Sunday, June 7, 2015

Satsang Questions by Radhaji and Answers by Pujya Swamiji- on Ishvara

excerpts from

Radha: The first one…set…is about Isvara [the Lord], again. Sometimes Swamiji uses the phrase for Isvara, ‘manifest knowledge.’ Other times, Swamiji used to talk upaadaanakaarana, nimittakaarana [material cause, efficient cause]. So could

Swamiji: It’s all the same.

Radha: But could Swamiji just elaborate?

Swamiji: Yeah. Yeah. See, when you say ‘the maker and material cause,’ it is based upon the usual karana-karya [cause-effect] understanding. People have cause/effect understanding, like a pot/pot maker. So mere pot maker cannot make a pot, and clay itself cannot make itself into a pot. It has to be in the hands
of a pot maker. The pot maker without clay also cannot make a pot.
Therefore, you need two causes for making a pot. One is maker, and the material. This is the general understanding. And now, first we present this for Isvara, maker and material. Then, is there a separation between the maker and the material? We raise a question.

Then we say, ‘there is no separation here,’ for which we give an example, the dreamer and the dreamt world. The Upanishad gives an example of spider and web. But we give this example of…I give the example of the dreamer and the dreamt world. 

So, the dreamer is the one who makes the dream world. He’s a conscious being who has got knowledge and has got power to make the dream world. Otherwise, he can’t make it. And then the dream world is…is also from the maker. Any material is required for making the dream world is only from the maker. Therefore, maker and the material cause are one and the same.

You say this. If you give a spider and the other example for maker and the material cause being one and the same, that example is over. This is one level of understanding Ishvara. 

This Ishvara understanding is not enough really, because it’ll be away from you. That Ishvara is still away from you. But that’s not the truth. But we try to bring Ishvara closer by including…my body, mind, sense complex as a part of the jagat [the world]. Then once that is included, Ishvara has come closer. 

Still Ishvara is the material cause for the jagat [the world]. Then the material is always taken as something insentient. Therefore, the sentient insentient division is a very big division in Vishishtadvaita, in all this. In dvaitam it’s very big, cid-jada-bheda [sentient insentient division]. So this is a…bheda [division]…

And therefore, this…when you say material cause, what do you mean? One more question we have to ask. My dream example is a dream example. You can’t get an example like that.
You have to dream for such an example. Bhagavan ne diya hai.  It’s a blessing, that example, because in the dream, the material cause for the dream world is nothing but your knowledge. Your knowledge is manifest in the form of jagat, because you have got knowledge of trees, knowledge of mountain, knowledge of clouds, knowledge of birds, and then you have that knowledge manifesting in that form.

If you don’t have that knowledge, there will be no manifestation. Tad-aikshata, tad-asrjata [He saw that, he created that] The Upanishad makes it very clear. sa tapo'tapyata. [He deliberated] jnanam ayam tapah [Knowledge is this tapas]. Knowledge…

Therefore, it is unmanifest knowledge, undifferentiated knowledge, as though differentiated. Differentiated for us to recognize one from
the…distinct from the other. Therefore, there you get sentient, insentient because of sukshma-sharira [subtle body], sthula-sharira [physical body], sentient, insentient. That which has no
suukshma [subtle (body)] is insentient. That which has suukshma [subtle (body)] is sentient. 

Like in the dream there is a mountain. There is a mountain
rat. Whether the mountain animal is sentient, and the mountain is insentient, but both of them are objects of my knowledge, non-separate from consciousness.

Therefore, there is no acetana [insentient]. There is no cetana- acetana- bhedau. For dvaita that is the problem, cetana- acetana- bhedah [sentient insentient division]. There is no acetana [insentient]. There is the presence of suukshma [subtle (body)] and absence of suukshma [subtle (body)]. The mountain doesn’t
have suukshma-sharira [subtle body], and the mountain lion has got suukshma-sharira[subtle body]. (Laughs) Correct?
So the difference, sentient and insentient, is there, but the basis is different. It is not consciousness, and other than consciousness is jadam [inert]. There is no such thing.

Therefore, it’s so important to present Ishvara…Ishvara’s all knowledge alone is this jagat [world]. 

And also, analysis of the jagat [world] as mithya [dependent reality] implies naturally understanding of naamaruupa [name and form], which is reduced to further naamaruupa [name and form]. If you take one naamaruupa  [name and form], and then it is reduced to so many other names, naamni naamaani [names in the name], only naama [name] is there. Shirt if you take, shirt is a name and a
form. Shirt is a word and a form, the meaning. That’s in your head. It’s not outside, really. It’s right in your head only in the form of knowledge.

