Guru Smarana Samithi
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Lamp of Non-duality (Advaitha Deepika) Class II

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Translation & explanation of Verse-2
Unreal becomes the visible world seen devoid of the perceiving subject.
None other than a mirage seen in the desert land of Consciousness is this world.
None other than the causal substance is real in the being of effects,
Just as what is real in waves is water alone.

(“Neralla drishyam ithu drukkine neekki nokkil
Veralla viswam arivaam maruvil pravaaham
Kaaryathil nilppathiha kaarana sathayennye
Veralla veechiyil irippathu vaariyathre”):
Of what sort is the reality or validity of the visible world was examined in verse-1; the conclusion being that it is similar to that of a dream. The formulation of dreams takes place in the mind of a person who sleeps. In the absence of such a mind, no dream happens. This point is made use of here to enter into one of the central ideas of Vedantha.
First, how the subject and the object or the perceiver and the perceived are related is considered. The perceiving Consciousness is then thought of as the causal Substance, and finally how cause and effect are related is cogitated upon.
The perceiver, the perceived and perception are the three factors always involved in every event of knowing. In the Sanskrit language, these are known as drikku, drishya and darshana. Together they are known by the term triputi (tripartite factors). The perceiver (drikku) here is none other than the dreaming mind of the last verse, and the perceived, the world constituted of names, mental images and external objects. The claim the Guru makes here is that the latter is unreal in the absence of the former. Take, for example, the case of something being directly perceived. It gains the status of being the perceived only when sensed by the eyes. Unless thus perceived, the thing is not the perceived (drishya) at all. That the thing will exist even when not perceived is our common notion. Yet someone else seeing it is its basis. Asserting the existence of something not yet perceived by anyone anywhere, not yet even imagined by anyone, makes no sense. In short, the existence of “the perceived” is meaningful only when perceived by a perceiving eye or a knowing mind. “Devoid of the perceiving subject,” therefore the Guru says, “the perceived world is unreal.” The perceiving mind, in other words, is what makes the world real.
What then is undeniably real? The knowing Mind alone – Consciousness alone. It is in this Consciousness that the dream-sights mentioned in the last verse get formulated. The world, in other words, has only a dream-like reality. What really exists is the dreaming Consciousness or Mind alone. The dreams we are familiar with are not ceaseless. The dream called the world, on the other hand, is not of that sort; it continues to loom as real even after knowing that is not real. The unrealness of the world is therefore clarified further with the help of yet another analogy – that of a mirage. Water would be seen flowing in a desert land seen from a distance in broad daylight. Our knowing that it is just a mirage does not make its appearance vanish. Likewise is the world – even after realizing it to be unreal, it continues to appear real.
What is the grand desert land in which appears this grand mirage, the world? It is the pure, unconditioned Consciousness (chith). “I am the perceiver,” and “The world is the perceived” simply form the opposing facets of one and the same grand mirage. In other words, “I am the perceiver” and “The world is the perceived” are ideas that get formulated in one Consciousness alone. The very same Consciousness, functioning properly becomes aware of the unreality of the subject-object duality and realizes their appearance as dream-like or mirage-like. It thus becomes evident that the knowing Consciousness (drikku) alone is real. The known object, of which the subject-object duality is but a part, is unreal. Ontologically speaking, drikku or the knowing Consciousness alone is the causal Substance that has its own existence. The experiences, “I am the perceiver” and “The world is the perceived” are all effects. In this specific sense, drikku or the knowing Consciousness is the cause and drishya or “the perceived” is the effect.
The coming into being of anything should be from some source called “cause”, and what emerges out of the cause is called “effect”. In the case of making a pot, for example, clay is the cause and the pot the effect. Clay cannot assume the form of a pot on its own; a potter has to work on it. The potter too thus is a cause. Clay then is called the material cause (upaadaana kaaranam) of pot and the potter is its incidental cause (nimittha kaaranam). Our concern here is not the making of pots, but the creation of the world. If the world is an effect, in the place of the pot, what is the clay-like substance out of which it emerged? And who was the creator? There being no causal reality other than the one Consciousness existing, both the causes have to merge in one, which also is known as Brahman or Athma or even the Supreme God. Brahman (the Absolute) or Parameshwara (the Supreme God) or Athma (the Self), therefore is considered the material-cum-incidental cause (abhinna-nimittha-upaadaana kaaranam) of the world, in Vedanthic terminology.
The effect pot has no existence apart from that of the cause clay. So too the world’s existence is inalienable from that of the causal Substance-Consciousness. As clay assumes the apparent forms of many pots, so too one Consciousness manifests itself as the entire world. Thus the world has no existence apart from Consciousness. Another example very dear to Guru to clarify the inseparable oneness of cause and effect is that of waves and ocean. The water of the ocean is the cause, and the waves are mere apparent, momentary forms that emerge in it. What is real in waves is water alone. No wave exists apart from water. Like-wise, the world is the total of the ripple-like forms that emerge in the ocean of Consciousness. No world exists apart from it.
Substantiating this point from the perspective of modern science is what the next verse does.

