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Onkara
16 August 2010, 04:47 AM
Clarity on Maya and Shakti.


I am looking into māyā and śakti in the different philosophical paths of Sananta Dharma and would benefit from your knowledge please.


We should perhaps clarify that both śakti and māyā can be used interchangeably when we refer to the force of the world around us (as Jivas)? Is śakti something postive and interactive, where as māyā is something negative to be overcome?


How can we understand śakti and God as One from the scripture?

yajvan
18 August 2010, 03:38 PM
hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

namasté


In kaśmir śaivism there are 36 elements ( tattva¹); In the sāṃkhya philosophy there are 25 in number. I wish to address your question and have a conversation from the kaśmir śaivism POV.

Within kaśmir śaivism māyā and śakti are seperate tattva's and hense not the same initially.

Yet what is this māyā ( there are many posts on this subject) ? It is rooted ( √ ) in mā or measuring and this 'yā' is restraining .
Yet many say māyā is the notion of illusion. How are these two i.e. illusion and measuring/restraining , connected?

Māyā is the illusion that the Infinite can be measured out or restrained. It is the idea that this Infinite Being that we experience
as the universe ( and what it contains) is made of parts, finite items, zillions of them, but still finite , within boundaries. It is the boundless measured into the boundaries , this is the illusion of avidya ( ignorance).

In ignorance māyā drives individuality; yet one that is fully realized, this māyā becomes the joy of diversity on how many ways this Being expresses itself in Fullness. Then one 'sees' sarvaṁ sarvātamkam or everything is everything else. The unity of creation. In kaśmir śaivism this transformation of māyā (of limits) becomes the play and display of śakti.

So, the question then is māyā equal to śakti ? It depends on your vantage point.

praṇām

words
tattva - that-ness ; a true principle; an essential element

Onkara
19 August 2010, 05:08 AM
Thank you for you answer Yajvan, I appreciate your time!

It is the fact I am seeing that there appears to be difference (based on the vantage point adopted) which makes me act to raise this topic for consideration. I would be pleased to focus on kaśmir śaivism specifically.

There is more clarity from your etymology of māyā. If there are limitations to māyā then it would imply the limits can be known and overcome or managed. As the play and display of śakti appears in awareness, then liberation comes from having no attachment to act, yet seeing action appear in this display. One might ask how one can not feel obliged to act in their own interest. There is a certain amount of passivity if the awareness of śakti is taken as Self. Would you agree that the passivity (or awareness of the restraint) gives way to what the guru’s call “liberation”; in that the śakti is no other than our own undivided consciousness in play?

If so then can we safely confirm that “we” act for ourselves through śakti and so action is already in process as it should be.

However by taking this vantage point we are at once determined (by the boundaries) as consciousness, to witness our physical play wheather we engage or not. Freewill is simply an illusion.

Is there another, less fatalistic vantage point with śakti (of kaśmir śaivism)?

NayaSurya
19 August 2010, 06:49 AM
Beloved Sakti to me...

She is the creative aspect of Beloved Sivaya...she is the wellspring of power...the energy which manifests this reality.

Siva sends out this Beautiful Divine Being...he upholds the universe in the Aham...his heart....and everything within the Aham is She.

She is Spanda, the movement and manifested, we are this movement.

I like to think of this gross physical reality as being a place where each of us is wrapped in Her like a Mother.

Onkara
19 August 2010, 09:09 AM
Beautiful vision, NayaSurya!
Last weekend I saw my wife embrace her mother when we were leaving home and I was deeply touched how her face was uncontaminated by any thought except love.

How simply content a child can be when embraced in the arms of their mother :)

There are more messages within your description and I hope we can explore this further.

NayaSurya
19 August 2010, 09:32 AM
This is the morning I entered this world for this adventure. My only gifts were these things you mentioned above. What wondrous gifts. Each of my youngest six came and hugged me as they departed for a day at school.

Well, I have to take that back...my I recieved something else...your wisdom and friendship.

It's a blessing every day<3

satay
19 August 2010, 09:59 AM
namaskar,



This is the morning I entered this world for this adventure.

And a very Happy Birthday to you!

kallol
19 August 2010, 11:03 AM
A quick thought.

Yes the words shakti and maya have been used interchangably in many places which sometimes brings in confusion regarding the context.

On broader sense I feel that shakti represents the prakrti in ummanifested form.

Whereas the maya part is an attribute out of the mind in regards to the manifested prakriti. It does not exist in reality

Love and best wishes

Onkara
19 August 2010, 12:11 PM
A quick thought.

Yes the words shakti and maya have been used interchangably in many places which sometimes brings in confusion regarding the context.

On broader sense I feel that shakti represents the prakrti in ummanifested form.

Whereas the maya part is an attribute out of the mind in regards to the manifested prakriti. It does not exist in reality

Love and best wishes

Namaste Kallol
That is interesting, so to put your idea into my own words... māyā is that phenomena that we witness when śakti operates on our minds, causing us to believe that things are permanent, yet within a changing world. In the Sri Adi Shankaracharya sense this māyā, or power of śakti, is illusion because of the very fact that it changes.

We are informed in the Mandukya Upanishad that which is known through māyā cannot be real, and so the need for clarification in the OP on the difference of śakti and māyā stands. Because if śakti is unreal, then what of the glory of śakti purunas and philosophy? (I look forward to being corrected ;) )


Mandukya Up. 19 (http://www.spiritual-teachers.com/mandukya.htm). It is through Maya, and in no other way, that the Birthless is differentiated. If it were really differentiated then the immortal would become mortal.

58. The dharmas that are born are not really born. Their birth is through Maya - and Maya itself is unreal"

kallol
19 August 2010, 12:49 PM
Namaste Kallol
That is interesting, so to put your idea into my own words... māyā is that phenomena that we witness when śakti operates on our minds, causing us to believe that things are permanent, yet within a changing world. In the Sri Adi Shankaracharya sense this māyā, or power of śakti, is illusion because of the very fact that it changes.

We are informed in the Mandukya Upanishad that which is known through māyā cannot be real, and so the need for clarification in the OP on the difference of śakti and māyā stands. Because if śakti is unreal, then what of the glory of śakti purunas and philosophy? (I look forward to being corrected ;) )


Mandukya Up. 19 (http://www.spiritual-teachers.com/mandukya.htm). It is through Maya, and in no other way, that the Birthless is differentiated. If it were really differentiated then the immortal would become mortal.

58. The dharmas that are born are not really born. Their birth is through Maya - and Maya itself is unreal"

My other sentence
"On broader sense I feel that shakti represents the prakrti in ummanifested form."

The above part remains permanently true.

Shakti being the unmanifested form is beyond the impression in the mind. What most minds can perceive is the manifested part of the prakriti which is not termed as shakti.

This part is always known to be mithya. So this agrees with the maya part.

Love and best wishes

yajvan
19 August 2010, 07:11 PM
hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

namast&#233; snip,


It is the fact I am seeing that there appears to be difference (based on the vantage point adopted) which makes me act to raise this topic for consideration. I would be pleased to focus on kaśmir śaivism specifically.

There is more clarity from your etymology of māyā. If there are limitations to māyā then it would imply the limits can be known and overcome or managed. As the play and display of śakti appears in awareness, then liberation comes from having no attachment to act, yet seeing action appear in this display. One might ask how one can not feel obliged to act in their own interest. There is a certain amount of passivity if the awareness of śakti is taken as Self. Would you agree that the passivity (or awareness of the restraint) gives way to what the guru’s call “liberation”; in that the śakti is no other than our own undivided consciousness in play?

If so then can we safely confirm that “we” act for ourselves through śakti and so action is already in process as it should be.

However by taking this vantage point we are at once determined (by the boundaries) as consciousness, to witness our physical play whether we engage or not. Freewill is simply an illusion.

Is there another, less fatalistic vantage point with śakti (of kaśmir śaivism)?

I think your questions are excellent and will bring out more knowledge. This māyā is 'as if' there are limitations. That is the illusion people talk about. It is still the Infinite, playing in the finite.

And Dearest śakti is the energy behind this 'play' yet is no different then śiva. We cannot separate the two. That would be like separating light from flame, or wet from water. We do this so one can appreciate the forms, tattva of the Supreme.

You mention the following,


There is a certain amount of passivity if the awareness of śakti is taken as Self
We need to better understand this. In kaśmir śaivism it is said by bhairava that śakti is the mouth ( the entry way) to śiva. That is,
lively awareness that is rested and one-pointed ( uninterrupted awareness) ; If it is passive , then it is brilliantly passive, aware in itself vs. a dull passiveness. Now again, this is the entry point, yes.

You mention


If so then can we safely confirm that “we” act for ourselves through śakti and so action is already in process as it should be.

I can see how one can come to this conclusion. In ignorance we think we are the actor, in liberation we find that the Supreme is , in the final analysis, doing all. Yet before this big ahhh ha! realization , there is much that happens in between. It is śakti ( the extension of the Supreme) that does the actions. Yet we have choices . Many think if śakti is doing the 'doing' then we have no choice.

Lets say I get into an elevator - all the steps, the looking, the locomotion to get me to that elevator cannot be done without that energy , yes? I choose to go to the 10th floor. The elevator moves - all the electrons, cables, balancing mechanisms, all the laws of nature are śakti. We could not move one inch without this energy , yes?

So here is the missing link ( me thinks) to this conversation - and I look to Kṛṣṇa for his wise words. Kṛṣṇa says the following in the Bhāgavad gītā (chapter 2, 47th śloka)

karmaṇi evādhikāras te
mā phalesu kadācana
mā karma-phala-hetur bhūr
mā te saṅgo'stv akarmaṇi

This says, you certainly (eva) have ādhikāra (claim , right , privilege, control) of your (te or ti) karmaṇi (of your actions) , but never or not (mā) of its fruits (phalesu) .

Just so there is no confusion - 'but never or not (mā) of its fruits (phalesu)' clearly points that the individual cannot control the outcome. You do not have a choice on the level of success or failure that may result from that action that is initiated, yet you get to choose the action.

So, we're in the elevator , we push '10th floor '. In all ~likelihood~ we will get there but it is not guaranteed. You have the privilege to select an action, but you are not guaranteed the outcome.

The pickle is this - when we have mutiple moving parts in a conversation i.e. māyā, freedom of choice, śakti , Self, etc. We run the risk of too many ideas that may compete for a clear view of the truth. I am happy to pursue the path you wish, yet there is much to be said for 'simple is better' .


So, then yajvan, what question would you ask? I would get a better appreciation of this śakti. It would be very rewarding to understand Her in Her own light. The best book I have read ( and re-read again and again ) is the parā-trīśikā vivaraṇa. If you wish just a snippet :) of this, consider this HDF string: http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=3758

IMHO it is beyond brilliant... yet be aware this is not entry level wisdom that is found in this book.


praṇām

yajvan
20 August 2010, 08:21 PM
hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

namastť snip

Let me, if I may, revisit the following for a better appreciation of śakti:


In kaśmir śaivism it is said by bhairava that śakti is the mouth ( the entry way) to śiva.

We all know this aham meaning 'I'. - it is the expansion of the Divine into all of existence , so it is called called sṛṣṭi-bīja (emission or letting go i.e. creation + bīja or seed sound ).
Is this not a grand notion , one sound expresses all of creation ? Let's look at this aham as it appears in the parā-trīśikā vivaraṇa as a+ha+m.


a denotes śiva ( more on why this is in a later post)
ha denotes śakti
m denotes nara ( us, all of objective existence); now you know we cannot just say 'm' so it is better voiced by 'ma' - this will make sense in a moment.
Recall in an earlier post the 'ma' means measured out - this is when we were discussion māyā, yes? And we as beings or creation are measured out/ metered out.
We have size, shape, all that - no different then a planet, electron, a solar system - all are 'metered out' with shape or sound & form (śabda or vāc + rūpaĻ).This is how creation (emission - sṛṣṭi) comes into existence a --> ha --> m beginning with śiva's emission and ending in creation.

Now lets look at the reverse (praveśa - entering into ) - ma--> ha-->a

Note in the reverse praveśa, to enter into śiva it is done via 'ha' or śakti . We (ma) passes through 'ha' or śakti. This 'maha' is called saṃhāra-bīja .
Saṃhāra means contraction, drawing in. So we say śakti is the mouth ( the entry way) to śiva. In both conditions i.e. sṛṣṭi and
saṃhāra Divine śakti is praveśa , the entrance way, She delivers creation, She delivers 'ma' to śiva .
This is why in kaśmir śaivism it is said śaivī mukhaṃ ihocyate - śakti is the mouth ( entrance to ) śiva.

Yet one can ask - is this All of śakti ? Her full explanation as mukhaṃ ( mouth or entry) ? Absolutely not. She is that divine impulse of śiva.
That is why She is devī which comes from div - to play, sport. This is Her śakti and this 'sport/play ' creation emerges.

Yet we must remember śiva = śivā (or śivī , another way of saying devī) , śiva = śakti , bhairava = bhairavī

prāṇam

words

rūpa - any outward appearance or phenomenon or color; form , shape , figure i.e. rūpeṇa in the form of ; rūpam- to assume a form

NayaSurya
20 August 2010, 08:43 PM
This touches upon the mantra I sing every day...it makes me so very happy. I sing Ahammmmahaaaa and it is so wonderful.

Sending forth creation...retracting back creation...sending forth creation...retracting back creation.

It's an ebb and flow sort of feeling...as the tide washes upon the shore.

Such peace can be found in this truth. The Aham is a beautiful realm of this manifested creation...soundly set....but one day will return back to Shiva's loving arms. He will gather us up like a child gathers sea shells upon the shore.

Until then we all dwell within His Wondrous Heart.<3

I often wonder about when I was a baby in the womb...almost blind wrapped in my mother's abdomen...distorted sounds and light filtered to us in tiny amounts. Is this not also how the world is to many of us even now?

Perhaps the Aham is like Sakti's womb...a glorious place for us to develop. Some still blinded by ignorance or desire...but will one day shed this protective womb to be born into a higher way of being.

Just as we can remember how, as a child, we were cloaked in dellusions and ignorance... Maybe one day we will look down upon this developing being we once were and also see those similar things.

I really truly love this conversation. It's the reason I was immediately drawn to the beautiful most wonderful ways of KS.

Hari Om Namah Shivaya<3

Onkara
21 August 2010, 06:25 AM
Dear Yajvanji
You have indeed gone to the root of my initial question in post 11 as I am looking for clarification on śakti as the outcome and was using the topic of māyā as my foundation for building that clarity initially. I am keen to understand śakti in Her own right. Your explanation of aham is eye opening, and I would like to know why "a" is śiva, if you would be so kind to explain, please?

Regarding the verse from the Bhagavad Gita. As you also mention, I would question further "te karmaṇi" as this implies there is a you (te) who acts. I would add that this verse addresses those who see themselves as the actor, but once one knows that it is prarkiti that acts (or śakti if we are to keep our focus), then does this verse still apply? I feel it has served its purpose.

I am with you with the example of energy behind the actions, such as an elevator. I would add to that that our thoughts too are energy and so thoughts are nothing less than this prarkiti. (I hesitate to use śakti in place of prarkiti, in want of clarity). So even "my" thoughts are that very Supreme being in play, witnessed by the Supreme for the Supreme; with this vision there is a certain amount of liberation. One is no longer so bound to the rat race of life with the fight for more, but still there seems to be no place for freewill unless one surrenders themselves utterly to the Supreme and faces life without expectation or desire. Does this mean like Bharata, we should go along with even our own sacrifice to Bhadrakali, knowing this to be the destiny of the body? (Srimad Bhagavata Sk.V Ch.9)

Regarding parā-trīśikā vivaraṇa I will follow your lead and attempt to obtain a copy, hopefully this will allow me to add a freshly defined focus. Thank you!

rkpande
21 August 2010, 08:56 AM
dear snip,

regarding 'aham' and 'maha please check out
http://books.google.co.in/books?id=Dv4P88vXwzMC&printsec=frontcover&dq=paratrisika+vivarana&source=bl&ots=efyvDvjEW1&sig=uNfxNpKf0XkJhxc73oGaYeSWRJ4&hl=en&ei=rB9uTNLLKIuKvQPd_7FB&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CCEQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=paratrisika%20vivarana&f=falsea'

page 13, notes 3,

regarding 'a' because its all pervasiveness or being first. as in mandukya-10.

saidevo
21 August 2010, 11:41 PM
namaste everyone.

Yajvan has explained the concept of Reality very well in his post no.12 as the combined truth of Shiva, Shakti and mAyA, which is universally crystalized in the form of aham--I-ness. In other words, it is the transition of NirguNa Brahman from Shiva who is sthANu--motionless, through SaguNa Brahman as Shakti to the jagat--world, as mAyA, which is perceived as reality by the aham--I-ness.

How identical--or different--are these three entities Shiva, Shakti and mAyA?

• Shiva as NirguNa Brahman could not have become Ishvara as SaguNa Brahman without Shakti, which is why Shakti takes a half of his manifest rUpam--form, as ArdhanarIshvara, and withdraws herself to freeze into him when he is in the sthANu form of DakShiNAmUrti. Since there is no SaguNa Brahman without Shakti, our Gods we worship as the Ultimate Reality are paired with their consorts.

• NirguNa Brahman is actionless and motionless, so it cannot create the world. But once it wishes to know itself better, its hidden power--Shakti, comes to the fore as Ishvara and it is she by her naTanam--dance, of lAsyam--artful and pleasing dance, in the form of LakShmI and SarasvatI, and tANDavam--dance of vigour and passion, in the form of DurgA and KALI, brings up the mAyA of the world.

• So, mAyA is her crystallized forms of illusion that we see as objects of matter in the world. We know it very well that forms are anitya--transient, and yet in our state of aham--I-ness, we cannot see the illusion behind the transient reality of the world and seek to identify the Self with the aham--ego, and consider the forms as part and features of the Self.

*****

Another interpretation of mAyA is yA--who (which Goddess), does-mA--make a show, of the world which is not really there, hence the connection between paraAshakti and mAyA.

• So long as we are under the influence of the avidyA--ignorance, of mAyA, we fail to see the Shakti behind it, so we adore and worship her with bhakti--devotion, to lift us from mAyA's influence.

• mAyA is avidhyA--ignorance, of faulty identification with the world. Shakti is vidyA--the science of knowledge of Shivam--Brahman. mAyA are the puppets she creates in the show of the world. She is the puppeteer behind the scenes, the puppets she create and action of the show--everything essentially. samsAram--worldly life, and mukti--liberation are both only her actions.

• As we as her bhaktas--devotees, become increasingly aware of her as the ParAshakti, she gives us glimpses of darshan of Shiva, of ViShNu, and KRShNa who represent the NirguNa Brahman behind her. This is why she is described as the mukham--mouth/face, and DevI--the sporting, shining Goddess, of Shiva, as Yajavan has pointed out.

• It is she, parAshakti, as Shiva's consort, manifesting as DurgA-LakShmI-SarasvatI, makes a show of the reality of the mAyA--illusory, changing world. This is the reason parAshakti in all her three manifestations, has the epithet mahAmAyA:

‣ mahAmAya mahAsattva mahAshaktiH mahAratIH--LalitA sahasranAmam
‣ namastEstu MahAmAye shripIthe surapUjitE--MahAlakshmI aShTaka stotram
‣ SarasvatI mahAbhadra, mahAmAyA varaprada--SarasvatI stotram

• This is the reason that 'DevI mahAtmyam' in a whole lot of shlokas, adores her, parAshakti, with the words 'namastasyai namastasyai namastasyai namo namaH'--saying one namaste for each TrimUrti.

• The term DevI itself springs up from the root div--to shine, be bright, so she is the shining lamp placed between Brahman and the world. So long as Brahman is not aware of his shakti--power, it is inert. Once it starts knowing it, it becomes the light of DevI, and with that light creates the jagat--world.

• She is known as BhagavatI, that is, one who has the bhagam; bhagam itself means aishvaryam, that which belongs to Ishvara, but only she as IshvarI is the Ishvara, so all that aishvaryam is only hers. The term bhagat comprises of six types of sampad--fullness:

‣ aishvaryam--sovereignity, her power of ruling over the world;
‣ dharma, her ruling over the world in dharma, not in tyranny;
‣ kIrti--fame, praise of her guNa-sampad--features of excellence as the ruler;

‣ dhanam--wealth, the whole creation with its forms is only her creation, and she is the life of all the beings in the forms;

‣ vairAgyam--freedom from desires; although she owns the world as her wealth, she does not enjoy ruling over it; instead she lets the physical laws and spiritual laws of karma rule over the world and stays as a witness;

‣ mokSham--the state of liberation. All her vairAgyam is only with the jaDa-prapancha--insentient universe. She has immense love for the chetana jIvas--sentient beings, of the universe. After all, they are all her children, only she in different forms, so she leads every sentient being up the curve of creation to mokSha.

‣ Love is born only if there is mind. Just as a fruit is reddened when it becomes ripe, the mind when matured becomes prema-maya--full of love.

‣ The term rAga indicates love and the hue of redness. The term rakta--reddened/red/blood, derives from rAga. In the absence of this blush of love, a person becomes virakta--unaffected, and virAga--without feeling.

‣ Therefore, she does not remain aloof in vairAgya, when the jIvas move towards or away from her (using the liberty of freewill she gave them), but becomes rAgamaya--full of love, karuNAmaya--full of compassion, and gives them her anugraham--divine favour, of discovering their source and moving towards it, and ultimately reaches them in mokSha.

Such is her lIlA--sport, in the mAyA--show, of the world she created. She is the mohadAyinI--one who gives the illusion; she is the mokShadAyinI--one who leads to liberation. She is the mahAmAya as well as ParAshakti who has her source in Brahman.

The term 'hrI' in Sanskrit means 'shyness'. Shakti due to her femininity never reveals herself as the source, she has such shyness. The bIja-mantra called devIpraNava of AdiShakti is 'hrIm', indicating the hrI--shyness, in her.

When Brahman is adored as the PuruSha in the PuruShasUktam, it says, 'both hrI and shrI are your patnis--wives.' LakShmI as shrI expresses herself as the lakSha--marks/appearance, of the world, while Shakti as hrI hides herself behind in shyness. Both the Aitereya (1.3.14) and the BRhadAraNyaka UpaniShad (4.2.2) describe the Devas as 'parokSha priya hi devaH'--'one who is fond of hiding things in symbolism'.

