[Advaita-l] Prayer with full understanding -3

H S Chandramouli hschandramouli at gmail.com
Mon Apr 5 08:14:03 EDT 2021

Pranams Sri Sadananda Ji,

This interpretation of the mantra does not appear to be in accordance with
the Bhashya of Sri Bhagavatpada. If so, can you please clarify on which
Bhashya this is based.

Pranams and Regards


On Sat, Apr 3, 2021 at 8:23 PM Kuntimaddi Sadananda via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> The final part.----------------------
> The most important point to note here is that the sensescan grasp only the
> attributes of an object, but not its substantive essence.Hence, knowledge
> of all objects “out there” is only attributive knowledge,never substantive
> knowledge. The reason is that the substantive for all objectsis nothing but
> Brahman since, according to our scriptures, Brahman is thematerial cause
> for the Universe. The Taittireya Upanishad says “yatova imaani bhuutani
> jaayante …” –“That from which the whole Universe arose, by which it is
> sustained and intowhich it returns is Brahman.” The senses cannot know
> Brahman. From the aboveanalysis, too, we cannot independently establish
> that there is a chairmaterially “out there.” For if we look at, say, a
> wooden chair closely, we findthat there is no such essentially substantive
> thing as a “chair” – it is only aname given to a certain assembled form of
> wood. What is actually “there” isonly wood.
> Moreover, if we then examine the wood closely, we find thatthere is really
> no wood there. It is just an assemblage of organic fibers,which are, in
> turn, are made up of molecular chains, which are in turn butassemblages of
> various atoms. And we can keep going: Atoms are themselves anassemblage of
> electrons, protons, and neutrons, which are, in turn, anassemblage of more
> fundamental matter. We soon come to a quantum level where wecannot
> precisely analyze the system since the very act of examining the
> fundamentalmatter affects the system observed. So, we cannot say with
> certainty what is“out there” at the fundamental level. We can only say
> that, at each relativelevel (vyavahaara), that “a chair isout there,” or
> “wood is out there” or organic fibers, or molecules or atoms,and so on. The
> knowledge changes as we shift our reference.
> The Real and the Apparent: Inshort, the knowledge of any object is only
> relative knowledge and not absoluteknowledge. The scriptures correctly
> point out that what is there is onlyBrahman, with different names and
> forms. Vidyaranya Swami says in DrikdrisyaViveka:
> अस्ति भाति प्रियं रूपंनामं चैत्यञ्च पञ्चकम्,
> अध्यत्रयम् ब्रह्म रूपंजगत् रूपं तथा द्वयम्|
> asti bhaati priyam ruupam naamam chaityancapancakam|
> adhyatrayam brahmaruupam, jagat ruupam tathaa dvayam||
> It says: Every object has asits five aspects; existence, illumination,
> desirability, form, and name. Ofthese five, the first three belong to
> Brahman while the other two, name andform, belong to the world. It means
> that the manifest world we live in isnothing but an assemblage of objects
> with names and forms (all areattributive), which are superficial since they
> do not have any substantialityof their own.  The underlying substanceof
> everything is Brahman alone. Hence the Upanishads declare, sarvam khalvidam
> brahma; neha naanaastikincana.  All of ‘this’ is nothingbut Brahman; there
> is nothing other than Brahman. What there is, is onlyBrahman, which is
> infinite. We cannot gain the substantive experience ofBrahman by any means
> of knowledge since Brahman is infinite. It is like a ring,a bangle, a
> bracelet, and a necklace made of gold. Each one is different, withtheir own
> attributes (guna) and purpose or utility, each differing from that
> ofothers. Yet those attributes (such as i.d. or o.d., or thickness, size,
> shape,etc.) do not belong to the gold, the substance of all these
> ornaments. Althoughwe say, from the point of vyavahaara,that the ring, or
> the bangle, etc., arises from gold, is sustained by gold andreturns into
> gold The truth is they are all just gold in different forms andnames. The
> process of gold becoming jewelry or ornamentation is a“transformation-less
> transformation,” since the gold remains gold throughoutthe transformation.
> In the same vein, the Ch. Upanishad declares: vaachaarambhanam vikaaro
> naama dheyam“Creation is nothing but an apparent transformation” – just
> like gold becomingornaments. Is the ring, bangle, bracelet, etc., real or
> unreal? They appear tobe real, but the truth is they are nothing but gold
