'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.
The Self is known to Itself, by Itself. This is the implication of satchitananda. The part of us which is ever-present and unchanging; the awareness which is the substratum for all experience. All that has 'variance' and takes part in the experiences is nothing but the ego-self, which becomes attached and dependent on the experiences and forgets the Self from which it arose.
Thus the Guru of TattvabodaH introduces his shishya to the fullness, which is to be researched through the avenue of correct inquiry and application of the various 'formulae' provided, in order to make That Condition of Fullness his own.
Every text, indeed every maarga (path) within the four yogas of "Hinduism" (more correctly referred to as sanaatana dharma), points to That One Glorious Truth. It is even recognised by other doctrinal systems, though given different names; Holy Spirit, Allah, Hu, Manitou, The Dreaming… Not all will have the same intellectual understanding or rigour of research and explanation, but all do recognise that there is an unmanifest power behind all of creation and that the attempts of giving description or form to such is really beyond us. Thus we have the development of a "God" concept. It is provided for we mere humans to have something to grasp onto and raise ourselves up.
Thus, in the manifest world, the world we currently know, what is the arrangement? How does Vedanta describe it? Let us begin at the largest end.
|यथा ब्रह्माण्ड तथा पिण्डाण्ड|
As the macro, so the micro
There are three aspects of life. जीव /jiiva - the individual (soul); जगत् /jagat - the world (Earth and all it presents); ईश्वर /iishvara - the 'Creator/God'. Philosophically there are two other terms used now; for jagat we think of it as macrocosm and for jiiva we think of it as microcosm. Macrocosm will be referred to also as ब्रह्माण्ड /brahmaanda - totality. Of that total the individual is a part, the microcosm, which will be referred to as पिण्डाण्ड /pindaanda. The Sanskrit words literally mean 'big lump' and 'small lump'. Think of a large lump of clay, from which the potter removes a small lump to form into different things. Seeing how the small arises from the larger lump is relatively simple, however the clay itself must have a 'cause', a source of origin. That is to say both must have a cause. Of what is everything made?
It might be useful here to give a thumbnail recap of the text so far to demonstrate the thought-flow.
It began with an introduction and the declaration that 'we will now explain how to properly conduct an enquiry into Reality'. To discover the Reality, what is the method - tattva-viveka-prakaara - in order that moksha can be attained. Who is qualified for this? The adhikaari, one who has made preliminary enquiries and who has now understood the need to become focused and determined in his or her personal search. Then we had three sections; first on saadhana chatushtaya, then on enquiry, and then on the what of enquiry (i.e. what again is the purpose here?) - that there is only One Truth and all else which we perceive is false. Student asked question of what exactly is this 'aatmaa'; attempts were then made to give a simple description of the indescribable through a process of telling what the Self is not and how it is understood through the three states of consciousness. For a truly advanced student, this explanation alone would provide, perhaps, the revelation required for moksha. However, majority seekers are still at the early stages so an explanation of current condition is required. Thus we have an exploration of the panchakoshas and there is mention of the panchabhuutas - the five elements. These elements are about to be explored in their different manifestations.
It is here that we discover the very ancient thinking on matters of biology, physics and chemistry; bear in mind that there were none of the instrumentations we have in our times. The Sanskrit word अनु /anu is, to all intents and purposes, the atom. This was all discovered through intellectual power.
Thus, till now, the discussion has been in relation to the jiiva/microcosm. The Guru now shifts focus to the jagat/macrocosm. We shall look at the Sanskrit and chant with next post; the aphorism to begin this section is short; "Now we shall explain the evolution of the twenty four factors." What factors are being referred to? All those previously mentioned. Check back and see!
Chitti ) collectively, 'antaH kaarana' - referred to in context of mind and intellect
In actual fact there is a twenty-fifth factor, that being avidya (ignorance) as being part of the effects; however it is not included due to the fact that it is actually beginningless. Remember that ignorance exists until knowledge removes it. Once knowledge is present, ignorance cannot return. The fact it can be negated makes it part of the factors which make up the world but we cannot determine its cause therefore it is not counted in this list.
Thus, in this opening aphorism, the Guru indicates an adjustment of focus for his teaching. Whilst looking at this list we may think that again the individual only is being addressed, but we now have to start thinking 'universally'. The individual body is but one of infinite numbers and all have a subtle body, which have the potential to merge and then at the total level, we will find the causative factor for the manifest world which is called as माया /maayaa (generally written as Maya). As much as the list of factors is applied to the microcosm, it is also applied to the macrocosm thus showing a direct and qualitative connection between the two. This is not directly referred within the text itself, but here we note that such texts were written for students who held a certain amount of prior knowledge of certain concepts and who would be familiar with certain terms. As adjunct, then, the following is provided.
More terms and concepts to note; Consciousness, conditioned as "I"-ness, at pindaanda level is referred to as aatman and Consciousness/"I"ness at brahmaanda level is referred to as Brahman. It is very important to understand that Consciousness remains one constant here; only the nomenclature is different according to viewpoint for as long as we remain in our separated condition. Additionally, it is important to recognise that even at level of Brahman, there is implication of some conditioning, as in the "I"dentification. We came to know of pindaanda "I"ness in relation to the gross body as vishva (waking), to the subtle body as taijasa (dream) and to the causal body as prajna (deep sleep/ignorance). At the brahmaanda level the "I"ness manifests as विरात् /viraat (gross), हिरण्यगर्भ /hiranyagharba (subtle) and Maya at causal level. Another name given which can be applied to all three of the macrocosmic states is Iishwara.
From here, then, the Guru tells that there will be an exploration of how jagat and jiiva evolved. Only two things are un-evolved, that is to say, can be found to be beginningless. All else having a beginning, we must find from where and it is logical to think we must start with the beginningless. The two things are Brahman and Maya. What is their relationship? Are they equal? Is one dependent on the other?