Our esteemed colleagues Suka and Martin made certain important observations on the earlier Posts of mine on this subject. So I felt it may be better to respond to the points raised by them without any further delay before resuming my presentation with regard to Eka jIva vAda.
A: About the similarity between Wakeful and Dream Worlds:
Suka pointed out to the three distinct orders of reality distinguishable from the way we experience them and opined that dream and awake world cannot be treated at par. He said that a dream world was a ‘bhrama‘ whereas the awake world was ‘mithya.’
The taittirIya also speaks about the three realities. But what we have to bear in mind is the fact that the distinction being made in such statements is from a wakeful world perspective. A dream or the silver in nacre are regarded as ‘bhrama‘ by a person in an awake state. But for the actual dreamer, during his/her dreaming, the dream is his experience and if a character tells him about the awake state, he will consider the awake state to be bhrama. So also during the time a person sees silver in the nacre, the silver is actually “experienced” by him. Thus as long as a person stays in a particular state as an ‘experiencer’, there is no difference in the actual process of ‘experiencing.’ A qualitative difference in the experience arises only at a relative level when the experience of one state is compared with the experience of another state by the experiencer.
As the scriptures teach us, there is no ‘experiencer’ in the “Absolute Reality.” One stays as ‘experiencing’ only without the triputi.
EkajIva vAda is a help in first blurring the difference in the awake and dream states and then eventually to lead the spiritual aspirant to Aloneness (kaivalya). I hope to be able to present this approach during this series of Posts as a prakriya useful particularly to a modern analytically minded seeker.
We may also note that the similarity of the wakeful and dream worlds is strongly argued by several of our Sages and Rishis. I give here a few references:
1. antah sthAnAttu bhedAnAm tasmAt jAgariti smRtam
yathA tatra tathA svapne samvRtatvena bhidhyate — Gaudapada kArika, II – 4
(Different objects cognized in a dream (are illusory) on account of their being perceived to exist. For the same reason, the objects perceived in waking state are illusory. The nature of the objects is the same in the waking state and the dream. The only difference is the limitation of the space (associated with dream objects).
2. saprayojanatA teshhAM svapne vipratipadhyate
tasmAdAdhyantavattvena mithyaiva khalu te smRtAH — Gaudapada kArika, II.7
[Serving a purpose of them (the objects of the waking experience) is contradicted in a dream. Therefore, they are undoubtedly admitted to be illusory on account of their (both waking and dream) having a beginning and an end (they are rightly held to be equally unreal). ]
The opponent says that the dream objects do not serve any purpose whereas the wakeful world objects are useful. Sankara, in his commentary on this verse, disproves the contention of the opponent that the dream objects are different from wakeful ones if properly judged on the basis of ‘utility’.
3. The creatures visible to a waking man are non-different from his consciousness, because they are perceived through his consciousness, just like the creatures perceived by the consciousness of a dreamer. And that consciousness, as engaged in the perception of creatures, is non-different from the experiencer, since it is perceived by the experiencer, like the consciousness in the dream state. — Gaudapada kArika, IV – 65-66.
4. swapne ‘ rthasUnye sRjati swasaktyA bhoktrAdi viswam manah eva sarvam tathaiva jAgratyapi no visheshah tat sarvametanmanaso vijRmbhaNam — VivekacUDAmaNi, 170
(In dreams, when there is no actual contact with the external world, the mind alone creates the whole universe consisting of the enjoyer etc. And similarly in the waking state also,—there is no difference. Therefore all this ( phenomenal universe ) is the projection of the mind. (Translation Swami Madhavananda, 1921).
5. And in the next verse (171):
sushuptikAle mansi pralIne naivAsti kincit sakala prasiddheh
atah manah kalpita eva pumsah samsAra etasya na vastuto ‘ sti
(In dreamless sleep, when the mind is reduced to its causal state, there exists nothing (for the person asleep), as is evident from universal experience. Hence man’s relative existence is simply the creation of the mind, and has no objective reality. (Translation Swami Madhavananda, 1921)).
6. jnAna jneya pramedena yatha swapnam pratIyate
vijnAnamAtramevaitam tatha jAgrata chcharAcharam — VedAnta siddhAnta muktAvali, 19
(Just as the dream world which is really nothing but cognition, appears in Consciousness, differentiated as the cognition and the cognized, so too, the world of waking consciousness, of things animate and inanimate (is nothing apart from cognition)).
