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Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Aparakshanubhoothi [Non Indirect Experience] A Philosophic Treatise on Advaitha By Adhishankara Bhagwat Pada Transliteration and Translation by P. R. Ramachander
[This is one of the great works of philosophy written by Adhi Shankara This has 144 stanzas or slokas, Shankara emphasizes in this great work the fact, that till we realize the difference between Brahman / Athman / purusha and the things that we see in this world, we cannot attain realization. He logically establishes that the body that we see is an illusion and what is beyond all such bodies is Brahman, the absolute truth. He then examines the reason for this illusion and concludes that ignorance is the cause of such illusion. Then he tells us the 15 step stair case to attain this truth and the eight road blocks that will come in our way. This translation work is based on: 1. The English translation of this great work by Swami Vimukthananda which was published by the Advaitha Ashram, Calcutta. 2. A Tamil and English commentary available in the web site advaitavedanta.org/texts/aparokshanubhoothi.pdf and 3. A Tamil commentary and translation of this great work by Sri Navarathnamala M. K. Venkatraman and published by Giri Traders, Madras. As in my other translations my effort has been trying to understand the meaning of each stanza based on the several translations already available and put the meaning that I have understood, in my own words. Unlike translation of Sthothras, this was extremely difficult, as I am a novice in philosophic thought. ]
Every great work starts with a prayer to God. This book starts with a prayer to Hari.
Sri Harim paramananda mupadeshtameeswaram, Vyapakam sarva lokaanam karanam tham namamyaham 1
I salute that Sri Hari*, Who is the pure immortal bliss, Who is the first teacher, Who is God himself, Who pervades everywhere, And who is the cause of this world. *Killer of illusion
Shankara then tells us the aim of this book. He could have used Prathyaksha Anubhuthi (Direct experience) but prefers to use Aparoksha Anubhuthi (Non indirect experience). He does this, because most of us prefer indirect experience and he wants us all to try to have the non indirect experience.
The method of direct experience*, Which leads to salvation, Is expounded here, so that, The good people with little effort, Can meditate on this truth Which is taught here for all times. *Non indirect personal experience
Shankara indicates here the three paths of attaining this experience viz devotion, practice of our defined duties and renunciation.
People practicing the prescribed Dharma of their class, Can propitiate through meditation,that Lord Hari. And also attain their desired aim of reaching. The four aspects of renunciation, wisdom, loss of desires and salvation.
An effort is made to clearly define renunciation as against absence of desire.
The real thought process within us should be, I see differences between things because of ignorance, All these differences would vanish when I get wisdom, And the various thoughts in me are the reason for what I see.
The cause for this ignorance and the thought process, Is subtle and one without second and unchanging existence, Similar to the clay being the cause of inanimate things like a mud pot. The various thoughts in me are the reason for what I see.
I am the only one, micro existence beyond all thoughts, I am the knower, the witness, the truth, the indivisible, And there is no doubt whatsoever that, The various thoughts in me are the reason for what I see.
The next five stanzas are powerful arguments that there is a difference between the body and the Athma.
The wise say that the true knowledge is that, I am definitely not the body which is an illusion, But I am without stains, without movement and limits, I am pure, I never age and I never die.
The above argument does not mean that Brahman/Athma does not exist.
Swadehe shobhanam santham purushakhyam cha sam matham, Kim moorkhe soonyamathmanam dehatheetham karoshi bho. 29
Oh ignorant one, do not conclude because of these that, Athma does not exist, for it exists in your body, As something different, blissful and perennial., And is agreed to be same as the Purusha by the wise.
Requests the novice seeker to reason and understand this Purusha, (Used alternatively for Athman/Brahman.)
Oh ignorant one, using the sruthis and your own reasoning, Try to understand this Purusha, which is beyond the body, And which is the very form of existence, Though you would find it difficult to understand.
Again brings out the difference between the body and Purusha (Brahman/Athma)
Thus, different from the type of bodies, There exists the soul, which is Purusha, The lord of everything and soul of everything, And though present in everything, Is different and transcends all of them.
Logic or Tharka Vada asserts that Prakrithi (prapancha/body ) has different existence from that of Athma/Brahman/Purusha. Since they are different and cannot become one, there is no salvation.
In some moments the rope appears as a snake, Due to the ignorance of its real nature, And without the rope changing its nature, Similarly pure consciousness also appears, To be the whole universe at such times.
Brahman/Purusha/athma is the cause for the body/world/Prapancha
There is no cause for this universe except Brahman, (similar to the clay being the cause of a pot)* So the entire Universe is Brahman and nothing else. *interpolation by the author for clear understanding
The cause and effect theory of Brahman and the body is enunciated.
The Vedas declare that everything that we see is Athman, And the difference between Athma which pervades, And the universe in which it is said to be pervading, In non existent and the difference is a result of an illusion.
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says that there are no qualities/properties to Brahman.