Appendix (Part 8)

This article is part 133 of 135 in the series Jīvana-dharma-yoga

This is also called the bhramara-kīṭa-nyāya. A bee captures a worm with the intention to eat it, and keeps it in front of it, waiting for the vim of the worm to wane. The scared worm stares intently at the bee. Thus, the weak worm gazes at the strong bee continuously meditates upon its form and gestures. Gradually, due to this meditation upon the bee, it is said to become a bee itself.

kīrtau kīrtau nas-tadākāra-vṛtttīḥ ।
vṛttau vṛttau saccidānanda-bhāsaḥ ॥

This is the dissolution of oneself — giving up jīvatva.

Another mahāvākya of the advaitins is —

ahaṃ brahmāsmi

-Bṛhadāraṇyakopaniṣad 1. 4.10

The meaning of this is dissolution of oneself. This thing called ‘I’ is not separate from Brahma. It is within Brahma. “līye parabrahmaṇi’’ (‘I’ merge into Brahma) is the essence. Here, Brahma means everything — the sum total of whatever exists in reality. The inner meaning of Brahmāham, sarvo’ham is the dissolution of ego and a separate identity — that I am not separate from Brahma, I am not different from ‘everything’. That is Advaita. It is not establishing one’s identity or elevating one’s ego; it is the giving up of one’s identity ; it is the dissolution of one’s identity.

A relationship similar to what is explained by the three matas is naturally found between a husband and a wife In all unbroken families.

In daily chores of a house, the jobs of a woman differ from those of a man. In matters of cooking and cleaning, she is the servant and he is the master. In matters of earning money and taking care of the family, he is the servant and she is the mistress[1]. In this way, daily life is structured around Dvaita. The mutual love, respect, and timidity they have for each other gradually erode the insolence of his or her ego; prasāda of the form of acceptance is obtained.

In the same couple, we can see the relationship of aṃśa-aṃśi (part-whole) or śeṣa-śeṣi (body-embodied ātmā) during dhārmic rituals or worship or during wedding celebrations or guest hospitality. Neither among the two can work independently. Both of them are required, and are required together. The present work cannot be completed with only one person. Collaboration is required here. It is the way of Viśiṣṭādvaita. While experiencing the greatness of Bhagavān, the ego of the jīva loosens and falls off. That is mukti.

Now let us look at the process of Advaita. The example of blissful matrimony applies here as well. In times of extreme intimacy, their separate identities are forgotten. They feel “I am you, you are me”. The remembrance of I and you does not exist at that time. This is the complete dissolution of oneself. Indeed, when the jīva-ness of the jīva vanishes, only the ātmā remains[2].

tatra ko mohaḥ kaḥ śokaḥ ekatvam anupaśyataḥ ॥

·Īśopaniṣat, 7

Thus, in the same matrimonial relationship, the feelings of Dvaita, Viśiṣṭādvaita and Advaita are all experienced, depending on the time and circumstances.

The great seer, Madhusūdana-sarasvatī has summarised in this verse that all the three matas are paths towards worshipping Bhagavan.

tasyaivāhaṃ mamaivāsau sa evāham-iti tridhā ।
bhagavaccharaṇatvaṃ syāt sādhanābhyāsa-pākataḥ ॥

This is the path of harmony.

  1. tasyaivāhaṃ” (tasya+eva+aham): I belong to Bhagavān. I don’t own anything, I am dependent on Bhagavān, I am his servant. I am obedient to him. This is Dvaita.
  2. mamaivāsau” (mama+eva+asau): Bhagavān is mine. A baby thinks that his mother belongs to him alone, and that only he has rights upon her. The word ‘eva’ here means that all of Bhagavān belongs to the bhakta. This is the pinnacle of love. Here there is remembrance of ‘I’, and the feeling of a separate identity. But beyond this, there is satisfaction that one is within the other. This is Viśiṣṭādvaita.
  3. Sa evāham” (saḥ+eva+aham): I am he ; he is I. There are no two entities here. They are not different. There is no second one. This is Advaita,.

All the above three culminate in the same object. The author of Advaita-siddhi[3] especially treats all three equally. The reason for the existence of three is due to differences in the effort and practices of the bhaktas.

Let us take another example. Water is present in wells, rivers, and oceans. However, water in ponds and wells is not directly related to water in the ocean. When it rains and the ground becomes wet, water might seep into the well through the earth and thus, there might be a natural connection forged between this water and water in the ocean through internal orifices of the earth. Apart from such occasional and indirect connections, wells are completely different from oceans. This is Dvaita.

