Some of my readers are aware that my main interest is Advaita Vedanta. And while initially this blog was intended to be primarily Vedanta related, it somehow became poetry dominant. No complaints at that!! Am also happy, because I never took out time to pursue poetry. The friends I made here, and reading some really great poems kept me inspired and words would flow out even when I came to make a prose post. I will now continue both occasionally.

This post is resuming an ongoing series of addressing misconceptions in Vedanta and its pursuit.

A question that pops in every nascent listener of Vedanta, “Is Vedanta an intellectual approach to life? Is it merely few theoretical or rhetorical statements?”

This, I think is the toughest stage of learning Vedanta. Is there any one answer say yes or no?

No. It is not an intellectual exercise. But yes, it utilises your intellect to convey the knowledge. No, it is not theoretical, contrary it is developing an inner steady mental perception of Truth and falsity. It gives facts, subtle yes, but FACTS. It gives knowledge of mental values, correct attitudes but will that alone develop them? NO. How each one transforms the knowledge in themselves, is dependent on them. But if followed, does knowledge guarantee inner growth? YES.


Deepti Vishwanath

My first e-book

Upadeśa Sāra is a small book written as poetry, can be sung in a metre and contains knowledge of various common spiritual / religious practices and the highest of them … acute discernment of “I”. It was written by Ramana Maharishi the famous enlightened Sage of Arunachala, India; more than a century old.

My attempt to translate and comment keeping the stand of Advaita Vedanta.

My first ebook! Really happy to share with all. It aims to clarify the various doubts regarding the spiritual practices available.


The Journey

Actions accrue infallible results. Action and results are two sides of a coin. Neither can exist without the other.

Actions generated with the emergent I – karta, brings an inseparable result to the very karta. And it is the karma done by the karta which produces the field of experience – bhoga bhumi.

Since results are now clinging to the karta till they fructify, the disengaged conscious sense on death, engages again with another body to process the results and the experience of it.

All experiences of karma phala end in either sukha or dukha, happiness or sorrow. They are either pleasure giving results or sorrowful results. To convert the sorrow into happiness, the conscious being again identifies with the body and initiates another action which sets the ball rolling for yet another cycle of karta-karma-phala-bhumi-sukha/dukha. And repeat.

Two merged rivers travelling as one, the tapestry it travels, journey it undergoes is crafted by the river. It merges in the ocean. The journey is not culminated. It falls to form rivers again.

Similarly actions with I sense are set in motion to keep canvassing its field of experience through various lokas, and the experience of sukha-dukha gets owned by the emergent I- the individual.

This journey is samsara. And death does not end it.

– Deepti Vishwanath

What is death?

Death is disintegration of the material layers which constitute the body. A conscious sense is a separate entity which does not disintegrate, but just disengages from the body. This conscious sense is currently limited to ‘I’ and so presently, I refers to consciousness + body and thoughts which are recognised as within the body, though not concrete.

Engaging the I sense, one performs many actions in a lifetime. These actions are not only at the body level, but also at the level of thoughts. And most often speech is also involved in it.

Actions thus generated, perpetuate a cycle. Actions are done only with an aim to gain something most often, or with an aim to avoid something. Both gaining and avoiding are generally inseparable, and thus they are one with reference to the outcome, but the predominant between the two triggers the course of actions and thereby the end which is aimed.

When the end fructifies, it becomes owned as an experience by the conscious being. To specify again, a conscious being is a conscious sense seen within a material aggregate called the body, the apparent combination springs the ‘I’ claiming the body as oneself and mixing up with the inmiscible consciousness. Consciousness and matter are like oil and water. They can be associated but can never be one. Similarly body and consciousness can be associated but can never be mixed up. When they are associated, an emergent ‘I’ claims them as one, hazing the clear separation of consciousness and the body, merging them like two distinct rivers. At the juncture where the meet they are distinctly seen. Similarly, when one traces back one’s origin of I, the separate conscious nature and the nature of the body, representing all matter, becomes evident as distinct.

‘I’ gets falsified as never having a true identity. It is the body which has a birth and body disintegrates. There is no death or even a change possible for the consciousness. Recognising this is liberation.

©️ Deepti Vishwanath 🙏🏼

Why is it difficult to define a Hindu and Hinduism?

