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Thread: the view of Self...

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    the view of Self...

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    How often do you hear this word Self on HDF? When we mention Self what are the ways this can be considered?
    • ātmán - the individual soul , self ; essence
    • jivātmā - is the view of 'many individual souls'
    • kṣetrajña - individual self or 'knowing the body' i.e. the soul
    • jñānatā or jñātatā - being the knower
    • ahaṁ - 'I'
    • sākṣin - internal witness
    • sārīrin - having a body... what has this body ? the soul or Self.
    There are a few concepts one may encounter. If I were a cārvāka¹ I would just say the Self is the living body - end of story. Once you are dead all the components disintegrate and one is no more. This consciousness we experience comes from the collection of stuff the body is made of... that is consciousness is the product of our assembly . When we dis-assemble there is no more consciousness , no more Self.

    Others think the stream of thoughts ~mind~ is the Self. There is only the empirical (provable or verifiable by experience) Self and no more.

    From an advaita point of view the Self is One Self-shining luminous (prakāśa) intelligence. There is One, we see many. There is the ignorance. Once this prakāśa is realized there is One Self that is experienced. Yet it is neither subject nor object - beyond 'I' or 'me'.

    Now there is a slightly different view of this that this Self as an Intelligent subject of the highest , or Supreme 'I'. It is not mere consciousness but a Supreme Knower some may call ahankārāśaya or even the Ultimate Enjoyer (mahā-bhukta , Ultimate + that which is eaten or enjoyed)

    Some think there is One universal Self, others think there are multiple Selves - one per body. Hence begins the different schools or teachings (śikṣā-s&#185.

    So were does this Self-awareness ( pratyaktva -towards one's self ) come in ?

    praṇām

    words
    • cārvāka - a materialist point of view; follower of cārvāka
    • śikṣā - teaching , training ; learning study knowledge
    Last edited by yajvan; 17 July 2010 at 06:10 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  2. #2
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    Re: the view of Self...

    Thanks for starting a thread which can have some useful discussion.

    You have asked:
    "So were does this Self-awareness ( pratyaktva -towards one's self ) come in ?"

    Two terms, pratyak and parAk, hold the key to the view of the Self.

    • The term pratyak is a comparative form of pratyancha which has the meanings 'turning inwards, being or coming from behind, inwardly, within'. Thus 'prayak' suggests the meaning 'private'--compare 'pratyeka--each one, one at a time, singly'.

    Therefore, pratyaktva indicates the perception of 'I-sense' in/of the Self. Let us note that the Self by itself does not have the 'I-sense', but when it manifests as the many it arrogates an antaH-karaNa--manas--mind and buddhi--intellect, and chitta--individual consciousness, to each manifestation, which in turn creates this feeling of 'I-ness' in each manifestation.

    • The term parAk literally means 'directed towards the outer world, proximity'. It is a very common term in many Indian languages.

    For example, in Tamizh we have the gentle admonition, 'ennaDA, parAkku pArkarE?'--'Hey, why are you inattentive, looking here and there?' Similarly, the royal arrival of a King with his entourage is announced with the calling-attention words '...such and such great King is coming, parAk, parAk, parAk!' The term 'pArA' in Tamizh means 'watch, guard, patrol'.

    • Philosophically and spirutally, any object which attains/is attained by another, or illumines another is understood as parAk. All the objects of a universe, such as a clay jar, etc. exist for and because of the 'I-sense' of the Self, hence they are parAk.

    • Thus we have pratyak-Atman standing for the jIva-Atman (individual Self) and paramAtman standing for the Supreme Self.

    So, when there are two human forms of individual Self, say A and B, the feeling of I-ness is also felt individually by both A and B, because B is not experienced as 'I' by A and vice versa. Thus both A and B have their own 'I-sense' individually. Collectively, however, neither of them is willing to grant a multiple 'I' (this due to the assertion of the unity of the immanent Supreme Self), so they refer to them together as 'we', and feel that they have retained their individual I-nesses, their individual selves.

