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The Advaitic Vision
The Advaitic Vision
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About the Author:

 

Prof. Satchidananda Murty [b.1924] was described by late Dr. Suniti Kumar Chatterjee, National Professor of India in Humanities, as one whom" the mantle of Dr. Radhakrishnan had fallen worthy." Dr. C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar considered his on Indian culture to be "an instructive and penetrating analysis" and "one of the most thought-provoking and formative of recent publications"

He has been a university professor of philosophy for a quarter century, a vice chancellor, UGC National Lecturer and National Fellow, General President of Akhila Bharatiya Darshan Parishad [1963] and Indian Philosophical Congress [1968].

Since 1980 he is the Chairman of the latter, and from 1988 Member, Steering Committee, Federation International des Philosophie. From 1984 to 86 he has been National Fellow of Indian Council of Philosophical Research and from 1986 to 1989 Vice Chairman of University Grant Commission.

Prof. Murty was the first to receive the Dr. B.C. Roy National Awards, the highest available in India, for Philosophy. The President of India awarded him Padma Bhushan in 1984. He is the Hon.D.Litt. of a number of Indian Universities, and Hon.Dr.Phil. of the Halle-W ittemberg [GDR] and Sofia [Bulgaria] Universities and of the USSR Academy of Sciences. He has been Visiting Professor at Princeton, and is Honorary Professor of the People's University of China; Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, etc.

FOREWORD

His Holiness Sri Jagadguru Bharati Tirtha Mahaswami was pleased to make the following observations. When this lecture was read out before him:

"Professor Satchidananda Murty (who is keeping the flag of India thinking and philosophy high in the academic centers of the world) has scholarship and understanding; he wields a facile pen and enough eloquence to give expression to his views. This lecture(which the Professor gave on the occasion of the Silver Jublee function of the Telgu monthly journal--SANKARA KRIPA) is replete with all these extraordinary abilities in abundance.

"The interpretation on which he dwells, at some length, are clear enough to explain the abstruse indirect expressions to those permeated with modern education. The English-knowing aspirants after truth will be benefited by this brochure (a delightful reading) which is free from intricacies, and makes a direct approach to put forward certain arguments.

"We wish the Professor (now in his years of mellowed fruitfulness) would publish many more illuminating treatises, to spread the message of Vedanta, to all the corners of the world.

PREFACE

This brochure contains the address I had the privilege of delivering in the presence of H.H. Jagadguru Sri Bharati Tirtha Swami of Sringeri Sarada Pitha on September 16, 1985 during the celebration of the Silver Jubilee of Sri Sankara Kripa, a Telgu journal brought out under the auspices of the pitha.

Vachaspati expounded a number of philosophical systems as if he were a follower of each. In this address, following his example, I have sympathetically explained some of the ideas of Advita Vedanta refraining from criticism or comparison. Sections A, B, C of this address deal with Awareness of Consciousness, Falsity of the World and the Great Upanishadic Sentences and Brahman-knowing in that order. Section D sets forth the traditional standpoint that only the great sentences of the Upanishads could be the source of the Brahman-knowledge and nothing else; and clarifies that pace the popularisers of Eastern wisdom and contemporary science the latter cannot demonstrate or demolish any type of the former. Section E argues that Vedantic sociology, social organisation or action ought to conform to Vedantic metaphysics.

For over forty years I have been a student or teacher of Advaita Vedanta but while it fascinates me I am not sure that I have an advaitic (non-dual) vasana (tendency,) nor am I certain that I have a decided preference of ananyatva (non-otherness). "I am only like a knower of words, not a knower of the self."

 

Chandogya Upanishad, VII-1-3).

And when Asvala, the hota of king Janaka of Videha asked whether he was brahmishtha, the wisest among brahmanas, Yajnavalkya replied: "We bow to the brahmishtha, while we just wish to have cows."

 

(Brahadaranyaka Upanishad III. 1.2)

The great Ibn Sina at one stage wrote he did not know what he was and what he wished to be become, and in our time Gabriel Marcel once exclaimed he did not know what he believed. It is difficult for lesser men to have a firm awareness (Dridhabodha or clear assured conviction regarding) transcendental truth.

