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.

Dakshinamurthy Sthothram- Sloka 3 – Part 1 – Existence – तत् – A Vedantic perspective

This IS a Table

Preamble

Look at the image above.

1. What is that ? That is a table. That table exists in that room.

2. How do we know that ? We know because we EXPERIENCE the table. Please note that a non existent table cannot be experienced by us. So the “IS” statement about the table is endowed with Existence which is proved by our experience.

3. How do we experience the table? By seeing.

4. How do we see ? We see through our eyes.

5. What happens when you see? Here are two possible explanations:

1. There exists a table and there is light available for us to see the table. The light is the manifest and the table is the manifesting medium for the light. Note that when the manifest, the light is removed, the table does not appear to exist. When we remove the table, the surviving light is not re-cognised, not because of its absence, but because of the lack of a manifesting medium. So, for an object to manifest, we need two basic inputs. The existence and light. when light rays fall on retina, light rays are carried via optical fibres and the image is projected on cerebral cortex. An inverted image is formed; this can be termed as sensation. Brain then tries to understand the image with the information it already has and tries to interpret the image by giving a meaningful suggestion. Here the suggestion given is ‘this is a table’. So, a sensation and a meaningful suggestion (together called as perception) defines that object called Table. This is one perspective.

2. Our shāshtra-s explain this in a slightly different way. Our shāshtras say, that mind travels through senses up to the object, touches it, feels it and then gives meaningful suggestion. The explanation is based on mental level.With this in mind, when mind senses anything via five senses, it immediately tries to find a meaningful explanation and tries to arrive at conclusion. When the object is not clearly perceived or seen, mind tries to correlate it with the nearest object that is stored in mind. Mind keeps imagining until it reaches an acceptable conclusion. It superimposes the nearest image on the unclear object. This is the second perspective.

Whichever perspective is followed, one thing is very clear and common to both viz., we need light and an existence to categorically say that an object exists.

Let us understand Existence first

Features of Existence

Existence is a mystery for philosophers; And vedāntaḥ has got a unique perception regarding the nature of existence.

Adi Sankara makes it clear that Existence of a sentient object (table in our example, a pot, a rope or the World) is nijaanthargatham. Remember the first Sloka (Viswam Darpana …). It has its being only in this atman alone. So when you see an object, the object consciousness is atma. An object (pot, chair, world etc) cannot reveal itself to me unless the object consciousness is present. So when I say table , it means the table consciousness is. This ISness is the satta, the sat Atma. The true Atma. This “IS” is different from the normal “is” which we always associate with time. When we say an object exists, the existence in our buddhi is in respect of time. Whereas in the case of ISness, the Consciousness IS (consciousness Existence) is fixed and objects are the variables (pot, chair, world etc). These variables does not exist in the absence of my consciousness Existence.

This consciousness Existence is presented by vedāntaḥ with features, which are exactly like the description of consciousness. Let us see them now:

1. An object exists because I experience its Existence. Hence Existence is not a part, a product or property of the world of objects. When I say the table is, the “IS”ness is not the property of the table. IS not part of the table. It is not even a product of the table. But it is something experienced by me; because I say it IS the table.

2. Existence is an independent reality. Existence pervades and makes every object existent.

3. Existence is not limited by the boundaries of the object. When you say table IS, vedāntaḥ says ISness is not only in the table, it extends beyond the table. It is all pervading sarvagatam; this is the third.

4. Existence exists even after the destruction of the objects which it enlivens; Which means what? ISness will continue to exist, even after the Table is destroyed. Table goes. ISness of the Table does not go. Existence is eternal nityam.

Existence is Sat ; Existence is Tat

Therefore, “IS”ness is not a property of any one particular object; all objects share this in common. It has no objective definable qualities. This is the first kind of emptiness as we meditate on isness. This emptiness takes the shape of vibrations and comes as “existence” within the time and space domain. Contemporary physics confirms this if you look into the nature of matter i.e., when we explore matter right upto sub atomic particles and below, right to the end (remember the introduction to the second Sloka where we started with the God Particle experiment).

Now the question is: how can I appreciate the pure existence and consciousness without association with any object or body ? I am able to appreciate them along with object and body. I am able to appreciate existence with object; I am able to appreciate
consciousness with body. Once the object is removed, and the body is removed; pure formless existence consciousness survives, the sāstras say. How can I appreciate that pure existence consciousness?

The sāstra says: you will never be able to appreciate the existence-consciousness. Once you remove the world and body, you will never be able to appreciate, because your appreciation is invariably along with an object or body. Pure thing; you can never appreciate; You know what is the reason; the Upanisad says, it is because you yourselves are that pure existence-consciousness, it being the very subject itself, it is never available for objectification.

In vedantic parlance this is called “sat” – the self Existence feature of Paramatma (Brahman) or तत् (Tat) and at the worldy level is known as “asti” अस्ति – Existence.

This sustaining factor of cognition, the Satta, the ISness, that satta is responsible for everything that exists in space and time. Therefore the senses and the cognition and the objects of cognition all of them have their being in Consciousness which is self existent. Why is it self existent? Consciousness is self revealing and therefore self evident and what is self evident means self existent; means that it IS. Consciousness is self revealing or the revealer. Like sun is the revealer for objects. It does not do any action to reveal. Its by nature a revealer. It reamins revealing all the time.

This leads us to the second vital link – the revealing aspect – The light.

In a lighter vein “We will not take the Light lightly”. We will throw more light on this “Light” in our next blog.

Dakshinamurthy Sthothram- Sloka 3 – Prologue

Alan Wilson Watts (1915-1973)

Alan Wilson Watts, British Born American writer and speaker is considered as the foremost interpreter of Eastern disciplines for the contemporary West. He jovially calls a philosopher as “a sort of an intellectual yokel, who gawks at things that sensible people take for granted”.

“What is he talking about ? Us ! taking things for granted! He must be crazy” we must be wondering. No! Watts has not gone nuts. Let us see what Watts says.

“Philosophy starts with wonder, Aristotle said. During the trip between the maternity ward to the crematorium called otherwise as life, without awe/wonder, we take several things for granted and live our life as a routine. For example let us take the word “Existence”. Existence of an object, existence of a number, existence of the world, existence of life in the world etc. Existence is routinely taken for granted.

On the other hand if we think about it for a minute we will be absolutely amazed to discover ourself on the surface of a tiny rock-ball, rotating around a spherical fire in a tiny galaxy in an ever expanding galaxies – a very odd situation and the more we look at things, we cannot get rid of the feeling that existence is quite weird and it is very very strange.

But the so called insignificant little creature “We the humans” have inside our skulls, a neurological contraption that is able to center itself in the midst of this incredible expanse of galaxies and start measuring the whole thing. That is quite extraordinary. Isn’t it?

Furthermore, let us realise that for a world where there are no eyes, there is no light: in a world where there are no soft skin, there are no roughs and in a world where there are no muscles, there is nothing called heavy. It is all relational. Existence is relationship and we are smack in the middle of it”.

When we talk of Relationship what is that we are speaking about? Relationship between whom and whom ? Relationship on what basis ? This is what we will learn in Dakshinamurthy Sthothram Sloka 3 onwards.

Adi Sankara after revealing about the “Sathya” in the first Sloka and the “Creator” in the next Sloka, introduces gradually the “Jiva” by discussing the “Existence and the light” that the Jiva/SELF experience every moment first. This will be the focus of this Sloka.

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

Dakshinamurthy Stothram – Sloka 2 – Introduction – Part 3 – The Giant Tree, the Magician and a Tamil film song

From the last blog after watching the videos about spider, we understood that God is The Creator; but ended up with a doubt – how does God create the world? What materials does He use? How does He present his creation? Before answering these questions we must have a look at two more videos and hear a Tamil Film Song. Curious ? Here we go!

First let us see a video titled “Sequoia in a Snowstorm” from the National Geographic channel.

Now let us come to the core issues on this video.

From where did this gigantic Sequoia tree come from ? Well, it came from this simple looking seed

Sequoia Tree Seed

How is it possible for such a gigantic tree to hide inside a small seed? Tons of wood, millions of leaves, huge number of branches etc. No way! Then how ? Watch another video (a bit long)

Now let us see a magic show in 1957 by the legendary Indian Magician PC Sorcar.

What did PC Sorcar do in the magic show? Didn’t he keep creating animals after animals from that flat screen? Didn’t he cut that girl into two and bring her back as one living entity? Is it a creation or an illusion?

These two videos are real life happenings – aren’t they?

