Monday, 21 April 2008

16. Overview of Tattvabodha

16. Overview of Tattvabodha

Over the last few sessions, we have covered the textbook of Tattvabodha in which all the important technical terms of Vedanta Shāstram have been beautifully presented. We saw all those topics in these classes.

Now we will wind up the Tattvabodha study by a bird’s eye view of all the important topics that we have seen. Just a consolidating summary.

That Tattvabodha text can be broadly classified into five portions.

The first portion deals with the qualifications required for self-enquiry or Vedāntik study. Qualifications is therefore the first potion. In Sanskrit it is called Adhikāritvam meaning eligibility or Yogyatā.

The second part is the analysis the individual. In Sanskrit individual is called Vyashtihi – microcosm. So Vyashtihi is the analysis of the micro.

The third portion is the analysis of the total. In Sanskrit, the Total is called Samashtihi. So Samashtihi Vichāra comes after Vyashti Vichāra. This is the analysis of the macrocosm.

The fourth portion is the essential one-ness of the individual and the total. The essential oneness of the individual and total. Vyashtihi Samashtihi Svarūpa Aikyam. Svarūpa means essential. Hence Svarūpa Aikyam means the essential identity of the micro and the macro.

The fifth and final topic is the knowledge of this essential identity and the benefit of this knowledge. Aikya Jnānam and Aikya Jnāna Phalam. Vyashti Samashtihi Svarūpa Aikya Jnānam – the knowledge of this essential oneness as well the benefit of this knowledge. In simple language Jnānam Phalam Cha.

16.1. Eligibility

What makes me qualified for spiritual enquiry. We saw four fold qualification or Sādhana Chatushtayam. These are
- Discrimination
- Dispassion
- Desire
- Discipline

Discrimination is between the real goal of life and all the other fake goals of life. There are so many fake or apparent or seeming goals and we should not be enamoured by these fake goals called Preyas. We should be able to identify the real goal. This capacity to differentiate the real goal of life from the fake goals of life is called Discrimination

Dispassion is reducing all the fake goals – like money position, possession, relation all of which are fake goals. Reducing all these fake goals into simple means only to attain the real goal. So converting the fake goals into means and consequently not giving them undue importance. When you look upon them as goals, you give over-importance, but when the goal is reduced to means you give only the due importance. This removal of the undue importance from fake goals is dispassion. Passion is gone. Obsession is gone with regards to the fake goals of life.

Desire is a burning urge for the accomplishment of the real goal. Nourishment of the desire for the real goal of life and even a re-orienting of our life, our associations, our activities all these are reshuffled and re-oriented to nourish the desire for the real goal. Initially the desire is only a feeble and vague desire. But only by nourishing it would we be able to make it burning.

Discipline is attuning of all our organs for the realisation of or accomplishment the real goal. So this attuning of all the organs or making all the organs spiritual-knowledge-friendly. All the organs include the physical bodies, the sense organs, the mind and intellect.

Without this eligibility, if I enter into spiritual enquiry what can happen is that the enquiry can become unsuccessful and merely an academic study. So whether the spiritual enquiry should become an academic study or whether it should become a self-transforming exercise will depend on whether I have the eligibility or not. Therefore eligibility is emphasised.

Tattvabodha does not mention how to acquire the eligibility. That we have to supply. Of the four eligibility factors, the first three – Discrimination, Dispassion, Desire – are accomplished through Karma Yoga. The fourth and final discipline is accomplished through Upāsana Yoga or Ashtānga Yogaha or Samādhi Yogaha.

Thus through Karma Yoga acquire the first three qualification and through Upāsana Yoga acquire the fourth qualification. And when I successfully go through Karma Yoga and Upāsana Yoga I am eligible for spiritual enquiry. If the first portion is called the Religious Way of life, spiritual enquiry is the Philosophical aspect of life. Religion gives me qualification and Philosophy gives me the wisdom.

16.2. Individual

The second part is the analysis of the individual. Here we have seen that every individual is broadly classified into two parts
- Material part – Anātmā Amshaha
- Spiritual part – Ātmā Amshaha

For the convenience of understand, the material part of the individual was divided into two ways.
- Body division:
a) Fine Gross,
b) Finer Subtle and
c) Finest Causal Body.

This division is purely based on the fineness of the matter. All are bodies and all are matter but the texture differs
- Functional division:
a) Anatomical part,
b) Physiological part (functions of the Anatomy),
c) Psychological part (emotional part),
d) Rational (intellectual part dealing with the cognitive aspect)
e) Unconscious or dormant aspect of personality which is not very clearly visible or perceptible

Tattvabodha points out that other than the material part, is the spiritual part which is the consciousness principle Chaitanya Amshaha which is different from the five or three layers. This is aware of all of these. This is called the witness consciousness or Sākshitattvam or Chaitanya Tattvam. This consciousness is neither part of the material Amshaha nor a property of the material body nor the product of the material body. It is a distinct entity. This consciousness has a nature that it is not limited by the material part and it is not affected by the activities of the material part etc. This has been dealt with in the Ātmā topic. This spiritual part is called Ātmā and is given another name called Brahman.

16.3. Analysis of total

This topic is the analysis of the total, the Samashti, the Total or the universe. Jagat Vichāra or Srushti Vichāra are the words in Sanskrit. Here we say that the universe is never created. It is a very important idea which we have to receive and assimilate. This is because of the most important law that Matter can never be created or destroyed. Therefore Tattvabodha pointed out that the universe was there all the time. But it was not there in the same form all the time.

Now the universe is available in perceptible visible and transactable form. Previously the very same universe was existent in dormant unmanifest or potential form. And this potential form of this creation is called the causal universe otherwise known as Māyā. Māyā is another name for the universe itself but a name given when the universe is in dormant form. The universe is totally material in nature.

This causal universe at the appropriate time evolves. This evolution is wrongly called creation. Creation is a misnomer for the manifestation or evolution. Therefore we should never use the word creation but use the word manifestation. In Sanskrit this is called Āvirbhāvaha. Going into un-manifestation Tirobhāvaha. And it evolves in two stages

First stage of evolution is the causal universe becomes the subtle universe. Subtle universe means it is neither totally unmanifest nor totally manifest like twilight. Later the grossest universe is manifested – this is the most visible, transactable, handle-able, analysable universe. In fact scientists are only scratching the gross universe and have never been able to understand the subtle universe.

According to out Shāstram, this is an eternal process – causal evolving into subtle and gross, dances about for some time and again gets reduced into the causal form. This is just like us going to sleep everyday and then waking up. Wake state to dream (partial sleep) to deep sleep and then from deep sleep to dream (partial wake state) to fully awake state.

16.4. Aikyam

We have three factors to study. The micro individual consisting of three layers – causal body, subtle body and gross body. We have the macro universe also consisting of three layers - causal universe, subtle universe and gross universe. Thus we have micro and macro.

We also have a third entity called consciousness principle which is different from both micro and macro. Micro and macro are eventually matter only.

Interestingly, micro matter and macro matter both being matter are both insentient in nature. But even though they are insentient, both are capable of functioning as a medium for consciousness. In Shāstram it is called Upādhihi. Just as the bulb and the filament do not have light of their own, but they have a capacity that they can function as a medium for the electricity. When it functions as a medium for electricity, the bulb becomes bright bulb. In the same way Micro and Macro are able to serve as bulbs as it were for consciousness. In consciousness, there is not micro or macro. In consciousness, Vyashti Samashti Bheda is not there – electricity is one whether the bulb is 5W or 5000W.

And when the consciousness functions through these two media, in keeping with the nature of the media, the consciousness gets a distortion which we called Reflected Consciousness. Hence Original Consciousness becomes Reflected Consciousness at the micro level and Reflected Consciousness at the macro level also.

Naturally the reflection will have distortion and in both media, distortion takes place. In the micro medium, since the medium is inferior, its gets distorted and endowed with inferior quality - Nikrushta Gunaha. Original Consciousness does not have any Guna – Nirguna. At this stage when Original Consciousness is manifest in Nikrushta Upādhi, it gets endowed with inferior attributes and is named Jīvaha. Jīvaha is Reflected Consciousness obtaining in inferior medium.

The very same Original Consciousness is manifest and functioning in the Macro as well. Since the macro medium is superior – Utkrushta Upādhi, there the distortion is positive distortion. Instead of getting no Gunaha, this does end up getting Gunaha (distortion). But the Gunaha are Utkrushta Upādhitvāt Krushta Gunāhā – superior attributes are there in macro Reflected Consciousness. This macro Reflected Consciousness with superior attributes is called Īshvara.

So Jīva is also Reflected Consciousness and Īshvara is also Reflected Consciousness. From Reflected Consciousness angle, they are totally different because one has got inferior attributes while the other has got superior attributes. One is helpless, other is helper. One is Anāthaha, the other is Anāthaha Nāthaha. One is Dīnaha, other is Dīnha Bandhuhu. One is Dāsaha, other is Swami. So the micro Reflected Consciousness is Dāsaha while the macro Reflected Consciousness is Swami. Original Consciousness is neither Dāsaha nor Swāmi because it does not have inferior attributes nor superior attributes, it is neither Kāryam not Kāranam, neither micro nor macro. Therefore from Reflected Consciousness angle there is difference whereas if you know that Reflected Consciousness is nothing but Original Consciousness only but manifesting through a distorting medium.

An example is the effect of a concave and convex mirror on yourself. In one, there is an elongated face while in the other, there is a flat face. Now which one will I take as my true attribute ? Neither of them is my attribute. Elongation is one form of distortion while flatness is another form of distortion – I am free from both.

You cannot physically separate consciousness from the medium just as no physical thing can be separated from space which is all pervading. Similarly you can never separate micro medium or macro medium from consciousness. Therefore the separation has to be done in terms of understanding or wisdom. You separate the micro and macro medium and forget the distortions as incidental and own up the distortion free Original Consciousness.

Aham Brahma Ātmā Asmi.
Aham Na Jīvaha Aham Na Īshvara.
Aham Jīva Īshvara Vyatirikta Brahmātmā (Original Consciousness) Asmi.

This is called Vyashti Samashti Svarūpa Aikyam. Jivātmā Paramātmā Aikyam. This portion is called Mahā Vākyam portion of the Shāstram. In any portion, the essential oneness is discussed and is called Mahāvākyam portion.

16.5. Aikya Jnānam and Aikya Jnāna Phalam

I have to receive this wisdom. And it should become my wisdom, a fact for me. And the pursuit of this wisdom is called Jnāna pursuit and it is called Jnāna Yogaha.

By analysing the individual, by analysing the total, arriving at the essential nature and seeing the fact that the essential nature is only one. Reflecting media are different and Reflected Consciousnesses is different but Original Consciousness the essence is one. This Jnāna Yoga consists of threefold exercise which we studied while discussing Jnāna Yoga. Karma Yoga and Upāsana Yoga give me eligibility and Jnāna Yoga gives me wisdom.

Without eligibility, wisdom cannot come. Without wisdom eligibility is useless. Therefore you require Karma Yoga and Upāsana Yoga compulsorily to get eligibility and you have to necessarily Jnāna Yoga to attain wisdom. There is no choice among the three.

The threefold processes involved are
- Receiving the wisdom : systematic consistent study of the scriptures for a length of time under the guidance of a competent teacher – called Shravanam.
- Converting knowledge into conviction which is removal of any doubts regarding this doubt. Intellect should not raise any objection. I should be thoroughly convinced that I am only Original Consciousness in the guise of Reflected Consciousness. Reflected Consciousness life is therefore only a drama about which I am not overly worried – called Mananam or removing the intellectual obstacles for this knowledge
- Nididhyāsanam – assimilation of this wisdom by which I learn to get out of old habits of living. I have lived all my time as Reflected Consciousness – the Saamsarik way of life, rife with worries, insecurities and anxious. By living such a life it has become my second nature and I have been conditioned to live that way. Nididhyāsanam is the de-conditioning process and re-orienting. Just like de-twisting a telephone wire to make it normal. It is in the form of repeated hearing, reading the Shāstram, writing, discussing, teaching etc. Knowledge is now called Nishthā.

