Dakshinamurthy Sthothram – Sloka 2 – அண்டமும் ஆண்டவனும் – The Universe & the Lord

Dakshinamurthy Sloka No 2

बीजस्याऽन्तरिवाङ्कुरो जगदिदं प्राङ्गनिर्विकल्पं पुनः

मायाकल्पितदेशकालकलना वैचित्र्यचित्रीकृतम्

मायावीव विजृम्भयत्यपि महायोगीव यः स्वेच्छया

तस्मै श्रीगुरुमूर्तये नम इदं श्रीदक्षिणामूर्तये ॥२॥

தமிழ் மொழிபெயர்ப்பு

சிறுவித்தினில் அடங்கும் வருபெருந்தரு ஒப்ப,  இவ்வுலகை – தன்

இச்சையுடன் மந்திரச்சித்தனும் வித்தக ஞானியும் போல் விரித்து – பின்

இலை கிளை கொடி மலர் காய் கனி வித்தென கணக்கிலா வகையுடன்

வெளி நொடி வரையிலா மாயையால் வேறுபட க் காட்டி பின் மறைத்திடும்

ஆதிஅந்தமிலா மோனநிலை ஆசானாம் அருள்மிகு

தக்ஷிணாமூர்த்தி  பொற்பாதம் பணிந்திடுவோம்

Meaning in English:

To Him who, like unto a magician, or even like unto a mighty Yogin, displays by His own will this universe, undifferentiated in the beginning like the plant within the seed, but made afterwards picturesque in all its variety in combination with space and time created by Mâyâ, to Him who is incarnate in the Teacher, to Him in the Effulgent Form Facing the South, to Him (Siva) be this bow!

Background Information

In the first Sloka, we dealt with the nature of the Ultimate Reality/ the Supreme Self/the Brahman/God by analysing two states of the Individual Self/Consciousness viz., dream and awake states. In other words, by analysing the dreaming jīvātma and waking jīvātma we learnt about our jīvātma svarūpam. Therefore, first verse is dealing with an important word “tvam”. And now in the second verse, Śankarācārya wants to deal with the word “tat” – tat padārthaḥ, the meaning of the word: tat, i.e., paramātma or Brahman. We saw in the previous blogs, that in all the śāstrās, it is stated that Brahman is the cause of the universe; using the spider as an example, we saw that Brahman is the intelligent and material cause for the universe. We will see now how he “creates” the universe.

Is it Creation or Manifestation?

Śankarācārya brings forth the philosophy that Creation is not there; everything is in potential form. Brahman is the material and intelligent cause to bring it out as His manifestation. This is the core Vedanta Principle that Śankarācārya brings out by citing two examples which we saw in the two videos of the previous blog; the giant Sequoia tree and PC Sorcar, the magician.

The Tree and the Material Cause:

And where did this big tree come from? From a very small seed. This is the example that Śankarācārya brings out in Sloka 2 – The seed and tree; He says; the tree is already existent in the seed, before its origination; in dormant condition; potential condition. He uses the expression “nirvikalpa rūpeṇa”; in an undifferentiated form, the tree exists. And why do you use the word undifferentiated? Because in the seed, even though the tree exists, you will not be able to see where the flowers are, which are the branches etc.; the branches, thousands of leaves etc. are going to come; they are all there in the seed.

இதையே அவ்வைப் பாட்டி ‘வெற்றிவேர்க்கையில் ’ குறிப்பிடுகிறார்.

“தெள்ளிய ஆலின் சிறுபழத் தொரு விதை

தெண்ணீர்க் கயத்துச் சிறுமீன் சினையினும்

நுண்ணிதே யாயினும் அண்ணல் யானை

அணிதேர் புரவி ஆட்பெரும் படையொடு

மன்னக் கிருக்க நிழலாகும்மே’’

சிறுமீனின் கண்ணைகாட்டிலும் சிறிய முட்டையில் அரசன் தன் நாற்படை பரிவாரங்களுடன் வந்து தங்க நிழல் தரும் பெரிய ஆலமரம் உள்ளது’ என்பது (தெள்ளிய ஆலின் ) தமிழ்ப்பாட்டியின் வாக்கு. இந்தச் சிறிய விதைக்குள் தன்னைப் பிற மரங்களிலிருந்து வேறுபடுத்திக் கொள்ளாமலும் வேர், கிளை கொப்பு விழுதுகள் போன்ற உறுப்புகள் காணப்படாமலும் சத்தியாக ஆலமரம் மறைந்துள்ளது. இதனை வடமொழியில் ‘நிர்விகல்ப ரூபம்’, அவ்வியக்தம் (un manifested, undifferentiated form ) என்பர். அதாவது, காணப்படும் பிரபஞ்சம் தோன்றுவதற்கு முன் அது ‘ஜகத் காரணமாக’ சூக்கும சத்தியாகப் பிரமத்தில் இருந்தது. அதனால் பிரமம் பிரபஞ்சத்திற்கு வித்து. எனவே, இவ்வுலகம் பிரமத்தினால் படைக்கப்பட்டதன்று. பிரபஞ்சம் படைக்கப்பட்ட தன்று. ஏற்கெனவே உள்ளது. ஏற்கெனவே உள்ள சூக்குமப் பிரபஞ்சம் நம்முடைய கண்ணுக்குக் காட்சிப் படவில்லை. எனவே காட்சிப்பட்ட பிரபஞ்சத்தினை இறைவன் படைப்பு எனக் கருதுகிறோம். பிரமமே முதற்காரணம்.

