Tattva-sandarbha cover


Hardcover, 203 pages, 6" x 7 3/4"

purchase book

table of contents


Tattva-sandarbha is a classic medieval work of Eastern philosphy written in Sanskrit prose more than four hundred years ago. It is an introduction to a larger work, Jiva Goswami's Sat-sandarbha. The original manuscript seeks to explain the esoteric significance of the Bhagavat Purana, arguably the most important volume of India's sacred literature. This Purana, along with the Bhagavad-gita, is one of the most widely read sacred books int he Indian subcontinent today. At the same time, it is becoming a relevant voice in discussions on quantuum mechanics inthe West. The Bhagavat Purana has been explained over the centuries in numerous ways. Jiva Goswami, the author of Tattva-sandarbha, has suggested a uniquue approach to understanding this Purana. In so doing, he reveals the Bhagavata Purana's unique concept of nondual consciousness.

In this rendering, Swami B.V. Tripurari enables the reader to access the mind of Jiva Goswami and thus enter into the spirit of a book that would otherwise be difficult for those without sufficient background to understand. This book is deeply philosophical. It also contains many Sanskrit terms that are difficult to render into English. Yet the patient reader will reap the results of a newfound metaphysic that offers a unique solution to the perennial debate as to our oneness with or difference from the absolute, nondualism versus dualism. From this metaphysic, realization of the ultimate pursuit of all living beings naturally arises.

In our times in which consciousness has become a subject of considerable conjecture, the value of an authentic manuscript from a sacred literary tradition that describes the nature of consciousness is immense. Its value is underscored when, as is the case with Tattva-sandarbha , it is written by an accepted spiritual visionary. The thoughts of those who have pondered deeply and actually pursued the nature of consciousness in the past should prove useful to those of us today who are just getting around to thinking about that which we are

“This book - a blend of philosophy and poetry, science and ethics, speculative metaphysics of the most breathtaking sort and hard pragmatic data about human consciousness - brings to America some of Inda's grandest thought. Postmodern ironists beware! Nothing in your upbringing will have prepared you for the subtle philosophical pleasures of this book!”

Andrew Schelling, Chair, The Naropa Institute, Author of For Love of the Dark One: Songs of Mirabai

“Tattva-sandarbha is an inspired gathering of philosophical and mystical insights about Reality. The present study by Swami Tripurari is a felicitous example of scholarship infused with the essential lifeblood of personal spiritual practice. Among other things, it shows that sixteenth century devotional Vedanta has much to teach spiritual seekers on the threshold of the third millenium.”

Georg Feurstein, Ph.D., Author of Shambala Encyclopedia of Yoga and more than twenty other works.

“Swami Tripurari lucidly presents India's most exalted philosphy of devotion- the highest clutivation of both feeling and reason. Well argued and system atic, Tattva-sandarbha is bound to broaden the readers views of yoga, Hinduism and religion. Such a yogic, mystic theism dwarfs the exclusivist monotheistic creeds that claim to speak for our relationship with Divinity.”

David Frawley, Author of Tantric Yoga and the Wisdom Goddesses and various other works on Vedic knowledge.

“It is a matter of rejoicing that Swami Tripurari has written the book Jiva Goswami's Tattva-sandarbha. This volume is a significant contribution. I highly recommend it.”

Subhash C. Kak, Professor, Louisiana State University, Co-author of In Search of the Cradle of Civilization.

“This books succeeds marvelously. It conveys a deeper vision and gives a fresh focus. Swami Tripurari exercises an acute philosophical sensibility and helps the reader re-vision the 'ultimate shelter' - a love in which God and soul intermingle.”

Dr. William J. Jackson, Associate Professor, Purdue University

Table of Contents


by Dr. Guy L. Beck, Loyala University, New Orleans



Chapter 1:

Sri Jiva Jivanamrtam

Chapter 2:

Invoking Auspiciousness

Chapter 3:

In Search of Valid Evidence

Chapter 4:

The Glory of Srimad Bhagavatam

Chapter 5:

The Trance of Vyasa

Chapter 6:

The Ultimate Shelter

Prounciation Guide



Verse Index



Consciousness exists not as a one-dimensional point, a two- dimensional line, or a three dimensional solid. It is four dimensional. Each of its dimensions are successively more profound experiences of itself. From waking to dreaming to the experience of deep sleep and beyond, the experience of the self deepens. Although in one sense the first three of these dimensions are material and the fourth alone transcendent, each of them, if analyzed in terms of the experience they afford, point us in the direction of deeper experiences of the experiencer, the self.

How then can these material states of consciousness be seen as progressive stages of awareness of the nature of existence, ascending from waking to dreaming to deep sleep? They can be seen as such if that which is experienced in waking, dreaming, and deep sleep is analyzed in terms of its philosophical and ontological ramifications. Otherwise, waking, dreaming, and deep sleep themselves are material conditions produced under the influence of illusion, or maya. They have no bearing upon the reality of the self other than that they are conditions in which the soul does exist although unaware of its nature. The answer to the question thus lies in analyzing what these states tell us about consciousness's capacity to exist in these dimensions.

If in the waking dimension of consciousness we can understand the three dimensions of consciousness in terms of their ontological status, we will find evidence grounded in experience, rather than mere theory. Basing our investigation on this evidence we can pursue the fullest experience of the nature of being that is realized in the fourth dimension. This fourth dimension, as with the other three, can be considered in the waking dimension of consciousness in terms of our experience. Experience, being at the very heart of consciousness, should guide us in the direction of ultimate consciousness.

We all have experience of the waking and dreaming dimensions of consciousness. In these realms, the soul experiences the physical and psychic reality, yet it its asleep to itself. In deep dreamless sleep, when the physical and psychic dimensions close down, we continue to experience. Upon awakening, we remember that we slept well. One can only remember that which he or she has experience of. Remembering the peaceful experience in dreamless sleep amounts to a vague yet definite experience of the soul, an existence independent of thought and objects of thought.

Thought has a ground from which it springs Thought and its object are experienced as distinct from one another, yet one has no meaning without the other. From this we can conjecture as to the existence of a realm from which they both arise and in which they cease to be distinct (nonduality). Thought itself is outside of the self, as is, and even more so, the objective world. Where thought meets object and the subsequent judgment causes us to 'know,' we may know everything but our own selves and our source. As we know from the example of our witnessing the existence of ourselves in deep sleep, consciousness itself, uninhibited by body and mind, is the ground from which thoughts and subsequently objects spring up producing the world of duality.

We go beyond the psychic and physical dimensions of consciousness in deep sleep and it is peaceful. Yet we cannot stay in this reality, nor can we appreciate this reality in full awareness. Yet it leads us to know of the dimension of pure consciousness. It is more than a moral postulate as was conjectured by Kant. This dimension of pure consciousness is an ontological reality for the Vedantin, the ground of being. It is a dimension we can reach after thorough exercise of the mind leads us to realize both the mental and physical world's futility.

Going beyond the body, we realize the power of mind, and going beyond the power of thought we realize the self. Reaching the limits of reasoning, we are pointed in the direction of ourselves.We can only reach that self by not only ceasing to exercise the body in terms of its demands, but ceasing to think as well.What the Bhagavatam suggests is not irrational, rather it picks up where reasoning leaves off. It is beckoning us to experience the realm of the soul proper, rather than merely to think about it.