Dakshinamurthy Stothram- Sloka 6 – Part 1 – Introduction – The Empty Secret – வெறுமையின் வறுமை – Negating the Sunyavadis

Nagarjuna

In the fifth verse, Śankarācārya enumerated various systems of philosophy, in which there are varieties of confusion regarding the real nature of “I”; and in this sixth verse, Śankarācārya wants to refute the main system, known as mādhyamika bauddisam; or śūnyavādaḥ; which is one of the main pūrvapakṣis of vedāntaḥ. And Śankarācārya does not refute the other systems, because this shoonya vadi has already refuted others and therefore he becomes the main challenger; and therefore Śankarācārya refutes the śūnyavādaḥ in the 6th verse.

The śūnyavādi points out that the essential nature of me; or the I, is nothingness or emptiness. Not only the individual, even the essential nature of the world is nothingness or emptiness. And in support of this conclusion, he takes our sleep experience as the pramāṇam or truth. In sleep we do not experience anything; there is no objective world. In sleep we do not experience the subject also; so neither ‘seen’ is there; nor is there the ‘seer’; neither the ‘heard’ nor the ‘hearer’. Therefore the subject as well as the object, both of them are not there; and therefore śūnyam is the tatvam is their conclusion.

Now Śankarācārya shows in this verse; that in deep sleep state, it is not śūnyam or emptiness. In deep sleep state, there is pure existence; but it is an unqualified existence; which is not available for any transaction. Only qualified existence is available for transaction; unqualified existence is not available for transaction. And therefore we make a mistake that it is emptiness; because we have a general misconception, whatever is not available for transaction is non-existent. This is one of the intellectual confusions. We think the space is nothingness; because space is not available for transaction. But the truth is that, space is not emptiness or nothingness, it is a positive entity. But generally we mistake space as emptiness, because it is not avialable for seeing, touching or any other local view. The same mistake is extended to the pure existence also; because it is not available for vyavahara. And therefore, in sleep, non-transactional existence is available which is my nature. This is the essence of this verse.

To highlight the mistake or the illusion that Sunyavadis have about “existence or otherwise” Adi Sankara brings out an incident that happened during the “Samudra Manthan” (churning of the ocean) as told in the Puranas.

The story of Rahu & Ketu and Maya

According to Puranas, the birth of Rahu and Ketu dates back to the earliest of times.‘Samudra Manthan’ is regarded as one of the most important events in the history of Hindu civilization. The Solar and Lunar eclipse is also associated with ‘Samudra Manthan’. When the ocean was churned by the Asuras and Devas, ‘Amrit’ was produced. This Amrit was stolen by Asuras and to obtain the Amrit, Lord Vishnu took incarnation in the form of a beautiful damsel ‘Mohini’ and tried to please and distract the demons. On receiving the Amrit, Mohini came to Devas to distribute it to them. ‘Svarbhanu’, one of the asuras changed his appearance to a deva to obtain some portion of the Amrit. However, Surya (Sun) and the Chandra (Moon) realized that Svarbhanu was an Asura and not one of the devas. Knowing this, Lord Vishnu severed Svarbhanu’s head with his discus, the Sudarshan Charka. However, even though his head and body became separated, they still remained immortal as the separate entity because before his head was served, he managed to drink a drop of the nectar from the Amrit. The Head is known as Rahu and the headless body is the Ketu. Since then Rahu and Ketu constantly chase the Sun and the Moon for revenge as they are the cause of separating the head and body of the Asura Rahu. It is a popular belief that when they succeed in catching Sun and Moon they swallow them causing Solar or Lunar eclipse but they can’t hold them for long and Sun and Moon emerge again intact as they also had nectar and are immortal.

Let us study the Sloka 6 in detail , in the next blog which will appear on 30th September

Dakshinamurthy Stothram- Sloka 5 – Who am I ? காயமே இது பொய்யடா !

Audio Link

https://www.dropbox.com/s/vmhfkxgvwkvta8t/Sloka%205%20-%20Deham%20Praanamapi.mp3?dl=0

Sanskrit Verse

द्देहं प्राणमपीन्द्रियाण्यपि चलां बुद्धिं च शून्यं विदुः
स्त्रीबालान्धजडोपमास्त्वहमिति भ्रान्ता भृशं वादिनः ।
मायाशक्तिविलासकल्पितमहाव्यामोहसंहारिणे
तस्मै श्रीगुरुमूर्तये नम इदं श्रीदक्षिणामूर्तये ॥५॥

Meaning in Tamil

ஊண் சுவாச பொறிபுலன் சலன புத்தி இவையே

‘நான்’ என முனைவுடன் மடமை கொண்டு வாதிப்பர்,

உணர்வுக்கடிமை மாதரென, முதிரா அறிவுடை பாலனென,

இகபுர இருகண்ணிலா குருடரென, மடமை நிறை மூடரென!

லீலையென மாயை புரி அம்மடமைதனை அழி

ஆதிஅந்தமிலா மோனநிலை ஆசானாம் அருள்மிகு

தக்ஷிணாமூர்த்தி பொற்பாதம் பணிந்திடுவோம்

Meaning in English

Those who consider the Body or Prana (Vital Force) or Sense Organs or the Changing Mind or the Void (Total non-existence) as the “I”, are Like the emotionally sensitive women or Naive Innocent Girl Child, or Blind, or a Dull-Headed. They are deluded but they vehemently assert their points. The Inner Guru destroys this great delusion created by the play of the power of Maya. Salutations to Him, the personification of Our Inner Guru who awakens this Knowledge through His profound Silence; Salutation to Sri Dakṣiṇāmurty.

Understanding the Sloka:

देहं प्राणमपीन्द्रियाण्यपि चलां बुद्धिं च शून्यं विदुःDeham Praannam-Api-Indriyaanny-Api Calaam Buddhim Ca Shuunyam Viduh – The various types of false identifications of Ātman that we discussed above viz., deham, pranam, indriyani, calam buddhim and shunyam

स्त्रीबालान्धजडोपमास्त्वहमिति Strii-Baala-Andha-Jaddo(a-U)pamaastv[u-]Aham-Iti – Now let us come to the comparison that Adi Śankarā makes while describing these misconceived people. स्रीबालान्धजडोपमा (strī bāla andha jaḍo pamā). These words should be taken as symbolic of four types of defective intellect, which alone can commit these mistakes:

  1. Stri – an intellect which is suppressed by emotions, which is a hostage of emotions, Emotional thralldom; very typical of womanfolk.
  2. Bāla;- is undeveloped intellect, because a bāla, a child is not capable of thinking; it is not trained; therefore bāla represents undeveloped or untrained intellect. Training through tarka, logical reasoning, he has not gone through;
  3. Andhah – represents unaided intellect; literally the word andhā means blind, and what do you mean by the word blindness here; not using the śāstra pramāṇam, makes a person partially blind. If we have to know the spiritual truth; we require two eyes – external & internal. śāstra cakṣuḥ; buddhi cakṣuḥ, These two should combine for knowledge to take place; If one of them is not there, this person becomes what? partially blind; If both are not there, i.e., no buddhi and no śāstram, totally blind;
  4. The fourth one is jadaḥ; jadaḥa means a retarded intellect, an unintelligent intellect.

