Author Topic: Analysis of two more words 'tat' and 'brahma', that is Brahman  (Read 468 times)

Dr. Sadananda

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Analysis of two more words 'tat' and 'brahma', that is Brahman

      These two words which are supplied to complete the suutra,

      We have already seen three features - upaadaana kaaraNam, nimitta kaaraNam and aananda swaruupam. To this, Shankaracharya adds one more feature of Brahman. Once we know that there is an intelligent cause, the extent of intelligence involved can be inferred from the nature of the product. The more intricate and sophisticated the product is, the more the intelligence involved in creating that product. For example, seeing the sophisticated computer we can infer the intelligence that was behind the creation of that computer. Shankara says, if one sees the nature of the world, its vastness, its wonders, its vibhuuti, then one can definitely conclude that Brahman or the intelligent cause for this whole creation must be sarvaj~naH, omniscient and sarva shaktimaan, omnipotent. All laws that are discovered and that are yet to be discovered by scientists are within the creation. A scientist does not invent a law, he only discovers the laws that are already there.

      In an absolute sense, there is nothing really that is man-made, since the possibilities for a man to make already exists within the creation. Incidentally when Brahman is seen as the cause, he gets named as IswaraH. To establish the sarvaj~natvam, sarveshwaratvam (supreme Lordship) and sarvashaktitvam, Shankara beautifully expresses in his bhaashyam about the glory of this universe by giving four adjectives. From the glory of the universe the glory of the creator of such universe can be inferred. Shankara says:

      asya jagataH naama-ruupaabhyaam vyaakR^itasya,
      aneka kartRA bhoktR^i samyuktasya,
      prati niyata desha kaala nimitta kriyaa phala aashrayasya,
      manaso.api achintya rasanaa ruupasya,
      janma sthiti bha~Ngam, yasmaat sarvaj~naat sarva shakteH
      kaaranaat bhavati tat brahmeti vaakya cheshaH |
      This will be explained below, step by step. Shankara says, it is a well-designed universe (naama-ruupaabhyaam vyaakR^itasya), which means it cannot be explained that it accidentally formed by some big bang. Hence an intelligent being is required for such an ordered thermodynamically well behaved system with universal laws governing the system. Furthermore this universe consists of- aneka kartR^i bhoktR^i samyuktasya - countless jiiva-s who are karta-s and bhokta-s. By this Shankara indicates that all the varieties and countless jiiva-s fall within the creation as a product, and hence the creator must be a non-jiiva. Thus jiiva-bhinnatvam (Iswara different from jiiva) is indicated by the statement. He must also be omniscient because - prati niyata desha kaala nimitta kriyaa phala aashrayasya - there are no accidents in the creation. Every event is an incident triggered by specific time, place and reason. Hence it is a cosmos and not chaos, as every event depends on - prati niyata desha kaala nimitta - specific place, time and reason. Thus we call an incident as an accident only when we, with limited intelligence, cannot comprehend the reason. If we take countless number of jiiva-s present, every jiiva is going through a series of experiences with every experience is conditioned by desha, kaala and nimitta. One cannot imagine the amount of intelligence and data base required to run this master show in insuring that every experience of every jiiva is not randomly based but in tune with specific desha, kaala and nimitta. In addition we find that there are certain events which are common to many jiiva-s that Lord has to design the event in such a way that one and the same event should give punya phalam (results of merits) and paapa phalam for another jiiva-s (result of demerits). For example, for some people this posting of these notes is a blessing indeed while some people felt and even complained that it was nuisance thrust on their heads. Thus Bhagavan has to design each event in such a way that He has to gather some to exhaust their merits and some others to exhaust their demerits by the same event.

      As the story goes, in the Air India accident that occurred few years ago, many passengers who were originally scheduled to fly in a different flight ended up in that flight since they missed their original flight. At the same time some that were originally scheduled in that flight missed that flight due to delays in their connecting flights. When the flight took off, those who made must have been happy and those who missed the flight must have been cursing their fate. But the fates turned around when accident took place. Bhagavan has to make sure only those that are qualified, enter into that flight. This is just an example. This is true with every experience that involves more than one jiiva. Thus every experience is from one reference a result of punya or merits and some other reference result of paapa or demerits. Thus every event is designed according to karma phala of not just one jiiiva but countless number of jiiva-s. It is not only the human beings but Lord has to take into consideration the merits and demerits of innumerable jiiva-s, including the karma phala of a mosquito which is trying to collect its hard-earned quota of delicious food in a serene spiritual environment when you are trying to meditate on the Lord, in the very early morning.
      We are discussing Shankara's description of the Iswara in terms of sarvaj~natvam.

      Shankara in his description uses another adjective- manasaa api achintya rachanaa ruupasya. A scientist can possibly determine how the brain functions, but he cannot recreate such a complex organ. The Lord not only has omniscience - the know-how of how to create but to implement that knowledge or execute that technology. That is, He has enough power and skill to produce such a complex creation. One can see and destroy an ant or bug easily or swallow the whole chicken in few minutes after frying it. But to produce such a complex living entity that can reproduce itself is unimaginable and we can not but admire that great designer and executor. Hence Shankara says He is sarva-j~na and sarva-shaktimaan due to sarva kaaraNatvaat - cause for everything.

      This is the final meaning of the suutra 2. To summarize the whole thing - the meaning is yasmaat abhinna nimitta upaadaana kaaraNaat, aananda swaruupaat, sarva-j~naat, sarva shaktaat, pratyaksha prapa~nchasya sR^ishhTi sthiti layaaH sambhavanti, tat brahma. Because of which the non-differentiable intelligent and material cause, which is of the form of pure bliss, omniscient, omnipotent cause for creation, sustenance and dissolution of the visible universe - that is Brahman.

      With this Shankara concludes his commentary on the second suutra.