The cardinal truth of the Advaita philosophy1 min read

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse  19

“That innermost Self which, changeless by nature, puts in motion the intellect and so forth, as the loadstone, the iron – that am I. This you must understand”.

Commentary

Here is the cardinal truth of the Advaita philosophy. The Self, which is one and universal and all-pervasive, is the ultimate reality. It is not inert or remote like the Absolute of Hegel. It contains within it all potentialities and imparts activity to the mind, intellect, will and emotions.

Neither mind nor will is an independent entity: both are dependent upon the Self. Imagine that the sun is a conscious entity and that it creates the forms and colours in the clouds by its own will; there you have a picture of how the Self, the ultimate reality, which in its lower aspect is associated with the phenomena characterizing nescience (ajnana), presides over the mind and the intellect.

It is called jiva (the individualised consciousness) and is not subordinate to any force.

It is an aspect of the Lord omniscient and omnipresent Himself, but as it is self-conditioned it falls into the error of false identification.

When the stilled mind, devoted to general benevolence and adoration of the Lord, turns its activities on itself by contemplation and meditation, then it realizes its eternal, universal and all-blissful nature.

This verse is to be meditated upon. It is self-education of the highest type.

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse  20