[Advaita-l] 'world' is not the mental creation of tiny soul !!
kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Thu Mar 13 05:25:27 CDT 2014
PraNAms to all
PraNAms – I had posted this to only advaitin list since there was extensive discussion on that in that list. Since Shree Bhaskar chose to respond in this list, I felt obligated to post here also for those who are interested.
Original title - THE OBJECTIVE WORLD IS ILLUSORY - BHAAGAVATAM
I tried to follow the arguments, but I gave up long time ago. In desperation, I just changed the title to exercise one of the moderator’s privileges that was sanctioned recently when a topic is heading south. What is written below is more my looking back of what has been said in high sounding words of bhaashyass, which, frankly, I studied them on the need-basis, when I have to talk or when someone asks me questions that I do not know how to answer. This is not to undermine the utility of bhaashyaas, but a word of caution is not to get lost in the intricacies of finer arguments, while missing the essence. I recognize that I may be doing just that. Question then is what is the essence? – I am going rattle some more than state the essence – essence is you are all that – tat tvam asi, provided I understand exactly what is that tvam that is being pointed out.
Sometimes, however, I do wonder that too much dwelling in the bhaashhya is not that much worth, once we understand that essence. I know for many, it is a way of contemplation; but in the process, if the essence gets lost in these arguments and counter arguments, then the question of the usefulness of these discussions remains in the simple minded person like me. There were extensive discussions on I-ness and my-ness, knowing that all -ness(es) can give rise to problems, if I take them as real. Only way to avoid is put everything under the category of anaatma or not-self and look at it as just my own vibhuti, or to be more polite Iswara’s vibhuuti. It is the end of the story or beginning of the real story, depending on where one is in the – aatma-anaatma vichaara – in the vision of self and not-self.
First, my little mind cannot project the world, and then cognize the world as something that I have created it. This I am sure everyone knows. Therefore the world that I see cannot be projection or creation of my local mind, which is currently located in Chennai. Something other than this local mind has created the whole universe that includes this local mind too, whom we call as Iswara or God. Cause for creation is the vaasanaas of all beings in the universe which is called avidya or maayaa, says the scriptures – just as in dream. We all know Brahman being infinite cannot, or I should say need not, create anything, since it is infinite. However, for the same reason, there cannot be any creation other than Brahman too. The contradiction here is only apparent, since creation itself is apparent and not real – just as the dream creation- says the scriptures. Hence it is useless to argue from Brahman point any creation other than the recognition that it
is pure existence-consciousness-limitless, and not nothingness, even though there are no things of any kind in it. That is stated clearly by statement of turiiyam as mantra 7 of ManDukya. We all know that too. Hence any creation of any kind including any differentiation of any kind, and any gunas of any kind, any distinctions of any kind etc., can be talked only at the level of apparent creation or mithyaa or vyaavahaarika satyam – that includes the differentiation of jiiva-jagat-Iswara. Therefore Brahman identified with the totality is Iswara who became many – says (apparent) creative theory of Vedanta.
In essence I, the jiiva, am not the creator of the whole world, period. Hence I have no control in terms of what is going to happen next since I am not omnipotent or omnipresent or omniscient, and do not even know how to spell some of these words since my knowledge is limited. Hence if anyone says, the whole world is illusion or maayaa and your mind is projecting this world and you are the world (there is JK Facebook group with the title -you are the world – without any scriptural backup to know what that means), then I have to question either his intelligence or my understanding.