भ्रान्ता भृशं वादिनः Bhraantaa Bhrsham Vaadinah. – All these people with the misconceptions have one thing in common; “braandhaaha”- delusion is the only common feature. And not only they are confused and they have got wrong conclusion, the tragic part of this conclusion is they are not available for correction. Therefore Śankarācārya says that these people are not available for reconsideration. This is what the Upanisahads also have said:

avidyāyām andare vartamānā, svayam dhīrāḥ paṇḍitam manyamānāḥ.

They are steeped in ignorance, and also because of their arrogance and adamancy, “svayam dhīrāḥ paṇḍitam manyante”; they think we are omniscient. Therefore Śankarācārya says that even Bhagavan’s compassion becomes useless, in front of them. They always say “I am always right, the other person is always wrong”, These people are called “bhṛśaṃ vādinaḥ”. Śankarācārya says never waste your time, talking to them; talking to such people, is misplaced compassion. bhṛśaṃ means intensely; not ordinarily argumentators, intensely vādinaḥ;

मायाशक्तिविलासकल्पितमहाव्यामोहसंहारिणे – Maayaa-Shakti-Vilaasa-Kalpita-Mahaa-Vyaamoha-Samhaarinne.
Then Śankarācārya looks at himself; Oh my God, somehow I am not in that group of confusion; I have got an intellect, which is free from all these four-fold defects, I have got an intelligent intellect, intelligent enough to understand Brahman, and also I have got shraddha in vedānta śāstram m, and therefore I have rescued myself and if I could get out of this confusion, it is only because of the external aid I got; and what is that external aid, śāstram pramāṇam. And therefore I am indebted to śāstram; And if śāstram could be meaningful to me, I am indebted to another person; it is purely because of guru; In fact, śāstram is made a pramāṇam by guru alone; And therefore Śankarācārya says I am indebted to śāstram and more indebted to the guru, and that guru who destroyed all my confusions. That confusion-destroyer-guru, I offer my prostrations and therefore Guru. Adi Śankarācārya now defines a Guru and has a new title for Guru; what is the title given to guru? māyāśakti vilāsakalpita mahāvyāmoha saṃhāri; to that guru, who is none other than dakṣiṇāmūrti, my namaskaram. That is said in the third line. Now let us see the meaning of this long Sanskrit Word.

saṃhāriṇi – (my guru) is a destroyer; destroyer of what?
vyāmoha – (destroys) confusion, Delusion with regard to one self; self-delusion is called vyāmoha; how did this confusion come? he says;
kalpitam  - created by/caused by - caused by whom?
vilāsa - ; vilāsa has two meanings, one meaning is the sport or play; so vilāsaha means play; Play of what? maya shakthi, the power of māya; play or operation or sport of māya shakthi.

So thus, what will be final translation; the guru who is the destroyer of the great delusion caused by the play of the power of māya.

And therefore, Hey Guro, who is the destroyer of ignorance and consequent delusion permanently, I offer my namaskaram to you.

திருக்குறள், நிலையாமை அதிகாரத்தில் இக்கருத்தினையே இவ்வாறு பிரதிபலிக்கிறது.

நில்லாத வற்றை நிலையின என்றுணரும்
புல்லறி வாண்மை கடை.

நெருநல் உளனொருவன் இன்றில்லை என்னும்
பெருமை உடைத்துஇவ் வுலகு.

குடம்பை தனித்துஒழியப் புள்பறந் தற்றே
உடம்பொடு உயிரிடை நட்பு.

‘அழிகின்ற ஓர் உடம்பு ஆகும் செவிகள்,

கழிகின்ற காலவ் விரதங்கள் தானம், மொழிகின்ற வாக்கு முடிகின்ற நாடி, ஒழிகின்ற ஊனுக்கு உறுதுணை இல்லையே’

என்ற திருமந்திரம் ‘கண்டதே காட்சி, கொண்டதே கோலம்’ எனும் மடமைமிகு கருத்தினை அழிக்க உதவும்.

Dakshinamurthy Stothram- Sloka 5 – Part 1 – Introduction

Preamble

In Vedanta one of the word which is used quite often is “saṃsāraḥ”.There is also a wonderful Question and Answer in Sanskrit.

Q: सम्सारे किम् सारं ?

A: सदा अनुचिन्थनेमेव सारं

Q: What is the essence of worldly life ?

A: The very fact that you always keep thinking about it is the essence.

Swami Dayananda Saraswathi used to say in his lectures that the word “samsara” has different connotations. Birth-death is samsara; Sukha dukha is samsara ; Household choir is samsara; Wife is called samasaram in Tamil Nadu; “Becoming” is samsara; Subject-object division is samsara ; Doership enjoyership is samasara; The division of “I” and “not I” is samsara; Atma anatma divide is samsara. All these imply a demarcation line between the two. Where does this line run? Not outside . It runs upto and including where “I” sees to feel “I am”.

Therefore when it comes to identification of the Atma (Self) there are many misconceptions (“adyāsahaḥ”) that people have. Adi Śankarācārya identifies the many misconceptions, when it comes to identification of the Atma (Self). These errors in perception are:

1. error of a non-thinking person; the layman like us making erroneous conclusion. This is understandable and correctable

2. error of the so-called thinker, who makes thoughtful errors and comes to wrong conclusion. This kind of people are difficult to correct.

The wrong conclusions that thinker following different philosophies make are as under:

1. Ātma identified with physical body (deha ātmā vādaḥ): The first category of people, misunderstand or conclude that the body (deham) is Ātma. They do not accept anything surviving after the death of the body. For them death is the total destruction of the individual, they do not believe in a mind which can survive; because for them, mind is nothing but functioning brain and emotions are neurological disturbances etc. Thirumoolar, one of the sixty-three Nayanmars and one of the 18 Siddhars, in his main work the Thirumandhiram cautions against this conlusion and states that one can’t avoid rebirth if one adopts this policy as this will result in “attachment” from which one cannot come out.

மலமென் றுடம்பை மதியாத ஊமர்

தலமென்று வேறு தரித்தமை கண்டீர்

நலமென் றிதனையே நாடி யிருக்கின்

பலமுள்ள காயத்தில் பற்றுமிவ் வண்டத்தே.

“இந்த உடல் மலத்தால் ஆனது!” என்று எண்ணி அதை ஒதுக்கிவிட வேண்டும். அவ்வாறு செய்யாமல் அதையே நல்ல தலம் என்று எண்ணி இன்பத்துடன் உடலைத் தரித்துக் கொண்டால், மேலும் உடலில் விளையும் நன்மைகளையே நாடிக்கொண்டு இருந்தால், அந்தப் பற்றின் காரணமாக மீண்டும் மீண்டும் ஒருவனுக்குப் பிறவிகள் தொடர்ந்து கொண்டே இருக்கும்.

Half a century ago, my father a common man like most of us and was the Head Master of a Government run High School gave me this advice when I entered the “Teens”. He used to say in Tamil “கண்டதே காட்சி, கொண்டதே கோலம் என்று இருக்காதே”. At that time I didn’t understand the real meaning. But being with him and watching his “simple living-noble thinking” lifestyle taught me lessons which were definitely not part of the curriculum in my Masters and MBA courses subsequently. I can now visualise and get as to what was he hinting at.