*****

yajvan
22 August 2010, 12:24 PM
hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

namast&#233; snip (et.al)
 
Regarding 'a' and 'ha' - one is svara (vowel) and the other is vya&#241;jana (consonant). It is said śiva owns all svara's and śakti owns vya&#241;jana.
This 'a' is as rkpande suggests , it is first. First in devanāgarī script (saṃskṛt) , yet it too is first in mātṛkacakra. Mātṛkā+cakra =
mātṛka&#185; coming from or belonging to Mother + cakra or wheel. So it is the saṃskṛt sounds that make up of svara (vowels) + vya&#241;jana (consonants).

This 'a' is considered first, primary, fundamental to all, hence is considered śiva. It is considered anuttara , unsurpassable - nothing is beyond this.
This 'a' as being first, is also the first sound we find in the ṛg ved ( 1.1.1) - agni I adore ...
agnim īḷe purohitam
yaj&#241;asys devam rtvijam |
hotāram ratna dhātamam ||

Note too that 'a' is the first sound in devanāgarī script and 'ha' is the last sound of devanāgarī. So all of creation happens between 'a' and 'ha' - all happens then between śiva and śakti.

But there is more to this 'a'... Take a consonant - the first one is k' . Try and sound out this 'k' without an implied 'a' attached to it . This 'k' becomes of use when we attach 'a' to it as in 'ka' - now we can sound it. The inference - śiva and śakti occur together. For each devanāgarī sound of vya&#241;jana (consonants) we find this ubiquitous ever present 'a' with it e.g. ka kha ga gha ṅa ca cha ja jha &#241;a... to the final ha.

But why is this interesting? In each sound/phoneme bīja this is a corresponding tattva. Let me offer just a few:


with 'ka' we find pṛthivi - the quality of earth or solid
with kha we find jala - the quality of water or liquid
with ga we find tejas - the quality of fire, or combustion, flame, light.When we are done we can associate all the mahbhūta-s ( 5 elements) , karmedriya-s ( organs of action) , etc. with the sounds we find in mātṛkacakra.

But what of this 'a' we have talked about? we find 'a' as the quality of consciousness, this all pervading consciousness, that all resides in. This is why 'a' is śiva.
And 'ā' is ananda, still part of śiva; and 'i' is iccā or will ( not desire, but will).
From 'a' springs 'u' and 'i' - the 3 primary vowels. And in śiva tattva this is a= consciousness , 'u'=umeṣa and i = iccā. This umeṣa is coming forth , blossoming. It is the opening of the eyes - whose eyes? śiva-s - the expression of creation. We can go further - if we take a+i we end up with 'e'; take a+e we end up with 'ai' ; take a + u and we end up with 'o' take a + o and we end up with 'au'. Hence the importance of 'a'.

Yet people always talk of 16 vowels ( this appears in mātṛkacakra)... There are 14 + 2. The + 2 are anusvāra (ṁ) and visarga (ḥ). These are used for sounding and applying the rules of sandhi (saṁdhi - proper conjunction or transition from one sound to the other ); this is slightly off the subject but again we find śiva here also , and will leave for another post.

Here is something I am still studying. In devanāgarī we have 14 + 2 svara (vowels) , and 33 vya&#241;jana (consonants). This adds to 49 sounds/phonemes.
Yet in mātṛkacakra we find 50 sounds. This 50 is very attractive as it infers 5 +0 or 5 and we get the 5 faces of śiva, the 5 energies , etc. and '0' repesents fullness.

How can this be? How is there 50 ? There is another sound added kṣa and if look to its definiton it is the protector or cultivator of a field , and also destruction of the world. It then makes sense
as śiva is unmeṣa ( the opening of the eyes, expansion of creation) He too is the closing of the eyes then there is nimeṣa the shutting of the eyes, or the absorbtion of all of creation back into śiva.

All this comes into focus with aham (a+ha+m) अहम् and also with sauḥ (sa+au+ḥ) सौः

praṇām

words
mātṛka - is the study and insights of the saṃskṛt sounds . It is the study of the creative aspect of the Supreme. I have much to learn here.

kallol
23 August 2010, 02:59 AM
As Krishna said : (if he is selecting the best and basic ones) amongst the alphabets He is "aw" - the first vowel of sanskrit or the other Indian languages.

This is the only natural sound that comes out without any movement of tongue, lips, etc.

The other alphabets are only the derivatives of "aw" by moving the toungue and the lips or forcing the lungs.

So as Yajvanji says this "aw" is the fundamental sound or the basic sound from which others are derived.

Love and best wishes.

yajvan
24 August 2010, 12:58 PM
hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

namastť



This 'a' is considered first, primary, fundamental to all, hence is considered śiva. It is considered anuttara , unsurpassable - nothing is beyond this.

This 'a' can also be called dīrgha . This dīrgha is defined as held for a long time. We open the mouth and just voice the 'a' - note how long you can voice this. It can continue until there is no breath. It ( this 'a') is considered utkaṭa or superior, exceeding the usual measure.

If we look up the definition of 'a' we get many things , yet one is viṣṇu , meaning 'all pervading'. If we look up 'ā' we find many thing again, yet it is a name for śiva .
In both cases we are dealing with the Supreme, all pervasiveness of this sound and rank. There is much to be learned in each sound/phoneme bīja found in saṃskṛt .


praṇām

Onkara
25 August 2010, 06:05 AM
This is fascinating Yajvan. On a side topic, I am currently reading the Srimad Bhagavatam, and one question I asked myself was why does Brahma or Vishnu communicate the Truth verbally, after all couldn't they use another divine power to transfer the information?

However when we look at the meaning in Sanskrit words as you have done above, it becomes clear that there is more meaning and depth in verbal/written communication than we may take for granted in our every day speech. Communication itself may seem to be a miracle in itself when we take a step back and look at the purpose or structure of life.

Back to the topic...

Having come this far on the topic of Shakti (and maya), may I re-define my question, perhaps you or others may be able to confirm my investigation or add to it:

Depending on the vantage point we take, which seems to be related to the school of thought, we have a difference relationship with maya and Shakti.

Ultimately all paths lead to Brahman, but the devotees’ relationship with life itself may differ in respect to how they take material nature to be.

The role of Shakti can be seen as being a creative and real force acting through us (similar to the example of an escalator) rather than illusive as maya alone, leading to detachment and dispassionate avoidance?

Once the world is seen to be a constant flux of change and consciousness is seen as the that which is changeless and forever true, can the world be seen as a positive creative force (i.e. Shakti) rather than purely illusive (i.e. Maya)?

Is this where iccha, or divine will takes place (through name and form)? Is this creativity the same as the free will which Saidevo kindly explains in a part of his post above (thank you Saidevo)?

atanu
25 August 2010, 09:54 AM
hariḥ oṁ
We need to better understand this. In kaśmir śaivism it is said by bhairava that śakti is the mouth ( the entry way) to śiva. That is,
lively awareness that is rested and one-pointed ( uninterrupted awareness) ; If it is passive , then it is brilliantly passive, aware in itself vs. a dull passiveness. Now again, this is the entry point, yes.


Namaste Yajvanji and others

Just as Veda says that Agni is the mouth of Brahman or that vak is the expression of the subtle self. Our effort with mantra patha is this auspicious act of joining Lord with His consort, the Vak.

From this, I cannot agree to Prakriti being synonymous with Self. Unmanifest is the Pragnya Ghana, which is a pada of Self.



----- In ignorance we think we are the actor, in liberation we find that the Supreme is , in the final analysis, doing all. ----Yet we have choices . Many think if śakti is doing the 'doing' then we have no choice.

Lets say I get into an elevator - all the steps, the looking, the locomotion to get me to that elevator cannot be done without that energy , yes? I choose to go to the 10th floor. ----?

Kṛṣṇa says the following in the Bhāgavad gītā (chapter 2, 47th śloka)

karmaṇi evādhikāras te
mā phalesu kadācana
mā karma-phala-hetur bhūr
mā te saṅgo'stv akarmaṇi

This says, you certainly (eva) have ādhikāra (claim , right , privilege, control) of your (te or ti) karmaṇi (of your actions) , but never or not (mā) of its fruits (phalesu) .

Just so there is no confusion - 'but never or not (mā) of its fruits (phalesu)' clearly points that the individual cannot control the outcome. You do not have a choice on the level of success or failure that may result from that action that is initiated, yet you get to choose the action.

So, we're in the elevator , we push '10th floor '. In all ~likelihood~ we will get there but it is not guaranteed. You have the privilege to select an action, but you are not guaranteed the outcome.

On this, I wish to add another perspective, since I think that the present choices offered do not stand on their own but depend on the past actions (results whereof were not guaranteed in the first place). This way, the cycle goes back to the beginning of time, when the timeless Self resolved a choice in a muhurta -- which is now infinite time, as if, to the mind (to us).

To put it in another way, the choices/situtation that i have at the moment, arose from previous actions ----- and previous actions ---- and previous actions --- and so on.

Shri Ramana teaches that we have two choices actually: to abide in Self and be free or to abide in unreality and suffer. Exemplifying His view is the following teaching, which He imparted to His mother.


"Whatever is destined not to happen will not happen, try as you may. Whatever is destined to happen will happen, do what you may to prevent it. This is certain. The best course, therefore, is to remain silent."

I think the ultimate teaching of Shri Krishna to Arjuna to submit is just this. I also think that to submit is not fatalistic but it is about the best possible action without suffering any dilemma.

Regards

Om Namah Shivaya

Onkara
25 August 2010, 11:13 AM
(cut for space)
Shri Ramana teaches that we have two choices actually: to abide in Self and be free or to abide in unreality and suffer. Exemplifying His view is the following teaching, which He imparted to His mother.



I think the ultimate teaching of Shri Krishna to Arjuna to submit is just this. I also think that to submit is not fatalistic but it is about the best possible action without suffering any dilemma.


Dear Atanu
It seems that Liberation is not liberty to act, but liberation from suffering.

As you say and I am inclinded to agree, it is not fatalistic, we don't have to be victims, but yet we have no choice.

This may seem contradictory unless we include the pivoting point. The pivoting point is "now", this moment.

I have no choice, but neither do I know the choice I will take next. I may say with full confidence today that if a man held a gun to my head I would stay calm hand over the money and sigh with relief, but at that pivoting point in time I may find myself struggling to get free, taking the gun and changing my fate.

So where does maya come into this? Maya is the illusional belief that I am acting freely as I am indepedent of all other forces, and with it comes the justification that my past actions were pre-mediated by me (this is how karma clings to the subtle body through ignorance).

And Shakti, where does She fit in? :)

atanu
25 August 2010, 12:12 PM
Dear Atanu
It seems that Liberation is not liberty to act, but liberation from suffering.

As you say and I am inclinded to agree, it is not fatalistic, we don't have to be victims, but yet we have no choice.

Namaste Snip

Thank you for your response. In some scriptures, liberation is also said to be mukti from karmabandhana, in addition to liberation from suffering of course. Liberation is said to be not so much a freedom to act as one likes but it is liberation from acting to the tune of prakritic forces.


This may seem contradictory unless we include the pivoting point. The pivoting point is "now", this moment.

This I think is the gem.


So where does maya come into this? Maya is the illusional belief that I am acting freely as I am indepedent of all other forces, and with it comes the justification that my past actions were pre-mediated by me (this is how karma clings to the subtle body through ignorance).

Again well said.


And Shakti, where does She fit in? :)

About sakti, different schools have different ways of explanation, which must all be valid. Yet, the Vedanta school (such as upanishads etc.) do not mention sakti apart from the Self, although, the schools other than the non-dual ones incorporate sakti as a separate entity or tattva in some way or other. Without invalidating the many points of views already offered, I paste below a discussion:




Question: Will concentration on Chakras quieten the mind?

Sri Ramana Maharshi: Fixing their minds on psychic centres such as
the Sahasrara (the thousand petalled lotus Chakra), yogis remain any
lengths of time without awareness of their bodies. As long as this
state continues, they appear to be immersed in some kind of joy. But
when the mind, which has become tranquil emerges and becomes active
again it resumes its worldly thoughts. It is therefore necessary to
train it with the help of practices like Dhyana (meditation) whenever
it becomes externalised. It will then attain a state in which there
is neither subsistence nor emergence.

Question: It is said that the Sakti manifests itself in five phases,
ten phases, a hundred phases and a thousand phases. Which is true?

Sri Ramana Maharshi: Sakti has only one phase. If it is said to
manifest itself in several phases, it is only a way of speaking. The
Sakti is only one.

Question: How to churn up the Nadis (psychic nerves) so that the
Kundalini may go up the Sushumna?

Sri Ramana Maharshi: Though the Yogi may have his methods of breath
control for his object, the Jnani’s method is only that of enquiry.
When by this method the mind is merged in the Self, the Sakti or
Kundalini, which is not apart from the Self, rises automatically.

The Yogis attach the highest importance to sending the Kundalini up
to the Sahasrara, the brain centre or the thousand petalled lotus.
They point out the scriptural statement that the life current enters
the body through the fontanelle and argue that, Viyoga (separation)
having come about that way, yoga (union) must also be effected in the
reverse way. Therefore, they say, we must, by yoga practice, gather
up the Pranas (vital force) and enter the fontanelle for the
consummation of yoga. The Jnanis on the other hand point out that the
yogi assumes the existence of the body and its separateness from the
Self. Only if this standpoint of separateness is adopted can the yogi
advise effort for reunion by the practice of yoga.

In fact the body is in the mind which has the brain for its seat.
That the brain functions by light borrowed from another source is
admitted by the yogis themselves in their fontanelle theory. The
Jnani further argues: if the light is borrowed it must come from its
native source. Go to the source direct and do not depend on borrowed
sources. That source is the Heart, the Self.

The Self does not come from anywhere else and enter the body through
the crown of the head. It is as it is, ever sparkling, ever steady,
unmoving and unchanging. The individual confines himself to the
limits of the changeful body or of the mind which derives its
existence from the unchanging Self. All that is necessary is to give
up this mistaken identity, and that done, the ever shining Self will
be seen to be the single non-dual reality.

If one concentrates on the Sahasrara there is no doubt that the
ecstasy of Samadhi ensues. The Vasanas, that is the latent mental
tendencies, are not however destroyed. The yogi is therefore bound to
wake up from the Samadhi because release from bondage has not yet
been accomplished. He must still try to eradicate the Vasanas
inherent in him so that they cease to disturb the peace of his
Samadhi. So he passes down from the Sahasrara to the Heart through
what is called the Jivanadi, which is only a continuation of the
Sushumna. The Sushumna is thus a curve. It starts from the lowest
Chakra, rises through the spinal cord to the brain and from there
bends down and ends in the Heart. When the yogi has reached the
Heart, the Samadhi becomes permanent. Thus we see that the Heart is
the final centre.



This discussion above actually exemplifies the difference in perspectives of Shri Ramana's and Shri Aurobindo's schools. Aurobindo sort of held that grace descends. Shri Ramana was always very staunch that grace did not ascend or descend. I feel that these differences of perspectives are tailor made for the majority of devotees that these two teachers (as major representatives of two schools) preside over. But, the Vedanta schools do not see sakti apart from the Self.

Iccha sakti and kriya sakti are saktis of the Self. But whereas the sakti is very real, the effect may be mAyA -- illusory sense of discreteness perceived as really real.

Om Namah Shivaya

Onkara
25 August 2010, 01:00 PM
In some scriptures, liberation is also said to be mukti from karmabandhana, in addition to liberation from suffering of course. Liberation is said to be not so much a freedom to act as one likes but it is liberation from acting to the tune of prakritic forces.

(cut for space)
This discussion above actually exemplifies the difference in perspectives of Shri Ramana's and Shri Aurobindo's schools. Aurobindo sort of held that grace descends. Shri Ramana was always very staunch that grace did not ascend or descend. I feel that these differences of perspectives are tailor made for the majority of devotees that these two teachers (as major representatives of two schools) preside over. But, the Vedanta schools do not see sakti apart from the Self.


Namaste Atanu
I hope you will let me indulge in sharing a point on this interesting topic you add above...

Suffering is caused by karma acting on us as individuals, we can be carrying our suffering from our past action through into the present moment, wishing for a better life. So mukti from karmabandhana, is liberation from the suffering.

I don't mean to split hairs :) My point above is that one rarely complains about pleasure, one may be indifferent to luxury, but it is suffering that one wishes to avoid. So positive karma, such as winning the lottery, from the point of mukti shows as indifference.

This is just as well as even the liberated being cannot avoid their prabdah karma (actions started but not fullfilled), but mukti is liberation from kriyamana karma (present actions) and agami karma (future karma). They may show indifference to prabdah karma, be it good or bad.

However to the seeker the liberated person (jivamukhti) appears to be acting and dealing with the results. And they are right, because for them the other person is an individual, but for the jivanmukhti they no longer are individualised but rather merged in the Supreme Self. (Not an idea new to either of us).

Regarding Grace, my perspective is that if we accept that there are no choices, then everything, including liberation (mukti), is grace.

I feel I either am not fully up to speed with Shakti or Shakti can be taken to be energy alone, so forgive me if I do not add more for the moment on your kind words above. :)

atanu
25 August 2010, 01:22 PM
Namaste Atanu
I hope you will let me indulge in sharing a point on this interesting topic you add above...

Suffering is caused by karma acting on us as individuals, we can be carrying our suffering from our past action through into the present moment, wishing for a better life. So mukti from karmabandhana, is liberation from the suffering.

I don't mean to split hairs :) My point above is that one rarely complains about pleasure, one may be indifferent to luxury, but it is suffering that one wishes to avoid. So positive karma, such as winning the lottery, from the point of mukti shows as indifference.

Namaste Snip

I fully agree. Actually what Shri Ramanuja calls eternal karma, Shankara calls eternal avidya. Freedom from suffereings, from karmbandhana, or avidya mean the same. Highest goal, I agree, is freedom from suffering, which is not natural to Self.


This is just as well as even the liberated being cannot avoid their prabdah karma (actions started but not fullfilled), but mukti is liberation from kriyamana karma (present actions) and agami karma (future karma). They may show indifference to prabdah karma, be it good or bad.

However to the seeker the liberated person (jivamukhti) appears to be acting and dealing with the results. And they are right, because for them the other person is an individual, but for the jivanmukhti they no longer are individualised but rather merged in the Supreme Self. (Not an idea new to either of us).

I agree, especially the blue parts. A separate discussion may be due on this subject, especially in reference to inferred morality etc.



I feel I either am not fully up to speed with Shakti or Shakti can be taken to be energy alone, so forgive me if I do not add more for the moment on your kind words above. :)

:) True for everyone. For the sake of record and completeness, i include the following reference:

http://www.hinduism.co.za/maya-sha.htm

Om Namah Shivaya

Onkara
25 August 2010, 02:49 PM
Namaste Snip

I fully agree. Actually what Shri Ramanuja calls eternal karma, Shankara calls eternal avidya. Freedom from suffereings, from karmbandhana, or avidya mean the same. Highest goal, I agree, is freedom from suffering, which is not natural to Self.



I agree, especially the blue parts. A separate discussion may be due on this subject, especially in reference to inferred morality etc.



:) True for everyone. For the sake of record and completeness, i include the following reference:

http://www.hinduism.co.za/maya-sha.htm

Om Namah Shivaya
Namaste dear Atanu
Thanks for the reply and the link. I quote (http://www.hinduism.co.za/maya-sha.htm#Maya/ Shakti) Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa. Look for the apparent contradiction:


If we reason it out, we realise that all these are as illusory as a dream. Brahman alone is the reality, and all else is unreal. Even this very Shakti is unsubstantial, like a dream.

But though you reason all your life, unless you are established in samadhi (deep meditation), you cannot go beyond the jurisdiction of Shakti. Even when you say, "I am meditating" or "I am contemplating", still you are moving in the realm of Shakti; within its power.

Brahman(Shiva) and Shakti are identical. It is like fire and its power to burn. One cannot conceive of the sun's rays without the sun. Thus one cannot think of Brahman without Shakti, or of Shakti without Brahman. One cannot think of the Absolute without the relative, or of the relative without the Absolute.

So first we are told Brahman is real and Shakti is unsubstantial like a dream. Then we are told that actually Shakti is Brahman (and so real).

The point is that Shakti is real, but only so when taken as identical with Brahman. First one must know Brahman (as Atman). The mistake is to miss Brahman and take the world (Shakti) as real as this is the state of identification with the body and us leads to suffering, if one were to find oneself there then one must be reminded of the first paragraph (Shakti is a dream to be overcome).

This is why a differentiation is required for maya compared to Shakti. If one is not introduced to Shakti then maybe one may live out their life in a maya-dream or with replusion to the world, believing Brahman to be the only reality and abiding with That?

However, once Brahman is known there is another "step" if you wish. That is that after "neti neti" and the dispassion have done their job of discarding the universe then one realises that the universe still exists and must be re-added.

One need not go on living as a recluse to avoid maya, but rather one is forced to re-embrace the world a fresh, but this time as an expression of Brahman. Thus divine will is reigns supreme.

This is where Goddess Bhuvaneshwari takes over IMHO. She holds the noose to pull us away from maya, with neti-neti and the goad to push us back once maya is overcome and Shakti shines forth in union with Brahman.

atanu
26 August 2010, 01:17 AM
Namaste dear Atanu
This is why a differentiation is required for maya compared to Shakti. If one is not introduced to Shakti then maybe one may live out their life in a maya-dream or with replusion to the world, believing Brahman to be the only reality and abiding with That?

Namaste Snip

Yes. I think this is easy to understand.


However, once Brahman is known there is another "step" if you wish. That is that after "neti neti" and the dispassion have done their job of discarding the universe then one realises that the universe still exists and must be re-added.

One need not go on living as a recluse to avoid maya, but rather one is forced to re-embrace the world a fresh, but this time as an expression of Brahman. Thus divine will is reigns supreme.



But, I think, this is not so easy. What remains and who returns?

Below, I paste a step wise involution process (this is from Taittiriya Brahmana of KYV):

1.May fire (Agni) be placed in my speech (Vak), my speech in the heart (hridaya), the heart in me (mayi), the I (aham) in the immortal (amritam), the immortal in Brahman.
2.May the Wind (Vayu) be placed in my breath (Prana), my breath in the heart, the heart in me, the I in the immortal, the immortal in Brahman.
3.May the Sun be placed in my eye, my eye in the heart, the heart in me, the I in the immortal, the immortal in Brahman.
4.May the Moon be placed in my mind, my mind in the heart, the heart in me, the I in the immortal, the immortal in Brahman.
5.May the Directions be placed in my hearing, my hearing in the heart, the heart in me, the I in the immortal, the immortal in Brahman.
6.May the Waters be placed in my generative fluid, my generative fluid in the heart, the heart in me, the I in the immortal, the immortal in Brahman.
7.May the Earth be placed in my body, my body in the heart, the heart in me, the I in the immortal, the immortal in Brahman.
8.May herbs and trees be placed in my hair, my hair in the heart, the heart in me, the I in the immortal, the immortal in Brahman.
9.May Indra be placed in my strength, my strength in the heart, the heart in me, the I in the immortal, the immortal in Brahman.
10.May the Rain God (Parjanya) be placed in my head, my head in the heart, the heart in me, the I in the immortal, the immortal in Brahman.
11.May Rudra be placed in my spirit, my spirit in the heart, the heart in me, the I in the immortal, the immortal in Brahman.
12.May my self be placed in the Self, the Self in the heart, the heart in me, the I in the immortal, the immortal in Brahman.

13.May my Self return again. May my life (Ayur) return again. May my Prana return again. May my will return again.

14.May the Universal God increasing with his rays dwell within 'me' as the guardian of immortality

----------------

I simply do not know and have no means to know as to what returns, or what the above prayer is wishing for, since moksha is described as 'one does not return from there'.

Om Namah Shivaya

Onkara
26 August 2010, 02:49 AM
Namaste Atanu
The quote you provide sums it up well. :)

Please note I am not talking about anybody returning to anywhere, you are right. :) When I say "one is forced to embrace the world afresh" I imply that the "one" is no longer the doer of neti-neti and so "force" must be implied as action continues despite total surrender of one's lower self. And by embrace, I mean that there is no escape, no where to go, so total acceptance.... realisation is realisation that This is It: Tat tvam Asi, Soham etc.

We are told that the first step is to reduce the world and see it as being impermanent. But one cannot remain there; the brilliance of Brahman illuminates all. Who is this one, but Brahman! And what is this universe if not Brahman?

Once one has realised that Tat Tvam Asi, there is no longer anything to discard for you are verilly That which is discarding That.

This is why all methods are useless from the ultimate perspective, because one is already That which one is trying to become. I feel this is related to the vantage point of Shakti and Maya as clarification can clarify this point. It is uttara because we are no longer speaking of Advaita alone, one can see Dvaita too.

I hope this is more clear, I am not attempting to present anything new, but to explore that which is. :)

PS: I answered your post (http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showpost.php?p=49499&postcount=20) on the Ego thread, no reply is necessary but I hope that wasn't missed by the change of page (that has happened to me before :) )

atanu
26 August 2010, 09:21 AM
Namaste Atanu
The quote you provide sums it up well. :)

We are told that the first step is to reduce the world and see it as being impermanent. But one cannot remain there; the brilliance of Brahman illuminates all. Who is this one, but Brahman! And what is this universe if not Brahman?

Namaste Snip

I have similar understanding as you state above. But I would wish to rephrase the above phrase shown in blue.


-----It is uttara because we are no longer speaking of Advaita alone, one can see Dvaita too.

Here also, I am not sure, because the experience of advaita itself is pending. But from study of Upanishads, i say that the Supreme Self alone appears as (or is) two -- pure consciousness and its creative energy.



PS: I answered your post (http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showpost.php?p=49499&postcount=20) on the Ego thread, no reply is necessary but I hope that wasn't missed by the change of page (that has happened to me before :) )

Ya. I have read that and found nothing more to add.:)

Om Namah Shivaya

saidevo
26 August 2010, 09:45 AM
namaste everyone.

Some excellent points have been made about shakti, mAyA and Brahman so far in this thread. It is worth (re)collecting them:

01. Is shakti something postive and interactive, whereas mAyA is something negative to be overcome? How can we understand shakti and God as One from the scripture? (OP: Snip)

02. ...is mAyA equal to shakti? It depends on your vantage point. In kashmir shaivism, they are seperate tattva's and hense not the same initially; this transformation of mAyA (of limits) becomes the play and display of shakti. (post 2: Yajvan)

03. In kashmir shaivism it is said by bhairava that shakti is the mouth (the entry way) to shiva. (post 11: Yajvan), with an amazingly true explanation of this truth in post 12.

04. mAyA is her crystallized forms of illusion that we see as objects of matter in the world. Another interpretation of mAyA is yA--who (which Goddess), does-mA--make a show, of the world which is not really there, hence the connection between paraAshakti and mAyA. (post 16: saidevo)

05. Once the world is seen to be a constant flux of change and consciousness is seen as the that which is changeless and forever true, can the world be seen as a positive creative force (i.e. Shakti) rather than purely illusive (i.e. mAyA)? (post 20: Snip)

06. So where does mAyA come into this? mAyA is the illusional belief that I am acting freely as I am indepedent of all other forces, and with it comes the justification that my past actions were pre-mediated by me (this is how karma clings to the subtle body through ignorance). (post 22: Snip)

07. About shakti, different schools have different ways of explanation, which must all be valid. Yet, the Vedanta school (such as upanishads etc.) do not mention shakti apart from the Self, although, the schools other than the non-dual ones incorporate shakti as a separate entity or tattva in some way or other. (post 23: Atanu)

08. The point is that Shakti is real, but only so when taken as identical with Brahman. First one must know Brahman (as Atman). The mistake is to miss Brahman and take the world (Shakti) as real as this is the state of identification with the body and us leads to suffering, in which case, Shakti is a dream to be overcome. (post 23: Snip)

• This is why a differentiation is required for mAyA compared to Shakti. If one is not introduced to Shakti then maybe one may live out their life in a maya-dream or with replusion to the world, believing Brahman to be the only reality and abiding with That?

• However, once Brahman is known there is another "step" if you wish. That is that after "neti neti" and the dispassion have done their job of discarding the universe then one realises that the universe still exists and must be re-added.

• One need not go on living as a recluse to avoid mAyA, but rather one is forced to re-embrace the world a fresh, but this time as an expression of Brahman. Thus divine will is reigns supreme.

• But, I think, this is not so easy. What remains and who returns? ... I simply do not know and have no means to know as to what returns, or what the above prayer is wishing for, since moksha is described as 'one does not return from there'. (post 27: Atanu)

09. This is why all methods are useless from the ultimate perspective, because one is already That which one is trying to become. I feel this is related to the vantage point of Shakti and Maya as clarification can clarify this point. It is uttara because we are no longer speaking of Advaita alone, one can see Dvaita too. (post 28: Snip)

**********

saidevo
26 August 2010, 09:48 AM
namaste everyone.

With reference to the points summed up in my last post, some more points of view:

The DevIsUkta of Rg Veda 10.125 briefed in the link http://www.hinduism.co.za/maya-sha.htm has some interesting points:

• The seer of the sUkta--hymn, is a female sage named VAk AmbRNI, daughter of RShi AmbRNa. The name of the devatA adored is also VAk and the hymn is called 'Atmastuti'. The devatA adored is also called ChaNDa, who became the DurgA adored in the 'DurgA saptashatI' of the MArkaNDeya PurANa.

• Since the seer of the hymn was one with the DevatA, both their names are identical. Through her VAk DevI reveals her nature to mankind as the combined svarUpam--form, of the later concepts of DurgA, LakShmI and SarasvatI.

‣ aham rAShTrI saMgamanI vasUnAM, she says in shloka 3 of the hymn. This means she is the rAShTrI--Queen, who own and dispenses wealth (so LakShmI).

‣ chikituShI prathamA yajniyAnAm--Conscious I am, first among the Gods for whom sacrifices are meant (as Shakti, she is the first among the Gods).

‣ tAM mA devA vyadadhuH purutrA, bhUristhAtrAM bhUryaveshayantIm--The Gods have found me established in the Many (purutrA), permeating and taking possession of the Manifold (existence). . Here she is Shiva's expression as Shakti, always one with the Self.

‣ [b]shrudhi shruta shraddhivaM te vadAmi, she says in the last pAda--quarter, of the fourth shloka: shrudhi--Hear, shruta te vadAmi--what I declare to you, shraddhivam--as the truth of faith. Since the truth about her is revealed in vAch--word/speech/language/sound, she is SarasvatI, who is known as VAkdevI--Goddess of speech.

• The first vAch--Word, by which Brahman became manifest as Shabda Brahman, is AUM, the brahma-praNava, known as nAda-bindu--seed of all sound. For more explanation on this, check http://www.bhagavadgitausa.com/AUM_OM.htm

• And that first Word AUM, which created the universe and sustains it came through Shakti who was the mouth of Shiva as Yajvan explained (in post 12).

• Thus, AUM in all its manifestations--as shabda--sound, akShara--syllable, vAch--word, and Atma-sAdhana--means of Self-Realization, is invariably (associated with) Shakti. She is AUM Shakti, and it is in recognition of this truth that many japa mantras begin with AUM, with epithet of adoration to Shakti. Eg, 'AUM namaH ShivAya', 'AUM namo NArAyaNa', 'AUM MahAGaNapataye namaH', 'AUM RAdhAKRShNAya namaH', 'AUM KAlikAya namaH', and so on. She is also the veda-sAram--essence of the Vedas, as the Veda MAtA GAyatrI.

• As part of her lIlAs--sports, she seizes even the minds of jnAnis--sages, and draws them into moha--delusion.

‣ The very first shloka of 'DurgA spatashlokI', which is considered the essence of the 700 mantras of 'DurgA saptashatI' (aka 'DevI mahAtmyam') says:

jnAninAm api chetAMsi devI bhagavatI hi sA |
balAdAkRShya mohAya mahAmAyA prayachChati ||

She, the blessed Goddess MahAmAyA (aka DevI BhagavtI), seizes the minds of even the wise and draws them into delusion.

A typical PurANic example of such a lIlA is sage VishvAmitra. This is possibly the reason that shrI Adi Shankara has given the path of bhakti for Advaitins as a prerequisite to the path of jnAna.

• Once the jnAni dissolves his worldly mind in samAdhi, she gives him a shuddha manas--pure mind. With this mind, the jnAni who has attained Self-Realization but is destined to live his remaining years in body until she dissolves his prArabdha karma, gets a totally different outlook of the world and 're-embraces the world a fresh, but this time as an expression of Brahman' as Snip has rightly put it.

• The bhakti-siddhAnta-jnAnis--devotional sages, argue that for them there is no mokSha--liberation of merging with the source in non-duality. It seems that she keeps the bhakti vedAntin in such moham--delusion: when it is decided that only the One becomes the Many (whatever is that One--Shiva, ViShNu, KRShNa, Shakti--all are the same), how can the bhakti-vedAntin deny that the One in liberating the Many, dissolves them in herself?

• The Advaita vedAnta-jnAnis--sages of Advaita VedAnta, argue that only through Advaitic dissolution can a jIva attain Self-Realization. They deny the krama-mokSha--liberation in stages, of the bhakti-vedAntin and say that even the lokas--worlds, of their Gods must fall in MahApralayam and the jIva should return in rebirth. In other words, the ultimate liberation is only through Advaita.

It seems that she keeps the Advaita vedAntin in such moham--delusion, for he thinks that ParAshakti cannot give a permanent status of liberation to a bhakti-sAdhaka after he reaches the world of their Gods, and how can he deny her such power?

• Perhaps another instance of moham--delusion, that she keeps the Advaitins in, is in their concept of the origin of mAyA as anirvachanIya--indescribable. This raises the question, 'Brahman is also indescribable; does this mean that mAyA is apart from him and that there are two entities?'

The concept of mAyA of Advaitins is based on the concept of NirguNa Brahman, which cannot have any attributes, so mAyA can't be a part of his nature. Instead, the Advaitins could have described Brahman as anirvAchanIya and said that Brahan remains a shAnta-ekam--peaceful one with no motion, and chalana-anekam--moving Many, all at the same time.

The views expressed in this post and my earlier post no.16 are based on the Introductory Exposition of the Tamizh book 'NavarAtri NAyakI' authored by the popular Tamizh writer shrI RA.GaNapati, who was one of the close devotees of KAnchi ParamAchArya.

Brahman may be indescribable, but Shakti as his visible part bears a plethora of descriptions and narrations about her multitudinous manifestations.

**********

Onkara
26 August 2010, 10:22 AM
Namaste Atanu
:)

"We are told that the first step is to reduce the world and see it as being impermanent. But one cannot remain there"

The knower of Brahman does not need to practice neti-neti or any technique to see beyond the world. These techniques are wonderful as they lead to Brahman but do they need to be continued after Self-realisation? No.

Everything begins and ends at Brahman. Krishna is the start, the middle and the end.

Action necessarily implies an actor. Initially we take ourselves (body-mind) as that actor until, through grace and guidance (scriptural and guru) we come to know Brahman as all that there is. Brahman is then the actor.

At that point there is no action which is required to arrive at Brahman. It does not mean that action stops. We can confirm this from purunas and reports of “enlightened people” roaming the earth and acting, often in manners contrary to the supposed action for a person at their level of understanding e.g. I read that Nisargadatta Maharaj became angry and threw people out of his house, one might question this to be really the action of an enlightened saint.

So once it is known that Brahman is the actor all actions cease to guide you to Brahman, there is no “place” to remain as you are reached the source and everything is Brahman. There is no where to go and no where to remain. By “remain” I mean that one may not continue to stay at the point of seeing the world as illusion. Why?


Because the world is ultimately not an illusion, it is Brahman (re-add everything). As Brahman is already known then there is no illusion indepedent to Brahman, as all is Brahman and to know Brahman is to be Brahman.


"It is uttara because we are no longer speaking of Advaita alone"


Dvaita arises in Advaita (non-duality). For duality to arise the One Lord said let me become many. Some people reject duality (and Dvaita) in order to arrive at Brahman and know non-duality, fine! When non-duality is known then one can see the role of Dvaita also. In order to worship we must have the subject and the object of worship. Worship requires dvaita or a form of duality, so who do the non-dual saints worship? The very same Brahman, be it with name and form or not (Shiva, Krishna etc), as everyone else on the path.


----

Namaste Saidevo
Thanks for a conscise sumamary, I can find my feet again :) I will read your infromitive post in more detail.

atanu
26 August 2010, 11:26 AM
Namaste Atanu
:)
"We are told that the first step is to reduce the world and see it as being impermanent. But one cannot remain there"

Namaste Snip

I understand (from my school) that there is not a Brahman and another one. Now the 'cannot' word, IMO, is antithesis to Brahman, who is swatantra and the sole existence. Cannot word, IMO, does not apply to Supreme Self-Brahman. On being established in Turya, the questions of cannot (or even can) does not arise.



"-----It is uttara because we are no longer speaking of Advaita alone, one can see Dvaita too.



To rephrase, i will like to say "---Self may see dvaita, but not fooled of a notion of a second being existing....."

Svet. U. teaches that on rise of knowledge, only sadashiva remains. If there is any manifestation on account of any reason (ignorance or lilA or whatever), the manifestation does not become a second to the Self, which alone is without beginning.

mAyA is also without beginning but it is so because of Brahman and advaitins do believe that mAyA is sublatable. The spider web can be expanded or can be withdrawn (not by atanu but by the Soul who is Brahman).

On this, I will draw attention to two verses of Rig Veda.

One says that Rudra is slumberless. The second says that Rudra yields to no second. Irrespective of what Puranas say, these two verses together indicate that Ishwara is beyond delusion of duality, which has kArana (causality) in sleep - tamas.
-----------

What we are discussing is at thinker level and there lies the problem. We are discussing from within Mind. But 'Advaita Atma' cannot be realised by a second atma or a thinker, which is dual. Even the Seer (who is a higher state than the thinker), does not remain a separate entitity from the Seen and the Seeing.

Prarabdha apart, there is no force that can put a veil of another over the soul established in Turya. Even when Shri Krishna worships Rudra, He worships His own self (as described in Mahabharata and cited by me and yajvanji at several places) . For the realised, there is no question of a second deity. There is no question of a dual sense. If ever a dual sense arises that is then death, since upanishad teaches that one who sees any difference here goes from death to death.

In essence, no one stops the Self Realised from sprouting a lilA, but at the same time no one puts a veil of another over the Turya, which is non-different from Brahman. (Because there is no one).


Note: I have written only of advaita anubhuti as taught by Shankaracharya. Other schools have different views.

Om Namah Shivaya

atanu
26 August 2010, 11:37 AM
As tribute to shakti of Brahman that measures itself out i give the following link:

http://www.kamakoti.org/acall/ac-concept.html

Om Namah Shivaya

Onkara
26 August 2010, 11:51 AM
Thank you Atanu
I have enjoyed the interaction with you, and all, on this topic. :)

The reason "one cannot" is because one is no longer the doer. What can and cannot happen after that is for Lord to decide. So I agree with you :)

atanu
26 August 2010, 12:12 PM
Thank you Atanu
I have enjoyed the interaction with you, and all, on this topic. :)

The reason "one cannot" is because one is no longer the doer. What can and cannot happen after that is for Lord to decide. So I agree with you :)

Namaste snip

:hug: I have also enjoyed equally. I wish to form a question on your last sentence shown in blue. Can doership drop from a person who is a separate 'one'? I note that this is not a question for which i seek a mind level answer.

Om Namah Shivaya

Onkara
26 August 2010, 12:39 PM
I wish to form a question on your last sentence shown in blue. Can doership drop from a person who is a separate 'one'? I note that this is not a question for which i seek a mind level answer.



Thank you Atanu
Nothing "drops" as such, I appreciate you are explaining a difficult topic but I feel inclined to add that the world continues as it is, perfectly.

Like the Zen expression, but in my words: "buy cream cake, eat cream cake, after enlightenment, buy cream cake, eat cream cake".

The person who believes they are independent of Brahman will continue to be full of action even whilst they try to sit still.

I quite like to make it personal, rather than shoot all these "ones" and get hung up in syntax.

When your mind rests on your own being (sat) consciousness (chit) that will give rise to bliss (ananda). Everything else just happens from this perspective.

I noticed you said

What we are discussing is at thinker level and there lies the problem. We are discussing from within Mind.

Do you mean because we are thinking about it we have distanced ourselves from what we know as the truth?

atanu
26 August 2010, 01:00 PM
Thank you Atanu

Like the Zen expression, but in my words: "buy cream cake, eat cream cake, after enlightenment, buy cream cake, eat cream cake".

But in the meanwhile ignorance is gone.


I quite like to make it personal, rather than shoot all these "ones" and get hung up in syntax.

Why? The world should continue as it is, perfectly?:)



I noticed you said


What we are discussing is at thinker level and there lies the problem. We are discussing from within Mind.

Do you mean because we are thinking about it we have distanced ourselves from what we know as the truth?

Shri Krishna says " Truth is revealed in samadhi". Shri Krishna also teaches arjuna to transcend the prakriti gunas.

From Self sprouts the Seer and then the Thinker. Thinking is a mirroring process between intelligent Self and a jada mind, which acts as a mirror. The duality is inherent in this process. Shankara's adhAsya concept is premised on this eternal duality.

There is nothing wrong in anything but inherently the primeval beginning is prior to Seer and Thinker. So, to realise the primeval being, the involution has to cover the full ground backwards.

Om Namah Shivaya

Onkara
26 August 2010, 02:44 PM
But in the meanwhile ignorance is gone.

Why? The world should continue as it is, perfectly?:)

haha! Because change is perfect too. ;)



Shri Krishna says " Truth is revealed in samadhi". Shri Krishna also teaches arjuna to transcend the prakriti gunas.

From Self sprouts the Seer and then the Thinker. Thinking is a mirroring process between intelligent Self and a jada mind, which acts as a mirror. The duality is inherent in this process. Shankara's adhAsya concept is premised on this eternal duality.

There is nothing wrong in anything but inherently the primeval beginning is prior to Seer and Thinker. So, to realise the primeval being, the involution has to cover the full ground backwards.

Wisely said. I admire your width of knowledge :)
I agree. My way of saying "cover the full ground backwards" is that each person must find an answer for their repeating questions so the questions then answer themselves. Thus thoughts can be positive rather than a burden only.

Your point on duality of thoughts is true whilst there is a sense of separation. The sense of separation too is a thought. In other words, thoughts come and go, I remain as pure consciousness.

Samadhi may provide the answer, but one can not remain there and must deal with the world. (We have already discussed who that "one" is and what "dealing or remaining" implies after realisation of Brahman). :)

We have gone a long way in this thread. The reason I started this thread was to expand on an understanding of Shakti as being different to maya. It seems we are safe to say it is. What is more Shakti exists after realisation, whereas maya was adviya and so is extinguished.

atanu
27 August 2010, 04:54 AM
haha! Because change is perfect too. ;)
Samadhi may provide the answer, but one can not remain there and must deal with the world. (We have already discussed who that "one" is and what "dealing or remaining" implies after realisation of Brahman). :)



Namaste Snip

Well.:)

I feel, we are at the same position again. Shri Ganeshprasadji uses a signature which says: The world disappears in Him. Shri Krishna also teaches that for a yogi the oblation is Brahman, the oblation holder is Brahman etc. At present my view is as below:

http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showpost.php?p=49588&postcount=21

So, I resign with a laugh and a prayer that may i experience samadhi and then venture to speak of the world after samadhi and try to understand the meaning of The world disappears in Him.

Best regards and warmest wishes

Om Namah Shivaya

Onkara
27 August 2010, 06:32 AM
Thanks Atanu
Likewise I feel we have covered enough in this topic and will resign with a smile for now. :)

saidevo
27 August 2010, 12:37 PM
namaste everyone.

Much we have discussed about Brahma-shakti-mAyA in this thread under the Uttara forum. A speciality of this thread is that we have discussed our viewpoints in a mutually accommodative rather than totally contradictory manner, in a spirit of reconciliation of the Many in the search for the One. Our perceptions of the Many may be as Shakti or as mAyA (or any other IShTadevatA), but our perceptions of the One is in unison.

Besides our own discussions, we would be benefited by knowing what our gurus say on the subject, so here are some paraphrases. Atanu has already given an excellent link to KAnchi ParamAchArya's teaching (post 34):

Adi ShankarAchArya BhagavadpAda on Brahma-shakti-mAyA

Looking at the many-faceted compositions of Shankara which include prasthAna trayI bhAShyANi, tattva darshana granthAH and stotrANi, it is plain that Shankara emphasized the path of bhakti as a prerequisite to Self-Realization through the path of jnAna. Since he wanted people at every level to progress towards the knowledge and experience of the Self, he established, as ShaNmata--six devotional paths, the worship by pUja and japa, of the six Gods: Shiva, Shakti, GaNesha, ViShNu, SUrya and SubrahmaNya.

