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Thread: The Connection To Aham

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    The Connection To Aham

    Hari Om
    ~~~~~

    Namaste,

    This post is inspired by a current HDF post called How do you realize the Absolute ? found in Sanatana Dharma Folder under the sub-folder of Advaita. Many good ideas are being discussed there. I thought to take just a different angle on this notion, and thought this folder would be the best fit.

    This word, sound, mantra aham is of great interest. Some call this parā vāk the Supreme Word or Sound. This parā vāk is also identified as 'She' or Śrī Devī. More on Śrī Devī and this Aham in an additional follow-up post.

    When we look at this aham we can look at it as a +ha+m.The letter a denotes Śiva , ha denotes Śakti and m denotes nara, or all manifested life, people, society, etc. This aham is also known as sṛṣṭi-bija or the seed of creation.

    It is quite interesting to note that in the Bhāgavad gītā , Kṛṣṇa calls out in Chapt 10.33 of the letters (akṣarāṇām) I am akāra ( or the letter/sound a ). This is the 1st letter/sound as we know. From a all other sounds become possible. So from this a as Śiva , creation manifests by ha or Śakti and this manifestation brings the multiplicity of this universe m or nara.

    Yet there is another view on this also. If we take aham and look at it backwards ma+ha+a (some say mahā). We know this mahā as 'great' . This mahā ( some write mahah) is found in the Taittrīya Upaniṣad and ṛṣi Mahācaṃasya . He speaks of this mahā as vyahriti or the sacred utterance, as Brahman. He also instructs that bhu, buhvah, and suvah ( typically associated with the Gayatri) are contained in this Mahā.

    It is said from this reversal of aham or ma-ha-a , it is the absorption, enterence, or preveśa¹ back to Śiva. In this order, ma denotes nara, ha is Śakti and a , as before, remains Śiva. They call this mahā saṃhāra bija or the seed-sound that brings together or draws one back. But back to what? To a or Śiva.

    What is so vitally interesting about this is the method of saṃhāra is found in Patañjali's yoga darśana¹ ( Chapt 2, sūtra 10) - In this school it is brought to light as pratiprasava, reversing the birth process. That is, thoughts have 'births'. One upāya or meditation is the process of reversing this thinking process to arrive back at the Source.
    It's like going to work every day. One gets in their car, or public transportation and goes to work. What do you do when you come home? You reverse the process, pratipradava, daily.

    When we look at this knowledge above one can note the string of continuity , the sameness (samatā) that can be found. Yet there are several schools here that are offered. The knowledge is found in the following śāstra-s: Parā-trīśikā Vivaraṇa¹ + Bhāgavad gītā + Taittrīya Upaniṣad + Patañjal's Yogasarsana (some just call the Yogasūtra-s).

    I am sure one can look for differences, but this is not my vision or intent as of late. We have so much diversity in this world. Just look around not just in nature, but in what mankind has created. I find it these days more 'unique' to find the underlying unity in the diversity of creation.
    From this point of view it is the intent to see how this diversity all culminates in anuttara¹. It is the union (saṃghaṭṭa) of a+ha+m by way of ma+ha+a that stimulates different techniques (upāya-s , meditations, dhāranā-s, etc) to come into play. But what does not change? Anuttara, the Supreme, we may also call it turīyatīta.

    Last, I mention different techniques - this suggests different views on the approach to Reality. I find it healthy for us to talk of this ( yet I am not much for boxing ). This is one reason why I chose the word saṃghaṭṭa. Not only does it mean union, but it's also defined as rubbing or clashing together i.e some friction. Some times our views may be different i.e. the views on how we get to anuttara, the Supreme. This is fine as we better understand the different schools and methods of others. For this, IMHO, we can become more knowledgable and a better person.

    As in rubbing two sticks to make fire, both sticks combine to reach the goal. It is when one stick's intention is fire and the other stick is thinking about poking and prodding, some discomfort is felt. For this I think we are mature people, and can keep to thinking how we ignite agni.


    pranams

    Words and references
    posted on Monday, śukla chaturdaśi, owned by śiva.