Translation & explanation of Verse-3
Clothes are nothing but yarn; yarn is nothing but fibres;
Fibres are nothing but primeval elements clinging together;
Thus envisioned on and on, it becomes revealed
That everything becomes apparent out of one Consciousness,
As water is seen flowing in a desert land.
Ultimately what exists thus is Consciousness alone.

(“Vasassu thanthuvithu panjiyithaadimoola
Bhootha pragaatham ithum orkkukil iprakaaram
Bodhathil ninnu vilasunnu marusthalathu
Paathassu pole paramaavadhi bodhamathre”):
Being a rishi of the ancient wisdom tradition of India not-withstanding, Narayana Guru was a product of the Age of Science, and his thinking was imbued with its spirit. Analytical searching is the method most familiar to science. Even such an enquiry leads us to the conclusion that the one causal substance that underlies the appearance of everything is nothing but consciousness, and that is what Guru underscores in this verse with all the preciseness of a scientific mind. Consciousness alone is the causal reality even in what we consider as inert matter. For example, take a piece of cloth. Taken apart, it turns out to be yarn, and the existence of cloth disappears in the existence of yarn. Yarn, in turn, when analysed is found to be cotton fibres in content. It is these fibres that assumed the form of yarn and cloth. The fibre can be analyzed further, taking our search to subtler levels of existence. The ancient Indian scientific mind conceives that all physical entities are constituted of five basic elements-earth, water, fire, air and space-none of which does exist physically anywhere in their pure state (thanmathras), for they are too subtle to be physical. All actual physical existences are their various compound forms. The pure states of the elements that underlie physical reality, in other words, exists only as ideas in our consciousness. Individual consciousness is nothing but a functional mode of one universal Consciousness. It is in the existence of this Consciousness that the existence of physical elements are imagined, and they, in their turn, make the physical entities and the world appear as real. What ultimately exists, thus, is Consciousness alone, itself assuming the form of basic elements, fibres, yarn, cloth and so on, and finally the world as well.
Let us now look at what constitutes the fibre from the point of view of modern science. Carbon atoms for the basic content of a cotton fibre. And atoms as such have never been seen by anyone , neither with naked eyes nor microscopically. Their undeniablity is demonstrated by mathematical calculations of scientists. Such calculations are considered real simply because they work. Every atom has been found to be constituted of a nucleus and a few electrons revolving around it. Electrons are negative energy in essence and the nucleus positive energy. Some minute particles also have been traced out by scientists as forming part of the nucleus. The existence of all these particles is merely conceivable and theoretical, never perceptible. Yet they are so real that their fusion as well as fission results in the release of energy so immense that it can devastate huge cities at one stroke. That these theoretically existing energies must have a unified field in which they find unity is a dream of scientists, which has not yet been actualized even theoretically. The existence of energy particles, their multiplicity, their unification, all are theories and thus have their being only as functions of the thinking mind or consciousness. Thus the fact that consciousness alone is the one all-underlying reality is admitted, though through the back door, even by modern science.
The ancient Indian way of thinking as well as the modern scientific search for reality thus takes us to one and the same conclusion: what is ultimately real is Consciousness (Chithu) alone. How can this subtle Consciousness/Reality assume the appearance of the gross world? The answer is that the appearance of the world is mirage-like, caused by avidya (ignorance). The world, we that form a part of it, our thinking and theorizations, and even atom bombs, are just mirage-like visions seen in the infinite desert-land of Consciousness.

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