Saturday, February 24, 2007

Ishwara

The srshti we cognize is in perfect order.
Everything here has perfection, is perfect.
As even you are reading these words there are perfect rods and cones
depolarizing in your retina, there are electric potentials generating
along your nerves with multitudes of gated ionic channels opening and
closing along the way to a perfect tune, with a perfect depolarization
occuring in the occipital portion of your cortex and at the same time
memory cells and other portions of your brain registering all this and
recognizing what is being said and what it means, all in a matter of a
flash of a second.
As even this is happening your heart is beating in perfection to keep
your brain cells perfused and your lungs breathing in and out to
maintain oxygen at a constant.
Whose timeless rhythm is all this orchestrated by? Whose is this
wondrous power?
Wherever you see you see only perfection.
Who is the author of this perfection?
Every blade of grass has infinite perfection.
Everything is where it should be and everything is the way it should be.
The potential power inherent in all the elements witnessed graphically
by us as typhoons and tsunamis - who lends His power to that?
How does the fetus in the womb of the mother know what organs to equip
itself with prior to coming out?
The wonder of the double helical coil faithfully transmitting the
codes of life across billions of years - who is that code-writer?
The majestic mountains of the himalayas - whose power created these
Infinite jivas coming and going as it were in accordance with the
perfect doctrine of karma - whose laws are these and who governs their
perfect functioning?
this infinite expanse of the earth - so vast - with oceans, mountains,
trees - selfsufficient - with the right temperature and water to
support life - circling like a tiny top around itself and around the
Sun - who is supporting it in space.
Who lends the power tot he Sun to generate heat and light for billions
of years?
Nothing in srshti could ever have been created by chance, as a freak.
If so it could not have been perfecter than perfect.
There is without doubt an Ishwara who is the srshtikarta.
"vistabhyaham idam krtsnam ekamsena sthito jagat" declares Bhagwaan
Krishna in the Gita. (Ch 10 42)
Encompassing this entire world by a fragment f My power, do I abide,
eternally
Bhagwaan Shankara's commentary:
vishtabhya visheshatah stambhanam krtva idam krtsnam jagat ekaashena
ekaavayavena sarvabhootasvaroopena ityetat; tatha cha mantravarna
"paadosya vishwa bhootani - (TU 30.12 RV 10.90.3) iti; sthitah aham iti
"Steadying the whole world with but a part - a quarter - that has
assumed the form of all that exists, do I abide forever"

Does advaita really say there is no Ishwara?
Let us examine it.

Whenever any advaitic text mentions that there is no Ishwara, it first
mentions there is no jiva.
Take a well known example of Kaivalyopanishad - we have the student
who has attained brahmavidya exclaim
"Mayyeva Sakalam jaatam Mayyeva sarvam pratishtitam Mayi Sarva Layam
yaati Tad brhamaadvayamasmyaham"
I me alone is everything born in me does everything rest and in me is
everything dissolved. I am that Brahman the secondless.
Same thoughts in the Ashtavakra Gita as well..
"kva maayaa kva cha samsaaram kva pritih viratih kva vaa kva jiva kva
cha tad brahma sarvadaa vimalasya me"
So there is neither jiva, nor jagat nor Ishwara - there is just I the
self - this is true. What it really means - there is no jiva jagat and
Ishwara as separate entities - the sat vastu underlying them all is
Brahman and that Brahman is Ishwara minus his Ishwaratvam!
When at the culmination of knowledge a jiva realizes his true self,
then there is more concept of separation of seeker, world and Ishwara.
The emphasis is on the word separation. There is no more Ishwara for
him because he the jiva doesnt exist separate from the whole - what is
the whole - brahman or Ishwara. Brahman and Ishwara are not two
different things. Brahman is nirguna from the Ultimate standpoint of a
realized one, and saguna or Ishwara from the standpoint of a seeker.
A realized seer does not "dismiss" or reject Ishwara - what he has
successfully dismissed is his own ego-sense of a false identity
separate from the whole - once that is negated then he is Ishwara,
like milk in milk or water in water. There is no demarcation where he
ends and Ishwara begins - there never was - only now by Ishwaras own
grace he can see it for himself.
To say Ishwara is a concept is incorrect.
Ishwara is Brahman. Brahman is Ishwara. Only the standpoint is
different. Is He with attributes - Yes. Is He without attributes -
Yes. How is that possible? Because He is incoceivable for me with my
limited intellect. How will I know him if he is inconceivable -
because in His infinite mercy He allows you to - How? by knowing your
"innermost" self.
The shruti I read, the intellect I use to understand it, the health
-physical and mental - that I take for granted while studying the
shruti or meditating, the meditation itself, my background,
upbringing, coming in contact with a Guru - limitless are the factors
that are working their ways so I the deluded jiva understands my true
nature - all this is possible needless to even mention only and only
because of Grace.
Every Upanishad starts with a invocation, a shanti mantra - why? - for
the same reason. The same upanishad declares
"shraddhabhaktiyogaadavaihi"! through faith devotion and yoga alone do
you come to know it yourself!
Why would a text that is about to dismiss a concept demonstrate its
own acceptance of that concept.
The same sentences often dismiss the Guru also "- guru naiva shishya"
- so this teaching asks you to reject the Guru - the very ocean of
mercy who taught you the truth about yourself - of course not - it
only means I reject my sense of separation from my Guru - i am Him and
He is me - in fact there is no me, a student, and hence there is no He
- a guru - at this deepest level we are one with the substratum, we
are one with Ishwara.

