Bhgavad Gita (Topic-wise) Part 3

                                                                                                                    Part 2

                                                                                                                    Part 4

4 Isvara

4-1 Avatara 4(1 to 9,14)
Though the main theme of the Gita is jnana yoga, Sri Krishna introduces the topic of Avatara, which is a unique concept in Vedic tradition. He wants to say, nay to remind Arjuna that He is an incarnation (Avatara) of God and has descended on earth to impart the (Vedic) teaching, which is very ancient, as old as creation. The teaching is eternal and cannot be out of date. In the process, He describes the history of the teaching. It was imparted to Lord Sun who gave it to Manu who taught it to Ikshavaku. It is kshatriya tradition different from Brahmin tradition. Sri Krishna and Arjuna are kshatriyas. The royal sages possessed the knowledge handed down from generation to generation. Due to the long passage of time, it was lost in the world. He is giving this teaching to Arjuna as he is a friend and a devotee and through him, this highest and secret teaching will be revived because the purpose of Avatara is to protect the teaching and the humanity. When Arjuna queries that Sri Krishna’s birth is much after the sun, it is clarified that as an Avatara He has many births, and He knows all the births whereas a human being does not know. His birth is different from a human birth. Continue reading

Tat Pada Vicāra – 4. Īśvara – Dharma manifest

DharmaEverything that there is, is īśvara. That is why we can invoke mahāgaṇapati  in a small mound of turmeric and even worship a milestone as īśvara. For us, trees, rivers, mountains, pillars, vāyu, ākāśa, bird, insect, snake, anything and everything is īśvara.

Though there are many Hindu’s who might not understand the philosophy, ask even a supposedly illiterate villager as to where God is, and prompt will come his reply “God is everywhere”. It is only the Hindu religion where all its practices have arisen from its underlying philosophy.

There are a number of philosophies, both in the past and the present, from the west, such as those of Aristotle, Socrates, Satre, Descarte etc. which are not religions; there are religions such as the Abrahamic, actively practised and proselytized, which do not have any meaningful philosophy behind them. That we are able to worship īśvara in every form, conceivable and inconceivable, is an example of applied philosophy practiced as religion.

We do not worship idols. We worship īśvara who is form manifest. We are not mere form worshippers. We worship the formless, on whom all the forms are superimposed. How can anyone worship the formless? The formless is to be understood as the truth and the substratum. The forms are the one that can be worshipped.

There are theologies that say there is one God. The problem with this thinking is which or whose “One God” is the true God. Everyone lays claims to their own God as the real, ultimate, and final one. It is this issue that has been plaguing the world. It is in the name of this issue that millions were persecuted in the past, and massacres are being committed currently.

We do not subscribe to this view of one God. We say there is ONLY God. All that there is, is only God; because he is the upādāna kāraṇa of this entire jagat.  kāryaṁ sakartṛkaṁ kāryatvāt ghaṭavat. Therefore, all that is experienced is God indeed; even the experiencer is God, for there is nothing other than God.

This jagat, which is īśvara sṛṣṭi, so purposefully and well created, functions in an orderly manner. There are a number of orders that govern the functioning of the world. Let is look at some orders in order to understand yet another dimension of īśvara.

  • The Physical Order – There is an order that exists in nature in the form of physical laws; for example, the intrinsic nature of fire is heat and light – and fire burns anything that comes in contact with it, irrespective. We say fire burns, but think about it, is it fire that burns? The Law of Gravity works, irrespective of who or what falls. The sunrise, the seasons, the rains, its failure, everything works within īṣvara’s order.
  • The Physiological Order – whatever we eat is digested and absorbed by the digestive system, taken to various parts of the body by the circulatory system, the waste thrown out by the excretory system, food converted into reproductive power by the reproductive system, and requisite oxygen continously supplied by the respiratory system.
  • The Emotional Order – emotions such as anger are within the emotional order of īśvara. Anger is a reaction and not an action – no one can consciously become or remain angry – if you don’t believe me, try and be angry for the next 30 secs – you will find yourself smiling rather than angry. Even desire is within the order of īśvara. These reactions cannot be controlled, but they can be managed – we shall see the monumental implications of these truths later in the series.
  • The Social Order – ahimsā – non-injury – our scriptures say ahimsā paramo dharmaḥ – non-injury is the foremost of all dharmas – everyother dharma arises from this basic dharma – no one wants to be hurt including animals; but it is only humans that do not want to hurt others, atleast that is the expectation from them. varṇāśramadharma, as prescribed by the scriptures, is an excellent system that takes competition out of the equation, thereby making everyone a contributor rather than a competitor.