A Tamil scholar and poet Keeran (புலவர் கீரன்) in a discourse on “Thiruvasagam” brings out two interesting observations and ask us to ponder the these two facts which will reinforce my dad’s statement.

  • Among all the living beings, only humans have the capacity to introspect and look at SELF. மனித இனம் ஒன்றே மன சாட்சியை நோக்க முடியும். விலங்கினங்களால் முடியாது.
  • After death, bodies of animals are more valuable than the human body. இறந்தபின் விலங்கினங்களின் உடலுக்கு மதிப்பு அதிகம்;மனித உடலுக்கு அல்ல;

2. Ātma identified with Prana: Then comes another group of people who say that anatomy is not individual, but the physiology is the individual; physiology, the functions of the body; so, for them, prana is I, the ātmā; I breathe, I am alive, I feel hungry, I feel thirsty: on the strength of these and other notions of the sort, some conclude that Prâna is Ātman. Finding that the dead body which is to all appearance quite of the same nature as the living is yet not self-conscious and does not breathe or perform other functions of a living being, they hold that Ātman must be the Prana, the vital principle, whose presence in the body makes it alive and whose departure reduces it to a corpse.

3. Ātma identified with Sense Organs: The third category of people believe that “indrīẏāṇi” – sense organs are the ātmā; I hear, I see, I smell, I cause motion: from an experience of this sort, some rise higher and look upon the indriyas, the sense-organs, as Ātman. As self-consciousness arises only when the sense-organs are active, Ātman must be identical with the sense-organs. There is no evidence of the existence of Prana distinct from the senses; for no motion is observed during sleep when the senses are quiescent: and breathing, &c., visible during sleep are a mere illusion. As the sense-organs do not perceive objects simultaneously, i.e., as the scope of each sense-organ is restricted to one kind of objects and as there are several sense-organs occupying the body, each of them is an Ātman by itself.

4. Ātman identified with Intellect (buddhim): And then the next one” calāṃ buddhiṃ” – calāṃ buddhiṃ means buddhi means consciousness in this context, vijnānam; they say consciousness is ātmā; but calāṃ buddhiṃ, that consciousness is subject to fluctuations; fluctuating, fleeting, flow of consciousness like the water fall, you see the water, but the second-second, the next second, the water fall you see, is not the same waterfall, it has been replaced by another and another. So, you have a seeming continuous water fall, but there is no continuous water fall and continuous existence is only a changing entity. Similarly, that flowing consciousness is the ātmā, is the philosophy of ẏogācāra Buddhist; On the strength of the notion “I understand,” others regard Buddhi (Intellect) as the Ātman.

5. Ātma identified with Emptiness (śūnyam): Another sect argues that if consciousness is subject to arrival and departure: between the two consciousnesses, what should be there? There should be emptiness alone and therefore śūnyam, blankness, emptiness is the ultimate truth in which emptiness the consciousness comes and goes. Because arriving and departing consciousness cannot be permanent; What is the only permanent thing; vacuum; shoonyam; they are called śūnya vāda buddhisam; previous one is ẏogācāra; last one is śūnyam

Adi Śankarācārya discounts all the above false identification of the Ātman in this sloka. We will see the Sloka in the next blog in the coming week.

Dakshinamurthy Sloka 4 – The Light within – அருட் பெரும் ஜோதி

In the last three blogs as introduction to the Sloka, we understood that the core of all of us viz., the inner consciousness known as the ātmā is compared to a maha deepam அருட்பெரும் ஜோதி (the light like Sun). The ātmā is described or revealed by comparing it to a light principle as the nearest example due to its self-luminous and self-evident nature called svayam prakāśatvam.

We also saw through experiments that in every perception, I, the ātmā, is independently self evident; and anātmā the object is dependently evident. The infinite consciousness by itself never illumines anything by itself. It is a upakaranaa or upadhi. It needs a medium to illumine. The medium borrows the light and reflect on the object. The mind borrows light from “me” temporarily and throws it on the object thro the 5 indriyas thro which it escapes.. That is called perception/gnana. The light of consciousness, when reflected at an inner equipment, reaches the object to illumine them. This process of reflecting light on objects and perceiving them through the atma-mind-indriyas combination is called व्रित्त्त पररणाम vritti pariṇāma, and when that takes place alone, the object becomes known. In other words for the knower to know we need cit (light), mind (anthakarana) and organs (indriyas) otherwise the object is masked or unknown (avidya).

With this understanding let us now study the Sloka

Audio Link

https://www.dropbox.com/s/np6at9nb77dj0n8/Sloka%204%20-%20Naanaa%20Chidra%20Ghattoudara.mp3?dl=0

Sanskrit Verse:

नानाच्छिद्रघटोदरस्थितमहादीपप्रभा भास्वरं
ज्ञानं यस्य तु चक्षुरादिकरणद्वारा वहिः स्पन्दते ।
जानामीति तमेव भान्तमनुभात्येतत्समस्तं जगत्
तस्मै श्रीगुरुमूर्तये नम इदं श्रीदक्षिणामूर्तये ॥४॥

Audio Link

https://www.dropbox.com/s/np6at9nb77dj0n8/Sloka%204%20-%20Naanaa%20Chidra%20Ghattoudara.mp3?dl=0

Meaning in Tamil

ஐந்துளைக் குடமுள்ளிட்ட பெருவிளக்கின் ஒளியென

ஐம்பொரிவழி அதிரலையென வெளிப்படும் ஒன்றே,

பரம்பொருளின் பேரொளியால், ‘எனை அறிவேன்’ எனும்

ஆன்மாவின் உள்ளுணர்வில் ஒளிவிடும் இவ்உலகம்! அந்த

ஆதிஅந்தமிலா மோனநிலை பரம்பொருளாம் ஆசான்

தக்ஷிணாமூர்த்தி  பொற்பாதம் பணிந்திடுவோம்

Meaning in English:

All this world shines after Him alone shining in the consciousness “I know”—after Him alone whose consciousness, luminous like the light of a mighty lamp standing in the bosom of a many-holed pot, moves outwards through the sense-organs such as the eye. To Him who is incarnate in the Teacher, to Him in the Effulgent Form Facing the South, to Him (Siva) be this bow!

Understanding the Sloka:

Here Śankarācārya wants to point out that the ātmā, the existence consciousness is ever evident and therefore does not require any special process to know. Knowing the ātmā is not a special event taking place by your special effort. Any other object in the world becomes known at a particular time by your special effort and becomes an event in time.

First Line

नानाच्छिद्रघटोदरस्थितमहादीपप्रभा भास्वरंज्ञानं यस्य तु चक्षुरादिकरणद्वारा वहिः स्पन्दते ।

Naanaac-Chidra-Ghatto[a-U]dara-Sthita-Mahaa-Diipa-Prabhaa Bhaasvaram Jnyaanam Yasya Tu Cakssur-Aadi-Karanna-Dvaaraa Vahih Spandate |


ज्ञानं यस्य jñānam yasya; yasya means ātmānaha; ātmānaha jñānam. So, the light of ātmā, the light of consciousness of ātmā is भास्वरम् bhāsvaram; is brilliant; because it has to create a long beam; so it can see even the farthest star, I am able to see. Therefore, it is bhāsvaram; it is brilliant. Brilliant like what?

