Selections from the Shakta upaniShads -1 (bahvR^icha)
WIKNER at NACDH4.NAC.AC.ZA
Mon May 4 03:14:46 CDT 1998
In response to Nanda's question:
> My final question would be, "How can the bridge be build between the
> Illusory Vyavaharika Jiva and the Real Paramartika Atman?".
Ramakrishnan, in a useful response, stated:
> Of course, Sh does
> not call avidyA anirvachanIyam explictly, but it's pretty much implied.
Assuming Sh stands for Shankara, the term is used in
trigu.naatmikaa paraa |
kaaryaanumeyaa sudhiyaiva maayaa yayaa
jagatsarvamida.m prasuuyate || 108 ||
Avidyaa or Maaya, called also the Undifferentiated, is
the power of the Lord. She is without beginning, is made
up of the three gu.nas and is superior to the effects
(as their cause). She is to be inferred by one of clear
intellect only from the effects She produces. It is She
who brings forth this whole universe.
[Swami Madhavananda's translation
is given throughout.]
That verse is included here because it has the key word
bhinnaapyabhinnaaupyubhayaatmikaa no |
saa"ngaapyana"ngaa hyubhayaatmikaa no
mahaadbhutaa.anirvacaniiyaruupaa || 109 ||
She is neither existent nor non-existent nor partaking
of both characters; neither same nor different nor both;
neither composed of parts nor an indivisible whole nor
both. She is most woderful and cannot be described in
Before him, in GK 4:67, Gaudapaada uses the term lak.sa.na"suunya
(devoid of characteristics), which also occurs in the Sarvopani.sad.
I take this to be synonymous with anirvacaniiya (inexplicable).
I can sympathise with Nanda's position though, and agree with the
advice given: study the works of Shankara and his disciples. It is
necessary to work *through* the confusion and bewilderment, and not
stop short and abandon the search.
I came to a similar point of confusion by examining the mind: manas,
buddhi, citta, and aha.mkaara are clear enough, but these are mere
activities of the mind -- what is the mind *itself* that has these
functions? For a long time I was stuck, trying to find this mind.
Fortunately Shankara came to the rescue (again!):
na hyastyavidyaa manaso .atiriktaa mano
hyavidyaa bhavabindhahetu.h |
tasminvina.s.te sakala.m vina.s.ta.m
vij.rmbhite .asminsakala.m vij.rmbhate || 169 ||
There is no Avidyaa outside the mind. The mind alone is
Avidyaa, the cause of the bondage of transmigration.
When it is destroyed, all else is destroyed, and when it
is manifested, everything else is manifested.
ata.h praahurmano .avidyaa.m
yenaiva bhraamyate vi"sva.m
vaayunevaabhrama.n.dalam || 180 ||
Hence sages who have fathomed its secret have designated
the mind as Avidyaa or ignorance, by which alone the
universe is moved to and fro, like masses of clouds by
Do you begin to see that the purpose underlying all saadhanaa is
directed to purifying the mind -- to bring it to rest in sattva?
Cf. Gita 6:15 ff., or as Shankara succinctly puts it in the next
tanmana.h"sodhana.m kaarya.m prayatnena
vi"suddhe sati caitasminmukti.h
karaphalaayate || 181 ||
Therefore the seeker after liberation must carefully
purify the mind. When this is purified, liberation is
as easy of access as a fruit on the palm of one's hand.
Isn't that encouraging?
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