Selections from the shAkta upaniShads - 4 (bahvR^ichA)
anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Jul 31 13:57:47 CDT 1998
|| bhavAnyai namaH || || lalitAyai namaH ||
Continuing the discussion of the bahvR^ichopaniShad of the Rg Veda,
we come across this important passage that, in no uncertain terms,
affirms the highest truth, the Parabrahman, as the nondual,
indivisible entity called "lalitA."
saivAtmA tato .anyadasatyamanAtmA | ata eshhA brahmasaMvittir-
bhAvAbhAvakalAvinirmuktA chidvidyA .advitIyAbrahmasaMvittiH
sachchidAnandalaharI mahAtripurasundarI bahirantaranupravishya
svayamekaiva vibhAti | yadasti sanmAtram.h | yadbhAti chinmAtram.h|
yatpriyamAnandam.h | tadetat.h sarvAkArA mahAtripurasundarI |
tvaM chAhaM cha sarvaM vishvaM sarvadevatA | itarat.h sarvaM
mahAtripurasundarI | satyamekaM lalitAkhyaM vastu tadadvitIyam-
akhaNDArthaM paraM brahma || 5 ||
She alone is the Self (Atman). What is other than Her is untruth,
non-Self. Therefore, She is Brahman-Consciousness, free from all
aspects of Being and Non-being. She is chidvidyA, the knowledge
of Consciousness, Non-dual, Brahman-Consciousness, wave of
Existence-Consciousness-Bliss, the great tripurasundarI. Having
entered (everything) both without and within, She Herself shines
alone. What exists is pure Existence. What shines/appears is
pure Consciousness. What is dear is Bliss. So this is the
MahAtripurasundarI who assumes all forms. You, I, the whole
universe, all Gods, and everything else are the MahAtripurasundarI.
The one Truth is the thing called "lalitA" that is the non-dual,
undivided, Supreme Brahman.
Notes based on upaniShad brahma yogin's commentary:
1) Shankara's lalitAtrishatIbhAShya describes "lalitA" using the
expression, "lalitaM trishhu sundaram.h" and "atyantasaundarya-
vatI". It is, therefore, clear that lalitA means "extremely
2) The Padma Purana defines "lalitA" differently. "lokAnatItya
lAlate lalitA tena sochyate", lalitA is one who transcends the
worlds and sports (in Herself).
3) "bhaavakalA" is the aspect of empirical existence, whereas
"abhAvakalA" is the aspect of empirical nonexistence.
shrI upanishhad brahma yogin describes these as follows:
Visible or perceptible things such as a pot are called the aspect
of (empirical) existence.
What is cognized by the mind alone (but) not visible (perceptible)
is called the aspect of (empirical) nonexistence.
That is, an empirical nonexistent thing is something that is
cognized as not being present but only cognized as existing in
mind/memory alone. Suppose you see a pot on the ground now. You say
the pot exists (empirically at least) now. Sometime later you see
that the pot is not there on the ground. You say the pot is absent.
How did you conclude the pot is absent? By remembering the pot
(existing in memory alone) and by not seeing it on the ground. So we
see that (empirical) nonexistence _depends_ on mind/memory as well
as perception. But the devI, as Brahman Consciousness, is neither
in the realm of perception nor can She be grasped in the mind.
Therefore, She is neither empirical existence nor empirical
chito nishhpratiyogikaGYaptimAtratayA bhAvAbhAvakalA .ayogAt.h
bhAvAbhAvakalAvinirmuktA chit.h ityarthaH |
Since Consciousness is the knowledge unqualified (by anything) and
by non-association with empirical existence or nonexistence, She is
called such Consciousness. This means She is the Consciousness free
from all aspects of Being and Nonbeing.
4) The term sachchidAnandalaharI is explained using the analogy of
the ocean and its waves. The devI is sachchidAnandalaharI; She is
Existence, Consciousness, Bliss. But the world is unreal (anR^ita),
insentient (jaDa), and sorrow (duHkha).
She is the wave of sachchidAnanda hidden by unreality, insentience,
and sorrow (due to ignorance) and She, MahAtripurasundarI, is also
the waveless ocean of sachchidAnanda.
What Shri Upanishad Brahma Yogin means here is probably that the
devi, lalitA or MahAtripurasundarI, is the saguNa Brahman that is
like the wave of an ocean of Existence, Consciousness, and Bliss,
and She is also the nirguNa Brahman that is like the waveless
depths of the ocean of Existence, Consciousness, and Bliss.
5) An alternative meaning for the word "lalitA" is also offered.
anekabhedasattvAdekatvaM kuta ityatra anekalaxabhedajAtamapi
yatra vilIyate tallayaadhikaraNaM lalitA .akhyaM yat.h vastu
tadadvitIyaM akhaNDArthaM hi paraM brahma niShpratiyogika -
How can there be only One-ness when there are manifold differences
(among the objects of the world)? (To answer this objection) here
(it is stated that) where even the innumerable differences dissolve,
the substratum or basis of the destruction (laya) (of those
differences, bheda) is called "lalitA" which is a nondual and
indivisible thing, and which is verily the unqualified, nondual
Supreme Brahman. This is the meaning.
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