[Advaita-l] Notes on Vichara Sagaram-1
kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Wed Jan 25 00:33:15 CST 2012
I am splitting into many posts to minimize the length in each post.
Notes on Vichaara Saagaram
Original in Hindi by Sadhu Nischala Das
Sanskrit version with extensive commentary and foot notes By Sri Vasudeva Brahmendra Saraswati Swamiji.
The current write-up is based on the Swami Paramarthanandaji lecture-notes that I took. Hence, any mistakes are mine.
Vichaara saagaram – vichaara is inquiry and saagaram is an ocean – the inquiry is about aatma or the self or aatma vichaaram – it is the ocean of waters in the form of aatma vichaaram. Tarangam means waves – the chapters in the book are appropriately called as tarangam-s. There are seven chapters or saptatarangas. Each chapter has many topics and topics are called aavarthaaH or whirlpools or ripples in the ocean.
First two chapters discuss anbandha catuShTayam or the four factors to be mentioned at the beginning of any shaastram. The four are 1) adhikaari 2) vishaya 3) prayojanam 4) sambandhaH.
Adhikaari is the qualification of the student or reader i.e. to whom the book is addressed.
vishayaH – the uniqueness of the subject covered (obviously not covered in other shaastras).
Prayojanam – benefit of studying this text or phalam.
sambandhaH –inter relations between the above three.
These four factors constitute anubhanda – anubhadhyate - that binds the student to the text or student and the text- the linking factor between the student and the text. If these four are not there – then that particular text has no right to exist as shaastra.
Question: Is Vedanta a shaastra or does Vedanta have right to exist as shaastra? Several objection are raised and addressed in the first two chapters. The major objection starts with the statement that Vedanta does not have anubhandha chatuShTayam – the four-fold requirements needed for it to be a shaastra. Therefore the conclusion is there is no need to study Vedanta. The objections are divided into two types:
a) samamanya aakshepaNa or general objections
b) visheSha aakshepaNa or special objections
With this general background we enter into the Sanskrit version of the text.
It starts with invocation to Lord Ganesha.
Shree chidgaNeshaaya namo mahyam|
- chit gaNeSha – the chainya svaruupa gaNesha or Lord GaNeSha who is in the form of pure consciousness – to that GaneSha NamaH my prostrations. Interestingsly, the gaNesha is further qualified here. The author says – mahyam – who is none other than me.
Here the equation is gaNeshu Chinmaya ruupam is not different from my Chinmaya ruupam. In the very first statement the nature of text or subject of the text is being indicated. There is no blasphemy here when I am equating myself with Lord Ganesha by saying Lord Ganesha is none other me from the point of substratum or swaruupam. Indication is that a student should be qualified to appreciate this text, and such a qualified student only can get further benefit by studying this text. That is, he must have graduated from karma yoga – where there is a tripuTi (triangular format)– jiiva-jagat-Iswara where the actions performed in the jagat or the world are offered to the Lord, who is separate from the one who is offering and the results are accepted as prasaadam or blessing from the Lord. Student is now matured by the purification of the mind via karma yoga or upasana yoga, wherein the Lord is objectified as separate from the subject, I. Such a mature
student is now entering into jnaana yoga where the tripuTi or triad is reduced to binary format involving aatma and anaatma, where aatma is chaitanya swaruupam or of the nature of consciousness and anaatma is the whole objectifyable universe. Krishna call these as kshetrajna and kshetram. Thus in the very first invocation here the author is pointing out the subject matter that it involves aatma-anaatma vichaara – inquiry into self and non-self dualistic experiences involving the subject and the object and the underlying truth behind it.
The next statement is - Shree vaasudevabrahmendrasaraswatiivirachitaH| The text is written by Shree vasudeva brahmendra saraswati. In the previous statement he has identified himself with gaNesha in terms of substratum or chaitanya swaruupam. Now he is coming to the vyavahaara or anaatma level and identifying himself with a name and form for the purpose of transactions.
The transition clearly indicates that a jnaani even after identification with oneness or with Brahman status can come down to the transactional level and identify with a particular naama-ruupa or name and form for the purpose of transactions. At absolute level there is one without a second - pure sat-chit-ananda swaruupam; but at the transactional level one can play the game of life as needed or as demanded by praarabda. Questions regarding whether someone has realized or not is immaterial here, since others cannot certify whether one has realized or not. Self-realization involves self-discovery using the mind by uncovering the ignorance of oneself using the Vedanta vichaara. In essence none other than oneself can know about ones realization. The text started with the statement of identification of jiiva-brahma aikyam, an understanding born out of knowledge of oneself. Thus, the very first statement with identification with ganEsha in terms of chit
swaruupam is sufficient from the point of the author and from the point of the rest his realization is only matter of faith based on his statement. However, for a student, it is important that he assumes that the teacher is realized so that there is shraddha or faith in the imported teaching; otherwise it is the student who is the looser.
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