If Brahman is Ishwara and Ishwara is Brahman, what does it matter if
we do not recognize Ishwara or reject Ishwara as a concept? Why not
focus on self-enquiry alone and try to ascertain my identity with Brahman?
First of all for any expedition on your part, you require Grace.
Recognizing the need for Grace is the first step towards acquiring it.
Why do I need Grace? Because I am limited. There are only a minute
number of things I have control over. I need a healthy body, a healthy
mind, the capacity to see, read, hear, assimilate, memorize, intuit,
etc etc I need Grace to find the right Guru, and the Grace to
recognize him and his teaching as my saving discpline.
That Grace can only be obtained by my effort - and that effort
consists in prayer.And this prayer can be to any God or Godpriniciple
- it matters not if it is Christ, Allah, Krishna, Shiva, Durga,
Mahavira, etc etc. He knows when you call His name!

In a big cyclonic storm a mother sits with her 2 year old child in a
poorly lit room. The wind is blowing hard, the waters are poring down
violently. The mother is highly anxious. The child is playing with his
toy. Why? Because he has his mother sitting with him. As long as his
mother is with him, he has unshakeable faith that nothing untoward can
happen to him, he is protected. In this case, that faith is not
exactly wellfounded because the mother really is in position to save
eiter of them should the levee break. In our case too, there is the
potential for violent thunderstorms at all times. And we do not even
have a weather channel to warn us of upcoming inclement weather.
Illness to us, diseases for our near and dear ones, even death,
personal loss, financial loss or even gain, natural calamaties can
befall us - rather very likely will befall us at sometime. In these
circumstances, maintaining chittanaischalyam may prove impossible -
what saves you from that? - faith. Just like that 2 yr old, if we
develop unshakable faith and shraddha in our Divine Mother, then no
matter what the happenings in my life are I know they are not going to
touch me beyond a point - i have Ishwara in my corner.

Even if I am an so called advanced vedantic student - I have read all
that is to be read and understood all that is to be understood - if I
have not attained nishta in brahman, it means I am still lacking in
Grace. I am still lacking in effort to not deserve that Grace. Only by
His will can you enter His domain. He will reveal his innermost self
to you, and you will see it to be your own self.

Ramana Maharshi puts it beautifully -
"veshahaanatah svaatmadarshanam ishaadarshanam svaatmarupatah"

By removal of these costimes there is appreciation of ones own self
and that is the vision of Ishwara as ones own essential nature!!

"Asitagirisamam Syaat Kajjalam Sindhu Paatre
Surataruvarashaakhaa lekhani patram urvi
likhati yadi grheetva sharada sarva kaalam
tadapi tava gunaana eesha param na yaati"

If no less than Ma Sharada, the goddess of knowledge, uses each and
every one of all the great trees of the world and fashions a pen and
uses the ink from every drop of water in the majestic pacific atlantic
and indian oceans and keeps writing on the entire earth as the writing
leaf, and that too for eternity - till the end of time - even then O
Isha, your glories will remain unsung, the limit of thine virtues will
not be reached!!

No comments: