Philosophical commentaries in ancient India

Commentaries can be manifold in ancient India. They have different purposes and form, but they all share some characters:

  • they have a given text as their main interlocutor/they are mainly about a given text
  • like with Origene’s commentaries, they are a genre in its own right, not a minor specialisation for authors at their beginnings (Sakai 2015, section 4, suggests that authors in fact needed to have already become acknowledged authorities before being entrusted with the honour of composing a commentary on an influential text.)
  • they are characterised by a varied but strong degree of textual reuse
  • they allow for significant degrees of innovation (This is evident in the case of the Navya Nyāya commentaries on the NS. Outside the precinct of philosophy, juridical commentaries often reflect the recent juridical developments much more than the original text they are commenting upon.)

As for reuse, one might object that reuse is much more present in later commentaries such as the Seśvaramīmāṃsā than in earlier ones, such as the Śābarabhāṣya. However, the ŚBh does indeed quote extensively from a previous commentator and the fact that contemporary readers do not recognise many other reuses does not rule out the possibility that Śabara did in fact extensively reuse but, as it is often the case throughout Indian philosophy, without marking his reuses, as he could assume that his audience would have recognised what was happening. In other words: the seeming increase in the amount of textual reuse from, e.g., the 2nd c. to the 14th. could be due more to the increase of our awareness of reuse. In this connection, it is worth remembering that:

  • commentaries are also an important source for the retrieval of (written or oral) texts which would otherwise be lost

Commentaries bring us back within a close analysis of a text, often even in an advanced classroom milieu. Thus, they need to evoke important textual authorities, including the ones which happen to be fashionable at their time and might have been lost or never recorded in script.

By contrast, commentaries diverge sharply as for other characters. So much, that even the first item listed above might need to be re-conceived in a plural form, with texts entangling at the same time various others, as it can comment on various different texts and discuss with various others, named and unnamed ones. The landscape of Indian philosophy (perhaps of all philosophical traditions?) is complex and invariably entangled.

What is your experience with the genre of commentaries? Do you have counter-examples or would you rather agree with my preliminary assessment?
For a first attempt towards the definition of the genre of commentaries, see here.

(cross-posted on my personal blog. I am grateful to Ramakrishna Bhattacharya for his feedback on this post.)

About elisa freschi

My long-term program is to make "Indian Philosophy" part of "Philosophy". You can follow me also on my personal blog: elisafreschi.com, on Academia, on Amazon, etc.

18 thoughts on “Philosophical commentaries in ancient India

  1. Dr. Joy Bhattacharya, an eminent professor at the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Calcutta, India has been giving lectures to a small group in Bengali on Indian Philosophy. Currently he is covering Pancha Dosi of Vidyaranya Muni. If any one is interested I would like to post the English translations of these lectures.

    • Dear Nandita,

      thanks for letting us know. I am personally always keen to know about what our colleagues in South Asia are working on. Since in this case you do not specify the content nor the audience (advanced students? beginners with no Sanskrit background?), however, before committing ourselves I would like to ask you whether you might want to translate a section of a lecture and send it to us? Many thanks!

      • Dr. Joy Bhattacharya has post-doctoral students working under him. The sessions with our group has no tags attached – just philosophy for the sake of philosophy. He takes us forward step by step. Now we are doing Pancha Dosi (Advaita Vedanta).
        I will send you a sample of one of his lectures. I do the translating from Bengali to English and it will be motivating to know that few others are interested.
        Previously I interacted with eminent Professor Dr. Nicolas Kaloy of Geneva and Corinth for the last ten years with these discussions. Unfortunately it is a year now that Dr. Kaloy has left this world. As such I am seeking for others similarly interested.
        Naturally some Sanskrit base is there; Dr. Bhattacharya makes it understandable for novices.