River water is different from ocean water till it reaches the ocean. It is different in terms of motion, taste, and other qualities as well. However, when the river merges with the ocean, it loses its separate identity and appears as though it is an arm — a part — a subordinate aspect — of the ocean. This is Viśiṣṭādvaita.

Coming to the ocean, it absorbs rainwater poured by clouds formed from water collected from wells, tanks, and lakes by the rays of the sun; it receives water offered by rivers; it accepts rainwater that had fallen on the plains and in the forests, as well as effluent water from by city-dwellers and merges them in itself. The ocean, since time immemorial, ingests these three kinds of water and makes it its own. The ocean is like Brahma of Advaita.

Thus, if the followers of one mata view the followers of other matas with empathy, there will be no reason for any quarrelsome debates. One’s mode of worship is in accordance with one’s proclivities and training.

Just as sweet talk marks love between two people, quarrels might also signify love. There is a story in the Bhāgavata where Kṛṣṇa incited Rukmini to fight with him. A bhakta behaves the same way with Bhagavān. Tyāgarāja praised Rāma, singing “who is equal to you[4]?”; and also reproached him saying, “are you incapable?” The talk and behaviour is according to the mood at that moment.

The same is true of the worship of the divine. Those who are advaitins when logically analyzing philosophical theories become dvaitins and viśiṣṭādvaitins when they want mental satisfaction. A great example of this is the manner of Madhusūdana Sarasvatī, who authored the classic Advaita-siddhi.

dhyānābhyāsa-vaśīkṛtena manasā … tannīlaṃ maho dhāvati ॥
(see page 328).

The great favour Vedas and Vedānta have conferred upon philosophical seekers is freedom in the matters of personal worship. This is also in the Gītācharya’s slogan :

yo yo yāṃ yāṃ tanuṃ bhaktaḥ śraddhāyā’rcitum-icchati ॥

-BG 7.21

Understanding a tattva means experiencing its meaning. Experience entails constant inquiry or contemplation. This requires śraddhā, which, in turn, is easily born where there is inborn interest. Hence, freedom in interest is the first facility needed for a philosophical seeker. It is natural to have śraddhā towards an object one is interested in. Worship becomes easier.

Because there is freedom in interest, there is freedom in worship also. Even among ardent vaiṣṇavas, some love the form of Kṛṣṇa more ; some love the form of Rāma and yet others love the form of Narasiṃha. Among śaivas, some like the form of Gaurīśaṅkara, some like Naṭarāja. Among the devotees of Devī, some love the form of Lalitā, some others love the form of Durgā. Just as taste is the main driver among the six rasas of food in a meal, taste is an important driver in the worship of the divine form of one’s choice.

In the third chapter of the Brahmasūtras called the Sādhanādhyāya, Bhagavān Bādarāyaṇa says that a worshipper has freedom of choice in the way of worship — ‘yāthākāmya’ —

aniyamaḥ sarvāsām avirodhaḥ ॥ 3.3.31
(Gist: There is no restriction for the upāsanā of any devatā.)

tannirdhāraṇāniyamaḥ ॥ 3.3.42
(Gist: upāsanā mentioned as part of a yajña can be performed separately)

nānā, śabdādi-bhedāt ॥ 3.3.58
(Gist: The upāsanās are different on account of their different names)

vikalpo’viśiṣṭa-phalatvāt ॥ 3.3.59 etc.,
(Gist: There is an option to choose any upāsanā as all upāsanās culminate in the same result.)

When the objective is the same, and there are two or three paths reaching there, a sādhaka can choose whatever path he feels is more comfortable. That is the summary of the above sūtras. Even in the matter of the relationship between jīva and Brahma, there is no objection to any mata if we accept  that an upāsaka obtains the object of his worship by choosing the path according to his proclivities and convenience.

In the four varṇas such as brāhmaṇas, etc., traditional, lineage-based rules apply to saṃskāras such as weddings. There is no such śāstra, however, for choosing one of the three matas for a lineage. Even so, the śraddhā and the ācāra followed by one’s father and grandfather creates a natural mindset in children and grandchildren, and they will find it easy to follow the same path. Even then, a person with independent thoughts is free to choose the path of a mata that appeals to him, and appears easy to him.

To be continued...

The present series is a modern English translation of DVG’s Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award-winning work, Bhagavad-gītā-tātparya or Jīvana-dharma-yoga. The translators wish to express their thanks to Śatāvadhāni R Ganesh for his valuable feedback and to Hari Ravikumar for his astute edits.

Footnotes

[1]We should remember that this was written in the 1960s, when women were mainly homemakers.