Then whenever you see such a form, you call it ‘shirt.’ But then, you can’t think of that shirt independent of fabric. You can’t even think. That is what we call ‘naama’ [name]. You can’t imagine.
What is the big deal? There is a shirt. We say there is a shirt, and there is no shirt. You can’t think of it. You can’t think of it without thinking of another, but whereas, you can think of fabric without thinking of shirt. Therefore, fabric becomes satyam [the truth-what is actually there]. Shirt is only name with a meaning.

In the beginning there was word, and the word was with God. This is what I give the meaning for that. Then afterwards, then the fabric becomes satyam [the truth-what is actually there], and that…

Suppose you say ‘satyam aatmaa tat tvam asi’ [the Self is the truth, you are that] then you have to say ‘I am fabric.’ No. The
fabric also is put together. It is also put together. It is name and form, its cause yarn is satyam. Therefore, fabric is just another word. You can’t think of fabric without yarn. Therefore, yarn you can’t think of without the fibers. 

So, that means what you cannot think of without the presence of what? And that is mithya [dependent reality]. And satyam [reality] is the one without which you can’t think of the other. And that is satyam. 

That is only self-evident being.

So, for satyam/mithya [reality/dependent reality] understanding it is so important to point out Ishvara is nothing but all knowledge, who is manifest in the form of jagat [the world], which is naamaruupa [name and form]. The beauty is the knowledge, and each name has got its own something, function, etc. This includes laws, all actions, means, ends, causes, effects within that. That’s what we understand.

Then, I reduce it to order, Ishvara, that all knowledge manifesting is available for our understanding. Otherwise, how will you know all knowledge? All knowledge you cannot know. Unless you have all knowledge, you cannot understand what is all knowledge. 

Therefore, all knowledge I reduce to just orders, a few orders, adequate orders, for us to understand all.

So, we are within the order. So we can get to see what is adhishthana-devatas, what is everything. So beautiful.

Radha: Swamiji, even though we can’t have a perception of infinite manifest knowledge, and we require sruti- pramana [the Upanishads, which are a means of knowledge] for that, still in this moment of Swamiji’s perception of the world is the Ishvaratvam of the world [the world being Ishvara]…of this perception that you
are having right now direct immediate knowledge, or is it…?

Swamiji: It’s knowledge.

Radha: What kind of knowledge? Like for Swamiji…

Swamiji: You see, there is a, there is a…There are two types of sarvajïatvam [all-knowledge, omniscience].

Radha: Yeah

Swamiji: One is general, reality-wise. The other is detail-wise. So here also, the sarvajïatvam [all-knowledge, omniscience] is in terms of order and all that, so we can understand Ishvara. Then in terms of details of the whole thing, that is what every discipline of knowledge is going into. There is biology. There is physiology. It’s endless. And that is what they are trying to get the details of Ishvara.

Swamiji: Therefore, you are in the presence of…your awareness of the presence of Ishvara is in terms of the total, samasthi [the total, the whole] . That’s all what you want. 
manmana bhava madbhakto bhava mam yaji mam namaskuru [“May you become one whose mind is committed to Me, who is devoted to Me, who offers rituals to Me, and may you surrender to Me.” BG 9.34] 
All these vakyas [sentences] are only asking for our awareness in terms of the total, that vibhuuti [glory] Bhagavadvibhuuti [the Lord’s glories]. Tenth chapter, you know, Gita.

Radha: Yeah. Let me ask in a different way, Swamiji, cause my question is not that clear.

Swamiji: Yeah.

Radha: If Swamiji says, “There is nothing here but brahman. This is only brahman. I am the whole. I am the whole.” What type of knowledge is that?

Swamiji: That is aparoksha [direct immediate knowledge].

Radha: When Swamiji says, “I am the whole,” looking out at all of these…

Swamiji: Subject object is whole. At any one thing, the wholeness is only subject object. There is no other wholeness.

Radha: So in Swamiji’s experience, saying right now, “I am the whole,”…

Swamiji: Yeah.

Radha: …could you break down that internal experience that allows Swamiji to say that?

Swamiji: You see, you breakdown the subject being non-separate from…from the self-evident consciousness, and object also is non-separate from the self-evident consciousness, which is sat cit.

Radha: Would Swamiji say that is aparoksha-jnnaam [direct immediate knowledge] because there is no dehatmabuddhi [taking the body to be the Self]?

Swamiji: Yeah.

Radha: If the dehatmabuddhi is not there then there is nothing separating your self-experience from any perception.

