to Non-duality is also made in the Chandogya Upanishad, within a dialogue between the Vedic sage Uddalaka Aruni and his son Svetaketu, as follows :

“Somya, before this world was manifest, there was only existence, one without duality

On this subject, some maintain that before this world was manifest, there was only non-existence, one without a second.

Out of that non-existence, existence emerged.”

—Chandogya Upanishad 6.2.1

The Correct knowledge, which destroys avidya, the ignorance that constitutes the psychological and perceptual errors which obscure the true nature of Atman and Brahman, is obtained by following the four stages of samanyasa (self-cultivation), sravana, listening to the teachings of the sages, manana, reflection on the teachings, and svādhyāya, contemplation of the truth “that art Thou”. That is look for god inside you.  That is possible through anubhava – experience, intuition , removal of the thick Maya illusion  and realisation.

While samkhya talks of purusha – characteristics ,actions- and prakriti – matter – as two distinct and separate entities  , Advaita sees them as one entity. Can you act without matter? We need mass and energy in actions according to Newton and accepted by us. These can be parts of one unit.

Padmapada talks of superposition.

Padmapāda develops a complete theory of knowledge on the basis of Shankara’s notion of adhyāsa (“superimposition” — “the apparent presentation to consciousness of something as something else.).

More in next

11/05/2021 Post 93

When shankara at a young age of six went in search of a Guru,  after taking permission from his mother,and found Gowdapadha in a cave near Narmada River. The guru asked who are you to shankara and the answer is Nirvana  shatakam.  Dasasloki is also similar. Some aspects of dasasloki are included here.

It gives a complete definition of Atman with exclusion of many aspects and defining atman last. .  Here the term  aham that is I means Atman.  ( Mahavakya – aham brahmasmi ).See the depth of understanding and knowledge in a small child.

I am not the mind, Intellect, Ego and faculty of recollections (i.e. the 4 types of Antah-Karana); nor am I the faculty of hearing, faculty of taste, faculty of smell and faculty of sight (i.e. the the faculties of perception). Nor am I the space, the earth, nor the fire/light nor the air or wind (i.e. the Mahabhutas-the five great elements). I am Shiva (Auspiciousness) of the nature of Consciousness and Bliss.

Neither am I (energy and life giver that which is called as) Prana (i.e. Mula-Prakriti), nor am I the five vital airs (i.e. Pancha Prana/Pancha Vayu), nor am I the seven-fold material (that make up gross body)- ( They are Rasa/lymph or plasma, Rakta/blood, Mamsa/flesh, Meda/fat, Asthi/Bone, Majja/Marrow and Sukra/Semen. ),nor am I the five sheaths. Neither am I the faculty of speech, nor the faculty of grasping (i.e. hands) nor the faculty of moving (i.e. legs), nor the faculty of procreation, nor that of excretion. I am Shiva (Auspiciousness) of the nature of Consciousness and Bliss.

Here, Adi Shankaracharya is saying that, Atman is different than the Gross Body.

Neither have I hatred nor desire (for anything), neither have I greed nor delusion, nor pride and nor even the feelings of jealousy. Neither have I (a need for or obligation towards) Dharma (i.e. practicing duties and righteousness), nor (towards) Artha ( i.e. procuring material wellness), nor towards Kama (i.e. fulfilling desires), nor towards Moksha (i.e. attaining Liberation-freedom from birth and death). I am Shiva (Auspiciousness) of the nature of Consciousness and Bliss.

Neither have I Punyam (Good Karmas virtues), nor have I Papam (Bad Karmas vices ), (hence) neither have I happiness, nor sorrow. Neither have I (a need for or obligation towards) Mantra (i.e. practice of Mantra Sadhana/Vidya Upasana), nor (towards) visiting holy places, nor (towards) studying Vedas, nor (towards) performing Yajnas (i.e. Karma Anushtana). I am neither the food (i.e. the object), nor the act of eating the food (i.e. the interaction between subject and object), nor the enjoyer/consumer of food (i.e. the subject). I am Shiva (Auspiciousness) of the nature of Consciousness and Bliss.

