[Advaita-l] Brahmaarpanam -II

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Wed Jan 22 02:13:15 CST 2014

Brahmarpanam continued. 

As a side note, some non-advaitins interpret the sat –chit – ananda as attributes of Brahman. Such an assertion can be easily rejected on the ground that attributes are different from the locus of those attributes. For example if sat or existence is an attribute then its locas must be distinct from the attributive existence. Only thing that is distinct from existence is non-existence. Hence the statement reduces to saying that existnece is an attibute to non-existence, which is self-contradictory. Hence sat-chit-ananda is/are swarUpa lakshana of Brahman beacuse as Shankara says anantatvAt, or it is limitless or infinite. Infinite cannot have attributes and even the word infinite is only negation of all finites. Hence the scripture says Brahman is nirguNa or is attributeless.  Hence from this point also arpaNam = Brahman cannot be valid since any finite entity cannot be infinite. We may note also here Bhagavan Ramanuja uses this samAnAdhikaraNa to
 explain the equation tvam = tat in the tat tvam asi statement. For this he considers than Brahman is same as all pervading vishnu with infinite auspecious attibutes and he is an object of our worship. The jiivas and the jagat form His internal constituents like organs of the body. All the five fundamental differences exist within while He pervades everything as vishnu as total controller as well as weilder of His maayaa. Hence tvam in the equation has to be understood as one of the inseparable visheshana of the the all-pervading Bhagavan. Hence the philosophy is also called vishiShTa adviata, advaita from the point of totality but visheShaNas include all the jivas and the jagat along with infinite auspecious attributes that He posses.  This is the viswarUpa darshanam that Arjuna is shown in Ch. 11 of Geeta. Ramanuja interprets the nirguNa as absence of all dosha guNas or bad qualities. Shankara interprets the tat tvam asi using bhaaga tyaaga lakshana
 that is discussed below. 

3. UpasnAbhyAm samAnAdhikaraNam: Here the two words are equated for the sake of upaasana. When we go to temple and pray to the lord in the form of idol there, we invoke Lord Vishnu into that idol for the sake of worship. Lord is all pervading with infinite auspecious attributes while the idol is made of, say granite stone which is inert and finite. However, when we say looking at the idol that this is Lord Vishnu, we are equating the finite, inert idol with infinite conscous Vishnu. The identity is only valid for upaasana. When Krishna says arpaNam used in the nityaagnihomam is Brahman, as per Ramanuja the statement is to be interpreted using this samAnAdhikaraNam. Hence arpanam in the homan as to be invoked as Lord Vishnu for upasana or prayer. Hence the sloka implies all the factors that go into homan have to be looked upon reverentially as Bhagavat swaruupam only. In Hindu worship as part of our upasana we request the Lord to come into this idol –
 asmin bimbe AvAhayAmi – and even name the Lord whom we want to come – thus we say asmin bimbe shree mahA vishnum AvAhayAmi or Shree mahA ganapatim AvAhayAmi.  Of course, after the pujua we do the visarjanam as we request the busy Lord to leave that idol.  Interestingly,  Bhagavan Ramanuja is using two differnet aspects of samAnAdhikaraNam in interpreting tat tam asi statement and Brahmarpanam slokas. 

4. bAdhAyAm SamanAdhikaraNam also called apavade samanAdhikAraNam. In the equation tat tvam asi, we negate the contradictory qualifications of tat and tvam and equate only the essence. The negated components must be insignificant or apparent and not really real or arising from ignornance. Hence in the equation I am  and Brahman, we need to reject all the superficial attributes of the jiiva – such as BMI, and equate only the essence which is nothing but existence-consicousness-happiness. Hence all the assumed limitations of myself are rejected as not my limitations but those of the BMI. Similarly all the attibutes of Iswara such as sarvjnatvam, sarva shaktitvam, sarva vyaapakatvam – omnisicient, ompotent and omnipresent – are rejected and only the essence sat-chit-ananda or satyam-jnanam-anantam aspects are equated. It is similar to the statement – soyam devadattaH – this is that devadatta. That Devadatta who was cute looking fun-loving body
 that we knew is this Devadatta who is now the sanyAsi giving Vedanta talks. There is only one Devadatta and in understading we are intellectually rejecting all the contradictory qualifications of this Devadatta and that Devadatta and equating only the essence. The knolwedge is immediate if we understand the essence of that equation. Similarly tat tvam asi statement need to be  understood by rejecting intellectually the contradictory qualificaitions of jiiva and Iswara and equate only the essence. Hence Changogya clearly says – aitadAtmyam idagam sarva tat satyam – the essence of every object that you see – is nothing but pure existence which was there before creation and which itself now appears with various names and forms as objects. Hence all names and forms as like gold appearing as various ornaments each with its own attributes. Gold became many – but that many is only name-sake (and utlity-sake) many, but the essence is nothing but gold
 only. Scripure itself gives this example before it teaches the tat tvam asi statement. Hence equation has to involve bhaaga tyaagam or rejection of apparent qualificaitons of both jiiva-jagat-Iswara and only the essence that which ultimately counts. What counts for rings, bangles, bracelets is not their names and other attributes that differ but their essence which is nothing but gold. 

Applying the same samanAdhikaraNa, the brahmaarpan sloka also is interpreted when we say this arpaNam is Brahman. The contradictory qualifications here are one is finite and inert with some utility while the other is infinite, consious and useless (infinite cannot be used only finite things are used – not transactional reality). If we reject all that what remains is only pure existence since arpanam is and Brahmna is also existence. Existant aspect is only expressed in the inert forms while both existence and consciousness aspects are expressed in the beings with subtle bodies while the happiness part is only expressed fully only in jaanis who understand the statement – ayam aatmaa brahma. Thus as per vedanta, the whole universe consisting of both subject-object divisions is nothing but Brahman only – from which they came, by which it is sustained and into which they dissolve. yatOvA imAni bhUtAni jAyante, yena jAtAni jIvanti, yat prayam tyabhisham
 visanti – tat vijnaasaswa tat brahmeti. From which the whole universe came, by which it is sustained and into which they dissolve – is Brahman. From which all the gold arnaments came, by which it is sustained into which they go back is the material cause for all the gold ornaments. Brahmaarpanam brahma haviH .. etc as both karthaa, karma, kriya, kaaraNa and kriya phala all are nothing but Brahman. Brahman being infiniteness cannot exclude anything. This sloka says everything that is there in the transactonal world is nothing Brahmna only but with different names, forms and utilties,etc. 

This sloka is chanted specially before meals to recognize that 1) taking food is also a yagna and therefore has to be done with reverential attitude and 2) Food is also being offerred as part of yagna to the Lord inside and finally 3) from the point of decriminative intellect, meditation/recognition that everything eater as well as what is being eaten is Brahman only. Hence a realized upanisadic sage screams out in ectasy – aham annam aham annam aham annam – aham annaadou aham annaadou aham annaadou – I am the food, I am the food I am the food – I am the eater of the food, ayam eater of the food, I am the eater of the food- brahmaarpaNam brahma haviH..

Hari Om!

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