    • Now the question arises about the reality of the Self and its individual forms. Dr.K.RAdhAkRShNan explains that since the Supreme Self always asserts its unity and absolute reality, the individual egos have no reality apart from the Self, and they all exist in the Self. The assertion of unity by the Supreme Self, however, does not negate the empirical reality of the individual selves.

    *****

    The worldly awareness of parAktva is easily diminished and dismissed because of the feeling of only my-ness and not I-ness with the external objects and senses. Then the awareness and the inquiry of I-ness shifts inwards to one's antaH-karaNa--manas, buddhi, chitta and ahaMkAra. Soon the sAdhaka--seeker, gets to KNOW that they are not the Self either because they too only give the feeling of my-ness.

    Finally, the sAdhaka gets around to the knowledge that his pratyak-Atman--individual Self is the same as the paramAtman--Supreme Self. Once this identify is experienced, the jIva understands that its I-sense is as much unreal as its my-sense, and that both get lost and merged into the sat-chit-Ananda anubhavam of Self-Realization.
    रत्नाकरधौतपदां हिमालयकिरीटिनीम् ।
    ब्रह्मराजर्षिररत्नाढ्यां वन्दे भारतमातरम् ॥

    To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.

    --viShNu purANam

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    Re: the view of Self...

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    namast

    I have read on several occasions that the body is just a mass of inertness. It is this sākṣin ( internal witness) or sārīrin (having a body... what has this body ? the soul or Self) that brings life to this mass of flesh.
    I wonder. I see and agree this Self is what brings awareness to the individual yet when I think of the body, I look to its wonder. How many functions occur without our knowing . The complete autonomic nervous system runs without the least-bit of asking for our conscious direction. When was the last time your pancreas asked you how much insulin should be produced?

    The body as I see it is a highly functional apparatus that has been honed over the millions of years of our making. It is there to take direction from its 'owner' on what to do and where to go. Yet for its general functioning it seems quite capable of function without our intervention if we keep it properly fed, watered and exercised.

    Yet for our conversation we consider the body, its functioning and the ego behind it as 'self' , and this sārīrin as Self. It is this small self that is transitory and disposable, and the Self which is without boundaries. The Self the wise say it is of great value to get to know.

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

    _

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    Re: the view of Self...

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    namasté


    Quote Originally Posted by yajvan View Post


    So were does this Self-awareness ( pratyaktva -towards one's self ) come in ?
    The bṛhadaraṇyaka upaniṣad gives us some advice as yajñavalkya-muni speaks to his wife:
    O' maitreyi this Self is to be properly heard of; to be properly cogitated upon and to be realized in meditation.

    Yajñavalkya-muni points to 3 things worthy for this preparation:
    • śravaṇa - the act of hearing or 'that which is heard' = śruti iti śravaṇāt , 'because it is so heard or revealed'
    • manana - thinking , reflection , thought , intelligence , understanding
    • nidīdhyāsana - or nidī + dhyāna + āsana = to shine down upon + meditation + seat or posture.
      Hence the posture of meditation that brings one light and luster, luminance, brilliance.
    By suggesting the information above a particular school (śikṣā) is being suggested - vedānta.

    With vedānta the conversation/debate/POV is what is the relationship between ātmán or jivā and brahman? We find many views but the 'gravity' of the views seem to concentrate to the following:
    • śaṅkara-ji says there is no difference at all , hence this called ādvaita or non-duality, not two. The spark and the flame are one.
    • madhva-ji - says the two (jivā and brahman) are distinctly two ; this is considered dvaita or duality , duplicity , dualism. The spark and the flame remain separate. They are of the same nature, but still dual.
    • rāmanuja-ji says the two are identical yet jivā remains subordinate to the supreme cosmic principle of brahman. The spark and the flame are the same, yet the spark is still subordinte to the flame. This is called viśiṣṭādvaita or viśiṣṭa + advaita some call the qualified non-dualistic view.
      Viśiṣṭa means distinguished , distinct , particular but also pre-eminent , excellent , excelling in or distinguished. IMHO rāmanuja-ji was aiming to this excellent , excelling in or distinguished view of advaita.
    What then are these beacon's of truth offering to the adhikāri¹ or seeker? The understanding of All this is indeed brahman.
    But which one is right?, you ask? I can say without hesitation all 3 are proper views pending one's state of consciousness. All three views are robust and profound.