नानात्छिर घटोदर त्स्थत महादीप प्रभा, nānācchidra ghaṭodara sthita mahādīpa prabhā; like the prabhā, brilliance, like the brilliance of maha deepam; a very bright lamp, so that consciousness of ātmā is brilliant like the brilliance of a very bright lamp or big lamp; घट उदर त्स्थत gada udara sthitha; which is placed within a pot;

वहिः स्पन्दते Vahih Spandate Emerges out as a pulse/light

Second Line

जानामीति तमेव भान्तमनुभात्येतत्समस्तं जगत्. Jaanaamiti Tam-Eva Bhaantam-Anubhaaty-Etat-Samastam Jagat

Continuing from the understanding of the first line which means that we presuppose the word तत् tat meaning that bright light of consciousness, that emerges out (वहिः स्पन्दते) through the five apertures, I know that viz. जानामीति Jaanaam-Iiti And then what happens, each beam of light falls on an object, one beam of light falling on sābda, another falling on sparsa; another falling on rūpa, and the moment the light falls on them; what happens, they all become known or bright; the non-luminous one becomes luminous; I know means what; that has become knowable or luminous.

When I say I know (जानामि) the object, the process of knowledge is only one; Verb is single; but on the two sides of the verb, there is a subject and there is an object. The subject reveals self-evidence; object is dependently evident; Depending on whom? Me. Therefore every jānāmi reveals one dependently evident object and independently evident subject. Adi Sankara uses the words; जानामि इति jānāmi ithi – इत्ति iti indicates a process of cognition of the object by the subject which by itself is self evident भानम् bhānam. Since the cognised object is proved only through cognition; it is called dependently evident; अनुभानम् anubhānam.

Thus जानामीर्त तमेव भान्तम् jānāmīti tameva bhāntam, in every jānāmi statement, that ātmā alone reveals itself and sarvam tam anubhāti. Not Sarvam, but yetat samastaṃ jagat. Śankarā uses the same word, bhāntam and anubhāti. yetatsamastaṃ jagat, the whole universe.

Last Line of the Sloka

तस्मै श्रीगुरुमूर्तये नम इदं श्रीदक्षिणामूर्तये Tasmai Shrii-Guru-Muurtaye Nama Idam Shrii-Dakssinnaamuurtaye

tasmai – means prabuddha puruṣāya; to that woken-up person, who is a jnāni; who is liberated; who is the knower, the known and the process , to that jnani my namaskaaram. So tasmai prabuddha puruṣāya, jnānine namaha. And who is that jnāni?

Shree gurumurthaye – who alone is a guru, who alone can serve as a guru and who is my guru, gurumoorthaye.

Namaha – my salutations.

Thus we can see again that a complex concept in Philosophy of knower- known, the relationship between “being” and “knowing” and the process of cognition is explained by Adi Sankara in just two lines using a simple experiment using a pot and a lamp.

இதனையே “உயிர் இடைவிடாது சிவனோடு பொருந்தி நின்று நீண்டு செல்லும் மனமும் சத்தம், பரிசம், ரூபம், இரசம், கந்தம் ஆகிய புலன்களின் உண்மையை அறிந்துவிட்டு, சுத்தமாயை அசுத்தமாயைகள் பற்றாவகை எண்ணி, தலைவனாகிய முழுமுதற் பொருளை அடைதல் சித்தாந்த நெறியாகும்” என திருமூலர் திருமந்திரத்தில் உபதேசிக்கிறார்

2373. நித்தம் பரனோடு உயிருற்று நீள்மனம்
சத்தம் முதல்ஐந்தும் தத்துவத் தால்நீங்கிச்
சுத்தம் அசுத்தம் தொடரா வகைநினைந்து
அத்தன் பரன்பால் அடைதல்சித் தாந்தமே.

Dakshinamurthy Stothram – Sloka 4 – Introduction – Part 3 – Throwing some light on “Light”! – Vedantic Concepts

In our attempt to understand the relationship between “being” and “knowing”, after answering a questionnaire, we conducted two experiments last week; in the first we threw light inside a dark room with the help of a mirror and sun and in the second experiment we spread the light from a oil wick lamp through a “holi” pot in a dark room on five selected objects.

Let us now see the Vedantic Concepts behind these experiments.

The concepts behind the first experiment

In the first experiment, the Sun as the powerful light source ( Maha deepam) is comparable to the ātmā. Just as Sun has got its own light, ātmā has got its own “cit”-consciousness; it is self-evident because one does not need either a Sun or a mirror to see oneself. Remember the Part 1 Blog of Questions and Answers (If someone asks you when you are in a dark room “Are you there?” what response do we give? Yes “I am here”). And the mind of every individual is comparable to the mirror. The entire world is comparable to the dark room.

Now the whole world is seen because of two factors. What are the factors? The mirror_like mind and the Sun_like ātmā. This ātmā and Mind together, both of them are together responsible for the experience of the world. One can view this from two perspectives.

1. You can say mirror, backed by the Sun, illumines the dark room. Similarly, we can say the mind experiences everything backed by ātmā. How the mind borrows consciousness from ātmā; just as the mirror borrows brightness from the Sun. Mind borrows brightness and that mind illumines the world. So here the emphasises is on the mind alone. In Vedānta, when the emphasis is given to the mind, that is called प्रमात् (pramaatR) , the consciousness-backed-mind is called, the knower; and mind the knower, expereinces the world backed by ātmā. Here the emphasis is to the mind, because that is the subject.

2. In the second perspective, you do not say the mind illumines the world. ātmā, the consciousness illumines the world; but you have to acknowledge the role of the mirror. Mirror is very important, therefore you use the expression; through the reflecting medium of mind; through the instrumentality of the mind, ātmā alone illumines the world. And when the instrument is removed, what happens? When the mirror is removed, Sun will continue to shine; but it cannot illumine the dark room; the room will again go dark; Similarly, when the mind mirror is there, ātmā illumines the world. When the mind mirror is closed, the world is dark, not because ātmā has turned inert; but the mind-medium is closed. And therefore the world goes dark.

3. When do you close it? The answer is “During sleep”. What happens to ātmā during sleep.? ātmā continues to be self-evident consciousness, the light like the Sun; but the world goes dark because the medium of mind is closed; even during bright daylight, if the mind closes down, it will be dark.

4. Therefore, who is the illuminator of everything? ātmā, the eternal light. And therefore, whenever you are knowing anything, every knowledge indriya jñānam (śabda jñānam, sparśa jñānam, rūpa jñānam); every perception pre-supposes (indirectly reveals) the presence of ātmā; you do not require a separate proof for the existence of ātmā; Every object that we see in the dark room is thanks to the presence of Sun like ātmā. Even when there is no object, you say nothing is known; that nothing is known is known. That nothing is known is known, again because of the presence of consciousness. And therefore, Sankaracharya says; जानाशम jānāmi; jānāmi means, I know; This is called svayam prakāśatvam of ātmā; self-evidence of ātmā;

So in every perception, I, the ātmā, is independently self evident; and anātmā the object is dependently evident; In every perception, I the ātmā, is independently evident like the sun, and the anātmā is dependently evident like the dark room. This is the learning from the first experiment.

