Birth and death and rebirth from Advaitist viewpoint
Vaidya N. Sundaram
sundaram at ECN.PURDUE.EDU
Thu Dec 17 15:51:57 CST 1998
I am sure I did NOT say what you say below, about prAna and sookshma
sarira etc. Your original question was: "what is it that is manifested
again and again through birth and rebirth."
Please keep in mind that answering WHAT is different from answering HOW,
which is what I think you answer as prAna etc. To answer the question of
WHAT again, please see below a part of T.M.P Mahadevan's introduction to
The empirical individual is called jiva. the jiva is the non-dual Self
appearing in a limited or conditioned form on account of nescience
(avidyA). Being endowed with adjuncts such as egoity etc., it
transmigrates from one physical body into another, in accordance with its
in this respect, refer to verse 17, chap 1 of the panchadasi:
but the other, the jiva, which is Brahman reflected in avidyA is
subjected impure sattva. The avidyA is the causal body.
and also verse 30.
they go from birth to birth, as worms that have slipped into a river are
swept from one whirlpool to another and never attain peace.
"sarira" itself means "perishable" and can be translated as body only
very loosely; so when you say "manifestation of sookshma sarira", how can
something persihable itself, be responsible for the migration of the jiva
from one perishable body to another?
you translate prAna as "vibration". May I ask of what? what is that
vibrates? I have seen prAna translated as "vital air", or as a reference
to one of the five sheaths which cover the jivA.
To answer HOW, or in what manner is this appearance of the jiva to be
explained, there are principally two schools, the Vivarna and the
Bhamati. I think Sri Vidyashankar Sundaresan explained this a while ago
in this list, may be you can search the archives for that.
When you say:
> The Atman does not undergo this trans-migratory process since its there
> all the time but is unrealized.
yes you are right. but that does not mean that you do not have any idea
of it. It has indeed revealed itself to us, but in part; because only then
can even the desire to inquire about it can come. But the clear and
complete knowledge of it is lacking, and is due to avidya which is
as always, if I wrong, I hope knowledgeable listmembers will point it out.
sadAshivasamArambhAm shankaraachaarya madhyamaam
asmathAchaarya paryanthaam vande guru paramparaam
one reason for my beginning to use such things as begin quote and end
quote are a result of my complete immersion into latex, which I am using
for my thesis ...
On Wed, 16 Dec 1998, Ashish Chandra wrote:
> From what you have written, would it be correct on my part to assume that
> since there is no independent Atman, what is reborn is actually a
> manifestation of my Prana (vibration) and Sookshma Sharir. The Atman does
> not undergo this trans-migratory process since its there all the time but
> is unrealized. Would this be a correct perception ?
Ashish Chandra's original question was:
> > If the Atman is Brahma, what is it that is manifested again and again
> > through birth and rebirth. If there is no duality, then what is it that
> > manifested into all that is living, dying and being (re)born ? When we
> > that there is no birth or death or rebirth for one who has realised
> > which part of us do we mean i.e. Atman was being manifested all along in
> > all these births. What stops ? If there is no part, what is not reborn ?
> -----Vaidya's reply:-----
> briefly: the jIva thinks of itself as embodied due to delusion or mAya
> and hence attributes to its' own action the concept or karma. And it hence
> gets bound in karma and has to go thru the process of birth and death; the
> actual process is REAL. That is to say, as long as you are embodied and
> look at your self as Ashish Chandra, you do undergo the pains and joys of
> being a human, including birth, death, old age, disease, fear and sadness
> and so on ... This is vyAvahaarika sathyam. Simply saying that the soul is
> one and so there is no birth cannot be said when you are in this state.
> When one transends this and goes to pAramaarthika state, all is one and no
> duality exists.
> as always, if I wrong, I hope knowledgeable listmembers will point it
> sadAshivasamArambhAm shankaraachaarya madhyamaam
> asmathAchaarya paryanthaam vande guru paramparaam
Vaidya N. Sundaram
The place, time, objects and their knower etc., projected in a dream
during sleep are all mithyA (an illusion/false). So too, here. in the
waking state, the world that is seen is a projection by one's own
ignorance. Likewise, this body, the senses, the breath, the ego etc.,
are all unreal. Therefore, That thou art, the peaceful, defectless,
supreme, non-dual Brahman. -- Adi Shankara in VivekacUdAmani.
"bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam"
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