[2]See DVG’s “śṛngāra maṅgalam” — premādvaita

[3]Madhusūdana-sarasvatī

[4]Rāma nī samānamevaru

Author(s)

About:

Devanahalli Venkataramanayya Gundappa (1887-1975) was a great visionary and polymath. He was a journalist, poet, art connoisseur, philosopher, political analyst, institution builder, social commentator, social worker, and activist.

Translator(s)

About:

Engineer. Lapsed blogger. Abiding interest in Sanskrit, religion, and philosophy. A wannabe jack-of-all.

About:

Mother of two. Engineer. Worshiper of Indian music, poetry, and art.

Prekshaa Publications

Indian Perspective of Truth and Beauty in Homer’s Epics is a unique work on the comparative study of the Greek Epics Iliad and Odyssey with the Indian Epics – Rāmāyaṇa and Mahābhārata. Homer, who laid the foundations for the classical tradition of the West, occupies a stature similar to that occupied by the seer-poets Vālmīki and Vyāsa, who are synonymous with the Indian culture. The author...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the sixth volume of reminiscences character sketches of prominent public figures, liberals, and social workers. These remarkable personages hailing from different corners of South India are from a period that spans from the late nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. Written in Kannada in the 1970s, these memoirs go...

An Introduction to Hinduism based on Primary Sources

Authors: Śatāvadhānī Dr. R Ganesh, Hari Ravikumar

What is the philosophical basis for Sanātana-dharma, the ancient Indian way of life? What makes it the most inclusive and natural of all religio-philosophical systems in the world?

The Essential Sanātana-dharma serves as a handbook for anyone who wishes to grasp the...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the fifth volume, episodes from the lives of traditional savants responsible for upholding the Vedic culture. These memorable characters lived a life of opulence amidst poverty— theirs  was the wealth of the soul, far beyond money and gold. These vidvāns hailed from different corners of the erstwhile Mysore Kingdom and lived in...

Padma Bhushan Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam represents the quintessence of Sage Bharata’s art and Bhārata, the country that gave birth to the peerless seer of the Nāṭya-veda. Padma’s erudition in various streams of Indic knowledge, mastery over many classical arts, deep understanding of the nuances of Indian culture, creative genius, and sublime vision bolstered by the vedāntic and nationalistic...

Bhārata has been a land of plenty in many ways. We have had a timeless tradition of the twofold principle of Brāhma (spirit of wisdom) and Kṣāttra (spirit of valour) nourishing and protecting this sacred land. The Hindu civilisation, rooted in Sanātana-dharma, has constantly been enriched by brāhma and safeguarded by kṣāttra.
The renowned Sanskrit poet and scholar, Śatāvadhānī Dr. R...

ಛಂದೋವಿವೇಕವು ವರ್ಣವೃತ್ತ, ಮಾತ್ರಾಜಾತಿ ಮತ್ತು ಕರ್ಷಣಜಾತಿ ಎಂದು ವಿಭಕ್ತವಾದ ಎಲ್ಲ ಬಗೆಯ ಛಂದಸ್ಸುಗಳನ್ನೂ ವಿವೇಚಿಸುವ ಪ್ರಬಂಧಗಳ ಸಂಕಲನ. ಲೇಖಕರ ದೀರ್ಘಕಾಲಿಕ ಆಲೋಚನೆಯ ಸಾರವನ್ನು ಒಳಗೊಂಡ ಈ ಹೊತ್ತಗೆ ಪ್ರಧಾನವಾಗಿ ಛಂದಸ್ಸಿನ ಸೌಂದರ್ಯವನ್ನು ಲಕ್ಷಿಸುತ್ತದೆ. ತೌಲನಿಕ ವಿಶ್ಲೇಷಣೆ ಮತ್ತು ಅಂತಃಶಾಸ್ತ್ರೀಯ ಅಧ್ಯಯನಗಳ ತೆಕ್ಕೆಗೆ ಬರುವ ಬರೆಹಗಳೂ ಇಲ್ಲಿವೆ. ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರಕಾರನಿಗಲ್ಲದೆ ಸಿದ್ಧಹಸ್ತನಾದ ಕವಿಗೆ ಮಾತ್ರ ಸ್ಫುರಿಸಬಲ್ಲ ಎಷ್ಟೋ ಹೊಳಹುಗಳು ಕೃತಿಯ ಮೌಲಿಕತೆಯನ್ನು ಹೆಚ್ಚಿಸಿವೆ. ಈ...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the fourth volume, some character sketches of the Dewans of Mysore preceded by an account of the political framework of the State before Independence and followed by a review of the political conditions of the State after 1940. These remarkable leaders of Mysore lived in a period that spans from the mid-nineteenth century to the...

