[Advaita-l] The physical heart and the spiritual heart (was - On the forms of Guru)

Shyam shyam_md at yahoo.com
Thu Mar 25 17:58:31 CDT 2010

I am reproducing here some profound and strikingly sublime words by the Kanchi Mahaperiyavar [as reproduced by respected Prof VK in Advaita Sadhana (the entire text can be found at http://www.advaita.org.uk/discourses/downloads/sadhana.pdf)]

Here is the relevant excerpt.

Inner Organ and Heart

[Note by VK: I found the translation of the dense material in this Section (and a few following sections) very difficult. Either my English is not up to the mark or my knowledge of the subject-matter is not enough (or both!). So, reader, please read carefully and let me know how the translation can be improved. But let me also tell you. To my knowledge, these portions have not been so elaborately and so authentically clarified elsewhere in the literature. I therefore urge even those who have not been reading through these discourses so far, to read these few sections].

Even though the word ‘inner’ (*antaH*) is there in ‘Inner Organ’ (*antaH-karaNaM*), in stead of looking inside it is always turned outside. It is termed ‘inner organ’ because it is subtle inside and not concretely visible from outside like arms, feet, eyes, nose, etc. Its subject matter is the dualistic world and dualistic experiences. Generally it is so with all jIvas. It thickens by the dirt of experience and stays like the dirty and greasy stain attaching itself to cooking vessels. This is a matter of the inner organ.

The heart that I speak of, on the other hand, is again not the physical organ on the left side of the chest of the human body. Nor is it the anAhata-chakra, located in the dead centre of the chest, in the suShumnA nAdi that is within the spine. This heart is indeed the location of the very Atman.
[Note by R. Ganapthy, the collator of these discourses:
Shri Ramana Maharishi used to say:
“The (spiritual) heart, which is the location of the Atman
is within the right chest of a jIva”]
Of course it is true that the Atman is permeating everywhere in such a way that there is no space for ‘space’ and so no ‘location’ to be specified for the Atman. The words ‘sarvaM’ (all) and ‘vyApakaM’ (permeation) both need for their meaning the concept of space, but it is true that space itself is subsumed by the Atman as to be nowhere. However, for the mind (antaH-karaNaM) which is always drawn towards duality, to be turned to non-duality by the Grace of God, and towards meditation of the Atman, it needs some kind of a prop, at least mentally. For this reason if one attributes a form or qualities to the Atman and makes it totally ‘saguNa’ (with attributes) and dualistic, that is not right. Then how do we create the prop? The Formless one that is permeating everywhere is something which surpasses all attempts to imagine it! That is why, even if the Atman is not attributed with qualities and form, a point has, as it were, been
 specified within the JIva’s body itself and the location of the Atman is to be imagined there. Who has done this specification? No less than the ParA-shakti Herself! She it is who showpieces all that dualistic MAyA. And She Herself when She chooses to show compassion by bringing some one into advaita has kept that unique ‘point’ as the ‘Atma-sthAnaM’ (location of the Atman), where the antah-karaNaM (Inner Organ) can converge. The antaH-karaNaM which lives on the strength of the individualistic JIva-bhAva created by itself, as well as the life-breath which gives life to the whole body – both merge into that single point, the single root of everything, The enlightenment of the self as Self also takes place right at that point.
It is a ‘point’, very small, like a needle eye. *nIvAra-shUkavat*, that is, as slender as the awn of a paddy grain; it has been said to be that small. Within the heart, which is like the bud of a lotus suspended in an inverted position, there is a subtle space. From there spreads throughout the body a hot Fire, the Life-power; and in the centre of that Fire there abides a tongue of Fire, dazzling like the flash of lightning; that is the PrANa-agni. That ends up at the point as the awn of a paddy grain. That point is the locale of the Atman (Atma-sthAnaM) – says the Narayana SuktaM.
[Note by VK: A question of language. What would be most appropriate?
‘locale’, ‘location’ or ‘habitat’ for *sthAnaM*?]
By the statement about the subtle space-point which is the locale for the Atman in the heart, it follows that all around the point there is the heart. That is also a small locale. The Upanishads use the two words ‘daharaM’, ‘dahraM’ for this. Both mean ‘small’. In later times this ‘dahraM’ became ‘dabhraM’. The heart and the Atma-sthAnaM (location for the Atman) within are called ‘daharaM within daharaM’ and ‘dahraM within dahraM’ in the Upanishads (Ch. U. VII- 1; Taittiriya AranyakaM XII – 16). The Absolute Reality of Brahman which is permeating everywhere ‘is’ in such a small space.
The entire universe is the cosmic expansion of the VirAT-purushha. The heart of this Cosmic Purushha is Chidambaram. The ChitsabhA (the assembly in the temple there) is the ‘point’. This is the meaning of the well-known facts: “It is a subtle gate; there is nothing but space there. It is a secret. Among the kshetras corresponding to the five elements, Chidambaram is the AkAsha (Space)”. Chit-sabhA is also called ‘dabra-sabhA’. The direct Tamil equivalent of this is ‘ciRRambalam’ (meaning ‘small ambalam’)...That is the case of the Cosmic Purushha. But in every one of us, in our hearts, there is a small subtle gate, which is point-size.
I said the disposition of JIva goes into that, shrinks and shrinks and finally merges there. This is what happens when the JIva gets Godhood (of Shiva). It is delightfully called ‘Involution’. It is the submerging action, by a convex caving in, of something which was expressing itself by expansion. On the other hand, Shiva who is nothing but Sat (Existence), that is, the ParamAtmA, when he evolves into the JIva with body, senses and antaHkaraNaM, that happens again in this same heart by the sprouting of the ego in the expression ‘I am an individual JIva’. I told you earlier I will tell you about ahamkAra (Ego). That is this matter. AhamkAra is nothing but the thought of ‘I’ as distinct from Brahman. That thought is the starting point (dramatically termed as ‘pillaiyAr chuzhi’ in the Tamil world) of the process of evolution of Shiva into a JIva. Evolution is called ‘SrshhTi-kramaM’ (the regimen of creation) and Involution is called
 ‘Laya-kramaM’ (the regimen of dissolution). ‘Laya’ is also known as ‘samhAra’. But I did not use that word lest you may be scared. The ‘samhAra’ word has no connotation of freight. ‘hara’ means the action of grabbing. ‘sam-hAraM’ means the process of the Lord taking us over fully (*saM*) into Himself!.
It is the heart that is the locale at the time of creation for the ego to make the JIva separate (from Brahman) as an individual separate from Brahman; it is the same heart that is the locale at the time of dissolution (not ‘temporary’ but as a permanent ‘identity’) for the inner organ to converge inwardly to the Ultimate. Further when it converges further and stays at the sharp point at the centre of the heart, that is when Enlightenment takes place. Let it be. Note that both when the JivAtma separates from the ParamAtmA and when it goes back and becomes one with the ParamAtmA, the locale is the heart that we spoke of above. The ordinary example of the door of a house being both the entrance and the exit is good enough!
In the antaHkaraNaM there are four entities: cittaM, manas (mind), buddhi (intellect) and ahamkAraM (Ego). Of these the locale for the mind is the neck. That of the Ego is the heart. That of the intellect is the face. CittaM is specifically referred as memory power. When it is the memory power its locale is the navel. But really, the basics of all the three, namely, mind, intellect and ego is that which is called thought and this originates from cittaM. Therefore cittam does not need a separate locale for itself. When we vacillate between this decision and that, cittaM is at the neck. When we finally decide, by our intellect, to do something in a certain way , cittaM is in the face. When we establish ourselves as ‘I, the JIva’, cittaM is in the heart which is the locale for the Ego.

Sashtang namaskarams to Mahaperiyavar.
Hari OM
Shri Gurubhyoh namah

--- On Thu, 3/25/10, Vidyasankar Sundaresan <svidyasankar at hotmail.com> wrote:

> From: Vidyasankar Sundaresan <svidyasankar at hotmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] On the forms of Guru
> To: "Advaita List" <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
> Date: Thursday, March 25, 2010, 6:37 PM
> > And Sunilji is right. Bhagavan says the locale of the
> hrdhayam is on the
> > right chest where we all point to when saying 'I'.
> Hrdhayam is translated
> > as heart in English for whatever reason but that does
> not mean it is a
> > physical heart that is on the left that is meant.


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