Neither have I fear of death, nor caste distinction- discrimination based on birth -) , I have neither father, nor mother, nor even birth. Neither have I any acquaintance, nor friends, nor any Guru/teacher, nor any Shishya/disciple. I am Shiva (Auspiciousness) of the nature of Consciousness and Bliss.

Neither the Sankhya principle,

Nor the doctrine of Shaiva,

Not the principle of pancha rathra,

Nor the doctrine of Jainas,

Nor the principle of Meemasa,

Are Unique experiences,

For the soul is the purest known truth.,

So I am simply Shiva the self,

Neither white nor black,

Neither red nor yellow,

Neither large nor thin,

Neither short, nor tall,

And neither with a form is the soul,

For this soul is the form of the light.

Neither above, nor below,

Neither inside nor outside,

Neither the middle, nor the across,

Neither the east nor the west am I,

For like the all pervading ether,

I am spread everywhere,

I am the Changeless one without a second, without a form, All-powerful, Omnipresent who inhabits all the senses.

 I am without attributes. I am not Un-related (i.e. related to everything as their Atman/Inner Self), neither do I have Liberation, nor do I have Limitation. I am Shiva (Auspiciousness) of the nature of Consciousness and Bliss.

It is not even one and how can it be two,

Neither is it unique and nor not unique,

Neither is it a vacuum nor something different from it,

For it is the essence of non dual reality

So how can I tell about what is established by all philosophy

We can see the negation which eliminates many aspects and the positives in the end . Remarkable, right.

11/07/2021 Post 94

Comment from prof Mahendra babu.

“Adi Sankara might have been another type of avathar. Otherwise how can be a small child of 6 years might have had  such a strong of conviction or faith?

He perhaps completed his mission by a young age and left this world.

This is the understanding of amadmi like me.”

Agreed Babu.

Let us see some explanations on the Mahavakyas.

1.Prajnanam brahma

Aitareya Upanishad 3.3 of the Rig Veda:

[1] Who is this self (ātman)? – that is how we venerate. [2] Which of these is the self? Is it that by which one sees? Or hears? Smells [etc…] But these are various designations of cognition. [3] It is brahman; it is Indra; it is all the gods. It is […] earth, wind, space, the waters, and the lights […] It is everything that has life […] Knowledge is the eye of all that, and on knowledge it is founded. Knowledge is the eye of the world, and knowledge, the foundation. Brahman is knowing.


jñā refers to the “understanding” of knowledge, and sometimes “consciousness”

Pra is an intensifier which could be translated as “higher”, “greater”, “supreme” or “premium”, or “being born or springing up”, referring to a spontaneous type of knowing.

Prajñānam as a whole means:

प्रज्ञान, “prajñāna”,

Adjective: prudent, easily known, wise

Noun: discrimination, knowledge, wisdom, intelligence. Also: distinctive mark, monument, token of recognition, any mark or sign or characteristic, memorial




It means also awareness

Related terms are jñāna, prajñā and prajñam, “pure consciousness”. Although the common translation of jñānam is “consciousness”, the term has a broader meaning of “knowing”; “becoming acquainted with”, “knowledge about anything”, “awareness”,higher knowledge”.


“The Absolute”


“The Highest truth”


Most interpretations state: “Prajñānam (noun) is Brahman (adjective)”. Some translations give a reverse order, stating “Brahman is Prajñānam”, specifically “Brahman (noun) is Prajñānam (adjective)”: “The Ultimate Reality is wisdom (or consciousness)”.

Prajnanam iti Brahman – wisdom is the Self. Prajnanam refers to the intuitive truth which can be verified/tested by reason. It is a higher function of the intellect that ascertains the Sat or Truth/Existent in the Sat-Chit-Ananda or truth/existent-consciousness-bliss, i.e. the Brahman/Atman/Self/person

A truly wise person  is known as Prajna – who has attained Brahmanhood itself; thus, testifying to the Vedic Maha Vakya (great saying or words of wisdom): Prajnanam iti Brahman

2.Ayam atma Brahman

सर्वं ह्येतद् ब्रह्मा sarvam hyetad brahma – “this brahman is the Whole”

ब्रह्मायमात्मा brahma ayam atma – “brahman is ātman”

ब्रह्म सोऽयमात्मा brahman sah ayam atman – “brahman is this (very) self”

The Mandukya Upanishad repeatedly states that Om is ātman, and also states that turiya is ātman.The Mandukya Upanishad forms the basis of Gaudapadas Advaita Vedanta, in his Mandukya Karika.

