'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 TattvabodhaH label to access all posts relevant to this text.
Thus, the end of the section on viveka (how to enquire and gain clarity) concluded with the suggestion that if we all understand that Consciousness is our natural state, then all appears as one; there is no separate Lord, no binding body, just divinity. To do this as per the mahaavaakya 'tat tvam asi', we must understand that there are different ways of looking at things; as seen or as may be surmised logically. A sentence may appear, on first reading, to have incongruities, even contradictions, if we read the words alone - vaachyaartha. If, however, we accept that there is a context beyond the obvious (and in spiritual philosophy, there is always the subtle context!), then it is incumbent upon the seeker to get to the essence of meaning beyond the mere word/s, to reach the implied meaning - lakshyaartha. Thus we find that the 'you' of the mahaavaakya may mean the individual reading the sentence, but from the context of spirit (Consciousness) it indicates that 'you and me' are the same. This is supported if the common denominator of spirit is applied to 'That', and the two have the linking verb 'are'. To have used 'is' would not have permitted the many which is the status of the 'you' currently. These words are provided for the many, in order to reach an understanding of The One.
Having learned of this possibility, also having understood that this Knowledge has survived thousands of centuries, that there is an applicable model, and that there have been Masters of that model with each successive generation ensuring continuity and consistency, what might be the next enquiry? Think about that for a while, whilst we move along with the next statement of the Guru of the text. (Chanting will be on next week's post.)
सर्वेष्वपि भूतेषु येषां ब्रह्मबुद्धिरुत्पन्ना
ते जीवन्मुक्ताः इत्यर्थः।
evaM ca vedaantavaakyaiH sadgurupadeshena ca
sarveSvapi bhuuteSu yeSaaM brahmabuddhirutpannaa
te jiivanmuktaaH ityarthaH.
"Thus by the words of Vedaanta and the teachings of the Sadguru, those in whom the vision that Truth is born in all beings, are liberated while living."
As has been mentioned before, the structure of Vedantic texts is such that there will be an invocation, a 'pledge or promise' verse and then subsequent categories which relate back to that 'sangraH vastu' (summary verse). In TattvabodhaH, we studied the vastu HERE. We were told that, provided we have approached with appropriate qualification/preparation, we will learn the how and why of inquiry and that, all things being aligned, moksha awaits.
With this suutra the Guru brings the subject round to that final promise, expanding on it by indicating what is required to attain such high spiritual fulfillment. The word Vedanta is used - what needs to be borne in mind is that we say 'vedanta' we literally mean the Upanishads. These teachings appear at the end of each Veda (anta = end), and are also considered to be the ultimate in Knowledge, knocking out all lesser 'knowledges', thus also being the 'end of all Knowledge'. Therefore, to take in the words of Vedanta is the first necessary thing. However, as might be said with any advanced science (physics, mathematics, etc), there is only so much which any student can truly understand and apply for themselves without risk of making major errors. To obtain the best out of any learning, it is necessary to have already established experts in the field of enquiry to whom we can look for guidance and correction.
Within Sanskrit tradition, the guru-shisya relationship is rather closer to what the West thinks of as apprenticeship, than to a straightforward look and learn setup. Of course there is a certain amount of 'rote learning', but mostly it is about question - answer - cogitate - evaluate - clear doubts - think further and make the knowledge one's own.
|Truth is One; sages can tell it variously|
There are different levels of teacher also; many are themselves also students. Whilst learning the very highest skills, they may still have sufficient to convey knowledge to those who have little or none. Again in the parpampara (Guru lineage) it must be seen who is the student of whom and, as you may surmise, there are various levels and qualities here also. In any lineage, there must be evidence of a Satguru - a true teacher - one who not only can recite scripture and spout words, but demonstrates clearly by living example; additionally, the Satguru will know what each student is capable of and how best to bring them through. The Satguru also only provides what s/he has in turn been taught through the parampara… no wandering off on their own agenda or creating fantastical embellishments for their aggrandizement or material gain. Each may teach in their own style, but the core and purpose of the teaching remains unaltered.
The implication is that the Satguru is already jivanmukta; a Realised Master. Not only knowing the subject, they must be practitioners of same, and prime examples of its fulfillment.
What would be the next question?