I may, however, confess that ideas such as those in the following verses move me profoundly and to some extent, I share the feeling of the numinous they express.

"Due to many contradictions in reason the reality in multiplicity is not tenable. So, all the difference in this multiverse are the express manifestations of Your will. This only can be the correct definition of what actually is the case."

"In this transmigratoruy world. when the series of later births caused by actions in previous births become an obstacle to liberation. there is no other way of resolving this problem except through meditation on you."

 

(Sri Harsha Naishadha, XXI.103.99)

"I bow to him who is of the nature of supreme Delight, who delight Nanda, without the devotion of whom liberation is impossible and who is to be worshipped by all yogins"

"only the devotees of Govinda discern the ultimate good throgh Vedanta, get rid of delusion -- and attain pure delight."

"If yogins, through mind subdued by the practice of meditation , perceive a supreme light, devoid of attributes and action, let them do so. Let only that mysterious blue splendour which runs on the sand dunes of the Yamuna provide the wonder for our eyes"

"I do not know any reality higher than krishna."

(Madhusudana Sarasvati, Gita-Gudhartha-dipika, at VII begining, IX end, XIII beginning, and of Xv and XVIII.)

The title of this address is phrase used by Sri Harsha:

"This Advatic notion cannot be removed even by hundreds of arguments formulated by the intelligent."

Professor B.S. Ramakrishna, a distinguished scientist, Vice-Chancellor, University of Hyderabad, read section D in this. Professor P. Sri Ramchandrudu, head of the Sanskrit Department, Osmania University, a deep scholar trained in both the traditional and modern ways, transcribed in Devanagari script all the passages I originally wrote in Roman script with diacritical marks as the press did not have such marks and kindly corrected the proofs. I am grateful to both of them.

I am solely responsible for the interpretations and views expressed in this lecture.

This work was originally published in 1985 under the title The Advaitic Notion by Sri Sringerisaradapitham, Sringeri. I consider its publication by the great monastic institution with the Foreword by His Holiness Sri Jagadguru Bharati Tirtha Mahaswami (now its Head), than whom there can be no higher authority on Advaita Vedanta, as an honour to me.

It is gratifying to me that Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan has chosen to reprint this under the title The Advaitic Vision. No author of a book on Indian culture or thought can find for it more prestigious publishers. I am grateful to its General Secretary Shri S. Ramakrishnan and other authorities for bringing this out under its distinguished imprint.

INTRODUCTORY

It was over fifteen years ago I first had the privilege of meeting H. H. Jagadguru Srimad Abhinava Vidyatirtha Mahaswami at Visakhapatnam and having a long private conversation with him. Since then I have met him a number of times and also had the honour of being the chief guest in the Vakyartha Vidvat Sadas at his Math in Sringeri in 1978. Over the years a rapport has developed between us : he has been showering his vatsalya and anugraha on me and I have become his sincere admirer. But, though I know 'Different is the good, and different, indeed, is the pleasant', (Katha, 1.1.1.5), not being a Nachiketas, like many men, interested only in my Yogakshema, I chose only preyas and on a few occasions sought his blessings and received them. He is the head of the most important Hindu monastic establishment in the world and one of the most profound scholars in Nyaya and Vedanta. Still his simplicity is amazing, for he follows the dictum :(Brahadaranyaka, III. 5.1) 'Therefore, a knower of Brahman sought to desire to live as a child, after having done with scholarship'. What struck me most whenever I met him was his calm, his tranquility; he is a santa, indeed a prasantatma. The Brahdararanyaka (IV. 4. 23) informs that one becomes a santa only when one knows the great Unborn Self, which is not this while the Mundaka (I. 2. 11) states only those who practise tapas and sraddha become tranquil knowers . As Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada explained, for the self-controlled, prasanta the Supreme Self is immediately present as self, (Gitabhashya, VI. 7.) I offer my salutations to Paramahamsa parivrajakavarya Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha.

