Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Photo: विवेक द्वारा अपने शरीर अथवा पञ्चकोश को देखो। 

viveka dvārā apane śarīra athavā pañcakośa ko dekho.

Observe your body or the five sheaths through discrimination - Bharat in Episode 34In the Mandukya Upanishad's first chapter of the first section, there is a mantra which gives what is said to be the most 'perfect' definition of the Indefinable which is said to be the cause of all creation (Mantra 1.i.6). Thereafter, the rishis explain creation with the example of the spider which projects and withdraws (unto itself) the web; and the herbs and plants that sprout from earth. thus explained creation, the following mantra shares the various stages in the process of Creation:

तपसा चीयते ब्रह्म ततोऽन्नमभिजायते।
अन्नात् प्राणो मनः सत्यं लोकाः कर्मसु चामृतम्॥ [ मुण्डक उपनिषद् १.i.८]

tapasā cīyate brahma tato'nnamabhijāyate,
annāt prāṇo manaḥ satyaṁ lokāḥ karmasu cāmṛtam. [Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad 1.i.8]

In brooding meditation or continuous thought (tapas) , the total creative urge (Lord Brahma) swells (with the very joy of Creation). From Him food is produced, from food the prana, the mind, the bhutas, the worlds and the karmas and their fruits.

The nuances of some of the terms in the above mentioned mantra would need to be understood to get clarity on the sequence of creation.
That all of creation has come from the Supreme, has been stated in various ways in different scriptures. In the ninth chapter of the Bhagavad Geeta, Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that He is the cause of all beings. The supreme Lord, 'brings forth and supports all beings', just as the ocean gives birth to, supports and nourishes all the waves in it. However, a doubt may arise in the mind of a student, to how the Supreme is said to be action-less, part less, formless and therefore can be the cause of the entire creation. This seeming contradiction is resolved in the following verse where the Lord tells Arujna that is in the mere presence of the supreme Self, Prakriti, borrows her sanction to plan and to execute, to act and to achieve:

मयाध्यक्षेण प्रकृतिः सूयते सचराचरम्।
हेतुनानेन कौन्तेय जगद्विपरिवर्तते॥ [- भगवद्-गीता ९.१०]

mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ sūyate sacarācaram,
hetunānena kaunteya jagadviparivartate. [Bhagavad-gītā 9.10]

Under Me as her supervisor, Prakriti (nature) produces the moving and the unmoving; because of this, O Kaunteya (Arjuna) the world revolves.

Nature here means, the Unmanifest that gets projected as the manifest.
Jiva = Sat-Cit-Ananda principle + microcosm conditioning
Jiva – microcosm conditioning = Sat-Cit-Ananda principle

Ishvara = Sat-Cit-Ananda principle + macrocosm conditioning
Ishvara - macrocosm conditioning = Sat-Cit-Ananda principle

The relation between jiva-jagat-Ishvara can also be grasped from the following analogy:

A piece of cloth has some decorative patterns woven into it by the same thread of which the cloth is made. The various patterns form an image of a flower garden. The total concept we gain – that is of a flower garden – is similar to our total concept of the cosmos (jagat). The individual decorative patterns symbolise the individual names and forms of beings (jivas) as well as various inert objects.

What is the essence of the flower garden? Does it have an existence apart from the thread? If we were to remove all the threads, where would the flower garden be? The thread is the symbol of Ishvara in this analogy. But for this Ishvara, there would have been no world (jagat). Thus, the individual jiva and the varied names and forms that constitute the total concept of the world as we see it, are in essence nothing but a pattern fashioned from Ishvara.
In Vedanta, various terms are used to refer to the ignorance of one's true nature. Maya happens to be one of the appellations of ignorance – with its own unique connotation. The term maya indicates 'illusion' and 'magic'. The magician with his magical powers creates the illusion of pigeons flying out of his hat. So too, the all-powerful Lord with his maya creates a magical world wherein the Infini...te seems to be finite and the formless Truth seems to be endowed with forms. This indeed is unfathomable and hence maya is said to be 'अघटित-घटना/aghaṭita-ghaṭanā' which means 'that which makes the impossible possible'.

Another derivation for maya is 'या मा सा माया/yā mā sā māyā' or 'that which is not really there’ – since the ignorance is illusory and hence not really existent.

Two other terms – pradhana and prakriti are also used in Vedanta to describe ignorance.

The cosmos is created out of this maya endowed with three gunas (त्रिगुणात्मिका माया/ triguṇātmikā māyā). Just before creation there is equilibrium between sattva, rajas and tamas. This balance is broken by an upheaval and predominance of rajas and tamas over sattva. Such a break in equilibrium is necessary for the dynamics of creation. Maya loses its quiet stability, and then becomes functional and capable of creation. This state of maya when it is ready for creation is termed 'prakriti'. When there is equilibrium of sattva, rajas and tamas in maya the tendency for creation will be dormant and this state of maya is termed 'pradhana'.

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