'Text-days' are for delving into the words and theory of Advaita Vedanta.
We are now studying Aatmabodha. As always, with each week, you are encouraged to review the previous teachings and spend some time in contemplation of the meanings as the affect your life. Please do consider purchasing the text. Remember, also, to recite the mangala charana before each study and review the lessons before each new one.
We are seeing the use of familiar examples to draw analogy with advanced Advaitic concepts. Using this technique the masters of the philosophy are acknowledging the intelligence of their students whilst also taking into account the need to take 'baby' steps so as to lift the seeker gently. It is a teaching methodology used for centuries and in all arenas of study, whereby the tutor aids the student's learning by using something familiar which illustrates key points. Last shloka we learned that there is a substratum upon which all of creation appears and one of the names for That is Brahman; changeless, beginningless and endless. The hint is that what sits atop the substratum emerges from That and does not stand separate at all. This is taken a stage further now in shloka nine.
siCcdaTmNynuSyUte inTye iv:[aE àkiLpta>,
Vy´yae ivivxa> svaR haqke kqkaidvt!.9.
Sacchidaatmanyanusyuute nitye vishnau prakalpitaaH, vyaktayo vividhaaH sarvaa haatake katakaadivat ||9||
The entire world of things and beings is only a mental projection upon the substratum which is the Eternal All-pervading Vishnu, whose nature is Existence-Consciousness-Bliss; just as all the different ornaments are made out of the same gold.
The other thing with examples, is that all students can be addressed and brought along with the theories and principles. Never for a moment get impatient with apparent repetition, for even if you think you 'got it', other's may not - and there is always the opportunity to deepen what it is you 'got'. This is particularly pertinent with the subtleties of Vedanta.
Bearing in mind that this is a variation on the theme of the preceding shloka, let us again understand that in any creative process there are three parts. The material cause - being the substance which changes its form and name; the instrumental cause - that which facilitates the alteration; and the efficient cause - the origin of the idea, the intelligence which sparks the process of creation. In all creations from our current perspective, these appear to be entirely separate from each other. We need a potter, we need a wheel and, most of all, we need the base material which is to be transformed. We then say we have a pot. We acknowledge a potter and we acknowledge the process, the potting.'
However, this shloka tell us that when it comes to the entire Universe which we refer to as Creation, all three are one thing. Brahman, is the material, the instrumental and the efficient cause. Likened to gold, we are informed that all objects, including ourselves, are derived from that base because the base itself generated it.
In another example, we see the waves of the ocean rise from the energy of the ocean itself and dropping back into that very same ocean. At no time do the waves have a separate existence from the water which is the ocean and the water which is them; it is appearance only. So it is with the external world we perceive; the physical, mental and intellectual experiences arise from, exist in and return to that substratum of Brahman - the supreme Awareness. It is this Awareness which is the commonality we find in everything and everyone, provided we open ourselves to it. We are all gold.
To demonstrate gold here, the verse uses the term 'of Vishnu'. Not to be taken as the four-armed god personality, but as the Universal Architect which manifests its designs in the way we manifest dreams. When those dreams disappear back into our mental recesses, we remain. In the same way, the Architect is unchanged and is ever the source of all Creation. The natural state is given a quality here; it is Existence-Consciousness-Bliss.
Ponder on the common thread of life, look beyond differences.