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The Guiding force of Narayanashrama Tapovanam & Center for Inner Resources Development

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha


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 Listen to Prabhaata-rashmih Audio 

Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

Today, I shall discuss a point in English. I won’t close my eyes. There is a point in Advaita Vedanta, particularly Sankaracharya’s exposition, which I never refer to during the 60 years of my exponential life. I never refer to it. It is called māyā and particularly rajju sarpaṇyāya. Rajju means rope, sarpa means serpent. So, suppose you see a rope lying in darkness, suddenly you feel it is a snake, and you get afraid. Actually, the rope has not become the snake. You are only seeing the snake on the rope. Now, how is it that the rope becomes the snake? After all, rope is one thing and snake is another. How can the two be together?

So, in our logic we speak of something called pariṇāma and vivarta. Pariāma means a complete transformation inside and outside of an object of something. You can say, a chemical and physical transformation of a substance is called pariāma. Suppose you take milk and curdle it. After curdling, the milk becomes almost solid, becomes condensed, and it becomes sour. You churn it, you get butter. So, there is a chemical transformation in the milk. That is called pariāma. Now when there is a change which you really feel, at the same time the change does not take place in an object, that change is called vivarta or appearential change. A change only in appearance, it is not substantive or substantial.

In the case of the rope which you take as snake, the rope substance has not changed into a snake substance. But nevertheless it has changed, because it produces all the reactions and emotions in you. These emotions are…  Actually, verily you feel them. What difference is there between seeing a rope and seeing a snake? Suppose you see an original snake. Whatever emotions and reactions you will have in your mind, the same reactions and feelings you have when you misunderstand a rope to be a snake. You understand? The effect is same. There is no difference. But the change in the substance is not taking place. So, that is called vivarta, appearential change, not substantial change. The entire world is becoming like that. Brahman has become the world, not substantially or substantively, but only superficially or appearantially. Will you accept this?

I never explained this at all, but yesterday I thought I will explain because this Trichur audience is perhaps the most harmonious audience or very enlightened also, they say. One person was telling me that “Ninety-five percent of the people who listen to you, Swamiji, are enlightened people.”, day before yesterday. So, here is a verse which I have never been explaining. I think you should discuss it during the morning session, forenoon session, Swamiji should take it up.

यत्र विश्वमिदं भाति कल्पितं रज्जुसर्पवत् ।
आनन्दपरमानन्दः स बोधस्त्वं सुखं चर ।।
yatra vishvamidam bhāti kalpitam rajjusarpavat |
Ānandaparamānandaḥ sa bodhastvam sukham cara ||
(Ashtāvakra Samhita 1.10)

Yatra vishvamidam bhāti, I don’t think you will hear me and think about it or understand it. But I shall do my role.

We refer to the world. Which world are we referring to? Are we referring to a world which somebody else sees or we see? When I refer to the world, it is the world of my perception. Is it not? The world I am referring to, is the world which I see and experience. If the world is what I experience, you please ask a question. Where is this world shining? Where exactly does it come up as a world?

You may say, we are on the earth. The earth is in the atmosphere. Where is this atmosphere? You can say ultimately it is in space. The question doesn’t stop there. Where is this space? Where is it? After all, it is something that lights up before me or I see. “I see” means what? Have you thought about 'my seeing'? What does it mean? I open my eyes. Then suddenly the vision strikes my eyes. So, is not the vision resting upon my eyes? Yes or no? Whatever I see with my eyes, it is resting. It is resting means it is subsisting on my eyes. The eye vision itself is subsisting upon myself, my mind. So, where exactly is the viśva, the universe shining?

Our European research people, they are experimenting into the God particle. Ultimately they find the God particle, I agree. But tell me, that perception, that experience of that particle, where is it taking place? Is it not in the perceiver? I am seeing the expanse of the universe, the variety of the universe. But the whole perception rests upon me, the perceiver. So, where exactly is the universe shining? Where exactly is the universe shining? Is it shining outside on something else? Or is it shining in my own consciousness within? Very easily said. Then you should not have any desire at all, if you say and stand by what you say.

So, yatra vishvamidam bhāti. Once you agree that it is shining on my own consciousness, the next question. My consciousness is something simple. It doesn’t have a color. It doesn’t have a shape. It doesn’t have a weight. My consciousness is unlike the body, unlike physical and chemical substances. It is unphysical or metaphysical. Because it is metaphysical, you cannot attribute any color, shape, weight, nothing to it. In such a consciousness that I have, if the entire universe is becoming, it is shining… I am seeing the universe. That means what? I have become the universe. Are you following me? My mind has become.

A mirror reflects an object. When it reflects the object to the extent that the object is there, you will not see the mirror. You will only see the… Do you understand what I say? See, suppose there is a huge mirror and I am reflecting on it. The portion occupied by my body reflection, you will not see the mirror. The mirror surface has become the object. Not only the object, it has become the distance also. Suppose I stand five feet away from the mirror, I will see my reflection five feet inside. So, the surface of the mirror which is a solid substance, that surface has disappeared so to say, and it has become the distance and the reflects. Is it not a transformation? That transformation, you tell me, has the mirror surface disappeared totally? And then the reflected distance and the reflection, both of them are appearing? So, is it a substantial transformation or is it an appearantial transformation?

