The new year always feels like a fresh start. I hope you have a great
$25, may be paid at the door.
The Mahayana emptiness teachings are considered key for attaining
liberation from cyclic existence. Yet these teachings have been notoriously hard
to understand, and in practice not as deeply transformative as they could
CONVERSATIONS WITH A LIVING GAUDAPADA:
end the year 2009 to snuggle cozily into the welcoming arms of 2010, thoughts on
the Past, Present and Future do hover in our minds. We accumulate our
experiences as memory. Our brains decipher certain inviolable patterns in those
experiences. The patterns and their recurrence go to reinforce and solidify our
belief in the reality of our experience.
Ancient Indian scriptures talk
of three levels of reality (i) Absolute; (ii) Transactional and (iii) Dream.
The Absolute Reality is the ultimate, unchanging Truth. Transactional reality is
what we live with in our daily life. The ephemeral reality is the one we
experience in a dream world.
Vedanta shouts from roof-tops: The dream and
transactional experiences are equally FALSE and UNREAL. There is nothing like a
past and future of things happening. Everything just happens in the NOW. There
is NO thing other than Nowness, the Aliveness, the very Beingness. It is Alone.
No second one is there. And that is Advaita.
That is the view from the
Absolute Reality that Gaudapada gives us.
Venerable Gaudapada was a Great
Sage of the 8th Century. He expounded the above philosophy of Ajativada
(nothing is ever born), the true gist of Vedanta, in his classic Karika
(commentary in verses) on Mandukya Upanishad. The Second Chapter of the Karika
discusses the illusory nature of the world that we experience and the
non-difference of dream and awake states of man. The Mandukya Upanishad and
Karika hold these two states to be mere 'arisings' in the deep sleep
state.Quoting Gaudapada Karika:
A question arises then:
who cognizes the illusory objects of dream and wakeful states, if the objects
cognized in both the states are unreal?
(Karika II 11).
verse of the Chapter II goes to answer (Swami Nikhilanandas translation,
Advaita Ashrama, 1995):Atman, the self-luminous, through the
power of his own Maya, imagines in himself by himself (all the objects that the
subject experiences within or without). He alone is the cognizer of the objects
(so created). That is the decision of the Vedanta.
further explains that internally conceived things like thoughts, ideas etc. are
no different from objects seen out there. He says in the 14th
verse:"Those that are cognized within only as long as the thought
of them lasts, as well as those that are perceived by the senses and that
conform to two points of time, are all mere imaginations. There is no other
ground for differentiating the one from the other."
Nikhilananda amplifying on the word imaginations writes as follows:
That a thing exists independently of the perceiving mind is also an
. Past, present and future are nothing but ideas present in the mind at
the moment.Peter Dziuban
provides us, like
Gaudapada, the worldview from the stance of and as Absolute Reality. His
teachings echo Gaudapadas Ajativada
We are fortunate that he
explains with great clarity, irrefutable logic and inimitable expression our
questions at his Blog: Reality
I posed him the following question:Though we seem
to understand intellectually the non-dualism, how is it that a sense of lack
continues to haunt us?
I want to get to the root of this 'lack' - a lack
not for any objective 'thing' but that gut feeling of "not satisficing".
One way is to see the 'lack' to be "ALL", the very Being. However, this
looks to be a mere explanation.
Peters response is available at his
of 23rd Dec 2009
What Peter said, in brief (as I understood in my
1. Notice that "something" has cognised that sense of
2. Be that very "Cogniser" rather than claiming ownership for
that sense of 'lack'.
3. The sense or gut feeling of 'lack' is time
dependent (hence transitory) and therefore, sure to 'dissolve'.
sense of 'lack' has its origin because of an 'assumed add-on s' i.e. some
unspelt 'expectations' of a person in 'me' looking for 'object-oriented
Later Peter answered in three Posts
of 25th Dec 2009
, the following question of mine:I do not find
anywhere, either in the ancient Indian lore or in the modern non-dualism
teachings, any body explaining the emergence of the wakeful state with all the
phenomenal 'world' and its goings on.
Words like 'Maya', 'Leela' (play),
'Freedom', [Karma, cyclicity] etc. are used to explain how from that Immutable
Oneness the first 'I-thought' is engendered to manifest later as the variegated
manifold. But these are admittedly just explanatory fictions. Such explanations
take all the mathematical precision and scientific regularity in the phenomenal
'world' as 'given'. They accept the inevitability of inexorable natural laws and
never provide any clue as to why a law is the way it is.
[.....,] we see
a 'signature' of dream state in a dreaming brain (REM sleep). How do you think
the brain state would be when one is "abiding" as ALL, One, Consciousness,
I would like to draw the attention of the readers of this
Blog to the excellent Posts of Peter in reply to my query, a befitting way to
end the year 2009.
[The possible state of the brain of a realized man
(Jivanmukta) is obviously something he cannot comment. It would fall under
Neuroscience. However, his surmise is that there would be no thinking activity,
and little or no experience of sensations so he speculates that those apparent
related areas of brain activity would be greatly reduced or inactive. Meanwhile,
in such states the body usually still appears to breathe, pump blood, etc. so it
would seem that whatever brain activity is involved in these apparent functions
This topic can be a good study for Barrow Neurological
Institute, Arizona, U.S.A. One of their Directors attended the Oct 2009 'Science
and Non-dualism Conference' in San Rafael, California.
As no thinking can
happen without stored information, it will also be interesting to see how memory
will behave in a Jivanmukta. Our ancient scriptures say that vasana
(past stored impressions) will become ineffective like burnt out seeds. Memory
is still an active on going research topic in Neuroscience.
we have from Neuroscince on retention, loss or erasure of memory, abnormal
memory of a savant brain and related issues will form the subject of a future
Blog Post.]WITH BEST WISHES FOR A HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR