Lakshmi-Nrsimha-pancharatnam - 4

Anand V. Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu May 6 15:42:07 CDT 1999

|| shrI-laxmI-nR^isiMhAya namaH ||

  srakchandanavanitAdInvishhayAnsukhadAnmatvA tatra viharase
   gandhaphalIsadR^ishA nanu te.amI bhogAnantaraduHkhakR^itaH syuH |
  chetobhR^iN^ga bhramasi vR^ithA bhavamarubhUmau virasAyAM
   bhaja bhaja laxmInarasiMhAnaghapadasarasijamakarandam.h || 4 ||

  Considering that garlands, perfumes, women, etc., yield happiness,
  you wander about seeking pleasure (from them). Surely, those will,
  after (transitory) enjoyment, bring only sorrow to you, just as to
  the Priyangu creeper. O mind-bee! You roam about without purpose in
  the joyless desert of worldly matters. Worship (taste) the pure nectar
  of the lotus feet of Lakshmi-Narasimha!


  In this verse, a reference is made to the Priyangu creeper which
  is said to produce flowers if touched by women (strINAM sparshAt.h
  priyaN^gurvikasati). But more often than not, the flowers so produced
  are plucked by the women who may use the flowers for decoration.
  This leads to the sad condition of the creeper.

  The BhagavadgItA has a relevant verse:

   ye hi saMsparshajA bhogA duHkhayonaya eva te |
   AdyantavantaH kaunteya na teshhu ramate budhaH ||

   O Arjuna! Enjoyments arising from contact with sense objects
   are only causes of sorrow and they have a beginning and an
   end. The person of discrimination (vivekin) does not delight
   in them.

  The commentary of Madhusudana SarasvatI on this verse is
  illuminating. A few remarks drawn from the gUDhArtha-dIpikA:

  hi yasmAdye saMsparshajA vishhayendriyasaMbandhajA bhogAH
  xudrasukhalavAnubhavA iha vA paratra vA rAgadveshhAdivyAptatvena
  duHkhayonaya eva te, te sarve .api brahmalokaparyantaM duHkhahetava
  eva |

  Those enjoyments arising from the contact of sense and their objects
  are experiences of trivial and infinitesimal joy either in this world
  or the world beyond. Being associated with (pervaded by) attachment
  and aversion, they all are causes of sorrow indeed (in all worlds)
  up to Brahmaloka.

  taduktaM vishhNupurANe :

  Therefore, the ViShNu purANa says:

  yAvataH kurute jantuH saMbandhAnmanasaH priyAn.h |
  tAvanto .asya nikhanyante hR^idaye shokashaN^kavaH || iti |

  As many as a jIva (individual soul) creates associations (with sense
  objects) that are pleasurable to the mind, so many are the arrows of
  grief that pierce his heart.

  etAdR^ishA api na sthirAH kiM tu AdyantavantaH Adirvishhayendriya-
  saMyogo .antashcha tadviyoga evaM tau vidyete yeshhAM te pUrvAparayora-
  sattvAnmadhye svapnavadAvirbhUtAH xaNikA mithyAbhUtAH|

  Even being so, those (enjoyments) are not permanent but have a
  beginning and an end. The beginning is when the sense organ and its
  object come into contact, and the end is the separation of the
  (sense organ and the object). Both those two (ie. beginning and end)
  are thus known in those (enjoyments). Those (enjoyments) are non-
  existent (or unreal) before and after (the contact of the sense
  organ and the object) and they are manifest just like a dream in
  the middle phase (when there is contact). (So) they are fleeting
  and unreal.

  taduktaM gauDapAdAchAryaiH :

  Therefore, AchArya GauDapAda says (GauDapAdakArkikA- vaitathya-
  prakaraNa -6):

   AdAvante cha yannAsti vartmAne .api tattathA iti |

   That which does not exist in the beginning and the end
   does not exist in the present (middle) also.