        • Thanks, Nandita! If I may add a suggestion: It would be great if you (or we, I am willing to help) could manage to bridge the gap between the South Asian and the European or American way of addressing issues, so that the importance of the topic and of its treatment become apparent to readers of this blog.

          • Dr. Joy Bhattacharya
            ‘Gurusharan’
            44 Kabir Road
            Calcutta 26
            3rd October 2016
            Today I continue with Pancha Dosi of Vidyaranya Muni (page 70) and will deal with a new topic – the parimap or magnitude of the Atman or Self.
            To brush up my previous lectures – we have already established the existence of the Atman or Self.
            Buddhist’s shunya-vadins (nihilists) contend that there is nothing – it’s all hallucinatory. But who is saying that there is nothing? Some body, some entity is saying so. There has to be somebody witnessing the void to say so. Thus the self cannot be denied. Do I knowingly or unknowingly state that the self is not there? Obviously knowingly! So the self has to be there even to say that it is not there. Commonsense!
            The Advaitin says it’s illusionary. There is the rope but I see the snake. The rope has to be there – has to be there – for the snake to be seen.
            What is the magnitude or the size of the atman? There are three theories.
            1. The Atman or Self is all pervasive – omnipresent – bibhu. This is Advaitin view.
            2. The atman is of medium size – limited by the body – madhyam parimita. The followers are Digambar Jains. (The sky clothes them – in other words they are naked.)
            3. The atman is atomic in size – sukshma. The followers are named Antaral-vadi.
            Advaita Vedanta counters the arguments of (2) and (3) and contends that the Atman or Self is bibhu – omnipresent and all pervasive.
            If the Atman was of atomic size then the feeling of ‘I’ would not have been there. We would not have been able to be aware of something so miniscule and atomic. But round the clock we are constantly aware of this ‘I’ within us. We are not free from this feeling even in sleep; I have already discussed that.
            If the Atman correlated to the size of the body then it would be small in the snail and large in the elephant; this would mean admitting of parts. But anything with parts is subject to decay and change. This contradicts the very concept of the Atman or Self – eternal and self-luminous.
            Thus the Atman is neither atomic nor limited by the size of the body.
            Where is it not? Where is its absence?
            The Atman is not in the body but the body is in the Atman.
            The space is not in the room but the room is in space.

          • thank you, Nandita. Would you be able to edit the translation a bit (e.g., by using the scientific transcriptions from Skt) and give us some context? Something like an initial paragraph explaining the background of the author (say “An Advaita Vedānta teacher who commented on the main texts of the Vivaraṇa tradition”).

          • I am trying to retrace the first lectures on pancha-dosi that started sometime in the middle of 2013.
            Meanwhile I am posting an introduction into Indian Philosophy that could be of general interest.

          • Introduction:
            1. Philosophy means love for learning. Metaphysics means that which is after-physics. Generally philosophy is the English translation of Sanskrit ‘Darshan’ but darshan means view – to see. Each sage has seen the Truth and accordingly has interpreted it. Thus there are thousands and thousands of interpretations of interpretations and so on.
            2. What is Truth? It is that which is eternal and never changes – sattwa.
            3. Note there is no idol or image in these discussions – logically and with the help of common sense a supreme entity is established – the Atman or the Self. This Self is within the self – within me. Only the ego-self has to be removed for darshan of this Self – for being able to see the self.
            4. The exercise is individual specific and hence the concept of ‘many’. You can see this self in anything you wish – tree, snake, monkey, human form, or just nirakar – without-form. The choice is yours – what suits you. There are thus as many gods as people – including our ancestors. So one more image or one name less doesn’t matter. All are welcome.
            5. Ultimately it is the one in the many. There is the one Sun but many are the rays.

