'tat tvam asi'--jiva-hetu pradesika vakya
pranava na mani' tare kahe maha-vakya
tat tvam asi—you are the same; jiva-hetu—for the enlightenment of the conditioned soul; pradesika—subsidiary; vakya—vibration; pranava—the omkara incarnation; na—not; mani'-accepting; tare—that; kahe—says; maha-vakya—transcendental vibration.
"The subsidiary vibration tat tvam asi ["you are the same"] is meant for the understanding of the living entity, but the principal vibration is omkara. Not caring for omkara, Sankaracarya has stressed the vibration tat tvam asi."
Tat tvam asi is accepted as the primary vibration by one who does not accept pranava, the transcendental sound incarnation of the holy name of the Lord, as the chief principle in Vedic literature. By word jugglery, Sankaracarya tried to create an illusory presentation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His relationship with the living entities and the cosmic manifestation. Tat tvam asi is a warning to the living entity not to mistake the body for the self. Therefore tat tvam asi is especially meant for the conditioned soul. The chanting of omkara or the Hare Krsna mantra is meant for the liberated soul. Srila Rupa Gosvami has said, ayi mukta-kulair upasyamanam (Namastaka 1). Thus the holy name of the Lord is chanted by the liberated souls. Similarly, Pariksit Maharaja says, nivrtta-tarsair upagiyamanat (Bhag. 10.1.4). The holy name of the Lord can be chanted by those who have fully satisfied their material desires or who are fully situated on the transcendental platform and devoid of material desire. The name of the Lord can be chanted by one who is completely freed from material contamination (anyabhilasita-sunyam jnana-karmady-anavrtam). Sankaracarya has indirectly minimized the value of the principal Vedic mantra (omkara) by accepting a subordinate vibration (tat tvam asi) as the most important Vedic mantra.
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