    • aham अहम् - I
    • This is the work of Abhinavagupta - Parā-trīśikā Vivaraṇa -or- That (Śrī Devī) who transcends and is Identical with trika. It also means That which speaks out (kāyati) the three (tri) śakti-s (śa) of the Supreme (parā). Vivaraṇa means the act of uncovering, opening, or explanation.
    • Sṛṣṭibija - sṛṣṭi सृष्टि is manifestation, production , procreation , creation , the creation of the world ( letting loose!) + bija बीज is seed i.e. any germ , element , primary cause or principle , source , origin.
    • preveśa प्रवेश - coming or setting in ; a place of entrance ;entering , entrance , penetration or intrusion into
    • Saṃhāra संहार - bringing together , collection , accumulation ; contraction; drawing in
    • pratiprasava प्रतिप्रसव - return to the original state ; counter-order , suspension of a general prohibition in a particular case ; an HDF post on this subject: http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=1462&highlight=Patanjali
    • anuttara अनुत्तर - chief , principal, Ultimate; Abhinavagupta's words on this anuttara is na vidyate uttaram adhilam yataḥ, or that which there is nothing more or additional.
    • saṃghaṭṭa संघट्ट - union; rubbing or clashing together , friction
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: The Connection To Aham

    Quote Originally Posted by yajvan View Post
    Hari Om
    ~~~~~

    Namaste,
    ...
    From a all other sounds become possible. So from this a as Śiva , creation manifests by ha or Śakti and this manifestation brings the multiplicity of this universe m or nara.
    ...
    Namaste Yajvan,

    An interesting corollary to the above statement is the first aphorism in the Thirukkural!

    Ch.1 v.1: "Agara mudhala ezhutthellaam, aadhi bhagavan mudhattrae ulagu."

    Also, can you describe how you arrived at, or from where you got, the description that 'a' is Siva, 'ha' is Sakti, and 'm' is nara? I would like to read more about it.

    Thanks.

    Subham.

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    Re: The Connection To Aham

    Hari Om
    ~~~~~
    Quote Originally Posted by TatTvamAsi View Post
    Namaste Yajvan,
    Also, can you describe how you arrived at, or from where you got, the description that 'a' is Siva, 'ha' is Sakti, and 'm' is nara? I would like to read more about it.
    Namaste TatTvamAsi,
    Please consider the the work of Abhinavagupta - Parā-trīśikā Vivaraṇa.
    My version is by a few I find reliable on this matter - Jaideva Singh did the English translations and notes, Svami Laksmanjoo did all sanskrit text correction , technical points, etc. and Bettina Baumer did the editing of the book. The book is offered by Motilal Banardsidas Publishers.

    Let me offer MHO. If you are ~relatively new~ to tantra and the trika system IMHO this ( for me) would not be book one to start with, but again, that is me. Let me know if I can be of further assistence.

    ps - the study of Mātrikācakra or the study/theory of akṣarāṇām mentioned , the sanskrit alphabet is part of the richness of this knowledge. Also known as Mālini or Śrī Devī who wears a garland of 50 letters (the sanskrit alphabet). The difference between Mātrikācakra and Mālini is the arrangement letters i.e. vowels then consonents, etc.

    I am a novice (at best) learning sanskrit appropriately. Many others on HDF will have more knowledge and I look for their help and corrections along the way.

    Hope this helps...




    pranams
    Last edited by yajvan; 16 June 2008 at 07:44 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: The Connection To Aham

    Hari Om
    ~~~~~

    Quote Originally Posted by yajvan View Post
    Namaste TatTvamAsi,
    Please consider the the work of Abhinavagupta - Parā-trīśikā Vivaraṇa.
    My version is by a few I find reliable on this matter - Jaideva Singh did the English translations and notes, Svami Laksmanjoo did all sanskrit text correction , technical points, etc. and Bettina Baumer did the editing of the book. The book is offered by Motilal Banardsidas Publishers.

