Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


Here is a place to linger, to let your intellect roam. Aatmaavrajanam is being written as a progressive study and, as such, can be read like a book. Anyone arriving at any time can simply start at the very first post and work their way through at their own pace. Please take time to read the info tabs and ensure you don't miss a post, by subscribing to the blog. Interaction is welcomed. Don't be a spectator - be a participator!

Into The Ever Wider Pond

Hari OM

'Text-days' are for delving into the words and theory of Advaita Vedanta.

[You are reminded that reviewing the previous week's posts will become essential as the meanings of the Sanskrit terms may not be repeated. There may come additional or alternative meanings, but all should be noted. As study progresses, the technical terms must necessarily become 'second nature' to the student. When the Sanskrit is used, the translation will fall easily into place - or likewise, if the English is used, the Sanskrit term must easily come forwards.]

Please revisit THIS post and chant the mangala-charana. Please use the TattvabodaH label to access all posts relevant to this text.

Beyond The PanchakosaaH; The Nature of The Self.

The shishya of the text has remembered that at the sangraH verse there was promise to have The Self defined. In reminding the Guru with the question of what is the Self if it is none of what has been described thus far, there comes a sequence of smaller questions regarding the parts given by the Guru as a response to the first question. As this is the key subject of Vedanta, the overview here is but a teaser - an advertisement, if you will, for the eager 'consumer' of spirit, holding just enough to encourage continued research. Due to the shortness of each of these in this section, all four are being given in one post, along with the concluding declaration of the Guru for this chapter.

आत्मा तर्हि कः। सच्चिदानन्दस्वरूपः।
सत् किम्। कालत्रयेऽपि तिष्ठतीति सत्।
चित् किम्। ज्ञानस्वरूपः।
आनन्दः कः। सुख़स्वरूपः।
एवं सच्चिदानन्दस्वरूपं स्वात्मानं विजानीयात्।

aatmaa tarhi kaH. sachchidaanandasvaruupaH.
sat kim. kaalatraye.api tiSThatiiti sat.
chit kim. GYaanasvaruupaH.
aanandaH kaH. suKasvaruupaH.
evaM saccidaanandasvaruupaM svaatmaanaM vijaaniiyaat.

"Then what is The Self   ?"
"It is of the nature of Existence, Consciousness, Bliss."
"What is Existence   ?"
"That which remains unchanged in the three periods of time (past, present, future) is Existence."
"What is Consciousness   ?"
"It is of the nature of absolute Knowledge."
"What is Bliss   ?"
"It is of the nature of absolute happiness."
"Thus one should know oneself to be of the nature of Existence-Consciousness-Bliss."

The Self is All in that it is constituted of Existence, Consciousness, Bliss. What a deceptively simple statement!!! In this one question and answer we have the very essence of Vedantic pursuit. The core purpose of life is to research and understand exactly what is life. The response is then given in such a manner that we have to assume not just an inference, but direct experience.  This is key to the concept of Knowledge (capital 'k') in Vedanta… it is not the mere gathering of inputs, the harvesting of information. It IS the information. It is the Knowledge which ends all knowledge. This is referred to as स्वरूप लक्षण /svaruupa lakshana, an example given from direct experience and is the encouragement any seeker needs that the goal of this Knowledge is attainable. [Very many hours and texts will be covered in pursuit of this; for now, let this be enough.]

Existence is here advised to be something which 'is', outside of all our current understanding of existence. We are inclined to consider existence as having substance, but here we are discussing something so subtle it is totally beyond any measurement we can make. Quantum physics goes some way to postulating what 'existence' might be made of and recent discoveries are exciting as to the possibilities of there being 'something' which is both present and yet not present, yet remains ever constant within itself. The manmade constructs of time and space are not binding to such an existence. What is more, in this Guru's response it is made clear that this 'existence' is permanent; it was, is now, and ever shall be. Again, understand, that as far as Existence is concerned, time does not exist, thus past, present and future as we perceive it is all but one thing for Existence and it remains in its state, without change, in that permanence.

Other than Existence itself, there is an Awareness of that Existence. This Consciousness is not ego-aware such as we mere critters which emanate from it are aware. Even 'thoughts' are not present here. Simple awareness, such as is represented in the gaps between our thoughts - the purpose of meditation is to find more and more of those gaps and to widen them so that we can return to our nascent state. It is thoughts which give us the concept of 'knowledge'. The Consciousness, though, does not require these, for it is not the object. It is the subject. It is like the sun, ever shining. Our thoughts are like torches, attempting to illuminate our world - even shining towards the 'sun' of Consciousness in an attempt to explain it. The sun, however, sees not the torches, is not at all disturbed or added to by their presence. It simply shines. It does what it does and consequently life arises due to its presence, but the sun knows this not, cares not and is in no way modified by the presence of the life it promotes.

Image result for satchidananda
Similarly, the Bliss condition of the Self is nothing more than the sum of these two things. Free of the burden of scattered personality, of the ups and downs of small existence.Though, through limitation of language, this may suggest a separateness of Bliss, just as it might of Existence and Consciousness, actually all three things are together the very thing which we attempt to describe here. All three together are That One True Self.

Thus, says the Guru, the realised master, in conclusion to this section of inguiry, "don't waste your time dear one; make this little life worth while and work towards reunification with your True Self which is nothing other than these three things!"

If the Self is One, why the three-part description? It can be put this way - "I AM" - "I Know that I AM" - "I am always dear to myself". It is important to know these three, as they inform the advanced stages of Vedantic research and application, when meditation and study grow ever more entwined for application and growing experience. This is further elucidated with the four great statements (mahaavaakyas), which we shall come to in due course.

The chapter on the panchakoshas in TattvabodaH is now complete. Next?  The Universe.  Why not, eh? &*>

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Hari OM
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