रज्जुसर्प rope-snake



Today morning, I was thinking about प्रक्रियाभेद in Vedanta and how each one is so meticulously made to lead one to the non-dual truth, whether by Shruti or by commentators of the tradition. I was planning to jot down something about a साध्वी प्रक्रिया as a quotation, but I am happy to close the day with the same thought via this blog entry, thanks to an occasion that arose a while back. There was an interesting explanation I was subject to about the रज्जुसर्प rope-snake example and what is the point to be taken home from that. That one fears from a snake superimposed or projected subjectively on an existent rope is an example for निवृत्ति from the world. This example contrasts the प्रवृत्ति towards the world indicated by another example of शुक्तिरजक appearance of silver in nacre. Interestingly, some say that these examples do not serve any further purpose in explaining creation and therefore best left alone, although the tradition is said to use these for the latter! 

Now, instead, clay-pot is talked about in Shruti itself and it best explains creation. True, but so is rope-snake! Bhashyakara is well-known to quote ideas that are covered across various Shrutis and this includes examples of रज्जुसर्प many a time. It is, therefore, no surprise to me that the रज्जुसर्प examples are dealt with for explaining creation itself in the following Upanishads themselves: Niralamba, Yogakundalini, Tejobindu, Rudrahridaya, Nirvana, Nadabindu, Katharudra, Atmabodha, Atma, Annapurna, all part of authentic 108 Upanishads, commented by Upanishad Yogendra, needless to mention that Karikakara used the example very fruitfully to serve a great purpose. 

This brings us to the प्रक्रियाभेद। One shouldn't restrict oneself to one example of one प्रक्रिया and map everything under the sun on to it. The pot-clay example is undoubtedly a great example in शृष्टिदृष्टिवाद, but rope-snake is the best fit for दृष्टिसृष्टिवाद। Throwing this example out would be throwing the baby with the bath water, since there would go a gem of a प्रक्रिया, praised by great stalwarts of Vedanta such as Vidyaranyacharya, Appayya Dikshita, Madhusudhana Sarasvati and Prakashananda. And of course, the entire Mandukya Upanishad uses this very प्रक्रिया, leading the Karikakara to use the rope-snake example in two of His verses.

The following verse about प्रक्रियाभेद should be well understood and remembered for one's own successful pursuit of the goal.

यया यया भवेत् पुंसां व्युत्पत्तिः प्रत्यगात्मनि।
सा सैव प्रक्रिया साध्वी विपरीता ततोऽन्यथा ॥ 


श्रीधरपादुकाभ्याम्।
ॐ तत् सत्।

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