'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.
The great statements of the Upanishads contain the absolute essence of the seekers search. Pertaining to the subject of "God" being us and thus meaning that divinity is our essential nature, is the mahaavaakya " तत्त्वम् असि /tattvam asi". The exploration of the breadth and depth of the statement is a single study of its own, but here in TattvabodhaH, the student, having listened attentively through the telling of panchikarana, finds voice once more, enquiring of the Guru … '… but sir, sir! How can this be so?!'…
ननु साहंकारस्य किंचिज्ज्ञस्य जीवस्य निरहंकारस्य
सर्वज्ञस्य ईश्वरस्य तत्त्वमसीति महावाक्यात् कथमभेदबुद्धिः
nanu saahaMkaarasya kiMcijGYasya jiivasya nirahaMkaarasya
sarvaGYasya iishvarasya tattvamasiiti mahaavaakyaat kathamabhedabuddhiH
"But, the jiiva is endowed with ego and his knowledge is limited; whereas, Iisvara is without ego and is Omniscient. How then can there be identity, as stated in the mahaavaakya 'that thou art', between these two who are possessed of contradictory characteristics?"
To realise one's true nature is the very goal of human life. To gain knowledge of the Self is the very purpose of the Vedas. The statement in the Vedas which indicate the unity of the jiiva and the Infinite Truth are the mahaavaakyas. There are actually many 'large statements', but four, one from each Veda, are considred the pinnacle of clarity and are quite famous. Tattvam Asi is found in Chandogya Upanishad of the Saama Veda. In that text, the Guru explains that the Truth alone existed before creation. From It emerged the entire creation, as ornaments arise from gold. That Truth - tat- Alone are - asi - You - tvam.
For some, on hearing this, there might be an element of shock; even thoughts of it being blasphemous, if they are fully attached to a physical fellow sitting on a throne in a space called 'heaven'. Others will say, okay, that means there is no 'god' and we are all there is. Still others will think a little more and wonder at the possibility of creator and created being one and the same thing… and begin to enquire into its possibility.
The jiiva, as has been declared here, is finite with limited knowledge, limited strength, miniscule in comparison to the universe and is deluded by Maya into thinking the world is everything, that it must be dependent on the world and that sorrow is a normal thing in life. Iisvara, though, is infinite, omniscient, all-strong, all-pervading, not controlled by Maya, is independent of creation and has no worry or sorrow. How can these be one and the same thing?
It is perfectly understandable for the student to be confused by an apparent contradiction of conditions. The Lord and the world appear to us depending on our viewpoint (यथा दृष्ति तथा सृष्ति /yathaa drishiH tathaa sristiH - as the vision, so the world). To a villager, the city is overwhelming; but to the urban dweller, the village hardly is noticed.
The Guru answers by pointing out that it depends upon where we 'stand'. This we shall see next week. The chanting for this week will be there also.