Friday, October 23, 2015

prakriyA-s (Ways and Means) in Understanding Advaita

prakriyA-s (Ways and Means) in Understanding Advaita

Advaita teaches us that all the things that we perceive in the world arise in Consciousness, are made up of Consciousness and dissolve back into Consciousness. There is no other substance. and what we call 'matter' has no reality.

In our normal day to day life, we locate the sentient quality, our capacity to perceive the things out there, inside our body-mind and in doing so we identify ourselves with the body-mind. Whatever is seen by me is automatically assumed to be external to my body-mind. We express our experience through formulations like "I see a man there."

When viewed through the mind and sensory organs, the background (i.e. Consciousness) in which everything arises takes the shape of Space-time.

In order to find out the truth in what we experience through our perception, the "Reality," a 2-step process is recommended.
In the Step-1, we differentiate the observer from the observed.
We are asked to notice that, just as we observe the outside people, trees, colorful flowers etc., we observe our own body too.
Through this process, we learn to differentiate the "observing capacity (the sentient quality)" from our body. So our body also becomes "the observed." 
The observing capacity is given the name "Witness Consciousness (sAkshi chaitanya)."

So when you observe the people etc. in the park and you are not conscious of your own body as the one observing, you have already shifted to the position of being and functioning as the Witness Consciousness.

Let this way of perceiving/experiencing things be stabilized in you until it becomes a habit, a natural way you act.

Of course, it is simple to position ourselves as Witness Consciousness and view things from a neutral place under non-stressful conditions like visiting a park etc.
Let this way of looking be extended while involved in a little more complex situations - e.g. when someone talks or behaves rudely. Do I view that insult also from a neutral position, as Witness Consciousness?
If a judgment of like/dislike pops up, clearly, mind is the one which is positioning itself as the "seer," the subject, and I am not anymore the neutral "Witness Consciousness."

Next we move on to the Step 2.
But it does not mean that the Step-1 is a course which I have to compulsorily complete before moving on to Step-2. This model comprising two steps is given just to clarify the mechanics of the process. Step-1 and 2 may run concurrently or one after other  in different situations and with different people.
The Step-2 is to finally arrive at the understanding that there is. in fact, no difference between the sAkshi chaitanya (the subject) and what is observed (the object). When the subject and object become One losing the sense of separation between them, what remains then is only the action. That is the end of tripuTi - the triad of observer observing the observed. The ending of the triad is itself Advaita.

By perceiving the things as the sAkshi chaitanya and viewing them on the screen of 3-D space and time, the things viewed gradually lose the solidity and density which we were accustomed to attribute to them earlier. They look wooly-wooly and dreamlike. This is the stage when the mind becomes tenuous (tanumAnasa) - the third stage in the Seven-fold Knowledge Path (jnAna mArga).


An accomplished Vedantin, Shri V. Subrahmanian writes that the entire Vedanta shāstra is a means, a prakriyA, to help us to realize the Absolute Truth, brahman.  He further adds:

"One might say that the creation delineated in the Veda/Upanishad is a doctrinal aspect.  But according to Gaudapadacharya, these creation shruti-s are only 'upAya', a means, to know the Creator-consciousness.  Whatever is told about the jiva, avidya, karma, shravana, vairagya, etc. is a means. A prakriyA is a pratikalpanA (device).  Since we have a svAbhAvika kalpanA (a natural assumption)  about what we are, what the world is, etc., the shāstra comes to remove that fiction through a counter-fiction.  The counter-fiction is called a prakriyA.  When the original kalpanA goes, with it goes the pratikalpanA too.  That is the meaning of adhyAropa-apavAda nyAya (The Doctrine of Superimposition and Sublation).

If various Acharyas (Teachers) offer divergent 'views', sometimes appearing to be contradicting, we have to appreciate that all those views are only pratikalpanA-s.  For,  the ultimate reality is not anything but the Advaitic brahman and the jIva is not  different from brahman and the world is not anything but, mithyA, (illusory appearance)."

1 comment:

krishnamurthy said...

ADHYAROPA & Apav ada is clearfly explained in"Pancheekarfanam" by Adi Shankara..
The entirfe process of pancheekaranam is simply that.