Viveka means understanding or having a discriminative knowledge of what is Truth and Untruth. In our day-to-day life too, we should use this principle. For instance, when we buy rice from ration shop, it is mixed with impurities. We find black stones, red stones, and white coloured stones too. Mixing stones in rice increases the weight of the rice, thereby increasing the profit margin. Before cooking we should separate all the stones from rice. It is easier to separate coloured stones but not the white coloured ones. They are so camouflaged in the actual rice that, separating them becomes very difficult. For separating the impurities, we need viveka. Likewise, our body and consciousness are so entwined that we fail to think of body and consciousness as separate. There is no difference between body and consciousness, the discriminative knowledge of separating both is unavailable. At this juncture shastram is the only tool with the help of which one can understand the Nitya-anitya vastu viveka.
In the Katho Upanishad, there is a topic on Shreyas and Preyas. Shreyas is the path of ultimate Good, giving long term benefits. Preyas is something that we like, giving short term benefits. We always have an option of choosing between the long term and short term benefits. As we go through different stages of life, this becomes difficult. For instance, when we endure a lot of pain, we go to a doctor for medication. Temporarily the medicines work. We revel in the happiness for sometimes. After a few days, the gnawing ache returns. Like a rollercoaster, the cycle of pain and medication continue. The study of Vedanta leads to moksha meaning it makes us samachit or balanced or sthithapragya. We neither enjoy or reject any situation. We do not blame anybody or even our own selves. It helps to condition and discipline our mind.
Prakriya is a method of analysis. Panchadashi uses Anvaya vyatirekha. Bhagwat gita uses Kshetram and Kshetragya principle to separate Atma and Body. All the prakriya (analysis) cannot be done physically but only cognitively.
One may ask the question, what is the purpose of my studying the analytical methods. We always have a misconception about ourselves being the attributes and superimpose these attributes on the Atma which is attributeless. For example, we often say – I am short, I am tall, I am rich, I am neglected, etc. In “I am”, “am” gets added to everything and this is called Adhyaropa or superimposition of “am” on the “I”, which is independent and complete by itself. It becomes necessary in the vyavahirika purposes to identify ourselves with “am”. To separately understand “I”, the “am” aspect must be removed which is impermanent. Due to the entwinement of the sharira and atma, an individual thinks he is that attribute to which he is identifying himself, as he does not have the methodology of separating body-sense-mind-atma complex.
For example, an iron ball, which is black in colour, and cold on the exterior surface, becomes hot and red when exposed to fire. It also starts glowing after some time. Now the iron ball is glowing because of the fire which does not have a form. It is the fire that is glowing through the upadhi of a ball. Fire itself is unattached to the ball. In fact, the ball takes the property of the fire. The iron ball has borrowed the property of fire and so it is hot, and glowing red due to heat. Similarly, Atma does not have any property of its own – attributeless. It gets an identity through the body-mind-sense complex which consists of Sthoola sharira, sukshma sharira, karana sharira and Atma.
Drg Drishya Viveka is a prakarana grantha. All prakarana granthas are part of Upanishads. They are short and concise treatise and will never deviate from Upanishad, despite having an independent existence. They lend support to the teachings of Upanishads. The unfolding of an individual is different in tattvabodha and Drg drishya viveka. Study of Vedanta encompasses the following:
- Jiva – Individual – Analysis of the individual (Vyashti vichara – sukshma, karana, Sthoola sharira)
- Ishwara – Analysis of the total (samashti)- Macrocosm.
- Jagat – Analysis of the cosmos or universe
- Bandhaha – What is samsara
- Moksha – Freedom from bondage
- Sadhanani – Means of accomplishing the freedom from bondage.
Unless a person has a vision for studying Vedanta, one cannot continue this path. A person studying under a teacher for many years starts glowing with knowledge.
रूपम् दृश्यं लोचनम् दृक् तदृश्यं दृक्त्तु मानसम् l
दृश्याधीव्रुत्तयः साक्षी दृगेव न तु दृश्यते ll
Meanings: रूपम् form; दृश्यं is perceived; लोचनम् eyes; दृक् perceiver; तत् that; दृश्यं is perceived दृक् perceiver; तु but; मानसम् mind; दृश्या are perceived; धीव्रुत्तयः mind’s modifications (like what is to be seen or not to be seen); साक्षी witness; दृक् एव is verily the perceiver; न तु is not; दृश्यते perceived or seen.
