[Advaita-l] Excerpts from Sri Sankara Digvijaya - 2

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Tue Jul 25 22:19:55 EDT 2017

 (Continued from previous post)
Maneesha Panchakam is a well known set of verses and many knowledgeable commentaries are available on the same,
so we will not investigate it much here. Instead, let us focus on the following verse said by the Acharya after
Lord Shiva appeared in front of him:
दासस्तेऽहं देहे दृष्ट्यास्मि शम्भो
   जातस्तेऽम्शो जीव दृष्ट्या त्रिदृष्टे
सर्वस्यात्मन्नात्म दृष्ट्या त्वमेवेति
   एवं मे धीर्निश्चिता सर्व शास्त्रैः ।
The Acharya said to the Lord: “Oh Shambho Mahadeva! Salutations to you. When I consider myself to be this body
(deha drishti), I am your servant (dāsaḥ). When I consider myself to be the limited/personal soul (jīva dṛṣṭi),
I am a part of you (amśaḥ). When I consider myself to be the unlimited/boundless soul (ātma dṛṣṭi), then
I am verily you (tvam). This is the essence of all the scriptures (sarva-śāstraiḥ) I have learnt and ascertained
by serving my guru and listening to his words.”
While offering his salutations to the Lord and exhibiting his incomparable Advaita jnanam (knowledge of the non-dual Self),
the Acharya, through this verse, is also imparting a great lesson to all the seekers on how to approach the path of
Salvation or Moksha.
Here, the Acharya is talking about त्रिदृष्टि, the tri-fold view or approach, through which a seeker can gradually and
incrementally qualify himself or herself for atma jnanam or self-knowledge which gives moksha.
The first drishti or view is deha dṛṣṭi, the initial stage, in which the seeker considers himself  to be the body,
distinct from others, distinct from the surrounding world and distinct from God. He considers God to be the creator,
sustainer, destroyer and the ultimate master of the universe and himself to be God’s servant, worshiping Him,
praising Him, being devoted to Him and seeking God’s  grace in all transactions undertaken by oneself. This is also
the first aspect of Karma Yoga taught by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, called sakāma karmā. An evolution in
this path is niśkāma karmā, in which the seeker performs his work, as directed by the scriptures, without selfish
expectations and does so only as an offering to God (Īśvarārpaṇa buddhi) and accepts all outcomes with equanimity
as grace of God (Prasāda buddhi).
With the grace of one’s Guru, then the seeker gradually advances to the next stage in which he develops the second
drishti or view, i.e. the jīva dṛṣṭi. In this stage, the seeker, in addition to being devoted to God, also recognizes
the divinity in the entire creation. He advances from the view point of “God DOES creation”, to the view point of
“God IS creation”.  He recognizes himself to be an integral part (amśaḥ) of God’s creation, and thereby, as an
integral part of God and strives to develop divine qualities in himself, in addition to being devoted to the Lord.
These divine qualities are described again by Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita as daivī-sampat, as part of Upasana Yoga.
These include qualities like fearlessness, purity of heart, steadfastness of mind, control of the senses, sacrifice,
study of scriptures, austerity, harmlessness, truth, absence of anger, renunciation, peacefulness, absence of crookedness,
compassion towards beings, freedom from covetousness, gentleness, modesty, forgiveness, fortitude, absence of  hatred,
absence of pride etc. By gradually developing these divine qualities and recognizing the spark of divinity inside oneself,
the seeker becomes qualified for the third and final stage of his spiritual journey,  namely ātma jñāna.
Upon developing the above divine qualities and other attributes like intense dispassion, and upon receiving the benevolent
grace of the Lord and one’s Guru, the seeker establishes himself in the third and final drishti or view, i.e.,
the ātma dṛṣṭi. He thus advances his understanding of God, the self and the creation. From the view points of
“God DOES creation” to “God IS creation”, he now proceeds to the correct understanding that “God APPEARS as Creation”.
He realizes the profound truth that the same consciousness (ātman) shines both in himself and the Lord (Tat Tvam Asi)
and when viewed from this perspective, there is no difference between himself as jīvātman and the Lord as paramātman.
This is the Self-Knowledge, the Ultimate Realization which is also called Moksha or liberation. Lord Krishna refers to
this in his Jnana Yoga and describes it in the Bhagavad Gita verse:
क्षेत्र क्षेत्रज्ञयोरेवमन्तरं ज्ञानचक्षुषा |
भूतप्रकृति मोक्षं च ये विदुर्यान्ति ते परम् ||
Thus, within one small verse addressed to Lord Shiva, the great Jagadguru, with his infinite grace, has taught us all
the right way to perceive and experience divinity and ultimately reach the epitome of human life – i.e., Moksha via a
gradual progression through the right Karma, Upasana and Jnana.
In the next issue, we will try to examine another event from the Jagadguru’s journey and draw a valuable life lesson
from it.
References :
1. Sankara Digvijaya of Madhava – Vidyaranya by Swami Tapasyananda, Ramakrishna Mutt
2. Sri Sankara Vijayam of Swami Vidyaranya by T. Shivacharanam, Vyasasramam
3. Vedanta discourses by Swami Paramarthananda, Chennai
4. Sankara Charitam – Upanyasam by Sri Sengalipuram Anantarama Dikshitar
(To be Continued)

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