          • The word Hinduism is misnomer. The Persians coined it when they came to the banks of the River Sindhu. They could not pronounce ‘sh’ and so named it ‘hindu’ and all those living near it Hindus. The Moslems saw a vast country practicing various religions and to keep their own identity they lumped the entire group of snake, tree, water, fire idol worshippers as Hindus. The British colonialists toed the line for the sake of convenience. Hinduism is actually known as Sanatan Dharma or eternal-truths.
            There is no one person claiming to be the founder of the Sanatana Dharma. There are millions and millions of interpretations of what sages have seen – have had darshan of.
            The Vedas are a-poureshiya – not written by Man. Nobody claims to be the author. The eternal truths have always been there but interpretations vary.
            Basically the followers of Sanatana Dharma believe in rebirth and revere the Vedas.

          • Dr. Joy Bhattacharya
            ‘Gurusharan’
            44 Kabir Road
            Calcutta 700026
            31st August 2013

            PANCHA-DOSI:
            Vidyaranya (vidya + aranya/knowledge+forest or a forest-of-knowledge) was the high-priest and guru of Harihara I and Bukka Rava the kings who founded the Vijaynagar Empire in South India (modern Karnataka) in the 14th century A.D. He assisted the royal brothers to set up the empire around 1336. As a householder his name was Madhav-acharya. When Viday-aranya entered the stage the Moslem conquest was in full swing in North India and they were entering South India with success. He helped the Hindu Kings of Vijaynagar in south-central India by giving them political advice and actively engaging in military expeditions. It was only after the southern expansion was checked that he returned to being a monk.
            Vidyaranya Muni authored two famous treatises Sarva-darshan-sangraha (all-philosophy-compilation) dealing with the various schools of Indian philosophy and an important text on Advaita Vedanta – Panchadasi. Vedanta is interpreted in The Panchadosi in brief. Panchadosi (five tens or fifteen) has 15 chapters covering 3 segments each containing 5 chapters – vivek or discrimination, deepa or illumination and ananda or bliss.

            The name has some significance. The first chapter is named ‘Tattva Vivek’. The issue is about Brahma tattva or atma (Self) tattva. It is only when vivek is aroused that atma-tattva can start. The path has to be hewn. One has to be qualified before foraying into Vedanta. Vivek is discerning between what is eternal and what is non-eternal.
            I could not have become a doctorate prior to going through all the stages of school and college. Everywhere this rule is applicable; one has to be qualified.
            He whose vivek has been aroused – he alone has the right to read Vedanta; is qualified to do so.
            Let me give you the example of the fish caught in the net; only one or two escape; three or four try to escape but the majority surrender to their fate and live only to die. It is only those who struggle that have the chance to escape. To qualify, to arouse our vivek, we have to struggle and go through all the stages of school and college – make the effort.
            Vidyaranya begins with adulations to his Guru – Guru-vandana.
            This is part of the tradition of mangalacharan.
            (Mangal – that which brings blessings; Acharan – behaviour/activity)
            Gu means darkness. Ru means – removal. So ‘guru’ is the one who removes darkness.
            Our darkness is inside us – Ignorance.
            By applying kohl to our eyes the darkness has to be removed.
            Through Knowledge, Ignorance has to be removed.
            The two steps are firstly sravana or listening and secondly manan or mulling over it.
            Why has this been done at the very beginning of the book?
            So that the writing is completed without any impediments.
            The effort is being made because of a goal. Nobody does anything without the hope of reaching a target.
            If I know that my actions will bear bitter fruit, will I go ahead?
            No.
            If I know that my actions will bear no fruit whatsoever, will I proceed?
            No.
            Infants have no idea of distance and hence the babe tries to catch the moon, but adults do not.
            Through thousands of years sages have endeavoured to unravel Truth – because is it there; otherwise the effort would never have been there.
            mangalam safalam abigeeta sishtachar vishaya tatt
            Here three things are denoted – achaar (behaviour), sishta-achaar (good behaviour) and abigeeta (loaded with goodness).
            Acharan means behaviour. It can be good or repulsive. Thus only the word acharan will not suffice – it has to be mangal-acharan – that which brings blessings and goodness.
            Only positive behaviour will not suffice. Kings resorted to acharan that was temporarily good like praying for victory in war; but war itself is laced with woes. It is not totally good.
            The word Abigeeta denotes such acharan that contains more goodness than anything else. There is some trouble involved – the tremendous effort entailed to achieve it. But the positive gains far outweigh the troubles.
            This managala charan by the author could have been done privately – in his own mind. But why did he write it down? He did so to place an example before his students and disciples – to teach them.
            Everything is projected on Brahma.
            Knowledge is one – self-manifested. This is the core of Vedanta.
            Knowledge is atman itself – not the knower.
            Nyaya says knowledge is a quality of atman. But this is not the view of Advaita Vedanta.
            Atman is Knowledge.
            A quality can be removed but if knowledge is atman then it cannot be taken away.
            There are four stages of consciousness – jagrata (awake), swapna (dream state), susupti (dreamless deep sleep) and turya (beyond that).
            Nyaya says there is knowledge in jagrata and swapna but not in susupti.
            Vedanta says it is disrespectful to say that in susupti there is no knowledge.
            After waking from a deep sleep we say that we have slept well; how do we know it?
            If knowledge was not there, expression of the state would not have been possible.
            That is why Atman is Jnan – is Knowledge itself.
            What is the subject of Jnan or Knowledge?
            Is there different knowledge for different subjects?
            Vedanta vehemently denies this. Subjects are many but Knowledge is one like the torch light that illuminates the various objects in a dark room.
            Even if the objects were not visible the Knowledge would be present.
            There is one Atman. Subjects like man, beast, trees etc are many.