3.Tat tvam asi

It originally occurs in the Chandogya Upanishad 6.8.7, in the dialogue between Uddālaka and his son Śvetaketu; it appears at the end of a section, and is repeated at the end of the subsequent sections as a refrain. The meaning of this saying is that the Self – in its original, pure, primordial state – is wholly or partially identifiable or identical with the Ultimate Reality that is the ground and origin of all phenomena.

Swami Vivekananda  on tat tvam asi

He that is the Essence of your soul, He is the Truth, He is the Self, thou art That.

Mind is not God” (Shankara).

He says in Upadesha sahasri that don’t superimpose ego with Brahman. “Tat tvam asi” “Aham Brahmâsmi” (“That thou art”, “I am Brahman”). When a man realises this, all the knots of his heart are cut asunder, all his doubts vanish”.

Advaita – absolute equality of ‘tat’, the Ultimate Reality, Brahman, and ‘tvam’, the Self, Atman.

Shuddhadvaita – oneness in “essence” between ‘tat’ and individual self; but ‘tat’ is the whole and self is a part.

A modified view is given in visishtadvaita and a different view in Dvaita.

4.Aham brahmasmi

In his comment on this passage Sankara explains that here Brahman is not the conditioned Brahman (saguna); that a transitory entity cannot be eternal; that knowledge about Brahman, the infinite all-pervading entity, has been enjoined; that knowledge of non-duality alone dispels ignorance; and that the meditation based on resemblance is only an idea. He also tells us that the expression Aham Brahmaasmi is the explanation of the mantra

That (‘Brahman’) is infinite, and this (‘universe’) is infinite; the infinite proceeds from the infinite. (Then) taking the infinitude of the infinite (‘universe’), it remains as the infinite (‘Brahman’) alone. – (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad V.i.1)

He explains that non-duality and plurality are contradictory only when applied to the Self, which is eternal and without parts, but not to the effects, which have parts.The aham in this memorable expression is not closed in itself as a pure mental abstraction but it is radical openness. Between Brahman and aham-brahma lies the entire temporal universe experienced by the ignorant as a separate entity (duality).

Vidyāranya in his Panchadasi (V.4) explains: {{Infinite by nature, the Supreme Self is described here by the word Brahman ( ever expanding; the ultimate reality); the word asmi denotes the identity of aham and Brahman. Therefore, (the meaning of the expression is) “I am Brahman”

Other Mahavakyas are:

ekam evadvitiyam brahma – Brahman is one, without a second (Chāndogya Upaniṣad)

so ‘ham – I am that (Isha Upanishad)

sarvam khalvidam brahma – All of this is brahman (Chāndogya Upaniṣad 3.14.1)

etad vai tat – This, verily, is That (Katha Upaniṣad).

Sankara established four aamnaya mathas in four directions with his disciples.  He also introduced dasanami sampradaya and ekadandi sanyasins  . Details of mathas and Mahavakyas are

Padmapāda    East    Govardhana Pīṭhaṃ    Prajñānam brahma (Consciousness is Brahman)    Rig Veda    Bhogavala sampradaya

Sureśvara    South    Sringeri Śārada Pīṭhaṃ    Aham brahmāsmi (I am Brahman)    Yajur Veda    Bhūrivala sampradaya

Hastāmalakācārya    West    Dvāraka Pīṭhaṃ    Tattvamasi (That thou art)    Sama Veda    Kitavala

Toṭakācārya    North    Jyotirmaṭha Pīṭhaṃ    Ayamātmā brahma (This Atman is Brahman)    Atharva Veda  Nandavala

Let me complete with the 20 th verse from

 Shankara’s Brahmajnanavalimala:

ब्रह्म सत्यं जगन्मिथ्या

जीवो ब्रह्मैव नापरः

Brahman is real, the world is an illusion

Brahman and Jiva are not different.

11/09/2021 Post  95

There are comments from Prof Gopal, Mr Srinivasan and Mr Arvind. Let us look at them.

