[Advaita-l] Incorrect comparisons?

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sun Dec 18 11:49:03 CST 2011

On Sun, Dec 18, 2011 at 3:40 PM, Shrisha Rao <shrao at nyx.net> wrote:

> El dic 17, 2011, a las 6:50 p.m., Rajaram Venkataramani escribió:
> > In satasloki, Sankara compares the guru with the sandalwood tree saying
> > that like the sandal wood tree which makes the nearby trees also fragrant
> > with its own good fragrance, the guru also makes those around him free
> from
> > sorrow. As you know, sandal wood tree does not emit any fragrance in its
> > natural state but only when it is cut and made in to a paste.  So, how is
> > this correct?
> I don't know if it is, but then I don't know much about the properties of
> sandalwood.
> I have heard it said by people trained as medical doctors that the
> description of the human body given in the Vivekachudamani is not only
> inaccurate per modern medical science, but also does not approach the level
> of understanding seen in classical sources like the Charaka Samhita, etc.

Here is the verse in the Vivekachudamani on the gross body:

त्वङ्मांसरुधिर-स्नायुमेदो-मज्जास्थिसंकुलम् ।
पूर्णं मूत्रपुरीषाभ्यां स्थूलं निन्द्यमिदं वपुः ॥ 81 ||

The verse on the subtle body is:

बुद्धीन्द्रियाणि श्रवणं त्वगक्षि, घ्राणं च जिह्वा विषयावबोधनात् ।
वाक्पाणिपादा गुदमप्युपस्थं कर्मेन्द्रियाणि प्रवणानि कर्मसु ॥ 94

प्राणापानव्यानोदानसमाना भवत्यसौ प्राणः ।
स्वयमेव वृत्तिभेदात् विकृतेर्भेदात्सुवर्णसलिलमिव ॥ 98

These can be seen to have a basis in the Upanishads.  For example in the
Taittiriya Upanishad शीक्षावल्ली ७ अनुवाक: we have: .....अथाध्यात्मम् ।
प्राणो व्यानोऽपान उदानः समानः । चक्षुः श्रोत्रं मनो वाक् त्वक् । चर्म मांसं
स्नावास्थि मज्जा । ....

In the Bhashya Shankara says: अथ अनन्तरमध्यात्मपाङ्क्तमुच्यते - प्राणादि
वायुपाङ्क्तम्, चक्षुरादि इन्द्रियपाङ्क्तम्, चर्मादि धातुपाङ्क्तम् ।  The
VanamAlA adds: अध्यात्ममिति - आत्मा देहः तमधिकृत्य वर्तमानमध्यात्ममित्यर्थः

In the MandukyopaniShad we have the 19 outlets/doorways with which the jiva
functions in the waking and dream states.  The 19 is derived by adding up
the prANa (5), indriyas (5 +5) and the mind-quartet.

That the dhAtus, sense organs, motor organs and prANa-s are admitted in the
Ayurveda is well-known. Modern medicine also must be admitting these
entities maybe in a different classification/nomenclature.

Here is a mantra from the Br.Up.(4.3.14) :

14. aramam asya pasyanti, na tam pasyati kas cana: iti. *tam nayatam *
*bodhayed ity ahuh; durbhisajyam hasmai bhavati, yam esa na *
*pratipadyate.* atho khalv ahuh, jagarita-desa evasyaisah; yani hi eva
pasyati, tani supta iti, atrayam purusah svayam-jyotir bhavati. so’ham
bhagavate sahasram dadami; ata urdhvam vimoksaya bruhiti.

For the highlighted portion the shAnkarabhAShyam is:

तमात्मानं सुप्तमायतं सहसा भृशं न बोधयेदित्याहुः एवं कथयन्ति चिकित्सकादयः
जना लोके । ....तत आन्ध्यबाधिर्यादिदोषप्राप्तौ दुर्भिषज्यं दुखभिषक्कर्मता
....दुःखेन चिकित्सनीयोऽसौ देहो भवतीत्यर्थः ।

I am reproducing a lecture talk by Swami Krishnananda below and would say
this much:
[The Upanishad says that one should not suddenly wake up a sleeping person.
 The consequences will be that he may become blind/deaf, etc. and it would
be very difficult to cure. The Upanishad itself says that 'so they
(doctors) say'.  I do not know if modern medicine accepts this observation
of the Upanishad in total or in part or in any modified form.  Nevertheless
Shankara  says, on behalf of the Upanishad, एवं कथयन्ति चिकित्सकादयः जना
लोके, [so say doctors, etc. in the world.]

       Aramam asya pasyati, na tam pasyati kas cana: The drama of the mind
witnessed in dream, as it is in waking, but the director of the drama is
else.  He  is  not  to  be  observed  either  in  waking  or  in  dream.
 Iti. tam nayatam
bodhayed ity ahuh: Here the Upanishad says that when a person is fast
The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad by Swami Krishnananda (Discourse-25)
    8you should not wake him up suddenly by a jerk; you should not give a
kick to the
man and say, ‘get up’. The theory that is brought out here in this
Upanishad and
certain other scriptures is that the mind disconnects itself from the
senses and
the whole body in dream and when you give  a  jerk  to  the  person who  is
and suddenly wake him up, the mind has to come back to the respective
and the bodily limbs abruptly. Now, it may miss its location. This is what
Ayurvedic physicians generally say. It may not find time enough to go to
proper channels of action, and so there can be some defect remaining in the
of the body. The person can become blind or deaf by the shock he gets due
to the
jerk  that  you  gave  him  when  waking  him  up  suddenly.  So,  the
 Upanishad  says:
you should not wake up a person in deep sleep suddenly by a jerk, because
opinion of the physicians is -  durbhisajyam hasmai bhavati -  that you
cure an illness which comes as a consequence of this action of yours. If
you wake
a  person  by  giving  a  kick  or  shouting  and  make  that  person  wake
 up  suddenly,
that person can fall sick, and that illness cannot be cured by any kind of
- durbhisajyam hasmai bhavati. Yam esa na pratipadyate: The reason for this
illness is that the mind may do something erroneous in a hurry instead of
what is
proper in the context of its connection  with the body and the senses at
particular time.

     > In Swami Vidyaranaya's Sankara Digvijayam introduction, he says
"those who

> > are proud due to the wealth that is attained by the dancer of unsteady
> > mindlakshmi, who appeared in the milk ocean". Lakshmi devi cannot be said
> > to be of unsteady mind because when the milk ocean was churned and the
> It would be best to look at the actual words used in the original before
> attempting to reason in this regard.  The translation (or recollection of
> it) may not be correct, and a different parsing of words/phrases ("those
> who are of unsteady mind are proud due to the wealth of Lakshmi," etc.)
> would easily resolve the issue.
> Regards,
> Shrisha Rao

Here is the portion of the verse I guess that Shri Rajaram has in mind:

नृत्योन्मत्तनराधमाधमकथासंमर्ददुष्कर्दमैः ।   7 of the first sarga

As I do not have a translation and as the verse is tough in my view, I
leave it to the scholars to come up with a proper translation.
 Nevertheless the verse seems to be denoting Lakshmi as 'abdhikanyA'.



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