          • Dr. Joy Bhattacharya
            9/11/2013
            ‘Gurusharan’
            44 Kabir Road
            Calcutta 26

            Advaita Vedanta contends that Brahma is without any distinctions. Panchadosi stresses on the same theme.
            Why this repetition?
            So that the idea is impressed in the mind. The multiplication tables have been impressed in our minds because of this practice. It is the same with the scriptures – so that we could hold on to it.
            There are three types of differences (bheda).
            1. Svajatiya – between one man and another
            2. Bijatiya – between man and beast
            3. Svagata – between different parts of one man
            In Advaita the first two does not arise because the very term ‘advaita’ means not-two; in this concept two cannot be admitted – self-contradictory.
            Here svagata bheda or difference is relevant – the difference between the part and the whole.
            Sat Chit Ananda are not to be mentioned separately like sat and chit andananda.
            That which is Sat, is Chit, is Ananda (all capital letters).
            Ananda and sukh or happiness and pleasure are not the same.
            Bliss is not to be confused with happiness and pleasure.
            In other schools of philosophy – Nyaya and Samkhya the difference is subtle.
            Nyaya:
            It contends there are two types of Jivaatma – bonded and free.
            Sukha or happiness appears in the bonded person.
            Ananda is equated with sukh and contends that sukha or happiness is a guna or quality of the bonded person; enslaved entity.
            This sukha or ananda is interlaced with unhappiness.
            There are two types of sukha – oihaloukik (this world) and paroloukik (other world).
            Any kind of happiness in this world is linked with pain. For instance I am happy at having reached a point say in my studies. But to reach it I have had to work painfully hard. I have to also work hard to maintain the standard and if I lose it again it will be painful. So there cannot be happiness without some pain.
            “Our sincerest laughter
            With some pain is fraught:”
            Animal sacrifice is a must in the Vedas. But with this punya (virtue) some sin is being accumulated because of the killing. This has to be paid for.
            Undiluted happiness or pleasure is an impossibility either in this life or in heaven.
            Why do we perform sradhha (rites for the dead)?
            To remove obstacles from the path of the soul moving upwards.
            In Samkhya, happiness is equated with Ananda; Ananda has no independent connotation.
            The quality of rajas leads to dukhsha. (Rajas means prone to too much activity)
            The three qualities of satya, rajas and tamas are inextricably entwined (with one dominating the other in specific cases) and therefore unhappiness or duksha has to be present.
            Neither Samkhya nor Nyaya schools of philosophy believe in bliss or Ananda.
            But Advaita says there is another stage or level that is beyond pain and pleasure.
            Pleasure and pain is the dharma or antahkarana – the very nature of the core of our being – the mind.
            Ananda is the very nature of the Self or Atman or Brahma.