> and gold alone. What must Ido to see the gold in the ring? I don’t have to
> destroy the ring. Rather, likea goldsmith, I must learn to see gold in and
> through the ring, by paying moreattention, not to the object’s superficial
> name and form but its substance.
> That which appears to be real, but can be negated, iscalled mithyaa, which
> Shankara defines as satasat vilaxanam. One cannot say that the ring does
> not exist since one canobviously decorate oneself with it. But at the same
> time, one cannot say thering really exists either, since what actually
> exists “out there” is only gold.Hence, it is called mithya. Scripture
> sometimes uses the word “asat” formithya. Hence the first prayer – “Lead me
> from the unreal to the real” – isessentially a request for the
> discriminative power to see Brahman, thesubstantive of the world. Here
> “seeing” means understanding since Brahmancannot be an object by any
> pramaana (aprameyam). The Mandukya Upanishad startswith the declaration
> that “Om” is nothing but all “this”; that all “this” isnothing but Brahman;
> and that Brahman is nothing but the Self that I am. Hence,in the prayer
> “astoma sadgamaya,” we are asking the Lord to lead us to therealization
> that “I am that Brahman” – the real entity. That is liberation, ormoksha,
> since the realization that “I am Brahman” means becoming that Brahman,the
> limitless “That I am.” brahma vitbrahmaiva bhavati – the knower of Brahman
> becomes Brahman, say thescriptures.
> A finite “I” cannot become the infinite Brahman; that wouldbe
> mathematically illogical. However, if I am already infinite and only
> thinkthat I am finite, and thus suffer the consequences of that thinking,
> then I amsimply ignorant of my true Self. All I need is convincing teaching
> that I amnot what I think I am; that, rather, I am the totality, the
> substantive essence,and being of the entire Universe. Hence, in the prayer
> “tamasoma jyotirgamaya,” I am asking the Lord to help me to knowmyself.
> This self-knowledge is not the kind of objective or attributiveknowledge
> that we discussed above; the knowledge of one’s own self cannot
> beobjectified, and, therefore, cannot be defined. It is recognition of
> one’sself, with Vedanta as pramaana, as expounded by the teacher. Here
> Vedanta actslike a mirror, a darashana, in thehands of a teacher –
> reflecting my true nature in contrast to what I think Iam. Hence, the
> prayer, “Oh Lord, lead me from ignorance to knowledge.” Here,the process is
> one of knowing the identity of the self with Brahman (ayam aatma brahma);
> and that is moksa,or liberation, too. Bondage is only notional; it is not
> real – and therefore,it can be removed by knowledge. Finally, once I
> recognize that I am thateternal, all-pervading Brahman – which is of the
> nature of sat, the existencethat never ceases to exist – I recognize myself
> as eternal and immortal. Deathis only notional since there is neither birth
> nor death; as when a ring isdestroyed to form a bangle, the gold itself
> remains unaffected. Hence, in theprayer “mrutyormaa amRitam gamaya,” Iam
> only praying for the knowledge to recognize myself as the immortal
> entitythat I already am. So now we can understand that all three of these
> prayers arefor the realization of our own true nature – a realization that
> can happen onlywhen we drop the notions that “I am this body-mind-intellect
> complex.” Byidentifying with the body, I consider myself to be mortal –
> hence the prayer,“Lead me from mortality to immortality.” By identifying
> with limited intellect,I consider myself to be ignorant – hence the prayer,
> “Lead me from ignorance toknowledge.” By identifying myself as this jeeva
> with its limited body-mindcomplex, I consider the unreal world to be real,
> and I suffer the consequencesof this misunderstanding. And hence my
> prayers: “Lead me from unreality toreality.” All three prayers involve
> seeking the knowledge that “I am that Satyam-Jnaanam-Anantam;” that I
> amBrahman, from which the whole world arises, by which it is sustained, and
> intowhich it is finally reabsorbed.
> Let us now pray with full understanding.
> ------------------------
> _______________________________________________
> Archives: https://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l/
> http://blog.gmane.org/gmane.culture.religion.advaita
> To unsubscribe or change your options:
> https://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/cgi-bin/listinfo/advaita-l
> For assistance, contact:
> listmaster at advaita-vedanta.org

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list