The Upanishads which have come to give us knowledge inform us of the true nature of the jiva, jagat and Ishwara. All these three are connected in such a way that the knowledge of one without the other/s is incomplete. Gaining this comprehensive knowledge constitutes moksha, liberation, from samsara.
According to the Bhagavadgita 13th chapter last verse, the teaching about the liberating knowledge is two-fold:
1. The jiva is the kshetrajna, different from the kshetram (Consciousness is distinct from the inert prakRti)
2. The inert prakRti has no real existence.
It is this two-fold knowledge that constitutes liberating knowledge.
In the ‘VedAnta ParibhAShA’ of Dharmaraja Adhvarin, at the end, in the eighth chapter, is discussed the ‘prayojanam’, fruit of Vedantic knowledge. Therein, the Jnani (knower)’s continuing in the world till the fall of the body, death, is mentioned. The prArabdha karma holds the body in the world and only after the exhausting of this karma does the Jnani become a videha mukta. While elucidating this, the gloss ‘shikhAmaNiH’ gives out three world-views, a study of which is interesting and instructive.
१. यथा विक्षेप-आवरणात्मककार्यबलेन तदनुकूलं शक्तिद्वयं कल्प्यते, तथा इहापि अश्रुतवेदान्तानां प्रपञ्चे पारमार्थकत्वभ्रमः।
२. श्रुतवेदान्तानां अनुत्पन्न-ब्रह्मसाक्षात्काराणां व्यावहारिकत्वभ्रमः ।
एतदभिप्रेत्य ’तुच्छा अनिर्वचनीया च तात्त्विकी च त्रिधा मता । माया ज्ञेया त्रिभिर्बोधैः श्रौत,यौक्तिक,लौकिकैः ॥’ इति प्राचीनैरुक्तम् ।
अत एव (१) शास्त्रेण नश्यति पारमार्थिकत्वभ्रमः (२) नश्यति च अपरोक्षात् व्यावहारिकत्वभ्रमः (३) प्रारब्धनाशात् प्रातिभासिकत्वभ्रमः इति शक्तित्रयस्य नाश इत्युक्तम् । तथा च श्रुतिः ’तस्याभिध्यानात् योजनात्तत्त्वभावात् भूयश्चान्ते विश्वमायानिवृत्तिः ’ इति । सर्वशक्तिविशिष्टाज्ञाननिवृत्ति: इत्यर्थः ।
Translation and notes:
Just as, owing to the experiencing of the effects such as projection and enveloping, two powers (of avidyA) to explain them are admitted, so too, here, 1. for the uninitiated in the study of the Scripture, there is the delusion that the world is absolutely real (pAramArthika). 2. for those initiated but without the direct realization of Brahman, there is the delusion that the world is of parlance reality (vyAvahArika) 3 those who have the direct realization of Brahman such as Janaka, Yajnavalkya, Uddaalaka, Uddhava and Prahlada, until the fall of the body, there will be the perception of the seemingly-real (prAtibhAsika) world. In this manner, three powers of avidyA are to be admitted to account for the above three world-views. The explanatory gloss ‘maNiprabhA’ on the above ‘shikhAmaNi’ uses the word ‘pratItiH’ to explain the word ‘bhramaH’ of the latter gloss.
Keeping these three world-views in mind alone we have this verse (as quoted/found in the PanchadashI (6.130) of Swami Vidyaranya) :
tuchChAnirvachanIyA cha vAstavI chetyasau tridhA . j~neyA mAyA tribhirbodhaiH shrautayauktikalaukikaiH .. 130..
[130. Maya is looked upon in three ways. From the point of view of knowledge and Shruti it is non-existent; for empirical reason it is indefinable and for the ordinary people it is real.]
How do these three world-views disappear/end?
1. The delusion that the world is absolutely real ends when the Vedanta shAstra is studied with due application. One comes to the conviction, on the strength of the Scripture, that the world is, after all, not absolutely real; it has only a parlance, vyAvahArika reality. One knows that there has been no birth for oneself, no this and other worlds attainable after death; in fact one, as Atman, will not really die. There are a number of passages from the Shruti and Smriti and the Acharya’s/s’ literature to substantiate this conclusion.
2. The delusion that the world is endowed only with a parlance, vyAvahArika, satya goes when one gets the direct realization of the Atman/Brahman. This is called aparokSha sAkShAtkAra of the Tattva. One knows, from experience itself that the world does not enjoy any reality. Atman alone is the sole ontological, experiential Truth and the perceived world is only a dependent, paratantra, reality. Just as a superimposed snake has only a dependent, paratantra, reality based on the swatantra, independently real rope, the substratum, the world enjoys only a dependently real status. This is called ‘prAtibhAsika’ real. Paratantra satya is no satya at all.
3. The perception of the world as just an appearance, like the mirage water appearing to give an impression of water, yet known to be just an appearance, ends when the prArabdha karma comes to an end and the Jnani no longer lives in a body. For, as long as the body survives for a Jnani, the perception of the world which includes the body/mind/sense/motor organs, continues. Shankaracharya has termed it ‘bheda darshanam’ in the Brahma Sutra Bhashya 4.1.19. This mithyA-bheda-darshanam will cease to be after the fall of the body.
There is a Shruti passage in support of this complete cessation of the appearance of the unreal world: ….bhUyashchAnte vishva-mAyA-nivRttiH ‘the world-illusion ends totally’.
The Mundakopanishat 3.2.8-
यथा नद्यः स्यन्दमानाः समुद्रेऽस्तं गच्छन्ति नामरूपे विहाय ।
तथा विद्वान् नामरूपाद्विमुक्तः परात्परं पुरुषमुपैति दिव्यम् ॥
//8 As flowing rivers disappear in the sea, losing their names and forms, so a wise man, freed from name and form, attains the Purusha, who is Greater than the great. //
teaches the total merger of the Jnani upon the fall of the body. All names and forms disappear.
The material from the Vedanta paribhAShA has been taken from the book published by Khemraj ShrIkRShNadas, Mumbai (1985).
Om Tat Sat