Author Topic: Part6 - Sri Ramana Paravidyopanishad By Lakshman Sarma  (Read 713 times)

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Part6 - Sri Ramana Paravidyopanishad By Lakshman Sarma
« on: August 16, 2010, 01:36:17 PM »
103 Bhagavan, our Guru, has said: ‘The world laughs at the ignorant man, saying, “How can you know me properly unless you know yourself correctly?”’

By this it is meant that the disciple must be humble, knowing the limitations of his own intelligence. Without this humility he cannot be a true disciple.


The next verse is an introduction to the detailed exposition by Bhagavan of the truth concerning the world.

104 Bhagavan, our Guru, being a sage, expounds the unreality of the world by showing that the perception of the world takes place in ignorance. Therefore, the objector’s argument – that the world is real because he sees it – does not avail to prove his contention.

The ignorant man’s vision of the world is vitiated by the fact of his ignorance of his own real Self. This point has been repeatedly pointed out by Bhagavan. To know the world aright, one must first know oneself aright.

The verses that follow show how the seeing of the world is affected and falsified by the primary ignorance.

105 Every creature first identifies his own Self with the body, and thereby concludes that the body is real. Then it comes to believe that all forms that are seen are also real.

Whatever is seen is a form. The initial question therefore is whether forms are real. Everyone who sees comes to the conclusion that all forms are real. But the first step in the process of coming to this conclusion is the mistaken impression that the body is the Self.

True knowledge begins with the understanding that the body is not the Self. In truth, the Self is formless, so whatever is seen is for that very reason not the Self. Though the Self is indubitably real, that reality is instead ascribed to the body. So, a part of the world is mistakenly concluded to be real. This and the succeeding verses are a commentary on the fourth verse of Ulladu Narpadu.

106 Therefore all forms are unreal. To the sage they are not real. What really exists is formless. In right awareness nothing has form.This is further explained as follows:

107 By a single act of vision the ignorant man sees both himself and the world as forms. Since this seeing is illusory, there is no evidence to prove that the world is real.

108 One’s own body and the world are one [indivisible] spectacle; either they are both seen together, or they are both not seen. Does anyone see this world without at the same time seeing the body, which is the form ascribed to the Self?

This fact, that neither the body, nor the world, is seen apart from the other, is something we have never noticed before. We come to know of it for the first time only when the fact is pointed out by Bhagavan. Since the Self is really formless, the whole spectacle is suspect, since it is indivisible.

It may be objected that we see the dream world without a body. The answer to this follows.

109 If it is said that we see the dream world without bodies, [the response is] that there is a body [for the soul] in all the three states. The soul is never bodiless.
Here it is the soul that is spoken of, not the Self. The two are not the same in Bhagavan’s teachings, as will be seen in due course. This and the succeeding verses give the meaning of the fifth verse of Ulladu Narpadu.

110 Every creature has three bodies, a gross one, a subtle one and a causal one: the mind is the subtle body, and ignorance itself is called the causal body.

111 The three bodies mentioned here are also enumerated as the five sheaths. The middle three sheaths are the [same as the] subtle body, and the last sheath is stated to be the causal body.

The gross physical body is identical with the first of the five sheaths, called the food-sheath (annamaya kosa) because it is the product of food. This, being obvious, is not stated in the verse.

112 As long as the three bodies remain undissolved by the light of right awareness, the soul will be embodied. [Only] in the supreme state, wherein all the three are together lost, will there be bodilessness.

113 The mind, by its own force of ignorance, itself creates another body, and also another [dream] world. The sleeper who sees this dream world along with this dream body is not disembodied.

Thus the objection is overcome.

114 Everyone sees both his own body and the world through the eye, which is a part of that very body. How can this seeing be admissible as evidence in this enquiry about the reality of the world?

Since the body is a part of the world, its reality is also in question. It cannot be assumed without proof. But it is so assumed when the eye is appealed to as a witness to the truth of the world. The question of the reality of forms is now further pursued.

115 As is the eye, so is the spectacle, since the nature of the spectacle depends on that of the seeing eye. If that eye is a form, so will be the spectacle. But if the eye is the formless [Self], there will be no seeing of forms at all.

This is a law of nature that Bhagavan reveals for the first time. Seeing with the eye of flesh, which is a form, one sees forms. Seeing with the eye of right awareness as the Self, forms are not seen. So says Bhagavan. This proves that forms are unreal, at least for the purpose of this philosophy.

