It has been a month since I commenced my journey in search of myself by trying to understand Dakshinamurthy Stothram. Someone told me en route, “If you are searching yourselves, then why don’t you look at the mirror ? simple; why do you undertake arduous journeys?” Very valid question. Infact, this is what all of us do daily either in our dressing room or in the bathroom.
Well, that is exactly what I have been doing so long and so foolishly. Every time I see myself in the mirror, I think that I am the smartest guy around, trying to be one of the specially initiated in the field of Vedanta. Hardly did I realise that all I do is nothing but dreaming and I am the one who wanders in the region of the many and variable.
Mirror and its features: Talking about Mirrors, look at this building, the Museum of Contemporary Arts at Cleveland, Ohio, USA.
What an impressive architecture! I can see the whole street, the traffic, the buildings etc in the mirror – in other words, the “दर्पण नगरि Darpana Nagari” (Darpana – Mirror; Nagari – City/Street) as we call in Sanskrit. Let us keep looking at it a bit more and contemplate as to what we see. We could see four distinct features. They are
1. The Mirror is the base and supports (अधिष्टानं adhiṣṭānam) the reflected street. The relationship between the mirror and the reflected street is one of supporter-supported relationship (अधिष्टान आदेय स्म्बन्धः adhiṣṭāna-ādeya-sambandhaḥ).
2. Then the second feature is that the reflected street does not have an existence of its own, even though it is experienced by me. I experience the street, the cars that move, the buildings and everything . But all of them are surreal. They all are borrowed from the mirror. And therefore the reflected street has borrowed existence; whereas the mirror has got its own existence (i.e., whether the reflection is there or not, mirror exists), the reflection cannot exist without the mirror. Therefore, the mirror is having independent existence (सत्यम् sathyam) , whereas reflection is having dependent existence (मित्यम् mithyam).
3. Whatever events that happen in the reflected street, will not affect the mirror. If there is a car accident that is reflected, it does not crack the mirror. If it is a water spill on the road that is reflected, it does not wet the mirror. Therefore mirror is असंगत्त्वम् asaṃgattvam. This “unaffectedness” of the mirror is the third feature of the mirror.
4. Since the reflected objects are having dependent existence (mithya) i.e., having no existence of their own, they are as good as non-existent. This means they cannot be counted along with the mirror; they are uncountable and therefore what is countable is only one; even though there are hundreds of reflected objects, thousand reflected objects; none of them can add up to the mirror. And therefore this non-duality अद्वैयत्वं (advaiyatvam) is the fourth feature.of the mirror.
Here are the pictorial representations of the features of the Mirror.
Never ever in my life so far (until I started studying the Dakshinamurthy Sthothram), did I bother to focus on the philosophical features of a mirror and it is a new learning.
Talking about this new learning, never did I realize too, that these four features are very much applicable to my dreams too. Let us see the “Dreaming” process in this perspective in my next blog which will be a week later.
To be continued……