Lakshmi-Narasimha-pancharatnam - 2
Anand V. Hudli
anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Apr 29 11:21:50 CDT 1999
|| shrI-laxmI-narasiMhAya namaH ||
shuktau rajatapratibhA jAtA kaTakAdyarthasamarthA che-
dduHkhamayI te saMsR^itireshhA nirvR^itidAne nipuNA syAt.h |
chetobhR^iN^ga bhramasi vR^ithA bhavamarubhUmau virasAyAM
bhaja bhaja laxmInarasiMhAnaghapadasarasijamakarandam.h || 2 ||
If (illusory) silver perceived in the nacre (oyster shell) is
capable of producing ornaments such as bracelets, etc, then
your sorrowful cycle of birth and death may be capable of
giving you liberation. O mind-bee! You roam about without purpose in
the joyless desert of worldly matters. Worship (taste) the pure nectar
of the lotus feet of Lakshmi-Narasimha!
This verse points out that as the illusory silver seen in the nacre
cannot be used to make real ornaments, such as a bracelet, etc.,
the never ending cycle of birth and death, that a jIva seems to be
caught up in, cannot yield liberation. Simply because the jIva
may have spent millions of lives does not guarantee that it
will be liberated. There is no "seniority-based promotion" of the
jIva to a liberated state! Promotion only results from "merit",
where this merit is the removal of avidya or ajnAna!
The Vedaanta paribhaashhaa of dharmaraaja adhvarin defines these
three orders of reality (satya):
yadvaa trividhaM sattvaM -- paaramaarthikasattvaM brahmaNaH,
vyaavahaarikaM sattvamaakaashaadeH, praatibhaasikaM sattvaM
The reality of Brahman is paaramaarthika satya, the reality
of the objective world, which includes space etc., is vyaavahaarika
satya, and the illusory appearance of silver in nacre (oyster-shell)
is praatibhaasika satya.
According to advaita, the silver perceived here and now in the
nacre is explained as something caused by ajnaana associated with
the substratum nacre. This ajnaana hides the real nature of the
substratum (nacre) and projects the appearance of silver. Once the
nacre is recognized as nacre, the illusion disappears.
The silver that is perceived in the illusion is not real, because
it is sublated by the knowledge of the nacre. Yet it cannot be
unreal because it is perceived during the illusion phase; what is
unreal is something fictitious or purely imaginary, such as the horns
of a hare. So the illusory silver cannot be defined as either real
or unreal, and it cannot be both real and unreal, which is a
contradiction. The illusory silver is, therefore, called anirvachanIya
It is also pointed out that any illusion has to be based on a
real substratum. The silver seen in the nacre is a superimposition
(adhyaaropa or adhyaasa) on the nacre, the substratum (adhishhThaana).
It is impossible to have an illusion which is not based on an
The above argument was made from the standpoint of the
vyaavahaarika reality. A similar argument may be made from the
standpoint of the paaramaarthika reality to show the dualistic world
(jagat) is also indefinable (anirvachaniiyaa). Before the removal of
ajnAna, the dualistic world is perceived. It is not a purely fictitious
entity. Again, after ajnAna has been removed, there is no duality. So
the dualistic world cannot be categorically stated to be either real
or unreal. It is anirvachanIya or indefinable.
If the dualistic world is an illusion just as the silver in the
nacre, it must necessarily be a superimposition on a real "something"
as the substratum. This "something" is indeed Brahman.
The VishhNusahasra naama contains the words adhishhThaanam.h,
which Shankara describes as Brahman, and aadhaaranilayaH, the
support or substratum of all supports.
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