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Thread: getting the whole story

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    getting the whole story

    hariḥ om̐
    ~~~~~~

    namasté & hello

    Most-to-many people I have met over the years that say they are practicing hinduism (sanātana dharma some call ārṣa dharma¹) are in fact taking most of their precepts, practices, and clues from two main schools: yoga darśana and vedānta darśana (from the 6 ~ classical~ schools¹) that are known. They are co-mingled in such a way to form a practice or idea of what hinduism is to them. There is no harm to this, but one should know that this co-mingling is occurring. It also suggests ( to me) that not knowing the depth and breadth of both schools , one really does not know what they are picking and what they’re leaving behind. As I have mentioned many times here on HDF, if you do not know where you are going, then any road will take you there. So, within these two schools what are some sailent points that may have been dropped or not viewed in the proper light? Let me offer a few from my point of view... others may vary.

    Vedāntic teaching
    Many to most have heard of the upaniṣads, and bhagavadgītā , yet are not all are familiar with the vedānta sūtras ( also called the brahma sūtras). These 3 are considered prasthānatrayī¹ or pertaining to the 3 systems some say ‘institutes’ of vedāntic teaching. I cannot tell you just how robust & fulfilling (to me) this knowledge is overall. Yet for many, they do not get around to it, tried it and found it difficult to read, found the amount of reading as insurmountable, or for some just do not find reading/study as something that fits their style. So be it.
    Yet, there was a luminary, ādi śaṅkara-ji¹ also known as śaṅkara bhagavatpāda, that not only commented on prasthānatrayī but was kind enough to take the essence of his commentaries and offer it into the work called vivekacūḍāmaṇi ( this term = the crown jewel of discrimination). Not many read this, but I mention it as a compendium¹ of vedāntic thought i.e. the essence of his commentaries on vedāntic scriptures in one place, in succinct format. His offer of 571 verses (śloka-s) on those key points that one has to grasp for the eradication of ignorance , and from my point of view is the principle intent of
    sanātana dharma.

    Many know of ādi śaṅkara-ji and think, oh yes, he has informed us of māyā; that the world is an illusion. Many who enter ~hinduism~ come to know this as a major concept (along with karma). Yet this is only ½ of the knowledge that was heard by those listening. Ādi śaṅkara-ji offers:
    · brahman is real
    · the universe is māyā , an illusion
    · brahman is the universe

    Ādi śaṅkara-ji did not stop at the second point, but many did not continue to listen. The point is, many think the universe is apart from brahman and that would be an incorrect view ( within the non dual, advaitin school of reality). To understand what one practices a more complete view is suggested and ādi śaṅkara-ji’s vivekacūḍāmaṇi is a great source. Here is just one śloka from ādi śaṅkara-ji’s vivekacūḍāmaṇi :
    Not by missiles nor weapons nor wind nor fire nor even millions of prescribed actions (ca karma-koṭibhiḥ) can this bondage be destroyed; by nothing except the great, sharp, beautiful sword of wisdom (vijñāna) which comes from discrimination (viveka) given by the grace (prasāda) of the Supreme .

    Yogadarśana ( school of yoga)
    ... lets consider in the next post.

    इतिशिवं
    iti śivaṁ

    terms

    • ārṣa dharma = the dharma of the seers or ṛṣi-s ( rishi’s)

    The 6 darśana-s (schools)
    · sāṁkhya
    · yoga
    · vedānta
    · mīmāṃsā
    · nyāya
    · vaiśeṣika



    • Ādi Śaṅkara we know as Śaṅkara Bhagavatpāda

    · ādi = first, beginning
    · Śaṅkara = śaṃkara = causing prosperity , auspicious , beneficent. This is another name for śiva or rudra.
    · Bhagavatpāda = Bhagavat+pāda bhagavat is glorious , illustrious , divine + pāda or pādāḥ is added to proper names or titles in token of respect.
    With this case pāda it is then a ray or beam of light (considered as the foot of a heavenly body). Yet what is this 1st or beginning? He was the first Śaṅkarācārya, as he set up the maţha-s (some write as mutt's, math's) across India. Why so ? To preserve and perpetuate knowledge of the Supreme. There are 4 +1 maţha-s. Some think more, some stick to 4 ( north, South, East and West). The +1 that I recognize is kanchipuram - Tamil Nadu.

