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

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Translation & explanation of Verse-15
Ananda alone manifestly exists (asthi)
It alone manifestly shines (bhaathi)
That one alone is oneself;
Considered as other than oneself, what manifestly exists would seem not to exist;
The whole world then would seem not manifestly shining.
The mirage-water, the skyblue,
The bloom of the sky-all these are simply non-existent.
The ultimate reality in them, when well thought of, is sky alone.

(“Aanandam asthiyathu bhaathiyathonnu thanne-
Thaananyam orkkilathu naasthi na bhaathi sarvam
Kaanal jalam gagananeelam asathyam abhra-
Soonam ninaykkil gaganam paramaartham aakum”):
The answer to the vital problem this work tries to solve, is this: one Reality – Consciousness – alone has its own existence. It is Its existence that manifestly shines as the existence of the world, a phenomenon inherent within It. One understanding Consciousness alone as real does not stop its self-manifesting. This is the reason for the continued perceptibility of the world even after becoming convinced of its unrealness.
The one all-underlying and self-unfolding Reality, as we saw in verse 11 above, is definable as sath-chith-aananda. These three become manifest as individuated beings and are directly experienced by the very same individuated beings as asthi-bhaathi-priya as was seen in verse-8 above. The sath (Existence) aspect of the Absolute or the Self is experienced as one’s own existence (asthi), chithu (Consciousness) aspect as one’s own altering states of mind (bhaathi ), and the aananda aspect as pleasures and pains.
Aananda, as the essential content of the absolute Self, is itself here conceived as manifesting as all the three - asthi, bhaathi and priya, for aananda as existing, is sath as well, and as conscious experience is chithu also. Anyone of these three (sath-chith-aananda) could also thus well be considered as manifesting individually in beings as asthi, bhaathi and priya. Treating the Self as of aananda content is all the more significant here in view of the joy of the self-unfoldment of the Self – the creation of the world. This is going to be depicted in the next verse.
It is the self-aware aananda- beingness of the absolute Self that, become manifest, appears as the existence of every individual entity, as every mental state, and as every value sense. The individual who perceives the unreal world as continuing to be perceived, is no other Substance in essence, the world he perceives too is no other in essence. The perceiver’s existence and the perceived’s existence are thus really one Existence. In other words, what is perceived as the world is nothing more than the perceiver’s existence extended. Seen as apart from oneself, the world, theoretically, becomes unreal; but seen as not apart from the Self, from oneself, the world is as real as oneself. Realizing one Athma alone as real does in no way make oneself unreal; such is the case with the world one perceives.
The puzzle we deal with here becomes relevant only upon seeing the world as existing separately from oneself, only when the Reality is treated as an object to be known. Then the world being unreal may sound like meaning, that the Reality manifesting Itself as the world should not have happened. Such denial of the world virtually implies denying the existence of oneself, an impossibility. A realized person, a jnanin, perceives the world and himself continuing to appear to be as one Athma’s various manifestations. In short, the puzzling question, as is with almost all questions in Vedanta, arises from the ignorance of the questioner. Rescued from this ignorance, one feels the meaninglessness of the question and becomes enlightened oneself to the non-duality of the world and Reality or sath-chith-aananda. Sky or space is given as an example of it. Remaining imperceptible and one, it appears as the unreal water seen in the mirage, as the blue hue of the sky, and even as imaginary flowers blooming in the sky. All these are mere illusory phenomena (prathibhaasa), yet they are not alike in being unreal. The water seen in a mirage is almost tangible. Not so is the blue of the sky; it is far away and its seeming existence is due to the distance it involves. When approached, it recedes into the depth of space. It is this unreal skyblue, reflected, that appears as the flowing water in mirage as well. The flower that blooms in the sky, on the other hand, is merely a human fantasy. Yet all of these have one causal ground: the space of sky. The unreality of the world could also be thought of as of any order, yet it has one Reality which remains unchanged. That is Consciousness, Athma, Brahman or sath-chith-aananda. As long as the Reality exists, the phenomenal appearance of the world, of life with all its pleasures and pains, the perceiver included, continues. The Advaita Deepika (Lamp of Non-duality), as the title of the work suggests, is none other than the dawning of the inseparable oneness of sath-chith-aananda and the world of actualities, as in the case of the oneness of water and waves.
How the one reality - Athma – unfolds itself and appears as the world unceasingly is answered in the next verse.
Translation & explanation of Verse-16
Athma is devoid of I-sense.
It, as with a yogi, owing to Its own maya,
Sportively unfolds Itself in varied forms.
A yogi , unmoved from his state of
Being well-founded in yoga,
Assumes myriad forms, sportively moving around.