Hence the goal is converting knowledge into conviction and conviction into Nishthā – Nishthā is total transformation. Transformation can be translated as Transcending Form. When I own up I am Original Consciousness whose form is formless. Therefore converting the formed I into the formless I is transcending the form – transformation. This transformation is called Jīvan Muktihi. Thus one gets knowledge through Shravanam, Mananam and Nididhyāsanam.

Jnāna Phalam is the total transformation – not physical but psychological. Where life which was a burden before becomes a sport later. Problems will be converted into challenges. There is no change in the world and people, there is only change in my very way of looking. This transformed life is called Jīvan Muktihi and as a result of this Jnānam, a person gets over all the Punya Pāpa Karmāni as well. Sanchita Karma , Āgāmi Karma Prārabdha Karma.
- Sanchita Karma – is burnt up
- Āgāmi Karma – is avoided
- Prārabdha Karma – is exhausted without adverse reaction

Once the three Karmas are gone, the body falls and a person is never reborn again. Another body is not required because no more Karma to be exhausted. And the absence of rebirth is called Videha Muktihi. Punar Janma Abhāvaha.

Hence Jīvan Muktihi and Videha Muktihi are the two fold results of Jnānam. And this result a person will attain wherever he dies, and whenever he dies.

Om Pūrnamadah Pūrnamidam
Pūrnāt Pūrnamudachyate
Pūrnasya Pūrnamādāya
Om Shānti Shānti Shāntihi

That (Brahman) is whole
This (creation) is also whole
From that whole (i.e. Brahman only)
This whole has come out (creation)
But even though this whole has come
Out of that whole
Yet that whole remains whole only

15. Law of Karma

15. Law of Karma

In the last few sessions, we saw the central teaching of the Vedanta – namely Jīva Ātmā and Parama Ātmā Aikyam. Through this, I am given to understand that I am not the Reflected Consciousness which is the Distorted Consciousness through the medium. But I am the original Consciousness which is none other than Brahman. The distortions will be there as long as the medium continues to distort. But whether medium distorts or not, I in my original nature is undistorted Consciousness. And this is not only true with regards to me, this is true with regards to every individual. Therefore every one of us is nothing but Original Consciousness and not Reflected Consciousness.

And this is not only true with regard to me the Jīvāhā, it is true with regards to Īshvara also. Īshvara is also another form of distorted consciousness only because Īshvara also has certain superior Gunāhā and presence of Gunāhā is a distortion. Because the original consciousness does not have positive virtues also. So in the case of Īshvara, positive virtues is distortion, in the case of Jīva negative virtues or vices or properties are distortions.

And these two distortions are caused by the reflecting media (RM) and when we look at ourselves from the standpoint of ourselves, we are all Original Consciousness. This is Jīva Ātmā Parama Ātmā Aikya Jnānam given by the Vedanta. Having seen this knowledge, we will now see the Jnāna Phalam – what is the benefit of gaining this knowledge ? What do I get out of it ? What practically benefit can I derive out of gaining this knowledge.

In the Shāstram and in the Tattvabodha the benefit is presented as Jīvan Muktihi and Videha Muktihi. The knowledge is that I am not Reflected (limited distorted) Consciousness – otherwise called Ego - but I am Original Consciousness – unlimited and undistorted consciousness.

15.1. Jīvan Muktihi

How do I accomplish the freedom as to be derived from Jīvan Muktihi ?

All the problems and challenges of life belong to the Reflected Consciousness alone – the Jīva alone has all the challenges of life. They belong to the Ego alone – because every situation will affect either Reflecting Media 1 (Physical body) or RM2 or RM3. Through the Reflecting medium, the reflected consciousness may be affected but not the original. Therefore all problems belong to Reflected Consciousness and no problems belong to Original Consciousness. We know that Reflected Consciousness is insignificant compared to Original Consciousness because Reflected Consciousness is an incidental aspect of mind who am nothing but Original Consciousness.

Therefore when I go on invoking my higher nature, Original Consciousness nature, the Reflected Consciousness and the problems of Reflected Consciousness become insignificant. Not that they go away, but from a higher perspective, these will become insignificant. Like during the freedom struggle, when they invoked the patriot in themselves, the freedom of the country became so important and other miseries and going to jail were not significant at all. When we invoke a higher “I”, the lower “I” and its problems will not disappear but will become insignificant. In Sanskrit we call it Abhibhāvaha . So when the sun rises, the candle light is overshadowed but though it continues, the candle light is as good as not being there. Similarly in the discovery of the higher I, all the problems of Samsara are as good as not there. This inner freedom or immunity or shock absorber is given by the discovery of the higher “I”. This immunity enjoyed is called Jīvan Muktihi which is the benefit enjoyed while living. Jnānam serves as an armour against unhealthy responses.

15.2. Videha Muktihi

The second benefit is Videha Muktihi. This means freedom from Punar Janma or rebirth. To understand this freedom from rebirth, we should know the Law of Karma. Because Law of Karma is the principle behind rebirth as well as Freedom from rebirth. Videha Muktihi is understood only when the Law of Karma is understood. We will study the Law of Karma as an Anga of Videha Muktihi.

15.2.1. Law of Karma

The Law of Karma is one of the most important laws of Vedic teaching and is the unique to Vedic teaching. First Principle

The first principle that we should remember in understanding the Law of Karma is that every deliberate or wilful action that we do, the Shāstram point out, produces two forms of result. One is called the Visible result – Drushta Phalam - and the other is the invisible result – Adrushta Phalam.

And if the action is a good action, there is a good visible and invisible result, and if there is a bad action, there is a bad visible and invisible result. E.g. if I do something for a charitable cause, firstly the visible result is that someone is benefited from it. The second result is that since I have done a noble action of helping others, it produces an invisible result called Adrushtam. And since the action is good, it is called Su-Adrushtam – good invisible result.

On the other hand, when I cheat someone to earn money, the visible result is quite evident-increase in bank balance. The invisible result is negative arising from this is called Dur-Adrushtam - negative invisible result.

The Su-Adrushtam is called Punyam and the Dur-Adrushtam is called Pāpam. Thus every deliberate action in addition to visible result produces Punyam and Pāpam. One won’t see Punyam and Pāpam because they are invisible. This is the first principle of the Law of Karma – Punyam and Pāpam. Second Principle

The next principle to be remembered is what produces Punyam and Pāpam. This is determined based on two norms.

The first norm is the scriptural injunction. Whatever the scriptures promote or enjoin – those actions will produce Punyam. Whatever the scriptures prohibit – such actions will produce Pāpam. Supposing an action produces visible good result and suppose that action is prohibited by the scriptures, then we say such an action will produce Pāpam even though it may produce a visible good result.

The second norms : Suppose I am doing an action which is not discussed in the scriptures at all – travelling by train – what would be the norms for judgement of such activities ? The norm is based on the motive. What is the motive of my actions ? If my motive is good and noble, that Karma will produce Punyam and if it is ignoble it produces Pāpam.

Therefore based on the norm of Shāstrik injunction and motive, we decide whether a Karma is Punyam or Pāpam. Third Principle

All the invisible Punyam and Pāpam in due course will be converted into visible Sukham and Duhkham – Drushta Sukham and Drushta Duhkham respectively.

In this we can never say, how long a particular Punyam will take to get converted into Sukham. The duration for conversion is not uniform. Today’s Punyam can become tomorrow’s Sukham or day-after-tomorrow’s Sukham or next decade’s Sukham or it can become even in the next Janma. The duration will never be known by us. Some Punyams can give immediate Sukham while some Punyams can give delayed Sukham.

The example given in the Shāstram is the different types of seeds that are planted on the same day. A papaya seed or mango seed and coconut seed. Even though the date of planting is the same, different seeds take different duration of time to become full-fledged results.

Because of this, we have to derive another corollary. Since the Punyam and Pāpam can fructify at different duration, some of the Punya Pāpam may not fructify in this Janma itself. This means that un-fructified Punya Pāpams remain in the case of every Jīva. And because of the un-fructified Punya Pāpam, we will have to take Punar Janma and an appropriate for the fructification of these un-fructified ones for reaping the result of our actions.

The scriptures say that nobody can escape from the moral Law of the Lord. One can escape from the criminal law of the country but never from the cosmic Moral Order and Law of the Lord.

Therefore the Law of Karma necessitates repeated Birth and Death and therefore the preset birth is one of the long chain of birth and death. Thus the cycle of birth and death is caused by the law of Karma.

Our scriptures point out that this has to be very clearly understood and assimilated by every individual. This is even more fundamental than self-knowledge. The more we assimilate this law, the more healthy will be our attitude towards problems of life.

15.2.2. Advantages of Law of Karma

If I assimilate the Law of Karma, what are the advantages? What attitudinal changes will it bring. The assimilation of the Law of Karma will bring some healthy attitudinal changes.

First advantage is that the Law of Karma explains the disparity and differences in the living being. Why are living being born differently. Some are animal while some are plants and some human beings. And among human beings, some born with silver spoon or some in the slums. This is because of the Law of Karma.

If this Law of Karma is not accepted, then people will have to resort to the principle of chance. I see the creation being orderly. Science proves everyday that the creation is governed by laws and wherever law is there, there is order. Then how can I say that the disparity alone is chance?

Second advantage, Law of Karma helps in accepting the inexplicable sufferings. When I am not able to accept my problems and go on asking “Why me?”, Law of Karma helps in accepting. I know that I am responsible for every one of my suffering through my immediate past action or through my remote past action. I may not remember which remote past action for my current state – good or bad. I will not blame anyone in the world. Blaming is the most natural tendency. Thus, resistance and not taking responsibility is sorrow.

Third advantage is that the Faith in God will not be shaken if I accept the Law of Karma. This is because I know that even though I am a good person now, if I suffer my suffering is not because of an unjust God. The suffering is because of my remote past actions which I don’t remember now. God can never be unjust. There is no injustice in the world. There seems to be injustice because we do not recollect the past Pāpam Karma.

Otherwise when I suffer I begin to question the Lord’s sense of justice. There have been many religious people who did not understand the Law of Karma and therefore blame God for their suffering and turn atheists.

Fourth advantage is if I accept the Law of Karma, I can take responsibility for my future. I can take charge of my life. This is because the Law of Karma says my present situation is the result of my past action. You can extend this and say that my future situation will depend on my present action. Therefore if I can intelligently live in the present, I can influence my future. If I cannot totally control, I can greatly influence my future. Thus I can avert fatalism. I can accept my freewill. I have a freedom to choose my future because my future is dependent on my present Karma. Therefore Law of Karma restores my freewill and averts fatalistic tendencies.

People think Law of Karma leads to fatalism. In fact, Law of Karma alone is the antidote to fatalism because Law of Karma tells me I am responsible for my present situation by my past action and therefore am responsible for my future. If I don’t accept the Law of Karma, my conclusion will be that somebody is responsible for my present situation. And if somebody else is responsible for my present situation, then somebody else will be responsible for my future situation.

Therefore if I don’t accept the Law of Karma, I give my life to chance and fatalism. If I accept Law of Karma I am accepting my will and freedom to shape my future.

