When Lord Yama knocks one's door!

Ravisankar Mayavaram msr at ISC.TAMU.EDU
Sat Jan 9 13:57:14 CST 1999

On Sat, 9 Jan 1999, Giridhar wrote:

> Thanks, Ravi, for posting the first verse of Bhaja Govindam and
> the subsquent commentary for you and Gummuluru Murthyji.
> You had previously requested me to post my notes on Bhaja
> govindam, but I thought it would be too elementary for the list.
> Anyway, let me post it..

Thanks shrI giriji.

Spiritual application of bhaja govindam is many. For that matter
any spiritual text, there could be different levels of reading.
To me corollaries of the first verse has helped in many ways.
For instance, the question "Will it help at the time of death?"
can be restated to cultivate shraddha. This morning when my mind
was wandering during gAyatri japam? I paused for a moment and
asked myself. What if God says Ravi you will have chance for only
one more gAyatri to say and after that your life will come to an
end.  How much more shraddha I will have in saying that last
gAyatrI? Should I not say every gAyatrI as if it is the last one
I will ever utter? That thought stopped the stream of other
thoughts. Attention given to say the mantra be it is first time
or nth time or the last time has to be full and complete. Yet to
due to bad vAsana-s my mind wanders.

That is why I ask shrIman nArAyaNa (who is not different from my
mother nArAyaNI who is called by sahasranAmam as padmanAbha
sahodari and by trishatI as hari sodarI), make me pure so that I
will ever remember HIM. May HE make this charcoal into to a
diamond by giving me inner purity and make me reflect HIS light
to the fullest glory.

Thinking of it, charcoal and diamond are both carbon, the vasthu
with which it is made is same. Like the scoundrel and saint, both
have brahman as substratum. But once the inner structure changes
miracle happens. Of course the change comes by the pressure for
charcoal, and intense sAdhana for the ignorant. May Lord hari
have marcy on ignorant like me.


AUM nAma pArayaNa prItAyai namaH

shaktI meethu bhaktI paNNu maname maname
sattiyamAy mukti kiTTum ikkaName kaName

"bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam"
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>From  Sun Jan 10 14:07:38 1999
Message-Id: <SUN.10.JAN.1999.140738.0500.>
Date: Sun, 10 Jan 1999 14:07:38 -0500
Reply-To: ramakris at erols.com
To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
        <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
From: Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian <ramakris at EROLS.COM>
Subject: Re: dasasloki of shankarAchArya.
Comments: To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
        <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
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Vaidya N. Sundaram wrote:

>  I have a question, and hope list members will address it. If it is silly,
> do forgive me, but I have been unable to resolve it.
>  Sri Shankara in his dasasloki verse one says:
> "I am not the Earth nor Water, neither Fire nor Air, I am not space.
> Neither am I any of the Faculties nor am I their aggregrate. [I am not any
> of these] as they are all uncertain. I am proved however in the sole
> experience of deep sleep. That One, the Residue, the Auspicious, the Only
> One, am I."

I am not sure if the translation you give above is correct. Let me quote
the actual verse 1 and _my _translation. Someone please correct me if
I'm wrong.

[sandhi split below for readability]
na bUmiH na toyaM na tejaH na vAyuH na khaM na indriyaM vA na teshhAM
anaikAntikatvAt.h sushhupti-eka-siddhaH tat.h ekaH avashishhTaH shivaH
kevalaH aham.h ||

Not earth, not water, not fire, not air, not ether,
not the sense organs nor their aggregate,
>From the non-persistence [of the above, I am none of the above],
In deep sleep who attained one-ness,
That one without residue, that auspicious, the only one [reality],
I [am].

[words in brackets included for readability]

siddhaH is the past passive participle, 3rd person singular of the root
sidh. sidh means attain or succeed. The past passive participle is
formed by sidh + ta = siddha by sandhi rules. sushhupti-eka-siddhaH is a
long compound. We need take each word in the compund in reverse order
and also apply some common-sense to interpret the compound since it can
take different meanings. The "right" meaning has to be deduced from the
context. Thus we get the bahuvR^Ihi compound "who attained one-ness in

I have gone into this detail because the translation you give greatly
distorts the philosophy of bhagavAn bhAshhyakAra. Atman is NOT PROVED BY
ANYTHING. Atman is svaprakAsha and not even shruti can "prove" it. What
to say of deep-sleep?

Now I think your doubts may be partially solved. That Atman "attains"
one-ness in deep-sleep is easy to see. There was no cognition of
anything. However, on waking up we say "I slept happily". Thus, Atman
cannot be a void and is described as "attining one-ness". Since, the
objects, sense organs, etc which are perceived in waking and dream are
not present, we can say by the method of anvaya-vyatireka that these
cannot be true. The word anaikAntikatvAt.h refers to this method of
anvaya-vyatireka. Refer chapter 2 in the Naishhkarmya siddhi for an
exposition of this technique. This point is also brought out in the
daxiNAmUrti stotra 6. He says: "pragasvapsam-iti prabodhasamaye yaH
pratyabiGYAyate" - or the one who remembers on waking "I slept before".
Also refer brahma sUtra bhAshhya on 2.2.25 (anusmR^iteshcha). The
deep-sleep and the pratyabiGYA (rememberance) associated with it are
arguments against the xaNikavAda school of Buddhism. See also
mAnasollAsa, chapter 6 for an explanation of deep-sleep and how to draw
inferences from the experience of deep-sleep.  "Proof" of Atman is
certainly not the valid inference :-). Also refer to the gauDapAda
kArikas and the commentary of sha.nkara on it, chapters 2 and 3. It is a
great aid for the analysis of the 3 states. If you remember, I posted
something about deep sleep in my defense of later advaitins as a reply
to Shubanu Saxena's mail on the adhyAsa bhAshhya. I had some references
to some of the relevant verses in the gauDapAda kArikas in that mail.

I am unable to spend time typing a more detailed mail right now. The
above references should suffice. The main point to remember is Atman is
svaprakAsha and shruti plays a strictly negative role, it dispels
ignorance. Atman is always "realized". "Realization" of Atman is only
used in common parlance.

BTW, if we look carefully, the entire philosophy of advaita is condensed
in one short verse. The second part of the verse answers the doubt which
may be raised after the statement in the first part. I also recommend
that you take a look at "SiddhAnta-Bindu" by Sri Madhusudana Saraswati.
A translation along with the original has been published by Rishi
Publications, "Siddhantabindu, Madhusudana Sarasvati's Commentary on Sri
Sankara's Dasasloki", translated by K.N.Subramanian. For the Gaudapada
Karika Bhashhya take a look at Swami Gambhirananda's translation. It's
much better than Swami Nikhilananda's.


"bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam"
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