The main objection of Kevalādvaitins (Absolute Monists) —


sarvanirāmaya-paripūṛno ‘hamastmīti mumukṣūṇāṁ mokaika-sidhhir bhavati


Translation —


“I am perfect brahma devoid of all defects and pains”, only by maintaining such a notion does the enquiry of mumkṣus or those desirous of attaining liberation, fructify and attain to perfection.


(Ātmapūjopaniṣad – Translated by Late Pt. Śrī Rāma Śarmā Ācārya Jī of Agra, UP, Bhārata — the Founder of Gāyatrī Parivāra organization and basically from an Āryasamājī background)



Main refutation –


1) An assertion is found in Atharvaveda’s Gopathabrāhmaṇa – “parokṣa-priyā iva hi devā bhavanti pratyakṣa-dviṣaḥ” meaning “the gods desire indirect eulogy (description) and are not desirous of direct praise (depiction)”. That is why the śrutis (upaniṣads) mostly state the foremost confidential truth indirectly. Therefore, often the meaning of the statements of the śrutis is not what it seems in the first/external/apparent glance.


2) The word ‘brahma’ excerpted is not present in the aphorism of the śruti above. It has been added by the translator.


3) But if we accept ‘anuvarttanam’ (when a word is not to be found being mentioned many times, but is, still, brought in for harmonizing the sentence), and the word ‘brahma’ is joined, in that circumstance one has to keep a few things in mind before one arrives at the real meaning of the above Upaniṣadic aphorism.


4) Say we accept that ‘I am that complete brahma devoid of all diseases/pains and defects’ and say we, also, accept that only this kind of rumination can lead the mumukṣus (those desirous of mokṣa or liberation) to perfection – but if the jīvātmā (the individual living being), who is thinking in this way, is actually perfect brahma devoid of all diseases and defects, he should be, from time without beginning, naturally perfect and liberated, for the param-brahma (Absolute Reality) is eternally pure, knowledgeable and liberated by nature, which is established in various places in the scriptures!


So in this way, if the jīva, who thinks himself to be perfect brahma (pūrṇa brahma), is liberated and perfected by nature due to his being the very parabrahma, why then, in the succeeding part of the same verse, it is said that – “he is desirous of liberation i.e. mumukṣu” and “in this way mumukṣus attain liberation or their liberation is perfected”? Is the parabrahma/pūrabrahma who is eternally liberated by nature from time without origin, required to become desirous of liberation (mumuku – one who desires mokṣa//liberation) at any timely juncture? And then, how can the same Upaniṣadic verse declare that such a jīva who is pūrabrahma or perfect brahma “attains liberation/perfection”? Does not, the perfection of pūṛna-brahmatva and liberation of that jīva become relative to time by the usage of the verb “bhavati” (meaning ‘happens’)? The meaning of “bhavati” is, “happens” meaning “the mumukṣus ‘attain’ perfection” – here, the dependence of perfection or liberation on timely juncture is clearly manifest. Thus, the conclusion is, the jīvātmā who is desirous of mokṣa/liberation, is different/separate from that parabrahma who is an embodiment of eternal purity/knowledge/liberation, because if the jīvātmā were that parabrahma / supreme brahma, then on account of his being eternally liberated, his concurrently becoming desirous of liberation and the subsequent dependence of the perfection of his liberation on timely juncture, both these propositions are proven illogical/fallacious as they turn oxymoron (actually self-contradicting).


If it is argued that due to the presence of the virodha-bhañjikā śakti (the potency which harmonizes the concurrent contradictions within brahma’s svarūpa or identity like the facts that brahma is both the smallest of the small or aṇu and both the greatest of the great or mahat – at the same time due to this potency in brahma), the brahma can simultaneously become jīva and can, also, stay back as the brahma, such is not acceptable because, nowhere in the scriptures (which clearly propound the simultaneous autva or smallenss and mahatva or greatness of brahma) any such record is found that the māyādhipatī brahma (Absolute who is the master of the illusory potency) turns into a māyāvaśya jīva (the living entity who is subjugated to māyā or illusory potency). On the contrast, Śrīmad-bhāgavatamahāpurāṇa 1.7.4-5 clearly expresses difference between the māyāpati and the māyāvaśya. One (brahma) is innately such that never comes under the subjugation of māyā and the other,  jīva is innately prone to be subjugated by the mundane illusory potency māyā. Such is the eternal difference between the two.


