Atma Vichara.

Gummuluru Murthy gmurthy at MORGAN.UCS.MUN.CA
Wed Aug 27 10:24:53 CDT 1997

On Juy 27, 1997, Vaidya wrote

> Namaste.
> As some mebers have pointed out, it is quite mystifying how Shiva can be
> the Creator, and be action less at the same time. With regard to this I
> would like to brielfy quote what the Paramaacharya of Kanchi H H
> Chandrasekareendra saraswati said in regard to God being Nirgunaathipathi
> (devoid of attributes) as well as being Sargunaathipathi (endowed with ALL
> the attributes). At first sight, (said HH) they seem contradictory.  But a
> deeper pondering leads to to the Truth, being, both are true at the same
> time. His example was: Consider light. It is obviously colourless, and we
> cannot "see" light. We merely see objects in the presence of light.  But,
> this same light, when passed through a prism, splits itself into all the
> component colours. The colours are always there in the light. It is
> therefore always Sargunathipathi. Yet, the very fact that it is
> Sargunathipathi makes it devoid of attributes (colourless in this
> example).
>  In light of the above example given by H H, could a similar analogy not
> be applied to Brahman being action less, yet being the endowed with
> action and creating the Universe ?
>  And if such an analogy can infact be taken to expalin the apparent
> contradiction, our problem (namely Ajnana) still remains. Where do we
> start to unravel the mystery ? Would it be better to start with the
> attributeless Brahman and start with the hypothesis that we are That and
> from there try to ask ourselves wherefrom and how does creation start.  (I
> would call it hypothesis as, as long as we have not Realised It, it
> remains a hypothesis).
>  Or would it be better to start from the observed manisfestation, and try
> to piece it together in the hope of finally obtaining/achieving
> attributelessness. ?
>  Or is there a third (or more) approach(s) that would make it simpler.
> Where does atma Vichara (questioning Who am I?) fit in this regard ?

I missed this very contemplative posting in July and noticed it only after
seeing the response by Shri ego-dust.

My understanding is the following:

Firstly, Ishwara is the creator, but is he actionless ? From my
understanding, it is Nirguna Brahman that is actionless. Ishwara is in
the realm of maaya and is full of action, including creation. The example
given by the paramaacharya of Kanchi is a good one to keep in mind.

Our problem, ajnana, remains as long as we think it remains. The
difficulty is because we are trying to visualize the unvisualizable
Brahman. It is unvisualizable to our mind and intellect, because our
mind and intellect are within the realm of maaya. Engulfed in maaya,
we cannot visualize Brahman. I regard Brahman as nishchalatvam, the
ever-unchanging, perfect stillness and quietness. We superpose the
universe and creation on top of That. It is useless and utterly
unfruitful to try to grasp That with the human mind.

Accept That and the choice between the three approaches which Shri Vaidya
Sundaram suggested above will be seen to be immaterial. In accepting That,
we notice we have completely dissected maaya. I mean by "accepting", it is
an unfaltering, without any doubt, with pure mind and intellect.

Gummuluru Murthy
... Moksha is not freedom for the individual; it is freedom from
individuality. ...

                        T.M.P. Mahadevan in "Time and the Timeless"

>From  Thu Aug 28 18:19:21 1997
Message-Id: <THU.28.AUG.1997.181921.0500.>
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 1997 18:19:21 -0500
Reply-To: shashi at
To: "Advaita (non-duality) with reverence" <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
From: Shashidhar Rajamani <rajamani at EE.TAMU.EDU>
Subject: Athi Rudra Maha Yagnam
Comments: To: advaita-l at
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

        I had the oppurtunity to witness the Ati Rudra Maha Yajnam on the
opening day (Aug 22). The 11 day Yajnam, being performed at Stroutsburg, PA
ends on Sept 1st.
        The venue is amidst picturesque surroundings. Stroutsburg is
on the Pocono Mountains. Camel Back (the actual venue of the Yagjnam) is
a winter ski-resort.
        The center of attraction at the venue, the Yajna-shala is a huge
tent about 3 stories high and large
enough to accomodate about 700-800 persons. At the center of the Yagna-Shala
 are 12 Homa Kundams in four rows of thee each. One of the Homa
Kundams was in a slightly elevated platform (the Pradhana Homa Kundam).
At the far end, atop a pedestral on the dais, are, an image of Lord
Shiva and a Shiva Lingam.
        When we reached the venue , the Maha Ganapati Homam, Yagjna-Shala
Pravesham,etc were already completed. After a break, the 121 Ritwiks, clad
in glowing yellow robes, settled down to recite the Rudram/Chamakam.
Eleven Ritwiks were seated around each of eleven Homa Kundas (the 12th
Homa Kunda was not used during the course of the Yagjnam). The chanting
by the 121 Ritwiks (and many more who were watching the proceedings)
gave an electric feeling. The sounds unexplicably excited something
within. The Ritwiks chanted one paragraph (canto ?) of Chamakam at the end
of chanting one Rudram. If Rudram was recited for the 3rd time, the
3rd paragraph of Chamakam was recited at the end of it. Rudram was chanted
eleven times (with the n-th paragraph of Chamakam at the end of each Rudram).

        Parallel to the Rudram chanting, Siva(linga) Abhishekam was
being performed. Also four other Riwiks were reciting from the four Vedas.
(A Ritwik for each Veda). The Abhisekham was done with eleven items - oil,
pancha gavyam, panchamrutam, milk, curd, honey, ghee, lemon juice,
coconut water, sugarcane juice and Sandalwood paste. After the end of each
Rudram recitation Abhishekam was done with one of the items.
        After the Rudram/Chamakam Japam, Agni from the main Homa Kundam
was used to light the other Homa Kundas. Samith (twigs of the Asoka tree)
and what looked like sawdust cakes were used as fuels. After chanting
a Rudram verse, the 121 Ritwiks made an oblation of ghee to the Agni in
thier respective Kundams. The eleven flaring Homa Kundas gave out a
divine glow just when the sun was playing hide and seek. The Homam was
performed while chanting Rudram once. It was followed by chanting the
Chamakam as a whole with only one Ritwik in each of Homa Kundas making the
ghee oblation. At the end of Rudra Homam, Agni from each of the 10 Homa
Kundas were brought back to the Pradhana Homa Kundam. Here the Purna-Ahuthi
was performed. In the end, Aarathi was performed for Shiva.
        We did not wait for the Udaka Shanti, which I suppose, is the
putting out the fire in the Homa Kundas.
        The organizers have made excellent arragements.

p.s.: Thanks to Sri Vidyashankar's posting on the Yagjnam, due to which I
was able to follow the proceedings.
Shashidhar Rajamani
504 B First Street
College Station
TX 77840
Phone (Home) : 409-846-2733
Phone (Off ) : 409-862-3654
email : shashi at
>From ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU Fri Aug 29 20:09:37 1997
Message-Id: <FRI.29.AUG.1997.200937.0400.ADVAITAL at TAMU.EDU>
Date: Fri, 29 Aug 1997 20:09:37 -0400
Reply-To: "Advaita (non-duality) with reverence" <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
To: "Advaita (non-duality) with reverence" <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
From: Chelluri at AOL.COM
Comments: To: advaita-l at

Forwarded message:
From:   Chelluri.N.Rao at (Chelluri N Rao)
Date: 97-08-29 13:53:35 EDT


     Assuming you are all familiar with the Nirvanashatkam explaining
     Atma Tatvam.  Nobody can give an answer to the question What is Atma
     'cause it is beyond human faculties.  Most teachers try to explain by
     the method of negating.. This is Not... This is Not.  Eventually they
     run out of things to negate and start all over again.

     Nirvanashatkam uses this methodology.  One thing I have difficulty
     understanding in this method is that it negates Buddhi, Ahamkara,
     Anandam, Krodham  etc. etc.  Each verse ends

     "chidananda rupa sivoham sivoham"

     Is chidananda an attribute?  Can anybody comment.

     Shubham                                                Nageswar

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