Theory of Re-birth

Gummuluru Murthy gmurthy at MORGAN.UCS.MUN.CA
Thu Feb 12 14:34:01 CST 1998

On Thu, 12 Feb 1998, Gregory Goode wrote:

> There's more than one way to look at it.  In the practice of Vedanta, one
> can adopt various standpoints:
> -that of the jiva who thinks he's the conter of the universe
>     (the normal person's way to look at it)
> -that of Brahman qualified by Maya (this is the way most Vedantic
>     discussion is carried on, in this list and elsewhere)
> -and that of Brahman unqualified by anything (this is
>     Nisargadatta's way of looking it, this is the way the sage
>     sees things)
> There is no conflict among these ways of looking at things, and most
> teachers go from one to the other on a moments' notice, depending on who
> they are talking to.  A good answer to Gummuluru's question (about why the
> "same" memories continued after waking from sleep) seemed like a "Brahman
> qualified by Maya" approach, but it could have been anything.
> In the textual tradition of Vedanta, different stories are told.  On the
> level of Brahman qualified by Maya, and even from the level of the jiva
> itself, the story of Isvara, Hiranyagarbha, Virat, Prajna, Taijasa and
> Visva is told.  There are other stories in Hinduism and other religions,
> and as you stated, from the highest level no story is true, because
> everything with name or form is an appearance in the Absolute.
> BTW, here's another answer to Gummuluru's question, more on the level of
> Nisargadatta:  There's no proof that there IS continuity between sleep
> states.  There is only NOW.  There's no proof that there is a past or
> future, or any past or future thoughts or appearances.  One non-dualist
> teacher I know says "Everything in the past is a lie."  Catchy, no?
> --Greg

Greg made some nice points on this and the earlier thread "getting out of
deep sleep - theory of rebirth".

1. Yes, from the Brahman-unqualified-by-anything approach (I call it
   paramArtha), the only thing there is is the same unchanging Brahman.
   There is no need of any proof nor there is any doubt of continuity.
   Continuity does not have a meaning because the time is frozen.
   Everything is still and attributeless.

2. However, I like to qualify the above with the following. While realized
   and still being embodied (jeevanmukta state Shri RamaNa, the sages of
   the upanishhads), there still exists deep sleep, and death, and time,
   which jeevanmukta sees to be unreal, just like the body of the
   jeevanmukta. What I mean to say is, jeevanmukta still sees the body
   going through the various stages (deep sleep, death etc) but considers
   them to be unreal and not part of the Brahman which he/she is). This
   particular viewpoint is supported by Shri RamaNa's quote given by Greg
   earlier "death and sleep are the same, but the sleep is short and the
   death is long". My conclusion to my question is: the question belongs
   in the realm of the Brahman-qualified-by-mAyA domain and that question
   would not arise in the paramArthah domain (no question arises in the
   paramArthah domain). Further, the answer given by Shri RamaNa to that
   question is the closest one can put it to the paramArtha understanding
   (and still dealing with the duality of a questioner and the answer).
   I wonder if Greg can give me the exact reference to Shri RamaNa's
   statement, in what context it was made and where it appeared. I am
   curious why death is considered long and sleep is considered short.

Points 1 and 2 above are not considered to be different but simply stating
the same in an expanded way. One thing that follows (2) above is: the
question often arises in the Brahman-qualified-by-mAyA realm: at the
paramArthah level of understanding, is there deep sleep, death, body,
jagat ? The answer as I see it is: there is still the deep sleep, death,
body, time and the jagat but they are recognized to be unreal. The entity
that is jeevanmukta sees them apart from the Self.

Gummuluru Murthy
mAyAshakti vilAsakalpita mahAvyAmoha samhAriNe
tasmaishrI gurumUrtaye nama idam ShrIdakshiNAmUrtaye
                        Shri Shankara in DakshiNAmUrti stotra

I bow to Shri DakshiNAmurti in the form of my guru:
to Him who dispels the mighty illusion evoked by mAyA's play

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