Tat Tvam Asi Equation & Advaita Misconceptions (100)

Tat Tvam Asi Equation & Advaita Misconceptions (100)


Lesson 100 reconciles apparent differences between limited individual and limitless Ishvara by showing they both resolves into one same Brahman.

So far we've done two inquiries:

  • 1) Who are you?
    • You are that in whose presence, everything is objectified (including your own body/mind changes).
    • Only difference between body-mind and other objects is you have special relationship/connection with one body-mind. Like with with one house.
    • But in both cases (body-mind / objects), I don’t become what I know about.
      • EG: I know of table, I don't become table. I know of thought, I don't become that thought.
      • Meaning I am presence which is free of everything.
    • Next question: Is this Presence unique to just me?
      • Method 1: If it was different to another, then it must have some attribute. But all attributes belong to body-mind.
      • Method 2: EG: There is one undivided space in which all objects are. But presence of objects, as though, creates divisions.
  • 2) What is cause of universe?
    • Above inquiry doesn't answer where all objects come from. And HOW they, seemingly divide the undivided Awareness.
    • Any effect requires two causes:
      • Maker: If whole universe is intelligently put together, then maker MUST BE all knowledge-power.
        • EG: Maker of pot has knowledge of pot, but maker of everything, has knowledge of everything.
      • Material: What makes time-space-objects.
        • If there is material separate from the maker (all-knowledge, all-power), that implies there is already space, time and objects. Logic breaks down.
        • Therefore only other possibility: Material and maker are not-two. Meaning, Ishvara is in-and-through every form in universe.
  • Next question: If Ishvara is everywhere, how come I don't see Ishvara?
    • Look into any form, you see it is forms within forms. We end up where?
      • If use normal knowledge, end up at quantum physics, which stops at question: What is final building block from which the smallest of the smallest is made?
    • Vedanta continues where quantum physics stops: Final building block of everything is not any particular particle, but all-knowledge, all-power.
      • Organizing every level of form to become next successive assembly.
      • Hence there is one intelligence appearing AS all objects.
  • Next question: Where was all knowledge-power before time-space-objects manifested?
    • Same intelligence was there, but in potential.
      • Metaphor: Today you have potential for tonight's dream-world, which it yet to manifest. Meaning same entity is present, in whom potential for world exists.
    • This means there is no “start” of creation. It’s in beginningless cycles.

What if I don’t know about the one Cause of the Universe?

  • Then even if I know about Nature of “I”, there will be continued seeking/fascination into world. Sucks me into the small things. Worry. Loss of childlike beginners mind. Hinders evolution.
  • If don’t see relevance of Ishvara, one is bound to exhibit heavy treats like: Lack of humility, living in a bubble, hard to relate, intellectual superiority, prone to criticizing/complaining, poor manners/culture, questionable integrity, not easily trusted.
  • Instead, if recognize every word, idea, thought, postulation comes from the One Cause (from which Time/Space itself is born), then you are at general peace with anything from thereon. Which brings lucidity.

Final part of Oneness equation:

  • So far it seems that the One Cause (all-knowledge-power) is the final truth (satyam). However there is one more final reality which even Ishvara depends for it’s being.
  • To demonstrate this, we need to bring in Oneness equation called: tat tvam asi.
    • tat (that): referring to Cause of Universe (Ishvara).
    • tvam (you): referring to Nature of individual (sat-cit; Awareness / Conscious presence).
    • asi (are): You (individual, whose nature is Awareness), are equated to Ishvara.
      • QUESTION: But how can I (limited knowledge-power individual), be equated to Ishvara (limitless knowledge-power)?
      • Firstly, we must acknowledge there is a difference in knowledge/power between individual & Ishvara. However difference is apparent and resolved upon inquiry. How is it apparent? Let’s demonstrate with an example…
        • E=mc2 (Energy = Matter).
        • Before resolving: two sides of equation are dissimilar.
        • After resolving: we understand that matter transforms into energy; vice-versa.
          • Thus difference between two sides is apparent; not real.
          • And the understanding is not pointed out directly in the formula. Formula only shows what is true.
          • How to understand what is true, takes place through guru-śiṣya paraṃparā.
  • To test understanding of what is an equation:
    • Is (5 = 5) an equation? No.
    • Is (Individual = Ishvara) an equation? No.
    • Is (3 + 2 = 6 – 1) an equation? Yes. Even though looks different on both sides, upon solving, there's no difference.
    • Meaning if we make a mistake on either side, then you’ll be in a deeper delusion then before solving it.
  • In terms of Oneness, we need to discover:
    • What is the relationship between “tat” (Ishvara) and “tvam” (individual that I find myself to be)?
    • So far we know:
      • Individual = limited knowledge/power.
      • Ishvara  = all knowledge/power.
      • And goal is to find a resolving point between these apparent differences.
        • Meaning:
          • Where is identity between individual & Ishvara?
          • What is point of resolution between individual & Ishvara?
          • How am “I” Ishvara?
    • Individual intelligence depends upon Consciousness/Awareness for it’s existence. Because without Consciousness, there’s no thought. IE: What is there to illumine the thought?
    • Thus content of every thought, emotion, memory, cognition & I-sense… is Consciousness.
    • While Consciousness remains independent of intelligence. And is present in thought and silence, as we’ve seen in 3-states of experience example last week.
    • Therefore, what is the irreducible reality, without which there's no individual intelligence? Presence of consciousness/awareness.
    • Firstly let's revise some points about Ishvara…
      • Ishvara is All-knowledge-power, constantly undergoing change to create, sustain and transform every particle in the universe.
        • EG: Take any object. Takes lots of intelligence to put it together.Meaning, wherever there is object (at any level), there is intelligence. EG: We don't know how many cells in own body. Thus it's obvious we didn't create it.
      • Ishvara is the total intelligent order as both manifest & potential.
        • EG: My body in 5 years will continue aging in a predictable way. Meaning potential carries order how body will be in 5 years.
      • Isvara manifests itself in form of cause-effect order, which matches present results to corresponding past actions.
      • There’s no final material in the universe. Because every form resolves to time/space, which further resolves to all-knowledge-power that existed before time-space-objects came.
        • So there is only intelligence appearing as names-forms.
          • EG in Mundaka Upanishad: Many sparks arise from conflagration of one flame. Meaning there is one flame appearing as many sparks.
    • And for this very intelligence to put together the entire universe, in requires presence of Consciousness. Just as no amount of knowledge is useful unless entity is Conscious.
    • So what is the irreducible reality, without which there's no all-knowledge? Presence of consciousness/awareness.

Bringing point of resolution for both sides of equation: asi

  • Point of resolution is: Consciousness (Brahman), which is explained by 3 words: sat-cit-ānanda.
    • Sat: Existence / presence. Is-ness of things.
      • Knowledge IS. Time-space IS. Quark IS. Proton/electron IS. Atom IS. DNA IS. Cell IS. Heart IS. Human body IS.
        • “IS” = always true, unchanging, in which mithya names-forms resolve into.
    • Cit: Neither individual-intelligence nor all-intelligence can exist without Awareful, conscious presence.
    • And the glory/nature/beauty of this Conscious Existence (sat-cit) is: ananda (limitless all knowledge, all power).
  • Therefore, satcitānanda is the final (satyam) which everything depends on… including Ishvara.
  • So what is satcitananda? The awareness in whose presence I come to know Īśvara and my own body.

Context using a hierarchy model:

  • Stage 1: From Limitless Consciousness (Brahman), there is ānanda potential to manifest the universe.
    • Unmanifest potential called: maya.
  • Stage 2: When potential manifests as universe, that same potential is called: Ishvara (God).
  • Stage 3: Ishvara manifests individuals called: jiva. (You happen to be one of them). Just like you (ishvara of your dream), manifests characters in the dream, called jivas.
  • Meaning, the One non-dual Consciousness appears as:
    • Microcosm: jiva (body-mind-sense complex).
    • Macrocosm: Ishvara (time/space and laws governing all forms, including jiva forms).
    • While Consciousness does not undergo any changes whether universe is manifest or unmanifest. Consciousness is satcitānanda. Enjoying itself as limitlessness.

Applying to real life while living:

  • How to see oneness in all beings?
    • We recognize, where there is individuality, there is all knowledge-power, that's not only organizing your body, but everyone's form.
      • This same all-knowledge-power was available even before universe came.
      • And what is truth of all knowledge-power? Satcitananda.
  • Order:
    • Brahman: That which is big and limitless.
    • Maya: Ānanda (nature of Brahman) in potential.
    • Isvara: knows all that is here is One appearing as many.
    • Jiva: doesn't know that all that is here is One appearing as many.
    • And right now, all 4 are present.
      • This is why Vedanta can't be contradicted by any logic, because all 4 are true from different standpoints.

To help understand the One Reality further, let’s bring back wave-ocean metaphor:

  • Wave can understand itself as water, and entire ocean is water.
    • Meaning there is only water, as though, appearing in form of waves and ocean.
    • And only after PROPERLY grasping all 3 realities (wave, ocean, water) – wave can say:
      • I am the ocean.
      • I am everything that is here, because the content of both wave and ocean is WATER alone.
  • This very understanding is called mokṣa.
    • What is mokṣa?
      • Truth of me is the truth of everything.
      • And while alive, one’s limitlessness is understood in spite of apparent limitation of individuality.
    • What is non-mokṣa?
      • A wave continues to live as a wave, until it recognizes two more realities.
      • Until then, the individual lives in samsara (caught up in individuality / focus on beads). Keeps being reborn to continue notion of itself as a limited entity.