Man’s attempts to figure out his existence has been ceaseless since time immemorial. This has resulted in the formation and dissolution of various ideologies and religions around the globe. These ideologies and religions have also majorly determined the systems of societal habits and shaped pursuits which can accommodate the struggle for survival. Many devastating wars have been fought and conquests claimed to establish dominance by usurping the existing systems. Sometimes in the name of religion and sometimes in the name of advancement; the common force has been to dominate. And the need to dominate, psychology suggests, springs from insecurity. Insecurity has direct relevance to existence. It implies a fear of losing one’s existence.

The oldest known literary compilation in the world is The Veda. Wherever Veda got transmitted, there it influenced human thinking so deeply that it shaped the identity, culture and ways of living for those people. The knowledge therein remained irrefutable even to the wisest. And it’s content ever attractive, since it spoke on life. This made it popular in society as it spread through word of mouth. But, as humans, people also want quick, easy solutions and applications. They do not have time, leisure or inclinations to engage in growing the understanding first, which should propel the life direction. They are left with the choice to accept what is told and fall risk to becoming rigid, and prey to blind faith. Or another choice remains, is to just reject it, and keep searching for different ways and methods, untried before, fuelling newer ideologies with an attempt to restructure society.

A society which had embraced the Veda’s way of life, over time, shows all the three firmly established. Currently seen as well there are people who have the availability of the correct knowledge and understanding of the Veda with which they lead their life.  Then there are people who have blind faith on prevailing systems with which they lead their lives. And then there are the new systems emerging every now and then with a defying vision to direct lives. There are people who understand what their roots uphold, and they are happy to abide in it. There are people who have no understanding what their customs and rituals or festivals truly meant but they blindly follow it, and there are people who are rebellious about it and try to restructure their life with a recent or experimental ideology. It is this amalgamation which makes it difficult to define Hindu and Hinduism.  For all of them come under the vast canopy of The Veda.

Geography was not concretely laid out when The Veda ruled the thought. As time advanced, and man globally continued to find meaning to his existence, intermingling with other regions became accessible. The ‘force of domination’ on geography became essential. For once you travelled to another land, your survival and insecurities had to play up and find their ground! Geographies tried to become distinct and people started to group to preserve their ideologies which sustained their predecessors.

Bhārata was the name of the area where the Veda ruled the life. And in the knowledge of the Veda, is the knowledge of one’s existence. Thus, these sets of people had a very low sense of insecurity, almost none. And hence they did not feel any need to dominate. To the extent that they did not even feel the need to travel to another land except to trade! Worse still, so lacking the sense of insecurity was, that even the need to defend when attacked was sparse! But, Bhārata was advanced due to the liberal way in which Vedās had educated man. This became a focus of many invasions. Every invasion brought with it new diverse ideological thoughts, customs, habits to be integrated in the mainstream. The fallout was that the method which educated the correct understanding of The Veda got intercepted by diverting energies to giving explanations to the non conformers. This added layers of contextual reasoning and integrated it to the main body of knowledge. Making it more and more difficult for the blind believer to get educated. The distance between the three sections, knowledge based, faith based and defiance based kept growing. And in the present, the latest invasion of Britishers almost broke the link of transmission of correct understanding of the Veda! Making it very difficult to define or even explain who is a Hindu and what is Hinduism especially to the one who have been integrated to this land by their ancestors but were not rooted here in the times when knowledge prevailed life!

Our ancestors in the form of great visionaries struggled hard to uphold and teach the correct understanding of The Veda. Only because it is that system of thinking, following which one knows the Truth of one’s existence, which alone ends all insecurities and miseries. There is death of the urge for violence and birth of compassion. This is Hinduism and the knower of it, A Hindu!

Wishing everyone a Happy Sankranti! Invoking the grace of Surya Devata to shine once again upon Bharata! Only this time, the lands have merged! Sarvebhya sukhino bhavantu! May wisdom prevail in all the beings! OM.

© Deepti Vishwanath. 🙏


Pic courtesy –

Significance of a religious life.

In Vedās, a religious life is prescribed for all those who have :

a. Absence of Ātma Brahman Aikya jñanam.
b. Who have rāga-dveśa.

