Atma Vichara.

Vaidya N. Sundaram sundaram at ECN.PURDUE.EDU
Mon Jul 28 13:38:52 CDT 1997


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
 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 quote below from a Zen daily which I think is appropriate in this regard.
(Thanks to a friend Jagdish.)

     It is only when lit by understanding that thinking takes on
     real substance. Understanding does not arise as a result of
     thinking. It is a result of the long process of conscious
     awareness. Sometimes understanding can be translated into
     thoughts, but often thoughts are too rigid and limited to
     carry much understanding. Sometimes a look or a laugh
     expresses understanding much better than words or thoughts.

      - Thich Nhat Hanh.

     (Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese buddist zen master, now lives in
      Plum Village, France. He was nominated for Nobel prize in 1967
      by Martin Luther King Jr.)

cheers and GOD Bless,

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