Fifth advantage is this answers one of the fundamental questions asked by many questions – especially youngsters. When we talk about ethical way of life or good way of life, one of the questions asked by youngsters is – if you say ethical life is a blessing and unethical life is harmful, how come many good people are suffering and how come many corrupt people are having a good time. You can restore morality in society only if you bring in Law of Karma. Law of Karma will explain this phenomenon properly. It will say – the present ethical person is suffering because of past unethical action. Therefore the universal rule that Unethical Actions hurt is true irrespective of whether you are good in the preset Janma or not. Even the current corrupt person enjoys because of past ethical actions. Therefore the rule is that Ethical Action Blesses and Unethical Action Hurts.

Thus Law of Karma is required for moral order in society.

We have to come back to Videha Muktihi. The Punya Pāpam or Adrushtam that a person acquires is divided in to three types.

All the Punya Pāpams accumulated in the past Janma are called Sanchita Punya Pāpam or Sanchita Adrushtam. Sanchita means accumulated. And of all those accumulated, a portion alone is ready for fructification at a particular time. That maturing Adrushtam – Punya Pāpam - is called Prārabdha. Sanchitam will not affect you now because it is not matured. Whereas Prārabdha being matured, it is responsible for the present physical body. Your present body is determined by Prārabdha – human or animal, male or female, healthy or with congenital diseases, parentage, place of birth. And when Prārabdha gives you a human body, not only you reap your Prārabdha, but while reaping your Prārabdha, you are doing fresh actions. As a human being you do a lot of deliberate actions which will produces fresh Punya Pāpams. That fresh acquisitions or earning are called Āgāmi.

Therefore your present life is a result of your Āgāmi and Prārabdha. Because Āgāmi also produce result in this Janma. Prārabdha also produces result. Āgāmi and Prārabdha produced together will give you experiences. And some of the Āgāmi are not reaped in this Janma - so at the end of the Janma , Prārabdha is exhausted, some Āgāmi are exhausted, some Āgāmi Karma remain. They will join the Sanchitam and out of the Sanchitam, the next one gets ready giving you Punar Janma. There also you exhaust the Prārabdha and acquire Āgāmi, some of them are exhausted while some of them are kept back and they join Sanchita – the cycle will go on and on and on. This is the case of an ignorant person.

In the case of a wise person, the Shāstram point out, Jnānam is such a powerful radiation that it destroys all the Sanchita Karmāni.

Sanchita Pāpa Vināshana Lingam
Tat Pranamāmi Sadāshiva Lingam.

Because the Jnani, does not have identification with Reflected Consciousness – as he invokes the Original Consciousness all the time – Jnani does not acquire Āgāmi. Since he does not have Ahankāra or Abhimānam, he does not acquire Āgāmi. Hence even when Sanchitam is gone and Āgāmi does not come, only one remains which is the Prārabdha. Since it has started, it will continue to give pleasurable and painful experiences but these experiences will affect only the Reflecting Medium and Reflected Consciousness but Jnani being established in the highest “I” or Original Consciousness he does not bother much about these insignificant problems and therefore he does not have any unhealthy response. Therefore he is immunised against Prārabdha.

Once Prārabdha is exhausted : Sanchita is gone, Prārabdha is exhausted and Āgāmi avoided and therefore there is no Karma. Since there is neither Punyam nor Pāpam, he does not acquire a new birth. This called Videha Muktihi. Thus Jnani as a result of Jnānam enjoys Jīvan Mukti and Videha Mukti. This is Jnāna Phalam and with this Jnānam Phalam, Tattvabodha completes its teaching.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

14. Jīva Īshvara Aikya

14. Jīva Īshvara Aikya

In the previous sessions, we have seen the main theme of the Vedāntik Teaching – Jīva Ātmā Parama Ātmā Aikyam. The idea conveyed is that Ātmā the Chaitanyam is only Ekam. Aikyam means oneness. Therefore Ātmā the Chaitanyam is only one and that one Chaitanyam alone is expressing through the matter principle. And when that Chaitanyam is functioning through individual matter called Sharīra Trayam, then the consciousness gets the name Jīva Ātmā. And when the very same consciousness is functioning behind total matter or Prapancha Trayam, then the very same Ātmā is called Parama Ātmā.

Therefore one Ātmā alone is called Jīva Ātmā as well as Parama Ātmā from the standpoint of the medium through which it functions. Once the Anātmā medium is removed the matter medium is removed, there is neither Jīva Ātmā nor is there Parama Ātmā. There is only Ātmā which is neither called Jīva Ātmā not Parama Ātmā.Therefore one Ātmā functioning through Anātmā get the two names Jīva Ātmā and Parama Ātmā. And that one Ātmā I am.

I am called Jīva Ātmā when I am functioning behind this body. I myself am Parama Ātmā when I am functioning behind the whole universe.
This is the basic teaching of Jāgrat Avasthā Parama Ātmā Aikyam or Ātmā Ekatvam.

There is one more important topic which we will briefly go through. It is a topic by itself. That topic is the relationship between Ātmā and Anātmā. Because we say there is only one Ātmā. We know the relationship between Jīva Ātmā and Parama Ātmā as being one and the same. Now we are asking what is the relationship between Ātmā and Anātmā – the Spirit and Matter and the Vedanta point out that their relationship is Depender and Depended relationship, supporter – supported relationship. This means that matter depends on consciousness. Even to prove its existence matter depends on consciousness.

To say there is a clock in front of me, I have to see the clock to prove whether it is existent or not. To prove the existence of anything in the creation, I have to see it or know it directly or indirectly. Whereas to show or to prove that I am existent I don’t require any proof because my existence is very evident. Therefore matter depends on consciousness for both to prove its existence as well as for its functioning. Whereas consciousness does not depend upon matter for its existence. Therefore the scriptures point out that consciousness is Satyam and matter is Mithyam. Satyam means independent or Svatantraha. Whereas matter is Mithyam or Para Tantraha (opposite of Svatantraha).

The example we generally give is that of clay and pot. Clay exists independent of pot that even if the pot is broken the clay can continue to exist. Whereas the pot cannot exist independent of clay. Therefore clay is called Satyam and pot is called Mithyam. Wood is called Satyam and furniture is called Mithyam. Gold is Satyam and ornaments are Mithyam. Water is Satyam whereas waves oceans and tanks and lakes are Mithyam.

Hence Satyam means independent and Mithyā means dependent. Ātmā is one and Anātmā are many. Ātmā is Satyam and Anātmā are Mithyam. And this one Ātmā appears as Jīva Ātmā at individual levels and Parama Ātmā at total level.

Therefore the Vedāntik teaching can be presented in three statements. The whole Vedāntik teaching can be presented in
- Parama Ātmā is Satyam
- Anātmā is Mithyam
- Jīva Ātmā is identical with Parama Ātmā.

This is the Vedanta Sāraha

We will deal with the means and benefits of getting this knowledge.

14.1. Means of Acquiring Knowledge

The means is called Jnāna Yogaha. This Jnāna Yoga which is the means of getting this knowledge is presented in three stage – these are
- Shravanam means listening
- Mananam means reflection
- Nididhyāsanam means contemplation

Once I have removed doubts in the intellectual level through Mananam and removed the emotional weakness through Nididhyāsanam, then the knowledge is called assimilated knowledge – Jnāna Nishthā.

Shravanam is done with the help of the teacher. Mananam is done both independently and with the help of the teacher. Whereas Nididhyāsanam has to be done independently alone – no teacher can help. One has to apply the knowledge during the Nididhyāsanam phase. We have to remember that assimilated knowledge alone will give me benefits just like assimilated food alone nourishes me.

Krishna warns in the Gītā that any amount of study is of no use unless it is assimilated through Mananam and Nididhyāsanam.

14.2. Jnāna Phalam

The next topic is Jnāna Phalam – the benefit of this knowledge. The benefit is presented in two forms in the Shāstram
- One is the benefit while we are living i.e. before death
- The other one is the benefit after death.

14.2.1. Jīvan Muktihi

This is the benefit while we are still living. This is the virtue or Phalam enjoyed at the mental level in various forms. The problems faced at the mental level include insecurity, fear, sense of inadequacy, jealousy and anger – all these are psychological problems called Samsara. It is purely at the mental or psychological level and not at the physical level – because it is knowledge and therefore gives benefit at the mental level.

Jīvan Muktihi means that I continue to face the challenges in life. At the same time, I am free from these unhealthy responses. All unhealthy responses are emotional problems called Samsara.

The benefits of Jīvan Muktihi are : Independence –Svatantriyam

The first and most important benefit is independence. I am mentally emotionally or psychologically an independent person. This means that the presence or absence of things will not affect me emotionally. Only when I am dependent on external factors, their presence and absence will affect me emotionally. Jnānam give me independence from all setup – whether it is a person or situation or an object. I don’t seek company nor do I feel lonely. Fullness – Pūrnatvam

The second benefit is Pūrnatvam – sense of fulfilment in life. I know I am the Ātmā which is not confined to this body but I am the Ātmā which is Sat Chit Ānanda Svarūpaha and therefore I am free from limitation. Nothing is away from me. Everything belongs to me. There is no sense of isolation or rejection. Because if I am a person, I can be rejected. But nobody can reject me because I am all pervading. Sense of isolation, sense of rejection and sense of limitation go away just as space cannot be rejected by anyone, I the Ātmā cannot be rejected by anyone. Balance of Mind – Samattvam

The third benefit is Samattvam. This means the emotional strength to face ups and downs of life. Jnānam becomes a great shock absorber. Similarly in life I cannot control my future situation where many things are beyond my control. But by Jnānam even the worst troubles may affect me sometimes, but not permanently.

It is to be noted that physically we will surely have to depend on the world. We require food, clothing and shelter. We will never get physical independence. But psychologically we may be able to become independent. This is called Jīvan Muktihi. The word literally means Freedom while Living.

14.2.2. Videha Muktihi

To understand this, we have to know what happens to an ignorant person after death. Then only we can understand to an Jnani after death.

In the case of Ajnani, at the time of death, the physical body is dropped. There is separation from physical body. The very definition of death is separation from physical body. That is why the physical body decays and merges into Pancha Bhūtāni or five elements.

But even thought the physical body perishes, the subtle body and causal body continue to exist. This subtle and causal body along with Ātmā – all pervading everywhere – continue to survive even after the fall of the body. It acquires another body to continue the journey. And it may acquire the body here itself or it may acquire the body elsewhere. Therefore an Ajnani travels after death. In other words his Sūkshma Sharīram and Kārana Sharīram travel and acquire another physical body and this is called Punar Janma or rebirth.

The Sūkshma Sharīram and Kārana Sharīram will again go through life and again die and again acquire another body. But death and birth is only at the level of the physical body.

In the case of a Jnani, it is said in the scriptures that at the time of death, all the three bodies merge into the Samashti. The Sharīra Trayam will merge into Prapancha Trayam. Sthūla Sharīram merges into Sthūla Prapancha. Sūkshma Sharīram merges into Sūkshma Prapancha and Kārana Sharīram merges into Kārana Prapancha. That means Jnani does not survive as an individual but he survives as the Samashti the total. And he is no more called Jīva Ātmā – because only when the body is there you can call it as Jīva Ātmā – when the Sharīra Trayam is gone, he is one with Parama Ātmā. Jīva Ātmā has become Parama Ātmā losing the individuality just as the river loses its individuality when it merges into the ocean. Also there is not question of Punar Janma . There is no Sūkshma Kārana Sharīram surviving to acquire another Sthūla Sharīram.

Therefore Videha Muktihi is freedom from Punar Janma . And who does Jnānam give the benefit of Videha Muktihi? The scriptures present this topic in a particular way. They say Jnānam stops Punar Janma by destroying all Karmas.

Monday, 14 April 2008

13. Creation

13. Creation

All the studies that we did till now, whether Sharīra Trayam or Avasthā Trayam are all associated with the individual or microcosm. In Sanskrit we use the word Vyashti. Today we are going to the next topic through which we are entering Samashti or macrocosm. The topic is Srushtihi or creation or cosmology.

