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Showing posts from September, 2011

Samkhya - 03 - gYAnendriya

As far as the first question is concerned "how is tanmAtra perceived?", the answer lies in what is known as gYAnendriya-s, the capacity to perceive or experience tanmAtra through mahAbhUta. That is, if we take the example of a flower, we can smell it, if: a. the flower has the property or tanmAtra gandha or smell b. the perceiver has the capabilties to process the tanmAtra called smell Thus the five tanmAtras have their corresponding abstract sense-power or gYAnendriya: a. shrota or the power to Hear b. tvak or the power to Feel c. chakShus or the power to See d. rasana or the power to Taste e. ghrANa or the power to Smell

Samkhya - 02 - mahAbhUta

As far as the first question is concerned "how is tanmAtra manifested?", the answer lies in what is known as mahAbhUta-s, the medium in which each of the tanmAtra is manifested. First mahAbhUta is pRRithvi or Earthly Plane. It is the least subtle among the others as it allows all the tanmAtras (sound, touch, form, flavor and odor) to inhere in it. Thus we have the following scheme: Prithvi or Earthly Plane - Sound, Touch, Form, Flavor, Odor Apas or Water Plane - Sound, Touch, Form, Flavor Tejas or Fire Plane - Sound, Touch, Form Vayu or Air - Sound, Touch Thus for each of these mahAbHuta-s, we have one tanmAtra which is a unique to that mahAbhUta in that it's disassociation from the mahAbhUta results in that mahAbhUta losing its identity. For example, if tanmAtra odor is removed from the Earthly Plane it becomes the same as Watery Plane. This leads to the question: what is that mahAbhUta which is associated with Sound? This mahAbhUta is known as AkAsha or Ethereal Plane

Samkhya - 01 - tanmAtra

In order to start our discussion on Samkhya, we start with what is known as Tanamatra. tanamAtra literally means "merely that" or in other words elementary matter, that is the smallest and most subtle form of matter, without magnitude, and perceived only through objects. These tanmAtra-s are: a. shabda or the essense of Sound b. sparsha or the essence of Touch c. rUpa or the essence of Form d. rasa or the essence of Flavor e. gandha or the essence of Odor Now two questions need to be asked: a. how is tanmAtra manifested? b. how is tanmAtra perceived?

Vaisheshika - 10 - Summary

Vaisheshika - 09 - Manas

Then what about Perception, Memory, Conscience and Will? This necessitates another higher level of subtle Reality - Manas or Mind or Mental Plane. The necessity for postulating this Reality arises from the fact that we observe on occasions that the Atman, which is all-pervading, does not perceive an object even though the object is in contact with the sense-organ which is the instrument of perception by which the Atman perceives. This is especially common when we are deeply engrossed. Similarly for memory. In the Sutras it is described as follows: "The appearance and non-appearance of knowledge [Jnana], on account of the Soul [Atman] with the senses [Indriyas] and the objects [Arthas] are the marks (of the existence) of the Mind [Manas]." Atman (Soul) is the basis of all experience, while Manas (Mind) is only an instrument for experience; but there must be as many Manaiisi (Minds) as there are Atmanas (Souls); therefore, they are infinite in number.

Vaisheshika - 08 - Atman

Then what about consciousness? Consciousness involves two entities - the perceiver and the perceived. This condition of "I-ness" or "Self" or "Soul" is what is now addressed. Where does this reality reside? This necessitates another higher level of subtle Reality - Atman or Self where consciousness resides. That Atman is a universal, all-pervading reality is seen from the fact that it pervades the body as a whole; therefore, it is infinite in scope, without parts, unproduced, incapable of destruction and, therefore, eternal. The Sutra says: a. The ascending life-breath [Prana], b. the descending life-breath [Apana], c. the closing of the eye-lids [Nimesa], d. the opening of the eye-lids [Unmesa], e. life [Jivana], f. the movement of the mind [Manogati], g. and the affections of the other senses [Indriya-antaravikarah], h. and also Pleasure [Sukha], i. Pain [Duhkha], j. Desire [Iccha], k. and Volition [Prayatna] are marks [Lingani] (of the existence) of t

Vaisheshika - 07 - Akasha, Kala, Dik

But then what about Sound? The  Special Quality sound is not inalienably associated  with any of the four elements - Earth, Water, Fire and Air. Sound can be associated with any one of them but the removal of sound does not change the basic nature of fire. Thus there must be a more subtle reality to account for Sound which is an objective reality. And this is Akasha, which is by definition an all-pervading, eternal continuum, a medium of interaction of interacting Paramanus. The five Realities are known as bhUtas - "that which is". But then how does one account for past, present, future? This necessitates another higher level of subtle Reality - kAla or Time. But then how does one account for the spatial orderliness of periodic events? This necessitates another higher level of subtle Reality - Dik or Space.

