yatra supto na ka~nchana kAmaM kAmayate na ka~nchana svapnaM pashyati tat suShuptam | suShuptasthAna ekibhUtaH praj~nAnaghana evAnandamayo hyAnandabhuk chetomukhaH prAj~nastRRitIyaH pAdaH || 5 ||
tat suShuptam – That (is called) the deep-sleep state yatra supto – in which the sleeper kAmyatena ka~nchana kAmaM – desires nothing (not any desired objects) napashyatika~nchana svapnaM – nor sees any dreams. tRRiitIyaH pAdaH – The third aspect prAj~naH – (is called) ‘the one who knows or understands’, suShuptasthAna – the state of deep sleep. ekibhUtaH – (In this state), everything is undifferentiated (literally ‘one element’), praj~nAnaghana eva – just a homogenous mass of Consciousness AnandamayaH – full of bliss, hi Ananda bhuk – indeed the ‘enjoyer’ of bliss. chetomukhaH – (Literally) it is the one whose mouth is intelligence.
The third aspect of the Self is prAj~na. This is the deep-sleep state in which one neither desires anything nor sees any dream. Everything is undifferentiated; simply blissful Consciousness alone, gateway to the other two cognitive states.
‘In truth, Anubhava [Intuition, Intuitive experience] alone is the fountainhead or substrate for all Pramana Vyavahara – transactions involving valid means of knowledge… pursuit of the Absolute Reality, Self-knowledge… culminates in Anubhava, Intuitive experience… the substratum for everything’. (It is the same as saying that Pure Consciousness is behind the apparent individual mind). – From ‘The Basic Tenets of Shankara Vedanta’, transl. from Kannada’s SSSS by D.B. Gangolli, pp. 51,55.
In Advaita Vedanta Vedantic (or higher) reasoning is distinguished from independent reasoning or speculation, which invariably is in conflict with that of other individuals and schools of thought – ‘Speculation is unbridled… It is impossible to expect finality from it, for men’s minds are diversely inclined’ (SBh 2-1-11). The former, higher reasoning, is, or must be, in agreement with scripture (Upanishads, etc. called shruti) and is never in conflict with universal experience. There is some syllogistic deduction (‘there is fire on that mountain for we see smoke there’), but it is not prominent in AV.
‘For the truth relating to this Reality conducive to final release is too deep even for a conjuncture without revelation (SBh 2-1-11). Here ‘revelation’ means the ‘deep intuitions arrived at by the sages of old (rishis)’ and compiled in three main bodies of works (chiefly the Upanishads), so you can disregard that word and substitute ‘self-realization’ for it.
But even scriptures are not sufficient to get at the truth: a prepared, mature mind is a requisite, which usually takes years if not lifetimes. After that long preparation, preferably with the help of a qualified teacher, a final intuition (anubhava or brahmavidya) may occur. I won’t talk about the method or methods used or about the qualifications of the student, not a small matter.
Question 3:The body that (notionally) housed previously a seeker….
Please Sir, body does not really house Consciousness. Not even the so-called limited consciousness. But it is Consciousness in which body appears just like any other object – and this is easily graspable even to the so-called limited consciousness, with a bit of subtle and impartial observation.
Question 3 (Contd.):… who is now liberated, (the body) is just a part of the ‘world’ which only exists as an “appearance” in the perception of the ‘ignoramuses.’ That body is now ‘without’ anyone as a claimant of ‘ownership’ to it. …
Let it be so. What is the problem if there is no claimant of ownership to a body?, I ask the ignoramuses. Continue reading →
[‘jIvanmukti’ as per Advaita Vedanta shAstra has been explained by Shri Prasanth Neti Ji in a profound and refreshing way (not usually available) at a Social Networking site. I have taken the liberty to post a slightly edited version, as it may interest many Readers here.]
What Vedanta (or Acharya) refers to as adhyAsa or avidyA is only a label used for the sake of instruction while imparting the Non-dual (Advaita) message. Shankaracharya never meant that an entity called avidyA/adhyAsa ever really exists.