About ten years ago I met for the first time H. H. Jagadguru Sri Bharati Tirtha Swami in the Sri Sankara Math, Hyderabad. Since then I had the good fortune to meet with him on a number of occasions. For reasons best known to him or for no reason, he has been bestowing upon me his affection and benediction and treating me as his own, svajana. On the other side, I, impressed by his youth, detachment, vast learning and great capacity to clearly and fluently expound saving truth in different languages, have been holding him in high veneration. Whenever I meet him I feel as Parikshit and his contemporaries must have felt in the presence of Suka Maharshi. Rare indeed is a combination in so young a person of (Samkshepasariraka)' i. e. "firm vairagya, knowledge of the meanings known to himself, or, more probably, of the words 'tat' and 'tvam' and the certainty based on arguments regarding the precise sense of sentences concerning nirguna Brahman". He possesses the threefold wealth of ekata, samata and satyata:

 

(Moksha-dharma-parva, 169. 35.)

I offer my pranams to this yatisrestha Sri Bharati Tirtha.

Sri T. Ramalingeswara Rao is a sound scholar, a reputed poet and novelist, a firm believer in non-duality, and an authority on the history of Sri Sarada Pitha and Sri Vidya. He has lectured in the universities at Triupati, Vizag and. Madras. His devotion to their Holinesses and his faith in them is unexcelled. He has unselfishly and very ably served as the editor of Sri Sankara Kripa for the last sixteen years. Through it he has been spreading the message of Sankaracharya with understanding, fidelity, zeal, and skill. I felicitate him on this occasion, and hope he will be able to further improve the excellence and circulation of this journal.

CONTENTS
  Foreword

 

v
  Preface vii
  Introductory

 

xiii
A. Awareness of self-established Consciousness
(Samavedana of Svatahsiddh Vijnana)
1
B. Falsity of the World
(Jaganmithyatva)
11
C. The Great Upanishadic Sentences and Brahman Knowing
(Mahavakyas and Brahma-Vedanta)
14
D. Scripture and Empirical Knowledge
(Sruti and Pramanantara]
17
E. Transcendental Knowledge and Secular Activity
(Tattvajnana and Laukika Vyavahara)
24

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Item Code:
IDE075
Cover:
Paperback
Edition:
1990
Publisher:
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan
Language:
English
Size:
7.2" X 4.8"
Pages:
46
Other Details:
Weight of Book 54 gms
Price:
$4.00   Shipping Free
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About the Author:

 

Prof. Satchidananda Murty [b.1924] was described by late Dr. Suniti Kumar Chatterjee, National Professor of India in Humanities, as one whom" the mantle of Dr. Radhakrishnan had fallen worthy." Dr. C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar considered his on Indian culture to be "an instructive and penetrating analysis" and "one of the most thought-provoking and formative of recent publications"

He has been a university professor of philosophy for a quarter century, a vice chancellor, UGC National Lecturer and National Fellow, General President of Akhila Bharatiya Darshan Parishad [1963] and Indian Philosophical Congress [1968].

Since 1980 he is the Chairman of the latter, and from 1988 Member, Steering Committee, Federation International des Philosophie. From 1984 to 86 he has been National Fellow of Indian Council of Philosophical Research and from 1986 to 1989 Vice Chairman of University Grant Commission.

Prof. Murty was the first to receive the Dr. B.C. Roy National Awards, the highest available in India, for Philosophy. The President of India awarded him Padma Bhushan in 1984. He is the Hon.D.Litt. of a number of Indian Universities, and Hon.Dr.Phil. of the Halle-W ittemberg [GDR] and Sofia [Bulgaria] Universities and of the USSR Academy of Sciences. He has been Visiting Professor at Princeton, and is Honorary Professor of the People's University of China; Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, etc.

FOREWORD

His Holiness Sri Jagadguru Bharati Tirtha Mahaswami was pleased to make the following observations. When this lecture was read out before him:

"Professor Satchidananda Murty (who is keeping the flag of India thinking and philosophy high in the academic centers of the world) has scholarship and understanding; he wields a facile pen and enough eloquence to give expression to his views. This lecture(which the Professor gave on the occasion of the Silver Jublee function of the Telgu monthly journal--SANKARA KRIPA) is replete with all these extraordinary abilities in abundance.

