Sri Vidyaranya Swami’s पञ्चदशी
Session #4 by Sri Swamini Svatmavidyananda on Feb 26th 2016
(unedited notes taken down during the session)
Here is the video of the recording of the session — http://livestream.com/Swaminiji/events/
ॐ सहना ववतु सह नौ भुनक्तु सहवीर्यं करवावहै । तेजस्वीनावधीतामस्तु माविद्विषावहै ॥ ॐ शांतिः । शांतिः। शांतिः |
नमः श्रीशङ्करानन्दगुरुपादाम्बुजन्मने । सविलासमहामोहग्राहग्रासैककर्मणे ॥ १॥
namaḥ śrīśaṅkarānandagurupādāmbujanmane savilāsamahāmohagrāhagrāsaikakarmaṇe
अविचारकृतो बन्धो विचारेण निवर्तते । तस्माज्जीवपरात्मानौ सर्वदैव विचारयेत् ॥ ५ ॥
We are born ignorant. But we should not remain ignorant. The seeker is the sought. Hence there is a need for enquiry. Shashtra is a means of Knowledge. Prakarana Granta – Restatement of the Upanishadic Ideas – This is a smruti as against the shruti. Sometimes it is easier to follow. The enquiry has to be guided enquiry with the help of the teacher. The sacred book is not read. It is heard from the voice of the teacher. The guru who is no longer in the body will send you a live teacher, if the Shraddha is there for the teacher and the knowledge.
This is Shabda pramaana and hence the need for a live guru. Drishya Vastu – is only objectified by the other means of knowledge. But the soul cannot be objectified by these means. It has to be done only by Shabda Pramaana. The student has to be in a teachable condition. This is EXTREMELY important.
Apohanam means forgetful. sarvasya caham hridi sannivishto matah smriti jnanam apohanam ca – Chapter 15 Bhagavad Gita. We chant this chapter before food, because the topic about food is discussed in this chapter. Bhagavan says that he will digest the four types of food that is consumed by us. Later in the same chapter, he says because of me alone there is remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness or apohanam. It is a blessing to have apohanam so that we are able to forget the omissions and commissions.
The slipper symbolizes a comfort zone –where one is protected by one’s ideas and belief. By leaving the foot-ware outside, the things that we know are left behind. Due to Apohanam, we can leave the distraction.
There are certain qualifications for the Pramaana or the means of knowledge. (1) It should reveal something that is incapable of being revealed by other means of knowledge. For example, only the eyes can know the color of the flower and this cannot be done using the other sense organs. This is called Anadigatam i.e., it is not available for other means of knowledge.
(2) Arthavat / artha-bodakam – it should be meaningful. It has to be relevant to me in my life, right here and right now. Vedanta fulfils this condition. In a fire ritual or homam, barhishi rajatam na deyam – don’t give silver in charity. Agnih arodit – Fire cried. His tears became silver. If a gift made to a priest in the form of silver, this should be done away from the sacrificial altar.
(3) phalavat / phala-bodakam – It should bear results. Vedanta is anadigata-arthavat-phala-bodakam.
Poorva Meemamsa is a ladder. It is just a step. The fire ritual is done for certain gains. There is subject – object differentiation. In Vedanta, subject and object are the same. Apohanam is unlearning those that need to be forgotten.
(4) It should not contradict any other means of knowledge or itself. Vedanta is not one of many systems. It is a body of knowledge. Shankar says even if a thousand Shruti make a claim that fire is cold, please discredit that statement. Shankar is so confident that it will not contradict any other fact. There is Samanvaya. The whole thing is based on a total knowledge that does not contradict itself or other means of knowledge. Vedanta does not say that the object-subject differences do not matter as ultimately the objects resolve into the subject. It is a mithya. It helps one to transcend. It does not say that there are no subject-object differences.
(5) It should not operate on your will. कर्त्रुतन्त्रम् न – वस्तुतन्त्रम् – the knowledge does not depend on the doer. The knowledge depends on the object. A flower cannot become a mango. The means of knowledge is as true as the object. It does not depend on the will of the knower. We do not have the will to see only what we wanted to see. We can’t see the flower without seeing the face if the flower is held before the face.
Vedanta does not reveal the subject. It does not reveal the atma, because it is already revealed and it is already self-evident. I already know “I am” – “I exist”. Vedanta reveals the nature of the atma, not its existence. It reveals “who am I?” Wrong understanding of this leads to bondage. तस्माज्जीवपरात्मानौ सर्वदैव विचारयेत् | Therefore reflect.
परमात्माद्वयानन्दपूर्णः पूर्वं स्वमायया ।
स्वयमेव जगद्भूत्वा प्राविशज्जीवरूपतः ॥ १ ॥