Swamiji: I mean…that’s another way of saying. Yeah, that’s okay. But suppose you look at even the deha. It can be the same. If you look at the deha…focus…any one focus implies subject object. And the subject object, both are one and the same. And the subject and the object are not negated, but they are…they draw their being from what is self-revealing consciousness, atmaa [the Self]. So that is the whole.

Radha: There’s a logical jump that I’m trying to get at there. It’s this. In terms of the vrtti [thought modification] it’s very clear that the vrtti comes from me, is sustained by me, resolves into me, is nothing but me. The mithyaatva being {dependent reality] all of the aspects of the vrtti as mithyä [dependent reality], and having me as its being is clear.

It’s aparoksha-jnanam [direct, immediate knowledge]. It’s the logic. The experiential logic is there. But then when we go from the vrtti to the perception…the objects of perception, there’s going from the subjective to the objective, and so, to be able to say...

Swamiji: It’s the same. You see, now that is why it is important to understand Ishvara.

Radha: Yeah.

Swamiji: Because otherwise, this will be reductionism.

Radha: What does Swamiji mean?

Swamiji: I mean if you simply just talk about the vrtti, and then that can be dismissed.

Radha: Exactly

Swamiji: In fact, that is dismissed by all the dualists, that is dismissed, and uh...because unless the world that you deal with is purely idealism…It is idealistic. The world is idealistic means, you think and therefore it is.

Radha: Solipsism

Swamiji: It’s not the truth. Whether you think or not, it is. And that is why you get bumps on the road. You know? And therefore, so whether you think, or you don’t think, it is there. So that’s
a…If that is included…That’s why Ishvara, we have to say. 

That is why we say,subject and object are brahman. That’s a very beautiful thing. Why? Because there is no object outside sat [existence]. That sat is important.

When the outside object comes, you have to add sat [existence]. Inside, cit [consciousness] is enough Any vrtti [thought modification] you want to resolve, cit is enough, consciousness is enough. When you come out the existence is there of the object, whether you like it or not, whether you see it or not. 

Therefore, sight is only if that only brings what is there into your
understanding. What is already there, you come to know through your vrtti. Therefore that has got an existent thing.

So we think that it is self-existent. No. That is not a reality. That is vyavaharikam [empirical reality]. The paramarthika [absolute reality] is the satyam [existence] of the vrtti[thought modification] and the satyam of the object of the vrtti is one and the same. Is. That isness of consciousness.

Radha: But we know that it’s one and the same through a logical
progression. In other words, that I know any object here is really nothing but naama [a name] that’s infinitely divisible. It has a beginning and an end. It has no substance of its own.

Swamiji: We have to do that logical…that is the contemplation. In
contemplation…in contemplation you use one step or two steps, and then resolve, resolve. Then afterwards, you need not resolve. Consciousness is.

Radha: You need not resolve because that knowledge has taken place.

Swamiji: Yeah. Knowledge is set. ‘Is’ is consciousness. The moment you say…see an object is that’s consciousness. That is. Sat is cit. Cit is sat. That’s aparoksha [direct, immediate knowledge]. And the paroksha of Ishvara as sarvavit [the indirect knowledge of the Lord as omniscient in reference to detailed knowledge] will always be there for the individual.

UNDERSTANDING AVIDYA – Adapted from Pujya Swamiji’s talk on Avidya

Avidya in Vedanta shastra is a technical word. In Vedanta texts we see ‘avidya’ as the cause of the world. If it is translated as ‘ignorance’ can create a problem - it means we are saying ‘ignorance’ is the cause of this world. When we look at the world what we see it is all knowledge – in fact the world is a manifestation of knowledge. So a translation of ‘Avidya’ as ignorance is wrong.

Is ‘Avidya’ absence of knowledge? It cannot be absence of knowledge either – because there is no substance called ‘absence’ or abhava – world cannot come from abhava – absence. Nothing is ever born of no thing. Everything is born of something … something positively exisistent. And ‘Avidya’ is told to be the cause of the world.

So then what is the meaning of ‘Avidya’ – as cause of the world, it can only be the Maya shakti of Brahman – the power of absolute consciousness to create, sustain and resolve all that is here that appears to be many.
The Shastra vision is na iha nana asti kincana – there is no maniness here whatsoever. Shastra points out that duality does not exist any which way you look at it, because this jagat is brahma  karyam -  an effect of Brahman – and therefore this universe, is non-separate from Brahman being its effect. A golden chain is nothing but gold. In fact, there is no substance called chain, the chain is all the way gold, simply and a name for a form of gold. The cause is gold and the effect the chain is gold. So too this jagat  being an effect of Brahman is nothing other than Brahman. The cause exists without the effect, yet the effect can never exist without the cause. Brahman is jagat karanam. Does brahman exist without jagat? Yes. It is satyam, jnanam, anantam Brahman.  It exists without the effect, but the effect does not exist without the cause. Brahma kaaryatvaat it is Brahma.