          • Dr. Joy Bhattacharya
            ‘Gurusharan’
            44 Kabir Road
            Calcutta 700026
            August 2013

            PANCHA-DOSI:
            Vedanta is interpreted in The Panchadosi in brief. It was a treatise written by Vidya-aranya muni. As a householder his name was Madhav-acharya. He lived in the 14th century. Shankar-acharya, whose interpretation of the Brahma Sutra we have just concluded, lived in the 8th century. Shankar was a challenge to reigning Buddhist thought and predominance. Secondly he prepared India for the coming of the Moslems.
            When Viday-aranya entered the stage the Moslem conquest was in full swing in North India and they were entering South India with success. He helped the Hindu Kings of Vijaynagar in south-central India by giving them political advice and actively engaging in military expeditions. It was only after the southern expansion was checked that he returned to being a monk and writing one of the greatest treatises interpreting the Vedas.
            The name has some significance. The first chapter is named ‘Tattva Vivek’. The issue is about Brahma tattva or atma (Self) tattva. It is only when vivek is aroused that atma-tattva can start. The path has to be hewn. One has to be qualified before foraying into Vedanta. Vivek is discerning between what is eternal and what is non-eternal.
            I could not have become a doctorate prior to going through all the stages of school and college. Everywhere this rule is applicable; one has to be qualified.
            He whose vivek has been aroused – he alone has the right to read Vedanta; is qualified to do so.
            Let me give you the example of the fish caught in the net; only one or two escape; three or four try to escape but the majority surrender to their fate and live only to die. It is only those who struggle that have the chance to escape. To qualify, to arouse our vivek, we have to struggle and go through all the stages of school and college – make the effort.
            Vidyaranya begins with adulations to his Guru – Guru-vandana.
            This is part of the tradition of mangalacharan.
            (Mangal – that which brings blessings; Acharan – behaviour/activity)
            Gu means darkness. Ru means – removal. So ‘guru’ is the one who removes darkness.
            Our darkness is inside us – Ignorance.
            By applying kohl to our eyes the darkness has to be removed.
            Through Knowledge, Ignorance has to be removed.
            The two steps are firstly sravana or listening and secondly manan or mulling over it.
            Why has this been done at the very beginning of the book?
            So that the writing is completed without any impediments.
            The effort is being made because of a goal. Nobody does anything without the hope of reaching a target.
            If I know that my actions will bear bitter fruit, will I go ahead?
            No.
            If I know that my actions will bear no fruit whatsoever, will I proceed?
            No.
            Infants have no idea of distance and hence the babe tries to catch the moon, but adults do not.
            Through thousands of years sages have endeavoured to unravel Truth – because is it there; otherwise the effort would never have been there.
            mangalam safalam abigeeta sishtachar vishaya tatt
            Here three things are denoted – achaar (behaviour), sishta-achaar (good behaviour) and abigeeta (loaded with goodness).
            Acharan means behaviour. It can be good or repulsive. Thus only the word acharan will not suffice – it has to be mangal-acharan – that which brings blessings and goodness.
            Only positive behaviour will not suffice. Kings resorted to acharan that was temporarily good like praying for victory in war; but war itself is laced with woes. It is not totally good.
            The word Abigeeta denotes such acharan that contains more goodness than anything else. There is some trouble involved – the tremendous effort entailed to achieve it. But the positive gains far outweigh the troubles.
            This managala charan by the author could have been done privately – in his own mind. But why did he write it down? He did so to place an example before his students and disciples – to teach them.
            Everything is projected on Brahma.
            Knowledge is one – self-manifested. This is the core of Vedanta.
            Knowledge is atman itself – not the knower.
            Nyaya says knowledge is a quality of atman. But this is not the view of Advaita Vedanta.
            Atman is Knowledge.
            A quality can be removed but if knowledge is atman then it cannot be taken away.
            There are four stages of consciousness – jagrata (awake), swapna (dream state), susupti (dreamless deep sleep) and turya (beyond that).
            Nyaya says there is knowledge in jagrata and swapna but not in susupti.
            Vedanta says it is disrespectful to say that in susupti there is no knowledge.
            After waking from a deep sleep we say that we have slept well; how do we know it?
            If knowledge was not there, expression of the state would not have been possible.
            That is why Atman is Jnan – is Knowledge itself.
            What is the subject of Jnan or Knowledge?
            Is there different knowledge for different subjects?
            Vedanta vehemently denies this. Subjects are many but Knowledge is one like the torch light that illuminates the various objects in a dark room.
            Even if the objects were not visible the Knowledge would be present.
            There is one Atman. Subjects like man, beast, trees etc are many.

