Author Topic: Tat Tvam Asi - 1  (Read 1217 times)


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Tat Tvam Asi - 1
« on: May 08, 2009, 05:20:23 PM »
The following is the further abridged book excerpt of a book by
Paul Luke, under the title Tat Tvam Asi.  The excerpt has appeared
in Mountain Path, Jan - Mar 2008.

Among the many books published on Advaita today, there are
a few books which present the intricacies of Advaita Vedanta in
a simple, clear and straightforward manner understandable to
the general reader without compromising the subtlety of Advaita.
Paul Luke's Tat Tvam Asi is such a book and is now available in the
Asramam bookshop.  It costs Rs. 100/=


We shall approach the transcendental Self and human experience
by first identifying all the plausible means of knowing the Self.
Thereafter, we shall examine critically such possibilities with a
view to arrive at the correct answer to the question of how the Self
can be known.

The following are three possibilities that one can think of:-

1. The Self is known by an external object.

2. The Self is known by another Self.  and

3. The Self knows itself.

The first possibility is inadmissible.  To say that the Self can be
known by an external object is to say that it can be known by the
not-Self.  For whatever is external to the Self is other than the Self
i.e the not-Self.  The not-Self refers to all external objects of the
world, including the mind and the body and its senses.  Since an
object, which is Jadavastu (material) is not capable of knowing
anything and is insentient.  Therefore, this stand is untenable.

The second, that the Self is known by another Self, is equally
unacceptable, for two main reasons.

Firstly, this explanation is based on the untenable assumption
that there is more than one Self.  Such an assumption is contrary
to the central doctrine of Advaita, which holds the view that there
is only One without a second.

Secondly, it is on the ground of logic.  Let us, for the sake of argument, accept the claim that the Self is known by another
Self.  This will result in a position:  How is the second Self be
known?  Is it by a third Self?  If so, how is the third Self known?
This lands us in the logical difficulty of infinite regress, anavastha

[This is like the egg and hen question of Gaudapada in his Karika.
If one is the cause of the other, what is the cause of the cause?....]

Thus on both counts, the answer that the Self is known by another
Self has to be rejected.

(Source:  As indicated in above.)

Arunachala Siva.