Thoughts 108

108. A single सनन्त-pursuit can put an end to this यङन्त-cycle of life.

Another note on deep sleep, सुषुप्तिः।

In one of the discussions on examining the three states of existence अवस्थात्रयपरीक्षा some years back, I remember an interesting exchange. It just returned to my mind this morning and following is the blog about it.

At the end of every day we undergo an experience of नित्यप्रलयः, yet the one who slept, wakes up thinking that it is he who dreamt, he who experienced happiness and he who did not see/ know anything during deep sleep. This recollection of "not seeing/ knowing anything" is knowledge of lack of seeing/ knowing "during deep sleep". This is an important point to understand. This contrasts with the logic that says-- "since I don't recall anything, I must have not known anything". The being that went to sleep and the one that woke up, is the same one that was existing during deep sleep. He is the very witness of deep sleep, as he is in the other two states too.

The logic used otherwise comes from the question posed in the discussion I mentioned. I was asked as to why could it not be that the person commits to memory the last thought just before sleep and wakes to look it up and then concludes that he didn't know anything, while really being non-existent! This is pretty much what the क्षणिकवादः would be like. The logic here is likely fed by a computer engineering mind which thinks that a computer switched off wakes up to boot with its last known status thanks to the last commit to memory! While switched off, the program was not really existing then, was it? Such is the question.

Well, the software was very much embedded in the memory and existent just like the status data is. That is what unmanifest state is. However, the program that wakes up to refer to the last status is the same that slept and woke up. Without the program existing in between the boot down and boot up phases, that is, the continuous existence, there would be no knowledge of its last status. Else, the new unconnected program will not know what to make of the last status. If this were a data monitoring program that shutdown and woke up, the missing data in between is because it monitored nothing. Similarly, the conscious being has knowledge of not monitoring anything during deep sleep, because it was as existent as it is in the other two states, a topic of Mandukya Upanishad and a firm conclusion thereof.

नमः श्रीगुरुपादुकाभ्याम्।
ॐ तत् सत्॥


॥ हरिः ॐ ॥

In भजगोविन्दम्, भगवत्पादः says नहि नहि रक्षति डुकृञ्करणे। The word डुकृञ्करणे is a Paninian grammar word and hence, almost all texts interpret the phrase to mean that the grammar is not going to save you or lead to मोक्षः। However, Bhagavatpada being who He is, likely used this धातु, among thousands available, to drive home a more important point. The root talked about in डुकृञ्करणे is कृञ्/ कृ करणे meaning action/ कर्म।

The meaning of the phrase then becomes that कर्म is not going to lead to मोक्षः, thereby refuting ज्ञान-कर्म-समुच्चयः (action and knowledge together).

॥ ॐ तत् सत् ॥


हरिः ॐ॥

Yesterday, there was an example in class about the words "golden chain", which is the background for this blog entry.

When we think of these words in the regular parlance, we see that the word chain is the substantive while the word golden is the adjective that describes this chain. What is means is a chain or a necklace that is golden in hue, being made of gold. The fact, however, is quite to the contrary. If you remove that which adds the golden tinge to the chain, there will be nothing left to be called anything, much less a chain! Being made of gold, the chain gets not only its colour from it, but its very essence is gold. Ergo, gold that gave rise to the adjective describing the chain, considered the substantive, is the substance itself and chain is merely its name and form. The substantive has no existence as it is just नामरूपात्मक The chain depends completely upon, owes its existence to, gold; that is, gold is THE substance, nothing else exists.

Similarly, the world that we experience, inclusive of the body that we consider ourselves to be, is seen as the substantive, while truly it owes its existence to ब्रह्म। This world is नामरूपात्मक just like the chain and is therefore मिथ्या, whereas akin to gold, ब्रह्म is सत्यम्।

ॐ तत् सत्॥

Blogging back to life

हरिः ॐ॥

Although the title is based on one of my favourite Floyd songs, this is about the status of the blog. After a long laze from any blogging, I am planning to return to it. Hopefully, I will. :)

ॐ तत् सत्॥


Maya and its aspects.

It is said yA mA sA mAyA, meaning that that which is not, is Maya. But when not a negative definiton, Maya is said to be Ishvara's shakti or at other places, as a universal avidyA as seen in contrast to individual jIva avidyA. With the latter explanation, jIva is under the influence of avidyA while Maya is under the control of Ishvara. In further detail, Maya is described as having two aspects in the form of powers: AvaraNa (concealing) shakti and vikshepa (projecting) shakti. The AvaraNa conceals the svarUpa of brahman for the jIva, while the vikshepa projects this jagat. Under the influence of avidya, jIva dances with vikshepa jagat and goes through countless janma-mRtyu cycles. With these fundamentals in the background, I present a premise herewith: AvaraNa is the cause for vikshepa. How so?