    • Śaṅkarācārya is roughly = to ~ pontiff~ .
    • compendium - a collection of concise but detailed information about a particular subject

    Last edited by yajvan; 03 December 2016 at 07:57 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  2. #2
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    Re: getting the whole story

    Namaste Yajvan,

    A very nice post to highlight subtle misconceptions and ignorance(s), although towards the end tilted towards non duality. Won't question the intent, nevertheless, this will help newcomers who want to see a bigger picture and branch out according to the pull.
    Anirudh...

  3. #3
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    Re: getting the whole story

    Namaste Yajvan ji,

    Quote Originally Posted by yajvan View Post
    Ādi śaṅkara-ji offers:
    · brahman is real
    · the universe is māyā , an illusion
    · brahman is the universe

    Ādi śaṅkara-ji did not stop at the second point, but many did not continue to listen. The point is, many think the universe is apart from brahman and that would be an incorrect view ( within the non dual, advaitin school of reality).


    Exactly ! This is what people forget ! Thanks for highlighting it in this post !

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

  4. #4

    Re: getting the whole story

    Namaste,

    I have hopes for this thread, as the middle portion (the universe is māyā , an illusion ) is way misunderstood in this day and age, maybe for a few hundred years in some traditions in India too.

    I see Advaita simple explained as reality is One. The material nature cannot come from a separate source, its part of One Absolute reality, but this manifested cosmos is moving and subject to change based on arising conditions which spirals, grows, subtracts into other infinite dimension or dimensions with unlimited diversity and the duality of opposites need each other for further expansion, growth and change.

    Beyond or behind all of this is something that is Whole and complete ( and fully Conscious) without change or duality in its nature or identity, which is conscious, or has Supreme Consciousness and is considered as Superior to this reality of changes based on conditions, which again is not separate from the material nature or cosmos, its just something that does not change, its free from the conditions of duality which causes change, but its not abstract or aloof, it just has a deeper essence, more whole more complete Absolute~ Advaita~ Complete, from that Complete realization there is no realization Brahmanda came from a secondary source, the reality we should be seeking to start off is that which is Conscious, that as far as I understand is the reality in which we seek as Sadhakas, but we seek in the wrong places as conditioned Jivas due to Avidya which is to ignore the whole, in that place which is whole, unobscured, in that we finally rest, in that we finally understand everything.

    Ultimately words cant understand this as we have still conditions in our mind that see's the object as something outside or seperate of that One reality which is Absolute and fully conscious in all aspects. What I can observe as of now is that the only misunderstanding that has come about is that the Dharmic traditions have lost the age old ability to communicate with other. I do hope that this thread sticks to the same topic before going into Kashmir Shaivism as superior knowledge to quickly, as most cant make that jump yet before Advaita of Adi Shankara has been fully explained properly, espcially the understanding of this material nature as just an illusion, its actually quite dangerous to think this world is only an illusion and something seperate from the Absolute whole, and I dont see that as Adi Shankaras siddhanta.

    I dont see Advaita of Adi Shankara as lacking anything, nor any of the diverse Dharma traditions, as the essence is when Mind and Avidya have been dealt with withSadhana & Upaya, or the spirtual practice with awareness or skillful means, that then gives that person the direct experience of these transcendent subjects, which again is only situated in consciousness, if some other philosophies or traditions claim any type of superiority then its false premise and the essence has been lost, the essence being that all Dharma traditions say taht it can only be understood through purified consciousnes, the direct experience of the Absolute reality is when Mind is purified and Avidya has been removed, this is the only thing which will satisfie us and one then see's Truth by superior consciousness itself, no need for philosophy.

    Please excuse my writing and expression skills, I dont mean to add any confusion

    Pranam
    Last edited by markandeya 108 dasa; 02 December 2016 at 09:31 AM.

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    Re: getting the whole story

    hariḥ om̐
    ~~~~~~
    namasté & hello

    Quote Originally Posted by markandeya 108 dasa View Post
    Namaste,
    I have hopes for this thread, as the middle portion (the universe is māyā , an illusion ) is way misunderstood in this day and age, maybe for a few hundred years in some traditions in India too.
    Pranam
    Perhaps we should stay on this idea before moving to the yogadarśana ( school of yoga) conversation... perhaps there can be some value added to the reader.
    I will add a few notions I have learned and observed, and welcome all others' inputs and ideas.

    इतिशिवं
    iti śivaṁ
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  6. #6

    Re: getting the whole story

    Namaste,

    I think it would be helpful, as this that part of the teaching is very misunderstood, I do not want to go to much into how falsly it has been portrayed because the true meaning and explanation should be enough for clarity. Neti neti say for example is not exactly negative, for example I read a while ago , in a certain contex that neti neti was not just negative and dismissive of external phenomena, which includes Mind, but also allows for new things to arise in a fresh way, I translated this partially to point to non attachment rather than rejection, and this part of Adi Shankara's teaching that Maya as just an illusion and only fit for rejectuion has not been well described in languages and context outside of natural Indian expressions. I guess part of the problem in modern times is that one may just reject anything that is not the shining Self as an illusion.


    Thank you

    Pranam

  7. #7
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    Re: getting the whole story

    hariḥ om̐
    ~~~~~~
    namasté & hello

    Framing the conversation...
    If we look to ādi śaṅkara-ji's vivekacūḍāmaṇi , 110th and 111 śloka-s, theyaddress māyā and brings controversy to many a scholar/śāstṛi ( that would not be me). The 111th śloka informs us of the following as it discusses this māyā. It says,
    It is neither real or unreal or both; it is neither undifferentiated nor different nor both; it neither has parts nor is it part-less nor both. It is supremely wonderful and of an inexpressible form.

    hold that thought
    What is this māyā ? 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).

    Another staple¹ of advaita ( not two) thinking is the notion of a rope and a snake (rajju-sarpa). It suggests that one can be confused for the other. This is an example of māyā, of confusing X for Y, hence the illusion. Yet consider this. For this confusion to occur it must occur in dim light. In the full brightness of the day ( code for jñāna) the rope is not confused to be a snake; in no light at all ( code for the deepest levels of avidya or ignorance) there is no confusion because nothing is seen that causes confusion. It is this condition of dim light...
    some can call jñāna- abhāva ( the negation of knowledge). Once someone informs the observer, ‘hey that is just a rope’ , the illusion is broken. The snake is a harmless piece of rope.
    Let’s go to another or example to contrast the rajju-sarpa idea with another approach.

    The mirage
    A man sees a mirage, a pond of water in an open dessert. This mirage does not disappear even when the man is told, ‘hey that is a mirage, it’s not really water’. Even when told the person continues to see the mirage, unlike the snake and the rope. See the two ideas here.

    conditioned and unconditoned
    It boils down to an unconditioned and conditioned view of the world. In the unconditioned view a person, once told that the snake is a rope can extinguish the false notion with ease. In the condition version i.e. the mirage, even after one is told the water is nothing but a mirage, the person continues to see the water as if it was there.

    This is one way to look at ādi śaṅkara-ji's view & how māyā works; with both views. He informs us that the world and its works is an illusion, but even after knowing this, we still see the world operating in the same manner. There’s actions and people. We are still within the conditioned/fragmented mind set of the world view. It must be known at the brahman level of perception – the unconditioned/undifferentiated wholeness. It goes back to the 3 steps mentioned above:
    · brahman is real
    · the universe is māyā , an illusion
    · brahman is the universe

    That is, knowing all that is ( this universe) as brahman, beyond the intellectual-conceptual idea and as a direct knowledge; direct knowledge means non-different than one’s own Being. Hence the term advaita , not 2, non-different than my Self - all this is none other than an expansion of me.
    ‘Me’ in this case = Self, Being.

    This is just a few notions to start with; I will tag on a few more, but will await others ideas and comments.

    इतिशिवं
    iti śivaṁ



    1. staple – (noun) a principal raw material; a basic or necessary item of food ( food here from a philosophical
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  8. #8

    Re: getting the whole story

    Namaste yajvan ji,

    Thank you for your time and patience. Ma as you have explained is part of the compound maya meaning to measure. Although objects appear to be bounded in a limited condition and contained in forms rupa, nothing is fixed, solid or permanent, as things arise and cease depending on causes, so while things seem to be fixed and limited, due to the constant flux in the nature of objects (phenonmena ) they are related or representative of that Supreme which is by nature unlimited and not restricted to any form, one thing or object. phenomena will transform into something else, the elements are always mixing with each other creating diversity.

    So in one sense the universe is also of the same nature of the Supreme and is unlimited because nothing is fixed. Take an example of rebirth, where birth and death are happening on the micro level and manifesting in more solid ways in the appearance of one life to another, even in this one life, we change as GIta says from boyhood, to youth to old age, and after this life there is continium, so we have never been or never will be in a limited condition because of this change, it just seems we are limited and matter is limited due to our measuring principle in mind which iis avidya.

    WHat would be ma that measures within our perception, is it a faculty of avidya that is within the mind that measures, is that part of our illusion. When the jiva is described in shastra as roaming in the wheel of samsara, this can go on forever for the individual, nitya baddha, eternaly bound in the complex and diverse unlimited conditions. They say the universe is expanding all the time, does that mean that more diversity is being discovered.

    if shakti is unlimited and maya is sometimes known as shakti or devi which is non different from brahman shiva then this manifestation can be seen as unlimited, not an illusion, as a divine manifestation. The illusion is only the avidya in ones mind, maya will then not be just avidya or an illusion but also divine and unlimited.

    If for example one is jivanmukta, would he see manifestation within the cosmos as a limted being, or once avidya has been removed he sees manifestation as representative through shakti of that supreme unlimited unconditioned brahman, shakti, maya then takes the role to show us consciously that only the supreme which is infinite in everyway is all pervasive, even in objects and so called limited conditions, ma is the measuring principle as a faculty of avidya in mind, and that is what needs to be removed and one then even in this world sees everything as unlimited and supreme and brahman then looses its tag as becoming limited in manifestation.

    If say one is jivanmukta, the supreme role model, does he loose awareness of manifesation, it would be hard to accept that, that may happen only in certain states of samadhi or mental absorbtion.


    is this understanding if i have explained well enough considered in Adi SHankaras teachings. Because so many are considering , and even in India that his teachings make some sort of polar opposite between maya as illusion, avidya and brahman as the spiritual ultimate truth which is free from maya.

    Pranam

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    Re: getting the whole story

    Namaste,

    This universe is illusion as universe from the point of reference of the Absolute. This universe is reality from the point of reference of the relative existence. This universe is Reality as Brahman from point of reference of the Absolute. This mind when sees inwards i.e. when it comes to utter peaceful state and has no desire/urgency/intent to see outward or "the other", it is Brahman undifferentiated from everything else. The same mind when under the influence of desire to look outward (Desire to be many) it sees multitude as our individual mind due to action of MAyA which is its own power to "create" multitude where there is none.

    So, point of reference is necessary to understand. Jeevanmukta sees from the point of reference of the Absolute and therefore says as Adi Shankaracharya said, "This universe is illusion (as universe). This universe is the Reality (as Brahman)". Ordinary people see from the point of reference of the relative existence as perceived by mind and therefore say, "This universe is real as universe. That this universe is the Brahman, is falsehood or not-real."

