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Lamp of Non-duality (Advaitha Deepika) Class VIII

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Translation & explanation of Verse-13
Entirely separated out one after another and one step after another,
The world, lo and behold, ceases to be!
Those separated-out-parts too, further enquired into, cease to be real.
Everything thus is but the self-aware Consciousness, the Real alone.

(“Oronnathay avayavam muzhuvan pirichu
Veraakkiyaal ulakam illa vichitram athre
Veraakum iiyavayavangalum evam angottu
Araaykil illakhilavum nija bodha maathram”):
The knotty problem we are trying to resolve here is this: the world appears to be real to the senses even after one becomes convinced of it being unreal; why is it so? Answering it, verse 11 pointed out that what appears to the senses as the world is nothing but one Consciousness or sath-chith-aananda. That this one causal Reality alone is what exists underlying all that appears to be, that the visible world does not exist apart from or other than as a manifest form of that one causal Reality, was underscored in the last verse. The Guru, in the present verse, pinpoints how one can become enlightened and resolve the otherwise perplexing problem by the method of analysis well familiar to modern science. Such analysis has to be an open one, unconditioned by preconceived notions and prejudices.
Looked at from afar, a forested range of hills will look like a single entity having a bluish hue, shaped according to the nature of its hilltops and valleys. Come very close, and what we see will be neither the forest not the hills nor the one overall shape, but we will see wildly growing trees and undergrowths, green in colour. When the forest is seen, the trees go unnoticed. When the trees are seen, the forest disappears. Similar is the case with perceiving the one Reality and its innumerable manifest forms. The Reality seen, the manifest forms become unreal. The manifest forms noticed, the Reality disappears. The forest, in the example, stands for the universal and trees for the particular. Not stopping the analysis at the particular, let us go on with our analysis further, as was seen in verse 3 above. Then we see that the piece of cloth loses its existence in the being of yarn; yarn loses its existence in the being of cotton fibres; cotton fibres lose their existence in the being of basic elements; the basic elements lose their existence in the being of Consciousness, which is not analyzable further. That which has analyzable constituent parts thus is unreal. The undeniable existing Reality, the one indivisible the Reality, is Consciousness alone, which the Guru calls here nija-bodham. Nija in the Sanskrit and Malayalam languages, means “one’s own” as well as “the real”. The word thus means “one’s own consciousness – the Reality that is Consciousness,” rendered here as “the self-aware Consciousness, the Real.”
The “I” sense of each individual entity, the consciousness that is conscious of its own beingness, in essence is none other than this one Consciousness, the ultimate Reality. Perceiving It as Real requires an intuitive, penetrative eye.
That the mutual eclipsing of appearance and reality, the part and the whole, of is owing to avidya (ignorance), and that the one Consciousness Reality continues to exist after this avidya and its effects vanish, is given emphasis in the next verse.
Translation & explanation of Verse-14
Yarn is what is real in cloth;
Water is what is real in foam;
Lo and behold! Similar is the way the world ceases to be real,
For it (seeming duality) is caused merely by avidya.
Meditatively examined, it (avidya), along with its effects, becomes extinct;
Still a lone Reality continues to be: the one Consciousness.

(“Noolata thannil udakam nura thannil evam
Haa lokamaake marayunnoravidyayaale
Aalochanaa vishayamaayithu tante kaarya
Jaalathhotum marakil undarivonnu maathram”):
The Guru, carrying on the answer to the question, how the world continues to be perceived by the senses even after becoming convinced of its unreality, gives further clarification with the help of two analogies. The first is again that of yarn and cloth. What is real in cloth is yarn alone. Thus yarn is reality and cloth appearance. Seeing the cloth eclipses the reality of yarn, and seeing yarn eclipses the appearance of cloth. The fact, nevertheless, is that the two are inseparable; even after understanding yarn to be real, the cloth continues to appear as cloth, no one having taken the trouble to take the yarn apart.
The other analogy is that of water and bubbles. It is the eternal water-substance that assumes the fleeting form of bubbles. Actual separating out of bubbles from water is impossible; their separateness has meaning only as an idea.
The same is true with the apparent world and the Consciousness-Reality also. Separating them out is not possible, their separateness being mere human ideation. Without the Consciousness-Substance the world never appears to be; without appearing as the world, the Reality never remains purely abstract either. The Reality, in Vedanta, is known as sath and appearance bhava. Thinkers, biased by either, create theories of correlating the two. Only between two separately existing entities is, any correlating necessary and possible. Imaginarily separating the inseparable and then trying to put them together reasonably is the mistake these thinkers make. This imaginary separation happens unawares only because of the avidya (nescience) they are still subject to. This avidya is defined by the Guru himself elsewhere as “that mental function by which the Self (Athma), the Real, is taken to be unreal and the non-self (anathma), the unreal, is taken to be real”. Water and foam are inseparable; sath and bhava are inseparable; reality and appearance are inseparable; and cause and effect are inseparable. The lamp of non-duality (Advaitha Deepika) becoming lit within alone makes transparent the inseparable oneness (Advaitha) of the apparent world and the Reality. The meditative search for that illumination is what is referred to in the original text as aalochana and freely rendered here as “meditatively examined”.
The extinction of avidya thus attained results in the vanishing of the dualities of appearance and reality, cause and effect, sath and bhava, subject and object, and the like. What remains then is only the Effulgence of the non-dual being of Consciousness. The manifest form of this Consciousness or Athma, alone is what perceived as the world, as the phenomenon of life in it and its pleasures, pains and problems. It’s being so remains concealed to us only because of avidya.


Money leads people in to difficulties. In olden days barter system [exchange of commodities] existed here. It was far better than money.

Sree Narayana Guru Vaikhari.
Edited by Dr. T. Bhaskaran

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