prathamaH pAdaH – The first aspect (of the Self) vaishvAnara – is vaishvAnara (or vishva) jAgaritasthAna – (This is) the waking state praj~na – (and it is one in which one’s) knowing awareness bahis – (is) turned outwards sapta a~Nga (a~Nga literally means ‘limb’) – (This aspect has) seven divisions ekonaviMshatimukhaH – and nineteen interfaces (with the outside world) (viMshati is ‘twenty’ and ekona is ‘one less than’; mukha literally means ‘mouth’ or ‘opening’) sthUlabhugvaishvAnaraH – vaishvAnara (is) the enjoyer (bhug = bhuj = bhoktA; experiencer, enjoyer) of the gross world.
The first aspect of the Self is vaishvAnara. This is the waking state in which one’s awareness is turned outwards to the external world. vaishvAnara has seven parts and experiences the universe via 19 interfaces.
Your post made me realize that I have rarely, if ever, encountered any definition/explanation of the concept of time in Advaita. It set me off on a search of my library to try to find something. Apart from those books which index every word they contain (e.g. Krishnaswamy Iyer’s ‘Vedanta or the Science of Reality’ has 107 page-references to ‘time’), I could not find anything in any of my physical books. A search of my electronic database came up with very few references and the only scriptural one I could find is from Vivekachudamani 497:
Sthūlādi = gross and so on; kalpita bhramāt = erroneously imagined; āropitānu-sphuraṇena = manifestation superimposed; kale = time; kalpaka = eons; vatsarāyaṇa = years and half-years; ṛtvādi = seasons and so on.
hariH OM | OM ityetadakSharamidaM sarvaM tasyopavyAkhyAnaM bhUtaM bhavadH bhaviShyaditi sarvamoMkAra eva | yachchaanyatH trikAlAtItaM tadapyoMkAra eva || 1 ||
OM iti etad akSharam – Thus, this syllable OM idam sarvaM – (is) all this. tasya upavyAkhyAna – The explanation begins with this: oMkAra – the syllable OM (is) itieva – thus truly sarvaM – everything – bhUta – past, bhavat – present bhaviShyat – (and) future. yat cha anya – and what is other than atIta – transcending these trikAla – three time periods tat eva – even is that only oMkAra – OM api – as well.
The syllable OM is everything. The explanation follows (with this Upanishad). All that is past, present and future is OM. And, whatever is beyond the three periods of time, that too is only OM.
Just a brief notification that all my E-books are available at 50% off from the publisher’s website – a ‘Christmas Sale’ to promote their venture into E-commerce. Not all have been published as E-books but I can’t immediately say which.
I have just started reading the massive commentary on the mANDUkya, Gaudapada kArikA-s and Shankara bhAShya (if it was Shankara) by Divyaj~nAna Sarojini VaradarAjan, so I thought it might be appropriate to post my own translation and commentary on the Upanishad itself from ‘A-U-M’.
The VaradarAjan book is in two volumes and, as far as I am aware, is only available from Exotic India at £65 to post to the UK. Only 500 copies were printed and these may sell out quickly as her Upanishad commentaries are unparalleled.
My own book ‘A-U-M: Awakening to Reality’ is a ‘by topic’ rather than verse by verse commentary, although it does cover all of the material. The specific translation and commentary on the 12 verses of the Upanishad itself are relegated to an Appendix, since the material is rather ‘dense’, and the tone less ‘conversational’ than the main body of the book. It is available from Amazon:
This series will post the whole of Appendix 1 of ‘A-U-M’ and, in general, each post will cover one verse of the Upanishad. This first post, however, covers the shAnti pATha – the traditional prayer at the beginning of an Upanishad – and Shankara’s introduction.
Reality is non-dual. All Advaitins know that this is the teaching, even if they have not yet succeeded in reconciling this with the appearance of the world and their own apparent individuality.
The Self does not act. The jñānī knows this. The well-known statement in Bhagavad Gita 5.8-9 tells us that: The balanced person who knows the truth thinks: ‘I do nothing at all; it is only the senses relating to their sense objects,’ even whilst seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, going, sleeping, breathing, speaking, excreting or grasping; even just opening or closing the eyes. It is all simply the ‘play of the guṇa-s’, name and changing form, like the movement of waves on the surface of the ocean – all is always only water.
Those people who regularly read my articles will know that, although my educational background is that of a scientist, I frequently criticize science in respect of its inability to say anything useful about the nature of reality. Because science can only operate by virtue of a subject making observations on an object, it only has validity in the empirical realm (vyavahAra). Nevertheless, I do acknowledge that science can sometimes throw light upon the thorny topics that we frequently encounter in advaita. An obvious example of this is the findings of Benjamin Libet and Daniel Wegner regarding free will, about which I have written several times. Accordingly, I was very interested to hear recently (on a BBC Horizon program about how we perceive color) that scientists have carried out experiments which demonstrate that language affects the way in which we see the world.
I did not expect to see anything relating to advaita in the program but, when they described an experiment concerning the Himba tribe of northern Namibia, it quickly became clear that this was relevant to the vAchArambhaNa sutras from the Chandogya Upanishad.
Confusions in Advaita Vedānta: Knowledge, Experience and Enlightenment
This is being published by Indica Books at Varanasi and may be purchased directly from them (PayPal accepted) at email@example.com.
It will also be available to buy from Amazon and I will post the links as soon as this is possible. (Note that it may still be cheaper to buy from Indica, even with postage costs, but it will obviously take longer to arrive in the West.)
Q: According to Advaita, God is ONE, and manifestations are many. The term ‘God’ is also called ‘Consciousness/Awareness’. It is a fundamental principle that there is nothing beyond Consciousness; everything arising from Consciousness is Consciousness only. Dualities such as good-bad are not found in Consciousness.
If all this is the case, can the virus COVID-19, which is shaking the world, also be termed as ‘Consciousness’?
A: Yes indeed – the substantial reality of Covid is also Consciousness, since there is only Consciousness. It is like the metaphor – bangle, chain and ring are all only gold.
But in the empirical reality of the world, the form of Covid brings disease whereas the form of vaccination brings protection from disease. No real problem – Consciousness is not affected by any of it!
Q: Thank you very much for your reply. However I have the grievance that I, the individualized spirit, cannot stop worrying about the distress caused practically , even though my ego mind is convinced with the theory of Advaita.
How can I reconcile the practical difficulties which I face with the teaching of advaita? What you have stated is only based on Advaita theory. I am badly hit by the above disease. Please advise.