    Namaste tatTvamAsi,
    I was thinking of another book that does a nice job of outlining the sanskrit alphabet from a ( anuttara) to ḥ ,which is visarga and in devanāhgarī takes the symbol :

    IN the book Kaśmir Śaivism - The Secret Supreme, the second chapter is Mātṛikācara and the theory of the alphabet. Here you will find a review of śiva śakti and śiva-s energy as it relates to the letters of the alphabet. The chapter will review , among other things 5 śakti-s found in the alphabet:

    • cit śakti - that śakti of consciousness
    • ānanda śakti - of bliss
    • icchā śakti - of will
    • jnāna śakti - of knowledge
    • kriyā śakti - of action
    Just an idea for your consideration.

    pranams
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: The Connection To Aham

    This thread brought to mind things I have read by Sri Ramana Maharshi. I find his approach to be very sublime indeed and have gained much benefit from his teachings.
    16. What is the nature of the Self?
    What exists in truth is the Self alone. The world, the individual soul, and God are appearances in it. like silver in mother-of-pearl, these three appear at the same time, and disappear at the same time. The Self is that where there is absolutely no I thought. That is called Silence. The Self itself is the world; the Self itself is I; the Self itself is God; all is Siva, the Self.
    From a free online book "Who am I?" at this site:
    http://www.sriramanamaharshi.org/booksfordownlaod.html

    Namaste

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    Re: The Connection To Aham

    Hari Om
    ~~~~~
    Quote Originally Posted by srivijaya View Post
    This thread brought to mind things I have read by Sri Ramana Maharshi. I find his approach to be very sublime indeed and have gained much benefit from his teachings.
    Namaste srivijaya,

    thank you for your post. My teacher talked often about this silence. One experiences internally, the over time with the advancement of ones sādhana, this silence is experienced in creation, on the level of the senses. For me, the internal silence is experienced during meditation, yet I have a ways to go to experience it in creation.

    For Śrī Rāmāna Mahaṛṣi 'The Self itself is the world' was his experience no doubt. What a delight to know this is possible and there are beings amongst us that accomplished this.


    I hope you will share more of Mahaṛṣi-ji's insights and observations.


    when the infinite vibrates, the worlds appear to emerge - ṛṣi vaśiṣṭha

    pranams
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: The Connection To Aham

    Hari Om
    ~~~~~

    namaste srivijaya (et al.)


    When I read your post again, I also thought of the śloka found in the Spanda-kārikā-s¹. The 2nd niḥṣyanda (section) 5th kārikā says the following:

    Iti vā yasya saṃvittiḥ kriḍāvenākhilam jagat |
    Sa paśyan satataṃ yukto jīvanmukto na saṃśataḥ ||

    Or(vā) Iti (in this manner , thus) he who has (yasya or endeavored) the realization (saṃvittiḥ ~ understanding) i.e. identity of his SELF with the whole universe (jagat) being constantly united (yukto) with the Divine (venā), views the entire world as the play (kriḍā) of the SELF with Śva, and is liberated while alive (jīvanmukto), there is no doubt (na saṃśataḥ) about that.

    I thought how well this aligns with what you posted from Śrī Rāmāna Mahaṛṣi
    The Self is that where there is absolutely no “I” thought. That is called “Silence”. The Self itself is the world; the Self itself is “I”; the Self itself is God; all is Siva, the Self.
    The identity of the SELF with the Universe with Śiva... a continuum of silence.

    pranams


    Key words and References
    • saṃvittiḥ संवित्ति - knowledge , intellect , understanding ; perception , feeling , sense
    • yasya यस्य - to be endeavoured ( a conscientious or concerted effort toward an end)
    • jagat जगत् - the world, universe; also that which moves or is alive
    • yukto or yukti युक्ति - union , junction , connection , combination ; sum total; also mixture or alloying of metals
    • jīvanmukto - jīvanmukta जीवन्मुक्त - mancipated while still alive (i.e.liberated before death from all liability to future births
    • saṃśataḥ संशय without doubt ;uncertainty , irresolution, hesitation
    • sa स procuring , bestowing
    • kriḍāvenākhilam - kriḍ क्रीड् to sport, play; venā as vena वेन a Divine Being; khilam is work in process - I do not understand the application of this word in the sentence structure - all help is welcomed.
    Spanda-kārikā-s the Divine Creative Pulsation translated by Jaideva Singh ; original author is Vasugupta . Then his cela, Kallaṭa took to publizing this knowledge. The Spanda-kārikā-s are a perfect adjunct to the Śiva-sūtras
    Last edited by yajvan; 05 August 2008 at 04:07 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: The Connection To Aham

    Quote Originally Posted by yajvan View Post
    When I read your post again, I also thought of the śloka found in the Spanda-kārikā-s
    Hi yajvan,
    Yes, I also find the Spanda-kārikā-s to be very helpful.

    Regarding the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi, this passage has striking parallel's to Buddha's teachings on anatta (not-self)
    1. Who am I ?
    The gross body which is composed of the seven humours (dhatus), I am not; the five cognitive sense organs, viz. the senses of hearing, touch, sight, taste, and smell, which apprehend their respective objects, viz. sound, touch, colour, taste, and odour, I am not; the five cognitive senseorgans,
    viz. the organs of speech, locomotion, grasping, excretion, and procreation, which have as their respective functions speaking, moving, grasping, excreting, and enjoying, I am not; the five vital airs, prana, etc., which perform respectively the five functions of in-breathing, etc., I am not;
    even the mind which thinks, I am not; the nescience too, which is endowed only with the residual impressions of objects, and in which there are no objects and no functionings, I am not.

    2. If I am none of these, then who am I?
    After negating all of the above-mentioned as not this, not this, that Awareness which alone remains - that I am.

    3. What is the nature of Awareness?
    The nature of Awareness is existence-consciousness-bliss
    This passage alone is truly magnificent, as we can see how much we need to abandon in order to attain to the state of Siva. In contrast to the teachings of the Theravadan school, the true nature of the being is considered to be "existence-consciousness-bliss", whereas the Theravadans teach that the stream of consciousness is extinguished upon the attainment of Nirvana after death.

    I find the Theravadan presentation to be too nihilistic by far. The Monist Shaivite and Higher Mahayana schools are closer to my heart in this regard.

    The only difference I can find between the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi and the Spanda, is that he considers the world illusory, whereas the Spanda teaches no such thing. In this respect I tend to agree with the Spanda, as objects of the senses do not need to be evaluated in this way. They are as they are.

    Namaste

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    Re: The Connection To Aham

    Hari Om
    ~~~~~
    Quote Originally Posted by srivijaya View Post
    Hi yajvan,
    Yes, I also find the Spanda-kārikā-s to be very helpful.

    Regarding the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi, this passage has striking parallel's to Buddha's teachings on anatta (not-self)


    This passage alone is truly magnificent, as we can see how much we need to abandon in order to attain to the state of Siva. In contrast to the teachings of the Theravadan school, the true nature of the being is considered to be "existence-consciousness-bliss", whereas the Theravadans teach that the stream of consciousness is extinguished upon the attainment of Nirvana after death.

    I find the Theravadan presentation to be too nihilistic by far. The Monist Shaivite and Higher Mahayana schools are closer to my heart in this regard.

    The only difference I can find between the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi and the Spanda, is that he considers the world illusory, whereas the Spanda teaches no such thing. In this respect I tend to agree with the Spanda, as objects of the senses do not need to be evaluated in this way. They are as they are.
    Namaste srivijaya
    Thank you for your post and quotes you offer. Yes this thing called māyā, many people have commented on it. Many take it for granted as the position of this world. I can see how it works within the schools that call it out.

    I have also given it some thought ( as have many others) and we posted some of this thinking on this HDF post http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=1768&highlight=maya

    Also in kaśmir śaivism 36 tattva-s (elements) are called out that define all of creation from the objective to the pure subjective (aham). Within the 36 there is a group called the ṣaṭ (some write ṣaḍ) kañcuka-s or the 6 coverings, I prefer calling them limitations¹. One of the six that are called out is māyā. It is these 6 that bind and tangle therefore limit.
    This māyā is called the illusion of individuality. This is a bit different then calling the world an illusion. It is said by Svāmi Laksmanjoo at the time of real knowledge (when anuttara dawns) then this māyā is transformed into His (Śiva) śakti. When puruṣa (meaning the individual-being in kaśmir śaivism) māyā becomes glory for him. It's the notion when puruṣa realizes his/her real nature, this upliftment occurs, the transformation of limitations of the individual (i.e. māyā) is re-scaled to Universal levels. And re-scaled too is not the best word. It is the re-recognition, pratyabhijña, of ones Universal status.