    If I am the earth and say I travel through day-and-night all the time. I am correct as long as I am on this earth. Yet if I take the the view of the Sun - He says , all I see is the earth bathed in the sun that is offered all the time by me... the sun never stops shining on the earth.
    Both are true pending ones station.

    Knowledge and its application depends on one's point of view & ability to comprehend Reality. These 3 views ādvaita, dvaita and
    viśiṣṭādvaita gives us 3 angles of Reality. It allows us to look out our windows of perception in 3 different directions and appreciate truth or Reality (sattā) from 3 different understandings... this is the blessing we're offered - not the contest that some make it to be.

    Are there other views? Absolutely. Yet this last post was on vedānta as the point being offered.

    praṇām

    words
    1. adhikārī : adhi = concerning + kārī = effort , exertion or one expending effort, a seeker
    Last edited by yajvan; 17 July 2010 at 06:18 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: the view of Self...

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    namast

    What of this Self and a description from the upaniṣads? One I am most fond of is from the kaṭha upaniṣad. Its notoriety comes
    from the conversation of yama (Lord of Death) and the boy naciketas.

    Yama-ji talks of the Self to naciketas.
    Sitting still it moves afar (dūra);
    lying down, it goes everywhere (sarvata).
    who save myself (yama) is able to know
    that effulgent Being (deva) who rejoices and who rejoices not (madāmadaṁ).

    What does this śloka say? Sitting still or lying down suggests 1 place, yet saying dūra it is found everywhere or sarvata. This sarvata suggests ( by definition) that the Self is 'all-sided' and it is totality or sarvatā. There is no place this Self is not.
    By suggesting this it is equating Self to brahman - as one whole Being without parts.
    But what of this rejoicing and rejoicing-not business? The word mada is hilarity , rapture , excitement , inspiration .And amada is cheerless. It is saying (IMHO) that this Self as Absolute is perfect stillness, perfect silence. Yet it as all manifest creation has activity and within this field rejoices. Another view is one's personal experince
    that is possessed of the Self. The person is perfectly at rest and cradeled in the silence of the Self within, perfectly anchored in Self, yet on the relative field of daily life where activity flows, there is the activies of daly life and there is joy in the actions that are pursued.

    praṇām



    words
    this kaṭha can be looked at a few ways:
    • kaṭha
      • of a sage (a pupil of vaiśampāyana and founder of a branch of the yajur-veda , called after him)
      • a pupil or follower of kaṭha ; fyi - a female pupil or follower of kaṭha would be a kaṭhī
    • kathā
      • conversation , speech , talking together
      • kā kathā - what should one say of? how should one speak of?
      • story , tale ; a story personified
    • naciketas is defined as 'of a man' , yet ;
      • naciketas is rooted in 'cit' to know. So we can view it as na + cit or not knowing. This applies to the story as to naciketas and ~ not knowing~ how profund his questions are to yama-ji.
      • na + keta is another view of his name - na = no + keta = desire , wish , will , intention . So na+keta is he who is without a desire or wish. This too applies as naciketas is not desirable of the worldly offers made to him by yama-ji ( the Lord of Death).
      • Another view I like is na + ci + keta : na = not or no + ci = to aquire for oneself + keta = desire or wish. This infers naciketas is one with no desires or wishes for himself . This applies to his only wish to do right by his father at a sacrifice where naciketas' father did not perform the scarifice to the best of his ability. Naciketas wishing only the best for father nudges him to right choices, wht is best for father, comes at the offering
        of naciketas to yama-ji.
    • dūra - far; distance , remoteness (in space and time)
    • sarvata I see two ways : sarvata is 'all sided' or everywhere; yet sarvatā is wholeness, totality.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: the view of Self...