The world was there in potential form, in Brahman, the kāraṇam, material cause. And therefore Śankarācārya says; बीजस्याऽन्तरिवाङ्कुरो जगदिदं प्राङ्गनिर्विकल्पं Bijasya antha nirvikalpaha ankura asthi. Within the seed, ankuraha, the tree is there; nirvikalpaha, in an undifferentiated, unrecognizable form (unmanifest, undifferentiated, potential form); In the same way, the whole universe, existed in potential form; in whom? Brahmani, the world was existing in Brahman in potential form; therefore, Brahman is the seed of the universe. Bhagavan did not create this world; why? because the world was already there; He didn’t. It was already available inside Him in undifferentiated form.

Now let us come to the second line. मायाकल्पितदेशकालकलना वैचित्र्यचित्रीकृतम् – māyā kalpita deśa kāla kalanā vai citri citrikritam. That unmanifest world was made manifest. The undifferentiated world got differentiated. – citrikritam made to manifest, magnified, multiplied or differentiated. Just as from the undifferentiated seed, gradually differentiation comes; this sprout comes; then you can see the branches, the leaves, the twig, flowers, the fruit, they are all differentiation from the past condition where these differences were not there. And therefore, creation can be called a manifestation or a differentiation or a form of multiplication. Thus, citrikritam means it was diversified, magnified; multiplied.

And for this multiplication of one into the manifold world, what is required. Śankarācārya gives in a very technical form and says māya kalptita deśa kāla. Desa and kāla (space and time), are caused by the māya shakthi (veiling and projecting powers) which is in Brahman. Thus, when I look at through time and space, Ekam Brahma is perceived as anekam jagat. Now what is essence of this entire line? Brahman continues to be non-dual; when māyā shakthi is activated, called vikshepa shakthi, then the time and space comes into existence; and they are the goggles for the consciousness. When I look through the time space spectacle, a non-dual Brahman appears, or is modified into the pluralistic universe. And from the line, what is the main point we get. Brahman is the material cause of the universe.

The Magician, the Yogi and the Intelligent Cause:

Now in the third line, Śankarācārya wants to point out, that the Brahman itself is the intelligent cause also, which throws out the universe out of itself. Not only is the material cause, which becomes the universe, He is the intelligent cause also; which throws out the universe out of itself. And what is the example? svapna prapancha, I am the material cause of the dream world, and I myself am the intelligent cause also, who throw out the svapna world, out of myself. That is said here; yahaḥ vrijrimbayati. yahaḥ means the very same Brahman, the paramātma yahaḥ vrijrimbayati api विजृम्भयत्यपि; not only he is the material cause, he is the intelligent cause also. That अर्प api indicates he is creator also. He is the raw material also. vrijrimbayati api; Very same Brahman creates also. And for creating the world out of itself, what are the instruments used by Brahman. Because we require the creator, the raw material, then the instruments also. Carpenter is the creator, wood is the raw material, but those two are not sufficient, he requires the instrument; What are the instruments used by Brahman? Śankarācārya says Brahman is the instrument also. And therefore स्वेच्छया sveccayāḥ. By mere sankalpa, without requiring any instrument, swa icchayāḥ, sva saṃkalpa mātreṇa. And this is also not impossible, because we do the same thing in creating the swapna; I am the creator, I am the raw material, I am the instrument also; and saṃkalpa mātreṇa, effortlessly I throw out this svapna prapanchaḥ; Similarly, Brahman throws out the jagat prapanchaḥ.

And he gives two examples here. Even though svapna example is the ideal example, Śankarācārya does not give that example here, because in the first verse already svapna driṣṭanta he has given and therefore he gives two other examples. What are they? मायावीव māyāvi iva. Like a magician. So, Magician produces many things out of himself; he just waves the hand and you find a hat is there; or there is a dress; or there is a bird; he shows a empty hat, then from that he goes on taking many things; So what is the raw material? Without any raw material, with his own magical power, the magician materialises and we are all magicians in producing the dream world and Brahman is a magician in producing this world. He materialises like the magician. Or महायोगीव mahā yogi iva. Or like a great sidda puruṣaḥ, who can also materializes things. Visvāmitra materialised a world itself called triśanku svargaḥ, and we also read in the books of various sidda puruṣaḥ s, who materialise things. And Śankarācārya gives māyavi iva, mahayogi iva. A siddha puruṣaḥ can also materialise; a magician also can materialise. Thus Brahman is the Intelligent Cause.

Why “Create” at all ?

