I teach Tattvabodha as an introductory text in a long-term study program of Vedanta. With pithy definitions, the text completely covers the various terms and topics. As a book of Vedanta also Tattvabodha is an eye-opener in terms of human problems and their solutions.
The source book of self-knowledge is Vedanta, which is the upanisad. But before we take up any given upanisad, we look into the subject matter of the upanisad presented in a separate book called as 'prakarana' by a given qualified author. 'Tattvabodha' is one such prakarana.
'Tattvabodha' means knowledge, bodha, of reality, tattva. 'Tattva' means generally the 'ness,' the essential nature of anything, the truth of it. Here, it is used in the sense of the ultimate truth. When we say that tattva is the ultimate truth, there is a definite meaning for it.
There is a truth, tattva, for everything. The pot has pot-ness as its truth because without the pot-ness there is no pot. And the pot-ness itself does not exist without a substantive, which, for a clay pot, is clay. So, does the clay have pot-ness? Clay cannot have pot- ness as its truth; it can have only clay-ness. Therefore, pot-ness is an incidental attribute to clay, while clay- ness appears to be non-incidental attribute of clay. Clay-ness itself is an incidental attribute because clay cannot exist without being atoms. It being so, clay-ness is an incidental attribute to atoms, and those atoms themselves have atom-ness, which are incidental attribute to particles.
As we analyse the truth of something, we keep finding that it is not the truth of that thing. And if we arrive at a truth that is not an incidental attribute, which itself is the truth, then it would be the ultimate truth. We need to use the word 'ultimate' because of this situation. We will analyse this later. Let us understand that tattva means the truth of everything. So, knowledge, bodha, of that truth, tattva, is unfolded in this book. It is a small book of definitions unfolding Vedanta. Therefore, Tattvabodha is the first book that we choose to study.
This is not a work that is traditionally enjoined. I picked up this book in order to teach somebody, so there is a story about how I came upon this book. I did not know that Tattvabodha existed in Vedanta literature. One Swami from the Fiji Islands came to me when I was in Rishikesh, and asked me to give ten talks on the Bhagaoadgtia. He was curious. Later, I came to know that he had received sannyasa by post from a respected Swami in Rishikesh. Now, he wanted me to give him ten talks on the Gita. I asked him, "Why ten talks? Why don't you study the whole Gita? I am here and we can have regular classes."
He said, "No Swamiji, I am going to the States, and there I want to give some talks on the Gita."
"Without knowledge of the Gita how are you going to give talks on the Gita?" "Just give me ten talks; it is good enough."
The Swami also said that he could sing some bhajans and play the harmonium, so ten talks were enough. I said, "I will not do it. If you want to study, you have to study properly." He replied, "Swamiji, I have no time, I have to go." I thought I should give him something which has some truth, and looked for a book which I could teach him in ten days. One Swami had passed away and all his books were sent to me. I looked into those books to see if there was anything that I could teach him, when I came upon this book Tattvabodha. I thought it was a simple book and I could teach it to him. So, I began to teach him. He did not complete this book, and at some point he felt satisfied he had enough for his satsanga talks. He went abroad.
This is how I came upon the book, Tattvabodha. Since then, I have been teaching it as the first book in every course that I have conducted. It seems to work, so let us look into it.
Your email address will not be published *
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend