Prostrations to AMMA and to everyone in the forum.
We have discussed till now the qualifications needed for a seeker to apprehend the truth of ultimate reality. Sankaracharya now explains that after acquiring sadhana chatustayam it is a duty of a
person to analyze the world and the cause of the world and to know about himself. In the following slokas we shall see the nature of the enquiry to be done by a seeker of truth.
notpadyate vinaa GYaana.n vichaareNaanyasaadhanaiH .
yathaa padaarthabhaana.n hi prakaashena vinaa kvachit.h
Meaning: A person might possess the qualities of sadhana chatustayam, but inspite of that, if he doesn’t do an analysis of the truth in the world, he cannot gain knowledge.
As an object cannot be seen without light, so also one cannot gain knowledge without analysis of the nature of the world.
Explanation: This sloka summarizes the qualifications sankaracharya speaks about and also the vichara or analysis which is essential for a seeker, only through which lot of questions arise in his mind and he becomes desperate to know the truth and thus gets the knowledge of the ultimate reality.
A person should perform austeries like tapa ,japa and have devotion to the lord . He should equip himself with the sadhana chatustayam of vivekam,viaragyam ,6 fold qualities of “shama,dama,uparathi,titiksha, shradhha,samadhnam “ and mumukshutvam.
Mind would not be wandering around the objects of the world, It would be calm and ready for acquiring the knowledge and understanding it. Many times we feel that we have understood concepts better after we have read it couple of times. This means we couldn’t grasp it in the very first attempt. This is because of the lack of understanding and lack of focussed mind. To apprehend something beyond mind and intellect, we should be even better equipped. Hence sadhana chatustayam is very essential for a seeker.
With a calm mind a person should try to analyze the nature of the world. This is called vichara. To get answers to questions a seeker would approach the Guru. Thus it paves way to gain knowledge.
As without illumination one cannot perceive objects, so also questioning himself and the world a person cannot gain knowledge.
ko.aha.n kathamida.n jaata.n ko vai kartaa.asya vidyate .
upaadaana.n kimastiiha vichaaraH so.ayamiidR^ishaH ..
Meaning: Who am I? How is the world created? Who has created the world? What is the material cause of the world? This is the nature of questions that would follow.
Explanation: These are the questions which when aroused in the mind of the seeker would lead him to gain of the knowledge of ultimate reality. These questions are like the seeds for the plant to sprout. These are the results of vichara. Slokas 12th to 15th deals with the questions and the answers.
One should first question about himself. Who am I?.This would reveal to himself the nature of the atman which sankaracharya explains in coming slokas.
The next question should be about the world. How is the world created and who is responsible for the creation of it, and with what material has it been created? Knowing that he is the atman or the consciousness wouldn’t answer the troubles a person faces in the world, the sorrows he is inflicted with due to the likes and dislikes. This helps to remove the dual nature of the world.
Every creation has 2 causes the upadana karanam and the nimitta karanam. The first is the material cause. Like for a mud pot , the upadanam or material cause is mud . The upadanam karanam is the insentient cause. Nimitta karanam or the efficient cause of the pot is the potter, similarly the efficient cause of the world is questioned here.
naahaM bhuutagaNo deho naaha.n chaakshagaNastathaa .
etadvilakshaNaH kashchidvichaaraH so.ayamiidR^ishaH
Meaning: I am not made of the pancha bootas, nor am I the sense organs, but I am the witness .
Explanation:The first question as part of vichara i.e “Who am I? “ is answered in this sloka. Am I the body? Or am I the sense organs ,the panchendriyas of taste,touch etc.? Or am I the antahkarana of mind,intellect,ego and memory? Or am the jeeva, which experiences 3 states each day, of waking, dream state and deep sleep state.
So we are not the body which is made of the pancha bhootas of air,water,fire etc. we see that people loose their hands,legs in accidents,but still they are alive, hence we are not the body.
We are also not the sense organs or the bahi karana and the antah karana of mind intellect etc. People do survive without eyes or without being able to see objects in the world. They also survive when their intellect is not proper. So we are not the antah and bahi karana’s.