Adi Śankarāchayra answers one more question, which is often asked; How did this world come into being? Or why did Bhagavan create the world at all? Because he is a jnāni; he does not require anything to be happy. We are ajnānis, unhappy and therefore go on producing things, seeking happiness. But Paramātma need not seek happiness, by creating a world. He must be ātman eva ātmanā tuṣṭhāḥ. He cannot create anything out of desire; then why did bhagavan create the world, if he does not have a desire? This is one question we get often especially when problem comes.

And generally, śāstra gives the answer; the world has to be created, because we have invested in this world; invested in the form of karmas. We have got lot of karmās to be exhausted. Since we have got lot of punya pāpa karmās and the karmās have to be exhausted, and the exhaustion can take place only through experiences, and the experiences require a world.

How did we all get this karmā? Very simple. Because in the previous janma, previous shristhi, we have done lot of good and bad karmās. Some of the karmās got exhausted in the previous sṛśṣṭi; but some reminders were there; for that this sṛśṣṭi. Therefore, how did we get the karmā? Because of the previous sṛśṣṭi. This goes on and on and Adi Śankarācārya answers that question through one single word: bījasyāntati vāṅkuro jagaditaṃ prāṅnarvikalpaṃ punaḥ. That punaḥ, answers the questions. punaḥ means repeatedly, means again and again and again. Adi Shankaracharya puts one punaha; punaha indicates the cyclic nature of the creation;

Thus with two examples and three lines in Sanskrit, Adi Sankaracharya brings out the entire Vedantic Concepts about Brahman, the Creator. Amazing

Prologue for the Sloka 1 – Master Piece

The Master Piece

It is an oft-quoted saying that philosophy begins in wonder. The mystery of the Universe with all its changes strikes the reflective temper of human beings. Through this reflective temper, human beings constantly question their experiences. The Vedic philosophy grew out of a demand for the explanation of actual experiences of an individual.

One of the fundamental laws of Vedanta is “ I am different from whatever I experience”. In general, this whole world that I experience therefore, comes under the Category – “The experienced” or in other words “The object” and I come under the category “The experiencer” or “The subject”.

Now, start the reflective temper by dismissing the object and the subject only remains. In this world I interact with persons and I clearly say that “I am not like this person; I am not like these group of persons; I am not this animal; I am not this; I am not that, I won’t be like that, I am different etc.”….and the list goes on. This way you go on dismissing everything that you experience as an object different from you and finally dismissing the world itself as an object. This is the first level of reflection. The next level is to look at yourselves, since you ruled out the world.

I am not the world that I experience ; but then who am I ? To my limited knowledge, there cannot be any other question other than this simple question which evoked such a vast, deep and wide analysis of the individual experiences by the Saints & Philosophers of Hinduism/Sanatana Dharma. One lifetime to understand the material available may not be adequate. Yet from this ocean of information and knowledge I will venture out and reproduce what is quoted in the basic source book on Vedanta “Tattva Bodha”.

स्थूलसूक्ष्मकारणशरीराद्व्यतिरिक्तः पञ्चकोशातीतः सन् अवस्थात्रयसाक्षी सच्चिदानन्दस्वरूपः सन् यस्तिष्ठति स आत्मा ।

‘I’ (addressed as Atma) am the one who is distinctly different from the gross, subtle and causal bodies; who is beyond the five layers (kośas); who abides as the self-evident witness to the three states of experience (of the nature of existence/awake-awareness/dream-fullness/deep sleep).

Vedanta identifies the features of a human body-mind-intellect complex with three types of bodies, 5 types of sheaths/layers, 5 sense organs 5 action organs , the mind the intellect and the three states of the consciousness (viz, wake, dream and deep sleep). This means that the “Atma (“I”) ” is beyond all these 21 seamlessly integrated features of body-mind-intellect complex.

“I” am not the world; “I” am not the body, “I” am not the mind/intellect. If “I” am different from all these three; then “I” must be a conscious principle, because I am experiencing them.

Thus the entire object or anātmā consists of three factors, the world, the body and the mind; and “I”, the ātmā, the observer consists of the consciousness principle called chaitanyam. This is the fundamental concept that we are trying to grapple with in Vedanta

At this stage I am again reminded of this excellent poem “Master Piece” by “Author Anonymous” which I posted in my blog on June 12, 2020 (Masterpiece – Prabhu’s Ponder (prabhusponder.com)).  It simply moved me – what deep understanding of the subject and what an expression! The author wanted to remain Anonymous and clearly stated that “spirituality decreases when it is attributed to a person. I was but a scribe.”

This master piece is what “I” am and can only be experienced rather than be defined.

Now in the first Sloka, the subject matter is: What is the relationship between I, the consciousness principle, and the entire universe; the inert matter. What is the relationship between I the ātmā, the consciousness principle, and the world, the inert principle called anātmā.

So अत्मअनात्म सम्भन्दः atma-anātma sambhandaḥ “ஆன்மாவும் அண்டமும்” “Jivatma and the Jagat” is the subject matter of the first verse; and Sankaracharya beautifully explains this with the help of two examples of mirror and dream, about which we will see in the coming blogs.

CAUTION 1:

Throughout the blogs, you will see fair mix of words in Sanskrit and Tamil. Wherever possible, I will try to use the transliterated/ words with verbatim letters in English for easy understanding based on my elementary knowledge.