How does the cosmos or creation come about and what was there exactly before creation came ?

First before understanding the topic of creation, we should clearly know that the very word creation is a misnomer. In fact that very word being a misnomer can create a lot of confusion. Creation creates confusion. Why do we say Creation is a misnomer ? That is because nothing can be created. By the very law of conservation of matter and energy which was accepted long before modern science came. In the Sānkhyā Satkārya Vāda, the Sānkhyā philosophers discussed the law of conservation of matter and evergy. In Māndūkya Kārika, it is beautifully presented that nothing can be created. And extending the same principle, nothing can be destroyed.

Then if at all we use the word Creation, it only refers to the manifestation of something which was potentially un-manifestly existent. So what is un-manifestly, potentially existent in dormant form, that can come to manifestation.

13.1. Manifest Vs Unmanifest

What is meat by the words manifest and unmanifest? The word unmanifest, we mean Pramānam Agocharam. Unmanifest is that which is existent but is not available for perception or transaction like the butter in the milk. Butter is there in the milk, but we cannot see it in the milk. But we know that milk has butter. So what can we say about butter being existent or not ? It is existent technically but for all practically purposes, since it is neither available for perception nor available for transaction, we assume that butter is non-existent. But we know butter is there.

We can extend this to everything in the creation. Nothing in the creation is non-existent. It was existent in potential manner. Later it becomes manifest, which means available for transaction. Our scriptures point out, before the origination of this cosmos, it should have existed because of this simple law of conservation. And if this creation existed before, it should have existed in unmanifest form or potential form or dormant form which we can call as the seed of the creation. In Sanskrit we use the word Bījam for this.

Bījasyāntari Vānkuro Jagadidam
Prān Nirvikalpam Punah

Nirvikalpam means un-differentiated and unmanifest in an un-transactable form. And we will use for the word Causal form of matter – matter in its causal form which is the source of all forms of energy and all forms of matter. Scientists are trying to arrive at one basic matter that can explain all the sub-atomic particles, that which can explain the micro and macro. The scientists want to reconcile the General Theory of relativity at Macro level and the Quantum Physics at Micro by a theory of everything.

According to our scriptures that basic stuff that is the source of all forms of energy and all forms of matter which includes all particles and molecules in the creation, we call it as causal matter. The causal matter is called Māyā. This includes Sharīra Trayam also. This means that before the creation originated, one thing was there which is Māyā.

Borrowing the idea from the previous session, we have to include one more thing before creation. In the previous class, we saw, Ātmā is the consciousness principle which is the non-material spirit, which does not come under matter and therefore which does not come within time and space. We also saw that consciousness is beyond time and space which mean consciousness has to be eternal. This means that before the creation, consciousness also existed.

So now we had arrived at two thing that were existing before creation
- Principle 1 : Consciousness which is called Ātmā which is unconditioned by, un-influenced by, un-circumscribed by the time-space principle
- Principle 2 : Whole creation in causal matter form called Māyā

Therefore Ātmā and Māyā existed. In the context of cosmology or creation, consciousness is given another name. In the context of the individual (Micro) consciousness is given the name Ātmā. The very same consciousness at the Macro level, consciousness is not difference but the nomenclature is Brahma or Brahman. Therefore Ātmā is equal to Brahman is equal to consciousness.

Why then have two names ? The basis of the two names is that one is from Micro angle Ātmā and another is from Macro angle Brahman. And the meaning also almost the same. Ātmā means Āpnoti Sarvam Iti Ātmā – the boundless all pervading one. The word Brahman means infinite derived from the root Bruh – to be big – therefore Brahman means the The Big One, the Absolutely Big One.

Therefore the study cosmology begins with two beginning-less principles knows as Brahman and Māyā – Consciousness or spirit + matter

Tattvabodha starts this way – Brahmāshrayā Sattva Rajas Tamo Gunātmikā Māyā Asti.

13.2. Differences between Māyā and Brahman

And what is the common feature of Brahman and Māyā ? Both are beginning-less. They have no origin. And what are their differences ? Differences are more to be noted
- Brahman is the non-material consciousness whereas Māyā is material principle
- Consciousness is property-less principle. It does not have any physical or chemical properties because it is non-material in nature – Nirguna. Whereas Māyā is matter and hence full of potential properties Saguna.
- Brahman the consciousness being beyond time and space, is never subject to change. Therefore it is changeless. Whereas Māyā the matter principle can never remain the same.
- The consciousness principle is Nirvikalpa not subject to spatial division – here one consciousness, there one consciousness : this can never arise. It is division-less and beyond time and space. Whereas Māyā the material is subject to multiplication and division. Māyā is like an amoeba where it multiples by division. Māyā can multiply into the cosmos by division.

These are the basic difference between Brahman and Māyā and out of this mixture alone is this universe manifests out of the seed which is Māyā. In our scriptures the word Creation is always replaced by the word Manifestation.

Srushtihi Nāma Abhivyaktihi : Abhivyaktihi means coming to manifestation for your recognition like you churn and bring out the butter which is then available tangibly for your transaction.

13.3. Stages of Manifestation

In the scriptures the evolution or manifestation of the cosmos is presented in two stages. Like a seed becoming a plant in the middle stage, and the plant becoming a full fledged tree in the final stages.

Therefore Māyā is a seed and then there is an intermediary stage called Sūkshma Prapancha Abhivyaktihi – the causal matter comes to the level of subtle matter. In other words, the causal universe comes to the level of subtle universe comparable to that of a plant. And then the subtle universe then again evolves or again manifests to become the gross universe fully available for all forms of transaction.

If you have to understand the difference between the subtle and gross creation you can compare your body and mind. Mind is also a creation or manifestation. Body is also a manifestation. But mind is a subtle manifestation not available for all. My mind is available only for me hence subtle and not tangible. But Body is gross.

Therefore causal universe to subtle universe to Gross universe. This is the creation. Of these, the causal universe is beginning-less, but the subtle and gross have a beginning.

Once it has become fully gross and moved about for some time, what happens to the whole creation ? Again it collapses, condenses or contracts, evolution will later end up in involution or dissolution. The gross become subtle and subtle again becomes gross. Thus unmanifest to manifest and manifest to Unmanifest the universe has been there always. Universe will be there always. The difference is there in the Avasthā Bhedhaha Na Tu Vastu Bhedhaha. There is no increase or decrease in matter but there is only change in its condition or state – manifest condition to unmanifest condition and unmanifest to manifest.

Avyaktādīni Bhūtāni Vyaktamadhyāni Bhārata
Avyakta Nidhanānyeva Tatra Kā Paridevanā

Krishna tell in the Bhagavad Gītā – why are you talking about death? Death is nothing but body going out of shape. Nothing is lost, Arjuna, but for whom are you crying.

The problem is that we have got attached to shape and lost sight of the substance. This is the layout of the cosmology. Let us now get into a little bit more of details.

We will go into the second stage. Causal universe is called Māyā which has to manifest into the subtle universe. The scriptures point out that first, out of the causal universe five subtle elements are born. These are the Pancha Bhūtāni. These are
- Ākāshaha or space
- Vāyu or air
- Agni or fire
- Jalam or water
- Bhūmihi or Pruthvi : the earth

In the initial stages, they are in subtle form, which means they are not available for our transaction. They are note even visible. Subtle Pruthvi is not even visible to us.

In scientific form, Pruthvi does not refer to the earth itself but refers to the solid form of matter. And Jalam does not water alone, but refers to the liquid form of matter. Then the third is the vapour or gaseous form. The fourth state is the plasma state. In science we have only four. But in Shāstram, we have the fifth stage – Ākāshaha even beyond the plasma stage.

Now the scriptures point out that these five elements have evolved from Māyā and therefore whatever be the features of Māyā must be inherent in the elements. In other words, whatever are the features of Māyā , these must have been in the cosmos or universe and whatever must be in the universe must be in Māyā. Because the law is that the features of the cause inhere the effect – Kārana Gunāhā Kārye Anuvartante.

13.4. Three Features of Stages of Manifestation

And when we study the entire universe, we can see three common features which are widely present in the cosmos.

13.4.1. Jnāna Shaktihi

The first feature is Jnāna Shaktihi or Knowing faculty or sentiency faculty. This is especially found in living being through which they are able to sense or experience the world. If all the creation has been inert, there will be nobody to do any transaction.

13.4.2. Kriyā Shaktihi

Another feature we see is Kriyā Shaktihi – dynamism. This is the capacity to be active.

13.4.3. Dravya Shaktihi

In this feature, both Jnāna Shaktihi and Kriyā Shaktihi are absent or stultified. This is the inertia feature. Inertia means the absence of knowing faculty and absence of acting faculty. Neither can it act nor can it know. This is called Dravya Shaktihi.

Technically these three faculties are known as
- Sattva Gunaha for Jnāna Shaktihi
- Rajo Gunaha for Kriyā Shaktihi
- Tamo Gunaha for Dravya Shaktihi

These three Gunāhā are inherent in Māyā. Therefore Māyā is defined as Tri Gunātmikā Māyā endowed with threefold features which are seen in the universe.

E.g. during a class, only the Dravya Shakti is being used – just grasping. Then based on this knowledge, acting is called Kriyā Shaktihi. Then during sleep neither you know things nor do things – this time Dravya Shakti is being used. If these features are seen in the cosmos, they must be there in Māyā. Therefore Māyā has three Gunāhā and these three Gunāhā inhere the five elements also.

Here interestingly, Guna should not be translated as property. They are to be translated as the components of Māyā. Three Gunāhā are like the three strands of a plaited string. Hence one of the meanings of Guna is String. These three features or Gunāhā are in unmanifest in the five elements also. Thus we have got Sāttvika component of space, Rājasik a component of space and Tāmasik component of space. Similarly we have Sāttvika component or air, Rājasik component of air and Tāmasik component of air. Same applies for Fire, Water and Earth

- Space
- Air
- Fire
- Water
- Earth

- Space
- Air
- Fire
- Water
- Earth

- Space
- Air
- Fire
- Water
- Earth

Hence we have fifteen items.

Hence the first form of creation is Sūkshma Bhūta Srushtihi – the creation or manifestation of the subtle elements.

13.5. Stages of Creation

13.5.1. Stage 1 – Sattva Guna as generator

Then the scriptures point out that out of the subtle elements alone, all the subtle bodies of the individual are manifested. Let us understand this better.

We have got five organs of knowledge – Pancha Jnāna Indriyāni. The faculty associated with this is, naturally, the Knowing faculty. They are born out of five elements. Five elements generate the five organs of action. Five subtle elements generate five subtle organs.

And when we say five subtle elements, which component must be responsible ? The SattvaGuna which stand for Jnāna Shakti. The SattvaGuna component of the five elements are responsible for the generation of the five sense organs of knowledge.

What is the order of generation ?
- The Sattva Guna component of Space is responsible for ears
- The Sattva Guna component of Air is the generator of skin
- The Sattva Guna component of Fire is the generator of Eye
- The Sattva Guna component of Water is the generator of Tongue
- The Sattva Guna component of Earth is the generator of Nose

Hence Ears, Skin, Eye, Tongue and Nose, the five subtle organs or knowing features or sensory faculties are born out of the five elements.

The fourfold mind or inner organ which coordinates or controls the five sense organs is born out of the Sāttvika component of all the five elements. The reason is that the mind has to control all the sense organs. In fact a sense organ functions only when the mind is behind it. Therefore the mind has to be behind the eye Ears, Skin, Eye, Tongue and Nose. Therefore it requires the Sattva Guna of all the five. The inner organ (mind) is born out of Sāttvika components of all the five elements.