"The interpretation on which he dwells, at some length, are clear enough to explain the abstruse indirect expressions to those permeated with modern education. The English-knowing aspirants after truth will be benefited by this brochure (a delightful reading) which is free from intricacies, and makes a direct approach to put forward certain arguments.

"We wish the Professor (now in his years of mellowed fruitfulness) would publish many more illuminating treatises, to spread the message of Vedanta, to all the corners of the world.

PREFACE

This brochure contains the address I had the privilege of delivering in the presence of H.H. Jagadguru Sri Bharati Tirtha Swami of Sringeri Sarada Pitha on September 16, 1985 during the celebration of the Silver Jubilee of Sri Sankara Kripa, a Telgu journal brought out under the auspices of the pitha.

Vachaspati expounded a number of philosophical systems as if he were a follower of each. In this address, following his example, I have sympathetically explained some of the ideas of Advita Vedanta refraining from criticism or comparison. Sections A, B, C of this address deal with Awareness of Consciousness, Falsity of the World and the Great Upanishadic Sentences and Brahman-knowing in that order. Section D sets forth the traditional standpoint that only the great sentences of the Upanishads could be the source of the Brahman-knowledge and nothing else; and clarifies that pace the popularisers of Eastern wisdom and contemporary science the latter cannot demonstrate or demolish any type of the former. Section E argues that Vedantic sociology, social organisation or action ought to conform to Vedantic metaphysics.

For over forty years I have been a student or teacher of Advaita Vedanta but while it fascinates me I am not sure that I have an advaitic (non-dual) vasana (tendency,) nor am I certain that I have a decided preference of ananyatva (non-otherness). "I am only like a knower of words, not a knower of the self."

 

Chandogya Upanishad, VII-1-3).

And when Asvala, the hota of king Janaka of Videha asked whether he was brahmishtha, the wisest among brahmanas, Yajnavalkya replied: "We bow to the brahmishtha, while we just wish to have cows."

 

(Brahadaranyaka Upanishad III. 1.2)

The great Ibn Sina at one stage wrote he did not know what he was and what he wished to be become, and in our time Gabriel Marcel once exclaimed he did not know what he believed. It is difficult for lesser men to have a firm awareness (Dridhabodha or clear assured conviction regarding) transcendental truth.

I may, however, confess that ideas such as those in the following verses move me profoundly and to some extent, I share the feeling of the numinous they express.

"Due to many contradictions in reason the reality in multiplicity is not tenable. So, all the difference in this multiverse are the express manifestations of Your will. This only can be the correct definition of what actually is the case."

"In this transmigratoruy world. when the series of later births caused by actions in previous births become an obstacle to liberation. there is no other way of resolving this problem except through meditation on you."

 

(Sri Harsha Naishadha, XXI.103.99)

"I bow to him who is of the nature of supreme Delight, who delight Nanda, without the devotion of whom liberation is impossible and who is to be worshipped by all yogins"

"only the devotees of Govinda discern the ultimate good throgh Vedanta, get rid of delusion -- and attain pure delight."

"If yogins, through mind subdued by the practice of meditation , perceive a supreme light, devoid of attributes and action, let them do so. Let only that mysterious blue splendour which runs on the sand dunes of the Yamuna provide the wonder for our eyes"

"I do not know any reality higher than krishna."

(Madhusudana Sarasvati, Gita-Gudhartha-dipika, at VII begining, IX end, XIII beginning, and of Xv and XVIII.)

The title of this address is phrase used by Sri Harsha:

"This Advatic notion cannot be removed even by hundreds of arguments formulated by the intelligent."

Professor B.S. Ramakrishna, a distinguished scientist, Vice-Chancellor, University of Hyderabad, read section D in this. Professor P. Sri Ramchandrudu, head of the Sanskrit Department, Osmania University, a deep scholar trained in both the traditional and modern ways, transcribed in Devanagari script all the passages I originally wrote in Roman script with diacritical marks as the press did not have such marks and kindly corrected the proofs. I am grateful to both of them.

I am solely responsible for the interpretations and views expressed in this lecture.