          • THE WORD

            In the Genesis it is written: “In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
            According to the Vedas too it is the Word that becomes this world.
            In the Genesis immediately following the opening line there is this line – “God said let there be Light and there was Light.”

            What is meant by it? How can the word have become this world? Is this Word the same as words that humans share as currency of communication?

            Or is it something esoteric which has no relation with our mundane speech?

            How is it logically possible to experience a sound and be aware of manifest and unmanifest realities in it?

            The Word is the vibration of Consciousness from which meaning arises.
            The movement of Consciousness within Pure Being is Something which transcends consciousness and unconsciousness and wills to express itself as the actualization or manifestation of Consciousness.

            The ripple is the stillness is the original Word, the Vibration which tears apart the Stillness, yet leaves it immune.

            Zen Koan on sound of one hand clapping: What is the sound of one hand clapping It’s the unstruck sound, the sound that is unwounded, the sound that is caused by itself; the sound that does not signify anything outside of itself.

            Sphota – or explosion – there is something beyond the word which vibrates and communicates an experience at a pre-cognitive level which nevertheless includes a cognitive and cosmic significance.

            When one wakes up in the morning there is sometimes the sense of ripples of awakening that passes through one. If you are very still you will experience this. There is almost a little shiver that passes through the being as one wakes up; this is the repetition of the Spanda inside us. There is a similar shiver in the act of being born and in the act of dying; subtle passages from state to states of consciousness.

          • Dear Nandita,

            thanks a lot for these excerpts. Some of them are quite fascinating. I have two questions:
            —To me, some of them (see the latter on the Word, covering from the Prologue to St. John’s gospel to sphoṭa and spanda) look explicitly eclectic. Do you think Dr. Joy Bhattacharya would accept this definition? Or would he see his position as the normal prosecution of the Advaita inclusivism (as found, e.g., in the work of several Advaitins of the 19th and 20th c.)?
            —Some sentences appear to allude more than they explicitly say (e.g. “The space is not in the room but the room is in space.”). Is this an explicitly chosen position? Does Dr. Bhattacharya think that there are things which go beyond argumentative thinking and need to be grasped beyond it?
            thanks!