13.5.2. Stage 2 – Rajas Guna as generator

Extending the same principle we have the Pancha Karma Indriyāni. Five sense organs of action are also generated out of five subtle elements. But the component is the Kriyā Shakti component called Rajas component.

In what order are these born ?
- The Rājasik component of Space is responsible for Organ of Speech - Vāk
- The Rājasik component of Air is the generator of Organ of Hands – Pāni
- The Rājasik component of Fire is the generator of Organ of Legs – Pāda
- The Rājasik component of Water is the generator of Organ of Anus – Pāyuhu
- The Rājasik component of Earth is the generator of Organ of Genitals - Upastha

Then behind the five Karma Indriyāni or five sense of action, what is required is Prāna Shakti or Life force. Without Prāna Shakti, no organ can act. Therefore during days of fasting, when we have not eaten, we cannot even speak or act properly. Therefore The Prāna Shakti or Pancha Prānāhā which support all the Pancha Karma Indriyāni must be born out of the Rājasik component of all the five elements. Just as the mind is born out of total Sattva elements, Prāna is born out of out total Rajas elements, whereas individual sense organs are born out of individual elements.

The entire Sūkshma Sharīram is born out of Sattva Guna and Rajo Guna of the five subtle elements. Therefore we have seen Sūkshma Bhūta Srushti and Sūkshma Sharīram Srushti – in short the entire subtle universe. If there are any other subtle worlds or creation, they are all born out of the combination of subtle elements only

13.5.3. Stage 3 –Tamo Guna as generator

We then come to the third and final stage of creation – the gross visible and tangible universe. The scriptures explain how it comes about. We have utilised the Sattva components of the five components of the five elements. We have also utilised the Rajas components of the five components of the five elements. We have not yet used the Tamas component of the five elements.

The scriptures point out that the Tamas component of the five elements alone get grossified to become the five gross elements – Pancha Sthūla Bhūtāni. The five gross elements are born out of or manifest from the Tamo Gunaha of the five subtle elements.

Eteshām Pancha Sūkshma Bhūtānām Tamo Amshāt Pancha Sthūla Bhūtāni

The scriptures point out is, until grossification, each element was isolated and pure. One element was not adulterated or mixed with others. But when grossification takes place, the Tamo Guna of these five elements get intermixed. This is just like eating a salad. Sūkshma Prapancha is like eating grapes separately, bananas separately etc. Grossification means eating all together. Once we come to five grossified elements, each element has got a mixture of all the five. So Earth has got five elements, space has got five elements. Same way for Air, Fire and Water.

Now the question arises if each element is a mixture of five, how will you name the elements ? The scriptures say that the naming is done based on the predominance of the elements. Therefore scriptures point out, Gross Space has got all the give elements in the following proportion.
- 50 % is Space part
- The other four elements will be only in one eighth proportion i.e. 12.5%

This process of “salad making” is called Panchī Karanam or Grossification. The same applies for the other gross elements as well. Gross air has 50% air etc.

Once the five gross elements are born, out of that the entire cosmos including all our physical bodies are created. This is called Sthūla Srushtihi or Sthūla Abhivyaktihi.

Thus Māyā is causal universe. And out of that comes subtle universe called Sūkshma Abhivyaktihi. And out of that comes gross universe which is called Sthūla Abhivyaktihi. Thus the entire creation comes out.

It will last for some time and again collapse to Māyā. What will be Brahman doing ? Consciousness remains. When appropriate condition comes it manifests in the form of life. When the manifesting conditions are not there (cells are not formed), consciousness remains unmanifest. This is Vedic Cosmology


Space ( Ear )
Air ( Skin )
Fire ( Eye )
Water ( Tongue )
Earth ( Nose )


Space ( Speech )
Air ( Hands )
Fire ( Legs )
Water ( Anus )
Earth ( Genitals )


Space ( Mixture )
Air ( Mixture )
Fire ( Mixture )
Water ( Mixture )
Earth ( Mixture )

Saturday, 12 April 2008

12. Ātmā

12. Ātmā

Till now we dealt with the following from Tattvabodha
- Sādhana Chatushtayam – Four fold qualification
- Sharīra Trayam – Threefold body
- Avasthā Trayam – Threefold states of experience
- Pancha Koshaha – Fivefold personality layers of an individual

We also saw that Sharīra Trayam and Kosha Panchakam both refer to the same personality alone. The Sharīra Trayam itself looked from another angle is called Kosha Panchakam and are practically one and the same.

We will now go to the next and important topic of Tattvabodha namely Ātmā. Translated in English as Self or Soul. We will however maintain the usage of only Ātmā or Ātmān.

From the previous topics, we come to know that all the three bodies, Sharīra Trayam, are made up of matter. The gross body is made of gross elements – Pancha Bhūtāni – and since all the five elements are matter only, the gross body is made up of matter and hence is material in nature. Material meaning a product of matter. In Sanskrit we can translate matter as Bhūtam and material as Bhautikam. The Sthūla Sharīram is Pāncha Bhautikam material in nature.

Similarly we saw the Sūkshma Sharīram or subtle body that is also made up of five subtle elements, only difference being that Sūkshma Sharīram is made out of subtle elements but that is also Pāncha Bhautikam and therefore material in nature. So gross body is material and subtle body is also material.

Also the causal body is the subtlest form of matter only because causal body is only the seed form of gross and subtle bodies. So before the gross and subtle bodies are generated, they should exist in potential form by law of conservation of matter and energy. Therefore before Srushti the gross and subtle body must have existed in potential form. That potential gross and subtle body is called causal body. Therefore that causal body must also be potential matter. Therefore Kārana Sharīram is also material.

What we arrive is that Sharīra Trayam is material in nature. In Sanskrit matter is called Jadam. And once we understand that the three Sharīrams are Jadams, we have to derive certain important corollaries.

Firstly, any matter or material is inert in nature. According to Vedanta Shāstram, the definition of inertness is that which does not have consciousness and that which cannot produce consciousness. In Sanskrit we say we say it is neither Chaitanya Gunakam nor Chaitanya Janakam – does not have consciousness of its own and it cannot produce or generate consciousness also respectively. Since Sharīra Trayam is Jadam, material in nature, it does not have consciousness and does not produce consciousness. Therefore according to Shāstram, all the three Sharīram by their intrinsic nature are inert, non-consciousness, insentient in nature. This means that not only the body is inert and insentient, according to Shāstram, the mind also being part of Sūkshma Sharīram is also inert matter and therefore insentient. So according to Vedanta, mind does not have its own consciousness and mind cannot produce consciousness also. Same with Kārana Sharīram also. So all the three bodies are intrinsically insentient. So Kasmāt ? Bhautikatvāt. So Sharīra Trayam Jadam Bhautikatvāt Ghatavat. This is the corollary we get from the study of the three bodies.

Even if this is the logical corollary, we find our experience is otherwise. Even though the three bodies must be insentient logically, I experience the three bodies as sentient ones – Chetana Sthūla Sharīram I experience the body as a conscious body, conscious of the surroundings. Similarly I experience the mind as very much sentient. In short Sharīra Trayam is experienced as sentient one.

But logically Sharīra Trayam must be insentient one. How do we reconcile to this ? Logically Sharīra Trayam is insentient. By experience Sharīra Trayam is sentient. Vedānta Shāstram say this is possible. Suppose we know that a person is extremely poor but comes to a function with lot of ornaments. What is to be inferred ? If he does not have his own and if he is still wearing them, the ornaments must be borrowed ones. A person is naturally ugly but now looks beautiful. This is possible through made up beauty or make-up. So very simply, in the same way Shāstram point out Sharīra Trayam does not have Svābhāvika Chaitanyam. It does not have natural consciousness and therefore they have Āgantuka Chaitanyam or borrowed consciousness.

With borrowed consciousness these three Sharīram are strutting like a peacock very proudly otherwise, there is not difference between a statue and our physical body. From the Shāstram angle we say Pancha Bhūtāni, from a scientific angle we say Body is made up of Chemical. How come that bundle of chemical is inert and this bundle of chemical is sentient. The only reason is that these enjoy borrowed consciousness.

To recapitulate, the stages of development are as follows :
Firstly we said Sharīra Trayam Bhautikam.
Therefore Sharīra Trayam Jadam.
And they appear as though sentient and therefore Sharīra Trayam has borrowed consciousness.

If Sharīra Trayam has borrowed consciousness, borrowing is possible only when there is a lender. We require a consciousness which has to lend consciousness. And this lender of consciousness is the fourth factor in human personality. The other three being
- Sthūla Sharīram
- Sūkshma Sharīram
- Kārana Sharīram

Sthūla Sūkshma Kārana Sharīrat Vyatiriktaha – other than these three there is a fourth factor which is the lender of consciousness.

What is that factor ? Who is the lender of that consciousness ? Enter Ātmā.

12.1. Fourth factor in human personality

Ātmā is the fourth factor in human personality which is the lender of consciousness to the first three factors – Sharīra Trayam. Therefore we can say Ātmā makes Sharīra Trayam aglow with consciousness. Ātmā makes Sharīra Trayam alive with consciousness. Ātmā makes Sharīra Trayam sentient with consciousness.

The nearest comparison is that just as electricity makes the bulb aglow with light or brilliance. We know that the bulb cannot glow by itself. The filament cannot glow by itself. Therefore other than the bulb and filament, there is another principle called electricity which makes the filament glow first, and through the filament it makes the bulb also brilliant. But the only thing is that the electricity part is invisible, the glowing filament and bulb alone are visible. Thus the visible bulb and filament are made glowing because of the invisible electricity “blessing” the bulb.

What is the nature of this Ātmā ?

12.2. The blessing principle

In Kenopanishad, Ātmā is called Devaha. We will see the important features of the Ātmā.

12.2.1. Ātmā Chaitanya Svarūpaha

Ātmā is of the nature of consciousness itself. It is a non-material principle. We say so because if Ātmā is also another matter, like the Sharīra Trayam, then Ātmā also will be Jadam and Ātmā will have to borrow consciousness from another principle. This will be never ending. So the original lender must be a non-borrower. A borrowing lender is not the original lender.

Ātmā being the original lender, Ātmā should not be borrowing consciousness from elsewhere. This means that Ātmā must be non-material in nature. In English they use the word Spirit as opposed to matter. Ātmā is said to be spiritual in nature.

Hence the first feature of Ātmā is that it is the non-material principle, spiritual principle of the nature of consciousness – Chaitanya Svarūpaha or Chit Rūpaha.

12.2.2. Ātmā Svatantraha

Ātmā is Svatantraha. It is an independent principle because it is of the nature of consciousness which is not dependant on matter for its production or existence. Consciousness does not depend on matter for its existence as well as production.

Previously we said, matter does not have consciousness. If matter has consciousness then consciousness will depend on matter. If matter produces consciousness then also consciousness will depend on matter. Since consciousness does not belong to matter and is not produced by matter, consciousness is an independent entity and does not depend on matter either for production or existence. This is the independent principle.

12.2.3. Ātmā Nirgunaha

Since Ātmā is non-material in nature, it does not have any of the attributes belonging to matter. In fact whatever attributes we know, are all material attributes either perceived directly by our eyes or various instruments. All attributes we know belong to matter. Shabda, Sparsha Rūpa, Rasa and Gandha belong to the five elements of Ākāshaha, Vāyuhu, Agni, Āpaha and Pruthvi and the five elementals i.e. their products.

Ātmā is free from all these attributes. Ātmā is therefore Nirgunaha – attribute-less and property-free.

12.2.4. Ātmā Nityaha

Since Ātmā does not depend on matter or Sharīra Trayam for its existence or production, even when matter perishes or collapses, Ātmā the consciousness principle continues to survive. Just as the electricity continues to survive even after the filament is destroyed, electricity is there. You do not feel the glow of the bulb and this is not because electricity is not there, but the bulb or filament is gone. Non-manifestation of electricity in the form of light is not non-existence of electricity.

