3 – Tattva Bodha: What is Permanent (Real) & Impermanent (Unreal)? What is Viveka?


Discourse 3 points out difference between anitya (impermanent) and nitya (permanent). Discriminative enquiry involves differentiating the two. By doing so, moksha is gained. Then points out viraga (absence of longing, otherwise called dispassion) is an effect of having performed a discriminative enquiry on the impermanent.

Source: Tattva Bodha


What are the 4 fold qualifications?

sādhana-catuṣṭayaṁ kim? (1) nitya anitya vastu vivekaḥ,
(2) iha amutra artha phala bhoga virāgaḥ (3) śamādi ṣaṭka saṁpattiḥ,
(4) mumukṣutvaṁ ca iti.

(The four-fold qualifications are) (1) Discriminative understanding of the difference between the timeless and time-bound, (2) dispassion for the results of experience here (in this world) and in the hereafter, (3) the sixfold accomplishments (wealth) beginning with śama, (inner composure) etc., and a (4) desire for freedom from becoming.

  • Nitya-anitya-vastu viveka:
    • Anitya:
      • Basic discriminative enquiry needed that anything pursued (anitya), common end is freedom from smallness/insecurity.  IE: Knowing no object can give lasting security. “I don't wish to be an eternal seeker for anitya“.
      • Doesn’t obtain in 3 periods of time. Time-bound and limited. Thus always seeking more/different (heaven, pleasure, punya).
      • Atma (“I”) is not anitya, else means I wasn't there before. But it's clear you're always present to any anitya experience. Hence Atma itself is not an anitya distinct experience. Because any distinct experience comes in time. Whether it's a thought, memory or epiphany, you're there to recognize it's arrival, presence and departure. So you (the one available to all anitya experiences) are nitya.  At this point, you're asking, “How am I eternal?”. This analysis will be undertaken later. 
    • Nitya:
      • That which obtains in 3 periods of time. At this stage, we don't know what nitya is. Verse is saying, “For liberation, need to discern what you know, from what you don't know”.
      • Nitya has to be discovered. Can't be produced. If it's produced/created/generated, then it's anitya (meaning it wasn't there before, and now it is).
      • Other then nitya, all else is anitya, including heaven, samadhi, body, your doubts, memories, thoughts, brain cells.
      • In scriptures, says: Ātmavit śokam tarati: Knower of Atma (eternal) crosses sorrow. In otherwords, nature of “I” is to be known. Known as what? As nityam; that which is eternal and not subject to decay, time, and is free of all limitations.
    • Viveka:
      • Recognition that behind all impermanent things, I'm seeking the eternal. If already know eternal, that's called moksha.
      • So far, vaguely knowing nitya-anitya, you want to be seeking the eternal. Rather then being an eternal seeker.
      • Some say “you must experience the eternal!”. Counter: For how long did you experience the eternal? 30 minutes! That's not eternal, that's 30 minutes.  Thus eternal/nitya is not an experience.
  • Iha-amutra-ārtha-phalabhoga-virāgah:
    • Once basic discernment for nitya-anitya is there, what develops is virāga/vairagya (lack of longing for phalabhoga; enjoyment in this world). Certain dispassion. Because anything in world is anitya.
      • Rāga: longing for ___ / enthusiastic about ___.
      • Dveṣa: Look upon object with hatred/fear/apprehension.
    • Why do people continue anitya, knowing it's anitya? Because don't know anything better, then will go emotionally crazy. Has habitual value. Thus even after dispassion and viveka, one still pursues X, due to habitual value. 
      • IE: Before/after enlightenment, chopping wood.
    • Dispassion includes loss of interest for religious promises of heaven in future. Hare Krishna is also a religion seeking anitya. Even in heaven, “I” (problem) am still there in heaven. Even president,  want more votes. Catch cold. Mosquitoes. Aging. Whichever way look at it, anitya is limited.