This work was originally published in 1985 under the title The Advaitic Notion by Sri Sringerisaradapitham, Sringeri. I consider its publication by the great monastic institution with the Foreword by His Holiness Sri Jagadguru Bharati Tirtha Mahaswami (now its Head), than whom there can be no higher authority on Advaita Vedanta, as an honour to me.

It is gratifying to me that Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan has chosen to reprint this under the title The Advaitic Vision. No author of a book on Indian culture or thought can find for it more prestigious publishers. I am grateful to its General Secretary Shri S. Ramakrishnan and other authorities for bringing this out under its distinguished imprint.

INTRODUCTORY

It was over fifteen years ago I first had the privilege of meeting H. H. Jagadguru Srimad Abhinava Vidyatirtha Mahaswami at Visakhapatnam and having a long private conversation with him. Since then I have met him a number of times and also had the honour of being the chief guest in the Vakyartha Vidvat Sadas at his Math in Sringeri in 1978. Over the years a rapport has developed between us : he has been showering his vatsalya and anugraha on me and I have become his sincere admirer. But, though I know 'Different is the good, and different, indeed, is the pleasant', (Katha, 1.1.1.5), not being a Nachiketas, like many men, interested only in my Yogakshema, I chose only preyas and on a few occasions sought his blessings and received them. He is the head of the most important Hindu monastic establishment in the world and one of the most profound scholars in Nyaya and Vedanta. Still his simplicity is amazing, for he follows the dictum :(Brahadaranyaka, III. 5.1) 'Therefore, a knower of Brahman sought to desire to live as a child, after having done with scholarship'. What struck me most whenever I met him was his calm, his tranquility; he is a santa, indeed a prasantatma. The Brahdararanyaka (IV. 4. 23) informs that one becomes a santa only when one knows the great Unborn Self, which is not this while the Mundaka (I. 2. 11) states only those who practise tapas and sraddha become tranquil knowers . As Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada explained, for the self-controlled, prasanta the Supreme Self is immediately present as self, (Gitabhashya, VI. 7.) I offer my salutations to Paramahamsa parivrajakavarya Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha.

About ten years ago I met for the first time H. H. Jagadguru Sri Bharati Tirtha Swami in the Sri Sankara Math, Hyderabad. Since then I had the good fortune to meet with him on a number of occasions. For reasons best known to him or for no reason, he has been bestowing upon me his affection and benediction and treating me as his own, svajana. On the other side, I, impressed by his youth, detachment, vast learning and great capacity to clearly and fluently expound saving truth in different languages, have been holding him in high veneration. Whenever I meet him I feel as Parikshit and his contemporaries must have felt in the presence of Suka Maharshi. Rare indeed is a combination in so young a person of (Samkshepasariraka)' i. e. "firm vairagya, knowledge of the meanings known to himself, or, more probably, of the words 'tat' and 'tvam' and the certainty based on arguments regarding the precise sense of sentences concerning nirguna Brahman". He possesses the threefold wealth of ekata, samata and satyata:

 

(Moksha-dharma-parva, 169. 35.)

I offer my pranams to this yatisrestha Sri Bharati Tirtha.

Sri T. Ramalingeswara Rao is a sound scholar, a reputed poet and novelist, a firm believer in non-duality, and an authority on the history of Sri Sarada Pitha and Sri Vidya. He has lectured in the universities at Triupati, Vizag and. Madras. His devotion to their Holinesses and his faith in them is unexcelled. He has unselfishly and very ably served as the editor of Sri Sankara Kripa for the last sixteen years. Through it he has been spreading the message of Sankaracharya with understanding, fidelity, zeal, and skill. I felicitate him on this occasion, and hope he will be able to further improve the excellence and circulation of this journal.

CONTENTS
  Foreword

 

v
  Preface vii
  Introductory

 

xiii
A. Awareness of self-established Consciousness
(Samavedana of Svatahsiddh Vijnana)
1
B. Falsity of the World
(Jaganmithyatva)
11
C. The Great Upanishadic Sentences and Brahman Knowing
(Mahavakyas and Brahma-Vedanta)
14
D. Scripture and Empirical Knowledge
(Sruti and Pramanantara]
17
E. Transcendental Knowledge and Secular Activity
(Tattvajnana and Laukika Vyavahara)
24

Sample Page


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