Gopal says

“Thank you Sir for posts #93 and #94. Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharya also composed Nirvana Manjari. This is a request for your kind self to distinguish between this hymn and Nirvana Shatkam. As you wpuld appreciate Sanskrit learning stems from Shabda Manjari.. A kaarantha Punlinga Shabdaha Rams Shabdaha… Thanks in advance – Dr. T V Gopal, Anna University”

My response

Nirvanashatakam is quoted in many places by many including Ramana Maharshi. It has five Slokas. This is supposed to have been recited by him while meeting his guru Govinda bhagavatpada the first time. There is also another set of  ten Slokas known as dasasloki attributed to him on the same topic.  Also there is nirvana manjari with twelve Slokas. It also talks about Brahman using both positive and negative statements. It is elaborate and identifies shiva with Brahman explicitly.  Mostly, they are all similar with minor variations. I am not sure about the context under which nirvana manjari was composed. There is no concept of shabda manjari in it. Shankara did not venture into linguistics.  There is also one more composition called

Manisha panjakam which deals with Advaita philosophy . The context is the discussion between Shankaracharya and a kapalika – supposed to be shiva. He clearly says caste is not relevant.

Mr Srinivasan comments on

On reading today post, 2 questions come to the mind

“1 Please list out the dasanamavali.

Modern day monks like say Sukhabodananda, does it mean they are affiliated to Advaita school of thought.

2. Every incumbent of the Sankara mutt goes by a seniority Number. If all the mutts started simultaneously, how to explain a vast difference.

Sarada peet and Kanchi – the difference is huge.”

My response

Sankara developed dasanami sampradaya. The sanyasis are called ekadandis – single stick holders. He defined rules for sanyasis. He wanted them to follow Advaita, strict renunciation and protection of Dharma. But  all sanyasins are not advaitins or followers of Sankara and Advaita.

A swami Upon initiation, which can only be done by another existing Swami, the renunciate receives a new name (usually ending in ananda, meaning ‘supreme bliss’) and takes a title which formalizes his connection with one of the ten subdivisions of the Swami Order. A swami’s name has a dual significance, representing the attainment of supreme bliss through some divine quality or state (i.e. love, wisdom, service, yoga), and through a harmony with the infinite vastness of nature, expressed in one of the ten subdivision names: Giri (mountain), Puri (tract), Bhāratī (land), Vana (forest), Āraṇya (forest), Sagara (sea), Āśrama (spiritual exertion), Sarasvatī (wisdom of nature), Tīrtha (place of pilgrimage), and Parvata (mountain).

Single-staff renunciates are distinct in their practices from Shaiva trishuldhari or “trident-wielding renunciates” and Vaishnava traditions of Tridandi sannyāsis. There are many initiated according to Madhvas tradition at the ashta Matas in udupi or deshastha Matas elsewhere. They follow a different sampradaya.

There are many schools of Advaita. Appayya Dikshitar developed shivaadvaitam. There is also shuddha advaitam.

Shankara found a rigidity in people worshiping different gods like shiva only, Vishnu only, kumara only and not accepting other gods and fighting with other groups on which God is supreme. 

. He wanted to avoid divisions and introduced the shanmatha concept – you can worship Shiva, Vishnu, Shakti, surya, Ganesha and kumara. All are equal  His followers pray to all gods without any distinction and are called smarthas. Many believe Shankara followers are only shiva worshippers. It is not true. Shankara had written a lot of prayer stotras on many gods like shiva, Vishnu, Ganesha, shakti, krishna and others . He considered worships of all gods were the same leading to the first step of understanding Brahman. While he wrote extensively on Brahman, he encouraged bhakti and rejuvenated many temples across the country. He identified many shakti peethas. He is a unifier.

I don’t have an answer for your second question. Different life spans  may be one reason. We need to get a correct picture from people associated with the Matas.

11/11/2021 Post 96

Prof Mahendrababu has a comment.

“You have clearly stated that Adi Sankara did not follow only Shiva ,but  other deities too. All lead to Brahman.

Thank you for bringing out this great concept not known to many.

Smartha Bhamins :Is it  the same meaning that they follow any deity as long as it leads to understanding of parabrahman.

Why do people have ishta devatha and family deity ? Is this because of old customs before Adi Shankara?”