Bharatiya Kavya-mimamseya Hinnele is a monograph on Indian Aesthetics by Mahamahopadhyaya N. Ranganatha Sharma. The book discusses the history and significance of concepts pivotal to Indian literary theory. It is equally useful to the learned and the laity.

Sahitya-samhite is a collection of literary essays in Kannada. The book discusses aestheticians such as Ananda-vardhana and Rajashekhara; Sanskrit scholars such as Mena Ramakrishna Bhat, Sridhar Bhaskar Varnekar and K S Arjunwadkar; and Kannada litterateurs such as DVG, S L Bhyrappa and S R Ramaswamy. It has a foreword by Shatavadhani Dr. R Ganesh.

The Mahābhārata is the greatest epic in the world both in magnitude and profundity. A veritable cultural compendium of Bhārata-varṣa, it is a product of the creative genius of Maharṣi Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsa. The epic captures the experiential wisdom of our civilization and all subsequent literary, artistic, and philosophical creations are indebted to it. To read the Mahābhārata is to...

Shiva Rama Krishna

சிவன். ராமன். கிருஷ்ணன்.
இந்திய பாரம்பரியத்தின் முப்பெரும் கதாநாயகர்கள்.
உயர் இந்தியாவில் தலைமுறைகள் பல கடந்தும் கடவுளர்களாக போற்றப்பட்டு வழிகாட்டிகளாக விளங்குபவர்கள்.
மனித ஒற்றுமை நூற்றாண்டுகால பரிணாம வளர்ச்சியின் பரிமாணம்.
தனிநபர்களாகவும், குடும்ப உறுப்பினர்களாகவும், சமுதாய பிரஜைகளாகவும் நாம் அனைவரும் பரிமளிக்கிறோம்.
சிவன் தனிமனித அடையாளமாக அமைகிறான்....

ऋतुभिः सह कवयः सदैव सम्बद्धाः। विशिष्य संस्कृतकवयः। यथा हि ऋतवः प्रतिसंवत्सरं प्रतिनवतामावहन्ति मानवेषु तथैव ऋतुवर्णनान्यपि काव्यरसिकेषु कामपि विच्छित्तिमातन्वते। ऋतुकल्याणं हि सत्यमिदमेव हृदि कृत्वा प्रवृत्तम्। नगरजीवनस्य यान्त्रिकतां मान्त्रिकतां च ध्वनदिदं चम्पूकाव्यं गद्यपद्यमिश्रितमिति सुव्यक्तमेव। ऐदम्पूर्वतया प्रायः पुरीपरिसरप्रसृतानाम् ऋतूनां विलासोऽत्र प्रपञ्चितः। बेङ्गलूरुनामके...

The Art and Science of Avadhānam in Sanskrit is a definitive work on Sāhityāvadhānam, a form of Indian classical art based on multitasking, lateral thinking, and extempore versification. Dotted throughout with tasteful examples, it expounds in great detail on the theory and practice of this unique performing art. It is as much a handbook of performance as it is an anthology of well-turned...

This anthology is a revised edition of the author's 1978 classic. This series of essays, containing his original research in various fields, throws light on the socio-cultural landscape of Tamil Nadu spanning several centuries. These compelling episodes will appeal to scholars and laymen alike.
“When superstitious mediaevalists mislead the country about its judicial past, we have to...

The cultural history of a nation, unlike the customary mainstream history, has a larger time-frame and encompasses the timeless ethos of a society undergirding the course of events and vicissitudes. A major key to the understanding of a society’s unique character is an appreciation of the far-reaching contributions by outstanding personalities of certain periods – especially in the realms of...

Prekṣaṇīyam is an anthology of essays on Indian classical dance and theatre authored by multifaceted scholar and creative genius, Śatāvadhānī Dr. R Ganesh. As a master of śāstra, a performing artiste (of the ancient art of Avadhānam), and a cultured rasika, he brings a unique, holistic perspective to every discussion. These essays deal with the philosophy, history, aesthetics, and practice of...

Yaugandharam

इदं किञ्चिद्यामलं काव्यं द्वयोः खण्डकाव्ययोः सङ्कलनरूपम्। रामानुरागानलं हि सीतापरित्यागाल्लक्ष्मणवियोगाच्च श्रीरामेणानुभूतं हृदयसङ्क्षोभं वर्णयति । वात्सल्यगोपालकं तु कदाचिद्भानूपरागसमये घटितं यशोदाश्रीकृष्णयोर्मेलनं वर्णयति । इदम्प्रथमतया संस्कृतसाहित्ये सम्पूर्णं काव्यं...

