"The very first step in understanding what this is all about is giving up the concept of an active, volitional 'I' as a separate entity and accepting the passive role of perceiving and functioning as a process." - Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Outlooks on Creation

Sri Ramana Maharshi

D.: Not so with the appearance of the world. Even after it is repeatedly declared to be false one cannot avoid satisfying one’s wants from the world. How can the world be false? 

M.: It is like a man satisfying his dream wants by dream creations. There are objects, there are wants and there is satisfaction. The dream creation is as purposeful as the jagrat world and yet it is not considered real.

Thus we see that each of these illustrations serves a distinct purpose in establishing the stages of unreality. The realised sage finally declares that in the regenerate state the jagrat world also is found to be as unreal as the dream world is found to be in the jagrat state.

Each illustration should be understood in its proper context; it should not be studied as an isolated statement. It is a link in a chain. The purpose of all these is to direct the seeker’s mind towards the one Reality underlying them all.

D.: Is there that difference in the philosophy of Sankara and Gaudapada which the learned Professor wants us to believe? 

M.: The difference is only in our imagination.

D.: Sir S. Radhakrishnan writes: “The general idea pervading Gaudapada’s work that bondage and liberation, the individual soul and the world are all unreal, makes a caustic critic observe that the theory which has nothing better to say than that an unreal soul is trying to escape from an unreal Supreme Good, may itself be an unreality. It is one thing to say that the unchangeable reality expressing itself in the changing universe without forfeiting its nature is a mystery, and another to dismiss the whole changing universe as a mere mirage. If we have to play the game of life we cannot do so with the conviction that the play is a show and all the prizes in it are mere blanks. No philosophy can consistently hold such a theory and be at rest with itself. The greatest condemnation of such a theory is that we are obliged to occupy ourselves with objects the existence and value of which we are continually denying in theory. It only shows that there is something else which includes and transcends the world but it does not imply the world is a dream.” 

M.: As was already said, the purpose of the whole philosophy is to indicate the underlying Reality whether of the jagrat, svapna and sushupti states, or the individual souls, the world and God. There are three outlooks possible:

(1) The Vyavaharika: The man sees the world in all its variety, surmises the creator and believes in himself as the subject. All these are thus reduced to the three fundamentals, jagat, jiva and Isvara. He learns the existence of the creator and tries to reach him in order to gain immortality. If one is thus released from bondage, there are all other individuals existing as before who should work out their own salvation. He more or less admits the One Reality underlying all these phenomena. The phenomena are due to the play of maya. Maya is the sakti of Isvara or the activity of Reality. Thus, existence of different souls, objects, etc., do not clash with the advaitic point of view.

(2) The Pratibhasika: The jagat, jiva and Isvara are all cognised by the seer only. They do not have any existence independent of him. So there is only one jiva, be it the individual or God. All else is simply a myth.

(3) The Paramarthika: i.e., ajatavada (no-creation doctrine) which admits of no second. There is no reality or absence of it, no seeking or gaining, no bondage or liberation and so on. The question arises why then do all the sastras speak of the Lord as the creator? How can the creature that you are create the creator and argue that the jagat, jiva and Isvara are mental conceptions only?

The answer is as follows:You know that your father of this jagrat state is dead and that several years have elapsed since his death. However you see him in your dream and recognise him to be your father, of whom you were born and who has left patrimony to you. Here the creator is in the creature. Again, you dream that you are serving a king and that you are a part in the administrative wheel of the kingdom. As soon as you wake up all of them have disappeared leaving you, the single individual, behind. Where were they all? Only in yourself. The same analogy holds good in the other case also. 

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सर्वानुग्राहकत्वेन तद्स्म्यहं वासुदेवः॥

That in whom reside all beings and who resides in all beings,
who is the giver of grace to all, the Supreme Soul of the universe, the limitless being:
I AM THAT. -- Amritabindu Upanishad