[Advaita-l] Iswara Darshanam - 9

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Sat Jan 18 00:23:05 CST 2014

                                                                                                  Iswara Darshanam – 8

After Krishna and Sanjaya described, Arjuna sees the vision of the Iswara in the form of totality and then he describes. In the description, he goes through three kinds of emotions, as he sees the vishwaruupa-Iswara or Lord in the form of Universe of names and forms. First emotion is wonderment, second emotion is fear and third emotion is bhakti or devotion. We wonder at things when our intellect cannot comprehend logically what we see or experience. Krishna says even a Jnaani also goes through wonderment when he recognizes the reality, since the truth cannot be logically comprehended. Wonder is also due the fact that it is so daringly present all the time, but yet was not recognized due to ignorance and it is not different from one’s own self.

 Ascharyavat pasyati kaschidena, 
Aschayravat vadati tathaiva chAnyaH,| 
AschairvaschianamanyaH shRiNoti, 
sRitvApyenam veda na chiava kaschit. ||

Whoever gains the vision of the totality gets wonderstruck. Others who describe this vision to others with wonder. Those who are tuned to this alone can hear with wonderment. It is pity that even after hearing, many do not even pursue to gain that vision. A jnaani sees the world with wonder or as vibhuti or glory of the Lord or as vibhUti of one’s own self.

The difficulty or obstacles in seeing this vision of viswarUpa Iswara, as outlined before, is due to lack of purity of the mind or Chitta Suddhi. Without the purity of the mind one does not see the world as is, but sees only as distorted by one’s rAga-dweshas or likes and dislikes. The temporary clearing of the obstacles for the vision, by the grace of the Lord or Guru, can help in appreciating the true vision of the world with wonder.  However, this vision is very soon will be replaced by fear and associated bhakti, as is evident in the Arjuna’s vision.  Fear normally comes from the unknown or from ignorance. Fear also comes when one sees something other than oneself or in the vision of duality. In essence, any duality or dvaita taken as reality causes fear, says the scripture; dvitIyAdyou bhayam bhavati or udaramantaram kurutE athatasya bhayam bhavati; even a spec of difference causes fear, says Tai. Up. Hence moksha or absolute freedom cannot
 involve any duality or dvaita. In deep sleep state, where there is no observed duality, everybody enjoys the state which is free from fear, and it is called anandamaya kosha. The same state is also reached temporarily when one gains happiness by fulfilling a desire. In those happy moments, one is back to oneself with no objectification or with no more longing mind or desiring mind, until another desire props up due to the pressure of vaasanas. In essence, our experiences indicate that advaita is the happy state that one longs for either by fulfilling the desires or by renouncing the desires. Tai. Upanishad in ananda valli describes each level of happiness and at each level it says that one can have the same happiness by sublimating the desires at that level- shrotriyasya akaamaya tasya. Sublimation is not suppression of desires but renunciation of them based on clear understanding that happiness comes from within, reflected in the contended mind or a
 mind free from desires. 

Advaita is in spite of dvaita, where it is understood that the dvaita that one sees is only apparent and not real. That is the knowledge. Arjuna might have gained that knowledge but has not retained that knowledge when he sees the viswaruupa Iswara. Retaining or abiding in the knowledge that I am that totality is what is involved in Jnaana nishTa. From Arjuna’s initial statements, slokas 1 and 2 of Ch. 11, we understand that he understood the teaching to some extent, since he says his delusion is gone. Yet, that knowledge of oneness is not firmly abiding since he considers the duality that he perceives as Iswara as reality, all though it includes everything but excludes the seer, Arujuna. 

The exalted vision that Arjuna sees, a jnaani also sees, while the extended vision that he sees may be only the Siddha purushas can see. The later includes the vision of the past and future and lokas or fields that are beyond human perception. 

