Selections from the ShAkta upaniShads -1 (bahvR^icha)

Anand Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Apr 23 16:05:45 CDT 1998

 Nanda Chandran wrote:
>>It is only admitted by advaita that the universe (world) is an
>>transformation of the substratum Brahman, not a real transformation.
>With this we negate the reality of the empirical world. OK. But if
>empirical world is an illusion, then what am I who am part of this
>empirical world? I'm an illusion too!

 Since we are within the context of ShAkta upaniShads, let me make use
 of the same. In the SarasvatI-rahasya-upaniShad, it is stated that
 five factors are observed here in the illusory world. These are
 1) asti, interpreted by UpaniShad Brahma Yogin as Existence, Sat,
 2) bhAti, interpreted as Consciousness, Chit,
 3) priyaM, interpreted as Bliss, Ananda,
 4) nAma, name, and
 5) rUpa, form

 Of these five factors, the upaniShad states, the first three, ie.
 Sat-Chit-Ananda pertain to Brahman. The last two, nAma-rUpa, pertain
 to the world.

 Coming back to your question/doubt that you are yourself an
 illusion, the aspect of you that is Sat-Chit-Ananda is NOT an
 illusion; it is Brahman. The aspect of you that has to do with
 nAma-rUpa is an illusion. So long as you think, "I exist, I am
 Conscious, I am dear (to myself)", you are on the right track.
 But when you think, "I am such and such a person with such and
 such a body, such and such possessions, etc.", you are not on
 the right track. The gist is that when you start imposing limits
 on your Sat-Chit-Ananda aspect, then you are indulging in illusion.

 So your contention that you are part of the world and are therefore
 an illusion is not entirely correct. The nAma-rUpa aspect of you
 that you share with the world is an illusion, but not the Sat-Chit-
 Ananda aspect which can never be negated, so tells us Vedanta.

 >>So the universe is a result of the vikShepa shakti of avidyA.
>By this am I correct in my understanding that the empirical world
> that I
>experience is a result of my ignorance?


 >But when I myself am an
 >illusion, what is my ignorance? Wouldn't that be an illusion too?

 I have answered above that the Sat-Chit-Ananda aspect of you is
 not an illusion. The ignorance creates the illusion.  The
 ignorance as well as its effect, the world, cannot be classified as
 real or unreal. They are not  real because they disappear with
 the dawn of knowledge. They are not unreal because they are felt
 during the illusion phase.

>Again wouldn't that make jnana, sadhana and whatever effort that I
> might
>take towards salvation which are part of my experience, illusions
> too?
>So where's the Reality in all this?

 As I said the Sat-Chit-Ananda aspect of you is the only Reality.
 All sAdhana that is performed, effort, jnAna are all geared towards
 removing the illusory aspect of you. Once the illusory aspect of you
 is removed, they too disappear with the illusion. They are like
 the illusory tiger in the dream that causes one to wake up. Though
 the tiger was illusory, the effect was real. Similar is the role
 of jnAna, Guru, God, and Shruti.


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