Archive for category Dvaita
Ask any one.
From a child to an octagenraian they will say, they always felt the same, they don’t feel they have aged at all.
Yes, their body has gone through many changes through time, and their mind has recorded, interpreted and abstracted all that it has experienced, but they themselves have not changed.
“I feel the same!” they say.
That which never ages, that which never changes is that which is eternal – that is your Self.
Interestingly the ones you truly love, you love independent of their present appearance, age, thoughts or behaviour. ‘I love my dad!’ you declare, and your mom and son and spouse and daughter even though they appear to change all the time. But there is a bit of them that does not change and your relationship is to that bit of them that does not change. Even after they have forgotten everything.
The relationship between you and another person or living being is a relationship between the your “Self” and their “Self”. That is why you love your friends so much even though you are not physically related to them.
Thus you hang on to pictures of your grandparents even after they have passed on and you ‘love your grandfather’ just as much as when he was around to tell you stories.
I have written previously that the mind is a body function, a brain function, intimately tied with the body and influencing it. See : The false divide : body and mind.
However, your Self is not a brain function. Several living things do not have a brain. And they have a Self.
Your Self is not a function of a nervous system. There are living things without a nervous system. And they have a Self.
In fact, those who believe in dvaita and re-birth, also believe that if you behave like an animal or worm, you can be re-born as one! Better behave as a dEva or at least a mAnava!
The sanskrit word for the Self is the Atman. The sanskrit word for the em-bodied one is dEhin. Both words are used in the bhagavad gIta.
dvaitins will tell you that your Self and my Self are different from each other and from the supreme Self., ie they will tell you that you-jIvAtma and me-jIvAtma are different from the paramAtma.
advaitins will tell you that your Self, my Self and the supreme Self are the same thing. To not know this is an illusion (mithya), to know this is realisation (satya).
What you believe depends not only on what you were taught but how you feel about it based on your own interpretations of your own experiences.
Movies represent your Self as a you-shaped transparent massless body, this is misleading and is not consistent with the sense of Atman or dEhin from a vEdAnta perspective. It may however represent what some hindus think, at least the ones who made the movie?
Think this – I am that which does not age, that which does not change, that which was always the same and which will always be the same.
The following ideas are a summary of my understanding of Alladi Mahadeva Sastry’s ideas as expressed in his Introduction to the *Dakshinamurthy Stotra.
- It is the Vedas that tell us that there is something beyond this world as we normally experience through our senses.
- The orthodox schools of thought lead to the nyaya, vaiseshika, sankhya and yoga philosophies. These accept Vedas as a pramANa or standard.
- The heterodox schools of thought lead to the Buddhist and the Arhat (Jain) philosophies. These do not accept Vedas as a standard.
- There is no agreement in the conclusions about the First Cause of the Universe, at to the nature of Isvara and Atman, as to the cause of bondage, as to the nature and means of liberation.
The most ancient literature, the Brahmanas accept the Vedas as authority.
- The Tarkikas (Naiyayikas and Vaiseshikas) hold that fine atoms (anu) of matter are acted upon by the Will of Isvara who knows all and is all powerful. The atman is devoid of feeling and consciousness till it unites with the manas, through which it becomes conscious and suffers pleasure and pain. It identifies with the body. Then it meditates on the object of right knowledge, and by divine grace knows truth and destroys ignorance. Then it becomes dispassionate, ceases activity and birth, pain gets destroyed, becomes free of the manas and that is bliss.
- Sankhyas have two views. According to one view, Pradhana is an insentinent (without consciousness) all pervading matter. Conscious Isvara is reflected in it and it that sense enters it. According to the other view, there is no Isvara and Pradhana evolves into the manifold universe. To me this looks like the modern scientific view of the universe that sentinent or conscious life just emerges from insentinent matter-energy.. given enough of time and the right conditions. Prakriti (Nature – Indian definition) and Atman (Purusha) together co-dependently result in srishti .. creation. Buddhi belongs to Prakriti, the atman identifies with buddhi and feels sad. Then it does dhyana and realises that it is Purusha and not Prakriti. Kaivalya is the separation of Pursusha and Prakriti which is bliss for the Purusha! Once separate Purusha can no longer see Prakriti.
