9 – Tattva Bodha: Deeper Analysis into Nature of Reality (Satya-Mithya Examples)


Discourse 9 uses more examples to helps us capture the implications of reality using satya-mithya method.

Source: Tattva Bodha

Section 2: Tattva Viveka — Method to Distinguishing the Real & Unreal


tattva vivekaḥ kaḥ?  ātmā satyaṃ tadanyat sarvaṃ mithyā iti
What is the discriminative knowledge of truth? Ātmā, (I) is the truth; all else other than that is mithyā (apparent). 

  • Above verse was analyzed last session, but we are continuing to explore it further in this session…
  • Refined DEFINITIONS of…
    • Satyam:
      • Self-existent. Meaning it exists independently. Doesn't depend on anything for it's existence. According to verse, Atma (Self) is the final satyam. Meaning everything else depends on Self, meaning Self is the truth of all mithya.
      • The final satyam (Self) is what's referred to as Nityam (eternal, permanent, unchanging, ever-true) in 4th verse.
      • Atma-satyam is non-interfering, non-verbalized presence in which all mithya (changing names-forms) are recognized. Self never interferes with your thoughts, emotions, desires, fancies, memories.
    • Mithya: 
      • It's dependent on something else for it's existence. It has no independent existence.
      • It's made up of parts. And it's parts are intelligently put together.
      • It's useful and serves a function.
      • It's negatable; can be falsified. EG: “Table” can be falsified if looked at from standpoint of “wood”.
      • Mithya = satyam + name-form. 
        • EG:
          • Plastic + name-form (container)
          • Atma + name-form (concern, happiness, anger, body, memory).
        • The name-form doesn't add or subtract any value from satyam. In fact all value of mithya belongs to satyam. Just like weight of mithya-table belongs to satyam-wood. In same way, mithya-thought has no existence without satyam-Self.
        • In short, mithya is nothing but name-form. Look into name-form, there is satyam alone.
      • Mithya is under Anityam (impermanent, changing, modifying) category as mentioned in 4th verse.
      • BODY/MIND:
        • Is your body satyaNo. If body is satya, then it should not depend on anything else. But body depends on parts which are intelligently brough together to perform a function. 
        • Is your mind satya? No. Mind is mithyā because it depends on memories, desires, thoughts, emotions… which are all products of living in world.
  • Metaphor How Everything Resolves Into or Has It's Reality Not Apart from Self:
    • Before ornaments, there was only one undifferentiated molten gold. When differentiated ornaments are produced, where is molten gold? It obtains as the ornaments. So gold didn't go anywhere. Furthermore, if you melt ornaments, you only get One gold. In this manner, we accept One, while not being dismissive of differences. This concept is the essence of advaita (one without a second).
    • EG: 1 bangle + 1 ring + 1 necklace = 1 gold. Similarly, 1 tree + 1 rock + 1 thought = Atma. Nothing else to count then Atma. Right now, we don't need to understand how everything is made out of Self; it'll come in later verses.
    • Wise vs. Unwise Golden-Ring:
      • UNWISE RING: If ring misses the gold, then takes oneself as differentiated Ornament. Jealousy comes when sees bigger ornaments.
      • WISE RING: When wise ring says, “I am ring”, cognitively understands “I am gold in form of ring”.
    • Above gold-ornament is perfectly captured in Isha Upanishad mantra:
      • pūrṇam adaḥ pūrṇam idam pūrṇāt pūrṇam udacyate |
        pūrṇasya pūrṇam ādāya pūrṇam eva avaśiṣyate ||
        पूर्णम् अदः पूर्णम् इदम् पूर्णात् पूर्णम् उदच्यते ।
        पूर्णस्य पूर्णम् आदाय पूर्णम् एव अवशिष्यते ॥ 

        • Metaphorical translation: At that time (before ornaments manifested), there was only molten/undifferentiated gold. Within it was the potential to manifest ornaments. Then differentiated (universe of ornaments) came. At THIS time (while there is universe of ornaments), it's nothing but the very same gold. Melt all ornaments and gold alone remains. 
        • Direct translation line by line:
          • pūrṇam adaḥ: That [reality before universe came] is full.
          • pūrṇam idam: This [reality while universe is manifest] is full.
          • pūrṇāt pūrṇam udacyate: From the fullness emerges fullness.
          • pūrṇasya pūrṇam ādāya: Taking fullness from fullness…
          • pūrṇam eva avaśiṣyate:  [and] Fullness alone remains.


  1. Explain and give example: 1 + 1 = 1. Precision is more important then number of words. Make each word count. They should be meaningful to you. 


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

Recorded 23 July, 2023


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