    Consciousness is not a "thing" which can be perceived by mind or any sense organs and that is why it cannot be described and that is why we use "Neti-Neti". But there is a need to "know the Reality" and knowing is an impossibility without presence of mind. Who is there to know and what, when there is no "other"? "Knowledge" is always of something other.

    This struggle for knowing which can not be known brings in various types of efforts, use of various types of metaphors for explanation of the Reality.We have to first accept that for "existence" to exist there is no compulsion that that which exists must be correctly cognised by our sense organs or our mind.

    Let's ponder on what Buddha said, "This mind is Buddha" or what Ramana Maharshi said, "This mind looking inwards (towards Itself by Itself) is Self/Brahman". Consciousness is all that is, was or will ever be. This Consciousness is mind (conditioned). All objects too are the same consciousness but due to arising of mind other names and forms too arise.

    That is why Arjuna says to Lord Krishna in Bhagwad Gita, "No man or Devata knows "you". You know yourself by yourself".

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

  10. #10
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    Re: getting the whole story

    hariḥ om̐
    ~~~~~~
    namasté & hello

    Quote Originally Posted by markandeya 108 dasa View Post
    If say one is jivanmukta, the supreme role model, does he loose awareness of manifestation, it would be hard to accept that, that may happen only in certain states of samadhi or mental absorption.
    Pranam
    What does the fully realized see? My teacher said , wholeness, full-ness. The forefront is wholeness , totality. The silence of SELF is the norm. As rāmaṇa mahaṛṣi said, unity ( code for wholeness) is the reality, diversity is false.

    So, the question I would like to address, why did ādi śaṅkara-ji introduce māyā into the equation of thinking of Reality? Many protagonists of this school call ādi śaṅkara-ji's work māyā-vada ( or speaking of māyā) as its central theme. But why did ādi śaṅkara-ji go in this direction ? I take my support from rāmaṇa mahaṛṣi. He says , you have been accustomed to relative knowledge that you identify with it. Such wrong identity has forged the difficulty of not knowing the obvious Self because it cannot be objectified.

    So there is a few things that need to be explained from rāmaṇa mahaṛṣi's words. First , when he said ‘you’ he is talking to (the)Self that is none other than your natural state, he wants this message to get to the core of 'you'. When he says ‘relative knowledge’ it is the field of diversity, the field of life that we see every day as fragmented. He says we have been swimming in this diversity for so long , we have come to think that this diversity it the ‘norm’ and not wholeness , fullness. He then says we get confused because of this diversity we cling to, that when we look for Self/Being/ pure awareness we look for it as another object to be had... we are so conditioned , so steeped in this relative field, we think that (the)Self must also be that, some type of object ( a thought is even an object ) to be had e.g. like something that is grasped with the hands, or a philosophical point of view that is maintained, still again, an object of perception and only there during the waking state of consciousness ( that too comes and goes!).

    So, ādi śaṅkara-ji tries to short-circuit this notion of the relative field of life by saying this universe is māyā. If it is that (māyā), it is not much worth pursuing if it’s not real, no? Why would I spend my time and effort to gain something that is not real? If this universe and field of things is not real ( I use the word substantial ), why then is it worth the pursuit ? What then is worth the pursuit ? It must be the real and that = brahman , or Being, pure awareness. This is his orientation ( as I see it).

    Here’s rāmaṇa mahaṛṣi’s words as he speaks to ‘you’ ( code for Self): your duty is to be, and not to be this or that. He is saying, by ‘being’ that is enough, that is all one needs to do as your duty (code for dharma). Then all these questions e.g. I am not happy, I am not sure of ____ ( fill in the blank), I am lonely , I am _______ ( fill in the blank), I do not know who I am or what I should do, or where I should go, or _____ ( fill in the blank) all goes away.

    All these ideas and insights reside in:

    • brahman is real
    • the universe is māyā , an illusion
    • brahman is the universe



    इतिशिवं
    iti śivaṁ
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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