If the statements of Subālopaniṣad are taken into account (which superficially seem to support the theory that the controller of māyā can become subjugated to māyā as well), their correct interpretation denies the oneness of the māyāvaśya  jīva and the māyāpati brahma. A separate article shall be composed to clarify the factual meaning of the statements of Subālopaniṣad in this regard.


But, now the question is that none of the verses in the śruti can be fallacious or anomalous (or even less important than other passages), else accepting one part of śruti-vākya and rejecting the other will lead us to “ardha-kukkuṭī-nyāya” (accepting one part of the hen viz. that lays the eggs and rejecting the other part that demands food / the famous half-chicken logic)! Śruti is a manifestation of the Lord and therefore, none of its parts can be false. If they were false, how would then the first part of the verse from Ātmapūjā Śrūti (Upaniṣad) – “sarvanirāmaya-paripūṇo ‘hamasmīti” (“I am the perfect brahma devoid of all imperfections”) – will be reconciled?


Solution –


  1. sarvanirāmaya-paripūro ‘hamasmīti” (“I am the perfect brahma devoid of all imperfections”) — if we accept this, we have to understand it in the same way as has been understood in other verses from Vedas and Upaniṣads e.g.—“brahmaiva san brahmāpyeti” and “devo bhūtvā devaṁ yajet”! “brahmaiva san brahmāpyeti” {“(jīvātmā) attains brahma by becoming brahma”}. The verb “āpya” means “to attain”. One who attains as such, attains something that is different/separated from him, meaning, the aptness of “prāpti” or “attainment” is only maintained if the “prāpya” (something that is worth attaining) is different from the “prāptikarttā” (the one who attains); because, if the thing that is to be attained is the same as the one who attains, who shall attain what and who will become worth attaining for whom? It is thus proven that there is a difference between the “prāpya” (attained object) parabrahma and “prāptikarttā” (attainer/beneficiary/receiver) jīvabrahma.


Still, in the above verse of śruti, when it is said that one attains brahma after becoming brahma— if we accept that the prāptikarttā brahma (the brahma who obtains) in “brahmaiva san” (literally meaning – “after becoming brahma”), is the same prāpya-brahma (the attainable/obtainable brahma) mentioned in “brahmāpyeti” (literally meaning “which is the brahma to be attained”), then this interpretation is not correct due to another reason — if one has once become brahma (“brahmaiva san”), why will one then attain brahma (“brahmāpyeti”)? Thus, it is clearly indicated that —


(a) The becoming of brahma (jīva-brahma) by the jīvātmā to attain brahma (parabrahma), is not equivalent to his hypothetically (hypothetically – because in actuality, jīva can never become parabrahma) becoming perfect or complete parabrahma!


(b) The  jīva’s becoming brahma (to attain parabrahma) is a time-dependent event, since that jīva (he is not parabrahma, which is indicated by the analyses above, but let’s say he is brahma in the general sense, still), as is clearly indicated in “brahmaiva san” by the word “san” (the meaning of ‘san’ is ‘after becoming’ or ‘to be’), becomes such an obtainer brahma (prāptikarttā brahma) at a particular juncture of time. Thus, the jīva is not even the ‘jīva-brahma’ (of general category – not to speak of the parabrahma or pūrabrahma) naturally/innately or from time without beginning, because even that stage of being a ‘jīva-brahma’ is attained by that jīva only at a particular period/time (through practice or sādhanā endowed with bhagavat-kpā or the mercy showered by the parabrahma/pūrnabrahma/prāypa-brahma – the obtainable brahma) — if this is not accepted, the sentence “brahmaiva san brahmāpyeti” of the śruti will be rendered meaningless! In that case saying something like, “jīva who is brahma by nature or who is innately the brahma, attains parabrahma/ “svabhāva(jīva)brahma (para)brahmāpyeti” would have been more appropriate than saying, “he attains brahma after he becomes brahma or “brahmaiva san brahmāpyeti”!


