Maṇḍanamiśra-ji1 was a contemporary of ādi śaṅkara-ji (circa 800 CE). He offered a view within the advaita2 tradition that was called prasaṅkhyāna .
- pra-saṁkhyā-ana = excessively + sum up , enumerate + go, or move . Hence prasaṅkhyāna = excessively summing up, or ‘repetition’.
His view in simple terms was knowledge ( especially upaniṣandic knowledge) requires repetition for one to ‘get it’. He was of the opinion that false knowledge and its impressions ( vāsanā-s) continue in life; yet when hearing of the truth and its subject matter, it must be repeated more than once, as the false knowledge persisted and have been re-enforce by years of repetition.
He gives a few ordinary examples: Confusion about direction – a person asking for directions from a competent person still asks again to get it right.
The error of seeing a double moon ( I will assume some error in vision is suggested here). Another that rāmaṇa mahaṛṣi uses is that of a mirage. Even after being told the mirage is just that, non-real, it still persists in one’s vision.
But what of a spiritual example ? Arjuna is given the most profound knowledge by kṛṣṇaḥ -jī, the śrīmad bhāgavad gītā. Then afer the Lord's discourse arjuna says the following:
naṣṭo mohaḥ smṛtir labdhā
tvat-prasādān mayācyuta |
sthito ’smi gata-sandehaḥ
kariṣye vacanaṁ tava || 18.73
This says ( in general), my delusion (mohaḥ) is gone (naṣṭa) ; I have regained (labdhā) my memory (smṛtir) and now firm and free from doubt.
Yet, later in the mahābhārata he asks kṛṣṇaḥ -jī to repeat this sermon. This then forms the subject matter of the anu gītā3.
This response by arjuna-ji can tell us two things... that arjuna just wanted to hear the Lord’s sermon again, or reinforce his understanding, or perhaps he just forgot. What ever the reason, it is an example of prasaṅkhyāna.
Prasaṅkhyāna (repetition) makes mental impressions firm. This can be positive or negative. How many years passed in the West where people thought the sun went around the earth ? Each day a person and whole societies watched as the sun rose in the East and set in the West. Who could argue what the eyes beheld ? Yet over the years ( via insight, reasoning and observation) this observation was corrected ( albeit not easily). It too was less than 100 years ago ( circa 1920) that astronomers thought all stars in the sky where held within the Milky Way galaxy. That too was corrected, yet was done with less angst than the sun’s rotation about the earth.
What then is the point here ?
This idea of repetition is of great value. Yet having it done from different angles of view adds flavor and interest and groom one’s understanding. This is how our upaniṣad-s proceeds to teach ( and still does for those that study this body of brilliance). This is how my teacher taught.
So, with that said, I thought to offer one line from the 6th chapter ( 6.8.7 & 8) of the chandogyopaniṣat (chandogya upaniṣad) where uddālaka āruṇi4 instructs his son śvetaketu on the nature of brahman.
स य एषोऽणिमैतदात्म्यमिदँ सर्वं तत्सत्यँ स आत्मा तत्त्वमसि श्वेतकेतो
sa ya eṣo'ṇimaitadātmyamidam̐ sarvaṃ tatsatyam̐ sa ātmā tattvamasi śvetaketo
sat, so subtle is the Self of everything in all the worlds. That is the real (tatsatyam̐) that is ātmā, that thou art (tattvamasi)5 śvetaketu.
Said simply , you are That, śvetaketu.
Yet , for many they say, what more can be said about this, it’s pretty straight forward, end of story, no ? It seems for ādi śaṅkara-ji, padmapāda, and sureśvara there is more for one’s intellect to consider with tattvamasi as we find this in their writings as a core discussion. In fact ādi śaṅkara-ji offers this tattvamasi in 9 verses found in his vivekacūḍāmaṇi6 ( crown jewel of discrimination).
So, starting with the next post, we will take a look at this term tattvamasi within the realm of a deeper meaning and at the same time, allowing
prasaṅkhyāna (repetition) to take its course.
1. Maṇḍanamiśra = maṇḍana+miśra = adorning + a place, or of a place , hence Maṇḍanamiśra = a palce of adornment
2. advaita – non-dual
3. Anu gītā – found in the mahābhārata, aśvamedha parvan , 14th to 16th chapter.
4. Uddālaka āruṇi - a renowned brāhmaṇa teacher was son of aruṇa aupaveśi and father of śvetaketu); auddālaki is another name of śveta-ketu
5. One of four mahāvākyāni, great utterances; mahāvākyam is singular; mahāvākyāni is the plural form
6. Vivekacūḍāmaṇi – verses 256, 257, 258, 259,260,261,262, & 263
Last edited by yajvan; 20 March 2017 at 07:09 PM.
because you are identical with śiva