Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Summary and Conclusion:


By God’s grace we completed learning the slokas of Sri Sankara’s Laghu vakya vritti. Let us now summarize the work once before closing this thread.

Acharya first starts the work by mentioning the three adjuncts of Atman. Adjuncts can never themselves be the Self and the indivisible, infinite Self can not have any parts, hence all the adjuncts are illusory and impermanent only. The wrong perception of these illusory adjuncts as the Atman has to be negated. The three adjuncts are : the gross, subtle and the causal body.

The first adjunct is the gross body which is made of the five elements. The gross body nothing but flesh, bones and blood is subject to the six modifications of birth, growth, disease, death and decay. Such a body which is temporary and insentient can not be the eternal Self, Hence the body is considered as the first adjunct. The second adjunct is made up of the desires called the subtle body. This consists of the five vital airs, the organs of sense and the organs of action, mind and the intellect. i.e, prana, Jnanendriyas, karmendriyas , dheehi and buddhi. These cannot function by themselves are also insentient. Hence these, devoid of consciousness and are dependent on a conscious functioning agent. Hence these are also impermanent and form the second adjuncts. The third adjunct is the causal body which is of the nature of ignorance. Ignorance of the true nature of Self is what causes the wrong cognition of the Self with these adjuncts. Hence the causal body is called as the third adjunct. These adjuncts are just illusions on the Atman can never be the Self and the false recognition of them to Self makes them as limitations. The ego binds this illusory body to Self.

It is the pure consciousness or the Bodhaha that stands behind all these as a witness and the illuminator. The reflection of this pure consciousness on the intellect is what is called as Jeeva or the Bodha abhasa. Due to illusory ignorance, the absolute consiousness seems to be limited as a reflection in the intellect.

Consciousness doesn’t seem to be limited as reflection but is really reflected in the intellect (at the empirical level). There is no seemingly limitedness for the RC or Reflected Consciousness. It is the Kutastha which seems to be limited by the body-mind adjuncts (this kutastha itself is called absolute consciousness or saakshi). This SAKSHI is seemingly limited whereas RC or jeeva is reflection (alone) in the intellect (no seemingly limited as the reflection which is wrong).

Thus when ignorance is there, out of this intellect is created (seemingly created). When intellect is created (this creation itself is illusory thus no mention of the word illusory here), then the OC (original consciousness) is reflected in this intellect (again, it is not seemingly limited as reflection but really reflected from the empirical viewpoint).
The Substratum which is the pure consciousness is that which has to be known by removing all the adjuncts and limitations.

The RC goes through all modifications. It is OC which seems to be going through modifications as the RC. The RC or reflection really goes through modifications even as the Reflection of sun on water undergoes changes as per the water and its nature. Here the Reflection of sun doesn’t “seem” to undergo modifications but really undergoes modifications. It is the OC or SUN which seems to undergo modifications but never really undergoes. Hope this point is clear.

If RC also “seems” to undergo modification, then what is it that really undergoes modifications at the empirical level???? There should be something which undergoes modification at the empirical level because “modifications are perceived at the empirical level”. Thus RC undergoes modifications whereas OC seems to undergo as RC is undergoing but OC never really undergoes modifications.

It is the RC only that goes through birth, death, hunger, anger and all sufferings due to the result of its own actions in the form of good and evil. It is the RC that has the adjuncts of mind, body and intellect, etc. Due to ego and wrong cognition of Self to these, the RC seems to undergo all happiness and sadness according to the actions. But the real consciousness that forms the substratum can never be affected and stands as a witness. Hence The supreme problem that lies in front of a seeker therefore is to discriminate this and to realize the true nature of the Self. This discrimination of reality from non reality is what has to be achieved by a seeker with all earnest.
Discrimination of reality from non-reality is what Sankara calls as Nitya anitya vasthu viveka as part of Sadhana Chatustayam. This may also be said to be apavaada or the process of negation of ADHYAASA or superimposition. As Sankara says in Adhyaasa Bhashyam, it is mutual ADHYAASA of the Self on the not-Self & the not-Self on the Self (bi-directional).

