Selections from the ShAkta upaniShads -1 (bahvR^icha)
anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Apr 23 16:05:45 CDT 1998
Nanda Chandran wrote:
>>It is only admitted by advaita that the universe (world) is an
>>transformation of the substratum Brahman, not a real transformation.
>With this we negate the reality of the empirical world. OK. But if
>empirical world is an illusion, then what am I who am part of this
>empirical world? I'm an illusion too!
Since we are within the context of ShAkta upaniShads, let me make use
of the same. In the SarasvatI-rahasya-upaniShad, it is stated that
five factors are observed here in the illusory world. These are
1) asti, interpreted by UpaniShad Brahma Yogin as Existence, Sat,
2) bhAti, interpreted as Consciousness, Chit,
3) priyaM, interpreted as Bliss, Ananda,
4) nAma, name, and
5) rUpa, form
Of these five factors, the upaniShad states, the first three, ie.
Sat-Chit-Ananda pertain to Brahman. The last two, nAma-rUpa, pertain
to the world.
Coming back to your question/doubt that you are yourself an
illusion, the aspect of you that is Sat-Chit-Ananda is NOT an
illusion; it is Brahman. The aspect of you that has to do with
nAma-rUpa is an illusion. So long as you think, "I exist, I am
Conscious, I am dear (to myself)", you are on the right track.
But when you think, "I am such and such a person with such and
such a body, such and such possessions, etc.", you are not on
the right track. The gist is that when you start imposing limits
on your Sat-Chit-Ananda aspect, then you are indulging in illusion.
So your contention that you are part of the world and are therefore
an illusion is not entirely correct. The nAma-rUpa aspect of you
that you share with the world is an illusion, but not the Sat-Chit-
Ananda aspect which can never be negated, so tells us Vedanta.
>>So the universe is a result of the vikShepa shakti of avidyA.
>By this am I correct in my understanding that the empirical world
> that I
>experience is a result of my ignorance?
>But when I myself am an
>illusion, what is my ignorance? Wouldn't that be an illusion too?
I have answered above that the Sat-Chit-Ananda aspect of you is
not an illusion. The ignorance creates the illusion. The
ignorance as well as its effect, the world, cannot be classified as
real or unreal. They are not real because they disappear with
the dawn of knowledge. They are not unreal because they are felt
during the illusion phase.
>Again wouldn't that make jnana, sadhana and whatever effort that I
>take towards salvation which are part of my experience, illusions
>So where's the Reality in all this?
As I said the Sat-Chit-Ananda aspect of you is the only Reality.
All sAdhana that is performed, effort, jnAna are all geared towards
removing the illusory aspect of you. Once the illusory aspect of you
is removed, they too disappear with the illusion. They are like
the illusory tiger in the dream that causes one to wake up. Though
the tiger was illusory, the effect was real. Similar is the role
of jnAna, Guru, God, and Shruti.
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