My response

Smartha means followers of Dharma. Vedas talk about many gods . Vedas gave us general principles. Upanishads gave philosophical interpretations and learning. Even Yajur veda did not say how does one live and what ways by which one should practice. It gave detailed procedures for yagas   vedas definitely contained many prayers  like gayatri japam and Sri Rudram. They told us general principles of living, listed many good behaviours and conducts like yamas and niyamas . They talked about truth, ahimsa, peace, respect, charity, gurus, shraddha and other qualities , renunciation etc.

But it is not clear to a common person as to how to live. That is where smrities came in.

Even smrities did not reach out to common person in a simple understandable manner. More than 98 % were in this situation. That is whenItihasas like Ramayana and Mahabharata and  puranas emerged. Puranas connected with people easily.  They are easy to understand and follow. Each  Purana focuses on one god as the main figure. The puranas gave opportunities like birth of a god, the conquering of an asura etc to be celebrated. That gave rise to many days of prayers and rejoicing and remembering . That is how the worship of gods like Vishnu , shiva, shakti, kumara , krishna, surya, Ganesha  etc evolved. So people chose one purana and focused on a god. They various manifestations of gods led to a large number of gods . Each village or a group of villages has a shakti with a different name protecting the people. So each group of villages worshipped a local god. Kings built temples for a favorite god. So many had access to these temples and so some gods in some temples became famous like lord Venkateswara became family deity for many. In Tamilnadu, legends on Muruga were built up and he became a family god to many. In Kerala shakti – Amman – was worshipped in many areas as a family god. Many families wanted a special sampradaya and created their own gods. Migrated people carried their family deity to every place they went. Vedas gave you a choice of God and you chose one – ishta devata or family god. Many started  worshipping of  great saints like Shankara, Ramana, Ramakrishna paramahansa also.

You are right these methods of worship  happened before adi shankara. We saw navarathris mentioned in first century CE itself. Sankara codified worship, gave procedures for temple worship.

11/13/2021 Post 97

Mr Arvind has a very important point for discussion

“Sir- Reading “The prehistory of Hinduism” by Manu Devadevan.

The oldest written references to temples are from 300 and 400 CE, and the earliest surviving temple structures date back to 500 and 600 CE. The temple was not a Vedic institution. Its origin was intertwined with the evolution of pooja, a form of idol worship based on the agamas and tantras, different from the sacrifice-based worship of the Vedas. Not surprisingly, temple worship was met with resistance from the Vedic orthodoxy. It is for this reason that texts such as the Manusmriti are not favourably disposed towards temples.

Sir- wanted to know your view on the above. Find it difficult to accept that the temple was not a vedic institution”

“Secondly, wanted to confirm if the Buddha as in the 9th Dashavatar is the same Buddha we studied in history being born in Lumbini and the same Buddhism which went against vedic rituals before Adi Sankaracharya restored it”

My response

This needs a detailed analysis

The second question is simpler, so I will respond to it first.

Initially , Buddhism did not believe in God. But later on,  they realised the need for god. So , they elevated Buddha to be the god.  Buddha as an avatar of Vishnu is a later day acceptance by many Hindus and they elevated him as an avatar. This is due to the fact that most concepts of Buddhism are found in vedas and also  Buddhism declined in India . Even Buddhism did not emphasize Ahimsa. The only difference is the non-belief in the caste system in Buddhism.

So Buddha is only one , not two.

Now let us look at your first question. We look at it in three aspects.

One,  bias of these people.

Two , evolution of worship.

Three, what is Hinduism or more correctly sanatana Dharma and  its answers to the biases.

I think most people who have read Vedas and smrities have a single view – may be a view according to their biases. There is only one part of a verse in rig veda on castes. So most people say Hindus are casteist people. It may have evolved later as a social factor not a religious factor. Wendy Doniger whom Salman Rushdie calls a great sanskrit scholar and who wrote about some sections of Rig veda ,recently said that Hinduism has castes even for horses confusing breeds with castes.

Secondly, most think animal sacrifice is common in vedas. Hindus kill animals. Even at that time Yajnavalkya did not accept the physical sacrifice concept. He felt it was symbolic . There are several references to sacrificing oneself. Does that mean one commits suicide?