    Thank you again for the post and the wise words of Śrī Rāmāna Mahaṛṣi - they are always welcomed and warmly received.


    pranams

    1. 5 kañcuka-s are reviewed in this HDF post: http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=3077
    Last edited by yajvan; 19 June 2008 at 09:58 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: The Connection To Aham

    Quote Originally Posted by yajvan View Post
    It is said by Svāmi Laksmanjoo at the time of real knowledge (when anuttara dawns) then this māyā is transformed into His Śiva) śakti. When puruṣa (meaning the individual-being in kaśmir śaivism) māyā becomes glory for him. It's the notion when puruṣa realizes his/her real nature, this upliftment occurs, the transformation of limitations of the individual (i.e. māyā) is re-scaled to Universal levels. And re-scaled too is not the best word. It is the re-recognition, pratyabhija, of ones Universal status.
    Hi yajvan,
    I also find Laksmanjoo's presentation of maya to be sublime and accurate. This struck me when I read his Secret Supreme and has stayed with me since. I am discussing a similar subject with a teacher on a Dzogchen list, who posted this response to a question of mine. I present it here for your consideration , as I feel it is an excellent piece and quite relevant:
    In Dzogchen, the Natural State as the primordially pure Awareness, Rigpa, has two intrinsic aspects: One is primordial purity known as Kadag, which is the Essence as Emptiness or the Dharmakaya. The Dharmakaya has no residue of karmic afflictions and never has. The second aspect is called Spontaneous Manifestation or Lhundrub. This is the radiance of the Dharmakaya that are like the sun's rays. Both aspects are pure as are all energies at all times. Out of this pure energy arises a series of consciousness activities and subtle energies that appear as an entity of independent existence. There is a limited quasi-awareness as this consciousness which is known as ego-mind. It lives only in the world of make-believe and thought. The Dharmakaya is manifesting this pseudo-entity of consciousness, just like other energy manifestions like planets, stars, trees and animals. The difference is that these apparent physical objects appear out there as separate from us at the viewpoint from which we perceive but the pseudo-self appears as the vantage point itself from which we perceive as subject. It is this pseudo subject that has residue of karmic history or not, not Awareness, as Awareness has no karmic history or seeds from karmic activities. Dzogchen points to this directly, and thereby overturns the erroneous views of all the other yanas that conceive of a Nirvanic state with residue. Our Natural State has always been residue free and still is. That is why there is no practice necessary in Dzogchen and there is nothing to purify. Hence no concept of cessation as no arising is an obstacle. Cessation is important for the ego-mind that is attempting to free itself from suffering. Cessation would be the ending of the dream concerning that arising of ego-consciousness... but the arising of the dream of ego or not is of no concern to our Natural State, as the dream is itself the crea tive display of the Dharmakaya itself. This is known in Dzogchen to be pure sport or God playing hide-and-go-seek with Himself by putting on the various masks of His own making. He is the only player in town afterall...

    What does this experience feel like? When the Natural State is experiencing itself as itself, not its display including the display of ego-mind... this is abundantly clear that one's essence or Being is primordially perfect and changeless just as it is. That knowledge is a gnosis that is spontaneously present in such a moment.

    We must be careful of our languaging. We tend to say... when we are in the Natural State. Who is the we that is in the Natural State? As though there is a second entity who can experience the Natural State sometimes and then fall away from it. There is no second entity. The Natural State experiences itself as It is or it experiences its display as projected subject or object, but at all times the only true subject is the Natural State as Subject in all situations. It is either wearing the mask of ego or not. Mask on, mask off, the Subject remains unchanged. By removing the mask of ego, the subject is not any different than while wearing the mask of ego. This is a huge point to grasp. There is no other entity separate from the Natural State itself, that we are, that then tries to become the Natural State through practice and method. The mask can never become the Subject who is wearing the mask. The mask just becomes transparent and then is realized to be the clarity and energy of the Subject itself in the form of the mask. So called Awakening is seeing or knowing this suddenly. Like a bolt of lighting in a darkened sky.
    Namaste

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