4 -Tattva Bodha: More about Eternal Truth, Dispassion (Vairagya) & Mumukshu


Discourse 4 sheds more light on what is the unchanging Truth, called Brahman. About proper attitudes of dispassion and qualities of seeker of liberation/enlightenment.

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.

Let's cover 3/4, as we covered 1/2 last session…

  • Śamādiṣaṭka-saṃpattiḥ:
    • Mind is together. Focused. Unscattered. Choses one infinite.
    • If miss the infinite, have infinite choices. If choose infinite, have no choice but infinity.
  • Mumukṣutvam:
    • End is nitya (freedom from sense of limitation). In Philosophy, end is anitya (degree, intellectual discipline).
    • Desire to be free, keeps other desires in check. If desire is strong, then 6-virtues are easy.

Adhikārī qualification 1 — Discriminative Enquiry:

nitya anitya vastu vivekaḥ kaḥ?
(1) nitya vastu ekaṃ brahma, (2) tad vyatiriktaṃ sarvam anityam,
ayam eva nitya anitya vastu vivekaḥ.

What is the discriminative understanding between the (nitya) and the time-bound (anitya)? (1) The permanent is one Brahman (limitless). (2) All else other than that is timebound (finite). This alone is the discriminative understanding between the permanent and impermanent.

Quick Recap:

  • Nitya anitya vastu viveka kaḥ?
    • Viveka is in reference to 4 purusarthas (kama [delight], Artha [security], Dharma [ethics], Moksha [permanent freedom]).
  • Nitya-vastu:
    • Not bound by time. Brahman. How do we know of this reality? In śāstra, which when we go through it's methodology, we can't contradict it and it accurately reflects our experience. Reason why we missed out on Brahman (that which is ever true and available and never covered) — is because mind's attention was on anitya, and we never took time to enquire into our experience under the guidance of the teacher and scriptural methodology.
    • How many nitya's (permanent/eternal/infinite)? One.   
      • Two infinities is not greater/longer/bigger then one infinity, because “infinity” means it already stretches out infinitely in all directions. So logically, there can only be One infinite. Similarly, the final reality (nitya Brahman) being infinite — nothing can be outside it.
  • Tad vyatiriktam, sarvam anityam:
    • All else (whether known or unknown) is impermanent.
      • EG: Semiconductor was an unknown impermanent in 500 AD. In present age it's a known impermanent.
    • Includes 7th heaven, Brahma-loka. Devatas. Angels. Including absolutely any “spiritual awakening” experience you'll ever read about online. 

Detailed Notes:

  • What is viveka? Cognitive capacity to differentiate one from another. To be able to discern fine-differences between two things.
    • EG:
      • Gross: Gross-objects. Clothes, colors, food, travel, politicians, entertainment.
      • Subtle: Emotional state. How do I feel about this? Morals.
    • With insufficient viveka , mind resorts to emotions (premature conclusions about something, someone).
    • Highest capacity of viveka is regarding…
  • nitya anitya: The one permanent, and the many impermanents.
    • Comparison:
      • Nitya: eternal, thus changeless, permanent or ever available.
      • Anitya: time-bound, or function-bound, thus subject to modification and available momentarily.
        • For most, where all viveka goes into.
    • Analogy:
      • Gold/ornaments. Ornament is gold, but gold is not ornament, because gold is so much more then single ornament, hence can give it any particular name. All ornaments depends on One gold. While gold remains free of ornaments, and at all time being ever-available in names-forms.
      • This also suggests, ornaments can only change because they’re never not supported by the unchanging content.
      • Similarly, name-forms (whose totality we call the world) are impermanent. But reality BEHIND each name-form is One permanent Truth.
        • One permanent Truth in respect to Total is called: Brahman. Reality behind all forms.
        • One permanent Truth in respect to single body/mind is called: Ātmā (Self). The same Reality behind a body-mind.
      • According to verse, what is distinction that’s being differentiated?
        • nitya vastu ekam brahma: The ONE Brahman alone is nitya (permanent, formless).
        • tad vyatiriktam sarvam anityam: Everything else (other then that) is anitya (impermanent, with attributes).
      • Why is differentiation of nitya/antiya required in the first place?
        • They are intimately mixed.
        • Science doesn’t give knowledge of nitya, otherwise don’t need Vedanta. Science already shows world is relative (not absolutely real; anitya).
          • EG:
            • Dog sees black/white, snakes in ultra-violet, but humans in color. Which world is real?
            • Human mind perceives world different from ant.

Adhikārī qualification 2 — Dispassion:

virāgaḥ kaḥ?
iha svarga bhogeṣu icchā rāhityam.

What is virāga? (Dispassion is) Absence of desire in the enjoyments here (in this world) and in the enjoyments of heaven.