Indian historians and leftists are biased against Vedas and Hinduism . They think it is brahmin dominated and ritualistic.

Upinder singh ,a historian, says there are contradictions and conflicts in Hinduism . Sashi Tharoor also said we love wars. We are feudal societies. They forget England was feudal till 17 th century. America had slavery till 20 th century. These are social problems not religious. They forgot about the crusade wars happening for a long time.

The history is biased. Remember the westerners never accepted the fact that numbers ,logic , geometry , mathematics , metallurgy were well developed in India thousands of years back . They believed and propagated the idea that we are barbarians. They called the sepoy war as mutiny and we accepted it. Only now we call it the first war of independence. Surprisingly Wendy Doniger, Upinder singh Manu Devadevan quote from scriptures in support of their arguments. But it is a biased view. Many statements by Manu  Devadevan are not reasoned in a scientific way. Manu smriti can not be said to be anti temples. Mostly opinions become conclusions . Let me quote.

“Most Indian scholars lack the candidness of historian Eric Hobsbawm when it comes to ideology and objectivity.”

E H Carr says

“The facts are really not at all like fish on the fishmonger’s slab. They are like fish swimming about in a vast and sometimes inaccessible ocean; and what the historian catches will depend, partly on chance, but mainly on what part of the ocean he chooses to fish in and what tackle he chooses to use—these two factors being, of course, determined by the kind of fish he wants to catch. By and large, the historian will get the kind of fact he wants.” These lines penned by EH Carr in his insightful What is History? best illustrate that historical facts are never objective. The most effective way to influence public opinion is by the selection and arrangement of the appropriate facts. “It used to be said that facts speak for themselves. This is, of course, untrue. The facts speak only when the historian calls on them: it is he who decides which facts to give the floor, and in what order or context,” Carr concluded. Can you blame a religion for problems created by a society? Then you blame all countries and all religions. Ideal state does not exist in reality.

Let us come back to temples and worship.

The worship existed at vedic times ( I think Vedic period or vedic times are wrong statements. Another evidence of bias. Vedic period exists now also. Happiness and do good factors are valid even now. The five koshas are valid now . That is why you call it a sanatana – eternal – dharma). Worship in Vedas gave the prime place to agni. Agni is the intermediary through whom offering to gods is sent. Agni is maintained in every house  for use and safety from wild animals. Not just sacrifices, but Mantras were an essential part of  prayers.  There is no evidence of temples from an archeological point of view. But enough information on prayers exists in Yajur veda. Sri Rudram is a complete prayer book.  It is only invocation and prayer to God to take care of all people, animals, plants,  professions and natural resources. It is not based on sacrifices.  It looks clear that saguna Brahman like shiva and Vishnu have arrived by that time. So it is clear that mantra form of worship , fire worship and even water worship existed then. Naivedya to gods were known by statements like offers in vedas. Is offering a sacrifice?  It looks like tantra and yantra forms of worship were also prevalent at that time. Yantra form moved from Hinduism to Buddhism. Tibetan Buddhism follows yantra form of worship. There is a mention of shodasa  upachara to gods – sixteen types of worship – an extensive approach to worship . But vedas don’t mention temples explicitly . While rig and Yajur  vedas are elaborate on yagas , they don’t mention temples. Remember , there are no evidence of temples at the time of generation of rig veda but  remember that no evidence of even buildings were found. So may be simple mud walls and thatch were used in construction. But it contradicts the Yajur vedic description of yaga platforms built with large number of bricks. Timber was also used. So there is no clarity. May be ,one possibility is public worship in a temple started late. It is clear that Temples came up by the first century CE. Ramayana talks about Rama worshipping Shiva in Rameswaram. Shivalinga worship predates vedas.

Let us look at a better holistic view of Hinduism next in order to complete the answer to your questions and to address comments by left historians and foreigners.

11/15/2021 Post 98

Let us look at a holistic view of sanatana Dharma. 

Let us see what vedas and Upanishads explain.

Vedas give a real life view. Upanishads give ideal and  scholarly views.

