Introduction to Tattvabodhah

Updated: Nov 11, 2018

Tattvabodhah is introductory text which expound the teaching of Advaita Vedānta (non dualistic) contained in Upanisads. This text broadly divided into 5 sections:

1. Sādhana catustayam, four fold qualifications required for a spiritual seeker to undertake the Vedanta study.

2. Vyasti vicārah, the analysis of the individual.

3. Samasti vicārah, the analysis of the total.

4. Aikya vicārah, the analysis of the essential oneness of the individual and the total.

5. Jñāna phalam, the benefits that will accrue to one who gains this knowledge of oneness.


Tattvabodhah means the knowledge of the truth / reality. The reality about the self me, about what other then me which is jagat the universe, and Īsvara the creator. This all our life is about. Living means transact between me the subject and others. In this transaction, we always want to have a pleasant experience, but unpleasant situation will also come. Here Īsvara as the creator of this universe is needed to bring into the picture, where we couldn't solve the problems accrued between me and the world. Only by understanding the caused then we can understand the products completely, and solving any problems which accrued in the products. Just like when the fever is there as the product of infection, we need to treat the infection for the total cured of the fever. If we keep treating the fever only, just like we keep solving the local problems without seeing the caused of the problem, the problem only being suspended temporary. It will come again and again in this life and another life. This is called cycle of samsara. Therefore Īsvara as the creator can not be bypass. Only by knowing the true nature of these three: me, jagat and Īsvara, then we can solve the problem of this life of samsara.


Because of not knowing the reality of the world, I put wrong expectation on the thing which doesn't have the qualification to meet my expectation. We expect the body to be permanently young, but the body is born to be perished. So when it get wrinkle or weak, we feel frustrated. We expect relationship can give happiness, but it can not, because when the person can not meet our expectation then this relationship no more give me happiness. How many of us will infest in a relationship and expect a short period of happiness out of it? The happiness we want is a 24x7, as long as we are alive.

Living is transact. No one want to live in the coma situation which no transaction is there. We all want to live. We all want to live happily. And we want to consciously living happily. These are three basic will of human being: will to be alive, will to be conscious/know, and will to be happy. Based on the will to be happy, human's pursue can categorised in to four which is called purusāthah:

1. Artha, pursue all form of security like wealth, shelter, power, relationship.

2. Kāma, pursue means for sense pleasure.

3. Dharma, pursue ethics and obligation / duties, which lead to better lot (heaven).

4. Moksa, pursue freedom from bondage.

Animals are programs to have the first two purusārtha, but human being has free-will to choose any of these pursuits and their means. Also because of the free-will, there is a change of personal value, therefore certain norms and obligation should be there to guide human being for fulfilling the first two purusārtha. Actually ethic is common sense, which what you don't want people do to you, then you don't do it to others. Human being seek this purusārtha because we grow to certain understanding that it will bring harmony to him and the society. Even though ethic is common sense, but sastra refines our understanding of ethic more comprehensively. For example: सत्यं ब्रूयात् प्रियमं ब्रूयात् न ब्रूयात् सत्यमप्रियम् | प्रियमं नानृतं ब्रूयात् एष धर्मः सनातनः || satyam bruyat priyam bruyat na bruyat satyam apriyam priyam ca nanrutam bruyat esha dharmah sanatanah "Speak truth in such a way that it should be pleasing to others. Never speak truth, which is unpleasant to others. Never speak untruth, which might be pleasant. This is the path of eternal morality, sanatana dharma (popularly known as Hinduism)". Also because of the prescription of what is to be done create good karma (punyam) and not to be done creates bad karma (pāpam), therefore the pursue of the better lot as heaven (where only pleasant experience with the minimum unpleasant experience) is there. This is Dharma purusārtha.


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