7. We find Sage Vasishta equates the wakeful world appearance with that of a dream at several places in Yogavaasishta. I quoted an instance from the 136th Sarga in the Second Part of the Sixth Chpater at: https://www.advaita-vision.org/traditional-teaching-and-deep-sleep-ii-dreams/
8. Here is another example: “All these visible worlds of existence are like dream worlds. Like castle in the air. That is why each person has his/her own world; his/her own imagination and his/her own sorrows and happiness.” — Yogavaasishta, Chapter: IV, Sarga 17, Sloka 10
I believe the above references are adequate for the present.
B. Role of Love and Devotion in Advaita:
Martin raised the issue of a devotional approach while expressing that my treatment of sRshTi-dRsTi-vAda sounded a bit aseptic. Inter alia, he asks:
“A believer or religious person would like to see, no doubt, the fundamental aspect of love (that of the way of bhakti, which includes pious renunciation) brought in. Would you say that that doctrine is closer to the way of love than the doctrine of drishti-sishtri vada.”
Undoubtedly, what I state here has the potential to become quite controversial. Still I would like to stretch my neck out and say it as I understand.
An understanding of Advaita does not a priori require any theistic orientation. It is a different matter that right from the ancient times, the Advaita teachers had exhibited a belief in some super power.
If one understands Non-duality, the word “Love” is non-different from “Brahman.”
Love is true “Identity” (Oneness) – total melding of one into the other without a trace of division. As a matter of fact, True Identity exists where there is no “other.”
It means there is absolutely no distance separating a ‘me’ here and an object or an individual or God out there. In turn it implies that the imaginary walls separating a ‘me’, that give me a distinct ID, are totally and completely dissolved. (This, in fact, is the “death” of a ‘person (= personality)’ and the ‘ending of the ego’). This is the true “Surrender”, True renunciation – i.e. truly renouncing the “ego.” Only then does “Love” prevail.
In other words, Love is the absence of distance. Love, like open space, is deep acceptance without spurn or favor. Love is that tenderness that lets everything arise/dissolve within It .
Ordinarily ‘love’ is described as a ‘relationship’ between more than one entities – mostly a relationship of emotion and mainly hormone driven. Testosterone driven lust, oxytocin + vassopressin driven attachment, oxytocin driven companionship, possessiveness etc. which are addressed to another person (mostly) or an object are called ‘love.’ Such a relationship of love grows and evolves into a different mold of ‘surrender’ – one that is modeled on a Master-slave relationship.
The all-powerful Master is kept on a high pedestal and I become an obsequious servile creature. I live, ‘courtesy’ His grace, among His ‘vibhUtIes. This smells of duality, of one breed or other.
Of course, this duality in relationship gives me a great comfort, all my cares are taken care of, all my responsibilities are abdicated; and willy-nilly I still retain a semblance of my separate personality waiting for the ‘grace.’
One author tried to derive a mathematical inverse square relationship a la Newtonian gravitational law for such sort of love between two entities and think it is Advaita!
But Love in Advaita is completely ONENESS, not a “relation” that governs two or more individuals. No superiors and subordinates like in an office. There is no boss who has a higher responsibility for what goes on and a lowly clerk who has to just carry out a small well-defined task without any accountability for the overall outcome.
“I am Brahman” is the teaching of Advaita. It is my world – no – I am the world, the world is me. (If one draws a graph of multidimensional space, ‘me’ is the intersection of the offsets from all the axes – ‘me’ is not a ‘me’ anymore even if one axis is missed). “Whatever all is”, is my responsibility, my creation, my projection out of myself. There is no ‘other’ who assumes a vicarious responsibility for the things and protect ‘me.’ Such a stance does not arise out of arrogance; it is complete loss of the sense of a separate ‘me’ still looking for some reward – even that of liberation!
So true devotion has to be understood in this spirit. Sankara gives the definition for ‘devotion’ in Vivekachudamani. It is nothing other than ‘an enquiry into what is one’s own true form or ‘Self.’
But what Martin said was correct. sRshTi-dRsTi-vAda accommodates the usual sort of a higher power – loyal worshipper equation and dRsTi-sRshTi-vAda squarely shows that it is your perception that creates your bubble universe. Osama is as much (of) this world as Obama. No pick and choose as per the likes and dislikes of an individuating ‘me’ in Advaita.
[I happened to discuss here the Place of Bhakti in Advaita,]
(Enough of ammunition, I guess!)