We get admitted into it when we are afflicted by the “Disease” called “ajnAna” (i.e. ignorance of Knowing what we are in truth – disembodied brahman). This disease manifests with many symptoms – unique to each patient. There is no other place in the whole Universe where one can work to rid oneself from his/her disease.
There are many specialists, doctors, nurses, ward boys and so on to help the patients to administer a medicinal antidote suitable for each so that they may get rid of their disease. But each patient has to take his/her medicine. Just looking at others or listening to the talks of their caregivers and wishes of their well-wishers will not work, however beautiful may be the doctors or however enthralling their words and blessings may be. Howsoever superhuman a patient may imagine the caregivers to be, they are still a part of the Hospital only.
After all, none has really lost his/her health! Everyone is eternally Healthy (swasthata). But that health got “infected.” None need to acquire “Health.” Each patient just has to lose ‘the infection.’ His/her normal health will automatically be back and s/he gets discharged (liberated) from the Hospital. One cannot cleverly manipulate a discharge, for, one surely comes back to the Hospital with a more severe relapse of the disease!
Yes, the entire superstructure of the edifice of Advita Vedanta is built on three words –‘Substance, Substratum and Show (or Appearance).’ These three words are very basic to its logic. All further development of its concepts, definitions and finer and more complex definitions of the doctrine depend on what the trio of words – Substance, Substratum and Show (or Appearance) – conveys.
Therefore, it is of utmost necessity that a student of Advaita should first have a clear and unambiguous grasp of what these words (or rather their equivalents in the original Sanskrit language) mean. Even a hair width of lack of clarity in understanding these three innocently looking words can lead to disproportionately disastrous misconceptions and misinterpretations of what Advaita is all about!
Let us first look at what any simple English dictionary gives the meaning of these three words to be. Starting there will help us appreciate better what the Sanskrit equivalents connote and how an aura of technicality surrounds those words when we use them in Advaita Vedanta. Continue reading →
The Post on “The ‘I-am-realized’ Delusion – 5” said, quoting Shankara, towards its end, that “Disembodiedness is the intrinsic nature of Atman” and that is liberation.
अशरीरता हि आत्मनः स्वरूपम् । — Shankara at 8.3.4, chAndogya.
The immediate question that arises then is “How to be disembodied?”
Before we answer this question, it is necessary to be absolutely clear in our mind about who is asking this question and why. If the question is being asked on behalf of the body and the reason for asking is to get rid of the miseries, sorrows and pains that the body undergoes in the world, well, Advaita in general and disembodiment in particular, is not the solution.
Does it mean that the body’s problems of disease, decay, hunger, destitution cannot be solved at all? One cannot say “No.” However, one has to look for some other routes to achieve that. But those routes will not lead one to ‘Liberation’ – freedom from being born in the world. Continue reading →