[Advaita-l] The body is the disease

Suresh mayavaadi at yahoo.com
Fri Jan 10 10:29:51 CST 2014

Dear Subrahmanian,

Thanks for the explanation, but isn't it a little odd to ascribe ignorance to Brahman? I may be missing something, so please clarify. If Brahman is nirguna, how did ignorance or desire come about? Why the need to create the world? 

Or should I assume that the world, being an illusion, was never created - and that its 'existence' is only accepted in the same sense that the snake's existence is accepted (that is, until the rope is clearly seen)?

Thanks again.

On Friday, 10 January 2014 1:04 PM, V Subrahmanian <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com> wrote:

On Thu, Jan 9, 2014 at 8:50 PM, Suresh <mayavaadi at yahoo.com> wrote:

Dear Friends,
>When someone asked Ramana about his disease, he is said to have remarked: the body is the disease.
>I take it he means the body limits the all-pervading consciousness. If so, why does Brahman assume the body in the first place and limit itself thus? Even if it's maya, what purpose would taking a body serve?

The method of Advaita is that Brahman has assumed the body-idea out of ignorance.  In advaita Brahman is not omniscient the way Ishwara is; Brahman is nirguNa tattvam, secondless.  The concepts 'Ishwara' and 'jiva' are assumed by the shAstra in order to explain the inexplicable samsAra anubhava.  These verses of the Vivekachudamani reply the question raised:  

वक्ति साक्षाच्छ्रुतेर्गीः ।
यो वा एतेष्वेव तिष्ठत्यमुष्य 
The words
of the Veda directly proclaim Truth, Devotion, Knowledge and Concentration as
the causes of Freedom.  To one who is
steadfast in these alone will there be freedom from the bondage of the body
which is but a creation of Ignorance.                                   (48)
अज्ञानयोगात्परमात्मनस्तव ह्यानात्मबन्धस्तत एव संसृतिः ।
तयोर्विवेकोदित-बोधवह्निः अज्ञानकार्यं प्रदहेत्समूलम् ॥४९॥
For you who
are really Supreme Self, bondage with what is not-self arose by association
with ignorance; and from that itself arose samsara. The fire of knowledge
arising from the discrimination between these two (the self and the not-self)
will burn away all the offshoots of ignorance along with the root cause
(ignorance itself).                                                                   (49)

The above has the basis in the Brihadaranyaka up. 1.4.10 and the shAnkara bhAShya thereon.  The upanishad here says: brahman indeed was.  It realized itself as 'aham brahma asmi' ['I am Brahman'] and therefore shed its finite idea realizing its infinite nature.  
According to this shruti, Advaita concludes that Brahman alone owing to ignorance entertained the idea of bondage and realized its true nature by knowledge.  

Closely corresponding to this above cited Br.up. mantra, there is another mantra in this very upanishat: 1.4.17.  While the above 1.4.10 commences: brahma vA idamagra AsIT, the 1.4.17 starts AtmA vA idam agra AsIt eka Eva so'kAmayata jAyA mE syAt...
The complete mantra is thus translated:

In the beginning this aggregate of desirable objects was but the 
self, one only. He cherished the desire: "Let me have a wife, so 
that I may be born as the child; and let me have wealth, so that I 
may perform rites." This much, indeed, is the range of desire;  even if 
one wishes, one cannot get more than this. Therefore, to 
this day, a man who is single desires: "Let me have a wife, so 
that I may be born as the child; and let me have wealth, so that I 
may perform rites." So long as he does not obtain each one of 
these, he thinks he is incomplete. 
Now, his completeness can also come in this way: The mind is 
his self, speech his wife, the vital breath his child, the eye his 
human wealth, for he finds it with the eye; the ear his divine 
wealth, for he hears it with the ear; the body his instrument of 
rites, for he performs rites through the body. So this sacrifice 
has five factors—the animals have five factors, men have five 
factors and all this that exists has five factors. He who knows 
this obtains all this. 
So, Atma/brahman assumes a body only in the wrong thinking that it is finite and becomes a samsArin.  




>Thanks in advance.
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