Now let us listen to a Song penned by the legendary Tamil Poet Kannadasan in the film “Valar Pirai”.

Audio Link

https://www.dropbox.com/s/9ivoxwfv0y2u6gl/Poojiyathukkulle-b8WQV6YmI5A.mp3?dl=0

Here is the lyrics in Tamil

பூஜ்ஜியத்துக்குள்ளே ஓரு ராஜ்ஜியத்தை ஆண்டு கொண்டு

புரியாமலே இருப்பான் ஒருவன் – அவனை

புரிந்து கொண்டால் அவன் தான் இறைவன்

தென்னை இளநீருக்குள்ளே தேங்கியுள்ள ஓட்டுக்குள்ளே

தேங்காயைப் பொல் இருப்பான் ஒருவன் – அவனை

தெரிந்து கொண்டால் அவன் தான் இறைவன்

முற்றும் கசந்ததென்று பற்றறுத்து வந்தவர்க்கு

சுற்றமென நின்றிருப்பான் ஒருவன் – அவனை

தொடர்ந்து சென்றால் அவன் தான் இறைவன்

கோழிக்குள் முட்டை வைத்து முட்டைக்குள் கோழி வைத்து

வாழைக்கும் கன்று வைத்தான் ஒருவன் – அந்த

ஏழையின் பெயர் உலகில் இறைவன்

Meaning – The guy who rules the Infinite Universe through emptiness, the guy who resides as a kernel inside a tough shell of a coconut from the coconut tree, the guy who becomes a relative of monks who abdicate everything in life, the guy who keeps a chicken in an egg and an egg in side a chicken and the guy who keeps the sapling inside the trunk of a banana tree – if you can understand and follow that guy, then that guy is the God.

Confused completely further ! How does He do it ? It is time that we should get some answers to our doubt. Let us straight away get into Dakshinamurthy Sthothram – Sloka 2 in the next blog where we will get our doubts cleared by Adi Sankaracharya.

Hit the Bed & grab “The Comforter”

“OMG ! What a hectic day ! I need to relax !

This is how most of us feel as we hit the bed at night after a long working day.

There is a very nice way to relax immediately.

Play this song. Close your eyes. Look at no one else except yourselves and recollect the meaning of this verse.

Video Link

In this Verse, if you desire, substitute Mahadeva/Siva with the God of your choice. If you don’t believe in God, substitute it with whatever rationale your “SELF” wants. The core is to contemplate and own the responsibility for your actions or otherwise.

You, for sure will chill out immediately and off you sleep peacefully ! I do it everyday.

Remember- There are no rights and wrongs; there are only consequences and there is only one TRUTH. Crisis of Contrition in us is the path for progress.

Dakshinamurthy Sthothram – Sloka 2 – Introduction – Part 2 – The Spider & The Creator

Mundaka Upanishad 1.1.7

We saw in the previous blog that Brahman/God, the one “which is invisible, inconceivable, without lineage, without any classifications (Varṇa), without eyes and ears, without hands and feet, and that which is eternal, all-pervasive, omnipresent, extremely subtle and undecaying” is the source of all beings. We also saw that we need an intelligent cause and a material cause for a creation. Now, we have a logical question that may arise in one’s mind to answer “How can this universe and physical beings come out from such an entity that is beyond physical attributes”?

In the two videos we saw how the spider creates a web. The Spider in-fact is a great teacher and a living example of the creation process adopted by God/Brahman/The Ultimate Reality. What does the spider teach about? It teaches about īśvaraḥ.

Spider is the intelligent cause behind the web; and most interestingly, spider never goes after any raw material; the raw material is found within itself. spider is nimittam and upādānam.

यथोर्णनाभिः सृजते गृह्णते च यथा पृथिव्यामोषधयः संभवन्ति |

यथा सतः पुरुषात् केशलोमानि तथाक्षरात्संभवतीह विश्वम् || 1.1.7 ||

yathā- as, just like; ūrṇanābhi- spider; sṛjate- emits;

gṛhṇate- take back; ca- and; pṛthivyām- on the earth;

oṣadhayaḥ- herbs; saṃbhavanti- spring up;

sataḥ puruṣāt – from living person; keśalomāni- hairs (on head and body); tathā- so, in that manner;

akṣarāt- from the imperishable; saṃbhavati- arises, happens; iha- here, this; viśvam- universe.

