Location: India

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Sloka 7 and 8

Hari OM,


taavatsatyaM jagad.hbhaati shuktikaarajataM yathaa .
yaavanna GYaayate brahma sarvaadhishhThaanamadvayam.h .. 7..

Pada artha:
Taavat: so long as
Satyam: true
Jagat: world
Bhaati: appears
Shuktikaa rajat: silver in the mother of pearl
Yatha: like
Yaavat: as long as
Na: not
Jnaayate: is realized
Bhrahma: Brahman
Sarvam adhishtaanaam: the substratum for all
Adwayam: one without a second

The Jagat appears to be true (Satyam) so long as Brahman, the substratum, the basis of all this creation, is not realized. It is like the illusion of silver in the mother-of pearl.

In the last sloka we learnt that the world is illusory just like the dream and is valid only as long as one is ignorant of the true nature of Self. Acharya is explaining the same here through the analogy of the mother of pearl and silver that the world appears to be real as long as Brahman is not known as the substratum of all.

The oyster shell which is so smooth and reflective shines brilliantly in the sunlight giving the on lookers an image of silver. Just like how the shell is mistaken as silver, the world is also mistaken as real by the non knower of Brahman, i.e. by the ignorant ones. Like the silver that was just an illusion, all the names and forms have to be known as an illusion only. And that which is the basis of this illusion, the substratum of the world has to be known as Brahman only.

Also we have to note that the silver never existed at any time and it is only the mind that created the image of silver while the mother of pearl was always the same without going through any changes. Similarly, the changing world is only a creation of the mind while the ever present non dual Self can never go through any actual changes. Brahman is ever present, even before the conception of the world by mind, as the substratum of the world which the senses perceive it and also after the realization dawns on the non dual existence of Self. Hence it is the only absolute reality and the world is just an illusion.

Like the silver in the nacre or the snake in the rope, all the names and forms of the world are only an illusion on Self. For the ignorant ones, the world of duality appears to be real only till this truth is not known. The various forms, likes, dislikes all originate only due to this ignorance. All the differences as names and forms exist in the mind of an ignorant one only.

Thus we have learnt about the “Jagat mithyatvam, Brahma Satyam“ , i.e. the unreality of the world and the reality of Self through these two slokas and also that the world appears to be real only as long as the real nature of Self is not known. Let us next learn more about Brahman as the substratum of the world through another beautiful example in the next verse.


upAdAne akhilAdhAre jaganti paramEshvarE

sargasthitilayAnyAnti budbudAnIva vAriNi

Pada artha:
Upaadaane: which is the material cause
Akhila aadhaare: which is the support of everything
Jaganti: the worlds
Parameshware: in the supreme Self
Sarga-stithi-layam – rising, existing and dissolving
Yaanti: pass away
Budh budhaani: bubbles
Iva: like
Vaaraani: in the waters

Like bubbles in the water, the worlds rise, exist and dissolve in the Supreme Self, which is the material cause and the prop of everything.

Till now we learnt the illusory nature of the world through various examples such as silver in nacre, dream etc. Achrya Sankara in this sloka is further explaining the impermanence of the world by another beautiful example. Just as the bubbles that emerges out of water, bursts and falls back in water, all the creations originate, sustain and merge back in Brahman.

All the creations are but an illusion and Brahman is the substratum of everything perceived. The world seen cannot be easily negated for a seeker and hence Acharya is here explaining that this world though perceived, is impermanent just like the bubble of water. Though there is no creation ever happening, to explain the illusory world Acharya is explaining through this example that just as the bubbles, the worlds emerge, survive and dissolve back in Brahman. And that Brahman is the cause of everything.

We can note here that “Sarga” means projection, i.e. there is no real creation happening at any time. The non dual Self can never undergo any modifications and hence this world of multiplicity has to be an illusion on Brahman only just like the bubbles projected from water.

Bubbles are not different from water nor do they have any separate existence, so are the creations perceived by an ignorant person. Nothing new is ever created by anyone and all the changes of all names, forms, all that is creation, are nothing but Brahman alone, just as the bubbles of water are but water alone, all names and forms though different and multiple are Brahman alone.

All the duality thus has to be known only as an illusion. And any illusion needs a substratum and that is Brahman. Also through this example, we also learn that Brahman is not only the efficient cause but the material cause also. The Support and material cause of all creation is thus the Self only.

In the next slokas, let us learn this in more detail.

Hari OM

With regards,
Mallika R
What you have is God's gift to you and what you do with what you have is your gift to God


Post a Comment

<< Home