When the IshAvAsya UpaniShad begins with the declaration, AUM pUrNamadaH pUrNamidam, which means that both Brahman and this world are pUrNam--full, that is, this world is not shUnyam--empty, or mAyA--illusion, or even mithyA--neither real nor unreal,

it is rather strange that Shankara's jagad-prasiddha--well known, statement is:

brahma satyam jaganmithyA jIvo brahmaiva nAparaH
anena vedyam sacchAstram iti vedAntaDiNDimaH ||20||

Brahman is real, the universe is mithya (it cannot be categorized as either real or unreal). The jiva is Brahman itself and not different. This should be understood as the correct SAstra. This is proclaimed by Vedanta.
--BrahmajnAnAvalImAlA, Tr.S.N.Sastri

*****

In contrast, in his Viveka chUDAmaNi, he teaches a different perspective:

sat eva idam sarvaM jagat avagataM vAngmanasayoH
sato anyannAstyeva prakRtipara sImnistitha vataH |

All this universe known through speech and mind is nothing but Brahman;
there is nothing besides Brahman, which exists beyond the utmost range of prakRti.
--Viveka chUDAmaNi 391

and he reiterates the teaching three shlokas after:

vaktvyaM kimu vidyate atra bahudhA brahmaiva jIvaH svayaM
brahma etad jagat AtataM nu sakalaM brahmAdvitIyaM shrutiH |

What is the use of dilating on this subject? The JIva is no other than Brahman; the whole extended universe is Brahman itself; the Shruti inculcates a Brahman without a second.
--Viveka chUDAmaNi 394

*****

In his Prashnottara ratnamAlikA, 56, we see him teach:

muktiM labheta kasmAt?--How can one get release?
mukundabhakteH |--By devotion to Mukunda (ViShNu).
mukundaH kaH?--Who is Mukunda?
yastArayet avidyAm |--One who takes us across ignorance.
kA cha avidhyA?--And what is ignorance?
yat Atmano asphUrtiH |--The non-manifestation of the Self.

*****

Shankara talks about both sAyujya- and advaita-mukti in his SaundaryalaharI:

iti stotuM vAnjChan kathayati bhavAni tvamiti yaH |
tadaiva tvaM tasmai dishasi nijasAyujya padavIM

For one who utters your name BhavAni with affectionate devotion,
you grant him nija sAyujya-mukti there and then.
--SaundaryalaharI, 22

In sAyujya-mukti, the bhakta becomes his iShTadevatA and experiences all the lIlAs of that devatA, but this is not the advaita-mukti of the peace of Brahman.

In shloka 99, Shankara describes the advaita-mukti a devotee of DevI BhavAni attains:

chiraM jIvanneva kShapita-pashupAsha-vyatikaraH
parAnandAbhikhya rasayati rasaM tvad-bhajanavAn ||

One who worships you--tvad-bhajanavAn, kShapita-pashupAsha-vyatikaraH--gets released from the ties of jIvAtma, and remaining eternal--chiraM jIvanneva, experiences--rasayati, the bliss-rasam, that is well known as the bliss of Brhaman--parAnandAbhikhya.
--SaundaryalaharI, 99

*****

• In his DevI bhujangam, he asks the Mother, on our behalf:

kadA vA mano me samUlaM vinashyet--shloka 20
When will my mind be destroyed to its roots (and you will grant me mukti)?

• In his AnnapUrNa aShTakam he calls Mother AnnapUrNA, mokSha dvAra kavATa-pATanakarI--one who opens the gates of mokSha. Lest one should think that this is only a preliminary help for the devotee who can attain mokSha only by Atma-dhyAnam, he confirms it in the same stotra shortly after, sAkShAn mokShakarI sadA shiva karI--one who grants the ultimate liberation of merging with SadAshiva.

Thus, in Shankara-advaita, bhakti is also a tool for Self-Realization, and Shakti (or her any form of iShTadevatA) is One who can grant advaita-mokSha, besides the other stages of liberation for a devotee.

Source:
'NavarAtri NAyakI' a Tamil book by shrI RA.GaNapati

**********

saidevo
27 August 2010, 11:58 PM
Since this is the Uttara forum, IMHO, we need to know and conform to the satsangha of our gurus on the topics we discuss, and thereby adjust/strengthen/replenish our own opinions and perceptions for progress in our sAdhana.

This post is rather long, but I think is a must-read to know how BhagavAn RamaNa MaharShi reconciles the Many manifestations of Reality in the One substratum of the Self.

RamaNa MaharShi on Brahma-shakti-mAyA

MaharShi beautifully reconciles the two seemingly contradictory views of Shankara about the world as mithyA--uncertain reality, and satya--absolute reality.

Talk 33: mithyA-satya relationship

A visitor: "The Supreme Spirit (Brahman) is Real. The world (jagat) is illusion," is the stock phrase of Sri Sankaracharya. Yet others say, "The world is reality". Which is true?

M: Both statements are true. They refer to different stages of development and are spoken from different points of view. The aspirant (abhyAsi) starts with the defnition, that which is real exists always; then he eliminates the world as unreal because it is changing. It cannot be real; 'not this, not this!' The seeker ultimately reaches the Self and there fnds unity as the prevailing note. Then, that which was originally rejected as being unreal is found to be a part of the unity. Being absorbed in the Reality, the world also is Real. There is only being in Self-Realisation, and nothing but being.

*****

Talk 20: mAyA is manifestation of Reality

D: What does MaharShi think of the theory of universal illusion (mAyA)?
M: What is mAyA? It is only Reality.
D: Is not mAyA illusion?
M: mAyA is used to signify the manifestations of the Reality. Thus mAyA is only Reality.

*****

Talk 100: mAyA cannot obscure Sat

mAyA cannot obscure Sat, but it does obscure Chit and Ananda, making them appear as particulars.

[Check the talk for a hierarchical chart of the manifestations of the Reality.--sd]

*****

Talk 164: vishiShTAdvaita

Mr N.Subba Rao: What is vishiShTAdvaita?
M: The same as this.

D: They do not admit mAyA?
M: Sarvam is Brahman, we say. They repeat Brahman remains qualifed (visiShTa) in all.

D: They say that the world is a reality.
M: We say so too. AchArya has only said, "Find out the reality behind the world." What is called illusion by one is called changefulness by another. The end is the same in both.

*****

Talk 263: mAyA and avidya

D: How did avidya arise?
M: Avidya is like mAyA [she who is not is mAyA (illusion)]. Similarly that which is not is ignorance. Therefore the question does not arise. Nevertheless, the question is asked. Then ask, "Whose is the avidya? Avidya is ignorance. It implies subject and object. Become
the subject and there will be no object.

D.: What is avidya?
M.: Ignorance of Self. Who is ignorant of the Self? The self must be ignorant of Self. Are there two selves?

*****

Talk 263: Getting rid of mAyA

D: Can you help me to get rid of mAyA?
M: What is mAyA?
D: Attachment to the world.
M: Was the world in your deep sleep? Was there attachment to it?
...
M: This attachment is not found in sleep. It is perceived and felt now. It is not your real nature. On whom is this accretion? If the Real Nature is known these exist not. If you realise the Self the possessions are not perceived. That is getting rid of mAyA.
mAyA is not objective, that it could be got rid of in any other way.



*****

Talk 288: mAyA of VedAnta and svatantra of PratyabhijnA

Explaining mAyA of VedAnta and svatantra of PratyabhijnA (independence of recognition), Sri BhagavAn said:

The VedAntins say that mAyA is the Shakti of illusion premised in Shiva. mAyA has no independent existence. Having brought out the illusion of the world as real, she continues to play upon the ignorance of the victims. When the reality of her [i]not being is found, she disappears. 'Recognition' says that Shakti (power) is coeval with Shiva. The one does not exist without the other. Shiva is unmanifest, whereas Shakti is manifest on account of Her independent will svatantra. Her manifestation is the display of the cosmos on pure consciousness, like images in a mirror. The images cannot remain in the absence of a mirror.

So also the world cannot have an independent existence. Svatantra becomes eventually an attribute of the Supreme. shrI Shankara says that the Absolute is without attributes and that mAyA is not and has no real being. What is the difference between the two? Both agree that the display is not real. The images of the mirror cannot in any way be real. The world does not exist in reality (vastutaH).

Both schools mean the same thing. Their ultimate aim is to realise the Absolute Consciousness. The unreality of the cosmos is implied in Recognition (PratyabhijnA), whereas it is explicit in VedAnta. If the world be taken as chit (consciousness), it is always real. VedAnta says that there is no nAnA (diversity), meaning that it is all the same Reality.

There is agreement on all points except in words and the method of expression.

*****

Talk 477: mAyA and the mind

D: The mind again is mAyA, I suppose.

M: What is mAyA? The knowledge that the mind is divorced from the Reality is mAyA. The mind is in Reality only and not apart. This knowledge is the elimination of mAyA.

*****

Talk 54: Brahma-Shakti relationship

The Master pointed out that DakshiNAmUrti did not teach anything of the kind. He did not say that Brahman is related to Shakti or not related. All that was, was only silence; and the doubts of the shishyas (disciples) were cleared. The signifcance is that there is nothing to be learnt, discussed and concluded. Everyone knows 'I am.' There is the confusion that the 'I' is the body. Because the 'I' arises from the Absolute and gives rise to buddhi (Intellect). In buddhi the 'I' looks the size and shape of the body, na medhaya means that Brahman cannot be apprehended by buddhi.

*****

Talk 57: Self-Realization includes knowledge of Shakti

Atman (the Self) alone is to be realised. Its realisation holds all else in its compass. Shakti, GaNapati; siddhis, etc., are included in it. Those who speak of these have not realised the Atman. Atman is in the heart and is the Heart itself. The manifestation is in the brain. The passage from the heart to the brain might be considered to be through sushumna or a nerve with any other name.

*****

Talk 89: karpUra Arati symbolism

KarpUra Arati is symbolic of the burning away of the mind by the light of illumination, vibhuti (sacred ashes) is Shiva (Absolute Be-ing) and kunkuma (vermilion powder) is Shakti (consciousness).

[This teaching is significant: Shiva is just sat--being, of Brahman, and Shakti is the chit--consciousness, and the resultant Ananda--bliss, of it.--sd]

*****

Talk 268: Everything resolved into Shiva-Shakti

M: There is the peaceful mind which is the supreme. When the same becomes restless, it is afficted by thoughts. Mind is only the dynamic power (shakti) of the Self.

D: Are the sheaths material and different from the Self?

M: There is no difference between matter and spirit. Modern science admits that all matter is energy. Energy is power or force (shakti). Therefore all are resolved in Shiva and Shakti i.e., the Self and the Mind.

The koshas are mere appearances. There is no reality in them as such.

*****

Talk 275: ShaktipAta

A devotee asked, if it was not shaktipAta (descent of divine power)?

M: Yes it is. A madman clings to samskAras, whereas a JnAni does not. That is the only difference between the two. JnAna is madness of a kind.

D: But shaktipAta is said to occur in karmasamya, i.e., when merit and demerit are equal.

M: Yes. Malaparipaka, karmasamya and shaktipAta mean the same, A man is running the course of his samskaras; when taught he is the Self, the teaching affects his mind and imagination runs riot. He feels helpless before the onrushing power. His experiences are only according to his imagination of the state "I am the Self", whatever he may conceive it to be. ShaktipAta alone confers the true and right experience.

When the man is ripe for receiving the instruction and his mind is about to sink into the Heart, the instruction imparted works in a fash and he realises the Self all right. Otherwise, there is always the struggle.

Mano-nAsha, jnAna, and chittaikagrata (annihilation of the mind, knowledge and one-pointedness) means the same.

*****

Talk 450: Realizing Shiva

M: UmA (Shakti) has Shiva always with Her. Both together form ArdhanArIshvara. Yet she wanted to know Shiva in His true nature. She made tapas. In her dhyAna she saw a bright light. She thought: "This cannot be Siva for it is within the compass of my vision. I am greater than this light." So she resumed her tapas. Thoughts disappeared. Stillness prevailed. She then realised that BE-ing is Shiva in His true nature.

[This teaching again confirms that Shiva as Brahman is sthANu--sat--just BE-ing without any action and that Shakti is the chit--knowledge, and Ananda--bliss that arise out of Self-Realization in samAdhi.--sd]

*****

atanu
28 August 2010, 01:41 AM
Talk 33: mithyA-satya relationship

A visitor: "The Supreme Spirit (Brahman) is Real. The world (jagat) is illusion," is the stock phrase of Sri Sankaracharya. Yet others say, "The world is reality". Which is true?

M: Both statements are true. They refer to different stages of development and are spoken from different points of view. ----

D.: What is avidya?
M.: Ignorance of Self. Who is ignorant of the Self? The self must be ignorant of Self. Are there two selves?



namaste Saidevoji

Thank you for your efforts and an excellent summary of Shri Ramana's teachings.

I have picked the above two teachings as the essence, since both should go together.

Though the Self is always realised, yet without uncovering of the ignorance of Self (veiling), what Ramana says or practices may not apply to us. Shri Ramana teaches Sahaja Samadhi and some of us know that it is impossible to abide in without the pre-requisite of removing of ignorance of Self (or with vAsanas remaining). Ramana has also taught that with vAsanas remaining a mind can never rest in Self.

On the other hand, after removal of ignorance of Self, IMO, no force can impel the soul which is Brahman (Turiya) to tackle the world, since for such a one there is nothing but Brahman.

In summary, I do not think that the dictum of Mandukya Upanishad (and all Upanishads) : 'That is the Self, That is Brahman, That must be known' can be ignored. It is easy to intellectually describe and discuss on Sahaja avastha (Samadhi) but I do not think this is practically available to sadhakas without the sustained knowledge of Turiya.




Talk 450: Realizing Shiva

M: UmA (Shakti) has Shiva always with Her. Both together form ArdhanArIshvara. Yet she wanted to know Shiva in His true nature. She made tapas. In her dhyAna she saw a bright light. She thought: "This cannot be Siva for it is within the compass of my vision. I am greater than this light." So she resumed her tapas. Thoughts disappeared. Stillness prevailed. She then realised that BE-ing is Shiva in His true nature.

[This teaching again confirms that Shiva as Brahman is sthANu--sat--just BE-ing without any action and that Shakti is the chit--knowledge, and Ananda--bliss that arise out of Self-Realization in samAdhi.--sd]

*****


I will just like to add that Sat-Chit-Ananda is full one. In mind, the bliss part is veiled. Sakti is nothing but expressed Shiva -- just as was revealed to Indra in Keno Upanishad. Shiva is said to be the manifestor of Pragnya. Sakti is the manifested Pragnya. Sakti we know and feel but the manifestor cannot be experienced other than by Being.

Om Namah Shivaya

atanu
28 August 2010, 03:11 PM
Clarity on Maya and Shakti.
How can we understand śakti and God as One from the scripture?

Namaste Snip

There are numerous evidences of such from scripture. I will cite four, which, I think, show beyond doubt Shakti and God as one.

The first and foremost is the the Rig Veda teaching itself that the Truth is one. This is very well expanded by Mandukya Karika of Shri Gaudapada.



II-20. The knowers of Prana hold Prana (to be the cause of the world), which the knowers of the elements regard the elements (to be the cause). Qualities (are the cause), say the knowers of quality, whereas the knowers of category consider categories (to be so).


II-21. The knowers of the quarters (such as Visva) hold the quarters (to be the cause), while the knowers of sensory objects regard sensory objects (to be the cause). the worlds (are real), say the knowers of the worlds, and the knowers of the gods consider the gods (to be so).


II-22. Those well-versed in the Vedic lore hold the Vedas (to be real), while the sacrificers subscribe it to the sacrifices. Those who know the enjoyer hold the enjoyer (to be real), whereas those familiar with the enjoyable things think of them (to be real).


II-23. Subtlety (is real), say those who know the subtlety, while those familiar with the gross regard it to be so. (Reality is) possessed of a form, say the worshippers of God with form, while the worshippers of the formless (hold the reality) to be formless.


II-24. The astrologers hold time (to be real), while the knowers of directions consider directions (to be so). Those stiff in debate affirm that disputations (lead to the reality), whereas those who aspire after the worlds consider them (to be real).


II-25. The knowers of the mind hold it (to be the Self), while the knowers of the intellect regard it (to be so). The knowers of the heart ascribe (reality to it), whereas it is attributed to virtue and vice by those who know them.


II-26. Some say that twenty-five categories (constitute the reality), whereas others speak of twenty-six. Again, some say that thirty-one categories (constitute it), yet some others hold that they are infinite.


II-27. Those who know the people (and their pleasures) find reality in pleasures. Those who are familiar with the stages of life regard them (as real). The grammarians (ascribe reality) to the words in the masculine, feminine and neuter genders, whereas others (know reality) to be the higher and lower (brahman).


II-28. Those who know all about creation (say that reality consists in) creation. (Reality lies) in dissolution, say those who know it, while those who know about subsistence (hold it to be the reality). All these ideas are always imagined on the Self.


II-29. He to whom (a teacher) might show an object sees that alone (as the reality). That object, too, becoming one with him, protects him. That state of being engrossed culminates in his self-identity with the object shown.


II-30. By these things that are non-separate (from the Self), this Self is manifested as though separate. He who knows this truly comprehends (the meaning of the Vedas) without entertaining any doubt.



The second evidence comes from Rudram, where, forms of Devi and also Ganapati are said to be Rudra alone. Rudra is the one intangible who brings forth the manifest vak. And Rudra is the one who makes people cry when He leaves a body.


The third evidence is from the end verses of Maitrayana Brahmaya upanishad, which i had cited earlier also.





MAITRAYANA-BRAHMAYA-UPANISHAD
There is the person in the eye, there is he who walks as in sleep, he who is sound asleep, and he who is above the sleeper: these are the four conditions (of the Self), and the fourth is greater than all.

Brahman with one foot moves in the three, and Brahman with three feet is in the last.

It is that both the true (in the fourth condition) and the untrue (in the three conditions) may have their desert, that the Great Self (seems to) become two, yes, that he (seems to) become two.



The fourth evidence is the opening peace invocation of Isha U (and also of some other upanishads) coupled with the keynote of the same upanishad.




Isha U.
Om ! That is full; this is full, (for) from the full the full (indeed) arises.
When the full is taken from the full, what remains is full indeed.


When a man realises that all beings are but the Self, what delusion is there, what grief, to that perceiver of oneness?


That (Self) is all-pervading, radiant, bodiless, soreless, without sinews, pure, untainted by sin, the all-seer, the lord of the mind, transcendent and self-existent. That (Self) did allot in proper order to the eternal Prajapatis known as samvalsara (year) their duties.




Although, both the This and the That are said to be full, nothing can be reduced from the full, which is the source. The source remains full. Then the verses teach beyond doubt that all beings are the Self alone and that the Self is transcendental and self existent.


But that does not mean that the manifest or unmanifest shakti is to be ignored (or can be ignored). The same Isha U. teaches that the immortal can be attained only through the worship of the manifest shakti (Hiranyagarbha) and the unmanifest shakti called moola prakriti. The best example is the manifestation of Uma to Indra in Kena U. No teaching and no removal of grief would be possible from the world of names and forms (which are eternal and co-eval with Brahman), without Ishwara associating with mAyA and taking the role of Guru.


Thus at another level, Ishwara is one who is aware and has control over His own Shakti. So, SIVA-MAHIMNAH STOTRAM says:


Om namah parvati pataye
Hara hara hara Mahadev


And the same is said in Svet. U. that Lord is the controller of His mAyA.
------------------------------


Finally to truly understand what Shakti is and where She resides we may hear Shri Sankaracharya sing




SIV&#193;PAR&#193;DHA-KSHAM&#193;PANA - STOTRAM


My Self is Shambhu (yourself); my intellect is Girij&#225; (P&#225;rvat&#232;); my vital breaths are your attendants, my body is your temple of residence; my enjoying the objects of the senses is your worship; my sleep is the state of meditation all movement with the pair of feet is doing pradaksina (circumambulation) to you and all my words are your praises. O, `Shambhu, whatever I do is entirely an act of worshipping you.


http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/images/misc/progress.gif
Om Namah Shivaya

saidevo
29 August 2010, 01:47 AM
Role of Shakti and bhakti in advaita-mukti

According to the shAkta and other bhakti sampradAya--traditions, advanced devotees are granted krama-mukti--progressive liberation, in the lokas--worlds, of their IShTadevatAs--preferred deities.

The krama-mukti is in the order: sAlokya--living in the same world, sAmIpya--living in proxmity and serving the God, sArUpya--becoming the God's form and enjoying his/her state of bliss, and sAyujya--merging with the God but still retaining individuality and enjoying his/her bliss and lIlAs.

A question arises: Can such devotees thus liberated in krama-mukti, attain the ultimate, advaita-mokSha of Self-Realization, if they want it, through Shakti/bhakti?

Advaitins say that such mukti through bhakti is not possible. They say that these advanced devotee souls must return when the worlds of their deities perish in MahApralaya, and commence their sAdhana afresh in the NivRtti mArga of jnAna, through dhyAna--meditation and Atma-vichAra--Self-inquiry. In other words, Advaitins seem to deny the power of Shakti in granting advaita mukti to the devotees who sought liberation through bhakti.

According to shrI RA GaNapati, author of the Tamil book NavarAtri NAyakI:

• the Advaitins are not right. They forget, if not deny, that Shakti (of whose form the personal Gods are) is capable of elevating such souls to the advaita-mukti of Self-Realization, right from the worlds of their Gods, instead of letting them return.

• The Advaitins' refusal of Self-Realization only through bhakti-yoga is based on their concept of mAyA and NirguNa Brahman. If Brahman is to be NirguNa, it cannot have an attribute of mAyA, so they say that the NirguNa Brahman becomes Ishvara who is SaguNa Brahman, unites with mAyA, and creates the world.

• Where did this mAyA arise from? To this question, the answer of the Advaitins is that mAyA is anirvachanIya--whose origin cannot be known. But what about NirguNa Brahman? Is it not itself anirvachanIya--in describable in its nature and origin? Are there then two vastus--entities, Brahman and mAyA that are anirvachanIya?

