'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.
The use of analogy for illustrating high philosophical concepts is well under way in our current text. We have seen that Maya's deception has us believing there is silver, where only shell is. Likewise, gold is gold is gold, regardless of the form into which it is worked, therefore we must understand that we and our neighbour and his dog and the wolf at the edge of our town, the ocean around our country and the earth which makes the country itself… all these are but the same matter, formed variously. This is now explored further.
Yawakaazae ù;Ikezae nanaपeaixgtae ivÉu>,
tÑedaiÑÚvÑait tÚaze kevlae Évet!.10.
Yathaakaasho hRshiikesho naanopaadhigato vibhuH,
tad-bhedad-bhinnavad-bhaati kevalo bhavet ||10||
The All-pervading space appears to be diverse on account of its association with various conditionings which are different from each other. However, upon the destruction of these limiting adjuncts, the space becomes one. So also, the omnipresent Truth appears to be diverse on account of Its association with various conditionings and becomes one on the destruction of those conditionings.
The name for our 'conditionings' is उपाधाः/upaadhi-s. In Sanskrit conjunctions, when a word ends with 'a' and the next begins with 'u', they are replaced with a single 'o' sound, hence read 'naanopaadhigato. This breaks down as - naanaa (various/separately/differently), upaadhi (conditionings), gataH ('gone out'). Thus we are told that Brahman has 'gone out' into various conditionings and only on the destruction of those conditionings does the separated parts of Brahman return to Fullness of Being once more.
Let us think of this another way. Space. When said as a word like that we are most inclined to think of the basic part of the universe in which objects sit. Fine. Now bring it closer. We build buildings and delineate 'space' as rooms, naming it as dining space, sleeping space and so on. We can very easily see only the objects and walls and not consider the space itself - that is to say the air which occupies each room. That air, having been separated from the air of the room next door, is not at all different from it, but can appear so due to the 'upadhi' of 'roomness'. When, eventually, the building is demolished, the air is undamaged and rejoins its molecules with the air of the other rooms from the building, returning to the fullness of the atmosphere. It was, in fact, never separate. There was only appearance of difference.
The thing is that, as humans and possessed of intellect, we are able to question the nature of our existence and enquire into such things as this. What is it that enables this? A clue is in the use of the term 'hRshiikesh'; as always with Sanskrit, it can be broken down in different ways to extract full meaning, but essentially for the purpose here, we will consider the use as 'hRshiika - Iisha'. The first part pertaining to the senses - the indriiyas through which we interact with the world of plurality and by which we are currently inclined to define ourselves as individuals - and the second part is a name of God. Thus we can extrapolate that it is the presence of That Originating Source (which we isolate as 'god') working within the upaadhis through our senses which is the substratum that never actually changes as a result of being conditioned. Once the body shrivels from us, we lose all sense of individual identity and return to Iisha. The Aatman is one and the same in all conditions - due to distortions and presence of ego, we create all sorts of divisions and limitations for 'life'. A few of us are fortunate enough to have gone through enough cycles of incarnation to begin the final search which will enable the ultimate freedom - a complete reunion with Self…