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

Anand Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Apr 27 10:11:04 CDT 1998

 Nanda Chandran wrote:

>1. What does the "I" in it's most basic sense without the ego and the
>mind represent? Does the Self also form part of it's composition?

 The "I" with no upAdhi's (limitations) is indeed th Brahman or
 Atman. I remember having read in one of the advaitic works, but
 can't remember exactly where, that the closest one comes to
 recognizing the real "I" in the vyAvahArika reality is when one
 feels one has experienced deep sleep, dreamless sleep. But as I
 said, this is the closest recognition, not the exact reacognition.

>2. Or is the concept something like - As the world is an illusion
>projected by Brahman, so is this Jiva an illusion projected by the

 JIva is the Brahman/Atman with upAdhis. Again these upAdhi's are
 caused by avidyA or ignorance. If you ask why the ignorance arises,
 advaita says it in inexplicable or anirvachanIyA. Please also bear
 in mind that in the pAramArthika state there will be no ignorance.
 Which means, ignorance really does not exist. There is no jIva and
 no Ishvara (God) in the pAramArthika state.

>If case 1 is true, that would mean that the Self is being misled by
>mind, ego and the Upadhis. Then wouldn't it contradict the eternal
>nature of the Self?

 No. The Self is only _apparently_ being misled as you have said. So
 the Self is really the same, unchanging, eternally free, without even
 a trace of ignorance. So there is no real contradiction here.

>If case 2 is true, then how can the illusory Jiva, which has no
>'reality' of it's own access it's source?

 The jIva is Brahman with some limitations caused by ignorance.
 So removing the limitations of the jIva, does not mean nothing or
 a void remains after the disappearance of illusion. What remains
 is Brahman.

 The jIva is _in_essence_ Brahman only, not an illusion. This is a
 central doctrine of vedAnta. The jIva however is affected by
 ignorance. After the removal of ignorance, the jIva finds itself
 as Brahman.

 >OK, I understand that at
> the
>Vyavaharika level this jiva is real. But is the Atman real at the
>Vyavaharika level too?

 Atman is real at all levels. It is never negated.

 >If so, why isn't it part of the composition of
>the Jiva?

 I think there is some confusion here. Please see what I said above
 about the jIva.

>My final question would be, "How can the bridge be build between the
>Illusory Vyavaharika Jiva and the Real Paramartika Atman?".
> Probably by clearly defining the Vyavaharika and the Paramartika
> levels.Probably Rama can give us a hand here! :-)

 If building a bridge means one can experience both the pAramArthika
 and vyAvahArika levels at the same time, that is clearly impossible.
 That would mean one has to be subjected to illusion and yet realize
 Brahman at the same time. That is a contradiction.

 Regarding the definition of the three levels of reality, please see

 You may also want to read (at least the introductory part) of the
 vedAnta paribhAShA. The vedAnta-sAra of sadAnanada is also a
 excellent introduction to advaita-vedAnta. You will find material
 on jIva, Ishvara, and a lot more.


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