Vedas particularly rig veda and to some extent Yajur veda provide an external view of creation, universe, species , nature and evolution of air,water, earth, natural forces like fire, wind, storms, lightning, floods etc , and society and its governance.  These are exemplified by statements like vasudeiva Kutumbakam, lokas samastha sukhino bhavanthu, Isavasyam Idam sarvam etc. Definitely there are some important directions on human living and behaviour are also discussed. Atharva Veda provides an internal view on people, diseases, health etc. Upanishads concentrate on the internal aspect of a person ,   the concepts of Brahman and Atman, the many forms or koshas of the human system , learning methods, methods for  long and healthy living  and acquiring  intelligence, life  goals , removal of Maya / ignorance , paths to freedom and  liberation.  Tattva bodha by Sankaracharya is an excellent summary of the vedantic teachings. While religion shows a path to salvation, we also find mention of social and professional conducts in vedas. It is also a social treatise.

The Rig Veda  looks at the proper harmonious , healthy  ways of living. It is based on the following premises.

People have different behaviours, capabilities and needs. People are not uniform . One size fits all is a myth. So different approaches are needed for each group. While Brahmins take to scholarship, Kshatriyas are told to follow raj dharma .vedas suggest flexibility with a major common core of values and basics.

People’s moods change. This means they can’t constantly maintain one way of living. So corrections are required .

People have different lifestyles. Some are artisans ,some are scholars , some are farmers. Each follows a set of procedures and practices in his work.  But all are equal.

 Nature and its forces / energy play an important role in our life.

One can not live alone ignoring society and nature. Living harmoniously needs good ethics and behaviours.  It means equality , honesty, truthfulness, frugal living, peace, non violence, sharing and charity , respect , sincerity, seriousness  etc. Proper living needs agricultural cultivation, many artisans , training and education.

 Healthy living needs to understand, body, prana, ego, nature, exercises and yoga,  food , Ayurveda and medicines.

Rig veda accepted the above and gave a set of prescriptions for an ideal state for a society. It gave options to people to follow either jnana marga or karma marga or bhakti marga or a combination of these  – one chooses a path he or she understands and can follow. There is a flexibility given here because all can not become jnanis and get jivanmukti.

It also gave awareness about creation , plants , human body, etc.

Gratitude to nature is reflected very strongly across many sections  as seen by prayers to agni, vayu, prithvi, surya, indra, marut, savitr, pitr,  vak and many devas each assigned a specific domain. There is a god for order also.

Vedas give importance to all professions and all aspects of nature. They seek from gods for protection of all- people, animals, birds, plants , geology.

They display knowledge of astronomy , deal with large numbers and geometry.

Sanatana Dharma gives detailed guidelines through smritis. While Vedas give general guidelines , Upanishads the ideal path to liberation through jnana and ananda, smritis provide guidelines. It accepts the fact that a priest and a king cannot be given similar guidelines. So different codes are built by classifying people into groups depending on occupation. Many occupations are mentioned. So karma doctrines have a core part and a specific part for each group of occupations.

The scientific approach to creation is remarkable. Time is cyclic. There is uncertainty . Brahman is gender neutral. Universe runs autonomously with random and discrete events happening most of the time.

Further evolution led us to the two Ithihasas and many puranas . Similarly new methods of worship were brought in.

Additions, subtractions on this abstraction are welcome. Comments are always welcome.

11/17/2021 Post 99

Prof Gopal comments further on nirvana shatakam

“Thank you Sir. As you would appreciate,  Manjari  also qualifies as a name. Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharya transcended his physical being [may be as per Manisha Panchakam] but the shabdani of his compositions are etetnal.   There must be the idea of Nirvana to distinguish the Shabdani from the watermark of the person who created them. Could this be any reason for citing Nirvana Shatkam more often? The divinity of the numbers makes certain controversies on the number of verses viable @ Nirvana. So,  Rama Shabdaha for a start again. – Dr. T V Gopal, Anna University”

My response

I don’t want conjectures. But three reasons come to me for the importance of niti satakam.

It clearly enunciates the neti theory to define Atman.

It was composed when he was a small boy.

It is the starting  point for Advaita.