The Concepts behind the Second Experiment

Now let us come to second experiment with “holi” pot.

The room where the lamp is burning is the material world, full of ignorance, known as māyā. Pot is the human body. The Atma/Self that exists in the body is the light. The five holes in the pot are five sensory organs. Experience of the sensory organs is the five objects placed on the holes. They are śabda, sparśa, rūpa, rasa, gandha (five tanmātra-s or rudimentary subtle elements). Amala/Gooseberry is the taste (rasa); Veena is the sound (śabda); musk is the smell (gandha); gem by form (rūpa) and touch (sparśa) by the fan. The earthen lamp that holds the oil and wick is the biological system of the human body. Wick is the mind. Oil that makes the wick to burn is the prāṇa. With all these things, perception of the material world is not possible. Without that light, nothing can be perceived. Similarly, without the Self, nothing can be experienced.

We saw in Part 1 of the Introduction, the process of sighting/experiencing an object. We also termed it as व्रित्त्त पररणाम vritti pariṇāma. Vritti or thought-wave is a modification of the mind through a process. Just as waves and bubbles arise from the surface of the ocean, so also these Vrittis arise from the surface of the mind. The function of a Vritti in the mind is to cause removal of the veil of ignorance covering objects by reflecting the light from the ātmā i.e., only lend existence by throwing light. Gnanam is a process of throwing light (That is why in Tamil they call both the light & and the process of throwing light to uncover Gnana as விளக்கு & விளக்குதல்/விளக்க உரை and not allowing it to escape through the indriyas ( the pot with 5 holes and 5 items).

Every wave of thought in the mind (vritti pariṇāma) is illumined by an awareness – the maha deepa. This maha deepa goes out through thro 5 indriyas and get back to the reflecting medium – mind for “I know” (jaanaami ithi) – The learning from the Second Experiment.

Eg of maha deepa – you are able to see a star million miles away. The kind of illumination that you were able to put it on the star. Amount of illumine that you have put – that is maha deepa.

We should understand that the infinite consciousness by itself never illumines because it is illumination itself like the Sun. It is an upakaranaa or upadhi. It needs a medium to illumine. The medium borrows the light and reflect on the object. The mind borrows light from “me” temporarily and throws it on the object thro the 5 indriyas thro which it escapes.. That is called perception/gnana. The light of consciousness, when reflected at an inner equipment, reaches the object to illumine them.

Here is a pictorial summary.

வேதாந்தத்தின் இக்கருத்துக்களை கவனித்தோமானால், அன்பர் திரு. அப்பாதுரை அவர்கள், வளைதளத்தில் பதிவிட்ட நசிகேதன் கதையில் (கடோபனிஷத் தமிழாக்கம்) ஒரு கவிதை (87) ஞாபகத்திற்கு வருகிறது {http://nasivenba.blogspot.com/2012/03/blog-post_23.html}.

கதிருங் கணப்பொறியுங் கங்குல் கலையுங்

கதிர்க்குங் கணங்களுங் கங்குல் – கதிநாடிக்

கட்கிலியைக் கண்பெறுங் காலையிற் காரிரியக்

கிட்டுங் ககனக் கனல்.

திரவனும் மின்னலும் இருளே. நிலவும் ஒளிவீசும் விண்மீன்களும் இருளே. தன்னறிவைத் தேடி, எளிதில் புலப்படாத ஆன்மாவை அகத்தே அறியும் வேளையில் அண்டத்தின் இருளகற்றும் ஒளி பிறக்கும். அங்கே சூரியனும் பிரகாசிப்பதில்லை; சந்திரனும் தாரகைகளும் பிரகாசிப்பதில்லை; மின்னல்களும் ஏன் தீயும் பிரகாசிப்பதில்லை. அவன் பிரகாசிக்கும் பொழுது எல்லாம் பிரகாசிக்கின்றன; அவனுடைய ஒளியால் இவை எல்லாமே பிரகாசிக்கின்றன. வடமொழிப் பாடலில் ‘அவன்’ என்று குறிப்பிடப்படுவது ஆன்மா. சூட்சுமக் குறிப்பு.

Interestingly, in my exchanges on “Existence” in Twitter last week, I was fortunate to receive an excellent quote from Mr. R. Prabhu. This is from one of the verses of a very well known Siddha – Sivavaakiyar சிவவாக்கியர் which reflects the relationship between the “being” and the “knowing”.

இல்லைஇல்லை என்றுநீர் இயம்புகின்ற ஏழைகாள்,

இல்லைஎன்று நின்றதொன்றை இல்லை என்னலாகுமோ

இல்லைஅல்ல ஒன்றுமல்ல இரண்டும்ஒன்றி நின்றதை

எல்லைகண்டு கொண்டபேர் இனிப்பிறப்பது இல்லையே

With this understanding let us now see the Sloka No 4 in the next blog.

Dakshinamurthy Stothram – Sloka 4 – Introduction – Part 2 – Throwing some light on “Light”! – The experiments

We are used to a “question paper based exam followed by practicals” – Aren’t we? Exactly; that is what we are going to do now in our study of Dakshinamurthy Stothram, Sloka 4.

In the previous introductory blog, we saw through sets of questions and answers, as to how the Self (ātmā) is comparable to the “maha deepam” the great light source. Let us continue the conceptual exploration through two experiments.

Experiment 1 – Sun, Dark Room & Mirror Experiment:

Place some objects inside a pitch-dark room. On a bright & sunny day, position a mirror outside at an angle; open the window of the dark room and try reflecting the sunlight through the window into the dark room by adjusting the angle of the mirror. What do you observe? You see that the objects which are otherwise invisible are illumined by the patch of sun light entering the dark room via the mirror and the window.

The question is: who or what illumines the dark room? The mirror or the Sun?

Suppose we say mirror, can we try the same experiment during midnight; keep the mirror at the same angle or at any other angle and try to illumine. The mirror is not able to provide light. So, we cannot say mirror is the illuminator.

If we say that the Sun alone illumines the dark room and not the mirror, then, what will happen if we remove the mirror? Again, the room will continue to be dark, because if the mirror is not there, with a roof over the room, the sunlight can not directly penetrate in the room and illumine. Therefore, mere Sun alone cannot illumine like mere mirror cannot illumine. Therefore, a combination of both the Sun and the mirror together illumine the objects of the dark room.

Pictorially the above experiment can be summarised as under

So, what are we trying to get out of this experiment. What is the illation here?

Experiment 2 – The “holi” pot and lamp Experiment

Light and place a bright lamp (wick lamp with burning oil) on the surface of the earth within a room which is densely dark. Place a pot having five holes with its mouth down over the lamp. Outside of that pot place (in front of each of the hole), an amala (நெல்லிக்காய்) fruit, veena, musk, good gem and a fan.

Now the question is about the perception of the collection of separate objects. Is it attributed to any of the following viz. Lamp or Oil or Wick or Pot or the objects themselves? What is the significance of the 5 holes and the five objects ? Why only these objects ?

The lamp is not able to directly illumine the objects, because it is covered by a pot with five holes; Therefore cooperation of pot is required in the sense that we need a pot with holes and not just the pot. In a lighter vein, therefore we require a ‘holi pot’.

