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Thread: atmavit and ativadin

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    atmavit and ativadin

    Hari Om

    In the Chandogya Upanishad there is a beautiful conversation/teaching between Sanatkumara and Narada in canto 7.
    Narada as a mantravit ( one well versed in the sutras and mantras) is well learned in all the veda's, sciences, etc. yet Narada approaches Sanatkumara as ajnanin, or one not fully-realized in Being. He sees Sanatkuma ( born of the mind of Brahma no less) as jnanin , knowledgable, a realized in Being. The guru-sisya ( teacher-student) relationship is established when Narada makes the request "Revered Sir, Please teach me".

    The conversation that ensues is one of my favorite teachings of this grand book. Yet , at the crux of this post, it is the key theme and conversation behind atmavit and ativadin.

    That is, the mantravit becomes that atmavit. This atmavit , is the knower of the atman, and this Atman has interesting roots: one root means to pervade, from the root verb ap, and from another root at= to breathe. It points to all pervading, the breath or life force of all. It is Purusha in us, it is Brahman, in us, the all pervading one, some even say it is the breath of Purusha. So this atmavit, is the knower of Brahman, because he is the knower of his atman (Self).

    This also has another significant meaning in this dispensing of knowledge from Sanatkumara (also known as Skanda). Knowledge must be complimented by experience. Attaining mantravit no doubt is rewarding yet is still devoid of the subject matter one has studied - that of Brahman, of atman. So, one needs to experience and become established in the SELF to bring full life to ones knowledge of Brahman. When this happens one then becomes ativadin.

    Now why is this ativadin of interest? Ativadin at its root is ati that which transcends + vadin or one who speaks. It is one whose speach is pregnent with Truth (sat). So, one who speaks of THAT, which is beyond, or turiya ( the 4th). It also means one that is over-argumentatative. One skilled in jalpa or polemics, argumentative debate. When used in jalpa, it does not suggest one that is possessed of the SELF, just one that is skilled in point-counterpoint debate.

    Sanatkumara also instructs Narada of the ativadati condition as he speaks out the unspeakable, that of Reality ( called unspeakble due to its infinite, unbounded stature).

    Now what is of interest here, is when reality dawns for the sadhu, no one is sure how it will manifest. For some, one may be completely absorbed in the silence of Being, of THAT, of turiya, and there is no compelling reason to speak out, as one is completely settled in the SELF. I have heard of many that take to this route and withdraw. Yet there are those that come forth and speak out on tat tvam asi.

    Narada informs Sanatkuma that he wishes to become the ativadin and speak out on satyam ( the Truth, the Reality). He wishes to go from ( gati , or to move forward) from the philosophical to vijnana, in detail.

    Sanatkumara then continues with his instruction. Yet it is of great interest to me that Sanatkumara's dialog covers 15 components/subjects up to this point. On the 16th, we dive further into truth, on sodasi, the 16th. This 16th we have discussed before as a most meaningful gap, as sama. This sama , this even-ness, of samaya, or samdhya, we find turyia easier to experince. It is just brillant in the part of the rishi and of Sanatkumara to teach in this method.

    I will stop here and if others are interested continue at a later time...

    One last thought if I may:
    We here at HDF are mantravitin's. Yet if I am mistaken - please let the vimalai ( vi = without + mala or blemish, one established in purity) come forward and proclaim 'yes, I am this ativadin'. To such we can rejoice and then pose our questions that have us ( me) scratching our heads on the absolute essence of our questions we at times ponder.

    Last edited by yajvan; 24 May 2007 at 04:05 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva


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