            elisa

          • Dr. Joy Bhattacharya
            20/11/2013
            ‘Gurusharan’
            44 Kabir Road
            Calcutta 26
            Tattva means Truth.
            There are three types of tattva – troibidhha
            1. Pratibhasik or phenomenal existence
            2. Vyavaharik or empirical existence
            3. Paramarthick or ultimate existence
            Pratibhasik or phenomenal existence:
            We see the rope to be a snake. This is not absolute naught; had it been so we would not have been able to see the snake.
            The sky flower and mare’s nest are instances of absolute naught; even by mistake we would not see it. We are frightened when the snake approaches but never from the approach of the son of a barren mother.
            Even if it is for a second this pratibhasik or phenomenal existence is true. I see the snake and accordingly take up a stick. I react according to what I see to be the truth.
            During the period of pratibhash it is true. It is true for that moment – neither before nor after. The snake was not there before and will not be there afterwards.
            Vyavaharik or empirical existence:
            Vyavahar or practice solidified into habit has been going on through aeons. When realization or real knowledge dawns, there is neither the snake nor the rope.
            Till now it has been the stage of vyavahar. I come to know that the snake is false but the rope remains. It was there even before I had knowledge of it.
            The rope is the empirical truth.
            Paramarthik or Absolute/Ultimate Truth:
            When one realizes the Self, the rope too vanishes with the snake.
            Everything is Consciousness. There is nothing other than the Self. Absence of Self cannot be imagined.
            Let us take the instance of the table.
            Somebody made it.
            Someday it will cease to exist. Whatever exists has to cease to exist.
            The table can be broken into pieces.
            But the very essence of the Self cannot be taken from it.
            Sat means Pure Existence – Existence itself.
            Chit means Pure Knowledge – Knowledge itself.
            To say I do not know is a piece of knowledge!
            To know Sat you have to separate it from that which is a-sat.
            To know Chit you have to separate it from that which is a-chit.
            How? With Vivek. Vivek has to be awakened – the ability to discriminate the relative from absolute.
            Till then it’s a grand mix up!

      • Dear Elisa
        Your two questions are challenging. I have discussed the issue with Dr. Bhattacharya.
        Basically one has to listen carefully and then mull over it for some time. You yourself will find the answer within yourself with a little bit of digging and external help or promptings. This is the trick of comprehending.
        Sphotak means something emerges like a boil.
        Spanda means the wave – vibrations – here again something emerges.
        Emerges from what? It emerges from the one or One.
        The terms are commonly used in the school of philosophy named Kashmir Saivism.
        Let there be no doubt that all roads lead to Rome. The rose is the same – albeit the names are different.
        For pure academics I can take any path – knowing and savouring knowledge.
        For Realization I must take that particular path that suits me – otherwise the journey will be too complicated and delaying.
        Dadu was great savant – he said that the river has one goal and that of reaching the sea; en route it meanders nourishing the flora, fauna and humans along both its banks. Waves rise and fall. But the river is the one and its goal is one.
        Dadu also asked us to look at Mother Earth. It makes its daily round while steadily annually going round the Sun. The goal is the same. The Sun!
        Dadu advised us to go about in an easy manner – sahaj – with our daily lives keeping aloft the flag of our goal. Daily mundane life should not be neglected. He thought it futile to run away from the world and put on ochre robes of the monk.
        The message is the same – many in the One and the One threaded through the many.
        Dr. Bhattacharya referred to ‘room in the space’ because in common parlance we tend to say when a person dies that the atman has left the body.
        It’s a wrong statement.
        Atman (nearest English translation is ‘soul’ but note should be taken that it definitely is not the ‘mind’. The ‘mind’ is taken to be another sense).
        The Atman neither comes nor goes. It’s all pervasive – bibhu – never fenced in by either time or physical boundaries. It’s there. Thus the room is in the space. The space occupies the area inside the room and beyond it also.
        What then leaves the body?
        It is the subtle-body in the form of impressions from the life the body has lived. These subtle impressions search for a womb similar to its desires and tendencies.
        Here it is somewhat akin to gene theory because the subtle-body can find similar type of womb generally within the family. But the difference is hope. With each life there is the hope of modifying these tendencies and not just blindly passing down the genes from one generation to another with erratic jumping of the genes.
        Cheers and namaskar
        Nandita-didi (elder sister)
        Calcutta

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>