Suppose a table upon which you place a thing known to you, but unknown to me. Further, you conceal it with an opaque cloth so that I can't see what it is, let alone know it. That is Ishvara's AvaraNa of brahman, causing jIva's ignorance of his own svarUpa. Then, whether or not you ask me, I start guessing and deluding what is it that is concealed underneath, based on what I consider to be its outward shape, giving rise to several forms. Those, I start naming as per my own association of things or such. Over a period of time or all at once, I'd end up projecting several things. That is Ishvara's vikshepa of jagat. In this play, someone pulls off the cloth or somehow the thing concealed is revealed to me. I'd suddenly lose the ignorance of the thing, gaining the knowledge of it. With that event, what would happen to all those deluded things projected? Or what would happen if you or I start discussing as to what all things it looks like? Nothing in particular would happen of the nature of ignorance again. I may still play along, but all the while having the knowledge of the thing revealed unto me and not get deluded with projections of different forms and names. Ergo, if Ishvara were not to use AvaraNa shakti to conceal my svarUpa, I'd never get deluded by his vikshepa shakti. In other words, you cannot tell me the truth and then make me believe in lies.

श्रीगुरुपादुकार्पणमस्तु ||

jIva in suShupti

There is a fundamental disagreement among some Advaita Vedantis as to what becomes of the jIva in suShupti. Bhagavatapada Shankaracharya says in bhAshya on Brahma Sutra 1.iv.18 so: "The general vedanta doctrine says that the jIva becomes one with the highest brahman in suShupti". Mandukyopanishat says the same thing by using words such as praj~nAnaghana or Gaudapadacharya's explanation of Anandaghana to the jIva becoming one with brahman. To my understanding, the people who object to this have turiyA as a separate fourth state in their mind, in contrast to the three states of waking (jAgRta), dream (svapna) and deep sleep (suShupti). However, turiyA is not really a state or the fourth quarter in Mandukyopanishat, but its that which makes the avasthAtraya One Whole, being in all the three states. That is, it remains in all three states as the substratum.

Lets rephrase that last statement and see that it means: brahman remains in all three states as the substratum. Bhagavatapada says in his most famous quotation "jIvo brahmaiva nA'parAH". Having made that statement, why is it then that suShupti gains a special focus in his Brihad bhAshya? Well, to understand that, we have to look into Mandukya kArikA and recall Bhagavatapada's introductory note of Brahma Sutra Bhashya (BSB). In the kArikA 11, Gaudapadacharya explains prAj~na (jIva in suShupti) to be conditioned by cause alone, not effect, while viSva (jIva in jAgRta) and taijasa (jIva in svapna) are conditioned by both cause and effect. The cause here is avidyA of one's own nature. The effect is jIva  _as_an_individual_  in the waking or dream worlds. In the introduction part of BSB, Bhagavatapada says that this (effect of) jIvatva, as an individual, is naisargika. Strictly speaking, that is exactly what makes a jIva. What else is a jIva without individuality? This has already been shown to have been mentioned  as jIvo brahmaiva nA'parAH. So suShupti being the case of jIva having no individuality, there is no jIvatva there to qualify the effective separation from brahman, and hence its so-quoted _becoming_one_with_brahman_. This is the reason why Mandukya mantra 5 calls prAj~na as praj~nAnaghana, a mass of consciousness and mantra 6 goes further to completion by saying that it is from him that all beings originate, being sarveSvara, the source of all.

However, there still remains a separate question as to what is that cause which prAj~na gets conditioned by? That is avidya, in seed form. Without this remaining, there would be no waking up from the deep sleep state for jIva. He would realize then and there. Even while being brahman in deep sleep, he doesn't know that he is brahman owing to this ignorance. Contrast this with avidyA in jAgRta and svapnAvasthA-s, which is not in seed form, but a full-blown tree, with jIvatva making a separate individual existence for jIva. jIva as viSva and taijasa, both, considers himself as an individual. The objectors ask as to how would prAj~na be one with brahman, while avidyA remains even in seed form? The answer to that is: just the way that brahman remains unaffected as brahman during pralayA, while holding avidyA of all the jIvas in seed form (for next cycle of creation). Else, if such a seed remains outside of brahman, that would go against a-dvaita itself and become dvaita!


Natural ruins

(Scribbled something yesterday, wanting to improvise later... no mood to do so anymore, so publishing it raw... including some made up title.)