CAUTION 2

As each Sloka brings out the essence of Vedanta, it is necessary that some basic concepts of the Vedanta is discussed first before dwelling into the Sloka. As such there will be introductory blogs which will cover the concepts before taking up the Sloka and its meaning. With my limited understanding I will try and make these conceptual blogs simple through day to day examples. If you find them too elementary, please bear with my ignorance. It will turn out that we may need a minimum of 4-5 blogs to cover each Sloka. Get ready for a long haul.

Dakshinamurthy Sthothram – Dhyana Slokas

Sri. Dakshinamurthy

Sloka 1

मौनव्याख्या प्रकटित परब्रह्मतत्त्वं युवानं
वर्षिष्ठांते वसद् ऋषिगणैः आवृतं ब्रह्मनिष्ठैः ।
आचार्येन्द्रं करकलित चिन्मुद्रमानंदमूर्तिं
स्वात्मारामं मुदितवदनं दक्षिणामूर्तिमीडे ॥१॥

Mauna-Vyaakhyaa Prakattita Para-Brahma-Tattvam Yuvaanam
Varssisstthaam-Te Vasad Rssigannaih Aavrtam Brahma-Nisstthaih |
Aacaarye[a-I]ndram Kara-Kalita Cin-Mudram-Aananda-Muurtim
Sva-[A]ātmaaraamam Mudita-Vadanam Dakssinnaamuurti-Miidde||1||

பரம்பொருளின் தத்துவ உரை விதிதம் ஆழ்மௌனம்

வித்தக முதிர்ஞானியர் இடையமர் இளமை வடிவம்

ஆசானுக்கு ஆசானாம்  ஆதியும் முதலும்

ஞான முத்திரை காட்டும் கரமுடை பேரின்ப வடிவம்

அகமகிழும் புன்னகை நிறை அழகு வதனம்

பணிவோம் தக்ஷிணாமூர்த்தி  பொற்பாதம்

Salutations to Dakṣiṇāmurty whose exposition through profound silence is awakening the knowledge of the Supreme Brahman in the hearts of His disciples; who is Himself youthful but is sitting surrounded by old and great sages who are devoted to Brahman. The hands of the Supreme Spiritual Teacher form the Cin-Mudra. His appearance is still and blissful and who rejoices in His own Self which is reflected on his blissful face

Sloka 2

वटविटपिसमीपेभूमिभागे निषण्णं
सकलमुनिजनानां ज्ञानदातारमारात् ।
त्रिभुवनगुरुमीशं दक्षिणामूर्तिदेवं
जननमरणदुःखच्छेद दक्षं नमामि ॥२॥

Vatta-Vittapi-Samiipe-Bhuumi-Bhaage Nissannnnam

Sakala-Muni-Janaanaam Jnyaana-Daataaram-Aaraat |

Tri-Bhuvana-Gurum-Iisham Dakssinnaamuurti-Devam

Janana-Maranna-Duhkhac-Cheda Dakssam Namaami ||2||

கிளைமிகு ஆலத்தரு அருகில் நிலத்தலம் அமர்

வித்தக முனியோரின் ஞானமருள் போதகன்

மூவுலக ஆசான் ஜனன மரண துக்கம் அறு வல்லுநன்

தக்ஷிணாமூர்த்தி பொற்பாதம் பணிந்திடுவோம்

Sitting on the ground near the banyan tree (Vata) were all Munis (Sages), who were (sitting) near to the bestower of knowledge. They were (sitting) near to the Guru of the three worlds, the Lord Himself, personified as Dakshinamurthy Deva; near to the one, expert in severing the sorrows resulting from the cycles of births and deaths; I bow to that Dakshinamurthy.

Sloka 3

चित्रं वटतरोर्मूले वृद्धाः शिष्या गुरुर्युवा ।

गुरोस्तु मौनं व्याख्यानं शिष्यास्तुच्छिन्नसंशयाः ॥३॥

Citram Vatta-Taror-Muule Vrddhaah Shissyaa Gurur-Yuvaa |

Guros-Tu Maunam Vyaakhyaanam Shissyaas-Tuc-Chinna-Samshayaah ||3||

வேரூன்றிய ஆலத்தரு அடியில்

வயதுமுதிர் ஞானிய சீடர்தம் நடுவே

இளமை நிறை ஆசான் மோன வழியே

சீடர்தம் ஐயம் தீர்க்கும் சித்தாந்த விதிதம்

விந்தைமிகு காட்சி அன்றோ இது

It is indeed a strange picture to behold; At the root (i.e. base) of a banyan tree (Vata) are seated old disciples (i.e. aged disciples) in front of an young Guru, The Guru is silent, and silence is His exposition (of the highest knowledge); and that (silence) is severing the doubts (automatically) from the minds of the disciples.