  1. “I experienced eternity (nityam) for 10 minutes!”  Provide a counter argument to this statement.
  2. Anityam is eternal.   T/F
  3. Nityam is eternal.  T/F
  4. Dispassion is something we pretend to have.  T/F
  5. Virāga (absence of longing for anitya) is a byproduct of discriminative enquiry.  T/F
  6. In reference to your body-mind, come up with 10 things that are anitya.  EG: liver, brain-cells, memory of grandparents, etc.
  7. Write a sentence to accurately capture the meaning of nitya-anitya-viveka.


Keywords: viraga, raga, dvesa, dvesha

Credit for help in Tattva Bodha to Chinmaya Mission's Swami Advayananda, and Arsha Vidya's Swami Dayananda.

Recorded 4 June, 2023



  1. Hello Andre. I hope you get back to Tattva Boddha sometime. You have such a clear and complete style of communication. I have been going through it with a study group, but I long to hear your next video. I like the notes too.

  2. andre luv the clarity of communication and the phenomenal notes. will patiently wait… for the rest. thk u

  3. Love your notes and style of teaching . I really dont understand where you get all the energy and time to study and teach. It is not an easy task and i love everybit of it. Tatva Bodh is a beginners course in vedantic terminology and is the most important and difficult to master. I must admit as for me there is so much to learn and life is so short

  4. Greetings Acarya Andre.
    At about the sixty five minute mark of your talk, after giving an excellent description of the meaningless cycle of repetitive events that one experiences in this eternal chain of rebirth, you make the point that one who gains moksha through knowledge “ enjoys their limitless ananda”.
    If I have no subtle body, no mind or faculty with which to experience, how can I ‘ enjoy ‘ my ananda?
    I ask this because I couldn’t explain this if someone else asked me this question.

    1. Ananda has different meanings. It can mean “experiential happiness”. EG: Ananda-from-sleep. Ananda-from-security. Ananda-from-delicious-food. Etc.

      In reference to I (the truth of everything, as we will see soon), “ananda” means fullness. Thus I enjoy my own nature, being fullness.

      If there was no question of enjoyment of one’s fullness, there’s only one other choice; enjoyment of nothingness-void. That’s called deep sleep, where “nothing or absence of objects” is enjoyed.

      Therefore ananda in reference to atman is very different from ananda in reference to deep sleep.

  5. How do i enjoy my own nature?
    How would I know I was enjoying my own nature without a mind to cognise it?
    Without thoughts and therefore without experience?
    How could I be aware that I am consciousness without a reflecting medium to show this to me?
    If there is no object, only subject, then what sort of conscious experience can exist in such a state?
    It sounds like a zero sum game.
    We escape the trials and tribulations of samsara, but the annihilation of the Jiva means complete cessation of any kind of experience.
    It doesn’t sound very attractive to the Jiva to hear this.

    1. The argument assumes there are 2 things. That there is you and jiva (or reflecting medium). This is incorrect. Reflecting medium is modification of you. Just as pot is modification of clay. Or ornament is modification of gold. There is no such thing as “pot” or “ring”. Where there is pot, there is clay. Melt all ornaments, and there is only gold.

      Similarly, the truth of every thought, emotion, or reflecting-medium is you (Awareness).

      Thought-awareness. Objection-awareness. Ignorance-awareness.

      What is the same? Awareness.

      That’s why we keep reiterating, this is matter of knowledge. Knowing that everything is you, but you are free of everything. Just as every ornament is the gold, but gold is free of all ornaments.

      “It doesn’t sound very attractive to the Jiva to hear this.” > What jiva? Jiva is a form without an independent reality, just as wave is form of water.

      Even the concept of “attractive” or “unattractive” is another thought whose content is you.

      Let us know what your mind comes up with to this response… while remember that the content of the mind is also made out of you…. because if you didn’t exist, then what to say of the mind.

  6. Thank you Andre.
    I think you demolished my argument with your first sentence.
    I was postulating from the standpoint of Dvaita, not Advaita.
    That category mistake leads to duality, hence confusion and contradiction.
    I am sure Roberts mind will fall into confusion in the future.
    Hopefully less and less.
    Thanks for the crystal clear clarity.

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