Vaisheshika - 06

All Paramanus have certain General Qualities in common, but that does not enable us to isolate and comprehend the ultimate variables out of which all things are made. Paramanus are thus classified based on  four special qualities (Vishesha-s): a. Odor / gandha b. Flavor / rasa c. Form / rUpa d. Touch / sparsha Therefore to classify the different kinds of matter it is necessary to find that form of matter from which: a. odor cannot be eliminated b. flavor cannot be eliminated c. form cannot be eliminated d. touch cannot be eliminated without destroying its very basic nature. Only Paramanus are considered real because they are eternal. They are those: a. which originate odor b. which originate flavor c. which originate form d. which originate touch The different basic classes of matter are thus: a. Earth which possesses: odor, flavor, form, touch b. Water possesses: flavor, form, touch c. Fire possesses: form, touch d. Air possesses: touch The movement is thus from the gross to the sub

Vaisheshika - 05 - Dravya, Guna, Karma

Dravya produces other Dravya. Guna produces other gunas. Karma is not necessarily produced by Karma. Dravya does not destroy either its cause or effect. Gunas are destroyed both by cause and effect. Karma is destroyed by Karma. Dravya possess karma and guna and is regarded as the material cause (samavAyi). Gunas inhere in dravya, cannot possess further gunas, and are not by themselves the cause of contact or disjoining. Karma is devoid of guna, cannot remain at one time in more than one object, inheres in dravya alone, and is an independent cause of contact or disjoining. Dravya is the material cause of derivative dravyas, guna and karma. Guna is also the non-material cause of dravya, guna and karma. Karma is the general cause of contact, disjoining and inertia in motion.

Vaisheshika - 04 - Paramanu

a. Paramanu means the smallest possible division of matter beyond which further division results in loss of identifiable components b. Thus according to Vaisheshika, Paramanu consists of the first four Eternal Realities - Earth, Water, Fire and Air. c. By definition, Paramanu is without parts, which means it is eternal - that is it cannot be created or destroyed as: i. Creation would involve the combination of sub-components ii. Destruction would involve the separation of sub-components d. By definition, Paramanu has no magnitude, and is not measurable, for if it could be measured that would mean it has sub-parts which can be measured e. Thus the only thing applicable to Paramanu is its existence

Vaisheshika - 03

a. The purpose of Vaisheshika is to explain Dharma. b. Dharma is that which gives prosperity (abhyudaya) and ultimate good (niHshreyasa). c. The validity of the Vedas depends on the fact that it leads us to prosperity and salvation. d. Salvation comes as a result of real knowledge, produced by special excellence of Dharma, of the characteristic features of the categories of substance  (dravya), quality (gunas), class concept (sAmAnya), particularity (viShesha), and inherence (samavAya). e. The dravyas are - earth, water, fire, air, ether, time, space, soul and mind, which again are classified into three sub-groups: i. Non-atomic unitary eternal - ether, time, space ii. Composed of indivisible atoms - earth, water, fire, air iii. Eternal - Self iv. Eternal but of Atomic dimension - Manas f. The gunas are color, taste, odor, touch, number, measure, separations, contact, disjoining, quality of belonging to high genus or to species g. Action (karma) means upward movement, downward mo

Vaisheshika - 02

The principal question that Vaisheshika answers is: "What are the basic realities of Nature?" The sole interest is to analyze and synthesize the world of experience, striving to explain rationally the true nature of things. The method of observation by which the characteristics of the nine Eternal Realities can be known is thus defined as: The Supreme God (results) from the knowledge, produced by a particular dharma, of the essence of       i. the Predicables [Padarthas], ii. Subatance [Dravya], iii. Attribute [Guna], iv. Action [Karma], v. Genus [ Samanya], vi. Species [Vishesha], and vii. Combinations [samavaya] Attribute, Action, Genus and Species exist because of the Substance in which they inhere. Combination is inherently linked with Substance. Substance is the foundation of the Universe and is resolved into nine Eternal Realities.

Vaisheshika - 01

Vaisheshika teaches that the knowledge of nature of reality is obtained by knowing the special properties or essential differences which distinguish nine Eternal Realities: a. Prithvi - Earth b. Apas - Water c. Tejas - Fire d. Vayu - Air e. Akasha - Ether f. Kala - Time g. Dik - Space h. Atman - Soul i. Manas - Mind When one has knowledge of the distinguishing characteristics of reality, objects of perception  will not evoke feelings of love or fear which are the sources of misery.

