What is Death – part 6 and final (metaphysics or spirituality – non- duality)

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Meditation

‘There is doubt concerning a man who has departed. Some say, “He is”, and others say, “He is not”. Taught by you [Yama, god of death], I would know this. This is the third of my boons’.

‘Do not, do not insist: release me from this’…. Choose a hundred years, sons and grand sons… elephants, gold, horses… Naciketas, enter a great realm of desires: I will make you the enjoyer of your desires… but do not ask me about dying’.

Naciketas, the young seeker, will have none of that.

‘Since you, Death, tell me it is not easily understood, and no one else can be found who can teach this as you can, there is no boon to equal this’.

…………………………………..

‘Yama continues: ‘The wise one [inner self] is not born, nor does it die. [Hidden in all beings] it is not from anywhere, nor was it anyone. Unborn, everlasting, eternal, primeval, it is not slain when the body is slain.’  Continue reading

Vision Of Truth (saddarshanam) – Part 12

विद्या कथम् भाति न चेदविद्या

विद्याम् विना किम् प्रविभात्यविद्या ।

द्वयम् च कस्येति विचार्य मूल

स्वरूप निष्ठा परमार्थ विद्या ॥—१२

vidyA katham bhAti na chedavidyA

vidyAm vinA kim pravibhAtyavidyA

dvayam cha kasyeti vichArya mUla

svarUpa niShThA paramArtha vidyA—12

 

विद्या कथम् भाति = how does knowledge shine? चेदविद्या = if there is no ignorance; विद्याम् विना = without knowledge; किम् प्रविभात्यविद्या = does ignorance shine; द्वयम् कस्येति = the two; विचार्य = having enquired; मूल स्वरूप = original nature; निष्ठा = abidance; परमार्थ विद्या = knowledge that ‘I am the self’

 

If there is no ignorance, how does knowledge shine? Without knowledge, does ignorance shine? And whose are the two? Having enquired thus, abidance in the original nature is the knowledge that ‘I am Atma’.

 

Everything in the universe is in duality. When one talks of happiness, it is a relative term, relative to sorrow. With respect to sorrow, we can say there is happiness. The term happiness has no meaning in the absence of sorrow. Light is opposed to darkness. It exists since darkness also exists. No darkness implies, there is no existence for light. This is the world of opposites, the world of duality. Joy-sorrow, victory-loss, peace-agitation, like-dislike, worry-security etc are some such antithetical couples. They mutually exist because of the other and have no meaning without the other.  Continue reading

upadesha sAhasrI part 12

Part 12 of the serialization of the  presentation (compiled by R. B. Athreya from the lectures given by Swami Paramarthananda) of upadesha sAhasrI. This is the prakaraNa grantha which is agreed by most experts to have been written by Shankara himself and is an elaborate unfoldment of the essence of Advaita.

Subscribers to Advaita Vision are also offered special rates on the journal and on books published by Tattvaloka. See the full introduction

Vision Of Truth (sad darshanam) – Part 11

 

द्व्वन्द्वानि सर्वाण्यखिलास्त्रिपुट्यः

किन्चित्समाश्रित्य विभान्ति वस्तु ।

तन्मार्गणे स्याद् गलितम् समस्तम्

न पश्यताम् सच्चलनम् कदापि ॥—११

 

dvandvAni sarvANyakhilAstripuTayaH = all dualities and triads; ki~nchit = some

(indescribable); samAshritya = due basis;  vibhAnti = appear; vastu = reality; tanmArgaNe =

when that is inquired into; syAd galitam samastam = (dualities and triads) all resolve;

na pashyatAm sachchalanam kadApi = there is no wavering for those who see the truth.

 

All dualities and triads appear due to some indescribable basis, which is the reality. When that is inquired into, all (dualities and triads) resolve. There is no wavering for those who see the truth.

 

Any appearance needs a basis to be experienced. For e.g., a rope snake in semi darkness, needs the substratum of either a rope, or a hose or a crack on the ground. In the absence of these, the snake will not be perceived. So also, a mirage needs a dry land and silver seen on nacre cannot be seen without it. All these, the snake, mirage and silver on the mother- of- the- pearl are not really existent, nor can they be called absolutely non-existent (since they can be experienced). They appear by borrowing their existence from the substratum. In other words they have dependent existence….no existence of their own.

To arrive at the truth, meaning to arrive at the basis of these appearances amounts to the appearances getting resolved. Once the rope is enquired into, the snake vanishes. The preconceived notions of, whether the snake was a cobra or not etc, will become irrelevant. Did the snake run away on gaining knowledge of the rope? The snake did not run away. The snake was an appearance. It is no longer seen as the truth. The enquiry into the basis resolves all wrong notions of reality given to appearances. Rope enquiry is not the same as snake enquiry.