We experience 3 different states of dream, waking state and deep sleep state. In each state we have a different body, which are mutually exclusive. Thus we are witness of these states.
Thus through this process of negation we arrive at the conclusion that we are the witness of every action that is performed by us. As the sun is the witness to the actions performed in the world, but still remains uninvolved in them, so also we are the brahman the reason why the activities could be performed. It’s a mere witness and remains untainted/unaffected by the actions performed.
aGYaanaprabhava.n sarva.n GYaanena praviliiyate .
sa.nkalpo vividhaH kartaa vichaaraH so.ayamiidR^ishaH
Meaning: Ignorance is the cause of the world. With knowledge alone the ignorance is removed. The world is created by thoughts.
Explanation: The slokas 14,15 deal with the nature of the world.
In answer to the question of how the world is created? Or the indirect cause of the world, the authors answers that the world is the result of ignorance .
As darkness is expelled through knowledge, so also with knowledge that the world is illusion,that it seems to exist and never existed, the world would vanish . That which is created also would be destroyed, so the world which is created will be destroyed.So it seems to exist for a short span of time, but it never really exists.
This doesn’t mean a person with knowledge doesn’t behold the world, but it means that he remains a witness to the activities of the world and never would be effected by the world. He always remains blissful.
When the knowledge of “Brahma satyam jagan mithya, jeevo brahmaiva na paraha” dawns on a person all the sufferings , the duality of the world vanishes. When we see a rope and imagine it to be snake, we are filled with anxiety and fear. Once we realize that its just a rope, the very next moment all our anxiety and fear vanish. Similarly a person having knowledge of the ultimate truth always rejoices and is ever blissful.
As an answer to the question of who has created the world? Or the direct cause of the world, the author answers that world is created by thoughts of the mind.
This doesn’t mean that when a person doesn’t have thoughts the world seizes to exist. As jeevan mukta’s have some thoughts but for them the world doesn’t exist. So here by thoughts we mean that only due to the thought that the world is permanent , the world is created. Thoughts are the cause of sorrow as we all know well. These thoughts are due to desires, desires for objects of the world is due to the ignorance of the impermanence of the world. We run after the objects of the world and think about them as we are ignorant. Thus we create the world.
Once we gain knowledge and conviction, we cannot have desire as we know that the world is impermanent and would lead only to sorrow.
Mind is maya or illusion. Mind through thoughts creates the world. One who has control over the mind can alone realize his self.
etoyaryadupaadaanameka.n suukshma.n sadavyayam.h .
yathaivamR^idghaTaadiina.n vichaaraH so.ayamiidR^ishaH
Meaning: The substratum of the world is one alone, which is subtle and indivisible.
As the mud pot is made of mud so also the world is filled with Brahman.
Explanation: Author answers the question of the substratum of the world which is the last question posed as part of vichara.
The substratum of the entire world is Brahman. Brahman is defined as “Ekam eva adviteeyam” Which is One alone and which is indivisible. It is the satchitananda present in all being in the world. It permeates the whole world. The essence of each and every object in the world is Brahman alone. The duality in the world is due to names and forms. But only sentient entity which is present is Brahman. The names and forms are just illusion in the Brahman.
We just consider names and forms in the world and hence get deluded by the world, which leads to likes/dislikes and sorrow. If we understand that behind the names and forms which are impermanent and which undergo changes, the only entity that remains unchanged and unaffected is satchitananda, which is the same principle in all entities in the world, we would have no suffering in the world.
World is impermanent and undergoes changes while the substratum or the consciousness principle remains the same.
A mud pot is made of mud alone.The pot is just a name and form of the mud. After the pot breaks , it again becomes one with mud. Similarly the substratum of all entities in the world is Brahman alone.
Thus we have seen today the nature of the self and the world. These questions and answers arising out of vichara , resolve the mystery of the world , its cause and our sufferings in the world.
Let us reiterate ourselves about the impermanence of the world once again and the nature of self which is brahman and always remain blissful.