Vanitakavitotsavah

इदं खण्डकाव्यमान्तं मालिनीछन्दसोपनिबद्धं विलसति। मेनकाविश्वामित्रयोः समागमः, तत्फलतया शकुन्तलाया जननम्, मातापितृभ्यां त्यक्तस्य शिशोः कण्वमहर्षिणा परिपालनं चेति काव्यस्यास्येतिवृत्तसङ्क्षेपः।

Vaiphalyaphalam

इदं खण्डकाव्यमान्तं मालिनीछन्दसोपनिबद्धं विलसति। मेनकाविश्वामित्रयोः समागमः, तत्फलतया शकुन्तलाया जननम्, मातापितृभ्यां त्यक्तस्य शिशोः कण्वमहर्षिणा परिपालनं चेति काव्यस्यास्येतिवृत्तसङ्क्षेपः।

Nipunapraghunakam

इयं रचना दशसु रूपकेष्वन्यतमस्य भाणस्य निदर्शनतामुपैति। एकाङ्करूपकेऽस्मिन् शेखरकनामा चित्रोद्यमलेखकः केनापि हेतुना वियोगम् अनुभवतोश्चित्रलेखामिलिन्दकयोः समागमं सिसाधयिषुः कथामाकाशभाषणरूपेण निर्वहति।

Bharavatarastavah

अस्मिन् स्तोत्रकाव्ये भगवन्तं शिवं कविरभिष्टौति। वसन्ततिलकयोपनिबद्धस्य काव्यस्यास्य कविकृतम् उल्लाघनाभिधं व्याख्यानं च वर्तते।

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the third volume, some character sketches of great literary savants responsible for Kannada renaissance during the first half of the twentieth century. These remarkable...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the second volume, episodes from the lives of remarkable exponents of classical music and dance, traditional storytellers, thespians, and connoisseurs; as well as his...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the first volume, episodes from the lives of great writers, poets, literary aficionados, exemplars of public life, literary scholars, noble-hearted common folk, advocates...

Evolution of Mahabharata and Other Writings on the Epic is the English translation of S R Ramaswamy's 1972 Kannada classic 'Mahabharatada Belavanige' along with seven of his essays on the great epic. It tells the riveting...

Shiva-Rama-Krishna is an English adaptation of Śatāvadhāni Dr. R Ganesh's popular lecture series on the three great...

Bharatilochana

ಮಹಾಮಾಹೇಶ್ವರ ಅಭಿನವಗುಪ್ತ ಜಗತ್ತಿನ ವಿದ್ಯಾವಲಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಮರೆಯಲಾಗದ ಹೆಸರು. ಮುಖ್ಯವಾಗಿ ಶೈವದರ್ಶನ ಮತ್ತು ಸೌಂದರ್ಯಮೀಮಾಂಸೆಗಳ ಪರಮಾಚಾರ್ಯನಾಗಿ  ಸಾವಿರ ವರ್ಷಗಳಿಂದ ಇವನು ಜ್ಞಾನಪ್ರಪಂಚವನ್ನು ಪ್ರಭಾವಿಸುತ್ತಲೇ ಇದ್ದಾನೆ. ಭರತಮುನಿಯ ನಾಟ್ಯಶಾಸ್ತ್ರವನ್ನು ಅರ್ಥಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಇವನೊಬ್ಬನೇ ನಮಗಿರುವ ಆಲಂಬನ. ಇದೇ ರೀತಿ ರಸಧ್ವನಿಸಿದ್ಧಾಂತವನ್ನು...

Vagarthavismayasvadah

“वागर्थविस्मयास्वादः” प्रमुखतया साहित्यशास्त्रतत्त्वानि विमृशति । अत्र सौन्दर्यर्यशास्त्रीयमूलतत्त्वानि यथा रस-ध्वनि-वक्रता-औचित्यादीनि सुनिपुणं परामृष्टानि प्रतिनवे चिकित्सकप्रज्ञाप्रकाशे। तदन्तर एव संस्कृतवाङ्मयस्य सामर्थ्यसमाविष्कारोऽपि विहितः। क्वचिदिव च्छन्दोमीमांसा च...

The Best of Hiriyanna

The Best of Hiriyanna is a collection of forty-eight essays by Prof. M. Hiriyanna that sheds new light on Sanskrit Literature, Indian...

Stories Behind Verses

Stories Behind Verses is a remarkable collection of over a hundred anecdotes, each of which captures a story behind the composition of a Sanskrit verse. Collected over several years from...