• Instead of giving the benefit of anirvachanIya to mAyA, the author shrI GaNapati says, that the Advaitins could have very well said that NirguNa Brahman itself is anirvachanIya, and mAyA is only its inherent Shakti. [In other words, if Brahman is immanent in the jIva-jaDa prapancha--universe of animate and inanimate beings, Shakti is immanent in that very Brahman, and thus she is immanent in the jIva-jaDa prapancha as well.--sd]

• Who guides an Advaita sAdhaka, until he attains nirvikalpa samAdhi, as he struggles to sustain the state of turIya? What faculties enable the sAdhaka in his dhyAna and Atma-vichAra? Only his buddhi and mind? Are they not aspects of Goddess Shakti?

• Who guides the worldly activities of a jIvan-mukta--liberated while living, who is always in sahaja samAdhi? Who fills him with such altruistic love towards all that lives? Is it not Shakti whom the Advaitin dismisses as mAyA?

• As the sAdhaka continues to perform his upAsana--worship, with persistence, (with the thought of his God always in mind with unbreakable continuity as in the taila-dhAra--flow of oil--sd), his pApa-puNya--sinful-meritorious karma are balanced in karma-sAMyam. His dirty vAsanas--impressions, are removed in malaparipakam. In the end, his mind becoming parama-nirmalam--supremely blemishless, the Shakti of Ishvara's kAruNyam--compassion, will descend on him (this is described as shakti-nipAtam or shakti-pAtam) and the sAdhaka will attain (advaita) mokSham. This is the doctrine of Shaiva SiddhAnta.

• RamaNa MaharShi clarifies that such shaktipAta is also there in Advaita mArgam:

"Yes. Malaparipaka, karmasamya and saktipata mean the same, A man is running the course of his samskaras; when taught he is the Self, the teaching affects his mind and imagination runs riot. He feels helpless before the onrushing power. His experiences are only according to his imagination of the state "I am the Self", whatever he may conceive it to be. SaktipAta alone confers the true and right experience. (Talk 275)

• Goddess Shakti, who is described as brahma-jnana-pradAyaki--one who grants the knowledge of Self/Brahman, and is adored as shrI VidyA by the shAktas, is deseribed as avidyA in Advaita. But she is not bothered herself that she is JnAnAmbikA to some and AjnAnAmbikA to others, for, the entire loka-vyAparam--transaction of worldly life, is only through her lIlAs. She is the author of the story of the world from Creation to Dissolution. Just as the villain who comes in a story does not affect the author, she is unaffected by mAyA and avidyA [or the nature and propensities of her characters--sd].

• If we say the kArya-prapancha--universe of activity, of the jIvas is the kAryam--action, of mAyA that is tuchCha--trivial, what about the beauty and happiness found in the universe in all its facets and activities? BhagavAn RamaNa's devotees have described him crying when he heard about how Goddess GaurI (PArvatI) sat in intense tapas at TiruvaNNAmalai in order to merge with her Shiva, as described in the text 'AruNAchala mahAtmyam'. [Devotees have also described his gushing tears when he receives with utmost bhakti, prasAdams from temples such as Madurai MInAkShI temple.--sd]

• Including (the rasa of) shRnggAram--erotic sentiment, when viewed in the angle of Brahman, is not tuchCha; there everything is only uchcha--elevated. Therefore, it is not necessary to separate mAyA with an intention of elevating Brahman? When it can remain in two different facets at the same time, why bring in mAyA as something apart from it?

Saint Appar describes it with the brevity of a ratnam--precious stone:

nErizhaiyaik kalandiru~ndE pulankaL ai~ndum vendrAnai
"One who conquered all his five senses, even while merging with a woman."

The entire shAktam can be said to be contained in this statement.

• A small story narrates this truth too:

shrI KRShNa performed all his lIlA-vinoda--amorous activities, with the GopikA-strIs--cowherd women. Thereafter the GopikAs wanted to celebrate the fulfilment of their wishes by hosting a meal to an uttama--great man. KRShNa said, "On the other bank of the YamunA river is sage DUrvAsa RShi. There is no one greater than him. So you host him the meal and come back."

The GopikA women found that the river was full and there was no ferry in sight. KRShNa said, "So what? Swear to the YamunA on my brahmacharyam--continence. She will part her waters and give way." The women who have all enjoyed the KRShNa-lIlAs, believed in the words of their Lord and spoke to the river: "Hey YamunA! If it is parama-satyam--supremely true, that our prema-kAnta RAdhA-RamaNa is a naiShTika-brahmachAri--supreme celibate, let us cross your waters." And the YamunA shrank her waters and let them cross her.

After they fed DUrvAsa RShi, they found the river to be full again, with no boat in sight. DUrvAsa said, "So what? You swear to YamunA, "If it is true that DUrvAsa is one who has for his achanam--food, just a handful of the dUrvA grass, you let us cross the waters", and she will help you. DUrvAsa has just had consumed large quantities of food, and yet the YamunA river let the women cross her waters."

Aren't thus the KRShNa lIlA-vinodas and DUrvAsa's dining, the Shakti-lIlA--sport of Shakti, while these people themselves were always anchored in the actionless Atman?

[This story is told in a slightly different form here:
http://brahmanisone.blogspot.com/2005/11/story-of-radha-brahmachari-krishna-and.html --sd]

• Another story from the life of shrI RAmakRShNa ParamahaMsa approaches this truth in a different angle.

Mother KALI was the last hurdle in shrI RAmakRShNa's enlightenment. shrI RAmakRShNa tried again and again to remove the image of Mother KALI from his mind but he could not. Finally Totapuri (a sage from Punjab) said to Sri RAmakRShNa, "Close your eyes and when you see mother KALI then cut her head with an imaginery sword." The moment shrI RAmakRShNa did this, He realized the absolute truth and stayed in Samadhi state for 3 days.
(http://ramakrishnateachings.blogspot.com/2009/06/totapuri-paramhansa-totapuri-sri.html)

Does this mean that Shakti, who is described by Adi Shankara in his 'AnnapUrNa aShTakam' as mokSha dvAra kavATa-pATanakarI--one who opens the gates of mokSha, was a hurdle to shrI RAmakRShNa's advaita-mukti? Or is it yet another lIlA of hers?

[No words to describe the lIlA of Mother KALI, who wears severed human heads of ego for her garland, consenting to her devotee to sever her own head!--sd]

**********

No wonder thus that ParAShakti is the brahma-jnana-pradAyaki for every sAdhaka, despite his affiliation. This is the reason Adi Shankara BhagavadpAda prescribed the path of bhakti as a prerequisite to the sAdhana in NivRtti (jnAna) mArgam for his Advaitins, and to help them in the worship of Gods, composed stotras--hymns, on almost all major Gods.

KAnchi ParamAchArya, one of the greatest ShankarAchAryas in Shankara's tradition, was not only a jIvan-mukta par excellence, but a most ardent devotee of Goddess KAmAkShi and God ChandramauLIshvara. His devotees have had darshan of the sage in these forms, just like some devotees of BhagavAn RamaNa had darshan of him as the God of AruNAchala.

KAnchi ParamAchArya in his lecturers on the life and work of Shankara says that Shankara's bhakti mArga prescription is for the Advaita sAdhaka to obtain chitta-shuddi--purity of mind, only which would enable him to enter the NivRtti mArga of jnAnam.

We should note that Shankara as ShaNmata-sthApaka--establisher of six devotional paths, has prescribed panchAyatana pUja--worship of five Gods (Shiva, Shakti, ViShNu, GaNapati, and SUrya), in order that the sAdhaka would admire and adore the shakti-lIlAs of all Gods, instead of being devoted to just one of them to the exclusion of the others and complicate his Self-Realization with a sojourn in the worlds of the Gods. Being thus a devotee of all Gods speeds up the arrival of chitta-shuddhi, so the devotee can enter the JnAna yoga path and find his Self in this birth itself.

Still, Shankara's advaita sAdhaka knows that he must get the grace of Shakti in the form of shaktinipAta (as BhagavAn RamaNa explained above), so he will have the right experience of the Self and ensure his Realization as the Ultimate.

**********

atanu
29 August 2010, 12:37 PM
Namaste Dear Saidevoji

As per our discussion on PM, i am encouraged to post the following as my understanding of Brahman, Shakti, and mAyA.
....................

Regarding Shakti and mAyA, I appear to differ slightly. As per all upanishads and the Vedas, the Self, which is genderless and called atma (source of ME) is the source of a Mind called Mahat, which is also called asva and which is the moving, living, dynamic. The rise of Mahat is due to shakti of shaktiman. Again this Mind then gives rise to the Vak, which again is personified as female.

The shakti is of shaktiman and the two cannot be differentiated except in conceptual terms. What is shaktiman without shakti or what is shakti without the shaktiman?

Whereas, mAyA, is the effect of this play of shakti on consciousness, which may remain pure or which may chose to get veiled to enjoy the play. Where shakti is very real, mAyA is sublatable and with sublation of its effect, the given circumstances appear in new light. But many thousands of minds that have sprouted in the meanwhile, require a Guru to wean them away from the notion of permanence of the effects (product) vis-a-vis the producer.

Isha Up. says that Self created the products for particular time spans (with their lives constrained within a time frame).

Why confusion arises is due to separation, however, between this 'me' and that 'ME'. There is a massive unlimited reality to this waking world, which this 'me' forgets often.

When you are seeing a Mercedes car as a fixed reality, who is doing it? When you are seeing Shakti as Ishwari, who is doing it? Or when, you disslove all manifestations and remain as Dakshinamoorty, then who is doing so?

Our confusuion rests on the fact that we are limited within limited sensual experiences. But who is this we? Svet. U. unabashedly says: the blue-red bird is you. The old man with the bent back is you. In summary, mAyA disappears when the primeval source is kept in view but shakti is eternal within Brahman.

Mere presence of Ishwara with Shakti in every individual soul causes individual souls to rotate like automatons (as Gita teaches). But is it the reason why Ishwara is settled in every heart? Is He cruel? He, as a purusha (atma-individual soul) is there as an individual but the so-called individual as a manas (conditioned individual mind) is deluded. There is dvaita involved.

The moment the individual as manas (mind) surrenders and loses itself in the Purusha as the individual, the whole complex situation is solved. All scriptures begin to make sense. Advaita makes sense.
................

I realise, as Shri Gaudapada says, that the above is also imagined on the Self.

Om Namah Shivaya

Onkara
29 August 2010, 01:39 PM
The moment the individual as manas (mind) surrenders and loses itself in the Purusha as the individual, the whole complex situation is solved. All scriptures begin to make sense. Advaita makes sense.
................

I realise, as Shri Gaudapada says, that the above is also imagined on the Self.



Namaste Atanu and Saidevo
Thank you for the quotations, Atanu. This was indeed more than I was hoping for as it shows that Brahman is the fullness

Above you use "surrender" I use "forced", no word is suitable as you point out, there is no one to surrender or to force, we are up against our language limitations yet we need to communicate a change in the changeless Self.

At this point there is an implosion (again words cannot capture this in full, none the less it is known) where you, as consciousness, become everything. You become Full. At this point there is no longer any concealing ignorance (maya), however there is consciousness of change within you. Shakti, it seems is the closest term to explaining what that change is as witnessed by consciousness and and made into an objective term for communication.

Consciousness cannot be dual, so Shakti is also consciousness manifested. Shakti is also you - as Brahman. So what you witness is your will unfolding (as Brahman) manifested through your fullness which is Shakti. Nothing other than Her will to be many and experience Her Self within her background of consciousness.

Can we improve on this coloured paragraph above, can we come to a better understanding of Shakti's expression of creation and us as one with Her? I am not out to justify my position or gain anything but explore that which is? :)

I have read you informative posts, Saidevo and feel this is not directly negated in them either.

saidevo
29 August 2010, 10:56 PM
Some points to ponder from the book 'Shakti and ShAkta' by Arthur Avalon

• But until there is in fact Change, Shakti is merely the Potency of Becoming in Being and, as such, is wholly one with it. The Power (Shakti) and the possessor of Power (ShaktimAn) are one. As therefore He is Being-Bliss-Consciousness, so is She. She is also the Full (pURNa), which is no mere abstraction from its evolved manifestations.

• According to the ShAkta exposition of AdvaitavAda, mAyA is not an unconscious (jaDa) principle but a particular Shakti of Brahman. Being Shakti, it is at base consciousness, but as mAyA-Shakti it is Consciousness veiling Itself. Shakti and ShaktimAn are one and the same: that is, Power and its Possessor (Shaktiman). Therefore mAyA-Shakti is Shiva or Chit in that particular aspect which He assumes as the material cause (upadanakAraNa) in creation.

‣ Creation is real; that is, there is a direct causal nexus between Shiva as Shakti (Chit-Shakti and mAyA-Shakti) and the universe. In short Shiva as Shakti is the cause of the universe, and as Shakti, in the form of JIva (all manifested forms, He actually evolves.

‣ Comparing these two views;--Shamkara says that there is in absolute truth no creation and therefore there can be no question how it arose. This is because he views the problem from the transcendental (ParamArthika) standpoint of self-realization or Siddhi. The ShAkta Shastra, on the other hand, being a practical SAdhana Shastra views the matter from our, that is the JIva, standpoint. To us the universe and ourselves are real.

• But we know we are not perfect consciousness. There is an apparent unconsciousness. How then is this explained? The unmanifested Brahman, before all the worlds, is NirguNa Shiva--the Blissful undual consciousness. This is the static aspect of Shiva. This manifests Shakti which is the kinetic aspect of Brahman. Shakti and ShaktimAn are one; therefore, Shiva manifests as Shiva-Shakti, who are one and the same. Therefore Shakti is consciousness.

• But Shakti has two aspects (Murti), viz., VidyA Shakti or Chit-Shakti, and AvidyA Shakti or mAyA-Shakti. Both as Shakti (which is the same as ShaktimAn) are in themselves conscious.

‣ But the difference is that whilst Chit-Shakti is illuminating consciousness, mAyA is a Shakti which veils consciousness to itself, and by its wondrous power appears as unconscious. This mAyA-Shakti is Consciousness which by its power appears as unconsciousness. This mAyA-Shakti is TriguNa Shakti, that is, Shakti composed of the three guNas. ...

‣ The AntarAtmA in man is the enduring Chit-Shakti. His apparently unconscious vehicles of mind and body are Brahman as mAyA-Shakti, that is, consciousness appearing as unconsciousness by virtue of its inscrutable power. Ishvara is thus the name for Brahman as Shakti which is conjoined Chit-Shakti and mAyA-Shakti.

• Therefore, the ShAkta Tantra Shastra says that Shakti which, operating as Chit and mAyA, is Chit-Shakti and mAyA-Shakti, is real, conscious and Brahman itself (sarvam khalvidam brahma). It follows that Shakti which is Brahman in its aspect as Creator is, in fact, both the efficient and material cause of the world.

‣ If the first or cause is real, so is the second or world. If the first be the cause of unreality, it is in itself unreal. But what is real is Brahman. Therefore, the world has a real cause which is not unreal unconsciousness or ignorance composed of three Gunas, but conscious Shakti and Brahman.

‣ It, therefore, does away with the necessity for chidAbhAsa; for, if real conscious Shakti is the cause of the world, then there is no need for unreal unconsciousness which mAyAvAda is driven to posit to secure the absolute purity of the Brahman Consciousness.

• As Shakti is Brahman, it is also NirguNa and SaguNa. Ishvara is Chit-Shakti, that is, Chit in association with the operating Prakriti as the efficient cause of the creation; and mAyA-Shakti which means mAyA as a Shakti that is in creative operation as the instrumental (nimitta) and material (upAdana) cause of the universe. This is the Shakti which produces Avidya, just as MahAmAyA or IshvarI is the Great Liberatrix.

‣ These twin aspects of Shakti appear throughout creation. Thus in the body, the Chit or Brahman aspect is conscious Atman or Spirit, and the mAyA aspect is the antaHkaraNa and its derivatives or the unconscious (jaDa) mind and body.

‣ When, however, we speak here of Shakti without any qualifications, what is meant is Chit-Shakti in association with mAyA-Shakti that is IshvarI or DevI or MahAmAyA, the Mother of all worlds.

‣ If we keep this in view, we shall not fall into the error of supposing that the ShAktas (whose religion is one of the oldest in the world; how old indeed is as yet little known) worship material force or gross matter. Ishvara or IshvarI is not achit, which, as pure sattva-guNa is only His or Her body. mAyA-Shakti in the sense of MUlaprakriti is Chit. So also is Avidya Shakti, though it appears to be achit, for there is no chidabhAsa.

**********

atanu
30 August 2010, 01:59 AM
Some points to ponder from the book 'Shakti and ShAkta' by Arthur Avalon

• • According to the ShAkta exposition of AdvaitavAda, mAyA is not an unconscious (jaDa) principle but a particular Shakti of Brahman. Being Shakti, it is at base consciousness, but as mAyA-Shakti it is Consciousness veiling Itself. Shakti and ShaktimAn are one and the same: that is, Power and its Possessor (Shaktiman). Therefore mAyA-Shakti is Shiva or Chit in that particular aspect which He assumes as the material cause (upadanakAraNa) in creation.



Namaste Saidevoji

There lies the main problem. The above view, IMO, sets up mAyA as another intelligent centre, and defeats shastra like "There is no knower but Him" and "There is no Seer but Him". This robs the swatantra nature of 'One Without A Second'. Avidya arising out of a situation cannot be a second intelligent entity.

Seen from another angle, Brahma Sutra also categorically states that Pradhan is jada. It is intelligent only by the intelligence of Brahman, which is not two entitities. As we have discussed, we must distinguish shakti, which is expression of Brahman, from its effect of mAyA.


Comparing these two views;--Shamkara says that there is in absolute truth no creation and therefore there can be no question how it arose. This is because he views the problem from the transcendental (ParamArthika) standpoint of self-realization or Siddhi. The ShAkta Shastra, on the other hand, being a practical SAdhana Shastra views the matter from our, that is the JIva, standpoint. To us the universe and ourselves are real.

If the world itself, as experienced by everyone, is pure Shiva without a tinge of Avidya, then why is Shri Avalon creating two tiers of Paramrthika and Jiva standpoints? Also, how can Jiva view be termed as practical and correct, implying that the parmarthika view of Shankara is faulty? How can that be so?


Om Namah Shivaya

atanu
30 August 2010, 02:07 AM
Namaste Atanu and Saidevo
----, we are up against our language limitations yet we need to communicate a change in the changeless Self.

At this point there is an implosion (again words cannot capture this in full, none the less it is known) where you, as consciousness, become everything. -----

Namaste Snip

This is just right, as per me.



Consciousness cannot be dual, so Shakti is also consciousness manifested. Shakti is also you - as Brahman. So what you witness is your will unfolding (as Brahman) manifested through your fullness which is Shakti. Nothing other than Her will to be many and experience Her Self within her background of consciousness.


Can we improve on this coloured paragraph above,

Let me make an about turn now. Shakti is truly mAyA (magic), else how can subtler than the subtlest consciousness (appear?) to become bony? The above is in the light of scriptural statements such as "All this is consciousness. This moving world has consciousness as its basis." And this question itself is from Asiya Vamiya Sukta, from the first book of Rig Veda.

I think scriptures may appear confusing because they speak to different levels.

Om Namah Shivaya

saidevo
30 August 2010, 08:47 AM
namaste Atanu.

You said in post no.50:
There lies the main problem. The above view, IMO, sets up mAyA as another intelligent centre, and defeats shastra like "There is no knower but Him" and "There is no Seer but Him". This robs the swatantra nature of 'One Without A Second'. Avidya arising out of a situation cannot be a second intelligent entity.

Seen from another angle, Brahma Sutra also categorically states that Pradhan is jada. It is intelligent only by the intelligence of Brahman, which is not two entitities. As we have discussed, we must distinguish shakti, which is expression of Brahman, from its effect of mAyA.
==========

If Atman/Brahman is chaitanya, then jIvAtman is its reflection, right? Thus, the 'I' as the ego of jIvA is the reflection of the immanent Self. Also, the Self is only an actionless witness and it is the 'I' that is active, whether in material or spiritual realms.

• Since the 'I' (that is jIva/ego) is the sum total of the antaHkaraNa, its channel of activity is manas--mind. And this manas is basically a mendicant: it is a vagabond seeking lasting happiness in both the material and spiritual realms, and whatever it receives as 'alms' by the grace of Goddess Shakti, in either realm, it is never satisfied.

• So, Shakti, like a mother, puts the jIvas that are her children to deep sleep every day, to give them that lasting happiness of being in union with Shiva, although the children hardly know it as such. She merges the jIva's antaHkaraNa with the Self in deep sleep, and yet keeps the body functional, so the person has the food digested, breathing and heart rhythm smoothened, and so on. In the form of uShas--dawn, she wakes up her children and watches their activities propelled by their karma and freewill (which is again a reflection of her chaitanya in them).

• In the same way, if Brahman is chaitanya--consciousness/intelligence, and shakti is immanent in it without any distinction between them whatsoever, why can't mAyA, which is her power, be also reflected consciousness, that veils the real consciousness at the base?

• Let us note that every atom in the universe, although jaDa--inert, is imbibed with the chaitanya of Shakti as its own consciousness to maintain its identity, which in turn, is reflected as individual consciousness, up the layers of aggregation of atoms as elements, objects and so on. Thus, if Shakti is the expression of the chaitanya--consciousness/intelligence, of Brahman, mAyA, IMO, is in turn an expression of her own chaitanya, as a reflection to veil the reality behind it.

• Therefore, if jIva is nothing other than Brahman, and Brahman is also immanent in the jaDa which is mAyA, mAyA too has its source in Shakti/Brahman. Perhaps this is the reason Shankara assigned an intermediate/temporary reality as mithyA to the jaDa prapancha, while also admitting in his bhakti-stotras, that the jnAni's mAyA is an aspect of Shakti.

• Such layered view of consciousness, IMO, does not contradict the 'ekam sat' of the Vedas or 'There is no knower/seer but him' of the UpaniShads.

‣ It is because of the reflected layers of consciousness in matter and energy at the physical realm, that the world is what it appears to be to the spiritual populace.

‣ It is because of the reflected layers of consciousness in matter and energy at the subtle realm, that the Self is what it appears to be to the spiritual populace.

‣ The physical scientist attempts to peel away the layers of consciousness in the physical realm and arrive at the Physical Absolute; and the spiritual scientist does the same in the subtle realm to arrive at the Absolute Reality that transcends the physical level.

