adhikArah – fitness

Verses 795 – 818, Chapter 39,  in sarva vedAnta siddhAnta sAra sangrahah (The Essence of Entire Vedanta Theory in Brief) of Shankaracharya deal with adhikArah of the spiritual aspirant.  Though the word “adhikArah”  has several meanings like authority, right, privilege, position, prerogative &c &c, it is taken in this context to denote fitness or eligibility of the seeker. IMHO, “acuity” of the intellect is more important. Selected verses quoted here:

अध्यारोपापवादक्रममनुसरता देशिकेनात्र वेत्रा वाक्यार्धे बोध्यमाने सति सपदि सतः  शुद्धबुद्धेरमुष्य ।

नित्यानन्दाद्वितीयं निरुपममलं यत्परं तत्वमेकम् तद् ब्रह्मैवाहमस्मीत्युदयति  परमाखण्डताकारवृत्तिः ॥   — 797

(Meaning:  No sooner the meaning of the mahAvAkya (‘That thou art’) is made known to the aspirant by the teacher, who follows the method of superimposition and of negation, than there arises in the man of pure intellect that supreme mental modification which  knows no change, and he realizes: “I am that Brahman who is of the nature of eternal Happiness, Non-dual, incomprehensible, untainted, the One Supreme Reality.”)
अखण्डाकारवृत्तिः सा चिदाभाससमन्विता ।
आत्माभिन्नं परं ब्रह्म विषयीकृत्य केवलम् ॥                   —  798
(Meaning:  The  indivisible pure Consciousness makes Itself manifest in all that It reflects upon. It permeates everything. Because brahman is not other than Atman, it follows that it is only by means of brahman that the veil of avidya is lifted.)
श्रुत्योदितस्ततो ब्रह्म ज्ञेयं बुद्धयैव सूक्ष्मया ।
प्रज्ञामान्द्यं भवेद्येषां तेषां  न श्रुतिमात्रत: ॥                  —  808
(Meaning: brahman should, therefore, be known by the acute intellect. But those persons, whose understanding is limited, cannot directly attain that mental attitude merely by listening to what the shruti says. Such persons should recollect in mind what the shruti says and meditate upon it.)
स्यादखण्डाकारवृत्तिर्विना तु मननादिना
श्रवणान्मननाद्ध्यानातात्पर्येण निरन्तरम् ॥                      — 809
(Meaning: It is only by constantly listening to and reflecting on as well as by meditating upon what the shruti says, that the intellect becomes endowed with the power of ascertaining that which is subtle. It is only then that the Reality is known.)
बुद्धे: सूक्ष्मत्वमायाति ततो वस्तूपलभ्यते ।
मन्दप्रज्ञावतां तस्मात्करणीयं पुनः पुनः ॥                         — 810

(Meaning: That supreme reality is attained only by means of the sharp intellect. Those who are lacking in intellectual sharpness should therefore repeatedly do (hear and meditate over what the shruti says in order to attain the True Knowledge.))

adhikAritva – Graduate Quals !?

Whenever I hear of ‘adhkAritva’, I am reminded of the ‘Graduate Quals’ or Prelims in the North American Universities.

Every aspiring candidate for Grad studies  has to cross these  nightmarish (for some) mandatory ‘hurdles on the course’ in order to “to continue studies at a higher level, and/or allow the student to comprehend his/her studies and see how prepared they are for the looming” super-knowledge he/she will earn.

In India, I understand, that such Prelims are introduced for admission of even Nursery class students by some elite schools to filter the mad rush of applications from the parents seeking the entry of their wards into the portals of those exclusive repositories of wisdom.

Perhaps there is a reason for all such uncanny devices of regulation and control where an ‘organized educational program’ requiring an approved Governmental Accreditation is involved

But for imparting the simple teaching that, at its core, says you are already that ‘nitya suddha buddha mukta‘ which you seek to know, do we have to have these mandatory regulations?

In fact it is said in spiritual matters that there is no teaching unless a question is asked. And it is equally true that there cannot be a fixed  teaching cast in a rigid framework of curriculum because the teaching has to be molded as a melodious tune in a waltz-like dance with the spiritual aspirant’s questions. There cannot be ‘institutionalization.’

After all, it is not about running the ‘business’ of “teaching shops” with product guarantees in a market environment. The spiritual Seekers these days come with a maturity of brain and having had varied experience in the phenomenal world. They come (mostly) with open minds to ‘question’ and are courageous to be irreverent (not impertinent).  These are not like the students in the good old ancient days when a ‘brahmachari’ is sent away to the ‘Gurukula’ at the tender age of 7-10 when even the brain cells of the kid have not yet matured, basic knowledge skills and analytical acumen are not yet learnt and the lad had to be educated even in the three R’s. Enormous times are spent in preparing their wavering child-minds to develop focus and attention, deductive and inductive logic, discrimination and discretion etc. Do we need to repeat all that on a 30 or 40 or 50 or whatever age person?

All that the advaita teaching talks  about is deconstructing the belief structures of the seeker. If the belief is in ego, egolessness is the teaching. If the belief is a hidden feeling in the nooks and corners of the body or mind, the teaching has to shine light to illuminate those hidden quarters.

On another note, it has to be said that the programs for ‘training trainers’ have perhaps a greater need for implementing stricter eligibility criteria.  The reasons are obvious. The prospective teachers have a responsibility not to mislead the eager seeker, should be able to maintain the pristine purity and integrity of the essence of the message and so on.

So steps to regulate them will hopefully help in curbing the mushrooming growth of the ‘industry’ of spiritual teaching being run on MNC marketing models, self-perpetuating their own authority and ‘brand development’ through their “Quals.”

The Male Chauvinist Pig in Us!


Varaha avatar – Vishnu’s Incarnation as a Boar

vivekacUDAmaNi is a famous text on advaita teaching, usually  ascribed to Shankara. The very first verse, after the formal salutation for auspiciousness, speaks of the rarity to be born as a male human being. It says:

jantUnAm narajanma durlabham atah pumstvam tato vipratA …

(For all beings, the human birth is difficult to obtain; much more so is a male body; rarer than that is brahminhood…)

Now we have genetic support!

Dr. E.M. McCarthy, a Georgia University geneticist, comes up with a controversial new hypothesis of humans evolution. He says that the genetic evidence overwhelmingly suggests that we are a rare cross between  a male Pig and a female Chimp.

Can 48/2 of Chimps chromosomes + 38/2 of pig = 46 of a man? Well, don’t ask such silly math questions. Who  can remember  what happened after all over 80 million years ago?

So Sitara, Dhanya and Meenakshi, Don’t blame us if we are boastful of ourselves!

(If you are more curious see: