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
   shuktirajataadeH |

   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
   or indefinable.

   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
   underlying substratum.

   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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