When I see the universe and I experience the universe.... All of you, I am seeing. That means as many people as are in my front, so many people I have become, my mind has become. Your colors, your hair, your hands, your bangles, all these things my mind has become. Otherwise I cannot experience you. I can say: "This is Prasad, that is Manoj, here is Janardhanan, there is Gopal, Lalu." All these things I can say. I can tell you that about two and a half feet away from him you are there. How can I say with so much of precision unless I experience and I become these objects? The becoming of these objects clearly means that there is a transformation in my consciousness.

That transformation, next you question whether it is a substantial transformation. If it is a substantial transformation.... I see you, I have become all of you. So, if the transformation has come, how can I see another? Do you understand? See, if I have become all of you, then that 'I' cannot look at another object. If the mirror reflected me and in reflecting me, it has become myself, then when I go away, another object stands in the front, it cannot reflect it, because this mirror has not transformed and the appearance alone changes. The appearantial transformation does not affect the original substance. That is why it can reflect one thing after the other. So, I can look into the eastern direction and see a number of things. The same 'I' can look into the southern direction and I can see another set of things. That means I have not physically transformed. My consciousness has not transformed. The transformation is only appearantial. This appearantial transformation is called vivarta in our language, not pariṇāma.

So he says, yatra vishvamidam bhāti kalpitam rajjusarpavat. So the universe is only kalpita in my mind. Just like you are imagining and you have a number of thoughts in your mind, no thought you become. I think of my family members, I think of my Ashram members, I think of this, I think of that. In all these thoughts, my mind is not becoming anything. It is producing it as an imagination, and in the imaginational process, the mind does not get transformed. So I can take to another imagination. You understand? So it is all kalpita. If that is the truth, then what am 'I'? If I am not any one of the imaginations I do, I am not the universe which is reflected in me, if I am absolutely untransforming, then the question arises, “what am I?”

He says, Ānandaparamānandaḥ sa bodhastvam sukham cara. Understand that you are the untransforming but all-reflecting consciousness. You will reflect everything but nothing affects you. Therefore you are the untransforming one. That untransforming consciousness is actually called the blissful consciousness. Blissfulness does not mean the happiness that you have by sensory interaction or even by a mental imagination. The real ānanda is beyond the so-called sensory, mental, created, and artificial comforts and happiness. It is entirely different. Sa bodha, all that we can say is that it is the awareness or consciousness. What is consciousness? Consciousness is that by virtue of which you become conscious of other things and conscious of yourself. We cannot define it as a product, as matter or energy. It is not a vastu, it is not a thing. It is a presence maximum you can say, and we cannot compare it with anything else.

One more point and I will stop. Can you think and agree with me when I say, we have an unknown quantity within ourselves, the “I”, the mind? How do you understand the measure, the magnitude and potential of the mind? How do you know the reflecting magnitude and potential of the mind? You can never know it unless it does reflection. You stand in front of a mirror at five feet distance. You go on moving backward and backward and backward. As much you move backward, so much you will find the reflective capacity also increasing. So, the mirror will not be able to reveal its magnitude unless there is an object to be reflected in front. Is it clear? Similarly, by what process will you know your own inner magnitude, measure and potential? Only by the so-called object universe. You see the objective universe only to understand and evaluate your subjective potential.

My eyes can see infinite distances. How do I know our eyes can see infinite distances? Because there are objects. I see the earth, I see the tree, I see the sun. I look at the sky at night. I see one star after the other. Even if you place a well-sized object at an infinite distance, our naked eye can see. So the capacity of the eye will be revealed only when the objects are there in front. When you understand the whole universe of an infinite measure, the credit or the property does not go to the universe but the credit or the property goes to your perceiving consciousness.

So, when you understand the whole infinite universe through your eyes or through your mind or through your intelligence, will you agree that, that is the real character, measure and magnitude of your consciousness? When you see the universe, we are not seeing the universal measure. The universal measure itself is revealing the universal measure of the seeing consciousness. Can you arrive at this conclusion and remain there? It is a challenge. It is intellectually explained. It can only be intellectually explained. But this intelligential explanation will have to become a matter of realization and experience. So, when we see the universe, we are not actually seeing the object universe. We are realizing the measure and potential of our own mind or consciousness.

Now, one more question. Whether the objects are independently there for you to see, and that is why you see, is a question very relevant. The answer is, how did the objects themselves come, if at all? The answer is that in your sleep, you have a dream. In the dream, you have all the objects parallel to whatever you see here. And it is very clear, the dream is produced by the mind. So, the mind is capable of producing even solid objects, gross objects. It has got its potential. So these objects which we are seeing outside are also the creation of consciousness. Does it make sense to you?


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