[Advaita-l] vedastuti part 8

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Wed Dec 17 02:34:56 CST 2008

Sorry I know I've been delinquent with this but here is the latest 
installment of the vedastuti series.

ka iha nu veda batAvarajanmalayo.agrasaram yata udagAdaShiryamanu devagaNA
ubhaye | tarhi na sanna chAsadubhayaM na cha kAlajavaH kimapi na tatra
shAstramavakR^iShya shayIta yadA || 24 ||

"Oh Bhagavan! Do those who were born so recently and will die so soon know 
who brought this world into being?  From You did arise the first 
R^iShi[1] and the two groups of divinities[2] and other mortal beings?[3] 
When You sleep and withdraw all into Yourself there is neither Truth nor 
Falsehood or the bodies made up of them[4],  no time nor elements[5] 
There is not even any shAstra.[6]"

[1] Brahma the creator.  At the dawn of creation he first sees the Vedas 
and proclaims them though he is not their author.  So in that sense he is 
the first mantra drashta or R^iShi.  Afterwards the other R^ishis whose 
names are associated with the mantras see them.

[2] The devas and pitR^is.  Or the Gods of the senses and those of the 
elements (tattvas.)

[3] The point of this text is to say we cannot know the meaning of the 
universe through perception (pratyakSha) alone because we are created 
things observing from the inside.

[4] True are the mahabhutas or primordial elements and false refers to 
the secondary creations that arise from their combination.  Or true refers 
to the atmas and false to their bodies.  In either case this is 
conventional (vyavaharic) truth and falsehood because from the ultimate 
(paramarthic) perspective, only Brahman is true and any superimposition
on the idea of Brahman is false.

[5] the dimensions of the observable universe, space and time are also 
superimpositions on Brahman.

[6] At the pralaya even the vedas are reabsorbed into Brahman. Thus though 
the shastras are the best guide to knowledge about Brahman, they too will 
be ultimately inadequate.  Only the experience of jnana is enough.

janimasataH sato mR^itimutAtmani ye cha bhidAM vipaNamR^itaM
smarantyupadishanti ta ArupitaiH |
triguNamayaH pumAniti bhidA yadabodhakR^itA tvayi na tataH paratra sa
bhavedavabpdharase || 25 ||

"Those who authoritatively proclaim that world springs from matter[1], 
that the atma is seperate from the immortal and attains it through 
Yoga[2], or by casting off pain[3] reason erroneously due to their 
dualistic conception that the world is created only from the three 
guNas[4] which is the result of not knowing You.[5]"

[1]  There are darshanas that do believe in the authority of the Vedas but 
nevertheless come to the wrong conclusions because they only partially 
understand the meaning.

[2] This is the view of saMkhya/yoga.  There are multiple jIvas that due 
to ignorance have become "stuck" in materiality.  Through yogic practices, 
they can become free of such entanglement and that is liberation. 
Although yoga has a concept of Ishvara (which saMkhya does not) for them, 
He is just the silent witness to creation not the cause and pervader of 
creation as Vedantins believe.

[3] This is the view of nyAya/vaisheShika  For them a creator 
God produces the atmas ex nihilo (out of nothing) and due to their 
interaction with materiality, their lives become mixed with pleasure and 
pain.  Liberation is eternal and complete freedom from pain.  Knowledge of 
Gods nature is not required as it is in Vedanta.

[4] Unlike these others, Vedantins believe that Brahman is the producer of 
the thre gunas and pervades them.

[5] For Vedantins it is jnana, the knowledge of the true nature of Brahman 
which is liberation.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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