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Advaita for the 21st Century

Vedanta - Part 44


VEDĀNTA the solution to our fundamental problem
D. Venugopal


D. Venugopal is a student of Swami Paramarthananda and a direct disciple of Pujya Swami Dayananda. He has successfully completed the long-term residential course in Vedanta and Sanskrit conducted from May 2002 to July 2005 at the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam, Anaikatti.

 

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15. UNDERSTANDING ÉÇVARA

I – The manifestation is not separate from Éçvara

Before going further into the implications of the resolution of the jéva, the jagat and Éçvara into Brahman, it would be very fruitful to retrace our steps and look into outcome of the knowledge that Éçvara is both the maker and the material of the manifestation at the transactional level. It is from the pärämärthika angle that the jéva, the jagat and Éçvara resolve into Brahman and Éçvara is himself mithyä like the jéva and the jagat. Now, we are going to consider the situation in which

• there is no knowledge of the difference between satyam and mithyä and the transactional reality is taken to be the actual reality; and

• the understanding remains restricted to Éçvara being both the maker and material of the manifestation.

Even this level of knowledge confers substantial benefits if its implications are fully analysed [285] and understood.

 

We saw in the case of the clay-pot example that the single material cause, clay, gives rise to many products and that the material clay is the substance of all of them. It means that clay, as the material cause, can be recognized in any of its products like the pot. Similarly, Éçvara being the material cause of the jagat, his presence can be recognized as its material in every form including time [286] and space [287]. Everything is one presence and this presence is the manifestation of Éçvara. Therefore, when we say that everything is Éçvara, it is not a matter for belief but for understanding in terms of the reasoning that even as the pot is not separate from the clay, everything that is here is Éçvara [288].

 

II - The manifestation of Éçvara is in the form of various orders

 

Also, everything that is available is a manifestation through the knowledge of Éçvara. Analyzing one organ is sufficient to make out how intelligently and efficiently everything is put together. We can also see that in every one of the living beings, its numerous parts have a role to play and are meaningfully knit together into a functioning whole. In addition, the billions of these are intelligently related to each other so that they may exist and function as one whole. Éçvara is all knowledge and it is through this knowledge that all forms of the manifestation and the scheme of their functioning individually as an integral part of the whole are assembled. Knowledge exists in the form of order. When the order is unraveled, it yields equations and laws and we call it as science. Actually, all branches of science constitute the knowledge of Éçvara present as the manifestation. When we pursue knowledge, we are in touch with Éçvara’s mind and it is an enthralling experience [289].

 

We may now look into this breathtaking order. The order includes all forces and processes and encompasses the entire physical universe, all the life forms and the inanimate things. All of them together form the physical and biological order. Billions and billions of stars are there in our own Milky Way. Every star is a sun and each one of them can have a system of planets and some of them can have life. They are parts of the same physical and biological order. The laws are the same for all of them and they are not separate from Éçvara.

 

In every living organism, there is präëa, which is the source of energy for all activities. The functions of präëa, including its governance of health and ill health, form the physiological order. It is because of the existence of this order that the scientists who work on various preventive and curative medicines can first try their effect on a rat. Once they work successfully on a rat, they are very sure that they will work on a human being because of this order.

 

There is also a psychological order. A dog has fidelity and its dog-psychology. There is no unfaithful dog. All animals have their own psychology. Each species behaves in the same manner more or less. And human beings have their own psychology. We are anxious and are prone to fear, anger and other emotions. Our behaviour, values and attitudes are the expressions of our background and it is the order that connects them. This is the psychological order.

 

Then we have the cognitive order by which we can say whether a particular knowledge is valid or not. The epistemological pursuit is based on this order. It is through this order that we are able to assimilate a statement. Our understanding of all orders is also because of the cognitive order.

 

We have the faculty of buddhi, which is so mature and evolved that we have the freedom to explore and know and the freedom to do, or not to do, or to do differently. Wherever there is choice, there is a possibility of the choice being appropriate or inappropriate. We must have certain norms for basing our choices. The norms must be universal; for only then the choices can either be appropriate or inappropriate. In this regard, we have the reality that everybody, whoever he may be and wherever he may be, seems to know exactly what is appropriate and inappropriate. Every living organism seeks to survive and does not want to get hurt. Everybody wants to be free from being a victim of somebody’s action. Therefore, the basic value structure is well recognized and does not require to be revealed by any one to us. It is Éçvara himself who is manifest in the form of this commonly sensed, universal value that is called dharma.

 

Together with the order of dharma, there is the order of karma, as every action has a result. The result is both in the visible form, which is known, as well as in the invisible form, which is revealed by Veda. The invisible results are päpa when we go against the dharma and puëya when we go with it. All of us, without exception, have to reap the results of our karma sometime or the other. This is the law of karma and it is a very essential part of the order. It is not a belief, as is commonly thought to be, but is a fact, which is to be recognized. The various orders that are obtaining are all unfailing and infallible. It is the infallible order, which is Éçvara. It is not Éçvara who is infallible. They are without exceptions and they cannot go wrong anywhere or at any time. This fact makes it possible for us to generalize and understand them.

 

285. Swami Dayananda, Isvara in One’s Life, pp. 50 – 64.
286.Time is associated with the change that takes place constantly in the manifestation.
287. As we had seen, space is the first to manifest.
288.
Therefore, there is nothing that can be called secular.
289.
This is called vidyänanda.

To be continued...

 

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