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Lamp of Non-duality (Advaitha Deepika) - Class V

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Translation & explanation of Verse-8
Even when in ignorance
One’s asthi is never unknown;
So too is bhaathi (vibhaathi)
And so too is one’s priyam (sukha);
Thus all these three always find expression.
When the rope’s content is associated
With the idea of snake, it
Assumes a new this-ness.
Well considered, this analogy
Illustrates the aforesaid.

(“Ajnaana velayilum asthi vibhaathi randum
Ajnaatham alla sukhavum vilasunnu moonnum
Rajju-svaroopam ahiyotum idanthayaarnnu
Nilkkunnathinniha nidarshanamaam ithorthaal”):
Asthi, bhaathi, priyam are three conjoined technical terms of Vedantha. Brahmam or Athma is defined as sath, chith, ananda. These three, as an individual experiences, are signified by the terms asthi, bhaathi and priyam. Sath means “Existence” and is experienced by an individual as “I exist.” This experience of self-existence is referred to as asthi, meaning “something exists”. The essential content of self-existence is pure Consciousness (Chith) – the Consciousness of beingness, effulgence in essence. Never remaining inactive, it incessantly finds expression as stream-like experiences. This function of Chith is named bhaathi meaning, “the shining forth of something.” Every such experience is more than an event of knowing. It involves an evaluation also, relating the object known to one’s own value notions or likes and dislikes, and thus treating it as pleasurable, painful or indifferent. This phase of the evaluating function of consciousness denotes “the state of being dear” termed priyam. Asthi, bhaathi, priyam, in other words, are three facets of every individual’s conscious beingness.
Take the case of an ignorant person. He is not at all aware of the one Reality that exists above all that is perceivable and conceivable. Such a person takes the perceived world as real. (That all such visibles are unreal we have already seen.) Those who perceive thus are called ajnaanins (the ignorant). Ajnaana (ignorance) is the wrong knowledge of treating the unreal as real. The mental function that causes ajnaana is what is known as avidya (nescience).
Ajnaanins also have the sense of existence – the sense of self-existence and the sense of the world’s existence. They too thus experience beingness (asthi). Likewise, the act of knowing goes on constantly within them also. They are aware of the changing world as well as of themselves who perceive the changing world. The individual consciousness or mind finds expression as all these experiences without interruption. This is called bhaathi. Each such act of knowing or experiencing, even in the case of the ignorant, is an event of evaluating what is experienced in terms of pleasure, pain or indifference as well, the manifest form of the ananda content of athma. Priyam, thus, is not absent in the knowing function even for the ignorant.
A jnanin perceives his/her own existence, his/her experiences, his/her pleasures and pains, merely as the asthi-bhaathi-priyam facets of his/her own being. Such a one sees the cosmic counterpart of his/her own being as what we call the world, the constantly changing unpredictable facets of its appearance, and the pleasures and pains it entails. An ajnaanin, on the other hand, is incapable of thinking or of being concerned with the ultimate Reality. Yet in an ajnaanin’s case too, the asthi-bhaathi-priyam trio is not irrelevant. The difference is that such a one remains quite ignorant of its place in his/her life.
The Guru, in order to illustrate this point, resorts to the well known rope-snake analogy. The context in the analogy is that of mistaking a piece of rope in twilight for a snake and then becoming frightened. In the perception of one who sees correctly what really is there, the rope alone has existence, rope alone is cognized as existing, and it is not at all frightening. He therefore remains fearless. The one who mistakes it for a snake also has his own asthi-experience (that the snake exists), bhathi-experience (that he sees a snake) and priyam-experience (that it is a frightful being). Only that the trio in the latter case is much different from what is true for the jnanin.
In other words, both when a jnanin perceives Consciousness alone as real and when an ajnanin sees the world as real, the trio of asthi-bhaathi-priyam is equally relevant – that consciousness exists, that consciousness functions, and that from consciousness well up pleasures and pains, are equally true. It’s only that the former is aware of it being so and the latter is not. We should remember that these three (asthi-bhaathi-priyam) are none other than the individuated facets of sath-chith-anandam.


In 1921 Narayana Guru Consecrated an Wooden Panel in which depicted the words, Truth Compassion, Righteousness and Peace around AUM as Deity in Murikkumpuzha Temple.
“We should develop certain qualities by worshiping God. This instillation is to remind people about it”.
From the book Sree Narayana Guru Vaikhari
Edited by Dr. T. Bhaskaran

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