(c) If the jīva’s being brahmabrahmaiva san” is accepted as his being “parabrahma”, then in such situation, due to it being completely illogical for such a jīva to again attain brahma/parabrahma (“brahmāpyeti”) while already being parabrahma (“brahmaiva san”), the śruti should have proclaimed something like —“brahmaiva san sarvamiti/sarvam bhavati” meaning “he becomes everything after attaining brahma”! Isn’t it illogical for a jīva already a parabrahma to again obtain parabrahma?


2) From statements like, “devo bhūtvā devaṁ yajet” (“a deva is worshipped after becoming deva”), two things are illuminated —


(i) The worshipper is not deva by nature or innately, but attains the nature befitting a deva through inculcating divine qualities and through other means/sādhanās or mystical practices. And when he becomes of a divine nature befitting a deva, only then is the worship of iṣṭa-deva/worshipped deity is, actually, possible. He cannot, in the true sense worship deva until his nature remains demoniac or even humanly.


(ii) But if “devo bhūtvā (after becoming deva)” is taken to mean that the worshipper deva has become the worshipped deva, there remains no substance in the concept of such a worshipper deva worshipping a worshipped deva! And thus the words, “devaṁ yaget” – will become meaningless! Thus, the divineness of the worshipper deva (devotee) and that of the worshipped deva (God) are not one — this is established.


Secondary objections –


In the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad 2.5.14, ‘advaita’ or undifferentiated absolute monism is clearly established through refutation of difference (dvaita) between the seen, seer (subject/object), tasted, taster, listened and listener etc.!


Secondary refutation —


If one peruses the classical commentaries/ sub-commentaries of the Tattva-vādī Mādhva Sampradāya in the above context, everything becomes clear through wisdom in the same way milk is separated from water!


Essence –


“I am perfect brahma sans all defects”/”sarvanirāmaya-paripūro ‘hamasmīti”— this verse of the Ātmapūjopaniṣad indicates the state of being in “brahma-bhūta-avasthā” or “jīvana-mukty-avasthā” or “yoga-āruha-avasthā” or “samattva-avasthā” that are delineated in the Śrīmad-bhagavad-gītā 18.54 (“brahma-bhūtaprasannātmā…”), 18.71 (“…so ‘pi mutka….”), 2.55 (“sthita-prajñas tadocyate”), 6.3 (“yogārūḍhasya tasyaiva…”), 6.5 (“…yogārūḍhas tadocyate…”) and 2.48 (“samattvaṁ yoga-ucyate..”) etc. A sādhaka (even while possessing an earthly or mundane body) can only attain the supreme platform of the supreme brahma (the abode of Lord Śrī Hari) if he is situated in such a brahmabhūta/jīvana-mukta state.


Evidence – “ oṁ tad-viṣṇoḥ paramaṁ padaṁ sadā paśyanti sūrayo divīva cakṣurātatam….” (Ṛgveda 1.22.20 – Revealer Sage is Medhātithi Kaṇva Muni)—“The sūris/liberated/brahma-bhūta sages or mahātmās (great saintly personalities) are always witnessing the supreme abode of  Śrī Viṣṇu, who is the embodiment of Oṁkāra, in the eternal divine sky.”




— — Originally composed in Hindi & later edited in English by Bhakti-rasa-vedānta-piṭhādhīśvara Ācārya Śrī RKDS ‘ĀV’ Gurupāda (BRVF – Anand, Gujarat, Bhārata/India)


— — Translated from original Hindi into English by Professor Mr. Samarth Singh Kang (Jaipur, RJ, IN) aka Sundarānandadāsa Adhikārī Jī (Late HH BVNM – IGVS).



Source link for the perusal of the whole above essay in Hindi — https://goo.gl/RcFH17

Source link for the perusal of the whole above essay in English — https://goo.gl/cDekCL


One thought on “Ātmapūjopaniṣad does not entertain the Absolute Monism of Ācārya Śaṅkara. (English version of the earlier published Hindi version)

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