I agree that Shankara’s words are eternal. He gave a clear exposition of the three scriptures – Brahma Sutra, Upanishads and Bhagavat Gita. His tattva bodha and atmabodha give clear and concise explanations  of vedanta. These are amplified in Viveka chudamani. Upadesha sahasri is remarkable and useful for teachers and students. His advice on the correct approaches to learning , proper selection of a guru, etc  He believed in jnana marga, renunciation and jivanmukti.  Later he felt common people needed  bhakti approach  as it is easy to understand and follow. So he rejuvenated temples, created shanmatha and set up the four mathas.

But remember Shankaracharya said that don’t add more words into your mind; reduce the words entering the mind .

Ramana maharishi said that

“When there are thoughts, it is distraction: when there are no thoughts, it is meditation.”

So we need a thoughtless mind first to focus on serious aspects like Atman.

11/19/2021 Post 100

What did and does sanatana Dharma bring out?

Many things. Let me have a philosophical look .

Based on the Upanishads, six darshanas came about leading to a great degree of intellectualism and producing thousands of scholars. The focus is finding truth and proving the truth through different darshana routes. Hundreds of scholars enriched the dharma. Many writings are missing and some only are available.

Philosophy, according to Gaudapada and Sankara, is an interpretation of the totality of human experience

or of the whole of life from the standpoint of truth. Philosophy, therefore, is the whole, of which Religion, Mysticism (Yoga), Theology, Scholasticism, Speculation, Art and Science are but parts. Such philosophy or Vedanta as ignores any part or parts, is no Vedanta.

the object sought by philosophy, as these two pre-eminent Hindu philosophers say, is the happiness (Sukham) and welfare (Hitam) of all beings (Sarva Sattva) in this world (lhaiva)

Till one makes sure that one’s mind has been completely purged of all preconceptions or prejudices which are the offspring of attachment, one cannot hope to command the concentration of mind needed for climbing the topmost steps leading to truth. One of the greatest characteristics of philosophy in India—

is the perfection to which the method of eliminating preconceptions is carried on.

Let us summarize some facts which is the basis for Advaita principles.

 Understanding human body, prana, mind and intellect.

A broad and detailed map is provided for living a  healthy, long , happy , ahimsatmak, socially purposeful and helpful life. Harmony is important. Get the ananda – bliss – in this life.

Know that ignorance is the big evil. Remove it.

Removal of avidya is obtained by following the four stages of samanyasa (self-cultivation), sravana, listening to the teachings of the sages, manana, reflection on the teachings, and svādhyāya, contemplation of the truth “that art Thou”.

That is the beginning of science and philosophy.

Follow an ethical path that suits you. Do it with diligence and sincerity. Apply yourself fully to your chosen path with dedication. Don’t look for results always.

Look beyond yourself. Look beyond what you know. Go  beyond your normal level of thinking and reach higher levels  Learn to apply knowledge to get to the truth and the ultimate truth . Keep at getting to the truth tirelessly and with concentration, contemplation, care , constant efforts, control of thoughts and with advice from a good guru.

Treat nature with care , understanding. and respect. Nature supports you. Use its resources frugally.  Nature can change.  It has a lot of power that can destroy us. Conserve it.

Understand the universe. Unfortunately, the universe is vast. It has billions of systems with strong and weak interconnections. Understanding needs highly complex and complicated thinking. So understand first that what you see, feel, imagine,sense and think are mostly maya – illusions. Have humility. What you know is very little – a small stone size . What you don’t know is very vast and large – universe size. The classic example of illusion  is to see a rope and think it is a snake.

Don’t be clever. But be wise –  learn and follow Viveka , vairagya, mumukshata.

Liberation or freedom should be the ultimate goal in life.  Brahman is beyond all gunas and attributes and is omnipresent, omnipotent and fully conscious.

Most of these are synthesized in Advaita or the writings of Shankaracharya in vivekachudamani, tattva bodha, atmabodha and upadesa sahasri.

While Advaita tells us about knowledge as distilled from vedas, Upanishads , Brahmasutra and Bhagavad Gita , Ramanujacharya took the path that is understandable and reachable and followable  by most people – Bhakti marga.  Madhvacharya built a bridge between jnana and bhakti. Dvaita and Advaita are not important. But what are the details?. We missed the essence. Unfortunately details are forgotten. Divisions are used for fighting. Let us move away from this divisive avidya and move towards a good understanding of Dharma  and unify our beliefs and thoughts.