DDV: Verses 8,9
Class Notes | Week 10 | Nov 17, 2020
Class Notes by Sharmila
In Srimad Bhagavatam there is a narration that when Bhagavan Brahma is becoming sleepy, it is the beginning of Pralaya, that is when all of creation becomes unmanifest. As Bhagavan Brahma exhibits His drowsiness, the Veda falls out of His mouth. A rakshasa named Hayagriva steals the Vedas and dives into the water to hide the Veda. Bhagavan Narayana manifests as Bhagavan Matsya (fish) and dives into the waters and retrieves the Vedas for Bhagavan Brahma.
A rakshasa is one you need raksha (protection) from. Hayagriva taking the Vedas and diving into the water is symbolic of ‘misunderstanding’ Veda/Vedanta. Bhagavan Matsya retrieving the Veda is symbolic of ‘understanding’ the Veda/Vedanta. When one understands the scriptures, it becomes a catalyst for clarity, which becomes a catalyst for conviction (belief to faith), which becomes a catalyst for confidence(faith to trust). This is where one lives the scripture. Our aspiration in our course is for understanding. If we understand, then ‘Nitya pralaya’ (us going to sleep on a regular basis) will evolve to ‘Atyantika Pralaya’ (end of ego, enlightenment where one is awake forever).
Verses 1 to 5 are one section, where verse 1 is the summary and verses 2 to 5 elaborate on that summary. Verses 6 to 9 are all details of the game the ego plays.
Recap of Verse 7: Acharya Shankara explains the genesis or origin of being an extrovert. He references the reflection of consciousness. When we think of ‘reflection’ we get lost in technicalities, such as ‘what is the original image’ and ‘what is the reflected image’. We should change the wording to the ‘power of consciousness’. This power of consciousness is taken by the ego and starts projecting it, specifically the body. When we know the details and specifically how the ego works, we come to accept the ego more. Acceptance helps us to trace back our steps. If the body is where the ego is projecting, then we need to go deeper than the body (breath, mind, intellect etc).
Verse 8: ‘Ahankarasya Taadatmyam’ — the ego is ever engaged in superimposition. The tool/technique that the ego uses for superimposition is “tat atma” — projecting that ‘that’ is who you are! In the previous verse, the body was referenced. The body furthers ‘tat atma’ — such as i am not the body but i am the home, i am the kids etc. To help us take away the power of superimposition — superimposition can only happen in the same state of reality. If we are in a dream, we can only engage in superimposition in the dream, we cannot bring that to the waking state. When we are awake, we cannot superimpose on what our dream is going to be because they are different dimensions. If one comes to understand and appreciate that the ego is doing this, then this is all the same state of reality which is not ‘absolute’.
‘Chaya’ means shade/shadow, ‘Deha’ means body and ‘Sakshi’ means observer. So ego plays the games of “i am the power of consciousness”, “i am the body”, “i am the observer”.
Since we are so oriented towards duality, Acharya Shankara uses the term ‘Chit Chaya’ that is closer to ‘Chit’ than where we (our minds) are right now. This is like looking at the sun’s rays and tracing it back to the sun. Acharya Shankara is trying to bring us back to ‘there is no Chaya’.
The immediate layer, as if coming from consciousness is the power of consciousness.Observer is that which is between the body and the power. ‘Sahaja’ is used in reference to the power of consciousness and this identification happens naturally. Identification with the body is because of karma or vasanas, body is the field that the ego gets to express through. Ego’s identification with Sakshi or observer is because of Bhranti or ignorance. This is ego giving reality to only the power of consciousness and not to the consciousness. We should understand that a lot is happening from awareness to who we are. The technicalities can become overwhelming so we need to purify our ‘Antahkarana’. If the bucket is the body, and the water in the bucket is the ‘mind, intellect, ego’, then the reflection of the Sun will only be clear when the water is quiet and the dirt settles to the bottom. When we see the reflection perfectly, then we will look at where the reflection is coming from (Sun)!
The moon is an icon for our minds. When the moon is full, that is when we come to appreciate the sun’s light. Similarly when our mind is completely full of Vedanta, that is when we come to appreciate consciousness. We should orient ourselves to the technicalities, and if we feel disoriented then we need to purify our Antahkarana. The more pure one’s Antahkarana, the more these details will become authoritative.
Verse 9: The relationship between ego and the ‘power of consciousness’ is not possible, and we cannot be freed from the ego taking the ‘power of consciousness’ because the ‘power of consciousness’ is not real. A transactional relationship is not a reason to determine reality.
Freeing oneself from the ego identifying with the body is done by reducing and relinquishing vasanas (Karma Kshaya). Light Vasanas, are to be exhausted (kshaya), medium weight vasanas are to be addressed through substitution ,that is practising the opposite which would be a virtue (vasana parivartana) and heavy vasanas are to be addressed through disidentification (vasana nasha). Ego identifies with the observer and separation of this identification is through knowledge. Through knowledge (Vidya) one comes to remember that this is a Leela , when one forgets (avidya, aprabhodaat) then there is only Laya (sorrow or limits). This identification can be ended — this is possible!