  The summary of the argument above is as follows.
  Enjoyments derived from contacts of sense organs with their
  objects are, besides being only causes of grief, fleeting and
  transient. There is no enjoyment before contact and the
  enjoyment stops after separation. Whatever enjoyment is felt
  in the middle is unreal like a dream. So the person of
  discrimination should not be engaged in seeking such transient

     || shrI-laxmI-nR^isiMhAya namaH ||


>From  Thu May  6 17:13:59 1999
Message-Id: <THU.6.MAY.1999.171359.0500.>
Date: Thu, 6 May 1999 17:13:59 -0500
Reply-To: niche at
To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
From: Parisi & Watson <niche at AMERITECH.NET>
Organization: Knitters Niche
Subject: Re: Philosophical Views and Certain Knowledge
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Jaldhar H. Vyas wrote:
> I'm 100% sure they did have neurological explanations.  It's interesting
> that you consider neurological explanations 'mundane'.  'mundane',
> 'religious', 'philosophical', how is a conglomeration of carbon, hydrogen,
> and oxygen atoms with trace impurities (To use the mundane biochemical
> explanation :-) able to use these terms?  Human beings are conscious, they
> are self-aware, everything else proceeds from that.

After much deliberation, I would say that the same facts and experiences
can be argued convincingly either way.

On the one hand, it is certainly inconceivable to us that we, as we know
ourselves from the 'inside,' are merely the result of physical organic
processes. Our consciousness or sentience seems to be drastically
different in a qualitative way from everything else of which we are
aware - and the distinction is carried even in this sentence itself. The
expressions 'my' body, 'my' mind do imply ownership, with an owner that
is more than just the sum of the parts. And most convincingly, we know
that we can observe both body and mind in an uninvolved way without
identifying ourselves with them, which suggests that 'we' are the
subject, the observer only, and not any of the objects of our
perception. From this argument it follows that the self, the 'I,' must
have no attributes at all, since any attribute is something that can be
observed, at least subjectively, and 'we' are the observer only. So the
ineffable sense of 'I-am,' which is the precondition of all experience,
is ontologically distinct from everything else, and in fact is the
basis, not only of all experience, but of being itself.

On the other hand, we know that there are many intelligent and
sophisticated people in the world who can be classified, for lack of a
better term, as scientific materialists. Among this number are many
(probably most) of those who are doing research on the physiological
basis of consciousness. They also are aware of the unsatisfying nature
of the claim that consciousness is the result of organic processes.
Their response is that the fact that something seems inconceivable to us
doesn't necessarily mean that it isn't true. Many aspects of relativity
also fly in the face of common sense and yet are true, and we can hardly
expect to be 'objective' about ourselves and our own nature. They point
out further that human consciousness is the medium and precondition of
all human experience under any set of assumptions, either Vedantic or
materialist, so that this accident of our perspective has no
significance in determining the overall nature of reality. Where our
ability to observe the mind is concerned, they would probably ask why
this faculty is so surprising, and question whether it has any more
philosophical significance than our obvious ability to observe the body.
They categorically deny that observation necessitates an observer that
is radically separate from everything observed. If the nervous system
includes an engine of perceiving and awareness, why couldn't this engine
be turned on itself, at least to a limited extent? The nature of
consciousness is elusive and poorly understood, but they see this fact
as an impetus for more study rather than a license for engaging in

How can we as individuals determine which side of this dichotomy is
closer to the truth? The options could hardly be more starkly opposite.
Either consciousness is the last, most complex, and most fragile product
of organic evolution in an unconscious and undirected physical universe;
or the universe and being itself spring only from a single,
undifferentiated consciousness. As I said, I find both convincing, each
in its own way. Of course scientific investigation of consciousness is
systematically hindered by the fact that in science we generally try to
leave the observer out, and in this case it is precisely the observer -
not the gross organism, but the conscious witness itself - that should
be the topic of study. Maybe the impossibility of investigating
consciousness directly, or even verifying its existence in any definite
way, is a key to understanding these issues? I defer to those who have a
better grasp than I do.


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