[Advaita-l] Pancikarana vs. Trvrtkarana (Analysis)

Bhadraiah Mallampalli vaidix at hotmail.com
Fri Jul 24 11:02:07 CDT 2009

Sri Michael & Sri Bhaskar,

When you got your driving lessons, while teaching how to make lane changes, 

the instructor would say 'Make sure traffic is going smooth, give a signal, 

accelerate a bit because turning takes away some of the speed, then merge 

into traffic'. You do not make a lane change when people are speeding up on 

a green light or when they are pumping breaks on a red light, because 

at that time nothing is predictable. 


It is the same story with events like creation and dissolution wherein there is no time 

to ask for logically elaborate details during those crucial moments. You never know 

which events happen first and which happen later, inspite of the "common sense" 

we have developed through science that water is only born billions of years after 

planets are born. It can not be denied that this 'steady-state' knowledge would 

be worthless at times of chaotic events of cosmic scale, as also we can infer from the 

events at adhyatma level happening at micro-second timeframe could be more 

decisive for our comprehension or lack or it. During the times of creation and 

dissolution every deva at adhi-bhuta and adhyatma levels is in a hurry to be 

born or to dissolve after completing one's own purpose for which the deva is born. 

It is like trying to desperately get some work done when everybody is packing 

up and leaving or having to conduct a crucial business meeting when people are 

still on their way to work. 


Ch.U.6.15.2 describes a dying man surrounded by relatives who keep asking 

'Do you recognize me'? Upanishat says, as the speech (adhyatmic-fire) 

merges into manas (adhyatmic-food/earth) and manas into prana (adhyatmic-water) 

and prana into tejas (cosmic-fire) and tejas into supreme deity (parasyAm 

devatAyAm) he does not recognize. 


Now, the mention of parasyAm devatAyAm is the key. Actually speaking there is 

a double (or triple) shortcut here: Upanishat not only avoided the formal mention of vayu 

and akasha, but also did not bother to complete the adhi-bhuta side of merger! 

What I mean to say, every process usually has an adhyatma version and an 

adhi-bhuta version, so the cosmic-fire should then merge into cosmic manas, 

and that should merge into a cosmic-water. Shruti abruptly puts an end to the 

logic and declares that the person no more recognizes after his prana merges into tejas

and tejas into supreme deity. 


There is another reason why Shruti may have taken such a shortcut: Shruti is 

talking about the events as seen by the dying person, not from the point of view 

of the other onlookers like us. For the dying person loss of prana into warmth and 

warmth into supreme deity is enough. No further explanation is required what happens 

to his body, how it is burnt, what all lokas his atma goes as we can infer from other 

parts of Chandogya itself, like path of smoke etc. The purpose of Ch.U. 6.2 (creation) 

and 6.15 (dissolution) is not to explain the physical events as we see in steady state 

where both cause & effect balance out, but to indicate the events closer to the causal 

state where one of the two would be missing. 


Not to forget: either one of pRthviH, or Apah or tejas alone can grant liberation on 

their own even without any regard to vAyu or AkAsha because each deva exists 

based on one's own relationship to Brahman. Speaking in the absolute sense, earth is not a  

'lower brahman' or AkAsha a 'higher brahman', and neither of them is a conditional brahman. 

Even the so-called lowest brahman like Name is truly Brahman only; as it can directly point 

to Brahman through negation, and the terms like conditional brahman are only meant for 

understanding of onlookers who are under deeper layers of duality, not when you are close

to the causal state. 


Ch.U.6 2-15 discussion is based on 'foods' (speech, manas and prana) that are 

exactly the same foods the father designed for himself in Br.U.I.5.3. Now one 

may ask why did Ch.U. ignore the remaining four foods out of seven (Br.U.I.5.1)? 

and thereby we can create another controversy. The answer is same in this case also: 

when you (as the experiencer, not as the onlooker) are born from causal state or merge 

into a causal state there is no logic any more, but this does not also mean it is 

nonsense. It is neither logic nor illogic, it is Shruti. 




NEW mobile Hotmail. Optimized for YOUR phone.  Click here.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list