Even when the matter Sharīra Trayam collapse, Ātmā the consciousness principle continues to survive. Therefore Ātmā is Nityaha. In a scientific language, the scientists point out that the universe is four dimensional. Three are spatial dimensions. The fourth one is called Time dimension. Form this we come to know that time is the property or the fourth dimension of the material universe and consciousness being non-material, it does not have the property of time also. It is beyond time and is unconditioned by time – unlocatable time wise.

In simple language, Nityaha or Kāla Atītaha.

12.2.5. Ātmā Sarvagataha

Time and space are closely interconnected. Therefore Ātmā is not bound by time. It is invariably not restrained by, not conditioned by, not circumscribed by space also. Therefore Sarvagataha. It is not located in the Sharīra Trayam. It is behind Sharīra Trayam also. Just as the electricity is not the behind the small bulb, in fact one electricity is behind all the bulbs. It is there in between as well but we don’t see because there is no bulb. Similarly, Ātmā Sarvagataha or Sarvavyāpi and it is behind all the Sharīra Trayams.

So bodies are many and of difference shapes (like small or big bulb). So we have a small Sharīra Trayam e.g. of an ant as well as a big one as that of an elephant and behind all of these, there is an Ātmā. Therefore Ātmā Sarvagataha.

12.2.6. Ātmā Ekaha

If Ātmā is one consciousness principle behind all the bodies, Ātmā has to be only one even though bodies are many. Ātmā Ekaha. Ātmā Advaitaha. Ātmā Advitīyaha – non-dual. So this Ātmā is the fourth factor in the personality of every individual.

Interestingly enough lot of scientific study is going on the field of consciousness. Some scientists have made statements very close to Vedāntik teaching.

12.3. Ātmā Anātmā Vivekaha

Since this non-material consciousness is called Ātmā, the material Sharīra Trayam is called Anātmā. The first step in Vedāntik study is Ātmā Anātmā Vivekaha. Understanding that there are three factors within Anātmā range and one factor known as Ātmā and I the individual am a mixture of the material Anātmā and non-material Ātmā. Time-space-bound Anātmā and time-space-beyond Ātmā.

Learning this is the first lesson of Vedanta. For further appreciation of Vedanta, we have to go through some exercise or discipline or Sādhanā for going further into the teaching. The word Ātmā literally means Self. Self means I. Naturally the word Anātmā means non-self.

By using this expression Ātmā and Anātmā, what the scriptures want us to do is that we should train ourselves to claim the Ātmā as myself. Also the Upanishad teach us that we should gradually train to renounce our identification with the material perishable incidental Anātmā aspect. So discipline-identify from Anātmā and learn to identify with Ātmā. In Sanskrit Anātma Abhimāna Tyāgaha, Ātmā Abhimāna Nishthā.

So this is a new training to be practiced by Vedāntik seeker. In fact, all Vedāntik Sādhanāni are meant for this switchover of identification. If somebody asks for your bio-data, we give date of birth, graduation etc - in fact our entire bio-data is Sharīra Trayam oriented bio-data. And keep this bio-data for worldly transactions but within yourself, a transformation should take place. This transformation is that the regular bio-data is for the sake of the world and my real bio-data is :

Aham Chaitanya Svarūpaha
Aham Svatantraha
Aham Nirgunaha
Aham Nityaha
Aham Sarvagataha
Aham Ekaha

So this claiming of my real bio-data is claiming my birthright and I should learn to claim. And only as I claim this, further Vedāntik teaching will penetrate. This is the first lesson.

The next question is – How can I train myself for that ? For this training, the scriptures give a method or Upāyaha. An Upāyaha is given for assisting this training which is called Druk Drushya Viveka. This is the methodology of training the mind to disown or disclaim the material Anātmā. You can use the material Anātmā but claim the non-material Ātmā.

We don’t say you should not own the scooter, but you should not say I am the scooter. This method involves application of two important fundamental laws of Vedanta.

12.3.1. Fundamental Law – 1

I am different from whatever I experience.

Whatever I experience is the experienced object. I the experiencer am the subject and therefore I the experiencer subject am different from whatever is the experience object. I experience a fan but am not the fan. I experience the entire world and I am not that.

Extending this principle, if the world that I experience is not me, I experience my body and I experience my mind and therefore the body mind also are the object of my experience. Therefore I am the experiencer of Sharīra Trayam. Sharīra Trayam is the object of my experience and I am the subject behind the experienced object. I am ever the observer and never the observed.

12.3.2. Fundamental Law - 2

I the experiencer am free from the attributes of the experienced objects.

And in fact all the attributes I experience belong either to the experienced world, the experienced body or the experienced mind. Therefore all known attributes belong to known material Anātmā. I am the knower of the attributes and therefore free from all these known attributes.

Mano Buddhyahankāra Chittāni Nāham
Na Cha Shrotra Jihve Na Cha Ghrāna Netre
Na Cha Vyoma Bhūmir Na Tejo Na Vāyuhu
Chidānanda Rūpaha Shivoham Shivoham

I am not the mind, nor the intellect, neither the ego nor the subconscious
I am also not the ear, not the nose, not the eye
I am neither the ether nor the earth, neither the fire nor the air
I am the form of pure bliss, I am Universal Consciousness

Thus by applying these two laws, I am different from whatever I experience, I am free from the attributes of the objects that I experience.

Therefore I am the following
- Chaitanya Svarūpaha
- Svatantraha
- Nirgunaha
- Nityaha
- Sarvagataha
- Ekaha

…Ātmā Asmi

Friday, 11 April 2008

11. Avasthā Trayam and Kosha Panchakam


11. Avasthā Trayam and Kosha Panchakam
Avasthā Trayam refers to the three stages experience and Kosha Panchakam refers to the five layers of our personality.

11.1. Avasthā Trayam

We will first start with Avasthā Trayam – the three states of experience. We sill see three factors relating to each state of experience. By studying the three factors, we will understand what these three states of experience are
- First we will study the condition of the mind in each state of experience because the mind plays a prominent role in each state
- Secondly we will study the nature of the experience. In each state of experience, what is the nature of experience
- Finally we will study the dominant medium which is involved or connected with each state of experience

11.1.1. Jāgrat Avasthā

This refers to waking state of experience. Avasthā means a state of experience and Jāgrat Avasthā means waking state of experience. Now in this state of experience, first we will find the condition of the mind or to be precise, the internal organs – Antah Karanam Mind

In the waking state, the mind or the inner organ is fully functional or operative which means that all faculties are functioning – the emotional, rational, thinking, ego, memory faculties are all functioning and open. This is also called Pūrna Vikāsaha – fully bloomed is the internal organ. And since all these four faculties are functional, all these four experience will also be there – emotions, thinking, discrimination, gathering fresh knowledge, gathering fresh experience. Nature

The second factor to study is the nature of experience in Jāgrat Avasthā. In Jāgrat Avasthā we experience a world which is external to ourselves, our body-mind complex. It is a Bāhya Prapancha.

And since it is an external universe, it is a concrete tangible world of experience. We can very clearly tangibly feel it because it is made out of tangible matter. Therefore it is external, it is concrete and is available for all other people also.

It is a common public world and hence is an objective experience. We will know the significance of each adjective when we compare with dream experience. Here objective means – commonly available for all people.

This experience is sense-organ based Indriya Janyam. In Jāgrat Avasthā, I experience the world with the help of the sense organs in the from of Shabda, Sparsha Rūpa, Rasa and Gandha and the consequent pleasure and pain and other responses.

So the four adjectives to be remembered are
- External,
- Concrete,
- Objective and
- Sense Organ
… based experience. This experience involves both ways of transaction. The transaction involves receiving experience - Bhoga Pradhāna - and it involves responding to the world. I function both as a Bhokta as well as a Kartā – receiver and contributor.

In Shāstram it is called Bhoga Bhūmi and Karma Bhūmi. Medium

The dominant medium involved in the waking state. To experience the waking state, we are making use of the sense organs. This is a sense organ based experience. And, to use the sense organs, we require a physical body because every sense organ has a physical location.

In the Shāstram, the physical location is called Golakam. Every Indriyam requires a Golakam, the physical part. The eye sense organ requires the eye Golakam the physical part, the ear sense organ require the ear Golakam. The sense organ belong to Sūkshma Sharīram and the Golakam belongs to the Sthūla Sharīram. Thus the sense organs which belong to Sūkshma Sharīram require the physical body which has got the physical location or Golakam.

Sense organs require Golakam. Golakams require the physical body. Therefore sense organs require the physical body for functioning. Since the Jāgrat Avasthā is sense organ base, Jāgrat Avasthā is heavily physical body oriented. Therefore we say, Jāgrat Avasthā is Sthūla Sharīram Pradhāna Avasthā. Because I have to see an external world or seeing an external world I have to operate sense organs, to operate sense organs I require the body. Therefore without the physical body, the physical universe cannot be experienced.

11.1.2. Svapna Avasthā

This is also called the Dream state of experience. In Sanskrit it is called Svapna Avasthā. And with regard to Svapna Avasthā also, we have to see the three factors. Mind

During Svapna or dream, our memory faculty alone is functioning. Whatever experience we have gathering in the Jāgrat Avasthā, they all get registered in the memory slab of the mind. In Jāgrat Avasthā, the mind is similar to a recorder of Shabda, Sparsha Rūpa, Rasa and Gandha. Not only can it register the physical world, but also the emotions like sorrow and happiness are registered. That part of the mind is called Chittam faculty. And whatever is registered is thrown out again and functions as a Video cassette player. Therefore whatever emotions we experience in dream, are not freshly received emotions but are only replaying the recorded emotions. Therefore everything that happens in dream is only from memory. Therefore the other faculties are not functioning
- The Manaha or emotional faculty for gathering fresh emotions
- rational Faculty does not function
- Ego faculty does not function. Even the Ego experienced in the dream is the memory ego and the fresh ego is not functioning.

Therefore the condition of the mind during dream is partially functioning mind. Of the four faculties, only one faculty is functioning and this being Chittam or memory. Hence Svapna Avasthā is also called Ardha Vikāsaha . Nature

In dream, we experience a world which is internal. Because this world is generated out of my own personal private memory and therefore it is not something existing outside, there is no connection between the dream objects that I have and the surrounding that I have. I may sleeping in a place but my dreams may be connected to another place. Therefore it is an internal world.

Secondly since it is an internal world, made out of our own memory, we called it Vasana Māyā Prapanchaha. It is made out of our memories or thoughts. Hence they are not concrete or are abstract. The external world is Bhautika Prapanchaha and therefore concrete. Internal world is Vāsanā Maya Prapanchaha and therefore abstract. Thoughts are not tangible and therefore thought generated object is also not tangible.

In dreams the world available for me is not accessible to other people. This is a subjective universe.

It is not perceived with sense organs – not a sense organ based universe. This is a memory based universe or Vāsanā Janyam. Hence whatever we experience in dream is based on our experience in waking only. Whatever we can see through the VCP is only what has been recorded by a VCR. If you collect experiences in Jāgrat Avasthā, in Svapna Avasthā, you recollect the experiences. You cannot recollect when you have not collected in first place. Therefore every Svapna experience is based on Jāgrat Avasthā.

