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Thread: Why Close The Eyes?

  1. #1
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    Why Close The Eyes?

    Hari Om
    ~~~~~

    Namaste

    Isn't interesting that we discuss Brahman being everywhere, It's omnipresent. Everyone agrees, there is no place IT is not.
    It, this Brahman is in every fibre of creation, its ubiquitous. Yet for us to come to know this Being we shut our eyes! How could this be?
    It is everywhere, yet we ( many ) close our eyes to discover this Reality.

    It is due to diversity. Our senses are 'tuned' to picking up 'the many' vs. seeing 'the One'. So to even-up-the-odds we reduce the many to just the activity that is happening within us.

    Many of us sit still and practice some technique a upāya that stills the mind and allows it to settle down. Yet the final 'posture' or āsana¹ is bhairavi mudrā. This is a level of consciousness that becomes one with anuttara or Supreme. For the experiencer, one may call this turiya.

    This is done through ones daily practice or sādhanā. What is interesting is this practice is the same cycle we find in nature , in creation, hence in Śiva.
    What is this simple cycle? That of rest and activity. A simple cycle, yet it is the same cycle we see all around us. Night and day, expanding and contracting, creation and dissolution. It is just like ones meditation - that of nimīlana and unmīlana - closing the eyes (nimīlana) to go inward and experiencing silence ( pure silence is turiya), the ultimate rest; then opening the eyes (unmīlana) and coming into activity , into diversity of life.

    Śiva is characterized the same - unmeṣa opening the eyes, blossoming, and all of creation is set forth ( this is Śakti). With nimeṣa His eye close and rest , perfect silence is brought again to creation. The cycle, this throb ( some call spanda) happens inside of Śivabhaṭṭāraka¹.

    Yet for the sādhu this rest and activity goes on as part of life, part of ones sādhanā. For the sādhu the intent is quite clear - to be about to have ones eyes wide open in activity, yet still be in the final 'posture' or āsana of bhairavi mudrā.

    This some call pratimīlana¹. That is, inward facing ( possessed of the SELF) yet engaged in the world of objects and diversity. The sādhu is never shaken from the diversity of life, as s/he is firmly established in anuttara or Supreme.

    This is the posture many of us pursue. My teacher called it simply, restful alertness. Completely established & resting in the SELF, yet alert, calm, eyes open and ability to engage in life; yet unshaken by act, thought or deed. As Kṛṣṇa calls out in the Bhāgavad gītā, the same in pleasure or pain.


    pranams

    words used
    • Śivabhaṭṭāraka or Śiva-bhaṭṭāra: bhaṭṭāra - the great lord , venerable or worshipful; bhaṭ भट्- nourish, maintain
    • Bhairavī भैरवी is śrī devī; It is said Śiva is known through śakti
    • pratimīlana or prati+ mīlana - prati प्रति back , again , in return + mīlana मीलन- the act of closing the eyes
    • nimīlana निमीलन - closing, nishutting the eyes
    • unmīlana उन्मीलन - the act of opening the eyes , raising the eyelids
    • upāya उपाय- that by which one reaches one's aim , a means or expedient
    • āsana आसन - sitting in peculiar posture or pose, yet āsana is halting , stopping, abiding
    • 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
    • mudrā मुद्रा- positions or intertwinings of the fingers yet is also seal or any instrument used for sealing or stamping ; impression
    Last edited by yajvan; 24 July 2008 at 10:25 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  2. #2
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    Re: Why Close The Eyes?

    Hari Om
    ~~~~~
    Quote Originally Posted by yajvan View Post
    Many of us sit still and practice some technique a upāya that stills the mind and allows it to settle down. Yet the final 'posture' or āsana is bhairavi mudrā. This is a level of consciousness that becomes one with anuttara or Supreme. For the experiencer, one may call this turiya.
    Namaste

    So what is going on? the eye are closed. Many call this meditation. Yet there are people that surmise that meditation is thinking or contemplation, that is, the content of thoughts . Yes, there are upāya-s that consider content.

    Yet there are practices , dhāranā-s, that are more about the facility or mechanism of how one thinks and how awareness responds; not so much about the thought content itself i.e. an idea, philosophical concept, a pondering of thought, but about awareness itself.


    The dhāraṇā-s, some like to call undistracted instruction, sets up the condition for Self-referral to occur. The word for this Self-referral is called svasavedana or the knowledge derived from one's Self . Note that one need not go outside of one's Self to have this occur.

    This is the same notion given in the 1st post offered above. Curving back onto ones' SELF, this is what Śiva is known to do to bring about manifestation.
    But for the sādhu the task at hand is pratyabhijā, the re-recogntion of the SELF... this is why one is curing back onto one's SELF, to set up the conditions for this re-recognition to occur. This is the blossoming of any upāya, dhāranā or practice. And in a word what is this? The experience of turīya.
    Note, all one needs to do is set up the conditions and because this awareness in itSELF is lively, Intelligent, IT has the innate ability to re-recognize itSELF. Once this occurs this Ahh-ha! experience of the SELF, then turīya, this restful alertness begins to grow in ones daily awareness.

    Once this turīya is an every day occurence, and it never leaves, the wise call this condition turiyatit chetana or Brahma Sakshtkara ( Self Realization).
    What is this then in simple terms ? Awareness being aware of ItSELF all the time, 7x24x365.


    pranams,



    words used
    • dhāraṇā धारणा - undistracted instruction; collection or concentration of the mind (joined with the retention of breath); the act of holding , bearing , wearing , supporting , maintaining ;firmness , steadfastness , righteousness
    • svasaṃvedana स्वसंवेदन - knowledge derived from one's self
    • pratimīlana or prati+ mīlana - prati प्रति back , again , in return + mīlana मीलन- the act of closing the eyes
    • turīya तुरीय the 4th, pure consciousness; for more on turīya - see the following HDF posts if there is interest:
    • HDF posts on turya subject matter
      The import of turya - http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=1822
      The summary of the import of turya - http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=2050
      Consciousness - http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=1773
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  3. #3
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    Re: Why Close The Eyes?

    Namaste Yajvan.

    1. You have given some excellent points! Especially appealing and graphic to me is the point that Shiva 'curves back on himself' and manifests creation and that this creation happens only inside shivabhattAraka. Thus the manifest universe is nothing more than Shiva's thoughts and dreams.

    Even for us humans, dreams manifest inside the dreamer; they are not different from the dreamer; they seem only projections of maya to the dreamer; whereas to the people inside the dream they are very real. As characters in Shiva's dream of creation, the world seems very real to us.

    Because of avidyA we don't realize as dreamers that what we see is only a dream, when we are in a dream; we realize it only after we come out of the dream. dhyAna with its upAyas such as niyama, dhAraNA guide us to realization of the Self, by training us to keep our awarenss/consciousness in tact in all states of our existence.

    Actually, Shiva does a great sacrifice by 'curving back on himself' to create the universe. He goes inside out in the process! From his very nature of remaining as NirguNa Brahman (we call him DakshiNAmUrti in that state), he withdraws his Universal Self, projects the maya of his throughts and dreams on him, and animates his Universal Self as reflections into a pseudo-infinite number of individual selves, tied to each particle of MUla-prakrti. Remaining as the immanent essence of lifeforce, he watches silently the 'characters' play their roles out, in the 'drama' of the universe that he has enacted for this cycle of time. Once it commences, he stricly lets it play out as scripted by karma, as the individual selves go about their life, some observing Sanatana Dharma in full, most only partially, and many others either totally or partially against it.

    Although Shiva's grace is there like the sunlight for all who can receive it, the individual selves who progress to realize their intrinsic Self, the Shiva in them, manage to hold on to it and progress more quickly.


    2. But why close our eyes to see the Reality, when it is all around us? I think this is because in the waking state, the gross light acts as a curtain of maya and hides the Reality immanent in everything. Or I should say that the gross matter of the world distorts the light as it reflects and hides the Reality.

    Secondly, our eyes are the most powerful of our physical senses. It may not be an exaggeration to say that most of our worldly knowledge is obtained visually. So by closing our eyes we can train ourselves to 'look inside' us, scanning our inner space and peeling out the large volume of scum that has accumulated over our Self, in the form of layers upon layers of rinds and skins.

    These rinds and skins are growing steadily due to the input received from the physical eyes; they can be peeled off only by the laser-like light of the inner Self. Through niyama and dhyAna we seek to establish the connection with that torch of laser beam, to eventually hold it and burn our karmic scum with its power, so that, finally, we reach the bliss of floodlight of knowledge and realization of the Self (known as para-Shiva veLLam in Tamil).

    Glossary:
    avidyA - ignorance, primal error
    dhAraNA - concentration
    dhyAna - meditation
    niyama - voluntary restraint and control
    upAya - means

  4. #4
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    Re: Why Close The Eyes?

    Quote Originally Posted by saidevo View Post
    1. You have given some excellent points! Especially appealing and graphic to me is the point that Shiva 'curves back on himself' and manifests creation and that this creation happens only inside shivabhattAraka. Thus the manifest universe is nothing more than Shiva's thoughts and dreams.

    Even for us humans, dreams manifest inside the dreamer; they are not different from the dreamer; they seem only projections of maya to the dreamer; whereas to the people inside the dream they are very real. As characters in Shiva's dream of creation, the world seems very real to us.
    Namaste Saidevo,
    I like the points you offer. It is most interesting that all of creation does not happen outside of Śiva but within Him. That is why when one is a fully realized Being, they perceive the Infinite everywhere. My teacher says the silence is experienced on the level of the senses.

    And your example is noteworthy - that of the dream happening in the dreamer. The difference I perceive and perhaps you have an opinion on this is, Śiva's svātantrya or absolute freedom to choose. He chooses timing, events, content, size, etc. As He has total control of this parāśakti to bring sṛṣṭi (or manifest creation). For us we are still being influenced by events and happenings that surround us.

    Perhaps others have a POV on this.

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

    _

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