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
Pūrnamevāvashishyate
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

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