Sometimes we may get a doubt – sometimes I experience a rare dream that I have not experienced in the waking state. If you say so, there are only a few possibilities
- One is you create a new dream by combining various things experienced in the Jāgrat Avasthā. New objects cannot be created. This is because objects are memory based or thought based, and thought being highly fluid the objects are highly fluid in Svapna – Avyaktam Padārthaha . Therefore since they all get jumbled up, we get mixed dreams.
- Sometimes whatever we imagine in the Jāgrat Avasthā, they get registered and they can be thrown out. Whatever is fantasised or imagined or read in books or seen in movies leading to imagination, they all can come in Svapna
- Sometimes even if I have not experienced in this Janma , according to our Shāstram, the experience of the previous Janma also can come. Because between the previous Janma and this Janma , the physical body alone is difference – the subtle bodies continues. Therefore sometimes it is said, that children without any reason suddenly laugh or suddenly cry. And generally they attribute to previous Janma memories. The present Janma memories have not yet started strongly forming – hence Pūrva Janma Smaranam comes they say. This cannot be verified.
- Suppose a person says that he gets experiences which are connected to the future – premonition or ESP type of experience relating to the future event. You cannot say it is a past experience. Therefore it cannot be Vāsanā based, it cannot be memory based which require past experiences. We say, by definition they are not Svapnāhā – Svapnāhā are purely memory based. If a person sees future events, it is only a unique faculty of the mind which we have not developed because coming events cast their shadows before. Any event is already there in potential form. When it is potential, it is too subtle for us to understand. But if the mind is sensitised enough, as we have in the Purānās Trikāa Jnānis, the mind has got this unique faculty. The Yogic people deliberately develop this faculty. But in our case as a freak experience sometimes it happens. Medium

Since Svapna is memory based and memories belong to the Chittam and Chittam belongs to Sūkshma Sharīram, Svapna is predominantly Sūkshma Sharīram based. Hence it is called Sūkshma Sharīram Pradhāna Avasthā Svapna Avasthā.

11.1.3. Sushupti Avasthā

The third state is the state of sleep. Sometimes this is translated as Deep Sleep to indicate a dreamless sleep. In Sanskrit we call this Sushupti Avasthā. Mind

Unlike Jāgrat Avasthā and Svapna where the mind was Pūrna Vikāsaha and Ardha Vikāsaha respectively, in Sushupti Avasthā the mind is fully non-functional and almost zero functional. That is why emotional faculty is not there and in sleep, emotions are not there, since rational faculty is not there, no knowledge and since memory faculty is not functioning no memory, and since Ego faculty is not functioning, there is not even the sense of I am sleeping. All these are dormant. Nature

Since sense organs are not functioning, the external world is not there.
Since memories are not functioning, internal world is not there.
Therefore there is neither external concrete objective world nor internal abstract subjective world. Therefore it is an experience of blankness. We call it as Ajnāna Anubhavaha – state of total ignorance or blackout or blankness. This is the nature of the experience. Medium

The dominant medium is to be seen now.
Sthūla Sharīram is not dominantly functioning because sense organs are not functioning.
Sūkshma Sharīram is not dominantly functioning because memories are not thrown out.
Therefore what is dominant is the Kārana Sharīram Pradhāna Avasthā. A state in which Kārana Sharīram is dominant when Sthūla Sharīram and Sūkshma Sharīram are as though resolved because they are not functional. Whatever is not functioning is as good as resolved.

During Kārana Sharīram Pradhāna Avasthā, all our internal and external experiences remain in dormant condition and from that alone they will come back the next day.

Hence to summarise, when I am associated with Jāgrat Avasthā, I am called the Waker. When associated with Svapna Avasthā, I am called Dreamer. When associated with Sushupti Avasthā I am called a sleeper. In Shāstram, three words are used.
- Vishva is the name of the waker. Vishva means fully as the mind is fully functional.
- Taijasaha – Internally illumined person or the dreamer
- Prājnaha - sleeper or blissfully ignorant person. Prakarshena Ajnaha Prājnaha

The above was Avasthā Trayam

11.2. Kosha Panchakam

Now we will see the five fold personality layers. This Kosha Panchakam is the division of Sharīra Trayam itself in another manner. The three bodies which we discussed in Sharīra Trayam, the same three bodies are divided into give layers. The personality is the same but the same but the angle of division varies. When you divide into three bodies, it is based on the matter.
- Sthūla Sharīram is made out of raw matter
- Sūkshma Sharīram is made out of subtle matter
- Kārana Sharīram is made out of causal matter. Matter based division is Sharīra Trayam.
This texture based classification is Sharīra Trayam.

But the very same three are divided into five based on functions. Functional division is Kosha Panchakam. In this, Sthūla Sharīram is seen as one particular Kosha called Annamaya Kosha. The physical body is termed Annamaya Kosha. Kārana Sharīram is called Ānandamaya Kosha and also has got sub-divisions.

The middle Sharīram, the Sūkshma Sharīram alone is subdivided into three Koshas known as
- Prānamaya Kosha
- Manomaya Kosha
- Vijnānamaya Kosha

11.2.1. Annamaya Kosha

Annamaya Kosha or the Sthūla Sharīram can be termed as our anatomical system. The anatomy of the body is called Annamaya Kosha. The structure of the body, the organs of the physical part, the limbs of the body is called Annamaya Kosha. It is so called because it is born out of and nourished out of the essence of Annam or food.

11.2.2. Prānamaya Kosha

This corresponds to the physiological system. This means the functions of the anatomy. Anatomy refers to the various parts of the parts. Physiology deals with the functions. So Prānamaya Kosha refers to the functions. That is why at the time of death, the Sūkshma Sharīram is supposed to leave the body which means that three Koshas leave the body. These are
- Prānamaya Kosha
- Manomaya Kosha
- Vijnānamaya Kosha

...and these leave the body. Since the Prānamaya Kosha has left the body, the physiological systems are not there while the anatomy is there. Hence organ transplantation is possible. Anatomy belongs to Sthūla Sharīram and it remains even after death. Physical belongs to Sūkshma Sharīram or Prānamaya Kosha and therefore it disappears after death. This Prānamaya Kosha is otherwise called Kriyā Shaktihi and consists of ten organs ot Sūkshma Sharīram or Prānamaya Kosha.

Those ten organs are
- Pancha Prānāhā : giving energy
- Pancha Karma Indriyāni : giving the tools.

Hence Energy + Tools = Kriyā Shaktihi.

11.2.3. Manomaya Kosha

Can be termed as the psychological function. All the emotions, doubts is Manomaya Kosha or psychological personality or Iccha Shakti. Kriyā Shakti is preceded by Iccha Shakti because desire alone prompts a person to action. Therefore Manomaya Kosha pushes Prānamaya Kosha into action. This psychological personality otherwise called Manomaya Kosha consists of six organs.

The six organs include
- Pancha Jnāna Indriyāni or Five sense organs of knowledge
- Mind or Manaha which includes Chittam and Ahankāra

11.2.4. Vijnānamaya Kosha

It is the cognitive personality or the knowing personality. While Manomaya Kosha corresponds to emotions or Iccha Shakti, this Vijnānamaya Kosha refer to knowing personality or Jnāna Shaktihi – cognitive personality or judging personality or weighing personality.

In other words, Vijnānamaya Kosha knows, Manomaya Kosha desires and Prānamaya Kosha acts. Jānāti, Icchati Yatate.

E.g. during the music season, we read the newspaper to see which all Sabhās have with Kutcheris. Now Vijnānamaya Kosha is functioning. Then you have to make your choice and decide on something. This is Manomaya Kosha. Prānamaya Kosha will then act in taking you to the Sabhā.

This also consist of six organs which are
- Pancha Jnāna Indriyāni or Five sense organs of knowledge
- Buddhihi or intellect or rational faculty. This includes Chittam and Ahankāra

Incidentally, the emotional faculty, rational faculty etc are not different organs. The internal organ is only one. It gets different names based on the relevant function.
- When it is the thinking function, it is called Buddhihi
- When it is the emotional function, it is called Manaha
- When it is memory function it is called Chittam

Hence Mano Buddhihi Chitta Ahankāra are not for separate organs but one organ named in four
ways. This is the functional division of Sūkshma Sharīram.

11.3. Ānandamaya Kosha

This corresponds to Kārana Sharīram. This can be equated to our unconscious personality or “The Unconscious” in psychology. So whatever emotions are dominant, our behaviour, our personality are all dormant in us and expresses at appropriate time. This is called unconscious or dormant personality.

Sometimes if we face a traumatic experience and the ego is not ready to face it then Bhagavān should make some arrangements like fusing – when the system is not ready to take the full current. Similarly in extraordinary physical pain also, when the body cannot take the pain, you get a situation when you don’t feel any pain. This is physiological fusing. Similarly we require a psychological fuse also at certain times when we are not ready to stand certain experience.

When we cannot stand, we have to throw out by either expressing it verbally or physically – either by crying or shouting. If due to circumstances one is not able to cry or shout or talk, then all those emotions which could not be handled by the ego, they are all put inside in the unconscious. You will find that at any time it is conducive that comes out. That is why you cry for no reason or get angry for no reason. All bolted up emotions are getting released at that time. All such emotions and all such behaviour belong to unconscious.

The play of unconscious can be easily understood. When the response and the external situations don’t tally e.g. for a small mistake a person flares. Small experiences are only a trigger for the inner one to manifest and that is called unconscious and hence called Kārana Sharīram. It is Ānandamaya Kosha because being in the unconscious, it is unknown. And being unknown you are blissfully ignorant.

In Kārana Sharīram or in Sushupti also, you do not feel any pain.

These are the five layers of the personality which are called Kosha Panchakam.

Monday, 7 April 2008

10. Sharīra Trayam

10. Sharīra Trayam
We are seeing the technical terms used in all our scriptures which have been comprehensively presented in the small book called Tattvabodha. Not only does it give the essence of Vedāntik teaching, but also systematically introduces the technical terms. In Sanskrit a technical term is called a Paribhāshā Shabdaha. We are seeing the Paribhāshā Shabda of the scriptures. Paribhāshā mean technical and Shabdaha means term.

In the last session, we introduced the technical term – Sādhana Chatushtayam. Sādhanā means qualification and Chatushtayam means fourfold. We also saw what those four qualification are and how they have to be acquired. These qualifications are meant for gaining self knowledge which will lead to a person’s liberation or freedom.

Today we propose to introduce the next technical word used in the Shāstrams and that is the Sharīra Trayam. Sharīra Trayam means the threefold bodies of an individual. Sharīram means body and Trayam means threefold. Sharīram is otherwise known as Dehaha. Therefore we can also say Deha Trayam. We will take each one of the three bodies and analyse.

The three bodies enumerated are
- Sthūla Sharīram or Sthūla Dehaha : In English this is called Gross Body
- Sūkshma Sharīram or Sūkshma Dehaha : In English this is called subtle body
- Kārana Sharīram or Kārana Dehaha : In English this is called Causal Body.

While analysing the above we are going to take four factors associated with each one of the above. The four factors are
- Material out of which each body is made – the raw material which we always see
- Components of each body – the parts that make up the particular body
- Function of each body
- Nature of each body

10.1. Sthūla Sharīram

Let us first take up the Sthūla Sharīram first and we will go in the order of four factors – the material, the components, the function and the nature

10.1.1. Material

What is the material out of which the Sthūla Sharīram is made ? The Shāstrams point out and we also know that the gross body is made out of gross matter which is in the form of the five gross elements. In the scriptures, matter is divided into five elements basically
- Ākāshaha or space
- Vāyu or air
- Agni or fire
- Jalam or waters
- Pruthvi or the earth
So the gross body or Sthūla Sharīram is made up of gross matter in the form of gross five elements. In Sanskrit the gross five elements are called Sthūla Pancha Bhūtāni. And this is easily proved by our experience because the body has earth it has solid stuff, body has got plenty of water which alone give shape, Body has Agni in the form of temperature 98.7, Body has got Vāyu in the form of life breath and body has got Ākāshaha or space occupied by the body.

So gross matter is the material out of which the body is made. And since it is made out of Sthūla Bhūtāni (elements), the body is called Bhautika Sharīram. Bhautikam means born out of Bhūtāni, Bhūtāni means gross elements. This is the material side.