Sloka 4

निधये सर्वविद्यानां भिषजे भवरोगिणाम् ।

गुरवे सर्वलोकानां दक्षिणामूर्तये नमः ॥४॥

Nidhaye Sarva-Vidyaanaam Bhissaje Bhava-Roginnaam |

Gurave Sarva-Lokaanaam Dakssinnaamuurtaye Namah ||4||

சகல கல்விக் களஞ்சியமாய்

பிறவிப் பிணி தீர் மருந்தாய்

சகல உலக ஆசானாய் நிறை

தக்ஷிணாமூர்த்தி பொற்பாதம் பணிந்திடுவோம்

(Salutations to Sri Dakshinamurthy) who is a receptacle to all Knowledge, who is a Medicine to all the diseases of Worldly bondage, who is a Guru to all the Worlds; Salutations to Sri Dakshinamurthy

Sloka 5

ॐ नमः प्रणवार्थाय शुद्धज्ञानैकमूर्तये ।

निर्मलाय प्रशान्ताय दक्षिणामूर्तये नमः ॥५॥

Om Namah Prannava-Arthaaya Shuddha-Jnyaanai[a-E]ka-Muurtaye |

Nirmalaaya Prashaantaaya Dakssinnaamuurtaye Namah ||5||

ஓங்காரப் பிரணவ மந்திரத்தின் உட்பொருளாய்

மாசிலா தூய ஒருமை நல்லறிவின் உள்வடிவாய்

கரையிலா சுத்த அமைதிநிறை ஆண்டவனாம்

தக்ஷிணாமூர்த்தி பொற்பாதம் பணிந்திடுவோம்

Salutations to the embodiment of Pranava (Om), Salutations to the personification of the pure, non-dual knowledge, Salutations to the pure and stainless, and Salutations to the tranquil; Salutations to Sri Dakshinamurthy.

Sloka 6

चिद्घनाय महेशाय वटमूलनिवासिने ।

सच्चिदानन्दरूपाय दक्षिणामूर्तये नमः ॥६॥

Cid-Ghanaaya Mahe[aa-Ii]shaaya Vatta-Muula-Nivaasine |

Sac-Cid-Aananda-Ruupaaya Dakssinnaamuurtaye Namah ||6||

ஆத்மாவின் திடவடிவான இறைக்கு இறையோனை

ஆலத்தருவேரடி அமர்ந்த ஆதிபோதகனை

பேரின்பப் பரம்பொருளின் வடிவ

தக்ஷிணாமூர்த்தி பொற்பாதம் பணிந்திடுவோம்.

(Salutations to Sri Dakshinamurthy) Salutations to the one who is (as if) Consciousness solidified, Salutations to the Mahesha (the Great God), Salutations to the one who dwell at the root (i.e. base) of the banyan tree (Vata), Salutations to the embodiment of Sacchidananda (Existence, Consciousness, Bliss); Salutations to Sri Dakshinamurthy.

Sloka 7

ईश्वरो गुरुरात्मेति मूर्तिभेदविभागिने ।

व्योमवद् व्याप्तदेहाय दक्षिणामूर्तये नमः ॥७॥

Iishvaro Gurur-Aatme[a-I]ti Muurti-Bheda-Vibhaagine |

Vyoma-Vad Vyaapta-Dehaaya Dakssinnaamuurtaye Namah ||7||

ஆத்மா ஆசான் ஆண்டவன் எனும் மூவடிவாய்

ஆகாயமென நீக்கமற பரவி நிறைந்திடும்

தக்ஷிணாமூர்த்தி பொற்பாதம் பணிந்திடுவோம்

“Ishwara – Guru – Atman”; (underlying) these different forms of (apparent) separation like a sky (i.e. spiritual sky or Chidakasha) who pervades, Salutations to that Dakshinamurthy.

Plan for the month of May 2021

Starting from April 30, 2021 we will try and understand the first Sloka of Dakshinamurthy Stothram through 5 blogs, each spaced at one week from the other.

Infinity – முழுமை – पूर्णम्

In Tamil, we use the word கடவுள் (kadavul) to indicate God. நம்மைக் கடந்தும் (kada) நமக்கு உள் (ul) இருப்பதுவே கடவுள் (Meaning that the one which is away from us and yet inside us is God). A very simple word with very deep meaning. One can keep contemplating on this word alone. Deeper introspection will drive us to the concept of Infinity. Talking about infinity from a philosophical perspective will take us directly to this very famous Sloka (Hymn). This śloka is from the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upanishad and forms the mangalācarana mantra (Shanthi Sloka) for the Īśāvāsya Upanishad.

Excerpts from various commentaries on this sloka is summarised as understood by me in https://soundar53.substack.com/p/infinity

The Fairy “I” can’t fathom – She, the Big M

“It is an oft-quoted saying that philosophy begins in wonder. The mystery of the world with all its changes strikes the reflective temper. The Vedic philosophy grew out of a demand for the explanation of actual experience. Philosophy bade men seek beneath all change, which is the law of life, unity and persistency. All things are passing; what remains? Anything or nothing? The Vedic age raised the problem of philosophy and offered a solution. It was then that attempts to reflect upon the world of experience were made for the first time. When we reflect upon the world of experience, the word illusion (“Maya”) comes to the foreground.