As a spider emits threads (and makes its web) and takes them back (at his will), as herbs spring up on earth and as hairs grow from living persons, so does the universe arise from the Imperishable (entity).

We must note that the spider is unaffected by the emission of thread and also outlives the thread; moreover, it also sustains the thread and also withdraws it at its will.

In the same way, Mundaka upanishad points out that Brahman the paramātma is the intelligent and the material cause of the universe and therefore, before creation, there was only non-dual Brahman, which served both as the intelligent cause as well as the raw material to produce the universe. And therefore, paramātma is said to be jagat abinna nimitta upādāna kāraṇam. And the world is the kāryam.

Whenever this subject of the Spider comes, my mind goes immediately to the Discourse by the legendary Sengalipuram Anantharama Dikshithar around the year 1960 at Matunga in Mumbai (I don’t know the exact year and date) while explaining the significance of Vishnu Sahasranama. Here is that rare audio clip. This is in Tamil. செங்காலிபுரம் அனந்தராம தீட்சிதர் உபன்யாசம்

Audio Link:

So, the Creator is the Ultimate Reality, “an undefinable something which is everything”. We call Him as GOD.

A doubt can arise in the mind of the seeker. “Ok. Understood that God is the Creator. How does He create the world? What materials does He use? How does He present his creation? Why is He creating?

Adi Sankaracharya answers these questions in Sloka 2 with two examples, which we will see in the next blog.

Dakshinamurthy Sthothram – Sloka 2 – Introduction – Part 1- The Creator

The Creator

The Creator:

In all the Sanatana Dharma śāstrās, it is stated that God/Brahman/Ishwar/Paramatma known as the Ultimate Reality is the one and only cause of the universe. He is the Creator, the Maintainer and the Destroyer.

அகர முதல எழுத்தெல்லாம்

ஆதிபகவன் முதற்றே உலகு:

அவனின்றி ஓர் அணுவும் அசையாது.

Who is this Ultimate Reality? யார் அந்த “அவன் – ஆதி பகவன் ”?

Mundaka Upanishad defines this Ultimate Reality as

यत्तदद्रेश्यमग्राह्यमगोत्रमवर्णंमचक्षुःश्रोत्रं तदपाणिपादम् |

नित्यं विभुं सर्वगतं सुसूक्ष्मं तदव्ययं यद्भूतयोनिं परिपश्यन्ति धीराः || 1.1.6 ||

That which is invisible, inconceivable, without lineage, without any classifications (Varṇa), without eyes and ears, without hands and feet, and that which is eternal, all-pervasive, omnipresent, extremely subtle and undecaying” – that is what the wise behold as the source of all beings.

This essence is the first Sloka of Isavasya Upanishad too (isavasyam idam sarvam). You can get the details of the same at https://soundar53.substack.com/p/isavasya-upanisad-sloka-1-46e

Adi Sankaracharya says:
That omniscient and omnipotent source must be Brahman from which occur the birth, continuance and dissolution of this universe that is manifested through name and form, that is associated with diverse agents and experiences, that provides the support for actions and results, having well-regulated space, time and causation, and that deifies all thoughts about the real nature of its creation. (Brahma Sutra, I. 1 2)

Sanatana Dharma is perhaps the only one which gives such a clear perspective of this concept without calling any single individual as God.

The Basic requirements for Creation :

Let us try and understand some basic concepts in creation. The requirements for creation are as under:

1. The efficient cause (Nimitta Kaaran) whose activity makes something and whose inactivity does not make anything.

2. The material cause (Sadharan Kaaran) or the ‘raw material’ without which nothing can be made – Prakriti or Nature

3. The common cause (Upadan Kaaran) or the accessories helping in creation.

Efficient cause can be further divided into two:

a. Major efficient cause or the engineer or the master architect who creates, manages and destroys – Ishwar

b. Minor efficient cause or the user of the creation – Souls. Without it, the creation is purposeless.

Material cause or Nature is inert non-living and hence incapable of being organized or disorganized itself in a planned manner. It needs an organizer or efficient cause for that.

Common cause includes the time and space.

This is true for any creation that happens in world – by Ishwar or by us.

Now, the next logical question that may arise in one’s mind is “How can this universe and physical beings come out from such an entity that is beyond physical attributes”?

The web that answers:

For this we should watch two interesting videos (one by Mr. David Attenborough).