So also, if one enquires into the world or the ego while being attached to them, one will not gain anything. It is the substratum that one has to enquire into. Many people get misled by the ‘who am I’ question. If one is overly attached to the body mind, the “who am I’ question is only going to give him material answers like; I am 6 ft tall, father of so and so etc. The enquiry is deeper than this; it is an enquiry into the very basis of the material existence.  Hence, enquiry into the self is enquiry into the substratum of the ego. That substratum has to be the reality.  Once that truth is known, the appearances of the world, body and mind are resolved. Do they disappear? Does a wise man see no world? A wise man does perceive a world. Just as we see the sun rise in spite of knowing that it actually does not rise, so also a wise man will see a world, will have a functional body and mind but will clearly know them to be unsubstantial.

 

Will the knowledge keep wavering? Will one face misery again? Knowledge once gained is permanent. The misery was born of ignorance. The appearances of duality and triads were taken as the reality. Post knowledge, the substratum is known as the reality. A wise person will never waver. He has gained a firm conviction of the truth as his own self. Though he transacts in the world, he can never regard it as real.

Review of article on Shankara – Part 6, and final

Maya

A tarka (reasoning, argumentation) is required for the analysis of anubhava, as both SSS and RB agree – consistent with Shankara’s position. That is, language and thought, needless to say, have a role to play, chiefly for exposition and analysis.

However, after two long, dense paragraphs RB contends: “If the tarka required to examine anubhava is itself completely dependent on ´sruti, then by no means is anubhava the ‘kingpin’ of pram¯an.as.”

Prior to this, SSS was quoted as maintaining that “for this unique tarka all universal anubhavas or experiences (intuitive experiences) themselves are the support.” The author states that this affirmation  involves circular  argumentation, and that to say that Shankara interprets the Vedas  as being consistent with anubhava is wrong, the truth being the opposite: anubhava is consistent with the Vedas: “it should be clear that according to Sure´svar¯ac¯arya, the direct realization is directly from just ´sruti itself, thus satisfying the criteria for it to be a pram¯an.a…. The direct realization of the self is from ´sruti alone.”  Continue reading

Vision Of Truth (sad darshanam) – Part 10

भवन्तु सद्दर्शन साधनानि परस्य नामाकृतिभिः सपर्याः ।

सद्वस्तुनि प्राप्त तदात्म भावा निष्ठैव सद् दर्शनमित्यवेहि ॥ —१०

सद्दर्शन् साधनानि = means to vision of truth; परस्य = of the absolute; सपर्याः = worship;

नामाकृतिभिः = with names and forms; भवन्तु = let them be; सद्वस्तुनि = in reality; प्राप्त

तदात्म भावा = where abidance is as – ‘It is Me’;  निष्ठैव = clear abidance alone;  सद्

दर्शनमित्यवेहि = know as the vision of truth.

 

Let the worship of names and forms of the absolute, be means to the vision of truth. Know that, as the vision of truth where the abidance is abidance as – ‘It is Me’.

 

The scriptures have given out many methodologies for one to arrive at the truth. There is a synthesis between religion and philosophy; so much so that, for a lay man; philosophy is difficult (next to impossible) to be digested without religion. Religion as an independent dogma does nothing in the spiritual growth of a person. A person will remain the same insecure, ignorant mortal if he does not mature religiously as thought progresses.

To suit the needs of all people who are not ready for a dose of metaphysics, we have karma yoga and upAsana. One is engaged in activities and uses the very same activities to purify the mind and gain focus. Continue reading

Vision Of Truth (sad darshanam) – Part 9

 

So far, we have seen that ‘I’ thought = ahankAra= ego = sentient mind = mind with reflected consciousness. The ‘I’ thought (ahankAra) knows itself (ahankAra). It  is always present in all experiences as ‘I’. ‘I thought’ remains the same. It is experienced as ‘I am’ ‘I am’, for e.g. “‘I’ know the book”, “‘I’ know the laptop”, “’I am fat” etc.

The ‘This-thoughts’ are thoughts corresponding to objects. ‘This-thought’ is variable, based on the object perceived.

Since these three are unreal, they are not eternal. They have a rising time and a disappearing time.

In the previous verse we saw that the world is dependent on the mind. This verse further elaborates it by stating the exact mechanism of the mind.

The world rises and disappears  along with the ego; meaning the ‘This-thought’ depends on the ‘I-thought’. In other words, only when there is the ‘I-thought’ can then there be the ‘this-thought’. When the ‘I-thought’ is resolved, the ‘This-thought’ also resolves.

Hence, the appearance and disappearance of the world depends on the ‘I’ thought (ego). This is explained in the first two lines of the verse. This can be understood by considering the daily experience of sleep. In deep sleep, the mind (ego) is resolved. The ahankAra is temporarily not here. As soon as one gets ip, the mind is activated, the ego is ignited in the form of ‘I’. the ‘This-thoughts’ follow after this. The ‘This-thought’ does not directly come. The ‘I-thought’ is invoked first. The activities in the world are begun after this. Again, as soon as one goes to sleep, the mind is resolved and the the ego is not there temporarily. The ego gone, the world also does not exist. Hence, the world (this-thought) depends on the ego (‘I-thought’).