When the ocean yells at us to talk
We prefer the beach for a walk
While the moon sends the tide,
We bother only to stand aside

The sun shines to show the care
Yet we have so much protection to wear
We've moved from eras of shades from tree
And into one where we fell them as we're free

Without the rains we'd have no water to drink
Taking them for granted we overflow the sink
There's no respect for nature around us
But for a little comfort, we make a huge fuss

We claim the animals too as domesticated
Only for opportune moments have we waited
Worse than viruses do we feed
On everything carelessly like weed

And oh, how we deny greater intelligence!
We surely didn't come along perchance
However selfish be the selfish gene
We humans will remain meanest of the mean.

Faster than the mind.

The mind is supposed to be the fastest known thing, though less understood. Ishavasya Upanishad talks of Atman as being faster than the mind so:

अनेजदेकं मनसो जवीयो नैनद्देवा आप्नुवन्पूर्वमर्षत् ।
तद्धावतोऽन्यानत्येति तिष्ठत्तस्मिन्नपो मातरिश्वा दधाति॥ ईशोपनिषत्  ४ ॥

Unmoving, It is one, faster than the mind. The senses cannot reach It, for It proceeds ahead. Remaining static It overtakes others that run. On account of Its presence, Matarsiva (the wind) conducts the activities of beings. (Translation by Vidyavachaspati V. Panoli)

In Bhimarupi Maruti stotram, Samartha Ramadas Swami says:

आणिला मागुती नेला आला गेला मनोगती
मनासि टाकिले मागे गतीसी तुळणा नसे
He brought it in and took it back, both with speed like mind; verily he surpassed the speed of mind, his speed has no comparison. (Translation by

The former shruti quotation shows that mind is the fastest known and Atman is the (only) one faster than that, while the latter stotra reference is a praise to Hanuman as being faster than the mind, meaning that Hanuman is Atman itself.

Now that we've established that short of Atman, mind is the fastest, lets see what this essentially means. In avasthAtrayA parIkshA, having understood that the Self is different from the various koshAs, most one can achieve is paroksha j~nAnA. For aparokshA j~nAnA to arise, there has to anubhUti of the Atman. However, while moving from one avasthA to another, most importantly from dream or deep sleep to waking state, the naisargika or natural tendency of the jIva is to get bound to dehAtma buddhi. All of us have experienced, at one time or another, that immediately upon waking up from deepest of sleeps, there exists a few moments of a lost feeling, a feeling where we know not where we are, what we are doing, etc. Then slowly it dawns upon us as to we are in such and such a place and thats it, all memory is regained in that instant, without needing further delving as to what exactly happened to us! Then goes on an outward planning of our day or what have you. However, those few moments, or truly fractions of a moment, is of utmost importance. Thats a sandhi. Thats when anything can happen; it holds immense potential to understand the infinite!!

Lets step back a bit. So what exactly happened when that memory flooded back on gathering back the geographical presence of ours? What we lost there is that even before "where am I?" existed a question as to "who am I?" That question slipped our dullard minds, habitually. We have, across janmAs, trained ourselves to forget the important question itself, let alone wanting to find the answer. What we realize, therefore, is that we couldn't place ourselves as to where we were and thankfully we regained it soon after. If we were to know that the we identified ourselves as this body and then the mind found that this body is placed somewhere geographically in the vast created space, we would know that there was some state prior to this binding, which is our sahaja stithi, true nature, au naturel! That tremendous potential exists right there! Simple!

Alas, that simplicity is extremely difficult to come by. I mentioned the ill training across countless lives. But herein, ties in the speed aspect of the mind. That binding is so fast, that of false identification of me and mine, that there is no tool available at our disposal which is faster than the mind to stall this process, or even slow it down. Here, Vedanta comes to the rescue, using tools as described in Sankhya philosophy. Sankhya says that the antahkaraNa manas itself is divided into manas, buddhi, ahaMkAra & chitta. The binding, quite a series of binding events, that happens is that of the ahaMkAra with the body, assisted by the thinking manas, chitta bringing forth the memories all at once and we get lost in this prapa~nca. Interestingly, that the buddhi or the intellectual aspect of the mind is still asleep and late to wake up is not an accident. Its created so and aged lazy by habit so as to keep the creation ticking! The sleeping intellect is what causes an almost insultingly dull feeling, so to say, since we have moved to analyze our sharpness with our alertness to this outward world. The fact is contrary to this. We ought to train ourselves back to reality. The trick lies in waking the intellect up earlier in the cycle so much so that the binding hasn't yet happened and never does happen! All our sAdhanA is really focused towards this singular goal, a complete end in itself, that of sharpening the intellect and training it against this binding taking place after which it has no control. Another way, sAdhanA can be understood as slowing down the pace of the mind from binding. The binding can be likened to an arrow being shot in the outward direction towards the world when the mind is out there to the point of no return, let alone changing direction in the opposite direction. The intellect waking up early can stop this outward arrow being shot, which means that the jIva remains in its essential state as the Atman.

श्रीगुरुपादुकार्पणमस्तु ||