The pot with holes alone can’t illumine and we require the lamp. The holes without the lamp within, cannot also illumine the ibject.

Same arguments go for the oil, the wick and the objects. None of them are self-illumine too and only those objects which fall within the range of the beam of light that comes out of the holes are perceived.

So, what are we trying to get out of this experiment. What is the illation here?

Well, “Practicals” are over. What did we learn?

Let us get into the details in the blog next week.

To be continued……

Dakshinamurthy Stothram – Sloka 4 – Introduction – Part 1 – Throwing some light on “Light”! – Questions and Answers

We saw in the previous Sloka 3, the vedantic concept of conjoined existence and light in perception of objects and understood that both “being” and “knowing” are nothing but the same (tat tvam asi). In Sloka 4, Adi Sankara throws more light on the “Light”.

Questions

Before we venture into the Sloka, I am going to start this blog with three sets of questions.

Set 1

Can you see yourselves in broad day light ?

Can you see your friend in a crowd in the park in the day light ?

Set 2

Can you see yourselves in a pitch dark room ?

Can you see your friend in the same pitch dark room?

Set 3

Do you need a torch to see Sun in the daytime.

Can you see the stars and constellations on a clear night?

Answers

These are very simple and innocuous questions. Answering these shouldn’t pose difficulties.

Set 1

Yes. I can see myself in broad light.

Yes. I searched and can see my friend in a crowd in the park.

Set 2

No. I cant see myself physically but I know that I am there.

No. I can’t see my friend in the pitch dark room. I need light.

Set 3

I don’t need a torch to see the Sun in daylight. It is all powerful.

Yes. I am able to see stars and constellations on a clear night.

Explanatory Notes for the answers

Now let us amplify the answers given.

Set 1

Suppose if I ask whether you have seen your friend in the crowd, you will have to look around to see whether he has come or not; which means that a process is required. But when I ask you the question, are you there, you do not take any time, or even thinking. Even before the process of thinking starts, “I am here” is an evident fact.

SET 2

I don’t need a light to say that I am inside a dark room since I know that I am there. It is self evident as indicated above. But I need a process and a light to see anyone else.

SET 3

I don’t need an external light to see the Sun in daylight. It is the most powerful light source. It is a “maha deepam”. But the strange fact is I can see the stars which are millions of miles away in the sky on a clear night. Perhaps I have a powerful source of light inside me (a maha deepam) that helps me to see the stars. Maybe ! I don’t know.

Preamble to the Vedic Philosophy behind the “Light”

Apparently in these three sets of questions and answers, the underlying focus is on light and sight. Let us now throw some light on this light.

An object in the world becomes known at a particular time by our special effort. If I have to see my friend in a crowd at the park, it is an event in space and time. I have to turn in that direction and my mind should be behind the eye. Or the eyes will not see. And the light should fall on the crowd; and then a thought should take place in the mind; and that is called vritti pariṇāma, and when that takes place alone, the knowledge of my friend takes place; as an event, in the mind, because of the operation of the sense organ called eye. So, the steps involved in this light throwing process called mano vritti is as under:

1. Some object is there.

2. Light falls on it.

3. You see it through your effort with your eyes.

4. It translates that it is other than you

5. You recognize it through something.

6. It forms a wave thought

7. That gets reflected in a medium to lend existence

The process is nothing complicated. Simple. Isn’t it? But then how do you say “I am here” when you are in a pitch dark room and someone asks you “Where are you?” You even say sometimes “Don’t switch on the light. I am relaxing”. Strange ! Are you self luminous? Exactly. This is called svayam prakāśatvam of ātmā; self-evidence of ātmā; this is a very important concept in vedānta. In India we have people named as Swayam Prakash.

The core of an Individual known as ātmā is not only svayam prakāś but also a “maha deepam” – a great light.

In a lighter vein that is why if we see several Indian movies particularly the historical/mythological ones, you will see in death scenes, a light moves up from the body towards the heaven. We see obituary statements like “The light in our life has merged with the Almighty” even today.

With this introductory understanding that core of all of us viz., the inner consciousness known as the ātmā is compared to a maha deepam (the light like Sun) in, let us proceed toward our goal of understanding the Sloka 4 where Adi Sankara again comes out with simple experiments to drive home the Vedantic Concepts.

To be continued……

Dakshinamurthy Stothram – Sloka 3 – तत्वमसि – நான் அவனே தான்

Tat Tvam Asi

Audio Link

https://www.dropbox.com/s/03sal2wrduidcsg/Sloka%203%20-%20Yasya%20Eva%20Sphuranam.mp3?dl=0

Sanskrit Verse

यस्यैव स्फुरणं सदात्मकमसत्कल्पार्थकं भासते
साक्षात्तत्त्वमसीति वेदवचसा यो बोधयत्याश्रितान् ।
यत्साक्षात्करणाद्भवेन्न पुनरावृत्तिर्भवाम्भोनिधौ
तस्मै श्रीगुरुमूर्तये नम इदं श्रीदक्षिणामूर्तये ॥३॥

தமிழ் மொழி பெயர்ப்பு

பரம்பொருளின் உளதெனும் அதிர்வலையால்

பண்டமெனும் வடிவர்த்தமுடை தன்மை, உளமதில்

பதியும் ஒளிமய நேருணர்வாய் மெய்யெனவே!

அம்மெய்யுணர்வை “அதுவே நீ” என்று நேர்முகமாய்

அனுபவமெனப் பெற, அண்டிடு அருமறையறி ஆசானை,

அடைந்திடு பிறவிப் பிணி தீர் பேரானந்தம் நிரந்தரமென!

ஆதி அந்தமிலா மோனநிலை அமர் அந்த ஆசானம்

தக்ஷிணாமூர்த்தி  பொற்பாதம் பணிந்திடுவோம்

Meaning in English

To Him in the Effulgent Form Facing the South, whose light, which is Existence itself, shines forth entering the objects which are almost non-existent—to Him incarnate in the Guru who instructs the disciples in the Vedic text “That thou art;”—to Him who being realized there will be no more return to the ocean of samsâra, to Him (Siva) be this bow!

Commentary

From the previous blogs, it is clear that the integration or Aikyam happens as the Paramātma gets into an instrument as “Existence” & “Light” (Paramātma/Isvara & Jiva/Consciousness/Self respectively) or otherwise as “being” and “knowing”.

திருமூலர், திருமந்திரத்தில் சிவன் ஒளி வடிவானவன் சீவனும் ஒளி வடிவானவன். சீவ ஒளி சிவ ஒளியில் கலந்தால் பிறவி நீங்கும் என்பதை, #2681 பதியில்

ஒளியும் உருவமும்

ஒளியை அறியில் உருவும் ஒளியும்

ஒளியும் உருவம் அறியில் உருவாம்

ஒளியின் உருவம் அறியில் ஒளியே

ஒளியும் உருக உடனிருந் தானே.

சீவன் ஆன்மஒளியை அறிந்து கொண்டால், சீவனின் உருவம் ஆகிய உடல் ஒளிந்து கொள்ளும். சீவன் ஒளிந்து நிற்கும் தன் உடலை அறிந்து கொண்டால், சீவனின் பிறவிகள் தொடரும். ஆன்மஒளியின் உருவம் சீவன் அறிந்து கொண்டால், சீவன் உருவம் ஒளிமயம் ஆகிவிடும்.சீவன் ஆன்ம ஒளியில் தோய்ந்து நின்றால், சீவனுக்குச் சிவன் அங்கு விளங்குவான் என விளக்குகிறார்.

Now let us see the meaning of the Sloka in detail

First Line: यस्यैव स्फुरणं सदात्मकमसत्कल्पार्थकं भासते साक्षात्तत्त्वमसीति

यस्यैव स्फुरणं (Yasya-Eva sphuraṇaṃ):

Here it means the throbbing/pulsating/vibrations of THAT alone, implying that of the pure Consciousness (Eternal Awareness) which is nothing but paramātmā’s sphuraṇaṃ (Recollect the vibrations from the emptiness when we explore matter as per modern science as explained in the previous introductory blogs)

सदात्मकमसत्कल्पार्थकं (Sadaa-Aātmakam-Asat-Kalpa-Arthakam):

सदात्मकम:  manifestation in the world is sadātmakam is in the form of Existence, in every object. paramātmā‘s manifestion in the world is in the form of ISness in everything. ISness part is paramātmā – the formless; pure, all-pervading ISness is the manifestation of paramātmā.

असत्कल्पार्थकं:    asat means non-existence & kalpa means as good as or almost; artha means object of desire. And where is this manifestation available? – located in/manifested in the medium of artha; artha means every object; And what type of object? असत कल्प asat kalpa; Asat Kalpa means Mithya; an unreal thing is called asat kalpa.

भासते (bhāsate):

bhāsate means is experienceable for all (appear in the mind). It is exactly like the sunlight is experienceable for all of us and upon every object as reflected sunlight; manifest sunlight is experienceable on every body. Similarly, vedāntaḥ says when you say table IS; we are experiencing the formed chair, which is soaked in formless existence.

So, paramātmā‘s sphuraṇaṃ is sadaātmakam in asat kalpa artha bhāsate; i.e., paramātmā’s vibe is always experienced by all in every “otherwise as good as non-existent” object of desire as a reflection of the all-pervading pure ISness, the eternal formless Existence.

साक्षात्तत्त्वमसीति (Saakssaat-Tat-Tvam-Asi-Iti):

We just saw यस्यैव स्फुरणं सदात्मकमसत्कल्पार्थकं भासतेthat paramātmā’s vibe is always experienced by all in every “otherwise as good as non-existent” object of desire as a reflection of the all-pervading pure ISness, the eternal formless Existence

Now the question is: How can I experience that existence in its pure form? I am experiencing the Existence; along with object, adulterated existence; I am enjoying, but I want to appreciate or experience unadulterated pure ISness; the formless, eternal, all pervading existence.

Then the Upanishad says, साक्षात्तत्त्वमसीति (Saakssaat-Tat-Tvam-Asi-Iti): that pure Existence you will never experience. You can experience only adulterated existence; the pure existence cannot be experienced;

त्तत्त्वमसी: Why cant Pure Existence be experienced? ? tat tvam asi; pure existence is none other than you; What type of You? The formless consciousness principle; “You” means not the body, body is also not pure existence; body is adulterated existence with body nama rupa; When I say You, you cannot take the mind also; mind is also not pure existence; it is existence associated with mind nama rupa. You cannot even take the thought because thought is also not pure existence; but it is existence associated with thought form. Then what type of You? You, the pure consciousness, which is the experiencer of the thought, which is witness of the body; witness of the mind; witness of the thought. That I, is the sākṣi caitanyam, am the pure existence; And the sākṣi caitanyam is called jīvātma; and Aham, the sākṣi caitanyam jīvātma eva suddha satta rupa paramātma asmi. This is called Aham Brahma Asmi.

साक्षात्त: And how will it be? the pure existence and consciousness without any nama rupa; how will it look like? I am not able to conceive at all. Better you do not conceive. If we conceive, again it will become an object, associated with some nama rupa. If you need some examples which are nearest to the pure existence-consciousness, we have only two examples:

  1. one is the space; space is not pure existence-consciousness; but it is the nearest example for pure sat chit ātma; that is one example.
  2. The second example is: You in the deep sleep state is the nearest example for pure existence-consciousness without name and form.

And therefore, try to conceive of space; try to conceive of yourselves in deep sleep; And similar to that is I; the pure existence-consciousness. And what is the significance of the word, sākṣāt? It has a very important technical significance, normally when we describe something, the words give only the indirect knowledge; that is called verbal knowledge; indirect knowledge and has to be converted into direct experience later; the book knowledge is converted into experiential knowledge; that experiential knowledge is अपरॊक्ष ज्ञानम् aparokṣa jñānam. Normally, words give indirect knowledge which has to be converted into direct knowledge, by effort. This is our general experience. Here Śankarācārya says in the case of Brahman, these two divisions are not there; because paramātmā is Existence; Existence is consciousness is all the time self-evidently experinced;

वेदवचसा यो बोधयत्याश्रितान् : And Śankarācārya says that this is what is the Guru told through Veda “Veda-Vacasaa Yo Bodhayaty”. The Guru directly reveals to you with the help of Vedas that paramārtha which is nothing but “You”. Guru has the knowledge, he did not get through intuition, वेद वचसा veda vachasa; He got it through the vedas, taught by his guru; And how did he get the knowledge? Not thru intuitution; by śabda pramāṇa handed down by the guru; when did the whole thing start? it started when the creation started; and when did creation start; अनाश्रधः anādi; and therefore as anadi as the creation, is the parampara of teaching. This teaching tradition is also anādi; with the help of this tradition, the guru reveals; that is why in our tradition, always the śāstra or parampara is given more importance than the person; in our tradition, no single आचार्यः ācāryaḥ is given more importance;

So far in the first two lines we have learnt what Adi Śankarācārya was saying. Now what do I get out of this knowledge? Till now I thought that I am the physical body, the formed body, now I have learned that I am not the body with consciousness, but I am the consciousness, temporarily functioning through the body. Not only I am the consciousness, lending sentiency to the body, I am the existence lending existence to the world also. Now where am I? I alone give two things; caitanyam to the body; existence to the world; And having given these two, the body becomes subject, world becomes object, all the transactions takes place, All the transactions are possible because I lend Sat to the world, and I lend Cit to the body;  you imagine dream. In the dream individual, I alone lend consciousness to the dream individual. I alone lend existence to the dream world; Lending Sat and Cit I allow the dream-drama to go on. Similarly, by lending Sat and Cit, I allow the world drama to go on. Remember the first Sloka viśvandarpaṇa dṛśyamāna nagarī tulyaṃ nijāntargataṃ.

The next question that automatically comes to or mind is What is the advantage of this vision? To answer this question, let us see the third line and understand what the Acharya is trying to convey.