We will see what these amazing videos convey w.r.t our subject – the creator in our next blog

Dakshinamurthy Sthothram – Sloka 1 – Conclusion

Adi Sankarar, Manicka Vasagar, Thirumoolar

Essentially the first Sloka of the Dakṣiṇāmūrti Sthothram deals with “atma svaroopam” which Adi Sankaracharya reveals with two day to day examples of “darpana nagari” and “svapna nagari”. The Atma is revealed as the base “adishtaanam” of the Universe, as the independent existence – truth “sathya”, as the one unaffected by the events and whatever happens “asamgaha” and finally as non dual “advayam”, the Brahman Himself.

In this first verse, from the experiential standpoint we discover that the world exists in our mind. The world exists because we experience it. Usually we think the other way around. The conventional perspective is world exists therefore we experience it. This is called srishti drishti vada . (Srushti means creation. Drishti means seeing. Vada means doctrine or teaching). It means, you see the world because it has been created. In the ongoing “Global Festival of Oneness 2021” conducted by Advaita Academy, there was an interesting presentation on this. This is how this debate on the two perspective was summed up pictorially by the speaker.

But the presentation by Sankara in this first verse is opposite to the conventional view. The creation exists because you see it. The world in the mind exists because you are there to experience it. If you are not there to witness the world, the world in your mind would not exist. What you directly experience is only the contents of your mind. So the vision conveyed by the first verse is drishti srishti vada. It is opposite to the conventional perspective.

ஆதி சங்கரரின் தக்ஷிணா மூர்தி ஸ்தோத்திரத்தின் முதல் பண்ணின் கருத்துக்கள் சைவ சித்தாந்தத்தில் வெளிப்படுகிறது. திருமூலர் திருமந்திரத்தில் சொல்கிறார்:

மனத்தில் எழுந்ததுஓர் மாயக் கண்ணாடி;

நினைப்பின் அதனின் நிழலையும் காணார்;

வினைப்பயன் போக விளக்கியும் கொள்ளார்;

புறக்கடை இச்சித்துப் போகின்ற வாறே (திருமந்திரம், 1681)

தன்னை அறியக் கிளம்பியவர்கள் தன்னுடைய மூலை முடுக்குகளிலெல்லாம் தன்னைத் தேடினார்கள்; மனம் எதிர்ப்பட்டது; அங்கும் தேடினார்கள்; அது ஒரு மாயப் பிம்பத்தை எழுப்பிக் காட்டியது. அடிமுடி தேடிய படலத்தில், முடி தேடிப் போன பிரம்மன், முடியைக் காணாமல் அன்னப் பறவையைக் கண்டு திரும்பிவிட்டதைப்போல, தன்னையே தேடிப் போனவர்கள், தன்னைக் காணாமல் ஏதோ ஒரு மாயப் பிம்பத்தைக் கண்டு அதுவே தான் என்று எண்ணித் திரும்பி விட்டார்கள். விளங்காதவர்கள்; விளக்கிச் சொன்னாலும் விளங்கிக் கொள்ளத் தெரியாதவர்கள். தலைவாயில் அடைத்திருப்பதாக எண்ணி ஏமாந்து பின்னால் சென்று புறக்கடை வாசலைத் தட்டிக்கொண்டு நிற்கிறார்கள். தன்னை அல்ல, தன்னுடைய நிழலைக்கூட இவர்களால் கண்டுகொள்ள முடியாது.

Brahman is in essence the indwelling Controller for all activity seen in any being whatsoever. That is why Bhagwan Ramana Maharishi says that stop unwanted discussions/arguments about the real or unreal world and objects. Start looking inwards in his “Ulladhu Naarpadhu” – உள்ளது நாற்பது.

உலகுமெய்பொய்த் தோற்ற முலகறிவா மன்றென்

றுலகுசுக மன்றென் றுரைத்தெ — னுலகுவிட்டுத்

தன்னையோர்ந் தொன்றிரண்டு தானற்று நானற்ற

வந்நிலையெல் லார்க்குமொப் பாம்.

What is the use of disputing: ‘The world is real’, ‘[No, it is] an unreal appearance’; ‘The world is sentient’, ‘It is not’; ‘The world is happiness’, ‘It is not’? Leaving [all thought about] the world and investigating [or knowing] oneself, [thereby] putting an end to [all disputes about] one and two [non-duality and duality], that state in which ‘I’ [ego] has [thereby] perished is agreeable to all. So instead of looking outward, start looking inward.