Absence of knowledge that the real nature of oneself- Ātma, is in fact, Brahman – the vast. Popularly referred to as Self-knowledge. The Self here is Ātma as oneself, and not the notion that I am an individual. This absence is referred to as Self-ignorance or simply ignorance. Ignorance is not referring to absence of any objective knowledge, like that of Physics, Economics etc. But it is stating the ignorance regarding Self-knowledge.

In the absence of Self -knowledge, the obvious outcome is “I am an individual”. And in such a notion of individuality, obvious is the presence of rāga-dveśa, likes and dislikes.

Man is afflicted by his Self ignorance primarily. It is the root cause of “ALL” the sorrows. Sprouting from it, man then gets afflicted by the likes-dislikes. In essence, the Vedās point out that a human being, irrespective of his gender, race, colour etc. spends away his life being constantly disturbed. Sorrow is encompassing all the felt disturbances.

But, an human being, again irrespective of his gender, race, colour etc. also has the equipped faculties, to gain this Self-knowledge. In the presence of which the root of Self -ignorance gets uprooted, there is then no locus for the individuality, and thus, no likes and dislikes get formed. The person of Self-knowledge, Such a human is referred to as “liberated”. Having fulfilled his human birth potential.

To uproot Self-ignorance, a lot of internal preparation is required. Just as to sow a seed, the soil is tilled; so too, for Self-knowledge, the human mind needs tilling.

This tilling is the job of a religious life.

Does every religion then take one to Self-knowledge?

No. Though ALL religions, when followed, cultivate the soil.

Vedic vision held the performance of the Vedic Karmas as religious. This was the karma-kanda, portion of Vedās detailing the knowledge regarding Karmas to be performed as per your notions of individuality. Abiding in the performance of the prescribed Karmās was being religious.

What was the advantage of this vision? The uniqueness of the vision of the Vedas? To the extent a person abided in his ordained karma, to that an extent indirectly his internal preparation took place. The source of sorrow coming from likes-dislikes got managed. And as one got prepared, the Vedās effortlessly revealed Ātma-jñana, through the Vedānta part, also called the Upanishads. Knowing which the final source of sorrow was destroyed. The one with Self-knowledge, now is the One. Where there is no sorrow. For sorrow to be, there has to be duality. But, for the Ātma-jñani, where is the other?

Thus, Vedic Karmās relevance as a religious life. And as with any knowledge, the chances of it being understood is relative, so too with Vedic knowledge. And the non-understanding leading to misunderstanding gets compounded when the knowledge is regarding the very Subject, the person, who has to re-know himself. This leads to layers and layers of deep-rooted superstitions, fanaticism, blind beliefs, rigid adherences, which more often destroy the very purpose of knowledge. And moreover, destroy the very potential of a human existence.

Law called Karma – what does it mean?

Since karma has found itself in the mainstream English dictionary, here, I will continue to use it as an English word instead of, and alongwith, interchangeably with action.

No karma is done without a reason, purpose, intent, motive. It is not possible to generate the will to act without them. While the physical action obviously brings a physical manifestation-as the result, the reason for your body to be propelled to act,  it is the intent also, which affects the outcome.

How much does the intent affect the result?

For very apple seed sown you get an apple tree, is the physical aspect of the law. A दृष्ट फल Drusta phala. An observable, seen result. Then there is the delayed result, which is subtle. And also not immediately experienced. It is called the अदृष्ट फल adrusta phala. The immediately unobservable, unseen, but will surely be seen at a proper time, some time. It is a delayed result. How many apples will the tree yield? What would be the taste? This cannot be known when the seed gets sown. This remains unseen. But get known when the tree matures and yields fruit.

Karta  —> karma  —> drusta phalam + some adrusta phalam.

Karta -the doer, the decider of the action, engages in the karma, action. And that action will bring back to him results in two pronged way. The immediately observable, which will be seen shortly after the completion of the action and the immediately not observable result, which will be seen much later. And so remains unrecognised, ambiguous when it fructifies. Best known only as Luck. Good / Bad are decided by the experiencer of it.

The Drusta phala gets destroyed once it is expereinced, consumed. The adrusta phala gets destroyed when it becomes Drusta phala. Take it as in the analogy of an apple seed sown. It takes time to yield the fruit. While the fruit has not matured yet, it lays latent in the tree. But, once it has, it is now ready to be consummed. That fruit gets destroyed but its seed is still there. Lives long enough. But is perishable.  Before it does, it can possibly restart the cycle of seed-fruit-seed, or perish from its ‘seed-ness’ loosing its seediness.

