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Gurudarsanam
Lamp of Non-duality (Advaitha Deepika) Class VII

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Translation & explanation of Verse-11
In the perception of the enlightened,
What appears as world is but sath alone.
It is chith as well, so is it aananda in essential content.
It never is insubstantial,
Yet it being so is not evident to the unenlightened.
The existence of the sun, easily perceptible to the sighted,
Is simply a darkish vacuity for the sightless.

(“Jnaanikku sath-ulaku chithu sukha-svaroopam
Aanandam allanrthm ajnaanithaprakaasam
Kaanunnavannu sukham asthitay-aarnna bhaanumaan
Arkkan andham-irulaarnnoru shoonya vasthu”):
Discriminating the real and the unreal is what was primarily focused on in the first half of the present work. The conclusion thus arrived at was this: pure and unconditioned consciousness, chith, as the one underlying substance, and sath alone exists on its own; the apparent world has no existence of its own and hence is unreal. Why is it then that even after knowing this clearly and definitely, the world continues to appear as real to the senses? This is the major problem posed in verses 9 and 10, which form the very middle of the work. How the world thus appearing to be real to sense perception is adjudged by a jnanin (an enlightened one), the central point of the answer to the question, is what we see in the present verse. The remaining verses are a sort of elaboration appended on to what this verse says.
The Guru clarifies the point with the help of an analogy: the sun is shining in the sky on a bright day. It radiates its light everywhere, and everything in this world becomes perceptible because of its light. Still, such a sight is perceptible only to a sighted person. No blind man can see it; for him even such a sight appears to be a void of darkness. Likewise is the case of the sun of consciousness, the sun of athma. It incessantly manifests itself as all the worlds. The enlightened one, with his inner eye of wisdom open, perceives the one eye of consciousness or athma alone as assuming the form of, manifesting itself as, everything, all together forming what we call the world. In other words, a jnanin is fully aware that what he sees as the world is nothing but athma or consciousness.
Reality, as the abstract substance that underlies all appearances, having no form or name of its own, is termed avyaakrtha, the unmanifest, literally that which has not yet been made into specific forms. The same, in the state in which it has assumed specific, perceptible, understandable form, is called vyaakrtha, the manifest. For instance, gold as a substance is avyaakrtha, and when it appears in the form of various ornaments it becomes vyaakrtha. So too, athma is avyaakrtha; the world is simply its vyaakrtha, form. A jnanin therefore sees only consciousness or athma, sath-chith-aananda in essence, alone, manifesting itself as the perceived world.
What is ultimately Real is called sath in Sanskrit. The one and only ultimate Reality, athma, thus is definable as sath. Athma as sath, has inherent in it the immense potential and urge to unfold itself as the world. It never remains, and cannot remain, unmanifest either. Athma, thus become manifest, is what we call the world, which on its own is unreal, asath. A jnanin sees in the unreal, apparent world the one Real, unmanifest, athma alone manifesting.
What in essential content is this one ultimate Reality (sath)? It, as we have already seen, is consciousness in essence. Chith is the Sanskrit word for consciousness. Athma thus is definable as Chith as well. This Chith, as abstract reality, is avyaakrtha, and, because avyaakrtha, it assumes the form of all kinds of knowledge – both knowing the world as existing, termed as avidya, as well as knowing the world as non-existing, termed vidya. In other words, both vidya (knowledge) and avidya (ignorance) are different, mutually exclusive, manifestations one Chith. Sense experience-in the present case, of experiencing the world as existing-too is none other than a particular manifest form of Chith.
Sense perception always is more than an event of knowing something; evaluating what is perceived in terms of the perceiver’s value notion, relating it with his likes and dislikes in life, the pleasure and pain, also takes place along with knowing. He likes the object if it is pleasurable, dislikes if painful, and feels indifference if neither pleasant nor unpleasant. Whatever the resultant feeling, relating the known object to one’s happiness and suffering always takes place, and that nowhere else than in the athma, chith in essence. This evaluating aspect that serves as a measuring rod for discriminating pain and pleasure is what is called aananda in Vedantha. Put conversely, it is the aananda content of athma that manifests itself as our pleasures and pains. A jnanin, therefore, sees only the aananda aspect of his own beingness – athma - become vyakrtha in all pleasant and painful experiences in the perceived world. In short, the world that continues to be perceived even after realizing it being unreal, in the perception of a jnanin, is nothing but the sath-chith-aananda contents of athma (the Self) become manifest. The apparent world, in other words, is nothing other than athma manifesting itself.
This seemingly apparent world thus is not insubstantial, and not chaotic and orderless either, the reason why it is called cosmos. The one all-underlying Reality, when manifesting itself as the harmonious cosmic order, is called rtha in Sanskrit. Hence the Guru’s words, “It never is anrtha,” rendered here as “It never is insubstantial.”
In short, the self-manifestation of the one consciousness, the all-underlying Reality, sath-chith-aananda in essence, is what even an enlightened person continues to perceive as the world. The perceiver and his act of perceiving are also none other than sath-chith-aananda in essence. What really happens in sense perception is not the event of one perceiving another; it simply is the one Consciousness-Reality unfolding itself and realizing the essential oneness of all the manifestations.
Not apparent to all is this truth; for a jnanin, on the other hand, it is something as clear as broad daylight. It would really be not a jnanin who asks, “Why does the world continue to be perceived even after realizing it being unreal?” One who asks for an explanation of some basic stand of Vedantha founded on experiential, dialectical awareness (yoga buddhi), is guided simply by ordinary logic. Such doubts are never answerable logically. On the contrary, the doubt itself vanishes on his becoming enlightened. The Guru therefore warns, “Yet it being so is not apparent to the unenlightened.”
Translation & explanation of Verse-12
One seed alone is it that manifoldly manifests itself;
In the manifest, no other meaning content at all is there existing.
As one, ignorant of the rope-reality, thinks of it as a snake,
Does it become existent apart from the rope?