In the jagat what we see is that when we create a pot, we need both the clay, the material cause, as well as the pot-maker, the maker or efficient cause. In the case of jagat, there are no two causes. There is only one cause – no second cause whatsoever – because there is only one here – ekam eva advitiyam – one without a second. And whatever is that one cause it obtains in the effect. The Shastra gives us an example to assimilate this – it points out that the spider is the maker of its web and the material for the web is also from the spider itself. Both the maker and material are one and the same.

It means the maker has the knowledge of what it is going to do. There is a fact here – that the maker should know what he/she makes – this fact is always there for us to assimilate the nature of the cause-effect relationship. In the case of this jagat what is the material cause? If we say ’avidya’ and take it as meaning as ignorance – it would be ridiculous.

In the Brahma Sutra adhyasa-bhashya Bhagavan Shankaracarya points out that that adhyasa – atasmin tad buddhi ­ seeing something as what it is not is avidya that which is opposed to knowledge. In what is not dual, one sees duality – atasmin tad buddhi  - ‘in that which is not dual you have buddhi of duality’  - this is adhyasa and  this is the cause of samsara. Removal of adhyasa  is moksha or liberation. Removal of adhyasa is by knowledge alone. In the ADHYASA BHASYA Bhasyakara proves that there is no duality whatsoever.

Here we see that avidya is taken as the cause for our confusion and to remove that confusion you need knowledge. Avidya if taken as ignorance is the cause for our confusion – it is the cause for our perception of duality as real. Duality is not real. If it is not real what is it? If it is non-existent it would not appear to be there. If it is existent it cannot be negated.  Duality is anirvachaniyam – neither existent non non-existent – that is it is mithya -  a dependent reality, dependent on Brahman, the independent (satyam)  reality.
Brahman alone is the cause of the jagat. In the Taittiriya Upanishad  Brahman is presented as the cause of the Universe – yato vaa imaani bhuutani jaayante, yena jaataani jiivanti, yat prayanti – tat brahma tat vijijnasasva – That from whom all the beings have come, by whom they are sustained and into whom they go back – that is Brahman – may you know that Brahman. So the cause of the jagat is Brahman, not ignorance. This Brahman becomes Ishvara – the efficient cause and the material cause. As efficient cause Brahman is all-knowledge.

And avidya is not knowing jagat  to be non-seperate from Brahman. This not knowing goes away by knowledge. What goes away is avidya. And what is non-separate from the vast-u svarupa  is vidya.
In the tradition avidya is used as a synonym of Maya  -  the power of Brahman to appear as the maniness that is the jagat. This Maya shakti is anirvacaniyam – that which cannot be categorically explained – neither satyam nor asatyam. Maya has a two-fold power – the power to veil or cover (aavaranam)  and the power to create (vikshepa).
 Pujya Swamiji says “Maya is the shakti of jiva. Jiva upadhi makes the conscious being – the Being is Consciousness. Makes the jiva possible. Because of the upadhi of avidya. Otherwise this fellow is sarvajna.  Tat Tvam Asi – means You are That. You are  sarvajna .. Brahman is sarvajna. And you are Brahman. You are sarvajnam Brahman.
Swamiji, how can I be sarvajna Brahman? Okay you are alpajna -  small-knowing.
Because this avidya is part of Maya shakti. avidyaya jivah, mayaya ishvarah.  Avarna shakti covers – the same Maya covers you. The same Maya creates the jagat. Therefore we have to say there is a upadhi a samasthi upadhi. It is not ignorance put togther is Maya! Samasthi upadhi. Samasthi is Ishvara. All that is here is Ishvara.  This avidya is avarana shakti of Maya … the power of cover – kosha. Once the cover is there, then the mistake is possible on your part. Therefore there is duality.
Aavritih  is aavrnoti – yaa shaktih vastu svarupam aavrnoti -  not that vastu (consciousness)  is covered – if vastu is aavrnoti then vastu becomes paroksha and you will have to know your existence through some other pramana!
‘I am’ – that is self-evident. You don’t need a pramana (a means of knowledge) for it. If you say I see myself, I see billions of others and so I become one of them – that is avidya – that is duality.
What is – is one, non-dual. What YOU see is dual – that taking duality to be real is avidya.”

Om Tat Sat