Cautions about the big picture:

  • Caution 1: Wave says “I am part of the Ocean”. Jiva says “I am part of Ishvara”.
    • 2 schools of thought:
      • Visisthadvaita:
        • All that is here is Īśvara, and you are one part of Īśvara.
        • They stop at Īśvara.
        • I am one entity of total.
        • It's not wrong. Just doesn't go all the way.
      • Advaita:
        • Forms are different. Content is One.
        • Meaning at level of content, there's no difference between individual/Īśvara. This is what “Tat tvam asi” is pointing out. Both (jiva/Īśvara) are the same satyam-reality.
  • Caution 2: If dig deeper into universe, we can discover consciousness.
    • This is impossible. Because wherever there is mithya, that’s exactly where satyam is.
    • Wave doesn’t need to go deeper into itself to discover the water.
    • Equation is not done at level of form, but level of content of all forms. Everything resolves in water.
  • Caution 3:
    • After listening to Vedanta, person still takes “Awareness” to be function of mind. Then they superimpose limitlessness onto the mind’s notion.
    • Produces unrelatability, “I am above the scriptures, the guru, the universe”.
    • Humility is the best indicator that this mistake is not being made.
  • Caution 4:
    • If I am limitless, then I can get the world to do as I desire.
    • Law of attraction mindset: I have capacity to influence the universe according to my fancies.
    • Reality check: Before 2008 financial disaster, millions read Law of attraction, expecting to make a fortune. Then crises happened. Many lost their savings.
    • Reason we buy into idea “I control variables of universe”: If I don’t know where my boundary of control ends, I will include entire universe into it.
  • Caution 5: Modern teachings, “Bypass Ishvara”, since it’s mithya. Only focus on nature of “I”.
    • Rational: Why should I think of cause of universe, if everything collapses into Awareness.
    • Why do people skip Īśvara and go straight to “I am limitless Awareness”?  Want quick escape from past life pain/guilt. Just discard world as mithyā.
    • Reality check:
      • Your individuality has to undergo a certain growth, to see your connection with the universe. Need to care for self-image, emotional life, how to make decisions, build resilience.
      • If skip Īśvara, then individual growth doesn't take place. Which makes person live in delusion of Oneness.
      • To get the full vision, you need to become a Deserving Recipient. This takes effort.
  • Caution 6: Since everything is One, thus I have to love everyone and be equal to all.
    • Why is this incorrect? If love everyone, you're inviting abuse. EG: Yuddhisthira was inviting abuse of Duryodhana by being just to all.
    • Solution: Need to establish boundaries.
  • Caution 7: Nature of “I” is achieved through a sudden insight in deep meditation.
    • Common belief: Something clicks while meditation, then Enlightened.
    • Reason for belief:
      • Without knowledge, mind tilts towards path of least resistance.
      • EG: Religious mind imagines Jesus coming down from clouds for rapture. Spiritual mind imagines in it’s own way.
    • Reality check: Per B.Gita, only way to mokṣa is through rigorous inquiry, analyzing aspects of life.
  • Caution 8: Ishvara is mithyā.
    • This is true, but Intelligent Vedantin has no need to declare Īśvara as mithyā. Here's 3 better, humble ways to say it:
      • Īśvara's truth is Awareness and Ishvara knows it, while I don't. And Īśvara through His teaching, is showing you, “Hey little child, you and me are ultimately one!”.
        • Meaning, I need to acknowledge that grasping Reality is not fully in my control. And there is one intelligence, by whom, even this little mind (trying-to-understand) is governed by.
      • Wave says: I am pervaded by the Ocean, and the reality of Ocean is water, so wherever there is Ocean, there is Water.
      • Both individual and total are appearances of One reality.
        • I don't know it. But total knows it. Therefore whole teaching comes from Ishvara.
        • So no question of negating appearance.

Final conclusion:

  • How is Vedanta different from modern healing systems?
    • Other systems:
      • I have to be a better human being. Focuses on improving “I-sense”.
      • Negation. Focuses on negating what I am not.
    • Vedanta:
      • It doesn't negate the apparent differences.
      • It points out how we miss out on intelligence which makes all forms what they are.
      • This intelligence is called Ishvara, which has it’s existence in one final reality; Awareness (Brahman).
        • They enjoy a satya (Brahman) / mithya (Isvara) relationship.
        • Strictly speaking, can’t use the two terms interchangeably. Because Ishvara refers to intelligence. Brahman refers to Awareness.

How does this matter in my daily life?

  • Wherever you are, that's exactly where Isvara is, making your form what it is. Meaning if don't know Ishvara, will live as isolated form.
  • You no longer live in meaningless/random world.
  • You will respect all the forms, which follow certain cause-effect relationship.
  • Fear gone of tomorrow / feeling of persecution. Lack of trust.
  • Less stressed, more patient.
  • Resilient towards challenges.
  • Cheerfulness, light, playfulness.
  • No more victim mode.

Recorded 3 Nov, 2020



  1. Dave on November 15, 2020 at 9:25 pm

    Congratulations Andre. 100 videos on the Gita. A milestone in the year of Covid, Love all your videos.

    • mm Andre V on November 16, 2020 at 9:39 am

      Thank you. Not possible without help of so many others.

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