10.1.2. Components

The next factor with regards to the body is the components of the body. Of course the body has got innumerable components. If we get into the details it will become the science of anatomy. For the sake of convenience, the Shāstrams divide the body into four components
- Central Body – Ātmā
- Head – Shira
- Hands – Paksha
- Legs – Puccha

This Shira Paksha Puccha Ātmā is according to the Tattiriya Upanishad. These are the four classifications. These are the four components of the Sthūla Sharīram.

10.1.3. Function

The scriptures point out that the body is only a temporary residence used by the individual. The gross body is only a house for a lease. And what is the payment ? The payment is in the form of Karma – Punya Pāpa Karma. And as long as the payment is available, the tenement is available and afterwards the notice will come you will have to vacate.

Therefore the body is a temporary residence. In Sanskrit, Tattvabodha uses the word Āyatanam. And residing in the body alone, we do all the transactions with the world. In fact before starting the transactions, we fix up a residence. And remaining there alone, we can operate.

10.1.4. Nature

Firstly, the body is of a changing nature. It is subject to modification. In Sanskrit it is called Savikāram. Vikāraha means modification and Savikāraha means with modification. Firstly, the change in the gross body is classified into six Shat Vikarāhā Shat Vikarāhā

- Asti - The first condition is the potential existence in the womb of the mother. A baby is there inside
- Jāyate - This the next change – or birth
- Vardhate - once the body is born, it starts growing
- Viparinamate - Metamorphosing i.e. growth has stopped but modification or changes continue. After the body has become an adult body, remaining an adult, it undergoes various modifications. To visualise as a graph, the graph initially goes upwards and thereafter it is the same.
- Apakshīyate - Decay or ageing, growing old
- Nāshaha or Maranam - Death of the body after which we cannot keep the body for long time.
All the above put together are called Shat Vikāravat Sharīram. Visibility

The second nature of the body is that it is visible for both oneself and others. My gross body I can also tangibly experience and see and my gross body can also be experienced, touched and seen. Hence the gross body is evident to oneself and others. In fact that is the reason it is called gross. Objectively available for all the people. Longevity

The third nature of the body is that it has got a duration of life. One cannot extend beyond

In fact the very work Sharīram means Shīryamāna Svabhāvam - that which is subject to constant change and decay. Even the word Deha is derived from the root Dih – Upachaya Apachaye Dih Dhātuhu – that which is subject to expansion and contraction.

10.2. Sūkshma Sharīram

The second body is called Sūkshma Sharīram or subtle body. This also has four factors which we have to see.

10.2.1. Material

Scriptures point out that the subtle body is born out of subtle matter which consists of subtle five elements. Just as there are gross five elements, there are subtle five elements called Sūkshma Bhūtāni
- Subtle Space
- Subtle Air
- Subtle Fire
- Subtle Water
- Subtle Earth
In general made out of subtle matter and subtle body is also called Bhoutika Sharīram. It is material body and material in nature.

10.2.2. Components

Scriptures point out that the subtle body has got nineteen components. Each one being one instrument of transaction. Because gross body is only the office, but we require instruments for transaction and we have nineteen instruments Pancha Jnāna Indriyāni

These are the five sense organs of knowledge – because all transactions presuppose knowledge.
- Eyes – meant to gather the knowledge of colours and forms. Rūpa Grāhaka Chakshur Indriyam
- Ears – meant to gather the knowledge of the sounds. Shabda Grāhaka Shtrotra Indriyam
- Nose – meant to gather the knowledge of all forms of smell. Gandha Grāhaka Ghrāna Indriyam
- Tongue – meant to gather the knowledge of all forms of taste. Rasa Grāhaka Rasana Indriyam
- Skin – meant to gather the knowledge of all form varieties of touch. Sparsha Grāhaka Tuvag Indriyam

These are the five Jnāna Indriyāni. You should be careful that when we refer to the Jnāna Indriyāni or sense organs, we don’t refer to the physical part which belongs to the physical body. But we actually refer to the subtle power of perception. The eyeball belongs to the physical body but the eye organ belongs to the subtle body. Similarly the ear lobe belongs to the gross body but the power of hearing – the Shravana Shakti – belongs to the subtle body. Pancha Karma Indriyāni

These are five sense organs of action. So one is meant for input and receiving the stimuli (the previous one) and one is meant for output or expressing our responses (this one).
- Organ of speech – Vāg Indriyam. Verbal response
- Organ of Hands – Pāni by which we do varieties of action
- Organ of Legs – Pāda by which we move from place to place. Organs of locomotion. There is a beautiful coordination between Jnāna Indriyam and Karma Indriyam. The ears want to listen to the class then immediately the legs bring the body
- Organ of evacuation - Pāyuhu – wastage removing organs.
- Organ of Procreation - Upastham – organ of reproduction because of which alone the species continues as a lineage Pancha Prānāhā

The fivefold Prānāhā. The energy generating system or fuel converting system. If you have to keep on acting, we have to generate energy constantly. We have Prāna Shakti behind the organs of action. Prāna Shakti lends energy. There are fivefold Prānas well known as
- Respiratory system - Prāna – inhalation and exhalation which alone has to absorb the Prāna Shakti or oxygen. Then the Carbon dioxide has to go out, oxygen has to go to lungs, blood has to absorb and it has to be circulated
- Evacuating system – Apāna – energy behind functioning of the evacuation system or waste removal. Any form of removal of waste can be called Apāna
- Circulatory system - Vyāna – oxygen has to be circulated, the nutrition that is generated in the stomach has to be carried to all parts of the body.
- Digestive system - Samānaha – this converts various eaten food into various nutrions – carbohydrates, proteins, fats, salts, minerals etc.
- Udānaha – means the reversing system which operates at the time of death generally when all the processes are reversed because it is time for dying. Digestive system weakens, respiratory system weakens. Also this reversal functions during emergency – normally the food has to go down, but if some toxic substance is there, then the normal process of going inside is reversed and things are thrown out.

They are the life giving ones and function behind the Karma Indriyāni giving energy to the Karma Indriyāni. That is why on a fasting, no Karma Indriyam will function properly because you are weakened and hence you cannot walk properly, talk properly etc.

That is why we chant the prayer

Om Prānāya Svāhā
Om Apānāya Svāhā
Om Vyānāya Svāhā
Om Udānāya Svāhā
Om Samānāya Svāhā Chatvāri Antaha Karanāni

These are four fold internal organs.
- Manaha or Mind : stands for all forms of emotional faculty. Roughly can be translated as the emotional faculty and also the doubting faculty. Sankalpa Vikalpātmakam Manaha – should I do this or should I do that? To be or not to be
- Buddhihi or intellect : Rational faculty or judging faculty or the discriminating faculty or the knowing faculty or the weighing faculty or Reasoning Faculty
- Chittam or Memory : to receive or to record our experiences in our mind. This records all the five of Shabda, Sparsha Rūpa, Rasa and Gandha. According to Shāstram, we can remember not only the past of this life but the past of our past lives as well. Without knowing the details sometimes, we feel that something is already known. A musical prodigy feels that he knows the music already, a spiritual prodigy feels, he knows the scriptures before.
- Ahankāra or Ego : the faculty of self reference. Reflexive faculty which is well developed in a human beings. Animals are not that self conscious regarding their status or pedigree. Aham Karanam Ahankāra – that which refers to myself is called Ahankāra

These four together are called Chatvāri Antaha Karanāni.

The above are the components of Sūkshma Sharīram.

10.2.3. Function

The function is transactions. All forms of transactions are done by the Sūkshma Sharīram with the help of these 19 instruments. Some instruments are meant for input and some for output and some for both (e.g. mouth)

10.2.4. Nature

There are two components under the Sūkshma Sharīram’s nature Change

This is also subject to change. So they improve and sometimes weaken. Eyes become poor, memory fails, intellect is dull. So change is one feature and the next feature Longevity

This Sūkshma Sharīram has got a longer life compared to the gross body. Gross body lives only for a maximum of about 100 years, but the subtle body continues in the next janma as well. Bodies and bodies are changed whereas the mind continues. That is why we are able to remember or get the benefit of the past Janma because the body has changed but the Sūkshma Sharīram continues. And it goes upto Pralayam and only during Pralayam is the Sūkshma Sharīram dismantled.

10.2.5. Visibility

Sūkshma Sharīram is evident and recognisable only for oneself and it is not available for others. What is my mind, I know, what are my feelings I know, but you are not able to see my mind or know my feelings or my memory. Because it is available only for me and not for others, it is called subtle body – not concrete like gross body.

10.3. Kārana Sharīram

Kārana Sharīram is also called the causal body.

10.3.1. Material

The material out of which this is made is called causal matter. The subtlest form of matter. Technically it is called Avidya. Normally Avidya means ignorance, but in this context it is different. Sometimes the word Prakrutihi or Māyā is also used.

10.3.2. Components

The components or Kārana Sharīram are nothing but Sthūla Sharīram and Sūkshma Sharīram when they are in subtle or potential form before they were created. Hence Kārana Sharīram consists of Sthūla Sharīram and Sūkshma Sharīram in seed form before they were created hence before the origination of the world and before the origination of creation or Pralaya Kāle. Sthūla Sharīram was not there them Sūkshma Sharīram was not there then as it is available now. But Sthūla Sharīram and Sūkshma Sharīram existed in seed form.

This is like a tree a few years ago was not available in this form. 20 years ago this tree was there but in potential form or unmanifest form. This is because tree cannot come without a seed because of law of conservation of matter – matter can never be produced or destroyed. Matter always exists. That being so, before the creation also, Sthūla Sharīram and Sūkshma Sharīram must have existed in potential form. That potential form of the two bodies is called Kārana Sharīram.

And Kārana Sharīram evolves into Sthūla Sharīram and Sūkshma Sharīram just as seed evolves into tree.

10.3.3. Functions

It serves are the receptacle or ground or source from which these two bodies arise. And the two bodies will ultimately resolve into Kārana Sharīram. Things come into manifestation from unmanifest condition. Then the manifest, when they are destroyed, they will not disappear as matter can never be destroyed. When destroyed, they actually go back to unmanifest form. In scientific language, matter destroyed becomes energy. Energy is unmanifest matter. Energy again condenses into matter. Stars explode to become energy, energy condenses to form stars. In the universe, stars are constantly formed and destroyed. Stars are converted into energy and energy is reconverted into matter by the law of inter-convertibility of matter and energy. In Shāstram it is called inter-convertibility of manifest and un-manifest matter.

From causal matter, subtle and gross matter arise. From subtle and gross matter, again causal matter conversion takes place. Hence the function is that the causal matter or Kārana Sharīram serves as the store house for receiving the two Sharīram and again in the next Srushti throwing the two Sharīrams.

Hence during Srushti out of Kārana Sharīram will arise Sthūla Sharīram and Sūkshma Sharīram. During Pralayam out of Sthūla Sharīram and Sūkshma Sharīram will go back to Kārana Sharīram.

10.3.4. Nature

Kārana Sharīram has got the longest life compared to even Sūkshma Sharīram. Sūkshma Sharīram gets dismantled during Pralayam at least. Pralayam refers to the resolution of the whole universe. Whereas Kārana Sharīram will not be destroyed even during Pralayam. It is supposed to go away only at the time of liberation. It has the longest life.

Sthūla Sharīram is available for all the people. Sūkshma Sharīram is evident for me only and not for others. Kārana Sharīram is not evident to even me and others. It is un-evident and un-decipherable for anyone. Hence this is called Nirvikalpa Svarūpam – indistinguishable.

Every individual has got Sthūla Sharīram, Sūkshma Sharīram and Kārana Sharīram.