இதனையே திருமூலர் திருமந்திரம், 2956 பதியில்;

மனமாயை மாயை;இம் மாயை மயக்க;

மனமாயை தான்மாயமற்றொன்றும் இல்லை;

பினைமாய்வது இல்லைபிதற்றவும் வேண்டா;

தனைஆய்ந்து இருப்பது தத்துவம் தானே.

என தெளிவாக உரைக்கிறார். உங்களைப் பேதைமைப்படுத்துவதும் மயக்குவதும் நீங்களே உருவாக்கிச் செல்லங் கொஞ்சிப் பேணி வளர்த்து வைத்திருக்கிற மனம்தான். மனம் உங்களை மயக்குவதை நிறுத்துங்கள்; மனத்தை நீங்கள் மயக்குங்கள். மனம் என்கிற மாயை ஒழிந்துவிட்டால், பிறகு உங்களை மயக்கத்தக்கது வேறு ஒன்றும் இல்லை. ஒழித்துக்கட்ட வேண்டியதும் வேறு ஒன்றும் இல்லை. மனத்தின் தூண்டுதலுக்கு ஆட்பட்டுத் தாறுமாறாக நடந்துகொள்ளவும் தேவையில்லை. தன்னையே தான் ஆராய்ந்து, தானே தானாக இருப்பதுதான் யோகம்.

தன்னையே தான் ஆராய்தல் எப்படி? மாணிக்கவாசகர் சொல்கிறார்:

நான்ஆர்?என் உள்ளம்ஆர்ஞானங்கள்

ஆர்? என்னை யார்அறிவார்?

வானோர் பிரான்என்னை

ஆண்டுஇலனேல் மதிமயங்கி

ஊனார் உடைதலையில்

உண்பலிதேர் அம்பலவன்

தேன்ஆர் கமலமே

சென்றுஊதாய் கோத்தும்பீ

(திருவாசகம், திருக்கோத்தும்பி, 2). நான் யார், என் உள்ளம் எது, ஞானங்கள் எவை என்று அறிய வேண்டும்; என்னை அறிகிறவர் யார் என்றும் பார்க்க வேண்டும். எல்லாமே வானோர் பிரானாகிய சிவன்தான் என்று தன்னை அறிவிக்கும் பொறுப்பையும் அறியும் பொறுப்பையும் இறைவனிடம் ஒப்படைக்கிறார் பக்தியின் வழிவந்த மாணிக்கவாசகர். யோகத்தின் வழிவந்த திருமூலரோ அந்தப் பொறுப்பைத் தன் வசமே வைத்துக்கொள்கிறார்.

So, how do we elevate ourselves to that enquiry Who am I? How can I look inward? In answer to this question, Sages have identified four areas

  1. Study of Shastras and Shruti 2. The Kripa of the Guru 3. Yoga practice (Abhyasa) through meditation 4. God’s grace/Isvara Anugraha

When, by Shruti,, by the master’s favour, by practice of Yoga, and by the Grace of God, there arises a knowledge of one’s own Self, then, as a man regards the food he has eaten as one with himself, the Adept Yogin sees the universe as one with his Self, absorbed as the universe is in the Universal Ego which he has become.

References:

மேற்கோள் நூல்கள்

1. Dakṣiṇāmurty. Sthothram – Talks By Swami Paramarthananda; Transcribed by Sri P.S. Ramachandrn; Published by :Arsha Avinash

2. Dakshinamurti Stotra with Mānasollāsa of Sureśvarācārya translated by Alladi Mahadeva Sastri – from archives.org

3.சங்கரரின் தக்ஷிணாமூர்த்தி தோத்திரம்: சைவசித்தாந்த விளக்கம் – முனைவர்கோ.ந. முத்துக்குமாரசுவாமி – https://www.tamilhindu.com/

4. Prof. Mahadevan, IIM, Bangalore – https://www.sanskritfromhome.in/course/daksinamurtiSthothram /

5. https://Vedāntaḥstudents.com/class-notes/#1539832350612-778c6bda-cf96

6. தக்ஷிணாமூர்த்தி ஸ்தோத்திரம் – பகவான் ரமண மகரிஷி