No karma can be disconnected with the karta-the doer. And no karta can be disconnected with his motive for the karma. Thus, common sense says, the result of karma must be enjoyed by the karta and also that each one’s differing intentions must be a major reason for the differing results for each. Since it is a common observation, that even when the same physical action is done by different people, the same result is not experienced by them.

Law of causation explains only the Drusta phala -seen aspect. For every cause there is an effect. This is a linear equation which covers only the immediately seen. Where Law of karma explains both the immediately seen and the also immediately unseen, but will-become-seen-later aspect. Understanding the Law of Karma means understanding that karma has adrusta phala, which is far greater in implications than the drushta phala.


Deepti Vishwanath

God is an incomplete translation of Iśvara.

God is not a translation of Iśvara. It is time to separate the two from their false presumptive associations. God is a matter of mere belief. Cannot be defined either. Is subjective entirely. Belief in God is to be religious. Atheism is not having that belief.

Iśvara on the other hand is not a matter of belief. It is an understanding. A recognition which is available for an universal enquiry. Iśvara is a deliberation done by the Vedās to conclude the equation and understand the relation between man and creation. As in Math. For an equation to be resolved it begins with an assumption, suppose x=y. And then finally after all the logical, verifiable steps it is arrived at, therefore, x=y.

Iśvara has a definition. The srishti- sthithi-laya kāraṇa is Iśvara. He is also the karma-phala dātā.

You begin to solve the riddle of man and creation by assuming first, suppose an ‘x factor’ call it Iśvara, is the origin of both, man and creation. Iśvara also is the maintainer of both. Since we never see the absolute non-existence of creation ever, there is also regeneration which maintains the creation and life species. And when both disappear, the disappearance also happens in Iśvara, governed by Iśvara.

But what is the plurality and the differences of experiences in different lives? The Vedic view is, each one is a generator of his own destiny which Iśvara only enables to fructify impartially. Iśvara remains the uninvolved witness, enabling the results of karmās.

In the model of Iśvara, God is not recognised as an absolute entity on whose mercy we all live. Man has all the empowerment!

There are three different words and thus ideas, Brahman, Iśvara, Devatās, that the Vedās convey. But, the translation as God, gets substituted for all the three!  Vedās does not treat them the same and moreover they are not interchangeable either!

From the formless, eternal existence of the nature of consciousness and ānanda emerges the first shades of creation, the very first manifestation, a distinction which is in full knowledge of itself as Brahman. This first outline which can be distinguished but remains inseparable from Brahman, is Iśvara. The commander who now begins the creation, the differentiation. And the world with its plurality and the inherent laws to maintain order is created. Space, Air, fire, water, earth the basic elements and the various proportions of each become the compound and complex life forms. Indwelling all remains the same Brahman, untouched by the apparent creation. Remaining the formless, of the nature of cònsciousness and ānanda, it is now available only for recognition of its distinct nature separate from the nature of the created world.

Iśvara on the other hand has been seen in every aspect of life. What enables the eyes to see? Light. That source which one sees in creation, the highest expression of light in the macrocosm, which becomes the source of all the lights is the Sun. Thus, Sun is looked as the Devatā, since there is no other expression of light, equal to or superior to it. Another example. What is the most essential factor for the tongue to taste different flavours? Without which it looses it capacity to taste? Water. Thus the water in the macrocosm is represented as the Devatā, Varuna. But these Devatās are powerless without Iśvara. They are only following the order and conducting their portfolios! Put it in another way, Iśvara himself is in all these expresssions now, recognised as the Devatās.

With the help of such an deliberate imposition, the equation gets established. That the source of the power, the illumination of the world and living being is the same, Brahman. For Iśvara cannot exist without Brahman, Devatās cannot exist without Iśvara, Man cannot exist without the elements! They are all rooted in the ONE. And that ONE is not an externally placed GOD in heaven, but the one which shines as the consciousness, unconditioned awareness.

Iśvara is also the karma phala dātā. How? Who is an atheist according to the Vedic system? And finally, this creation is an appearance, creation is, as an appearance.

Deepti Vishwanath