- Both Nyaya and Sankhya accept the Vedas as Pramana (Revelation as a truth).
- (Consciousness is Purusha, everything else is Prakriti. Sometimes Purusha knows itself as Prakriti and feels pleasure and pain and sometimes remembers that is Purusha and feels no pain. The fun is that even if you- the Purusha separate from Prakriti here., the Purusha is joining Prakriti elsewhere – so what would be the point? What is interesting is that modern scientists see consciousness as an emergent phenomenon and the sankhyas see it as something separate. – Satya)
- Heterodox teachers like Buddha and Arhats (Jains), do not believe in the Vedas or in the Karmakanda (the ritual section of the Vedas).
- The Buddhists believe that there is no Isvara. Everything (even atman) is born of itself. It exists only for an instant. Not having existed before and not existing in the future. All is Pain. The bondage of the atman consists in looking upon the self and th universe as continually existent. This happens because of ignorance and consequent karma. Liberation is attained when the atman recognises the momentariness of itself and everything else. To attain this state the atman must meditate on the idea that all is pain, all is momentary and all is born of itself. Liberation consists in pure detached states of consciousness following one upon another in a continuous stream without being tainted by external perceptions, everything is a non-entity an absolute void. Density-wise this matches the modern scientific view.
- The Buddhists and Arhats replace the Vedas by the texts of pure morality delivered by all-knowing teachers.
- The Arhats (Jains) reject the momentariness of all things. They say the atman has a finite size neither big nor small. It does things now and reaps things in the future. They reject the Isvara, but accept the existence of faultless beings which have evolved to all-knowingness. Karma acts to make the universe out of the particles (anu). Everything has an eternal and temporary component. The cause of bondage is the assumption due to sin and false intution, that separate bodies occupy limited space. Liberation is release from all action, from decay of all causes of bondage and existence. The atman resides in the highest regions, absorbed in untainted bliss, with its knowledge unhindered. To get there, you need absolute faith in the teachings of an arhat, avoid actions tending to evil, and to practice right conduct.
- When reasoning is exclusively resorted to for guidance on matters which fall outside the sense organs, such variances in conclusions are natural. Religions based on Revelations require blind faith as well as following customs which over the ages have moved away from the Revelations. This also compounds the problem. Some systems behave as if by independent reasoning you can come to the same conclusions as the Revealed Truth (Vedas).
- The Mimamsakas, interpret the Vedas, trying to throw light on that part of knowledge only that cannot be gathered by the intellect and senses alone.
- The Purva Mimamsa deals with rituals.
- The Purva Mimamsa school hold that universe evolved out of particles acted upon by karma and salvation can be attained through the karma kanda of the Vedas. They deny the Isvara component of the Vedas and Upanishads. They treat Isvara as something to contemplate on to get bliss or Moksha.
- The Uttara or Saririka Mimamsa deals with the embodied atman. This is also known as Vedanta Sutras or Brahma Sutras.
- The Vedantins hold that only knowledge leads to eternal salvation. The Brahmavadins hold that the Upanishads inculcate the existence of the Brahman from which all has come into existence, and in which all pervades.
- The Vedantins can be further divided into Dvaita, advaita and visishtadvaita schools.
- The dvaitins believe that every atman and object and paramatma are all different from each other.
- The visishtadvaitins hold that God is present in the sentinent or conscious (purusha) as well as in the insentinent prakriti. They hold that Isvara controls all beings from within and that each person has their own individual atman and consciousness. Bliss is attained when the atman is freed from samsara bandha and devotes itself eternally to the sovereign Purusha.
- There are several other schools among the vedantins.