  • What is dispassion?
    • It’s not something that’s exclusively built or worked on. It’s a byproduct of knowing what’s important to you. Getting clear on priorities. Returning on-and-on to something BIG and PERSONAL to you. Then all else becomes Means to an end.
    • Knowing intrinsic value of an object. EG: Gold, Money, relationship. What it can and cannot do for me, in reference to my BIG VISION.
    • Dispassion is nothing but objectivity, which means seeing the intrinsic value of an object, instead of it's imagined value. EG: Intrinsic value of gold is rare/yellow/malleable. Imagined value is status-symbol/pride.
    • Dispassion is recognizing all experiences/things are only meant to help you in your BIG VISION.
  • What is dispassion NOT:
    • It’s not being cold, apathetic, distant or abandoning anything. Just setting deliberate boundaries to how many objects can capture your attention, and for how long.
    • It’s not dismissing world as illusion. Because your entire life is world of form.
  • Why causes lack of dispassion or excessive passion? Unrealistic expectations out of someone/something. This always leads to disappointment and sense of “I've been rejected”.
  • 3 Types of dispassion:
    1. Śmaśāna: Funeral dispassion. Induces serious, profound rethinking of life. But doesn’t last.
    2. Madhyama Common to householders. House/job/social gatherings play prominent role in life, but they'll reserve whatever time for spiritual studies. So regularity/discipline is inconsistent. 
    3. Tīvra: Whether single or married, one has a burning desire for liberation. 



  1. Who is the person with dispassion? One who is practicing ____.
  2. Brahman being infinite (nitya), why can there not be two Brahman's? Justify your answer. 
  3. Write a sentence that captures why emotional maturity is important to perform tattva-viveka.
  4. Explain: “Before moksha, chopping wood. After moksha, chopping wood”.


Keywords:  smashana, tivra, smasana

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

Recorded 11 June, 2023



  1. Hari Om Andre. Another great presentation. I’ve always wondered about this mitya world we live in. Due to ignorance we mis comprehend reality. With knowledge we see what is real and what is not. Eventually after much study of the shastras we realise that we are brahman, the witness consciousness, of which atma is a part. I’m cutting out a lot of details and just presenting the gist of my question. Hence before moksha chopping wood, after moksha chopping wood.

    Then you learn that pure conscious which is sat chit ananda cannot really be mitya. The real cannot be “unreal”. And that the world we see is only an apparent “snake” And that “we” the seeker , are also aparent. So it’s the aparent seeking the real by negating the aparent WHICH IN REALITY DOESNT EXIST. Why are we going around in a circle”..?

    1. Attempt not to be one step ahead of the teacher or teaching. I never heard of sat-cit, mithya, etc until we get to that page. Can ask Q’s about the specific session.

  2. Hari Om Andre. I went to Sw Swaroopananda talk yesterday and got an answer to my question. I may be wrong it’s an answer. Funny how things work. Sit on a question and the answer reveals.

  3. Hello Andre.

    Dissociative disorders are mental disorders that involve experiencing a disconnection and lack of continuity between thoughts, memories, surroundings, actions and identity.
    Signs and symptoms depend on the type of dissociative disorders you have, but may include:

    Memory loss (amnesia) of certain time periods, events, people and personal information
    A sense of being detached from yourself and your emotions
    A perception of the people and things around you as distorted and unreal
    A blurred sense of identity

    I am new to Vedanta and have started watching the tattva bodha lecture series. When looking at the symptoms of dissociate disorder they seem to me to be very close to the thoughts contained in tattva bodha, that of discerning between the cloth and the crystal , viragah – releasing the longing for objects of temporary enjoyment.
    Dissociative disorder is seen as something harmful in the medical world which should be rectified , however it seems as though for me that the symptoms of this dissociative disorder could be beneficial in gaining a stronger sense of viveka and to better understand the cloth from the crystal.

    Could you please comment on the apparent connection between the symptoms of this disorder and the thoughts contained in Tattva bodah especially regarding the concept that one is separate from the cloth .

    Thank you

    1. Hi Sarshin,

      Suppose, right now, there’s 10 adults in your room to whom you’d like to teach mathematics. You need them to be interested, attentive, to find mathematics relevant in their life, to sit down and focus and spend sometimes up to an hour of unbroken concentration in order to solve a problem.

      One of them has a dissociative disorder, unable to keep mind on any given topic for more then couple of seconds. One moment they’re with you, another you’re an unreal entity in their mind. Etc.

      You may even find it challenging to relate to this person and to communicate any understanding.

      Could you communicate anything real, tangible and substantial to this individual? On top of that, would you have the patience, knowing the class isn’t just for 1 person, but for 10 other healthy, focused and hard-working students?

      In otherwords, the question is not whether individuals with disorders are in lines of Tattva Bodha thinking. The question is, would such an individual stay long enough, and would they even be teachable, until their minds is able to grasp a reality which has no divisions. Yet their mental disorder is creating imaginative divisions which don’t exist to a normal/stable mind.

      That’s why there are specific schools established for patients with such disorders. They are extremely challenging to work with.

      1. Thank you so much for your response Andre , makes a lot of sense, Looking forward to learn more in your tattva bodha classes.

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