(“Athmaavil illayorahamkruthi yogi polae
Thaan maayayaal vividhaamay viharichidunnu
Yogasthanaay nilayil ninnilakaathe kaaya-
Vyooham dharichhu viharichidum ingu yogi”):
That innumerable names, innumerable ideas and innumerable corresponding objects comprise the world, that it has one underlying Reality that alone has everlasting existence, and that that Reality is Consciousness in essence, were all detailed in the first half of this work. That one Reality is here named Athma, the most crucial word in the philosophy of the Guru, and which the Guru uses in the present work only once. The word “Consciousness” – Arivu or Bodham in the original – conveys the idea of something inconceivably abstract while being brightness in essence, whereas what Athma signifies is the directly experienced actual beingness of oneself. The word Athma is derived from the verb-root aath meaning “to pervade.” The substance that pervades the being of something - for example, clay in a pot-is it’s Athma. The substance that pervades one’s own being, as with all else, is nothing other than Consciousness.
The way the one Consciousness - Athma – unfolds Itself as the subjective as well as objective world is always thought of as a mystery often described in Vedantha with the help of the concept of maya. In the present case, it is compared by the Guru to the phenomenon of siddhis (psychic powers) seen at times in the lives of yogis, himself an excellent example. A yogi is a person in a state of yoga, the state of being fully absorbed, the state of realizing oneself fully as pure Consciousness in essence. A yogi is one, who is already inseparably absorbed in the pure Consciousness that is the essential Substance in the entire cosmos, thus fully identified with the whole. In such yogis’ are seen at times unworldly attainments known as siddhis, for example, being seen at two places simultaneously. This phenomenon is conveniently made use of by the Guru to show how mysterious is the way of the unfoldment of the world.
How Athma unfolds Itself and appears as the world becomes clear if one understands how a yogi, remaining oneself, appears to be in different places at the same time. A yogi’s self-understanding, by necessity, is entirely different from that of a commoner. The former lives by perceiving oneself as fully one with the whole, as a wave with ocean, and the latter by perceiving oneself as a separately existing entity among other such entities. It is such perception of the latter that makes the yogi seem to exist separate from them and to be miraculous. What is normal and natural with a yogi is something uncommon and supernatural in the perception of a non-yogi. “I am everything” is the common and natural experience, a yogi is always immersed in. One, then, sees oneself in everything and everything in oneself. The state of this natural full identity with everything, to a commoner, looks like the yogi appearing here and there at the same time. He counts it as a siddhi. Yogis, in other words, do not show any miracle; what is natural with them is merely seen by non-yogis as miracles. Yet such phenomena seen in them are no mere mental fantasies of the spectator either.
In his well-known book Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Richard Back portrays how the natural beingness of a yogi is seen by others as a miracle. Jonathan the seagull practices flying at the highest speed possible. The maximum speed attainable in this world having been attained, he reaches another world where the highest speed he knows is only something very common. A master who can teach the maximum speed attainable in that world lives there. He, finding a real seeker in Jonathan, teaches him the secret of attaining the highest speed. To increase flying speed means to decrease flight time, and by bringing down flight time to zero one reaches the maximum speed attainable. Making flight time zero means reaching somewhere in no time, in other words, being at two places at the same time. The master who taught this secret to Jonathan dies very soon, but the latter practices it on his own and finally actualizes it. And then the other seagulls in the community began to see Jonathan as sitting here and there at one and the same time. So is the case with yogis too. They feel themselves as existing everywhere; the non- yogis perceive them as existing simultaneously at more than one place they are interested in and nowhere else. Leaving aside the individualness(ahamkrithi) of a yogi, then what is seen as the miraculous phenomenon is nothing but the one Aathma assuming the form of and appearing as many. In this sense the Guru says, “Aathma is devoid of I-sense. It, as with a yogi, owing to Its own maaya, sportively unfolds Itself in varied forms.” A yogi, counted as an individual being, experiences himself as unfolding and appearing as the world; and counted as the one Reality, Aathma becomes manifest as the world, Itself undergoing no intrinsic change. This self-unfoldment of Aathma is nothing more than a sport for It – an occasion for experiencing the joy of bringing out and seeing for Itself all the potentials hidden within.
Sath-chith-aananda in essence, Aathma never remains inactive, never remains without unfolding Itself as the world. And for this very reason, It remains hidden from our perception. This mysterious self-hiding self-manifestation of Aathma – we the perceivers forming part of it – is known in Vedantha as maya. Though non-existent in itself, it causes Aathma to appear as the world and as we see the world.
What we always perceive, what we continue to perceive even after becoming convinced of the unreality of the world, in short, is Aathma alone. We, the perceivers are also nothing but Aathma. Aathma seeing Aathma itself is what happens, for nothing other than Aathma exists. Aathma, by the unfolding Itself and assuming the form of the world, we the perceivers and the act of perceiving included, provides for Itself an occasion for perceiving Itself. Confounded by maya as we are, we think we are perceiving the world. Logical reason is not what controls this mysteriousness of Aathma, for reasoning is simply part of its manifest forms, and hence Aathma never becomes revealed to reasoning. Those who transgress logical reasoning, through intuitive perception, realize themselves being Aathma in essence, no more doubt remaining. This point is given special emphasis to in the next verse.
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