The Ghost of Bharcchu

SarvajnatmanSarvajnatman, a well-reputed advaita Acharya of the 9th-10th century, was the author of samkshepa shArIraka.  As the title indicates, this book is a brief presentation of Sankara’s sUtra bhAshya in four chapters corresponding to the four adhyAya-s of the brahma sUtra-s.

Sarvajnatman sums up the essential nature of brahman in ten words. They are:

nityasuddha, buddha,  mukta, satya,  sUkshmasatvibhuadvitIya and Ananda

(eternal, pure, knowing, free, true, subtle, existent, auspicious, without a second and infinite (or happy)).

advaita teaches that you and brahman are one and the same. You being already brahman, the above ten words, therefore, describe you also. That means you, yourself, are Happiness.  So Happiness should be known to you like you know the back of your hand. You do not have to search for or attain Happiness.

But an enigmatic question arises: Okay, I know that I am already eternally existing, knowing and  ever happy brahman.  How come I don’t I know the Happiness which should be present right here? What ghost of an obstruction would block me from feeling it, from seeing it?

The shAstra replies: Oh, Yea, something like the Ghost of Bharcchu can cripple you from seeing the very things that are right in front of you!

“The Ghost of Bharcchu?  What’s that?,” you ask in wonderment.

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Knots and Kinks In The Way Of Knowing The Truth

The Non-dual teaching is quite simple, straightforward and very clear.

The brihadAraNyaka upanishad encapsulates it succinctly:

neha nAnAsti kincana      —     4. 4.19    

(No distinctions whatsoever exist here)              

The IshAvAshya upanishad expresses the same in a different way

ishAvAsyamidagm sarvam      —  mantra 1

(All this (universe) is pervaded by the Lord (= brahman))

advaita says that that there is no multiplicity here. Whatever exists is all Oneness. This Oneness does not give scope for a second thing to arise within it. It is so Absolute and Alone. If anyone sees a multiplicity of things, such an appearance to the eye of the beholder is merely an illusion arising out of the ignorant stance taken by him/her.  The word “ignorant” is not used in any pejorative sense. It simply means that the seer has ignored the truth. The upanishad even cautions that one goes from death to death if he misses to see the Oneness. By that the scripture is telling us that suffering and misery are inevitable for one who ignores this plain Truth of Oneness. Continue reading