This is a blog by a person who doesn't know who he is, what he does, why he does what he does, or what he doesn't do and why he doesn't do what he doesn't do! I think you get the drift... if you still decide to stay on, welcome; else, so long. :) Thanks!
dull-witted person goes to a doctor with a complaint of pain. Here's
how the conversation goes--
What seems to be the issue?
I have pain.
Where's the pain?
What do you mean by everywhere?
From head to toe.
Show me where all it hurts.
(starts by touching his finger on the head). It hurts here. (touches
the finger to his nose). Hurts here. (touches the finger to his
chest) hurts here. (touches his finger to the abdomen) hurts.
(touches the finger to his knees) hurts here and here. (touches his
finger to his feet) here and here too....
Stop, stop, stop. (holds the patient's finger).
(starts crying in pain) Aaaaa, oooooo, Ouch! That hurts a lot.
It doesn't hurt everywhere, you idiot... its your finger that is
this anecdote is something that we all may have heard. However, many
of us don't know that we are exactly like this dull-witted patient.
We blame all our problems to be with others, with the world outside,
unaware of the fact that all our problems are truly centred only
around us! The circumstances and things, behaviour of the people
around us, etc, make us uncomfortable. That discomfort of ours, in
relation to the thing, person, the world outside, is problematic to
us. We are unable to accept the things and people the way they are.
So the problem is centred on the individual. If we learn to accept
them, we realize there is no real problem at all! -- ॐ तत् सत्।
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.
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).
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 it 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।
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.
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!