- The advaitins hold that there is only One Atman, and the universe is in the atman itself and it appears by the light of the atman alone. Liberation is the knowledge of this oneness and seeing the Self in All and All in the Self.
- I think consciousness is an emergent phenomenon. It emerged from nature.. For a match in Hindu symbolism : see Vatapatrasayi and Devi. So I am not one of the Tarkikas.
- I believe in continuity. I am not a Buddhist.
- I cannot have absolute faith in an arhat.. I am not a Jain.
- I can be a Mimamsaka.. in that I accept the Vedas, but I also accept Isvara in my head and heart.. so that would make me a Vedantin.
- I behave like a bit like a dvaitin, a bit like a visishtadvaitin and a bit like an advaitin.. but I think of myself as an advaitin.
The Isa Upanishad is last part of the Sukla Yajur Veda, given to us by Yajnavalkya, received by him from Surya.
Krishna gave us the Bhagavad Gita which is the essence of all the upanishads.
Sankaracharya has written a commentary on the Isa Upanishad as well as on the Bhagavad Gita.
He advocated the Advaita Philosophy, based on how he interpreted the prasthana traya. He defended his view very well and got a lot of followers. At later points in time the leaders of the Dwaita and Visishtadwaita Philosophy critiqued his work and created their own following.
Today’s Hindus absorb a few words and ideas from each school of thought and end up with an easy dictum “be good and kind, and God will be pleased” kind of philosophy which is both nebulous and practical at the same time. Thus Indian Hindus were far more easy to reform constitutionally than other groups.
However I like to know things exactly. This post discusses the first three mantras of the Isa Vasya Upanishad only, and what I understand about them, ie my interpretation and defence in relation to the Gita.
The first mantra says ”All this is to be covered by Isa, all that moves in the moving world. Be protected by giving it up, don’t covet, for whose his wealth?”
The second mantra says, “Karmas must be done only. (Life) is to be lived for a 100 years. Other than this there is no other way by which Karma does not stick to men.”
Sankara says that the first mantra is for the gnyanis and mumukhsus who want salvation. And that the second is for the ordinary people.
But I think that the first 2 slokas taken together give us Karma Yoga.. as Krishna said.
Live Long. See Isa in all. Do Karma (that which should be done). Give up everything (the results). Thus protect yourself from the karma that you do from sticking to you.
The third mantra says “Indeed, covered with blinding darkness are those “asurya” worlds, having been sent, there go those “self-destructive (atmahanah) people”.
Now there is scope for definitions and interpretations.
I could interpret this as “People who commit suicide go to dark worlds (hell)”. And I have heard this theory float around.
Sankara says that the asurya worlds are those states/places other where the non-duality of the paramatama is neglected (left).
He says not educating oneself it self is atmahani. Who can argue with this? So people who don’t strive for gnyana (avidvansah) go to those blinding states of ignorance. Of Duality. And after remaining stationary in these states of devas and asuras, they return to karma according to Sankara.
But Krishna says in chapter 2 of the Gita, that atma is eternal and cannot be hurt killed and so on. So where is the question of atmahani?
My Veda Guru, Kunda Miss says that aatma here refers to atma-sanghaatam. Atma plus body plus mind. The union. That can be hurt. Physically with blows and mentally by lack of learning, thinking and other ways.
Krishna then says in Gita chapter 2, that IF you think the atma can be killed, then know that it will be reborn. That’s not what He thinks.
Is he referring to the likes of Yajnyavalkya who used the word atmahani? (Clearly Arjuna had no opinion of his own on these matters.) We have to see what the rest of the study reveals.
If you accept Sankara’s premises and definitions, you can’t fault his crystal clear logic.
He is my kula guru. So I am an advaitin. And even otherwise my own reasoning leads to advaita.
My question in my own mind, for me to answer over time, is did Sankara correctly deduce the original intent of the mantras?
See Also :
- Purusharthas – Human Goals
Authorship and Copyright Notice : All Rights Reserved : Satya Sarada Kandula