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    namast



    For me, the is the beauty of vedānta and comes with the next the next śloka, number 23 of how the Self is revealed to the adhikārī (seeker).
    The 23rd śloka says the following:

    This Self is unattainable by instruction, by intellectual power nor even through much learning of the scriptures;
    It is attainable to whom It chooses, to such person it reveals Itself wholly.

    There are a few important points to this śloka worthy of review and requires a keen understanding to appreciate the knowledge that lies within.
    • The notion that the Self is not attained by mere instruction or reading suggests that it is not an academic exercise of achievement.
    • Listening, reading and learning about the Self (pravacana) makes one competent and establishes conviction, so says ādi śaṅkara-ji.
    • Actions ( study, instruction, pravacana, etc) help to purify the mind, to prepare the mind for the realization of the Self yet
      does finally deposit the indiviual to the wholeness, totality ( sarvatā ) of the Self. But that said, kṛṣṇa talks of ways ' skill in action' in the Bhāgavad gītā. Refined methods (yoga) where actions assist the individual in thier sādhana.
    • It is the SELF who chooses who it reveals itSelf to. Here is the fine point one must ponder: The Self chooses the seeker, the adhikārīn. It is to the one who feels in himself/herself that they are the apparent form of the Self . Upon looking for this Self the Self reveals itSelf to them.
      This intensive looker can be called the mumukṣu - the one with the burning desire for liberation. It is as if the seeker chooses the Self, and the Self chooses the seeker.
    Now this point of the Self revealing itSelf to itSelf also appears ( word for word) in the muṇḍaka upaniṣad (3.2.3), hence the import of this knowledge.

    praṇām

    words
    • pravacana - oral instruction , teaching , expounding , exposition , interpretation ; sacred writings such as. the brāhmaṇas or the vedāṅgas
    • ādi śaṅkara (also known as śaṅkara bhagavatpāda) offers this knowledge in his Vivekacūḍāmaṇi
    • adhikārīn : adhi = concerning + kārī = effort , exertion or one expending effort or kārin the doer, actor i.e. the seeker
    • mumukṣu is the one with the burning desire for liberation.
      • If could that the liberty and write it like mu+mū+kṣu then we have:
      • mu = final liberation ( also another name of śiva);
      • mū is bound; the act of binding or tying
      • kṣu or kṣ - is food ( 2nd derivation )
      • So mu+mū+kṣu = the food (kṣu) of the bound (mū) for liberation (mu) - meaning that which he/she takes in (kṣu) to turn the bound (mū)
        to the liberated (mu).
      • Or in this view : mu+mū (k)+ṣu : ṣu is delivery . Now we have the delivery (ṣu) from bound (mū) to libermated (mu).
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: the view of Self...

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    namast


    With post 1 above I mentioned ahaṁ - 'I' as another name for Self. Many see this 'I' as ego, yet there is another name called abhivimāna meaning endowed with the faculty called abhimāna 'Self-reference'.

    This ātmn is the I behind the I or abhimāna 'Self-reference'.
    This causes some angst when talking on this matter as we get hung up with the words. Let me explain.


    'I' usually means in ordinary parlance, oneself, that is connected with a personality, an ego. The more appropriate word would be ahaṁkāra (some write ahaṇkāra) called 'I maker' ( ahaṁ+kāra ). It (ahaṁkāra) is the conception of one's individuality , one's ego. It is one of boundries, likes and dis-likes, big-small, coming-and-going transitory life. It is not of the Infinite we think, perhaps as the wise think and live, that is ahaṁ = ātmn = abhivimāna = Self-reference = Universal Self.