The subject is further elucidated.

116 In the state of ignorance both the world and the Self are seen as forms. [But] on the extinction of ignorance both are [found to be] formless, because in the supreme state the infinite Self is the eye.

In the true state, which is the supreme state, the Self alone is. It is described as infinite, and therefore formless. There are no objects to be seen, nor is there any real seeing. Hence, forms are unreal. If they were real, they would survive in that state.

117 By the vision of right awareness, the world, along with the soul, merges into the formless, real Self. The sages call that the vision of right awareness, wherein there is neither seer nor spectacle.

118 In that natural state [of the Self] there survives only the Self, which is consciousness, worldless, alone, and without the six modes of change, such as birth, and so on. Hence, it alone is real in its own right.

The world is not real in its own right; it has only a borrowed reality, as will become clear later on.

119 That Supreme Being, the Self, which is perfect as the sole reality, is styled the infinite eye. However, because for that Self in its true state there are no objects to be seen, it is not [really] an eye.

120 The term ‘eye’ has been used in this context by the most holy one [Bhagavan] only to ward off the misconception that it is non-consciousness, [inert]. Thus, the most holy one has conveyed the meaning that the Self is consciousness and the sole reality.

121 It is only by conceiving the formless Self as a form that one sees this world as consisting of forms. All this is really an ignorant superimposition on the formless, infinite reality, the Self.

122 It is only to him that sees himself as having a form that the names and forms appear as real. They have been fabricated by ignorance and superimposed on the nameless, formless Self, which is consciousness.

123 Thus it has been made plain by the Master that the seeing of the world is an effect of the primary ignorance. Thus, the claim that the world is real has been refuted by him. Also, it has been shown by him that the aloneness of the real Self in the true state is real.

124 Our Master confirms this teaching first by showing that the world is mental [inseparable from the mind], then by proving the unreality of the mind and the ego, and finally by teaching that even the primary ignorance is non-existent.

The next verse shows that the world does not exist apart from the mind, and is therefore mental.

125 The world is a totality of the five kinds of sensations, namely sounds and the rest, and nothing else. All these are only mental impressions. Hence, the world is nothing but the mind.

126 If the world were other than the mind, why does it not appear in deep sleep? Therein is the real Self, which is consciousness, and by whose consciousness-light the mind is mind!


The second half of the verse is an answer to the contention, which may be raised by the other side, that the non-seeing of the world in deep sleep is no argument, because it is due to the absence of the mind and the senses of perception in that state. The mind is not conscious by its own nature; its consciousness is derived from association with the real Self. Since that Self survives in deep sleep, the objection is invalid. This reason finds a place in Sri Sankaracharya’s Viveka Chudamani: ‘If the world is real, why then, let it be seen in deep sleep! Since it is not at all seen in it, it is therefore unreal, like a dream.’

127 Only when their minds are functioning does the world appear to men. Therefore, the world in the waking state is mental, as it is in dream.This parallel between the waking and the dream states is elaborated in the next verse.

128 Just like the waking world, the dream world seems real during the dream. Also, just like the waking world, the dream world, in its own time, is serviceable [for the purposes of life].

The conclusion is stated in the following verse.

129 Just as the dream world is not other than the mind of the dreamer, so the world of things, seen in waking, is not other than the mind of the seer.

Objections to this conclusion are then noticed.

130 Fearing that if it is concluded that the world is mental, then its unreality will be an inescapable conclusion, ignorant [sectarians] seek to prove in a variety of ways that the world exists outside [as an independent reality].

That these disputants have no locus standi in this discussion is first shown.

131 The truth that the world is unreal is taught by the sages only to him who aspires to attain the highest state by the quest of the Self. It is not addressed to others, and hence the contentions of these objections are wholly in vain.

The uniqueness of Vedanta is that no one is coerced by threats of hell or otherwise to accept its highly elusive teachings. It is given out only to those whose minds are ripe and have become receptive to these metaphysical truths. Indeed, Vedanta advises ordinary people not to dabble in vedantic studies. Vedanta makes a distinction between those who are qualified to receive its advaitic teaching and those who are not qualified. This is called the adhikara vada.

The difficulty in accepting the vedantic standpoint is pointed out next.

Source:  http://www.davidgodman.org/rteach/rpv_intro.shtml
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