The form is perceived by the eyes (organ of perception). The perceiver/ seer is perceived/seen by the mind. The mind is verily perceived/ seen by the sakshi/witness, which is not perceived. For the external objects, eye is the seer no. 1. Eye itself is an inert organ. In some cases, even if golakam (physical part) is there, a person is blind because of the lack of the power for reflection. Without the mind, eye cannot function. As in the case of an electric bulb, filament and bulb are the upadhi for electricity. The electricity is lending its existence to the filament and bulb. Mind is also inert. Eye must be reflected in conjunction with mind. Mind is also reflected by consciousness or Sakshi or Witness, which cannot be seen. When a person dies, mind goes away, for non-availability of an upadhi.
- Eye is the first illuminator reflecting all external objects/forms/colours, etc. It is Seer no. 1.
- Mind reflects the eye and lends existence to the golakam. Mind is seer no. 2.
- Mind is reflected by the sakshi or witness. If witness is not there, mind cannot exist. Sakshi is the ultimate seer/perceiver.
Same conclusion can be drawn for other sense organs also. For example, a child is fondled by many people. However, it can easily find out the touch of its mother. Sakshi is self-illumined. Perfumes/odours can be distinctly recognized by the one and only sense organ, nose. Annamaya kosha is one but experiences are many and varied. Sakshi reveals everything. That we are alive, able to talk, see, hear, is self-evident that consciousness is alive in us. It cannot be seen or described. When the mind, which itself is illumined by Atma, can travel at a great speed, then we can imagine the ultimate seer, consciousness and the scope of its brilliance to be infinite.
On the death of a person or deep sleep state, eyes do not function because mind is not there. Therefore, sakshi cannot reflect after death and is in the unmanifest form. Very subtle vaasanaas of the mind leave the body when a person dies.
Verses from 2, 3, 4, and 5 are sub-divisions of the 1st verse, each verse giving an explanation, to enable us to arrive at the ultimate seer-consciousness.
नीलपीत स्थूल सूक्ष्म हृस्वदीर्घादि भेदत: l
नाना विधानि रूपाणि पश्येल्लोचनमेकधा ll
नील blue; पीत yellow; स्थूल the gross; सूक्ष्म the subtle; हृस्व short; दीर्घ long; आदि etc.; भेदत: can see differences; नाना विधानि various; रूपाणि forms; पश्येत् perceives; लोचनम् eyes; एकधा as one
The eyes can perceive/ see the difference in colours like blue, yellow, gross, subtle, short, long, etc. The eyes which is one, sees various forms. Regarding the objects, eye is the only perceiver.Eye can see different colours besides blue and yellow. Ultimately when all colours are mixed together, black is derived. Therefore, different colours and shades, gross, subtle, short or long, irrespective of the colours, shape and size, eye as one whole, sees them. The oneness of vision is emphasised in the above verse. Similarly, we can apply the same logic, for other organs of perception, say, nose. We can smell a variety of scents simultaneously with only one nose. We can see 10 elephants with one vision of eye. To see 10 elephants, we don’t require 10 eyes. Different sounds can be heard say, in a traffic signal, with a single and oneness of the hearing power of the ears. The objects change but the perceiver is One and constant.
आन्ध्यमान्ध्यपटुत्वेषु नेत्रधर्मेषु चैकधा l
संकल्पयेन्मन: श्रोत्रत्वगादौ योज्यतामिदं ll
आन्ध्य blindness; मान्ध्य dullness; पटुत्वेषु sharpness; यन मनः this mind; च एकधा also as one; संकल्पयेत cognitive way; इदं this; श्रोत्र ears; त्वक् skin; आदौ etc.; योज्यताम् as applicable. नेत्रधर्म dharma of the eye
Due to superimposition of characteristics(dharma) of the eye, like blindness, dullness and sharpness, upon the eye, (an organ of perception and reporter to the mind), the mind, which is also One, can perceive the eye and lends existence in a cognitive way.
Eye as an organ of perception and subject to changes, is perceived by the mind. As reporters to the mind, it is the mind that understands the characteristics like blindness, dullness and sharpness, etc. This logic can be extended to other sense organs like nose, ears touch, etc. The mind is the perceiver and sense organs are objects of perception.
In Guru stotram, it is said- “Because of Agyanam, I have become blind. Just like an ointment when applied over the eyes, cures blindness, likewise a teacher unfolds the blindness by teaching shastram”.