(“Vithonnu thaan vividhamaay vilasunnithinkal
Arthaantharam cheruthumilla visheshamaayi
Rajjuswaroopam ariyaath irulaal vivartha-
Sarpam ninaykkil ithu rajjuvil ninnu vero”):
The Guru, now we know, restates the philosophy of nondualism (advaitha) in the present work, as the answer to the question why the world continues to be perceptible to the senses even after realizing its being unreal. That the apparent world is unreal does not mean that nothing has existence. One Reality does exist, and it, in essence, is sath-chith-aananda, as we saw in the last verse. It is what unfolds itself as the world perceptible to the senses, as the perceiver and his senses, and as the act of perceiving. A jnanin, therefore, intuitively sees only one Reality – athma or consciousness – as become vyaakrtha and assumed the form of all these three.
A very tiny seed of a banyan tree grows into an endlessly branching huge tree that at times lives many centuries. Countless are the leaves, flowers and fruits that bud and then fall down year after year, but the tree continues to exist. The extremely subtle seed has inherent in it all these potentials. Comparable to this is the phenomenon of life. Countless individual beings form the leaves, flowers and fruits of the tree of life. They bud, they exist for a while, they disappear, whereas the tree of life itself continues to exist endlessly. Life, in other words, is an eternal phenomenon that sustains through the birth and death of individual beings. The aggregate of those beings, in their gross form, is what we call the world.
Actuality is what is visibly apparent; the invisible one substance that underlies all the changing forms is the true Reality. The apparent pot-form is not the real; the clay that assumes the pot-form is the real. The one Reality that assumes the form of the world and life is what we saw in the beginning as consciousness and in the last verse as sath-chith-aananda. Whichever the ornament-form gold assumes, it never ceases to be gold; nor are ornaments real on their own except as forms assumed by gold. Similar is the unreality of the world and the reality of sath-chith-aananda. The world’s apparent existence is as the ever-changing manifest form of that one Absolute Reality, also called brahmam in Vedantha. An ornament, whatever its form, never ceases to be gold; likewise, the world, whatever its visible and knowable forms, whatever names given to them, never ceases to be the one brahmam in essence. Hence the famous Upanishadic dictum Sarvam khalvidam brahmam (everything here indeed is brahmam). Such is the vision the Guru’s words enshrine.
A Vedanthin’s stand that the visible world is unreal only means that the form of the world perceived by the senses has no existence of its own. All such forms are superimposed on brahmam, that alone really exists. Even when assuming the form of and appearing as the world, the causal Reality continues to be the same. This phenomenon of effects perceivably appearing while the causal Reality undergoes no intrinsic change, is known as vivartha in Vedantha, exemplified best by the rope-snake analogy. Someone seeing a piece of rope as snake does in no way make any intrinsic change in the real rope; it continues to be the same. The perceived snake has no existence apart from the rope either. The snake is simply a form superimposed by the perceiver of the rope, and hence is vivartha. Likewise the sath-chith-aananda, become vivartha, appears as the world to the one who does not see the former. In short, when one, owing to ignorance, does not see Brahmam as Brahmam, it appears to him as the world.
To become convinced of this, one simply needs to analyze what is perceived, as was done earlier in verse eight. Putting emphasis on this point is done in the next verse.
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