The doctrine of Maya is consideredby many thinkers,to be an integral part of the Vedanta philosophy. The Vedanta system is supposed to be an acosmic pantheism, holding that the Absolute called Brahman alone is real and the finite manifestations are illusory. There is one absolute undifferentiated reality, the nature of which is constitutedby knowledge. The entire empirical world, with its distinction of finite minds and the objects of their thought,is an illusion. Subjects and objects are like the fleeting images which encompass the dreaming soul and melt away into nothingness at the momentof waking.

The term Maya signifies the illusory character of the finite world.” ( Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, Eminent Indian Philosopher)

Wait a minute; does this statement strike a chord in us – in today’s COVID-19 environment?

It looks like it happened “just recently”. A year and a quarter has passed since the virus silently spread across the world. Millions of lives lost. Inter and intra relationships & transactions among and within individuals and society have been completely turned around leaving one to wonder whether it is all a dream and whether we all are waking up to a new state after a deep sleep. Yes, all the three basic states of our Consciousness (awake, dream and deep sleep) have come to play in this crucial time in each one of us thanks to Maya (She, The Big M,I call it).

Well, to me it appears like that; so I woke up after my second vaccination, with a new found determination to explore Maya and her origin, the Vedanta. True to its nature, the Big M treated me like a kid (which I am) and presented me with an exclusive giant Mall with infinite toy stores. No wonder I am lost. Not to disappoint me, the Big M presented me with three books titled Tattva Bodha, Isavasya Upanishad and Dakshinamurthy Stothram.

The last 2 weeks have been fairly severe in terms of the weather; temperatures dropping to single digits (deg F) and snow storms lashing cities forcing kids like me to seek the comfort of our cozy home – that means the Big M has given me an opportunity to deep dive into the books that I got from Her. Each Sloka (Verse) and each word in the three books, is sending me into “space walks” in search of the Self . Holding each Sloka as my life line, I venture into the space of contemplation. Whenever I return back to my home base, I stare through the window at the vast white carpet of snow all around and tried to relate my space walk with the “ground reality”.

In one such “stare” in the early morning after I went on my 18th space walk (corresponding to the 18th Sloka of the Isavasya Upanishad) , the day after the snow storm I did have a direct response from the principal character of that Sloka. Here is that Sloka, its meaning in English and Tamil and the response of the character .

A word of caution here – Millions of pages have been written over centuries by “Subject” – “Matter” – Specialists to provide commentaries for the Slokas in these books. Summing them up into few lines is absolutely immature and childish; yet as a child I have started by scribblings on Vedanta. Pardon me for that.

But Children have the right to enquire and ask questions. The child I am, I am asking questions to myself with the fond hope that someday I will find answers.

The Sloka

अग्ने नय सुपथा राये अस्मान्विश्वानि देव वयुनानि विद्वान् ।

युयोध्यस्मज्जुहुराणमेनो भूयिष्ठां ते नम उक्तिं विधेम ॥ १८ ॥

English Transliteration

agne naya supathā rāye asmānviśvāni deva vayunāni vidvān |

yuyodhyasmajjuhurāṇameno bhūyiṣṭhāṃ te nama uktiṃ vidhema || 18 ||

Meaning in Tamil

அழல் தெய்வமே ! புரிவினை யாவுமறிந்திட்டுயாம்

நல்வினைப் பயனை துய்த்திட நல்வழியே நடத்திடு

உள் உறை தீவினை வஞ்சம்தனை விடுத்திடு

அளித்திட்டேன் பக்தியுடன் எம் வணங்குதலை

Meaning in English

O god of fire, lead us by the good path

To eternal joy. You know all our deeds.

Deliver us from evil, we who bow

And pray again and again.

(From The Upanishads by Eknath Easwaran)

The response

Music Courtesy: Jagruthi an awakening by Music India. (No commercial interests for me).

Carnatic Musing 3 – Universal God – Sadasiva Brahmendra – Raga Madhuvanthi

Audio Link to the Song:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/329rw6g0f2y63ud/Sarvam%20Brahma%20mayam%20%20By%20sadavsiva%20brambendraaih%20%20Brothers1-BjztyfYsJbM.mp3?dl=0

Sanskrit Verses of the Composition

Pallavi

सर्वं ब्रह्ममयं रे रे

चरणं १

किं वचनीयं किमवचनीयं

किं रसनीयं किमरसनीयम् ……सर्वं

चरणं २

किं पठनीयं किमपठनीयं

किं भजनीयं किमभजनीयम् …..सर्वं

चरणं ३

किं बोद्धव्यं किमबोद्धव्यं

किं भोक्तव्यं किमभोक्तव्यम् (सर्वं..)

चरणं ४

सर्वत्र सदा हंस ध्यानं

कर्तव्यं भो मुक्ति-निदानम् (सर्वं..)

English Transliteration

pallavi

sarvam brahmamayam rE rE

CaraNam 1

kim vacanIyam kima vacanIyam

kim racanIyam kima racanIyam …..sarvam

caraNam 2

kim paThanIyam kima paThanIyam

kim bhajanIyam kima bhajanIyam …….sarvam

CaraNam 3

kim bOddhavyam kima bOddhavyam

kim bhOktavyam kima bhOktavyam …….sarvam

CaraNam 4

sarvatra sadA hamsa dhyAnam

kArtavyam bhO mukti nidAnam

Meaning of the Sanskrit words

Pallavi

सर्वं – everything/all

ब्रह् – The Absolute (God)

ममयं – belongs/consists

CaraNam

किं – what

वचनीयं – spoken

अवचनीयं – unspoken

रसनीयं – tasty/palatable

अरसनीयं – unpalatable

पठनीयं – fit to study/learn

अपठनीयं – unfit to study/learn

भजनीयं – to be revered/prayed

अभजनीयं – not to pray/sing

बोद्धव्यं – to be taught

अबोद्धव्यं – not to be taught

भोक्तव्यं – to be possessed/enjoyed

अभोक्तव्यं – not to be possessed/enjoyed

सर्वत्र – everywhere

सदा – continually

हंस – soul/spirit/god

ध्यानं – meditate

कर्तव्यं – duty

भो – that only

मुक्ति- salvation

निदानम् – primary cause

Meaning in Tamil

பல்லவி

அனைத்தும் ஆண்டவன் அனைத்திலும் ஆண்டவன்

சரணம் 1

சொல்லும் சொல்லாத சொல்லும்

உகந்ததும் ஒப்பாததும்….அனைத்தும்

சரணம் 2

கற்பதும் கல்லாததும்

மதிப்பதும் மதியாததும்…….அனைத்தும்

சரணம் 3

கற்பிப்பதும் புகட்டாதனவும்

அனுபவிப்பதும் அடையாதனவும் ……அனைத்தும்

சரணம் 4

எங்கும் எப்பொழுதும் இறைதுதி பணி ஒன்றே

பேரின்பவீடு அடைய மூலகாரணமன்றோ ……அனைத்தும்

Masterpiece

Last Friday, the last of six verses of Nirvana Shatakam (Atma Shatakam) was posted along with the Tamil Translation thereof. This Shatakam addresses the very complicated inquiry of “Who am I?”. Though the answers provided by Adi Sankara appears very simple from an over all reading perspective, the subject itself is the essence of the Advaita philosophy and I can vouch for myself that my understanding is not even at the “skimming” level in this field. My attempt however provides me a reminder that what was attempted was just a drop of water in an ocean. This was also reinforced by the quality of comments that I received from my friends and relatives. One of them was in the form of a poetry rightly titled “Master Piece”. It simply moved me – what deep understanding of the subject and what an expression! The author wanted to remain Anonymous and clearly stated that “spirituality decreases when it is attributed to a person. I was but a scribe.” Here is that Masterpiece

Master Piece

And so I chiseled

Stone by stone

For there was to be none

Better

Than this

For He had given me the skill par none

They had borne support as they must

And All the world had but come together

To make this dream come alive

The sculpture that would reveal it all

That masterpiece before we fall

The true identity that we all search

The salvation I was looking for

And as I painstakingly

chipped each piece away

True hue of its, I want to bare

Art of mine I trust

Though in me, I felt rust

And as it revealed itself

The masterpiece I see! All its glory!

In shock, I recognize

The masterpiece!

The masterpiece…

Its nothing but me! my story!

For while in search of

Our destiny

We fail to see

Lost our sight

For such is our plight

This masterpiece is the star

That carves the stone beyond par

For however tall the sculpture stands

Shows it not

But What a masterpiece

The sculptor was!

NIRVANA SHATAKAM (ATMA SHATAKAM) Verse 1

Sanskrit Verse

मनोबुद्ध्यहङ्कार चित्तानि नाहं

श्रोत्रजिह्वे घ्राणनेत्रे

व्योम भूमिर्न तेजो वायुः

चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ॥१॥

English Transliteration:

Mano-Buddhy-Ahangkaara Cittaani Naaham

Na Ca Shrotra-Jihve Na Ca Ghraanna-Netre |

Na Ca Vyoma Bhuumir-Na Tejo Na Vaayuh

Cid-Aananda-Ruupah Shivo[a-A]ham Shivo[a-A]ham ||1||

Meaning of the Sanskrit Words:

मनोबुद्ध्यहङ्कार (Mano-Buddhi-Ahangkaara): Mind, Intelligence or Ego

मन (Mana) = Mind மனம்

बुद्धि (Buddhi) = Intelligence அறிவு

अहंकार (Ahamkaara) = Ego அகந்தை

चित्तानि (Cittaani): memory/intent/The Mind stuff

चित्त (Citta) = memory/intent/Mind stuff

नाहं (Naaham): Not I

न (Na) = Not

अहम् (Aham) = I

न (Na): Not

च (Ca): Also

श्रोत्रजिह्वे (Shrotra-Jihve): Organ of Hearing [Ears] or the Organ of Taste [Tongue]

श्रोत्र (Shrotra) = The organ of Hearing செவி

जिह्व (Jihva) = The Tongue, the organ of Taste நா

घ्राणनेत्रे (Ghraanna-Netre): Organ of Smelling [Nose] or the Organ of Seeing [Eyes]