I was at the Chennai central station the other day performing a devoted husband’s duty - trying to receive my wife coming from Guntur. By the by, I found that Chennai Central station is a good place to meditate! The crowds are moving this way and that way, pushing each other, where there is no place in between to go. The people with heavy back-packs were going forward, caring only for themselves, and ignoring, whom or what they knock down in reaching their goal. Porters taking big trollies loaded with boxes pushing everybody out as if they have the right of way. Everybody is rushing somewhere to catch up the train or to receive the arriving passengers, while the arriving passengers moving their heavy luggage pushing out everybody in the process. It was a mess. I found it is a good place to see the drama of life impartially, since you do not know anybody there, to get attached. My mind cannot be creating all these masses of human beings and then make
them act the way they are acting, each concerned with own plans or destiny, not bothering about anybody else. I was thinking about the history of each person. I am sure each one has one of his own stories to tell, different from those of others, and would be happy to tell their problems if only he has chance and time and there is a person to listen. Each person must have born somewhere with all his problems and aspirations, with their own life of past and with expectations of future, part of that is being present at Chennai Central Station on that day and time, and incidentally falling in my view for those few seconds. I remember the teaching – tat tvam asi – you are that – all the mess that I am seeing in front of me, right now – I am all that too. Is this my creation or I just happen to be there as witnessing this dram of life which is changing rapidly as every moment passes by, since actors are keep changing. I am all that BMIs but yet I am
none of them too, since I can stand apart and witness their anxieties and expectations. Obviously, there must somebody behind all this mess, if is not I. If Brahman cannot create all these, being infinite, then Iswara who is different from jiiva created this mess. But this is really a messy creation. However, I get the feeling that if I ask anybody, and if he cares to answer – Sir, I have a power to make you disappear and make you not having to go through this life full of struggles, would you be willing? -, I will sure he will hit with an axe if he has one, since everyone loves their life. In essence, Life itself is wonderful and very body loves the life in a way, in spite of the problems. If you can stand apart as a witness and look at this whole thing, as though it is just a drama that your mind is seeing then you can enjoy the life more, since you do not have any problems now. Obviously I was enjoying the whole drama until the announcement came
that the train that my wife is coming is now arriving in the platform 6. Now I have rush to the place, pushing anybody or everybody on the way to make sure that I do not miss my wife getting down the train. Oh! What a life? It is difficult to stand apart as witnessing consciousness when you are actively involved in pushing others out of your way! Bhashyaas can wait.
Obviously, I did not create the train or the train station or the people whom I encountered only for few seconds of my life or their lives, but may never see them again in my whole life- it is done somebody other than my local mind. However my mind has to be there to recognize the creation of that total mind; without my mind present there is no creation or no recognition of the creation, or I can say that it may be there or may not be there or it is indeterminate or it is anirvachaniiyam.
Then what is all this discussion. In simple statements, my mind:
1. Has no creative power to create the entire universe. I can create some misconceptions about my mind and the creation that I see or that I do not see – which may be called praatibhaasika – that includes my dream creations.
2. There is some total mind which we call as Iswara (not Brahman) who has the creative power which is nothing but maayaa, which is nothing but the sum total of all the karmas of all beings put together. Creative power, Shakti, needs a locus and that is Iswara.
3. Brahman being infinite cannot have any attributes of any kind since it is ekam eva advitiiyam. Attributes are different from the locus of attributes. Since there are no differences of any king there cannot be any attributes for Brahman. For our realization, scriptures compromise to teach us that swaruupa lakshaNa for Brahman as satyam, jnaanam anantam. Hence, any descriptive word used to indicate Brahman or only indicative, not descriptive of Brahman since na vaak gacchati na manaH – no words can go there nor the mind, etc. yato vaacho nivartante apraapya manasaa saha – the speech returns back with the mind without describing that. The basic reason as Shankara clearly points out is – anantatvaat- because it is infinite.
In essence any creation can be talked about from the point of the total mind, not the local mind. Hence Vedanta differs from any theory that states, if it states, that local mind is the creator of the total universe.
However when I understand who am I, in the tat tvam asi, I am dissociating or de-identifying myself with the local mind and claim that I am that Brahman who is all pervading and therefore I am pure sat chit ananda aatma and the whole creation reduces to anaatma, not self.
Now I am moving from triangular format – jiiva-jagat-Iswara to binary format, in the language of Swami Paramarthanandaji, with understanding of aatma-anaatma, apparent duality. From that jnaani’s perspective only I am not only the local mind but global mind and that enlivens both of them, both coming under anaatma which cannot exist independent of aatma that I am.
As long as I do not jump between triangular format of jiiva-jagat-Iswara to aatma-anaatma, there should not be any confusion in understanding. The bhaashyaas have done their job. Problems arise only if I keep one leg in the triangular format and one leg in the binary format. Otherwise the teaching is simple and straight forward. Of course, I can be standing as witnessing agent looking at the piles of emails on this theme or participate without participating.
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