[Advaita-l] बालयक्षः

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Fri Feb 8 12:15:19 CST 2013

In the अनुभूतिप्रकाशः (anubhUtiprakAshaH) Swami Vidyaranya, in the chapter
on the 'aitareya upanishad' says, while speaking about mAyA:

निस्तत्त्वं व्यवहारार्हं अनृतं बालयक्षवत् ।
बालो यक्षं प्रकल्प्य अस्माद्बिभेति व्याघ्रतो यथा ॥१. ४ ॥

nistattvam vyavahArArham anRtam bAlayakShavat
bAlo yakSham pakalpya bibheti vyAghrato yathaa   1.4

(mAyA is) without any substance, *available for vyavahAra,* false, just
like a ghost imagined by a child.  The child imagines a ghost and fears it
just as it would a tiger.

This shows that the entity called mAyA has no existence in absolute terms.
When the scripture uses it, only a seeming existence is accorded to it,
just to serve a purpose.  Once the purpose is accomplished there no longer
is a need to retain mAyA.  And that purpose is to help the aspirant know
that creation is only an appearance, accomplished by mAyA with Brahman as
the substratum that provides isness even to that mAyA.  In other words the
'existence', though seeming, even of mAyA is derived from the existence
that is Brahman.  Sat/satyam brahma.  Brahman is the sattAprada for even
mAyA, and through it to the entire creation.  Thus, the entire creation,
including the cause-mAyA is only dependently real; having borrowed
existence from Brahman that is independently real.  For their very
existence mAyA and its products have to depend on Brahman ('s existence).
This has only one analogy: the rope-snake.  The superimposed snake is said
to 'be, exist' for the period the error persists.  During that period the
'isness' of the snake is nothing but the isness of the rope that is what
really exists there.  The snake's existence is dependent upon the rope ('s
existence). It is only upon seeing the rope there, not knowing that it is a
rope, one imagines a snake and gets the feeling: 'the snake IS'.  Actually
only rope IS.

This 'nistattvam vyavahArArham anRtam and prakalpya bibheti phenomenon is
very graphically brought out by Saint-composer Sri Purandaradasa in his
twin-song on 'gumma'.  Actually this gumma is what is denoted by the term
'bAlayakSha' by Vidyaranya above.  This bAlayakSha is popular by the name
'pUchANDi' in Tamil.  There, Purandaradasa, in one song demonstrates the
adhyAropa principle where the yakSha is shown as creating fear in the
child-Krishna and He pleads with His mother not to invoke the yakSha.  In
the other song, the apavAda aspect is demonstrated where that very
child-Krishna addresses His mother saying 'I have  thoroughly searched the
entire creation but have not found the 'gumma' (yakSha).  You have been
falsely threatening me by invoking it.'

Thus mAyA is nothing but the bAlayakSha, 'invoked' by the Veda mAtA to
bring about an understanding of creation and Brahman.  This is the purpose,
vayvahAryam, though it is itself anRtam, nistattvam. That we have an
example in the world in the form of the bAlayakSha/gumma/pUchANDi and  that
a purpose is served by it despite its being a non-entity is what is brought
out in the verse cited .


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