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)
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!
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 स्वेच्छयाsveccayāḥ. 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? मायावीवmāyāvi 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 महायोगीवmahā 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
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.
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.
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 |
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
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.
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:
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 தான்மாய, மற்றொன்றும் இல்லை;
பினைமாய்வது இல்லை; பிதற்றவும் 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 உள்ளம்ஆர்? ஞானங்கள்
ஆர்? என்னை யார்அறிவார்?
(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
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.
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
I am the slave forever of Lord Saravana, the handsome one holding the powerful spear as weapon and who showers wealth and grains
He is the one:
who is bathed with pitchers filled with the waters of Ganga, with very tender feet which are glorified in prose and poetry, worshipped by the nine planets led by Angaraka, with neither beginning nor middle nor end,immeasurable eminent one, who charms all the celestials beginning with Parvati(the universal mother), expert at shattering the sorrow caused by birth etc. delights the hearts of Parvati, Nandi, Nava-nandanas and other devotees. He is Guruguha
• This Kriti is in the sixth Vibhakti
• “SRngAra SaktyAyudha dhara” translates to Singaravelan in Tamil, as the lord is known in the Sikkal temple
• The Nava-Nandanas or Nava-Veeras are the sons of the Nava-Shaktis born by the grace of Shiva, and are Subrahmanya’s brothers. The eldest of them is Veerabahu. They assist him in war.
Meaning of the Sanskrit Words
शृङ्गार – handsome
शक्ति-आयुध – Spear (Vel in Tamil) as the weapon
धर – holding
शरवणस्य – Saravana
दासो-अहं – Servant, I am
अनिशं – for ever
धन धान्य – wealth and grains
प्रदस्य – giver
गङ्गा अमृत – The Ganga River water
पूरित घट- Filled pot
अभिषेकस्य – the one who is bathed in
गद्य – prose
आदि – etc
नुत – euologise/glorify
कोमळ-तर पदस्य – lotus like feet
अङ्गारक-आदि – Planet mars etc
नव ग्रह – nine planets
वन्दितस्य – worshipped
आदि मध्य-अन्त रहित- beginning, middle and end
अप्रमेय – immeay
वरस्य – eminent
जगद्-अम्बिका- the Goddess of the world – Parvati
आदि सकल देवता – and all celestials included
मोहित – charms
जनन-आदि खेद भञ्जन चतुर-तरस्य – the expert at shattering the sorrow caused by birth etc.
नग राज सुता – the consort of the king of serpents – i.e., consort of Siva viz. – Parvati
नन्दि-ईश – the God Nandi
नव नन्द-आदि – भक्त जन- all devitees including the the sons of the nine Shaktis of Siva
आनन्द – pleasing
गुरु गुहस्य – Guru Guha (signature name of the composer)
“To Him who by illusion of Ātman, as by sleep, sees the Universe existing within Himself – like a city seen to exist within a mirror – as though it were manifested without; to Him who beholds, when awake, His own very Self, the second less; to Him who is incarnate in the Teacher; to Him in the Effulgent form facing the South, to Him (Siva) be this bow!”
Vishvam Darpana-Drshyamaana-Nagarii-Tulyam – viśvam means this visible universe; the universe which we see in our waking state is comparable to darpaṇa dṛśyamāna nagari tulyam, comparable to the reflected city being seen in a huge mirror.
Nija-Antargatam – This visvam is within oneself only
Pashyann-Aātmani – This visvam (the world we are experiencing within ourselves only) is actually existing in me, ātmani pasyathi.
Mayayaa – because of the “aadhiṣṭāna ajnānam” i.e., avidya or maya (Ref the previous blogs)
bahiri udbhūtam – appears as though outside,
yathaa – like
nidrayaa – when we are asleep,
(the dream world which is really existing within ourselves appears as though outside, when we are asleep – implied meaning).
Iva – By using the word iva: as though outside, Sankaracharya conveyed that it is really not outside, everything is inside me only.
Yah: – In this context refers to the sleeping person “supta puruṣaḥ”; and this sleeping person was seeing the svapna viśvam outside; the sleeping person was seeing the dream world outside;
prabhodha samaya – but when the sleeping person wakes up, what is his experience; his outside dream world is resolved into himself. All elements of svapna viz. svpna deśa disappears into himself; svapna kālaḥ, svapna padārthaḥ, svapna jīvaḥ, they all dissolve effortlessly; since the entire dream world is resolved into himself, what remains? he the waker alone remains. Therefore, “supta puruṣaḥ, prabodha samaye,
advaiyam svatmānam sākṣātkurute” – meaning that on waking up, the sleeping person recognises himself as the secondless one; without any dream object. After waking up, I do not see the waker; I claim myself to be the waker. This claiming is called sākṣātkāraha. I should not use any other verb. If I say I see the waker, waker appears to be another person. If I say I experience the waker; it appears as though waker is different. Suppose I say I become the waker; even that word is not correct strictly because; there is no becoming involved; I was the waker before, I am the waker now, therefore, I do not even become the waker. I claim myself to be the waker; this claiming is called sākṣātkāraha.
Similarly, in self-knowledge, I do not experience the ātma/ In self-knowledge I do not see the ātma. In self-knowledge I do not become the ātma; In self-knowledge I claim I am the ātma. And this peculiar process of claiming is called sākṣātkāraha. So, it is not coming face to face. sākṣātkāraha, if it is translated as direct experience, we will have all kinds of misconception that when I wake up Brahman will be standing in front, smiling, giving darshanam. It is not like that, I am the waker. Therefore, prabhoda samaye, on waking up supta puruṣaḥ svātmaanam advyayam eva sākṣātkārute.
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 knows I am jagatadhishtaanam, 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 that a complex concept in Philosophy is explained by Adi Sankara in just two lines using two simple day to day events in human life – the examples of viewing in a mirror and dreaming captures the essence of Vedanta. We will conclude the Sloka 1 in the next blog with a summary.
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
3.சங்கரரின் தக்ஷிணாமூர்த்தி தோத்திரம்: சைவசித்தாந்த விளக்கம் – முனைவர்கோ.ந. முத்துக்குமாரசுவாமிwww.tamilhindu.com/
In the process of my spiritual journey, I have been trying to understand the works of Adi Sankaracharya. The child in me ventured and tried to understand the following works of Adi Sankara so far.
Sivananda Lahari, Siva Panchaksharam, Subramanya Bhujangam, Nirvana Shatakam, Bhaja Govindam and Ganesha Pancharathnam. The current venture is into Dakshinamurthy Sthothram.
Last week during one of my Whatsapp messaging with my eldest brother (whose name is incidentally Gurumoorthy), I got the link of the MS Subbulakshmi’s song on Totakaashtakam. That was the trigger.
How childish I am and how immature I have been! True to the nature of a child (as would be described by Adi Sankara himself in one of the Slokas of Dakshinamurthy Stothram), it didn’t even occur to me that I should offer my prayers to Adi Sankara himself first, before venturing. How can anyone commence a journey without offering prayers to the காவல் தெய்வம் ? (The Protector) Sankara.
To me it became clear that The Guru, appeared as an innocuous message from my brother Gurumoorthy and triggered me to dive into Totakaashtakam and ensure that I don’t carry on the journey without offering my prayers to Adi Sankara – the Akhila Guru’s (Lord Sankara’s) avatar.
So, here is my humble understanding of the Ashtakam and my prayers to Adi Sankaracharya.
I dedicate this translation to the lotus feet of Maha Periavaa Sri Paramacharya of Kanchi. Here is a rare video clip of Maha Periavaa explaining Totakaashtakam.
I will resume Dakshinamurthy Stothram now in the next blog on 07th May 2021.
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”.
‘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 अत्म–अनात्मसम्भन्दः atma-anātma sambhandaḥ “ஆன்மாவும்அண்டமும்” “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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
(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.