īśvara is the very order manifest in the jagat. In the light of this vision, everyone in the world, everything that happens, all stand validated. There is no one to blame, there is nothing to feel guilty about.

I would like to draw the attention of the readers to a very important difference between our vision and other religions. While the others consider dharma as the mandate of īśvara, we consider dharma as the very īśvara manifest. dharma as God’s mandate, is open to (mis)interpretation. dharma as God manifest, is to be understood and abidbed by. This means we are always within īśvara. If it has happened, it is within īśvaras order, irrespective of whether we consider what happened as just or not.

Eka jIva VAda – I Am Alone: Part VI

Part – V

Understanding Perception:

We don’t ever see or experience a ‘world.’

Our capacity to detect anything  is confined to a limited bandwidth of certain characteristics (in a so-called world) using our sensory organs:

                       Eyes      →   light, colors, shapes, distances, sizes

                       Ears         sounds, distance

                       Skin       →  heat, pressure, itch, softness, roughness

                       Nose      →  smells

                       Tongue   →  taste

                       Mind (?)   time, imagining (thinking)

[Note: 1. The normally held view about our senses as given above is valid only in a broad way.  Modern scientific research shows that quite a bit of collaborative overlap exists in their actual functioning.  For example, eyes and skin also have a role in hearing;  nose and ears (and even lungs) assist the tongue in tasting etc. Embodiment takes place from multi-sensory input.

2.  Notice that we are not endowed with any sensory organ to detect ‘time.’]

Continue reading

Tat Pada Vicāra – 1 – Sṛṣṭi – Creation

CreationIn the previous article, I had said that īśvara and jīva have to be understood in their entirety in order for us to understand the mahāvākya, tat tvaṁ asi. Over the next few articles, we will attempt to have a fuller understanding of who īśvara really is.

The most important understanding of īśvara is his dimension of being the abhinna nimmitta upādāna jagat kāraṇam. Its means the one who is the non-different intelligent and material cause of the jagat. Continue reading

Eka jIva VAda – I Am Alone: Part V

Part – IV

This Post responds to the Comments of 18th April made by Suka.

(Suka’s Comment in blue and my response in black).

S:  Mithya is defined as sadasadbhyām vilakṣaṇam – meaning it cannot be categorically classified as truth or false. Mithya is vyāvahārika, experientially efficient, substantially unreal. 

R:   vyAvahArika and prAtibhAsika fall under mithya.  Both vyAvahArika and prAtibhAsika are experienced in their respective spheres, and both derive their reality based on the Reality of the immutable substratum. Dr. Mani Dravid Shastri also suggests in his lectures on adhyAsabhAshya that, “mithya can be divided into two categories, namely vyAvahArika or empirical and prAtibhAsika or illusory.”

S:  The argument tat pot is an illusion does not hold water, because pot does hold water.

R:  “Holding water” too is as much an illusion as pot or water!!

Continue reading

Eka jIva VAda – I Am Alone: Part IV

Part – III

This Post is once again in continuation to the discussions on my earlier Posts.

I shall try to answer the questions and clarify on some of the conceptual issues raised by our esteemed Colleague Suka in his Comments of the 15th of April.

That we have to necessarily use words to express ourselves is pretty obvious. But the words come with their own baggage especially when we use them in contexts that are non-quotidian and are hence liable to be understood or misunderstood in unintended terms. Therefore, it looks to me that I should begin with clarifying the meaning of some of the words, and many a time, this by itself, will have the potential to resolve some of the pending confusion.

Suka observed, inter alia, in his comments of the 15th April:

I)   “Traditionalists (do not) consider neither māṇḍūkya bhāṣya nor vivekacūḍāmaṇi as authentic works of śaṅkara for this very reason.” [I guess “do not” is a typo.] Continue reading