‣ To those who can thus peel away the layers of reflected consciousness, deeper and deeper facets of the sat--Being/Shiva become apparent, and ultimately, Shiva himself as Self/Atman/Brahman.

‣ And Mother Shakti, without whose grace such capability of peeling away is not possible, simply hides herself in Shiva, since her very nature is hri--shyness, as her bhIja mantra 'hrIm' reveals, letting the sAdhaka take all the credit for his becoming a jnAni as if by his own efforts of sAdhana.

You said in post no.50:
If the world itself, as experienced by everyone, is pure Shiva without a tinge of Avidya, then why is Shri Avalon creating two tiers of Paramrthika and Jiva standpoints? Also, how can Jiva view be termed as practical and correct, implying that the parmarthika view of Shankara is faulty? How can that be so?
==========

Perhaps you need to clarify/elaborate on:
"If the world itself, as experienced by everyone, is pure Shiva without a tinge of Avidya..."

Everyone perhaps knows that the world is Brahman, but the majority simply don't experience it. Shiva is without Avidya, but the jIvas are suffering from it. I think mAyA and avidyA are the same in that mAyA is the appearance by reflection of Shakti's consciousness in the physical realm, and jIva is the reflection of Shiva's consciousness in the subtle realm, and the jIva acquires avidyA by faulty identification of his real nature as Self with the antaHkaraNa and the external world at these realms. Such avidyA arises from the jIva itself by virtue of its freewill and the vAsanas yet to be experienced.

I don't know if Arthur Avalon is right in saying that the Shakti ShAstra considers the world as practical and correct reality, but I think this view from jIva's standpoint does not imply that Shankara's paramArthika view is faulty. After all there are two sides to a coin until one becomes a jnAni, at which time the coin itself disappers.

You are welcome to correct anything incorrect in this line of reasoning of mine, which is by way of an attempt at reconciliation of the layers of reality, without losing sight of the absolute reality in the advaitic unity.

saidevo
30 August 2010, 09:27 AM
namaste Snip.

You said in post no.48
Consciousness cannot be dual, so Shakti is also consciousness manifested. Shakti is also you - as Brahman. So what you witness is your will unfolding (as Brahman) manifested through your fullness which is Shakti. Nothing other than Her will to be many and experience Her Self within her background of consciousness.
==========

Consciousness cannot be dual, -- I agree (although it can be reflected).
so Shakti is also consciousness manifested. -- correct.
=====

"Shakti is also you - as Brahman."

I think I am Shakti so long as there is some action in me, that is, I as the knower am in the process of knowing what is known. Once these three things merge and I am with my source, I think I would then be Brahman.
=====

"So what you witness is your will unfolding (as Brahman) manifested through your fullness which is Shakti."

Instead of the word 'will', I would prefer 'Atman' or Self. I agree that Shakti is pUrNa--fullness, at the level of 'becoming' (chit), just like Brahman is pUrNa at the level of 'being' (sat).

In deep sleep, the Atman as individual consciousness merges in Brahman the universal consciousness, although the I as jIva am not aware of it. Thus in deep sleep, the jIva as merged in Self is just sat--being, with no expressions of chit or Ananda, so he is not aware of Shakti either.

As the jIva advances towards Self-Realization, he is more and more filled with the chit-shakti of Shakti, with his consciousness expanding from the individual towards the universal level. At samAdhi, the jIva is not only sat--being (as it was in deep sleep), but also by virtue of the expanded consciousness of chit-shakti, is able to experience the Ananda--bliss, which is the third immanent expression in Brahman.

Such experience comes and goes in savikalpa samAdhi, stablizes permanently in nirvikalpa samAdhi (in which stage, the sAdhaka is no longer a jIva but Brahman itself), and in sahaja samAdhi, the jIva having become a jnAni, goes about his worldly activities with the fullness of Shakti and the fullness of Ananda, which he radiates as altruistic love and peace.
=====

"Nothing other than Her will to be many and experience Her Self within her background of consciousness."

I think Shakti at the absolute level is One, both in physical and subtle realms. The Many are simply the magic of her mAyA, as reflection of her chit-shakti in aggregations of energy as physical and subtle matter.

In the aggregations in subtle matter, the reflected consciousness becomes more and more independently active, and this becomes the freewill.

Just as an inert atom has its own individual (reflected) consciousness to preserve its identity, so has a jIva its own individual (reflected) consciousness to preserve its identity of I-ness.

The difference is that the atom never swerves from its dharma on its own, whereas the jIva by virtue of his freewill and antaHkaraNa acquires false identities and the ensuing vAsanas, which cloud the immanent Self in him.
=====

I have just posted my extempore thoughts on your statement. I think without Shakti, Brahman cannot be known. Shakti herself is known by mAyA. When mAyA disappears we experience Brahman but forget Shakti's role and guidance.

Onkara
30 August 2010, 09:27 AM
Namaste Saidevo and Atanu
This is beautiful insight, Saidevo . I hope you both will indulge my view as an addition. :)

Arthur Avalon says above:

‣ Comparing these two views;--Shamkara says that there is in absolute truth no creation and therefore there can be no question how it arose. This is because he views the problem from the transcendental (ParamArthika) standpoint of self-realization or Siddhi. The ShAkta Shastra, on the other hand, being a practical SAdhana Shastra views the matter from our, that is the JIva, standpoint. To us the universe and ourselves are real.

Here the word “practical” means interactive, something which the jIva feels they are doing as a body-mind actor in order to arrive at the goal. It does not mean 'correct' or that the opposite is 'incorrect or impractical'. :)

There is and was no creation and there is never any action because it is all occurring within the foundation of consciousness and so is not real in the sense that Brahman (Supreme Consciousness) is real. Remember, you are the witness (don’t let us objectify creation as un-witnessed if we are to stay with Advaita).


On a tangent I am not in agreement with Arthur Avalon’s term of “unconsciousness”. There is no unconsciousness from the highest perspective as turiya permeates deep sleep and swoon also. Without further explanation of his term “unconsciousness” it renders the following difficult to agree. My guess is he means a “unfathomable force of mAyA” E.g.


• But we know we are not perfect consciousness. There is an apparent unconsciousness. How then is this explained? The unmanifested Brahman, before all the worlds, is NirguNa Shiva--the Blissful undual consciousness. This is the static aspect of Shiva. This manifests Shakti which is the kinetic aspect of Brahman. Shakti and ShaktimAn are one; therefore, Shiva manifests as Shiva-Shakti, who are one and the same. Therefore Shakti is consciousness.

(cut)

‣ But the difference is that whilst Chit-Shakti is illuminating consciousness, mAyA is a Shakti which veils consciousness to itself, and by its wondrous power appears as unconscious. This mAyA-Shakti is Consciousness which by its power appears as unconsciousness. This mAyA-Shakti is TriguNa Shakti, that is, Shakti composed of the three guNas. ...

Thank you also for your answer above, Atanu.

Onkara
30 August 2010, 10:22 AM
Namaste Saidevo
Thanks for the feedback. Here are my continued thoughts;

namaste Snip.

You said in post no.48
Consciousness cannot be dual, so Shakti is also consciousness manifested. Shakti is also you - as Brahman. So what you witness is your will unfolding (as Brahman) manifested through your fullness which is Shakti. Nothing other than Her will to be many and experience Her Self within her background of consciousness.
==========


"So what you witness is your will unfolding (as Brahman) manifested through your fullness which is Shakti."

Instead of the word 'will', I would prefer 'Atman' or Self. I agree that Shakti is pUrNa--fullness, at the level of 'becoming' (chit), just like Brahman is pUrNa at the level of 'being' (sat).

In deep sleep, the Atman as individual consciousness merges in Brahman the universal consciousness, although the I as jIva am not aware of it. Thus in deep sleep, the jIva as merged in Self is just sat--being, with no expressions of chit or Ananda, so he is not aware of Shakti either.

I agree with changing "will" to "atman or Self", as will implies an actor, where as Atman implies Brahman, which closes the circle, so to speak and cancels the need to ask "who's will?".

I left the second paragraph in as associated with this same thought. It appears you are saying that because of sleep there is no "will" so "Atman" is that which exists without Shakti (will to create). If that is your point then I can see the logic, however Shakti does not stop in deep sleep (which is why you choose "aware" and this is where I am not sure if you are making a fresh point with this paragraph or a continuation). Sleep is a state that affects the jIva (body-mind) not Brahman (who is also Shakti), so as there is a multitude of jIvas then Shakti continues. The fact that the world continues whilst asleep is in fact one of the questions to answer for the aspirant; Shakti is the explanation as to why the world exists whilst I am asleep or not alive (as jIva).



As the jIva advances towards Self-Realization, he is more and more filled with the chit-shakti of Shakti, with his consciousness expanding from the individual towards the universal level. At samAdhi, the jIva is not only sat--being (as it was in deep sleep), but also by virtue of the expanded consciousness of chit-shakti, is able to experience the Ananda--bliss, which is the third immanent expression in Brahman.

Such experience comes and goes in savikalpa samAdhi, stablizes permanently in nirvikalpa samAdhi (in which stage, the sAdhaka is no longer a jIva but Brahman itself), and in sahaja samAdhi, the jIva having become a jnAni, goes about his worldly activities with the fullness of Shakti and the fullness of Ananda, which he radiates as altruistic love and peace.
=====

Wonderful, this is it! This is why it is important to differentiate between mAyA and Shakti, because through savikalpa and nirviklap samAdhi one becomes aware of mAyA, however one cannot remain there, and one must enter the next stage: sahaja samAdhi, where fullness of Shakti, fullness of bliss and unconditional love which flows limitlessly as an expression of Brahman.



=====

I have just posted my extempore thoughts on your statement. I think without Shakti, Brahman cannot be known. Shakti herself is known by mAyA. When mAyA disappears we experience Brahman but forget Shakti's role and guidance.

Thank you! You have helped define the progress of thoughts here whilst adding definition. :)

I am not sure why you say "forget Shakti's role and guidance" unless you mean by "forget" that one views all from the position of Brahman alone that all manifestations of Shakti appears as change within Brahman and so even Shakti is unreal or mithya from this highest level of knowing (pAramArthika satya)?

atanu
30 August 2010, 10:57 AM
I have just posted my extempore thoughts on your statement. I think without Shakti, Brahman cannot be known. Shakti herself is known by mAyA. When mAyA disappears we experience Brahman but forget Shakti's role and guidance.


Namaste saidevoji

I am still studying your posts and will come back -- trying to counter on a few points. On most points there is no disagreement at all but only different fashions of word play.

But the above conclusion eludes me. Do you mean to say that a Jnani, who has overcome mAyA, will forget Shakti? You may be correct in the sense that a Jnani has no conceptual bank but does He really lose the reality and its inherent power?



As the jIva advances towards Self-Realization, he is more and more filled with the chit-shakti of Shakti, with his consciousness expanding from the individual towards the universal level. At samAdhi, the jIva is not only sat--being (as it was in deep sleep), but also by virtue of the expanded consciousness of chit-shakti, is able to experience the Ananda--bliss, which is the third immanent expression in Brahman.

Such experience comes and goes in savikalpa samAdhi, stablizes permanently in nirvikalpa samAdhi (in which stage, the sAdhaka is no longer a jIva but Brahman itself), and in sahaja samAdhi, the jIva having become a jnAni, goes about his worldly activities with the fullness of Shakti and the fullness of Ananda, which he radiates as altruistic love and peace.


This is fully agreed. But how can this lead to the assertion "When mAyA disappears we experience Brahman but forget Shakti's role and guidance"? Isn't a swami settled in Sahaja Samadhi the Mayin himself (when He may roam in the states of A-U-M)? How can a Jnani go about his worldly activities with the fullness of Ananda, if he has not divested avidya from Shakti of Brahman?

Om Namah Shivaya

atanu
30 August 2010, 11:51 AM
namaste Atanu.

You are welcome to correct anything incorrect in this line of reasoning of mine, which is by way of an attempt at reconciliation of the layers of reality, without losing sight of the absolute reality in the advaitic unity.

Namaste saidevoji

I am not yet into refutation of points but overall, i am not able to grasp whether you are inferring an independent Shakti, separate from Brahman or even separate from Ishwara? If Jiva is essentially Brahman, then how can Shakti (embodied as Divine Mother) be not so?



If Atman/Brahman is chaitanya, then jIvAtman is its reflection, right?


Yes and NO. Jiva as known by the mind is a reflection and is limited and localised. But, Jivatman is infinite in reality (as per scripture and not only as per Advaita and also as per the experience of deep sleep). And IMO, in this there is some confusion that we need to clear first.
...................

Anyway. I consider Advaita to be very simple darshana, affinity to which arises only from a fixed unwavering need to know the truth, which Veda says is one.

The following are some general explanations.

As such non-dualism inheres dualism, qualified non-dualism, Saivism, Vaisnavism and so on. If it opposes them it is only to the extent needed to counter their argument against itself. Non-dualism explains the pragmatic mundane level, while not by-passing the Vedic teaching that the Truth is one and Brahman is one without a second. But Advaita darshana has no problem with devotional worship.
But we must remember that even by scripture, Maya is not an independent intelligent agency, since it has its source in Isvara who is the "Mayin". In Turiya, which is actionless, the Maya and Turiya are undifferentiated.

Every darshana accepts some problem with perception of reality. The reality is not known as it is. Every darshana accepts that the whole universe is only superimposed on the underlying Reality that is called brahman in Vedas and Upanishads, which also exhorts us to know it. Why we fail to see brahman directly? To really know brahman, one needs to sublate the superimposition, and look at the substratum (adhishThAna) that is brahman. Else, as Brihadaraynaka teaches "vijnAtAram. are kena vijAnIyAt?" - How is the Knower Itself to be known?

To quote from Kanci parmacharya: "-----On one hand, the Paramatman remains pure jnana, as nothing but awareness, and, on the other, he shows himself through the power of his Maya as all this universe with its living-beings and its inert objects. It is all the appearence of the same Reality, the Reality in various disguises. If a man dons a disguise he does not become another man. "

So, if Jiva (which is not a second being) is essentially Brahman, then how can Shakti (embodied as divine Mother) be essentially not so?

The significance of Advaita, as taught by Shankaracharya is this much only, IMO: To know the adhishThAna as such. Gurus who have taught Sahaja Samadhi have not ever said that Shankara taught wrongly. Sahaja Samadhi can only come if one masters the Advaita way.

If one is content with world as it is or in a devotional world, then what is the problem? But Upanishads do teach us that Brahman is samam and anyone who sees any difference here goes from death to death. The faith/darshana that one takes up is also the destiny, depending only on the fixity with which one seeks the goal.

Om Namah Shivaya

atanu
30 August 2010, 01:24 PM
namaste Atanu.
• So, Shakti, like a mother, puts the jIvas that are her children to deep sleep every day, to give them that lasting happiness of being union with Shiva, although the children hardly know it as such. She merges the jIva's antaHkaraNa with the Self in deep sleep, and yet keeps the body functional, so the person has the food digested, breathing and heart rhythm smoothened, and so on. In the form of uShas--dawn, she wakes up her children and watches their activities propelled by their karma and freewill (which is again a reflection of her chaitanya in them).
-----
You are welcome to correct anything incorrect in this line of reasoning of mine, which is by way of an attempt at reconciliation of the layers of reality, without losing sight of the absolute reality in the advaitic unity.

Namaste Saidevoji

The blue highlighted part can be understood (in reference to the red highlighted part) easily by citing many Upanishadic evidences. But here I will prefer to cite a few passages from 'Marital garland of Letters' and other devotional hymns to Shri Arunachala Shiva, penned by Shri Ramana Maharshi.



Marital Garland of Letters


13. Significance of Om, unrivalled — unsurpassed! Who
can comprehend Thee, Oh Arunachala?


14. As (Universal Mother) it is Thy duty to dispense Thy
grace and save me, Oh Arunachala!
......

80. Thou hast cut the knot which hid the vision of Thy
head and foot (the limitless Self). Mother-like, shouldst Thou
not complete Thy task, Oh Arunachala?



The Necklet of Nine Gems


5. Lord! Who art consciousness itself, reigning over the
sublime Sonagiri forgive all the grievous wrongs of this poor
self, and by Thy gracious glance, benign as a rain cloud, save
me from being lost once more in the dreary waste, or else I
cannot ford the grim (stream of universal) manifestation.
(Thou art the universal Mother). What can match a mother’s care for her child?
....
9. Bearing and tending me in the world in the shape of
my father and mother, Thou didst abide in my mind, and before
I fell into the deep sea called jaganmaya and was drowned,
Thou didst draw me to thee, Arunachala, consciousness itself.
Such is the wonder of Thy grace!
............


So, isn't it wrong to say that Jnani will forget the Supreme Shakti, which is embodied as Mother?


Indra's illumination through divine Mother from Kena Up. was earlier mentioned. The Atharva Veda sings about embodiment of love as the highest God, beyond all others, and that surely is Mother everywhere, in every culture, and at every time. But, IMO, if the same embodiment of compassion and love is seen as an object of lust, as an object of possession then She is destruction.



In my understanding, similar is the situation with shakti, which is all pervading and mukti giver on one hand and mAyA, which attacks individualistic ego and binds it, on the other hand. This is the bipolar nature of vidyAvidya continuum.



Om Namah Shivaya

saidevo
31 August 2010, 09:31 AM
namaste Atanu, Snip and others.



I have just posted my extempore thoughts on your statement. I think without Shakti, Brahman cannot be known. Shakti herself is known by mAyA. When mAyA disappears we experience Brahman but forget Shakti's role and guidance.




Do you mean to say that a Jnani, who has overcome mAyA, will forget Shakti? You may be correct in the sense that a Jnani has no conceptual bank but does He really lose the reality and its inherent power?




In my understanding, similar is the situation with shakti, which is all pervading and mukti giver on one hand and mAyA, which attacks individualistic ego and binds it, on the other hand. This is the bipolar nature of vidyAvidya continuum.


Atanu, kindly have a glance at the above three quotes. The last statement of mine in the first quote not only elicited a protest in your statements in the second quote, but also have given me what I have been driving at, in your statements in the third quote.

Since I am not well-read as you and Yajvan are, and inasmuch as my reasonings are mostly born of short personal contemplations about the points that I seek to discuss here, I was not sure until now, as a smArtha Advaitin, that you would agree that Shakti is the mukti-giver.

In fact, your statement of Shakti as she is and as mAyA is the "bipolar nature of vidyAvidya continuum", precisely sums up the relationship between Brahman, Shakti and mAyA. This relationship does not in any way dilute the nature of Brahman as ekam-sat, prajnAnam-brahma, and satyam-jnAnam-anantam/Anandam brahma.

*****

Now some explanation on why I said, "When mAyA disappears we experience Brahman but forget Shakti's role and guidance."

Please note that I have used only WE and not JNANI, so my statment is more by way of a common intellectual--rather than experiential--reference to AtmAnubhavam. What I mean is that when we talk about experiencing Brahman, we forget Shakti's role and guidance thereto, and NOT that the jIvanmukta jnAnis forget Shakti.

We have (including me) talked volumes in scores of threads in HDF, about brahma-jnAnam, the samAdhi state of turIya, about God's grace in this sAdhana, how a jnAni would experience it in Nirvikalpa-samAdhi, and how he would seem to us to go about his worldly activities whereas he would always be in the sahaja-samAdhi merged with Brahman.

In all such discussions we have liberally accused mAyA to be the biggest hurdle in the seeker's path, and yet--so far as I can remember--we never made a reference to Shakti and said in such concrete terms as in the third quote from you above, that the jnAni's accomplishment of BrahmAnubhavam was only because of Shakti's grace, guidance and role, for she is the mukti-giver. If there is a woman behind the success of every man, she is the divine woman behind the jnAni's success.

Only in grateful acknowledgement of her role in his success, that an Advaita jnAni, especially in the Shankara tradition, takes up Shakti-upAsana. shrI RA.GaNapati says that over the last few centuries, a good number of Advaita-smArthas have been shrI-vidyA upAsakas. Although he gives no names, we can readily pick a few.

• The greatest example is Adi Shankara BhagavadpAda, whose bhakti-granthas are evidence of his grateful acknowledgement of the role of Shakti. When Shiva himself takes avatar as Shankara, how can he leave Shakti behind him?

‣ 'MadhavIya Sankaravijaya' mentions Shankara’s having been instrumental for building the temple of KAmAkShi in KAnchipuram according to the rules of Paravidya (Srividya and replaced the tantic mode of worship by the Vedic mode. Though the name 'KAmAkShi' is not expressed in the pertinent verse, the word 'Bhagavatyah' found in the verse clearly indicates KAmAkShi DevI.
(http://www.kamakoti.org/kamakoti/details/Shankaracharya-Kanchipuram6.html?PHPSESSID=15a45567f7ac4b51b4b262d9328d9893)

‣ In continuation of this tradition, ShankarAchAryas of the Shankara-maThams regularly perform elaborate shakti-upAsana. As I have mentioned earlier in this thread, some devotees had darshan of KAnchi ParamAchArya as the very form of KAmAkShi DevI, showing the extent of Shakti's acknowledgement of her jIvanmukta's upAsana.

• GauDapAda AchArya, Shankara's paramaguru, the first historically known author in the Advaita VedAnta tradition and the pioneer of ajAti vAda, has authored a couple of works on SrIvidyA upAsanA--'subhAgodaya' and 'SrIvidyAratnasUtra'.

• Govinda BhagavatpAda Acharya, Shankara's guru, is thought by some to be the author of 'Jayadratha Yamala tantra', a work on SriVidyA upAsana.

• Many desciples of Shankara were worshipers of SriVidyA such as Sureshvara, Padmapada, Vidyaranya and so on.

• BhagavAn RamaNa MaharShi, who emphasized the ajAtivAda philosophy of creation (that creation is not an absolute, real event; it's only in the mind), and was himself for ever in sahaja-samAdhi in Brahman, installed shrI-chakra over his mother's body when she passed away and named the lingam installed in the samAdhi as MAtru-BhUteshvara.

*****

I have sketched a conceptual diagram showing the Brahma-Shakti-jIva-mAyA-jagat relationship. In this diagram:

brahma-shakti-jiva-jagat.jpg

• Brahma-Shakti is the sat-chid-Ananda substratum of the jIva-jaDa-prapancha--inanimate-animate-universe.

• The individual jIva is the reflection of Brahma-chaitanyam in the sUkShma-tala--subtle plane.

• The power of Shakti-chaitanya is projected as mAyA over Brahman in the sthUla-tala--physical plane, that veils the real nature of the jIvas and the jagat--world, and gives the world a temporary reality called mithyA.

• In her Shakti-lIlA--play of Shakti, she binds the jIva to mAyA, to the extent of its carried over and acquired vAsanas. Under the influence of mAyA, the jIva associates with the jagat and assumes it to be the Reality.

• As the jIva learns about the Self and progresses in his sAdhana towards Self-Realization, Shakti gives her anugraha--grace, in the sUkShma-tala, to the extent of the sAdhaka's mumukShutvam--desire for mokSha.

• Once the sAdhaka attains Self-Realization, he automatically relates to Shakti now hidden in Brahman and effortlessly worships her spreading her glory all around, in grateful acknowledge of her anugraham.

Thus mAyA is not just a magic show of a magician but a divine favour of Shakti as an expression of her chaitanya, to keep up the cycle of samsAra--worldly life, as well as guide the souls spiritually inclined towards liberation.

**********

atanu
31 August 2010, 10:39 AM
namaste Atanu, Snip and others.
Atanu, kindly have a glance at the above three quotes. The last statement of mine in the first quote not only elicited a protest in your statements in the second quote, but also have given me what I have been driving at, in your statements in the third quote.
....
I was not sure until now, as a smArtha Advaitin, that you would agree that Shakti is the mukti-giver.
.....
In fact, your statement of Shakti as she is and as mAyA is the "bipolar nature of vidyAvidya continuum", precisely sums up the relationship between Brahman, Shakti and mAyA.


Namaste saidevoji

I think from much earlier the point was stressed -- but may be not in the same language. I will just comment in passing that worship of vidya and avidya together propel the worshipper to the goal, which is akshara avyakta.



Once the sAdhaka attains Self-Realization, he automatically relates to Shakti now hidden in Brahman and effortlessly worships her spreading her glory all around, in grateful acknowledge of her anugraham.


IMO, this is a matter of preference really. Please do not consider that I am antagonistic to bhakti for the following explanation.

1. My preference is that shakti without shatkiman is meaningless. This is valid since sruti scriptures state that Ishwara is mAyin -- controller of Shakti. Without an auspicious will, shakti can be like an uncontrolled nuclear reaction.

2. Brahma Sutra speaks that the Self Realised has no other Lord. That a (TRUE) Self Realised Jnani does Shakti puja is for the sake of the world -- as instructions for us. A Self Realised cannot see Shakti and Brahman as two different entities, else He is not abiding in the Truth, which is One and same as His infinite Heart (as per Veda and as per experience).

3. It is true that Shakti is hidden in Hiranyagarbaha Brahman. But in the inconceivable transcendental Brahman-Turiya-Self, no such division or hidden-ness is implied in scripture. In fact, the Turiya is the hidden Self, supporting the Pragnya and its sprouting as Hiranyagarbha from within -- so to say.

In support, I will cite the following famous sruti:

Svet. U.
4.18 yadaa.atamastaanna divaa na raatriH
na sannachaasachchhiva eva kevalaH .
tadaxara.n tat.h saviturvareNyaM
praGYaa cha tasmaat.h prasR^itaa puraaNii .. 18

4.18. When the light has risen, there is no day, no night, neither existence nor non-existence; Siva (the blessed) alone is there. That is the eternal, the adorable light of Savitri, - and the ancient praGYaa proceeded thence.


The above points are my understanding and I will avoid arguments on these.

But that does not mean that we or even very high level sadhaka-s can by-pass worship of the Shakti, inherent in all Deities, which are nothing but forms of Shakti. It is not out-of-place here to point out that rishi DirghAtma in Asiya Vamiya Sukta of Rig Veda calls the Adityas, which are males, as actually females.

I agree with you fully and also state that Devi must be worshipped as the highest expression of inconceivable Shiva, because such is taught in Keno Upanishad, wherein Lord Indra gains the liberating knowledge from Uma.

Regards

Om Namah Shivaya

saidevo
01 September 2010, 09:01 AM
While we are familiar with devatA-upAsana in the male forms of Brahman in the Vedas and UpaniShads, there are plenty of references to shakti-upAsana in the Vedas and UpaniShads which can easily escape our notice. Here is a compilation of such shakti-upAsana:

Shakti upAsana in the Vedic Texts: A compilation

Agni is described in Rg Veda as

pitA mAtA sadaminmAnuShANAm
"always father and mother to humans..."--RV 6.001.5

mAteva yadbharase paprathAno janaMjanaM
"(Agni) sustains all beings like a mother..."==RV 5.015.4

Compare this with devI gItA 3.45
('devI gItA' constitutes the last ten chapters of the seventh skandha of the 'DevI BhAgavatam')

tAm agnivarNAm tapasA jvalantIm vairochanIm karma phaleshu juShTAm |
durgAm devIm sharaNam aham prapadye sutarasi tarase namaH sutarasi tarase namaH ||

She is of the color of Agni--fire, shining with tapas--austerity, descended from virochana--sun, who dispenses the fruits of karma.
In this Goddess DurgA DevI I take refuge, she is one who moves with rapid speed.

which lines also occur verbatim in the Rg Veda khila 4.12.13.

*****

RAtrI sUktam aka DevI sUktam, Rg Veda 10.127
(From the translation by Prof.R.L.Kashyap, SAKSI publication)

01. The divine night approaching has looked forth, in many places with her eyes. She has put on all glories.

02. The immortal goddess has pervaded (A aprA) the wise space (uru), the depths and the heights (udvata). With light she (the dawn UShas) drives away the darkness. (tamaH is spiritual darkness and jyoti is the light of spiritual sun).

03. The goddess advancing, has prepared the way for her sister dawn. Away too will go the darkness.
...

07. The darkness, thickly painting, black, palpable, has approached me. O Dawn, clear it off like debts.

UShas sUktam, Rg Veda 7.083
(From the translation by Prof.R.L.Kashyap, SAKSI publication)

01. The daughter of heaven, is seen coming and shining. She dispels the great gloom for the vision of all. She, sUnarI--the perfect guide, creates the light.

04. O great goddess, by your shining, may you create in us, the plentitude, so that we can see the Sun and understand. O distributor of ecstasy, we desire that may we be to you like the children to a mother.

06. (Give) to our luminous sages the divine hearing, immortality, the delightful riches, the plentitude of Ray-cows to us. Your are the impeller of opulent and you are with the true words. O USha, drive away our foes.

UShas in Rg Veda 1.124.13, is invoked for protection thus:
bhadraM bhadraM kRatum asmAsu dehi |

Co-operating with the rays of the true (sun), confirm in us every propitious act; earnestly invoked by us today, disperse, UShA (the darkness), that wealth may develop upon us, (already) affluent (in sacrificial treasures).

*****

Kena upaniShad 3.12 tells a story of how UmA-haimAvatI as the Shakti of Brahman, humbled the pride of Agni, Vayu, and Indra.

*****

Shakti's descriptive names in Vedic texts

• The three epithets of Goddess Shakti which mean mother are ambA, ambikA and ambAlikA. The three mothers together have the name tryambikA, which is also a name of Shiva, with reference to his three eyes. Yajur Veda (1.8.6) describes mother AmbA as a sister of Rudra. In TaittirIya AraNyaka 10,18.1, Rudra-Shiva is described as the husband of AmbikA--AmbikApati; he is also described as HiraNyapati and UmApati.

shivA, tryambakA, gaurI, nArAyaNI

• One of the most famous shloka on shrI as Goddess LakShmI occurs in the DevI stotra of the Rg Veda KhilA 2.6.30:

sarva mangala mAngalye shive sarvArtha sAdhike |
sharaNye tryambake gaurI.nArAyaNI namo astu te ||

In this shloka enumerates the three forms of Shakti as DurgA, LakShmI and SarasvatI, and reiterates that she is sarvArtha sAdhike--one who grants the desires of devotees in all the puruShArthas: dharma, artha, kAma, and moKSha.

kALI

• Atharva Veda 19.53.54[/u] refers to Shiva as kAla, the originator of time, and the [b]ShvetAshvatara upaniShad 6.2.16 confirms this action of Shiva as the kAlakAra--maker of time and this UpaniShads says that Shiva is beyond time.

‣ The feminine name kALI first occurs in ShAngkhAyana AraNyaka 11.3.4 of the Rg Veda: kALIM strIM muktakesham muNDAm--"a blue-black woman with loosened hair".

‣ KALI first appears as a proper name in KAThaka gRhya sUtra 19.7 in a list of deities Agni, Soma, Indra, Skanda, Rudra, ShasThI and BhadrakALI--to be invoked with perfume offerings at the marriage ceremony.

‣ In MuNDaka upaniShad 1.2.4, KALI is named as one of the seven quivering tongues--lelayamAnA iti sapta jihvAH of Agni, along with KarAlI, ManojavA, SulohitA, SudhUmravarNA, SphuliNginI, and VishvarUpI.

bhagavatI

• The six wealth-giving powers of bhagam which includes mokSha were listed already in this thread (post no.16). Rg Veda 1.164.40 uses the term bhagavatI to mean one who is beneficient.

• In Shatapatha BrAhmaNa 1.8.6-7, Manu is described as having been left alone in the world after the flood had swept away all creatures. Desirous of an offspring, he performed a sacrifice, which after a year, produced a woman. Asked who she was, the woman replied to Manu, "I am your daughter." Manu asked her again, "How, BhagavatI (illustrious one), are you my daughter?" BhagavatI being the creatrix of humanity, Manu became creative through her.

• The KAThaka gRhya sUtra 24.19 and an invocation at MAnava gRhya sUtra 2.14.30 refer to Aditi, "mother of the Rudras, daughter of the Vasus", as BhagavatI.

durgA

This epithet of Shakti means that she is the great protectoress from worldly adversity (durga), and is at the same time herself inassailable and hard-to-approach (durgA).

• Atharva Veda 12.4.23 uses the name as a reference to the earth.

• She appears in the name in the RAtri hymn of Rg Veda Khila.

• BRhad devatA, which is a summary of the Rg Vedic deities and myths, in shloka 2.77, which enumerates the middle forms of VAch reads:

[She on becoming DurgA (and) uttering a stanza may own a (whole) hymn]. Her other names are YamI, IndrANI, SaramA, RomashA, UrvashI; she first becomes SinivalI and RAkA, AnumatI, Kuhu;

• TaittirIya AraNyaka 10.1 gives her gAyatrI mantra:

kAtyAyanAya vidmahe kanyAkumAri dhImahi |
tam no durgIH prachodayAt ||

• Rg Veda khila 4.12.13 noted at the start of this post seeks our taking refuge in her: durgAm devIm sharaNam aham prapadye.

The link thus forged by TA 10.1 between DurgA and SavitR on the one hand, and by RVK 4.12.13 between DurgA and Agni on the other, united by the concept of DurgA as the flaming one, is strengthened by several passages in the Dharma SUtra literature such as BaudhAyana 4.3.8, ShAnka-likhita 105, and ViShNu 56.9.

*****

The Vedic RShis, who were brahmavids, jnAnis and jIvanmuktas of the highest order, and were mantra-dRSTa--seers of Vedic mantras, as well, discovered the manifest deva-rUpa and devI-rUpa--divine male and female forms, of the ekam-sad--One Reality, and propagated the truths of these bahudhA--varied, manifestations through an impeccable system of oral tradition.

Living a life of dharma in gRhastha and saMnyAsa Ashramas of life, they experienced and adored through the hymns revealed to them, the three levels of manifestation of reality in the deva-devI forms of Brahman, as adhyAtmika in the level of Atman/Self, adidaivika in the level of antaHkaraNa--inner faculties, and adibhautika in the physical/elemental level and proclaimed the intimate, intricate and interactive connections between these forms through which Brahma-Shakti blessed and guided a seeker towards the ultimate liberation of mokSha and seeking peace in the shAnti-pATha of the upaniShads with triple invocations of shAnti, one for each level..

The Hindu populace of the ancient days, understood the connections between the three forms of manifestation of Realilty, at inner and outer levels as taught by their ancestors, and thus their religion of Hindu Dharma became a way of life at all levels of life. Whatever texts of knowledge the Hindu Society spawned, be it spiritual, literary, political or scientific, they were all based on the progress of jIva through these three levels of Reality, thus incorporating a holistic perception of the Universe.

With the advent of Western Science, the connection at the adibhautika--physical/elemental, level of the Devas and DevIs is either broken or disregarded out of ignorance, resulting in the fall of Veda yajnas and Veda chanting in this age of Kali, with all round polution and unrest. With progress in the scientific researches into the realms of the mind, even the adidaivika level felt in the antaHkaraNa is losing its appication and significance, and this has moved the jIvas immersed in material, worldly life, far away from their Self.

*****

Ref:
01. Devi-mahatmya: the crystallization of the goddess tradition
By Thomas B. Coburn (google books)

02. Worship Of God As Mother In The Indian Tradition
by Swami Satyasthananda , April 2009
http://www.esamskriti.com/essay-chapters/Worship-of-god-as-Mother-in-the-Indian-Tradition-1.aspx

atanu
01 September 2010, 02:43 PM
Namaste saidevoji

The last post is a veritable treasure. I request you to please expand on the following, which is not clear to me:



Thus mAyA is not just a magic show of a magician but a divine favour of Shakti as an expression of her chaitanya, to keep up the cycle of samsAra--worldly life, as well as guide the souls spiritually inclined towards liberation


Why must Shakti give rise to and keep up a samsAra cycle, which some souls would want to escape?

Om Namah Shivaya

saidevo
01 September 2010, 11:21 PM
namaste Atanu.



Thus mAyA is not just a magic show of a magician but a divine favour of Shakti as an expression of her chaitanya, to keep up the cycle of samsAra--worldly life, as well as guide the souls spiritually inclined towards liberation.




Why must Shakti give rise to and keep up a samsAra cycle, which some souls would want to escape?


• The Sanskrit term for magic is mAyA-jAlam, jAlam meaning 'illusion, net/lattice'. Since this term is derived from mAyA, a magic show is far less complex and complicated than the show of mAyA. It is often about trivial things that are of no use except by way of entertainment. We experience and learn nothing out of a magic show except having a fleeting sense of awe and wonder.

• In a magic show, we see the magician and the stage. In a puppet show, we see only the puppets as the characters and the stage, so mAyA is perhaps more akin to a puppet show.

• We readily understand that a magic show is an illusion, and keep ourselves apart from it. With mAyA, however, we believe it to be THE REALITY until we are better enlightened, so we are involved in it. Even a jnAni involves himself in the mAyA-show of Shakti, but with a perspective of reverence and altruistic love after enlightenment.

• There would be no jnAni or jIvanmukta to spiritually educate us if there is no prArabdha karma--karma to be yet experienced. Therefore Goddess Shakti keeps up the samsAra cycle, even for them.

• I think in Buddhism, there is a concept of an Arahat, who is an enlightened person eligible to be liberated from the cycle of birth, but would still want to be born in order to serve the world. Ironically, it is Shakti who keeps them too in the samsAra cycle, although they have only a dismissive attitude for mAyA and do not resort to Shakti-upAsana after enlightenment.

• Since every jIva that is born has prArabhdha karma, her keeping up the samsAra cycle as a show of mAyA is her essential anugraha--divine favour, for the jIva's Self-Realization. As KAmAkShI, she not only rules the kAma--desire, of the jIvas, but also creates the desire for procreation in them as moha-dhAyinI, in order that the huge populace of jIvas waiting to be re-born get their share of life. The difference between us as ordinary jIvas and jnAnis is that we create further karma in this life by our desires.

Author RA.GaNapati says in his book, quoting Sanskrit playwright BhavabhUti, "utpatsyate asti mama ko api samAna dharma" (from the play 'MAlatI-MAdhava'), that his book 'NavarAtri NAyakI' is not a refutation of Advaita, but a work for someone who is of his nature, who will be born or is already living. My posts in adoration of Shakti in this thread have the same purpose.



The last post (no.61) is a veritable treasure.


Yes, the treasure I found in the two sources I have mentioned. In his book, Thomas B.Coburn, unlike many Oriental Indologists, goes beyond the prima-facie meanings, displaying genuine understanding of Hindu philosophical concepts and their expressions. The link for reading this google-book is: http://www.librarything.com/work/608320

When we quote from Vedic texts, we generally look up only the Veda samhitAs (mostly Rg Veda) and the UpaniShads, and rarely take efforts to check up the VedAngas like Kalpa (which is the Vedic source of bhakti-upAsana and the Agamas). Until decades back, our family forefathers had adequate knowledge of the Vedas, UpaniShads and the VedAngas, and the Oriental Indologists too explored them in their works.

atanu
02 September 2010, 12:19 AM
namaste Atanu.

There would be no jnAni or jIvanmukta to spiritually educate us if there is no prArabdha karma--karma to be yet experienced. Therefore Goddess Shakti keeps up the samsAra cycle, even for them.



Namaste saidevoji

I liked your valuable explanations. Yet, I was actually aiming for the root, as to why mAyA deludes at all, if it is real, non jada and if it same as Shaktiman? This is because there was a reference in earlier part to Arthur Avalon and his view on Shankara's view and his comments as below:



According to the ShAkta exposition of AdvaitavAda, mAyA is not an unconscious (jaDa) principle but a particular Shakti of Brahman. Being Shakti, it is at base consciousness, but as mAyA-Shakti it is Consciousness veiling Itself. Shakti and ShaktimAn are one and the same: that is, Power and its Possessor (Shaktiman). Therefore mAyA-Shakti is Shiva or Chit in that particular aspect which He assumes as the material cause (upadanakAraNa) in creation.

‣ Creation is real; that is, there is a direct causal nexus between Shiva as Shakti (Chit-Shakti and mAyA-Shakti) and the universe. In short Shiva as Shakti is the cause of the universe, and as Shakti, in the form of JIva (all manifested forms, He actually evolves.

‣ Comparing these two views;--Shamkara says that there is in absolute truth no creation and therefore there can be no question how it arose. This is because he views the problem from the transcendental (ParamArthika) standpoint of self-realization or Siddhi. The ShAkta Shastra, on the other hand, being a practical SAdhana Shastra views the matter from our, that is the JIva, standpoint. To us the universe and ourselves are real.


Because, with this view as stated above, there are huge Philosophical problems and actually this so called Shakta Advaita is nothing but Vishistaadvaita -- so I have raised these questions, not for refutation, but for clarity on understanding.

1. If Shakti and Shaktiman are the same, then why Shaktiman (as Shakti and actually as mAyA Shakti) be so terrible as to delude the world and create pain, strife, wars, rapes, mueders etc. etc. and then come to rescue? What then is the difference between such philosophy and mono God philosophies of christianity or islam? Is God then cruel? (He may well be so, but we must respect sruti).

2. If the world is so real and if ourselves are so real -- then again, why the need to change? Why some would want moksha at all?

3. Is mAyA real as held by Avalon? If mAyA is real, equated to Shakt of Brahman, then there is no way to overcome the reality, as reality can never become the unreality and vice versa.

4. Is mAya a non jada principle as held by Avalon? If mAyA is intelligent then it would mean either a second power centre or that God is cruel and that it intelligently and intentionally creates a condition of bondage and suffering.

5. Is mAyA same as full of Shakti or only an aspect of Shakti? If it is only half an aspect, even then why Shakti (who is said to be non-jada) would employ the mAyA part to cause pain? Shakti is then truly evil as christians brand our Goddess.

6. Are Shaktiman and His Shakti of same level? (Since Avalon holds: Shakti and ShaktimAn are one and the same whereas we are taught by Gita and all upanishads to discriminate between the nature of Brahman and Brahman).


Because these are fundamental philosophical questions on which Shankaracharya is viciously attacked by most other schools, so i thought to raise this subject again.

I understand that Shakti is the higher nature of Brahman, but not same as Brahman. As embodiment, it carries the same auspiciousness as Brahman (as the whole universe does), but it is not intelligent on its own. But again by nature of its own (which now becomes the lower or secondary nature of Brahman), the mind/ego with its Gunas come to play and it then appears that the inert mind is non-jada, contrary to scriptures that "There is no Knower but Him".


Note: Advaita does not teach against worship of Hiraynagarbha (manifest Brahman) and Unimanifest Moola Prakriti, since that is taught in Upanishads, yet it holds that the Akshara Purusha - the Self is the highest goal.

Om Namah Shivaya

atanu
02 September 2010, 06:52 AM
Namaste all

I thought it prudent to clarify that a reader of this thread should not equate shakti with female form and Brahman with male form -- and then create gender related concepts in mind.

Om Namah Shivaya

saidevo
02 September 2010, 12:41 PM
namaste Atanu.

I don't subscribe to the view of Arthur Avalon that the universe is as real as much as the Self as two sides of a coin.

My perception (in my current level of sAdhana) is that if Shakti inheres in Brahman, mAyA inheres in her; and it is that Shakti which makes NirguNa Brahman manifest as Ishvara the SaguNa Brahman, creates the timeless mAyA out of her, lets Ishvara unite with her and create the world.

• In fact, SaguNa Brahman himself has the name mAyA-shabala-brahman--"Brahman conjoined with attributes, enwrapped in and colored with mAyA). Another name mAyA-avachChinna chaitanyam also indicates the same meaning.

Here is the teaching on
mAyA and Self-Realization in the DevI Bhagavatam 7.33

• Before the creation, I, only I, existed; nothing else was existent then. My Real Self is known by the names Chit, Sambit (Intelligence), Para-Brahma and others. My Atman is beyond mind, beyond thought, beyond any name or mark, without any parallel, and beyond birth, death or any other change or transformation.

• My Self has one inherent power called mAyA. This mAyA is not existent, nor non-existent, nor can it be called both. This unspeakable substance mAyA always exists (till the final emancipation or mokSha).

• mAyA can be destroyed by Brahma-jnAna; so it can not be called existent; again if mAyA does not exist, the practical world cannot exist. So it cannot be called non-existent. Of course it cannot be called both, for it would involve contradictions. This mAyA (without beginning but with end at the time of mokSha) naturally arises as heat comes out of fire, as the rays come out of the Sun and as the cooling rays come out of the Moon.

• Just as all the Karmas of the JIvas dissolve in deep sleep (suShupti), so at the time of Pralaya or the General Dissolution, the Karmas of the JIvas, the JIvas and Time all become merged, in one uniform mass in this great mAyA. United with My shakti, I am the Cause of this world; this shakti has this defect that it has the power of hiding Me, its Originator.

• I am NirguNa. And when I am united with my shakti, mAyA, 1 become SaguNa, the Great Cause of this world.

• This mAyA is divided into two, VidyA and AvidyA. Avidy‚-mAyA hides Me; whereas VidyA-mAyA does not. AvidyA creates whereas VidyA-mAyA liberates.

• mAyA united with Chaitanya (Intelligence), i.e., chidAbhAsa is the efficient cause of this Universe; whereas mAyA reduced to and united with five original elements is the material Cause of the Universe.

• Some call this mAyA tapas; some call Her inert, material; some call Her knowledge; some call Her mAyA, PradhAna, Prakriti, Aj‚ (unborn) and some others call Her ShaktÓ. The Shaiva authors call Her Vimarsha and the other VedAntists call Her AvidyA; in short, this mAyA is in the heads of all the Pundits. This mAyA is called various in the Nigamas.

• That which is seen is inert; for this reason mAyA is jaDa (inert) and as the knowledge it conveys is destroyed, it is false. Chaitanya (Intelligence) is not seen; if It were seen, it would have been jaDa.

• Chaitanya is self-luminous; not illumined by any other source. Were It so, Its Enlightener would have to be illumined by some other thing and so the fallacy of AnavasthA creeps in (an endless series of causes and effects). Again one thing cannot be the actor and the thing, acted upon (being contrary to each other); so Chaitanya cannot be illumined by itself. So It is Self-luminous; and it illumines Sun, Moon, etc., as a lamp is self-luminous and illumines other objects.

• Chit is not different from its quality (Chit). So Atman is always of the nature of jnAna and happiness; Its nature is Truth; It is always Full, unattached and void of duality. This Atman again, united with mAyA, composed of desires and Karmas, wants to create, due to the want of discrimination, the twenty-four tattvas, according to the previous SamskAras (tendencies), time and Karma.

• The Tattva (Reality) that I have spoken to you is most excellent and it is my Extraordinary Form merely. In the Vedas it is known as AvyAkrita (unmodified), Avyakta (unmanifested), mAyA-shabala (divided into various parts) and so forth.

• In all the ShAstras, it is stated to be the Cause of all causes, the Primeval Tattva and SachchidAnanda Vigraha. Where all the Karmas are solidified and where IchChA ShaktÓ (will), JnAna ShaktÓ (intelligence) and KriyA ShaktÓ (action) all are melted in one, that is called the Mantra HrÓm, that is the first Tattva.

• From this comes out AkAsha, having the property of sound, thence VAyu (air) with "touch" property; then fire with form, then water having "Rasa" property; and lastly the earth having the quality "smell."

...

• The JIva glories in having three (as above-mentioned) kinds of differentiated bodies and Ishvara glories in having three (as above-mentioned) kinds of cosmic bodies. Thus Ishvara is the Lord of all and though He feels Himself always happy and satisfied, yet to favour the JIvas and to give them liberation (mokSha).

• He has created various sorts of worldly things for their bhogas (enjoyments). This Ishvara creates all the Universe, impelled by My Brahma-ShaktÓ. I am of the nature of Brahman; and őshvara is conceived in Me as a snake is imagined in a rope. Therefore Ishvara has to remain dependent on My Shakti.

**********

atanu
02 September 2010, 01:12 PM
namaste Atanu.
I don't subscribe to the view of Arthur Avalon that the universe is as real as much as the Self as two sides of a coin.

Namaste saidevoji

That is a happy note.


My perception (in my current level of sAdhana) is that if Shakti inheres in Brahman, mAyA inheres in her;

I will point out that Shankara does not assign any locus for mAya. For logical reasons, I follow Shankara. If mAyA were to be as such a reality of Shatki, then questions will remain.

I also note that Devi Bhagavatam you cite defines mAyA as not existent, nor non-existent. So, it does not match with Avalon's theory but it actually follows Shankara.



Here is the teaching on
mAyA and Self-Realization in the DevI Bhagavatam 7.33

• Before the creation, I, only I, existed; nothing else was existent then. My Real Self is known by the names Chit, Sambit (Intelligence), Para-Brahma and others.
........
• He has created various sorts of worldly things for their bhogas (enjoyments). This Ishvara creates all the Universe, impelled by My Brahma-Shakt&#238;. I am of the nature of Brahman; and &#206;shvara is conceived in Me as a snake is imagined in a rope. Therefore Ishvara has to remain dependent on My Shakti.

**********

Kindly note that Devi here is speaking as the primeval eko purusha (atma) whose Self is Para Brahman alone and not as the Shakti (nature) inherent in Para Brahman -- just as Vishnu does so or just as Shiva does so, in their respective puranas.

But as per Shruti, Mahesvara (Great Lord) is mAyin (Svet. U.) and Gita.


IV-9: The Lord of Maya projects the Vedas, sacrifices, spiritual practices, past and future, religious observances, all that the Vedas declare, and the whole world including ourselves. The other, again, is bound by Maya in this.


IV-10: Know then that Nature is Maya, and that the great God is the Lord of Maya. The whole world is filled with beings who form His parts.


Om Namah Shivaya

NayaSurya
02 September 2010, 01:46 PM
This thread is a wellspring of beautiful, wonderful information. I have read it over many times, and it stands as a testament that though our paths vary...there is such a Divine opportunity to learn from each one.

Namaste<3

saidevo
03 September 2010, 11:16 AM
namaste Atanu and others.



Kindly note that Devi here is speaking as the primeval eko purusha (atma) whose Self is Para Brahman alone and not as the Shakti (nature) inherent in Para Brahman -- just as Vishnu does so or just as Shiva does so, in their respective puranas.


Yes, I note, that the primeval eko-puruSha is Para-brahman alone; and that ParAShaktI, MahAVishNu, Shiva-Maheshvara and shrI KRShNa become this Para-brahman in the PurANas and sampradAyas--traditions, devoted to them.

Brahman being sat, is the Being, whose nature is chit--consciousness. The Ananda--bliss, spoken of as a natural state of Brahman is due to what the Self-Realized experienced in the state of turIya. BhagavAn Das in is book 'The Science of Peace' speaks of the sat-chit-Ananda in Brahman as its three moments--prabhAva/mahattva/mahiman, and traces their SaguNa, Atma and jaDa counterparts. (More about this in later posts).

In the DevI Bhagavatam teaching I quoted in post no.66, DevI talks about Creation in these words:

• I am NirguNa. And when I am united with my shakti, mAyA, 1 become SaguNa, the Great Cause of this world.

• This mAyA is divided into two, VidyA and AvidyA. Avidy&#226;-mAyA hides Me; whereas VidyA-mAyA does not. AvidyA creates whereas VidyA-mAyA liberates.

• mAyA united with Chaitanya (Intelligence), i.e., chidAbhAsa is the efficient cause of this Universe; whereas mAyA reduced to and united with five original elements is the material Cause of the Universe.

Let us try to explore the correspondences of these statements in Vedic texts that describe what is involved between Being One and Becoming Many, so we get to know the role of Shakti (who is inherent in Brahman) in this process.

Appearance of SaguNa Brahman from NirguNa Brahman

From the Para-brahman, which VedAnta calls NirguNa Brahman, arose the SaguNa Brahman. By what faculty--shakti/prabhAva/kShamatA, in NB did this arousal take place is what reveals the connection of the inhering Shakti.

• With Rg Veda verse 1.164.46 it is ekam sat--One Existence/Reality. This truth is elaborated is famous hymn called nAsadIya sUktam, RV 10.129. For an elaborate discussion on this hymn, check this thread in HDF:
http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=3579

• In conformity with the Rg Veda teachings, the ChAndogya upaniShad 6.2.1 defines that Para-brahman in these words:

"In the beginning, this was Being alone, one only, without a second. Some say that, in the beginning this was Non-being, alone, one only, without a second. From that Non-being arose Being."

svAmi SvAhAnanda explains the purport of this verse thus:

‣ That which exists is sat. It stands for the entity which is mere existence, extremely subtle, indefinable, all-pervading, one, taintless, indivisible, pure-consciousness, as understood from the VedAnta texts.

‣ It is one only, so it is free from the bhedas--differences, of svajAtIya--generic, and svagata--intrinsic.

‣ It is without a second, so free from the vijAtIya--extrinsic, bheda. It negates even accessory causes (like the potter of a jar of clay), apart from the sat. The universe as we know by the mind is indicated by the word 'this' (and Brahman by That--tat). In the beginning, that is before, creation, there were no such distinctions, and what was existent is indicated by the word 'Being'.

‣ Some say this was Non-being ... from which arose Being.

Let us note that this is not the view of the universe arising from nothing asserted by Stephen Hawking.--sd

This sentence asserts the cessation (negation) of the apprhension of Being. The term 'Being' is denotive of a positive generic entity; and the other two terms 'one' and 'without a second' qualify the term 'Being'; so also 'this' and 'was' in the sentence 'this was Non-being'. In this sentence, expressive of Being (positive entity), the negative 'non' has been introduced. The sentence does not connote mere 'negation of Being'. It has been used to deny any possible wrong notion that might be entertained. It is only after the wrong notion has been expressed that it can be denied (in the next verse). Hence it serves a distinctly useful purpose.

• The next verse 6.2.2 states, "AruNi said, 'But how, indeed, dear boy, could it be so? How could Being arise from Non-being? In truth, dear boy, in the beginning (before creation) there was Being alone, one only, without a second.

*****

That brings us to the creation/projection of the universe from the NirguNa Brahman. What faculty--shakti/prabhAva/kShamatA, in the NB made the universe appear from it?

• NAsadIya sUktam, Rg.10.129.4 states:
kAmastadagre samavartatAdhi | manaso retaH prathamaM yadAsIt |
First desire rose, the primal seed of mind,--Tr.VivekAnanda

Faculty:
kAma--desire, which is manaso retaH--seed of mind,
so there arose mind first and then the seed of desire to multiply.

• ChAndogya upaniShad 6.2.3 states:
tad aikShata bahu syAM prajAyeyeti
That Being willed, "May I become many, may I grow forth."--Tr.SvAhAnanda

Faculty:
The term aikShata is variously explained as 'willed, thought, visualized.' This term is from the root IkSha--view, behold, look at, see in mind, think, regard, consider.

‣ Shankara in his commentary says this about the phrase 'tad aikShata bahu syAM':
'tatsad aikShatekShaM darshanaM kRtavat'--so, the word darshanaM connotes to visualizing.

‣ VAlmIki RAmAyaNam uses the word 'aikShata' to mean 'look towards':

Thereafter, that Seetha whose consciousness was enshrouded by affliction, whose hair-ends were curved and who was of a fearful nature, lifted her face and looked towards Shimshupa tree.--VR, Sundara kANDam, 5.31.17

• Aitareya upaniShad 1.1.1 states:
sa IkShata lokAnnu sRjA iti--

Faculty:
Here it is said that creation of lokAnnu--many worlds, was due to Its sRjA--from the root sRj--emit/wish to create/utter. The meaning 'utter' is significant because creation took place simply by uttering the first word, the primordial sound AUM, by which the NirguNa Brahman became NAda/Shabda Brahman, an intermediary between NB and SB.

The AUM which is at the beginning of the popular mantras of the TrimUrti and Shakti (AUM namaH ShivAya | AUM namo NArAyaNa | AUM MahAGaNapataye namaH | AUM namo bhagavate VAsudevAya | AUM ShaktI AUM ShaktI AUM, ParAShaktI AUM ShaktI AUM ShaktI AUM |) is indicative of their nature as Brahman.

• TaittirIya upaniShad 2.6.1 states:
sa kAmayata | bahu syAM prajAyeyeti
He wished 'May I become many'.

• Prashna upaniShad 6.3 states:
sa IkShAchakre | kasminnahamutkrAnta utkrAnto bhaviShyAmi
kasminvA pratiShThate pratiShThasyAmIti || 3 ||

He deliberated: As a result of whose departure shall I rise up? And as a result of whose continuance shall I remain established?

The next verse 6.4 states that 'He created prANa; from prANa (He created) faith, space, air, fire, water, earth, organs, mind, food; from food (He created) vigour, self-control, mantras, rites, worlds and name in the worlds.

Let us note here that prANa-shakti as the first creation is both the intelligent and material cause of the universe. Further, control of prANa controls the thoughts and vice versa, so this is a tool for spiritual sAdhana. prANa manifests as the life-force at the subtle and air/oxygen at the gross level, and is virtually identified with Brahman, which is why creation and dissolution are described as Brahman's breathing out and breathing in.

• An example of the same entity being the intelligent and material cause is the famous statement of creation as the act of a spider spreading out its web out of its body and withdrawing it into it, in the MuNDaka upaniShad 1.1.7. The verse is:

yathorNanAbhiH sRjate gRhNate cha
yathA pRthivyAm oShadhayaH saMbhavanti |
yathA sataH puruShAt keshalomAni
tathA.aksharAt saMbhavatIha vishvam || 7||

The underlined words of action that connote shakti, in the verse indicate that creation and dissolution are natural acts of Brahman. However, AchAryas--teachers, of various schools have differing views about the intentionality and spontaneity in the act/lIlA of creation.

*****

After we lapse into deep-sleep--suShupti, a state where our external and internal senses and mind dissolve their identity in Self their source, what makes us return to the waking--jAgrat, state of existence? What spurs us from just Being One to Becoming Many now?

When a jnAni--Self-Realized, is immersed in nirvikalpa samAdhi for hours, even days (BhagavAn RamaNa was in such samAdhi for 21 days in the PAThAla lingam shrine of the TiruvaNNAmalai temple), what makes him return to sahaja-samAdhi whereby he becomes a fountain of love and compassion?

The same ParAShakti that spurs Brahman from Being One to Becoming Many, also spurs and guides the jnAnis after Self-Realization until they become videha-mukta--liberated by leaving the body, and wakes us up to experience our karma-phala in the mAyA of this world that she has made out by her power out of great compassion that every jIva may eventually find its way to its ultimate source.

**********

atanu
03 September 2010, 01:03 PM
namaste Atanu and others.
After we lapse into deep-sleep--suShupti, a state where our external and internal senses and mind dissolve their identity in Self their source, what makes us return to the waking--jAgrat, state of existence? What spurs us from just Being One to Becoming Many now?
--
The same ParAShakti that spurs Brahman from Being One to Becoming Many, also spurs and guides the jnAnis after Self-Realization until they become videha-mukta--liberated by leaving the body, and wakes us up to experience our karma-phala in the mAyA of this world that she has made out by her power out of great compassion that every jIva may eventually find its way to its ultimate source.

**********

Namaste Saidevoji

Allow me to differ a bit, without essentially changing your view. In all your citations, I did not see Parashakti mentioned as a separate entity that spurs Brahman.

Suppose, an individual soul is a sinner (not a sage) and commits a murder of a Brahmana on waking up, then, would you say that Parashakti impelled the individual to the sin? That is not heard of, since then either the Self or the Intellect will be held to be the sinner. Both the Self (Satyam-Sambhu) and the Right (Ritam-Devi) are held as immaculate and taintless.

There exists an absolute dvaita in the phenomenal universes of waking, dream and sleep. The Self as Shambu and the Intellect as Uma (as depicted by Shankara and cited above in this thread) are unbroken. You are correct that intellect spurs the correct action. But there is something more to it.

Brahma Sutra
Topic-2: The Soul in Deep Sleep
7. The absence of that dream (ie., dreamless sleep) takes place in the nerves and the Self, as it is known to be so from the Upanishads.
8. For the same reason, the soul’s waking up is from this supreme Self.
Topic-3: The Same Soul Returns from Sleep
9. But the very same soul returns from sleep because of the reasons of action, remembrance, scriptural authority and injunction.

The individual soul is atomic and jada. It appears non-jada by association of Intellect, which is pervasive. It goes to sleep in Self and loses its distinctiveness. But it comes back owing to karma, nescience, and divine law that fructifies karma suitably.

The intellect helps in vichara and choosing the correct path. No doubt about that. But it does not spur to either wrong or right actions -- which is solely due to eternal avidya (eternal karma). The eternal avidya, is also called as mAyA and we have seen that it is neither existent nor non-existence. Whereas, intellect is definitely a shakti of Brahman.

If karma or sin or avidya were real as Brahman and its Shakti is, the sin would not wash -- whatever. The real never can become unreal.

I do not know whether i have been helped in this explanation by Intellect or not. But I pray that Devi illumines me and also helps to distinguish between intellect, the true shakti and the mAyA, which is bhranti - mistake.

Om Namah Shivaya

saidevo
03 September 2010, 11:52 PM
namaste Atanu.

You seem to have misunderstood the intention behind my posts quoting from everywhere in an attempt to establish that mAyA is NOT ALL jaDa, but has a chaitanya (albeit bimba--reflected) component to it, which is what deludes the jIvas.

• If the jaDa component of mAyA appears as the jagat--world, the chaitanya-bimba component appears as the antaH-karaNa--chitta, manas, buddhi, ahaMkAra--impressions, mind, intellect reflected as buddhi/mana-sAkShin and ego (or jIva which represents the individual will/intellect, which again is only a bimba--reflection of the Self).

• Both these components of mAyA constitute AvidyA--nescience, which has both cosmic and individual aspects. The individual aspect of AvidyA deludes individual jIvas, who seeks the blessings of Shakti and she gives him the VidyA to destroy his AdvidyA and move towards the Self in him. If one jIva is liberated, another is still in bonds, which shows that AvidyA has its cosmic and individual aspects of delusion.

*****

As to your query, "In all your citations, I did not see Parashakti mentioned as a separate entity that spurs Brahman.", I can only say that

• I did not mean it either. My impression is that Shakti inheres in Brahman (the ShaktimAn) as his power and mAyA inheres in Shakti (which is why she is known as MahAmAyA. The Goddess at Samayapuram temple, Trichy, TN has the name MahamAyI). Brahman uses his inherent power of Shakti to become SaguNa and create the universe of sentient and insentient beings, and thereupon, Shakti uses her power of mAyA to veil both the Brahman and jIva.

‣ Thus, in one sense we can say that Shakti (as chit--intellect, yes, as you say) spurs Brahman from Being One to Becoming Many; her power of mAyA (which is a part of her personality), along with his guNa-karma, spurs the jIva, from deep sleep to wakeful state, for he has work to finish and wishes to fulfil.

• On Self-Realization, a jIva gets his AvidyA destroyed, and he is able to see through the veil of mAyA in his wakeful and dream states, and stay merged in Self with full knowledge, past mAyA, in the deep sleep and turIya states. As against his, a jIva who has not seen his source, passes through his deep sleep with no knowledge of already being there.

• That jnAni who has become a jIvan-mukta--liberated while living, still leads his worldly life as a jIva, but by the anugraha--grace, of Shakti, he now has utmost purity in all his inner and outer faculties, and his inner peace and Ananda oozes out as love and compassion in his personality.



Suppose, an individual soul is a sinner (not a sage) and commits a murder of a Brahmana on waking up, then, would you say that Parashakti impelled the individual to the sin? That is not heard of, since then either the Self or the Intellect will be held to be the sinner. Both the Self (Satyam-Sambhu) and the Right (Ritam-Devi) are held as immaculate and taintless.


A rather taunting question, this one, but it is important that we know its answer. You know the answer, but you worded it differently, so let me guess.

• An incident of the type you mention actually happened in Chennai several years back. A pious, elderly brahmin couple were murdered at the time of dawn and the bodies were stacked in the bathroom. There was a queue of people in front of their bangalow at that time, waiting to buy milk at the booth, and yet no one had any inkling of the murder. It was a case of burglary that led to murder, and probably the thief did it upon waking from his sleep. Did ParAShakti spur his action is the question.

I am rather surprised that Atanu, who usually speaks of guNa-karma, hasn't mentioned the guNa part now, and in them lies the answer. A jIva experiences its karmic balance in this life, and its accretion of further karma is due to its guNa makeup. The guNa makeup, in turn, in this life, is the result of the past vAsanas and unfulfilled desires.

So, is it right to say that ParAShakti spurred the action of the murderer upon his waking from deep sleep?

A jIva's guNa-karma is a distorting filter to the light of the Self which can blunt the jIva's buddhi--intellect, and make him ignore his mana-sAkShi--conscience; and the mAyA of this world is the kaleidoscopic variety that entices a jIva under AvidyA--nescience.



If karma or sin or avidya were real as Brahman and its Shakti is, the sin would not wash -- whatever. The real never can become unreal.


I think

• avidyA is an aspect of jIva to which he is attached, and mAyA is an aspect of Shakti which binds the jIva to the world because of his avidyA.

• jIva's avidyA is due to his guNa-karma and is a jaDa--insentient, filter over the Self, and this avidyA is not real, though anirvachanIya--indescribable.

• mAyA, as Shakti's power and lIlA, is the vyAvahArika satyam--operational/practical reality of the world (the reason why Shankara assigned the term mithyA for the reality of the world).

• The jIva is steeped in avidyA on its own volition, but to come out of it, requires the grace and blessings of Shakti/Ishvara (which are two names for SaguNa Brahman).

In our discussions in this thread, Shakti/ParAShakti has no gender where it stands for NirguNa Brahman, but in the tradition of shAkta worship, Shakti as SaguNa Brahman (IshvarI) is female. In both the roles, she is identical to Shiva, ViShNu, KRShNa or any other God perceived as both NirguNa and SaguNa Brahman. Essentially, therefore, Shakti's grace is Shiva's grace, ViShNu's grace and so on; her lIlA and power as mAya, are theirs as well.

*****

atanu
04 September 2010, 12:12 AM
Namaste Saidevoji

Just one remark wrt the following:

• avidyA is an aspect of jIva to which he is attached, and mAyA is an aspect of Shakti which binds the jIva to the world because of his avidyA.

Sruti says that vidyAvidya (note that it is one) inheres in Brahman (brahma pare). But guna of the mind breaks it into various grades between pure avidya and pure vidya.

Rest is just beautiful, and thus thanks are due to you, Saidevoji. I think the discussion on this thread is now adequately complete, unless Snip, the Mother of the thread, wishes to contribute more.:)

Om Namah Shivaya

Onkara
05 September 2010, 04:30 AM
Rest is just beautiful, and thus thanks are due to you, Saidevoji. I think the discussion on this thread is now adequately complete, unless Snip, the Mother of the thread, wishes to contribute more.:)

Om Namah Shivaya
Dear Atanu and Saidevo
I am satisfied. Thank you!
It has been most interesting and useful. :)