यत्साक्षात्करणाद्भवेन्न पुनरावृत्तिर्भवाम्भोनिधौ Yat-Saakssaat-Karannaad-Bhaven-Na Punaraavrttir-Bhavaam-Bho-Nidhau


यत्साक्षात्करणात: Śankarācārya says; yassākṣātkaraṇāt; Yath again means paramātmā, paramātma sākṣātkaraṇāt, by this अपरोक्ष ज्ञानम aparokṣa jñānam, this direct knowledge of paramātmā, that I am the सत्त्चदात्माः satcidātmāḥ, the advantage is:

पुनरावृत्तिर्भवाम्भोनिधौ Punaraavrttir-Bhavaam-Bho-Nidhau): No more Reappearance in the Ocean of Wordly Existence

(Punaraavrtti) = Return, Reappearance, Re-Birth

पुनरावृत्ति न भवेत punarāvrittīḥ na bhavet . There is no question of punar janma itself for that jnani. punarāvrittīḥ is not there for that jnani. Where?

भवाम्भोतनधौ bhavāmbhonidhau. – भव (Bhava) = Worldly Existence; भोस् (Bhos) = A particle of sorrow; निधि (Nidhi) = Sea. It means the ocean of becoming, the ocean of change, the ocean of अत्स्र्, जार्ते, वधयर्े, द्धवपररणमते, अपक्षक्षर्ते, द्धवनिर्तत asthi, jāyate, vardhathe, vipariṇamate, apakṣiyate, vinaśayati; in that ocean of change, this person is not born;

Thus, this Sloka brings out the Maha Vakya Tat Tvam Asi clearly.

Dakshinamurthy Sthothram – Sloka 3 – Part 3 – thou art that – तत् त्वम् असि

Tat Tvam Asi – Painting by Dhruv

From the previous blogs we understood the concepts behind the word Existence and Light viz., “Being & Knowing” – The Tat and the Tvam parts; the Paramatma and Jivatma. We saw with examples of an existing Table and analysis that both are two kinds of emptiness. We can say that there are two kinds of emptiness; one called being and the other called knowing. What is the difference between the substance of vibration (being) and the substance of knowing? Where is the line between these two emptiness.

Initially, we may think that the line between the two emptiness is just outside us. As we contemplate and meditate with the help of a Guru, we will experience that there is no dividing line: It is not there. This is the great discovery of the nondual (advaita) understanding. The reality i.e, the emptiness of the knowledge of pure consciousness (I) called time and the reality of emptiness of the matter as the substance of vibration (you the object) called as space are empty and identical. These are two different shades of water colors on the same paper (like the two parts of the faces in the art work done by my 8 year old grandson in the image shown above). This is an experiential recognition as we meditate on the subject. This is called the Jivatma-Paramatma Aikyam.

So jīvātma is pure Consciousness, paramātma is pure Existence. Then vedāntaḥ says this pure Existence which lends existence to the world, this pure Consciousness which lends consciousness to the body, both this pure Existence and pure Consciousness are one and the same. So, Existence is Consciousness; Consciousness is Existence. And it is this Existence-Consciousness which makes the body sentient; and which makes the world existent. And this recognition of the oneness of the existence and consciousness is jīvātma paramātma êkya jnānam, and Śankarācārya says, whichever Guru manages to successfully communicate, this identity of this pure Existence and Pure consciousness, to that Guru, who is Dakṣiṇāmurty., My namaskarams. This is going to be the essence of this third Sloka which we will see in the next blog.

Here are the pictorial representations of our learning on Sat & Cit (Existence and Consciouness) (Courtesy: vedantastudents.com)

Dakshinamurthy Stothram- Sloka 3 – Part 2 – Light – Chaitanyam- त्वम्

Preamble

In the previous blog we saw that there are two ways of perceiving an object like the example of the table. “ I see it and therefore the table exists” and “the table exists and therefore I see it”. According to Adi Sankaracharya’ Advaita philosophy, knowledge of the world is knowledge of the thoughts of the objects of the world, or viṣayākāravṛittijñana. When knowledge is thus based on the modification of the mind, the objects will definitely be external to you. The knowledge of the world, being viṣayākāra vṛitti, is therefore obtained through the senses. Therefore He also advocates that yad-dṛśyam tat naśyam—that which is perceivable is perishable. I was reminded by my “Twitter Friends” of a wonderful Tamil proverbs that reflect this: விண்டவர் கண்டிலார்….கண்டவர் விண்டிலார்; கண்ணால் காண்பதும் பொய் காதால் கேட்பதும் பொய் தீர விசாரிப்பதே மெய்

Nevertheless we also understood that we need both “Existence” and “Light” for our knowledge of the objects and hence the world.

Light

From the scientific perspective, we know that light is an energy radiation. No single answer to the question “What is light?” satisfies the many contexts in which light is experienced, explored, and exploited. The physicist is interested in the physical properties of light, the artist in an aesthetic appreciation of the visual world. Through the sense of sight, light is a primary tool for perceiving the world and communicating within it. Light from the Sun warms the Earth, drives global weather patterns, and initiates the life-sustaining process of photosynthesis. On the grandest scale, light’s interactions with matter have helped shape the structure of the Universe.

Vedantic Treatise on Light

Imagine a situation where you are just entering a room and the light goes off. Do you need light to identify the objects in the room? Yes, surely. Remember you are an object too. Do you need light to identify yourselves? No. Why?

When we discuss this topic, one important Eka Sloki (Single Sloka) of Adi Śankarā is to be understood. Adi Śankarā answers these two questions by a single sloka. The Sloka is presented as a dialogue between a teacher (Guru) and student (Sishya), in response to a question by the student on realization of self. The Sloka, its Tamil & English Translations are given below:

Guru: How do you see (What is that light/power which helps you see?) Sishya: I see with the help of sunlight

Guru: How do you see in the night? Sishya: I see with the help of a lamp

Guru: Let that be so. How do you see the light? Sishya: With my eyes.

Guru: How do you see when tour eyes are closed ? Sishya: It is with my intellect

Guru: What helps you see (know) that intellect? Sishya: This is me (me as pure consciousness)

Guru: (Indeed) You are that supreme light Sishya: I realize that I am (immediate experience for the disciple)

So, the following facts about the “Light” have to be understood:

1. “Light” is not a part, product or property of the object

2. “Light” is formless

3. “Light” is independent, enlivens the object and makes it sentient.

4. “Light” is beyond the object and is “Sarvaghataha”.

5. “Light” will be there even after the object is destroyed. Once object goes, “Light” is not recognizable as the recognizing medium is gone

Light is Cit, the Chaitanyam

Let us go back to the previous blog where we saw that an object in the ultimate analysis of matter, either through the inward looking Vedantic route or through the outward looking scientific route (as explained in the blogs that covered Sloka 2 on Creation) is nothing but emptiness which takes the shape of vibrations and comes into existence. If this vibration is not known then we will not know that it “is”. So there is also this knowing. To visualise this knowing we add a spatial reference to it. If we further contemplate on this existence of this vibration suspended as it were in the “knowing” spatial field, we learn that this spatial knowing field is also empty of objects. This is the second kind of emptiness: the emptiness of pure consciousness. This emptiness is “cit” चित् (chaitanyam) is pure (independent from body & mind) and is the Jivātma, the Self-awareness त्वम् (Tvam) and at the worldly level is known as visibility (bhaati भाति)

We saw “sat” Existence earlier. We now saw “cit” Light. In either of these two studies, there is a basic question that is not addressed yet and needs to be looked into. That question is “How have existence and light come to be conjoined with all existing things?”.

The answer to this question will come up in the next blog.