Regarding sarvaM khalvidaM brahma

Sankar Jayanarayanan kartik at ENG.AUBURN.EDU
Tue Aug 5 16:35:39 CDT 1997

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian <rbalasub at ECN.PURDUE.EDU> wrote:

> Anand wrote about shrI sha.nkara's interpretation of this statement. I think
> the way I put it was a slightly different interpretation, but essentially the
> same. brahman being the cause is the same as saying that brahman is the
> substratum, and hence if the name and form are removed, the world as we
> perceive it, is seen as brahman only by the GYAni. Or am I mistaken here?

In the Vishnu Purana, Parasara says:

"The stars are Vishnu; forests, mountains, regions, rivers, oceans are Vishnu:
He is all that is, all that is not."

Parasara says that "Everything is Brahman." And includes *Everything* -- even
the perceived reality.

Parasara continues:

"He, the lord, is identical with knowledge, through which he is all forms, but
is not a substance. You must therefore conceive mountains, oceans, and all the
diversities of earth and the rest, are the illusions of the apprenhension."

Note that Parasara says "You must therefore conceive..." -- meaning that the
sadhaka is told to treat the perceived reality as an illusion, although this
is also nothing but Brahman.

The truth is that everything is Brahman. But the sadhaka is taught to treat
the "perceived reality" as an illusion and negate it. It is then known to him
that everything is Brahman.

Kind of paradoxical!

Anyway, this is the zen koan that proceeds in a very similar vein:

"Before a man goes through zen, mountains are mountains and rivers are
rivers. When a man is studying zen, mountains are no longer mountains and
rivers no longer rivers. But when a man has realized zen, mountains are
once again mountains and rivers, once again rivers."


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