This is a famous passage in the Taittriya Upanishad:


yato vacho nivartante . aprapya manasa saha . anandam brahmano vidvan.h . na bibheti kutashchaneti .

He who knows the Bliss of Brahman, whence words together with the mind turn away, unable to reach It—he is not afraid of anything whatsoever.”

However, the eminent Srivaishnavite teacher PBA Swamy seems to suggest this limitation does not apply to Tamil:


  • Q. What is the reason for Divyaprabandha ghoshti to come in the front and Veda ghoshti to come behind, when perumAL goes about in the streets?

A. The Divyaprabandhams which are the Tamil Vedas tell us all about the Lord's divine auspicious qualities. However, the Sanskri Vedas which started telling about these qualities, failed in its attempt and backed off ("yatO vAchO nivartante"). The same is stressed by Vedanta Desikar, Kambar and others. This is the reason why aruLis seyals are in the front and vEda pArAyaNam is in the back

What is PBA Swami's basis to assert this?

2 Answers 2


Brahman that can't be described by words is the Nirguna Brahman of Advaita Vedanta.


Manu said, ‘Brahman is not an object of touch, or of hearing, or of taste, or of sight, or of smell, or of any deductive inference from the Known. Only the Understanding (when withdrawn from everything else) can attain to it. All objects that the mind apprehends through the senses are capable of being withdrawn into the mind; the mind can be withdrawn into the understanding; the Understanding can be withdrawn into the soul, and the Soul into the Supreme.’

Mahabharata, Santi Parva, Section CCIV

The Brahman that can be described by words mentioned by PBA Swamy is the Sagun Brahman of Advaita Vedanta or Narayana of Visistadvaita Vedanta.


As Pradip sir said, Brahman of Advaita cannot be described in words because it's the subject. We always try to objectify things and say we "know" it. But Sakshi(Witness/Atma) cannot be known by objectifying as you are the one who is looking for it. It's the light which illuminates everything.

The eye does not go there, nor speech, nor mind. We do not know That. We do not know how to instruct one about It. It is distinct from the known and above the unknown. We have heard it so stated by preceptors who taught us that. What speech does not enlighten, but what enlightens speech, know that alone to be the Brahman, not this which (people) here worship. What one cannot think with the mind, but by which they say the mind is made to think, know That alone to be the Brahman, not this which (people) here worship(Kena Upanishad 1.3-5)

Acharya Sankara writes " A thing is cognised by the senses and the mind. We do not, therefore, know the Brahman, because it cannot be an object of perception to these; and we do not, therefore, know what the Brahman is like, so as to allow us to enlighten the disciple about the Brahman. Whatever can be perceived by the senses, it is possible to explain to others by epithets denoting its class, its attributes and modes of activity; but the Brahman has no attributes of class, etc. It, therefore, follows that it is not possible to make the disciple believe in the Brahman by instruction. By that mind, none wills or determines that intelligence which enlightens the mind, because as enlightener of the mind, that is the mind’s controller, the Atman being in the interior of everything, the mind cannot go there. The capacity of the mind to think exists, because it is enlightened by the intelligence shining within, and it is by that, that the mind is capable of activity. Those who know the Brahman say that the mind is pervaded by the Brahman. "

  • 1
    Great and wonderful answer! Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 5:58
  • @PradipGangopadhyay you missed the point. This acharya is saying Tamil can describe Brahman but Sanskrit cannot.
    – S K
    Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 11:25
  • @sethusrivatsaloduru, you missed the point. This acharya is saying Tamil can describe Brahman but Sanskrit cannot.
    – S K
    Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 11:29
  • 1
    Don't accept anything, if its illogical , even if said by Bramha @SK Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 18:12
  • 1
    @SK All languages indeed are beautiful in their own way. Let the respective persons do whatever they want. I am reminding you again what you taught me, practise self realisation and limit your questions to there only. If that happens, this site can turn very productive Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 19:10

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