Arjuna says:
anatabAhum shashisUryanetram|
pasyAmi tvAm dIptahutAshavaktram
svatejasA vishmidam tapantam||

Oh! Lord! I am seeing the infinite form of yours. I cannot see what is beginning, end or the middle. It is with infinite incredible power with endless shoulders and hands, with the Sun and the moon as your eyes. I see you with effulgent fiery faces illuminating and even scorching the whole universe by your brilliance.
Sun is essential as life giving force on the earth as well as the illuminator of the world. Moon stands as a reflector of the sun also standsfor the mind (as per Vedanta moon is the presiding deity of the mind) or that reflects the light of consciousness at both collective level as total mind and at individual level as local mind. Without the reflection of the consciousness by the mind (chidAbhAsa) the life is inexpressible. In essence, the all-pervading pure existence-consciousness brilliantly expresses itself both in the form of living and non-living entities in the universe. Hence the scriptures say – tasya bhAsA sarvam idam vibhAti – By that power and light of illumination the whole universe shines or become visible manifestation, while it is self-illuminating. Lord in the form of Sun is invoked as the illuminator of this whole universe during sandhyaa vandanam. At this stage of description, Arjuna is going through wonderment.    

Here Arjuna uses the word dIpta, the implied meaning is analaH or fire that too blazing fire, dIptahutAsha. Fire is brilliant and is also has radiating heat that burns in it as well as things close by. The brilliant light of fire reveals everything that it illuminates. Fire also stands for speech (vak indriyam). We are familiar with the phrase – it is a fiery speech. By communication via speech only the cognitive thoughts get revealed. Fire also consumes everything like time. Here the Arjuna as he describes later that the viswaruupa Iswara is seen swallowing everything that is coming close to its innumerable mouths. As per Vedanta viswaruupa Iswara is not only the sRiShTi, sthithi kaara or cause for creation and sustenance but also laya kaara – that involves destruction of everything that is created. 

Iswara is not only consuming things as they are dying, but also those who that are on the path to dying. Krishna says at the start of the Gita teaching that – gatAsUn agatAsUn cha na anusochanti panDitAH – the wise man does not grieve for those who are dead and for those who are dying. Death is nothing but change of state like change of dress as Krishna emphasizes in the sloka – vAsAmsi gIrNAni yathA vihAya….  The moment we are born we are heading towards the death. From the point of viswaruupa Iswara we are in essence slowly approaching the fiery mouths of the Iswara at our pace determined by our praarabda. He is the karma phala dAta or giver of the results of our actions in the past. If one has vision of the total picture, then one can stand apart and watch the drama of life. If one has narrow vision, he only sees the frightening Lord punishing mercilessly even those who are innocent. 

Someone asked me recently how to account for the massive destructions of beings when natural calamities such as sunami or man-made calamities such as wars occur.  There are two types of massive destructions. Krishna addresses in fact the second one as many going to die in the great MahabhArata war. The natural calamities are natural and those who die at that time are due to their prArabda. As a rule everyone gets what they deserve, even if we think looking at local events that we do not deserve such harsh treatments. Since death is nothing but subtle body leaving gross body in search of an environment more conducive to exhaust new set of vAsanas, these large scale destructions are caused by mass exodus of the jiivas from their current environments. In the case of man-made massive destructions including those due to actions of terrorists, both praarabda and human free-will or purushArtha are involved. Since there are will-full actions or inactions are
 involved by those who have choice to do or not to do, everyone who has a choice to act for his actions/inactions. Those that do not have any choice in that action are undergoing the results due to praarabda. Krishna addresses these in this chapter. 

Question is what should be the attitude of those bystanders witnessing such horrified actions. Someone asked me recently what should we do– I cannot seem many people, particularly children, starving on the streets. If we have choice in doing something to help to aggravate the pain of the beings, then it becomes our duty to do so to the extent possible. Not doing when we can do something becomes inappropriate inaction to which we become accountable. The prayer of serenity comes to my mind which clearly states what should be our attitude. For things that are beyond our control, all we can do is pray for their well fare. Hence the prayers – sarve janAH sukhino bhavantu..may all be happy or kalEvarshatu parjanyaH ..let the rains come on time, etc. Prayers for the benefit of the totality is prayer to the viswarupa Iswara only. 

Jnaani also sees the world as it is with both positive and negative things happening. Knowledge does not change the Iswara swaruupam but only changes our attitude towards the Iswara sarUpam.  That which is born has to die – jaatasyaHi dRivo mRityuH. Arjuna starts seeing this dark side of the Iswara swaruupam and from wonderment, fear starts creeping in to his mind. 

To be continued.

Hari Om!

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