Vedanta - 07 - Atman and Maya

Atman is identified with Purusha - it is the Supreme Spirit which serves as the instrumental cause of the manifest world. It is formless, action-less, changeless, and without the power of agency. Maya (delusion) is the dividing force in nature, the finitising principle, that which measures out the immeasurable and creates forms in the formless. It is not a substance but only a means of operation. It conceals the real and projects the unreal. Maya is identified with Prakriti, Universal Matter, for it exists as the material cause of the Unieverse. In equilibrium state, Universal matter is called Prakriti, but in first motion it is known as Maya. When Maya operates on mind, it is called Avidya (ignorance in the spiritual sense). It is the subjective aspect while Maya is the objective aspect. Maya is that force in the consciousness of individuals that produces the phenomena of illusion.

Vedanta - 06 - Brahman

Brahman is the Ultimate Principle: "He, from whom proceeds the creation, preservation, and reconstruction of the universe". Brahman is the instrument and material cause of all manifest phenomena. It is the Uncaused Cause and eternal. In its transcendental aspect, which is beyond the comprehension of human mind, it has two states - one in which it is at rest, and one in which it is active. Its passive condition  is called Asat (non-being) or  that subtle condition of nature when the infinite varieties of forms are submerged in in the eternal source. This is Pralaya, the condition of universal dissolution. Its active condition is called sat (being) when it has three attributes - sat (being), chit (consciousness), Ananda (bliss). The immanent aspect of Brahman has two inseparable form: Nirguna - without qualities existing as pure spirit (Atman) Sagua - with qualities existing as pure matter (prakriti)

Vedanta - 05 - Philosophy

The Ultimate Principle as per Vedanta is Brahman, that which human intellect can never fathom. Brahman can be known only by direct intuition and never by logical inquiry and analysis. Reasoning is meant only for secular matters; not for things like existence of God, salvation or release. Such truths can only be known by direct intuition or from the Shruti or Vedic literature where the ancient Seers have recorded their experience. Towards this ultimate goal a four-pronged approach is necessary: i. viveka - right discrimination between real and unreal ii. vairaghya - renunciation of all desires to enjoy forever the fruit of actions iii. satsampat - right conduct iv. mumukshutva - the earnestness to know the Ultimate Principle "What is the cause of Primal Motion  in Nature?", that is what Vedanta tries to answer. Vedanta postualtes an Intelligent Agent, called Brahman, that guides and directs the workings of the subtle forces of the universe. Only this would explain the myster

Vedanta - 04 - Madhva

Madhva was the founder of the Dvaita Vedanta or Dualistic System and was a firm proponent of Unqualified Dualism. His contention was that soul is a separate principle independent from the Ultimate Principle. He founded a Krishna temple at Udipi. His works are: a. anuvyAkhyAna, the commentary on Vedantasutra b. mahAbhAratatAtparyanirNaya

Vedanta - 03 - Ramanuja

rAmAnuja, a famed Vaishnava leader founded the Vishistadvaita or Qualified Dualism , where he contends that there is only one Ultimate Principle but that souls or Spiritual Principle are also real although their existence is tied to the Ultimate Principle. According to him, in the end there is only the Ultimate Principle, but during the period of manifestation, the world and souls are separate in order to serve the Ultimate Principle. His life was dedicated to the study and spread of the Vaishnava cause and during his lifetime he restore many temples and converted many to Vishnavism. His important texts were: a. shrIbhAshya - commentary on Vedantasutra b. vedAntasAra c. vedArthasaMgraha d. vedAntadIpa

Vedanta - 02 - Shankara

shaMkara founded the Advaita Vedanta (monism) where he contends that there is only one Ultimate Principle and everything else is an illusion (mAyA). His thesis was based on firm logic and not any other means like intuition. He founded four mathas/ monasteries i. Sringeri in Mysore ii. Puri in Orissa iii. Dvarka in Gujarat iv. Badrinath in the Himalayas His important texts were: a. commenaries on the prasthAnatraya b. vivekachUdAmaNi c. upadeshasahasrI d. AptavajrasUchI e. Atmabodha f. mohamudgara g. dashashloki h. aparokShAnubhUti

Vedanta - 01 - Introduction

vedAnta was founded by bAdarAyaNa. It is an inquiry into the nature of the Ultimate Principle (Brahman). Vedanta aims to show that there is only one Ultimate Reality which presents itself to the sense as an illusion (mAyA). It shows that the universe with its various forms is only an appearance and that all things are but different manifestations of one and the same. Three related schools of thought developed from the vedAntasUtra i. advaita or non-dualism founded by shaMkara (~8th century C.E) ii. vishiShTAdvaita or qualified non-dualism founded by rAmAnuja (~11th century C.E) iii. dvaita or dualism founded by madhva (~12th century C.E) Advaita contends that there is only one Ultimate Principle and phenomenal existence is an illusion or like a projection. Vishishtadvaita contends that there is only one Ultimate Principle but in the objective world it has a dual manifestation. Dvaita beliefs in a separation of Ultimate Principle and Spiritual Principle.