Pravishtha and apravishtha (Does Brahman actually enter an object?)
This is a dialog between guru ParAshara and shishya Maitreya from Swami VishudhAnanda’s book “PakshapAta-rahita Anubhava”. (Parashara says to Maitreya):
Hey shishya remember that you are Self-illuminated Atma. When objects in this world are formed from five elements one can say that these elements actually enter (pravishtha) in the objects and one can also say they are do not enter (apravishtha) in the objects – like gold in ornaments is pravishtha or also apravishtha; mud is pravishtha in the pot or also apravishtha; the rope is pravishtha in the illusive snake or also aprvishtha; the witness of the dream is pravishtha in the dream world or aprvishtha. Similarly, you the name & forms based substratum on which the world is superimposed (namrupatmak vivarta-upadan-karana), Existence-Consciousness-Bliss Atma is pravishtha in the imaginary, names & forms based objects and also apravishtha.
I will explain how it is pravishtha. There is not a single element of any ornament in this names & forms based world that is not occupied, pervaded or apart from the gold that is Brahman. In other words, you the Existence-Consciouness-Bliss (Asti-Bhati-Priyam) Atma is the gold that is pervaded in objects or the ornaments in such a manner that there is nothing apart from gold (that is you). You can say that for the wise ones there is total elimination of of names & forms (atyantabhAva) in ornaments; all they see is gold. Without Brahman the gold, you will not be able to find any ornaments. But in every ornament you will find gold only. That is why we say that gold the Brahman is pravishtha in the ornaments.
Another story from Swami Vishudhananda’s book “Pakshpata-rahit Anubhavpraksh” in Hindi. The book is written in Yoga-Vashishtha style where various stories are narrated using Shrimad Bhagwat [and other] Pauranic characters to bring home Advaita concepts. Following is the translation of “ahamkara” (pages 514-516).
Once upon a time, ahamkara (the ego) assumed human form and entered a gathering of sages. He introduced himself:“I am ahamkara! Avidya (ignorance) also known as maya is my mother and Sat-Chit-Anand (Existence-Knowledge-Bliss) Brahman, the witness of the entire prapancha (the appearing universe) is my father. Per the rules of scriptures pure is always different than the vishishtha (specific). Based on this rule pure Brahman is my father and this prapancha which is nothing but names & forms made up of panchbhutas – five elements (akasa-sky, vayu-air, agni-fire, jala-water & prithvi-earth) is my family. I the ahamkara and the ones in my family are caught in between the cycles of birth & death resulting in eternal pain & suffering. I stay with my mother. I never stay with my father even though I have desire to live with him. I do try to do so but no matter what I do my father is always apart from me – he is asanga (without any attachments), nirvikar (unchangeable), nirvikalpa (without any doubts). And by the way, I do not have any grandparents (my parents do not have any parents). My birth is a mystery as my father does not touch or even get closer to my mother. My death is another story – every time me and my family rest on my mother’s lap we enjoy blissful deep sleep where we lose ourselves and become one with her. And when we come out of this deep sleep it is like a rebirth for us. This goes on all the time like waves in an ocean.
Swami Vishudhananda, a contemporary [a little earlier) of Swami Sivananda, lived in Rishikesh around 1900 -20. He wrote the book “Pakshpata-rahit Anubhavpraksh” in Hindi. The book is written in Yoga-Vashishtha style where various stories are narrated using Shrimad Bhagwat [and other] Pauranic characters to bring home Advaita concepts.
Here is an excerpt – my translation from the Hindi text:
Story of Jadabharatha, Vamdeva & King Rahuganaka
King Rahuganaka was travelling to his hilltop vacation destination along with his royal contingent. He was being carried in a luxurious palanquin (palki) by four palanquin bearers. During this journey two of the palanquin bearers got sick and king’s soldiers started looking for replacements. They found two weird looking goons wandering in the forest. King’s soldiers grabbed them and forced them to carry palanquin on their shoulders while the royal journey continued. But then everyone including the king noticed how weird these two men were. Both of them were not big or strong but the heavy load did not seem to bother them. They were not very aggressive but then they weren’t lethargic either. Their faces did not look bright and cheerful but they looked relaxed. They were often whipped by the soldiers to make them move faster but that did not perturb them. In fact, both of them were taking their steps as if they were in a trance. Continue reading