The relational activities of this RC are limited only to the waking and dream state as only in these states that the subtle body is present. It is only in the dream and waking state that there are notions of likes, dislikes, anger etc. but in deep sleep, all these vanish. In the deep sleep, in absence of the ego, the pure consciousness that is the witness to all the activities shines only on the ignorance.
It is the self illumining absolute consciousness only that illumines everything. Just like how the water heated by fire is capable of scalding the body, similarly, all the external objects are illumined by the intellect which is illumined by the consciousness. Without consciousness, there definitely can be no perception nor a functioning intellect. Also even tough it is the consciousness that illumines everything , it is always untainted, hence all the actions, notions of good and evil are creations of the mind and intellect only while the consciousness remains unchanged and unaffected by the objects. Like the sun unaffected by the modifications to its reflections, the pure consciousness stands behind all the senses just as the illuminator.

The modifications of the intellect are such that they keep changing every moment, so do the thoughts of the mind. Though the modifications keep on changing, the consciousness that is the substratum of all the illusions remains constant as it can never be susceptible to any changes. Just as the string that runs through the pearls of a necklace, the pure consciousness is always there, pervading all modifications of the intellect. Like the thread that can be seen clearly between two pearls, this pure consciousness shines forth in the calmness of the intellect, when there are no modifications when the previous one has died and the next one is yet to appear.

Hence a seeker aspiring to realize the true nature of Self must practice, by slow degrees constraint to such modifications. First for one moment then extending it to two moments and so on. The mind must be made clear of all the distracting thoughts. By gradually increasing the duration of such contemplation and restraining from the modifications, eventually, the contemplation becomes natural and the true nature of Self is thus established even when there seem to be thoughts. Such a individual will eventually become one with the Brahman realizing the vedantic teaching ‘Aham Brahmasmi’. That is though there may be modifications at present, by constant practice and by gradual suppression of all modifications, and by such earnest practice, the mind is successfully made free of all affections and in time the individual self realizes the true nature of Self and becomes verily Brahman, i.e. the unmodified pure consciousness.

If one is able to practice control all mental modifications at once, then it leads to the attainment perfect concentration. But since this is possible for everyone and if one is not able to control all the modifications at once, then at least one should try till all modifications can be controlled at once. One should try to control them every moment and must contemplate upon the Mahavakyas in which the identity of the Self and Brahman is clearly indicated. After understanding the import of the Mahavakyas and scriptures, one should contemplate continuously. With strong faith in the scriptures, there must be constant contemplation and meditation on the reality to one’s fullest extent of capacity. In all times, this must be followed. The nature of this practice should be in such a way that we should constantly meditate about It, discuss about It and enlighten each other about It. Every moment must thus be passed. Such practice leads to such supreme conviction about the nature of the true nature of the Self as strong as that of the thought of the identity of self with the body. Once, who has realized this, is liberated, without a doubt.

iti shriimatparamaha.nsaparivraajakaachaaryasyashriigovindabhagavatpuujyapaadashishhyasyashriimachchha~NkarabhagavataH kR^itaulaghuvaakyavR^ittiH saMpuurNaa ..

Thus concludes the Laghu vakya vritti of Sri Sankaracharya.

Let us conclude the learning of this work in the group by bowing down to that Lord who is none but the Brahman of the scriptures, who is none but Acharya Sankara guiding us in the light of the scriptures and who is but the very ever blissful Self.

Sruthi smrithi puranaanaam aalayam karunaalayam
Namaami bhagavad paadam sankaram loka sankaram

I prostrate to that Sankara who gives auspiciousness to the world, who is called as Bhagavad Paada (Bhagavantham paadayathi ithi bhagavad paadah – one who leads to the Lord is called Bhagavad Paada), who is the source of sruthi, smrithi and puranaas, who is full of compassion (out of compassion wrote the bhashyas and other works for the welfare of seekers in the world).