And this labelling is made taking into account the already *observable and existing* human behavior. That is why we do not explain avidyA/adhyAsa as anything other than (or beyond) the very natural human behavior based on the fundamental notions — ‘I am this’ and ‘this is mine.’ This is a very very important point to be always kept in mind, in my opinion. Continue reading →
Q: I am reading your book ” Confusions in Advaita Vedanta”.
I am from India, born in the Smarta Brahmin tradition of The revered Adi Shankara. The purport of Adi Shankara as repeatedly explained by you is that no pramana or meditation except shabda pramana, teaching of scripture expounded by qualified teacher can give jnana. And this understanding happens in the process of listening once. Repetitions don’t help.
This caused both enthusiasm and later negativity in me. I have heard scriptures being expounded by Swami Dayananda, Swami Paramarthananda, Swami Brahmananda, Swami Parthasarathy, Sri Gangolli (translator of Swami Satchidananendra) etc. But no understanding or Jnana has resulted.
Am I doomed? Or Does it mean I was not qualified enough? More yoga sadhana required for purifying my mind? Of course there can be no doubt that the teachers were qualified. So fault is mine.
Q: What does this mean: You can’t experience brahman, but everything you experience is brahman?
A (ChatGPT): This statement is an expression of the non-dual nature of reality as understood in Hindu philosophy, particularly in the Advaita Vedanta tradition.
According to this view, Brahman is the ultimate reality that underlies all existence. It is an unchanging, infinite and eternal principle that is beyond all concepts and categories. However, because of the limitations of our minds and senses, we cannot directly experience Brahman as an object or as a concept.
Despite this, everything we experience is seen as an expression or manifestation of Brahman. In other words, all the objects and phenomena we encounter in the world around us are ultimately a reflection of the underlying reality of Brahman. In this sense, everything we experience can be seen as a kind of pointer or signpost that can lead us towards a deeper understanding of the nature of reality.
Thus, the statement “You can’t experience Brahman, but everything you experience is Brahman” is a way of expressing the non-dual nature of reality, in which the ultimate reality is both beyond all experience and yet present in everything we experience. It suggests that while we may not be able to directly experience Brahman as an object, we can still recognize its presence in the world around us and use that recognition as a means of coming to a deeper understanding of the nature of reality.
dvitIyaH pAdaH – The second aspect (of the Self) taijasa – is called taijasa. svapna sthAna – (Its field of action is) the dream state. antaHpraj~naH – (Consciousness is) turned inwards (as opposed to the waking state in the previous mantra, where it was turned outwards). sapta a~Nga – (As with the waking state) (it has) seven divisions. viMshatimukhaH – (and) nineteen interfaces. praviviktabhuk taijaso – taijasa is the enjoyer (bhug = bhuk = bhoktA; experiencer, enjoyer) of the private, internal world (pravivikta).
The second aspect of the Self is taijasa. This is the dream state in which one’s awareness is turned inwards. taijasa has seven parts and experiences the dream world via 19 interfaces.
Q: In your comment on the article by Arun Kumar, I was confused but intrigued that you define Mithya as something that simply explains the fundamental nature of the Brahman in life and its objects. I have not so far found any dictionary that defines mithya as anything other than false or illusory nor discovered any major scholar-philosopher who thought that Shankara viewed this world as a reality – as real as the ornament in your metaphor. You say that Shankara himself by discriminating between the waking and dream states suggests that novel meaning of Mithya. Is this your own interpretation or does Shankara himself link the ability to differentiate between those states to explain mithya?
You raise the example of how jumping into the middle of traffic would help one realize why this world is NOT an illusion… but it is not convincing enough. Potentially, both a person jumping in front of a truck and his consequent “death” could be perceived as illusory events too. The real question I have is whether Shankara himself viewed this world as illusion and used Mithya to convey that or not. And, if it was an illusion for him, what did he think the meaning of life was? If on the other hand life was Not an illusion to him, as you seem to suggest, what was its purpose in that case?