घ्राण (Ghraanna) = The Nose, the organ of Smelling

नेत्र (Netra) = Eyes, the organ of Seeing

व्योम (Vyoma): Sky

भूमिर्न (Bhuumih-Na): Not the Earth

भूमि (Bhuumi) = Earth

न (Na) = Not

तेजो (Tejo): Energy signifying Fire

तेजस् (Tejas) = Energy signifying Fire

वायुः (Vaayuh): Air

चिदानन्दरूपः (Cid-Aananda-Ruupah): Nature of Blissful Consciousness

चित् (Cit) = Consciousness

आनन्द (Aananda) = Bliss

रूप (Ruupa) = Nature

शिवोऽहम् (Shiva-Aham): I am Shiva, the Blissful Consciousness

शिव (Shiva) = signifying Consciouness

अहम् (Aham) = I

Meaning of the Verse

1.1: Neither am I the Mind, nor the Intelligence or Ego,

1.2: Neither am I the organs of Hearing (Ears), nor that of Tasting (Tongue), Smelling (Nose) or Seeing (Eyes),

1.3: Neither am I the Sky, nor the Earth, Neither the Fire nor the Air,

1.4: I am the Ever Pure Blissful Consciousness; I am Shiva, I am Shiva, The Ever Pure Blissful Consciousness.

Notes: Mind (manah), intellect (buddhih), ego (ahamkara), and memory (chittani) together are referred to by the technical term antah karana or internal instrument. Ear, tongue, nose, eyes, and skin together are the five jnana indriyas. Space, earth, fire, air, and water are the five elements (pancha bhutas).

Meaning in Tamil

மனம் யானில்லை மதி யானில்லை

ஆணவம் யானில்லை செவியிரண்டும் யானில்லை

நாவு யானில்லை நுகர்நாசிகள் நானில்லை

விழியிரண்டும் யானில்லை விண்வெளியும் யானில்லை

இப்புவியும் யானில்லை அழலொளியும் யானில்லை

வீசும் காற்றும் யானில்லை உள்ளிரு நீரும் யானில்லை

உள்உணர்வின் பேரின்ப வடிவான சிவமே யான் சிவமே யான்

WHO AM I ?

Remember the two vital questions which I missed while I was “role playing” during the Corana Virus! Who am “I”? What do I mean when I use the word “Happy”?

There are numerous ways by which one can explain “happiness” – the state of being happy. I was looking for an apt definition for happiness. Pop! Came the answer from Twitter. Here is the link

Here is my interpretation. Modern psychology brings out the science behind “happiness”. As an “experiencer”, I look at “being happy” in a different perspective. When I am in deep sleep without any application whatsoever of my mind and sense organs, I am in a state unaffected by anything – “It is a Bliss” – indicating how happy I am when I am sleeping without any miseries. That is what I mean by the word “happy”. That kind of happiness is what I want in every second of my life. Am I the only one desiring like that? The lady there in Anand Mahindra’s tweet brings out exactly what is happiness. It depends on oneself (attitude of myself decides what is happiness). So who is myself or who am I?

This question however is a complex one. The self inquiry in the question has one challenge. Am I splitting myself as inner and outer Self? Dr S Radhakrishnan, a great philosopher and the former President of India, says “To divide human being into outer desire and inner quality is to violate the integrity of human life. The two orders of Reality – the transcendental the empirical are closely related”. If I agree with this argument, then, who am I ?

I don’t have an answer ready made. The real answer cannot be provided either by a theory or by dialectic. These alone, as in themselves and without reference to personal experience cannot carry conviction. But I am still in the process of experiencing the answer (otherwise called as my life) and won’t be able to answer till my experiences (life) end.

Luckily, the experiences elucidated by legendary philosophers and thinkers are available for me. Their teachings are presented either as metaphysics or ethics. In the traditional Hindu system this is called “Brahmavidya” and “Yogashastra”. The universally acclaimed classic Indian treatise “Bhagwad Gita” is a combination of both – the science of Reality and the art of Union with Reality.

In India, there are two outstanding treatises, considered equivalent to The Divine Response available for the vital question “Who am I?”. The answer to my question was provided as early as in 8th Century by Adi Shankaracharya. He brought out the “Brahmavidya” to the question “Who am I?” through a hymn in Sanskrit comprising six verses – “Atma Shatakam or Nirvana Shatakam”. The word shatakam means six and the word nirvana means freedom or liberation. It is thus a hymn of six verses on liberation, each of which is like a jewel in the garland of Vedanta. It is also called as atma shatakam or six verses on the nature of the Self. The first three lines in each of the first five verses negate all that is not “I”(Atman), while the last line in each verse strongly affirms what “I”(Atman) is.

In the year 1902, in a town called Thiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, Bhagwan Shri Ramana Maharishi provided answers to one Sri M. Sivaprakasam Pillai, a graduate in Philosophy, who was at the time employed in the Revenue Department of the South Arcot Collectorate. This was published in 1923. The teachings of Bhagwan Shri Ramana Maharishi is published by SriRamanasramam in Thiruvannamalai as “Who am I”.

My next series of blogs will focus on Adi Shankaracharya’s Nirvana Shatakam/Atma Shatakam.