    Here is the pickle - we talk of 'I' but really mean 'i' .... small 'i' that of boundaries. Let's define it :
    • 'I' = ahaṁ = ātmn = the Infinite/Universal Self
    • 'i' = ahaṁkāra = individuality or ego = boundaries = self
    It is this small self that comes and goes . It is this Self that is eternal.
    That is why this term ahaṁkāra called 'I maker' is so interesting. It is as if this Universal Self is bound to this small self and is doing/acting. It seems that way because of our frame of reference. We constantly say ' I am going to work', 'I am going shopping ' , 'I am______ (fill in the blank)'.
    This I is really not bound to making or doing anything in its pure nature, it is unbounded. Yet we in our ignorance bind it, as if one could put all of the ocean into a drop of water i.e. the Infinite into the finite.

    He (the Supreme Self) was in the form of puruṣa ( a person); He looked around and saw nothing else but Himself. He said I am, there fore his name is ahaṁ 'I'... bhadarayaka upaniad - puruavidha-brāhmaa, 1st śloka


    The base of the personal pronoun ahaṁ 'I' is asmad. This asmad is 'as' = 'to be' and also 'to become' + 'mad' = to rejoice , be glad , exult , delight. So the Supreme Self as ahaṁ is to be ( which is Existence itself - sattā) 'to beome' or manifest i.e. creation + 'mad' to delight and rejoice in this being and becoming.

    The notion of manifesting comes with the word 'mad', as it also means to boil or bubble. And 'mad' is rooted in 'mand' defined as to shine , be splendid or beautiful.
    So this Universal Self is not only existence that bubbles up ( creation) but is also of its own nature delightful, luminous and splendid.

    Such is the magnificence of this ahaṁ 'I' that is within you and without you.

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

    _

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    Re: the view of Self...

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    namast

    Such is the magnificence of this ahaṁ 'I' that is within you and without you

    We talk often of the oneness of Being , tad-ekam or That One. These are very uplifting words. That this creation in Reality is one contiguious unit . It is the notion that aṅga ( the part, or limb) is aṅgi , the whole.

    Yet for this to become one's vision and experience, the journey starts with discovering/experiencing/realizing the Self that lies within. The wholeness that is in all of us is the first stop before seeing the Unity of all of creation.

    It seems to make sense ,no? To work on the seer before looking at the seen?
    praṇām
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: the view of Self...

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~
    namasté

    Quote Originally Posted by yajvan View Post
    It is the notion that aṅga ( the part, or limb) is aṅgi , the whole.

    Yet for this to become one's vision and experience, the journey starts with discovering/experiencing/realizing the Self that lies within. The wholeness that is in all of us is the first stop before seeing the Unity of all of creation.
    So, to realize this Self one takes to sādhana meaning leading straight to the goal. What is implied is ' those acts, behaviors, meditations, upāya-s¹ ' that lead one to the goal. We would probably be more familiar with the other definition (as there are many) : performance , worship, adoration of a spiritual nature that brings about the establishment of the truth ( of who we are in essence).


    One then becomes a sādaka - an efficient or skilful person , involved in perfecting , finishing (themsleves) ; an adept , a worshipper. Some may see a difference between a sādaka and sādhu. With the sādhu, there is the inference that this adept has become realized or a holy person, virtuious, good/sattvic by nature. I will leave this to others to debate if there is equality or not between the sādaka and sādhu.


    What is of great interest to me that I wish to offer for your consideration is the beauty of this word sādhana. We can look at it this way - sā+dhana or sā+dha+na
    • sa - is knowlege, also meditation; sa is also giving , bestowing , granting;
    • is a noun for viṣṇu or śiva and if applied in the femine gender then lakṣmi or gaurī.
    • dhana - the prize , wealth , treasure
    So sa+dhana is that which bestows the prize, the treasure. +dhana is that which bestows the treasure of viṣṇu or śiva.
    Or the knowledge or meditation (sa) + that brings the treasure (dhana). And what is the 'treasure' ? or the infinite i.e. viṣṇu or śiva

    sā+dha+na
    • sā we have just defined above + dha
    • dha = holding , possessing + na
    • na - this 'na' has a few defintions.
      • One is 'knowledge' , another is 'unbroken' . There are other definitions of 'na' but for this post the two that have been offered are the 3rd derivitives of this 'na'.
    We can now apply it - sā+dha+na is that which holds or possesses (dha) the unboken knowlege (na) of sā , the Supreme viṣṇu or śiva, some also call this the Universal Self. So this sā+dha+na is the unbroken experience ( 7x24x365) of the Supreme.

    praṇām

    1. upāya - that by which one reaches one's aim , a means or expedient
    Last edited by yajvan; 21 July 2010 at 09:17 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: the view of Self...

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~
    namasté


    This sarvata suggests ( by definition) that the Self is 'all-sided' and it is totality or sarvatā¹. There is no place this Self is not.Yet it is the notion that aṅga ( the part, or limb) is aṅgi , the whole

    We have these two ~slightly~ different views of Self but saying the same thing. Can we view these concepts another way? Let me offer the following for your consideration and comments.

    It is said that ātman is ātata - that the Self in us (brahman) is spread , extended , stretched or drawn ( ātata). But drawn where? Infinitely.
    This ātman is treated as puruṣa in many śāstra-s and helps us make the connection. When I think of this word puruṣa I am drawn to the notion of the Universal Self. And if we look to the beauty of this word we find how this puruṣa fits in us. Let's look at it a few ways :

    Viewing it thus as puru + ṣa
    • puru = much, many, abundant + ṣa ( sounding like the 's' in sun) means excellent, best but also eternal happiness , final emancipation.
    This puruṣa = puru + ṣa is then the abundance ( infinite) of happiness and emancipation

    Another view is pura + śaya
    or pura śayati iti = dweller of the city, from the kahopaniad

    • pura is known as 'the city' , also a fortress , castle, etc. and is used as a epithet of our body. The body is called the city of 11 gates¹. The kaṭhopaniṣad (2nd adhyāya) helps us out and says it this way, The dehin - the embodied ones, humans are puram ekādaśa dvāram or the city (puri - city, fortress, town) of 11 ( ekā 1+ daśa10) gates (dvāra).
      • Note that we can also write pura as puri defined as a town or river
    • śaya is resting or abiding.
    This puruṣa as pura + śaya is resting or abiding in 'the city' or in the human being

    Another view is from the bṛhadaraṇyaka upaniṣad :
    Before all this ( as the ṛṣi is talking about ' in the beginning' ) He was the first who burnt all evils therefore (he became known as ) puruṣa.

    This puruṣa if we do a little digging is etymologically connected to pūrvam uṣā - pūrvam = former , prior , preceding , previous to, earlier than + uṣā = burning , scorching and a list of other things like daybreak, early moring as the sun burns off the night. Hence from pūrvam + uṣā we arrive at pūruṣa , and the appropriateness of this used in the śloka that was offered.

    How can we make thses connections ? It is based upon the definition of puruṣa (some spell pūruṣa) itself. It is initially defined as a man , male , human being ; pumān puruṣaḥ is considered a male person .
    Also known as puruṣaka, this brings us back to man, but also 'standing on two feet like a man'

    We know puruṣa when used spiritually is considered the Supreme Being. We sometimes see it written with para , parama , or uttama e.g. para-puruṣa or paramapuruṣa ; This puruṣa is also identified with brahmā , viṣṇu , śiva and durgā.

    So with these words we're able to connect the human with the infinite; the micro with the marco , the limited to the unlimited.
    In each case we are viewing aṅga ( the part, or limb) as representing aṅgi , the whole within ourselves.

    praṇām

    words
    11 gates
    • 9 gates = 9 openings 2 eyes, 2 ears, 1 mouth, 2 nostrils, and two below the waist. Note that various śastra call out the body with 9, 10 and 11 gates.
    • 10 gates : 9 openings forementioned + the navel.
    • 11 gates : 10 gates forementioned + vidrti विदृतिor the opening in the top of skull (some call it the suture)
    Last edited by yajvan; 26 July 2010 at 07:19 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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