What then is the real ‘I’? We know that ‘I-Thought’ is not real, since it depends on consciousness. The mind has the ‘I-thought’ by the blessing of the consciousness otherwise it is inert matter. The origin of the ‘I-thought’ is in the mind , which is unreal. Hence, ‘I-thought’ is unreal, its origin being unreal and it being the kind which rises and sets.

The third line of the verse says that the real thing (self) is the substratum for the birth and death of the world (‘This-thought’) and the ego (‘I-thought’). The mind rises and resolves int eh basis, the self. Hence the world and ego finally depend on the Atma. everything rises, in the self, is sustained in the self and resolves in the self. The ego, the ‘I’ thought, the ‘this’ thought and the objects are all unreal. They are mere words with no substance, since, the basis is the self and they have no existence apart from the self.  The clay pot, the clay saucer, the clay plate, the clay spoon are nothing but clay. The forms are incidental. There is nothing but clay. So also, the mind and world are mere appearances. The truth is the self. The consciousness in which all these shine alone is the truth.

The self is further explained as one, whole which has not birth and decay. The real thing has to be one since otherwise it would be finite. It has to be infinite and hence the whole. Being so, it has to be birth-less and decay-less meaning changeless. If it changes, it cannot be eternal.

The substratum on which the world, mind and its functions rise and set is the self. All except the substratum are unreal. The only truth is the basis behind the play.

The important lesson learnt in this verse is that not only should the world be negated as unreal but even the ego has to be included in the same category.

Vision Of Truth (sad darshanam) – Part 8

dhiyA sahodeti dhiyAstameti

lokastato dhI pravibhAsya eshaH

dhI loka janma kshaya dhAma pUrNam

sadvastu janma ksaya shUnyamekam—9

 

eshaH = this; lokaH = world; dhiyA = with ahankAra; sahodeti = rises;  dhiyA = ahankAra; 

astameti = disappears;tataH = therefore; dhI = ahankAra; pravibhAsya = illumined; dhI = 

ahankAra; loka = world; janma kshaya = birth and decay; dhAma = substratum; pUrNam = 

whole;sadvastu = real thing; janma ksaya shUnyam = free from birth and decay; ekam = one.

 

This world rises and sets with the ahankAra (ego). Therefore, this world is illumined by the ‘I-thought’. The real thing (reality, truth) is the substratum for the birth and decay of ‘I-thought’ and world; the real thing is one; free from birth and decay.

 

The word ahankAra (ego) is often misunderstood. In normal parlance, it means pride. It does not carry the same meaning in vedanta. Vedantically, ahankAra means the individuality, the notion of finitude. Continue reading

Vision Of Truth (sad darshanam) – Part 7

shabdAdi rUpam bhuvanam samastam

shabdAdisattendriya vRRitti bhAsyA

sattendriyANAmmanaso vashe syAt

manomayam tad bhuvanam vadAmaH

 

shabdAdi rUpam = of the form of sound etc;  bhuvanam = world; samastam = entire; 

shabdAdisatta = the existence of sound etc; indriya = organs;  vRRitti = functions;

bhAsyA = illumined;sattA = existence; indriyANAm = of the sense organs; manaso = of

the mind; vashe  = control; syAt = is; manomayam = made of mind;  tad = (here tad=

tasmAt) therefore;  bhuvanam = world;  vadAmaH = we say.

 

The entire world is of the form of sound etc. the existence of sound etc is illumined by the functions of the organs. The existence of sense organs is in the control of the mind. Therefore, we say that the world is made of the mind.

The entire world and the whole gambit of transactions that take place within it are but divided only into five categories viz. sound, sight, smell, taste and touch. There cannot be any transaction beyond these five divisions. The world is rightly called prapa~ncha – a division into five categories (pa~ncha means five). The world therefore is five -fold based on the five sense organs. Continue reading

Vision Of Truth (sad darshanam – Part 6)

sarUpa budhirjagatIshvare cha

sarUpa dhIrAtmani yAvadasti

arUpa Atma yadi kaH prapashyet

sA dRRiShtirekA anavahirhi pUrNA

 

sarUpa budhiH = the notion they  have a form; jagatIshvare cha = in the world

and Ishvara; sarUpa dhIH = notion that Truth has a form; Atmani = in one self;

yAvat = as long as; asti = is there; arUpa Atma = if self iswithout form; yadi = if

(one has knowledge); kaH = who;  prapashyet = sees; sA dRRiShtiH = that

vision; ekA  = alone; anavadhiH  = infinite; hi = indeed; pUrNA = full

 

As long as, in oneself one has the notion of being with form, i.e. as long as one is identified to the body mind, so long, the world and Ishvara also will be considered to be with form.  If the self is without form, who sees? That vision, indeed is infinite and full.

 

It is the identification with the body which gives rise to different notions about oneself and the world. If one considers oneself limited to the body and mind then, naturally, the world and Ishvara are separate from him. Being separate, they are then limited and hence with form. So, a person having the wrong notion of oneself being the body will see a world which is limited.
Continue reading