These two verses are from the beginning of the tenth chapter of the Pañcadaśī, titled ‘Nāṭaka Dīpaḥ’. The entire explanation, as well as the word meanings and footnotes, was handwritten by Pujya Gurudev in the manuscript, which is now preserved in the Chinmaya Archives.
परमात्माऽद्वयानन्दपूर्ण: पूर्वं स्वमायया।
स्वयमेव जगत् भूत्वा प्राविशत् जीवरूपत:॥१॥
paramātmā’dvayānanda-pūrṇaḥ pūrvaṁ sva-māyayā,
svayameva jagat bhūtvā prāviśat jīvarūpataḥ. (1)
pūrvam – in the beginning; advayānanda-pūrṇaḥ – non-dual, full; paramātmā – Paramātmā; sva-māyayā–by his own power of māyā; svayaṁ eva jagat bhūtvā – Himself becoming the manifold phenomenal world; jīva-rūpataḥ prāviśat –entered them as the vital individuality (jīva).
The Supreme, due to its subtlety and all-pervasiveness, is difficult to comprehend, and ordinary students, striving to understand Him, can be helped only by one method which is generally employed in all the Upanishads. This is the process of superimposition and negation.1 The world of plurality is available for the students to perceive, feel and intellectually comprehend. Through this known world, the unknown Reality is pointed out, and ultimately the student is made to understand that the names and forms are only superimposed upon the Truth. This method, familiar in all Upanishads, is employed here.
Before all creation, there must have been ‘That’ from which all creation emerged and that Cause2 of everything is the Truth. In that Truth, the changing, perishable world of plurality is not present at all. Before creation, thus, the Infinite, the perfect and blissful, remained ever-full and absolute. From Himself was created the world of objects and beings by the play of His own power of māyā.
Just as we ourselves, playing through the vagaries of our own mind, project a dream-world of situations and experiences, so too, He spun out of Himself this total world of happenings.
After thus projecting the world, He ‘entered’ it.3 This is not like a man building a house which is other than himself and then entering it. Here ‘entered’ means ‘identified himself with it’. The supreme Consciousness, identifying with our thoughts within and objects without is the individuality in each one of us (jīva).
The light of Consciousness captured in the web of thoughts in us while getting identified with the ever-rising desires, joys and disappointments therein, comes to suffer the agitations or enjoys the temporary satisfactions. This seemingly conditioned Self is called the jīva, the vital individuality in each one of us.
The vāsanās in us constitute the causal body – the avidyā. . These vāsanās order the type of thoughts and feelings in us,which in their turn decide the type of body with which to act and the environment in which to strive and fulfill the actions. The avidyā in each one of us is thus the cause of our individual world, body, mind and intellect. The total world and creatures, therefore, must be caused by the sum total of avidyā, and this total cause is called māyā.
The Supreme, functioning thus, through avidyā, is the jīva, and again, the Supreme, expressing through māyā, is God – the creator of the entire universe. Just as we, after conceiving an idea, get identified with it and act, enjoy or suffer the results of it, so too, God expressing Himself through His māyā power and identifying with them, ‘enters’ them as jīva. The Supreme, identifying and functioning through the microcosm is the jīva, a victim of its vāsanās, while the Supreme, expressing though the macrocosm is God, a master of His māyā. 4
Before all creation, the Supreme alone was.5 He was then pure Knowledge, absolute Bliss6 – sat-cit-ānanda. From Him, by Himself, the world of manifold nature was projected, and through His own identification with His creation, He enters, as it were, into the storms and sweetness of worldly life
viṣṇvādi uttama deheṣu praviṣṭaḥ-having ‘entered’ the higher equipment of Vishnu and others; devatā abhavat – became gods; martyādi adhama deheṣu sthitaḥ – remaining in lower equipment as that of man etc.; devatāḥ bhajati – worships gods.
If the one eternal Infinite is the cause of all creation and if it is itself, expressing through all the living dynamism of things and beings, how can we justify the various religious instructions insisted upon in the scriptures of prayer, worship, surrender and devotion? Who is to pray then to whom? This confusion is cleared here.
The same Truth, expressing through the glorious equipment of higher beings, became for us the ideal for contemplation as Vishnu, Siva and others. The same Truth, when it expresses through the maladjusted lesser equipment, manifests as man, and to this man, the fuller expression represented in God becomes the adorable worshipful altar.
Electricity remaining the same, its manifestation becomes less or more according to the type of equipment. Similarly, the eternal Truth remaining one and the same, its manifestations depend upon the type of mind-intellect through which it expresses itself. The all-loving, peaceful vāsanā–less bosom of Vishnu, Siva and others allow a fuller and diviner flow of Truth through them, while the same Truth, when it passes through us, our ego-ridden, agitated, desire-poxed heart perverts and dims the divinity.
In order, therefore, to purify this wretched bosom, the sādhaka worships God, and though his devotion, identifies himself with the purity and love of Vishnu or Siva. Thereby, when his mind becomes tuned up, the total beauty of the Infinite available in each one starts expressing itself more and more through him.
1 adhyāropa and apavāda
2 bhūta-yoni (Mundakopanishad,1.1.6)
3 tad śṛṣṭva tadevānupraviśat. (Taittiriya Upanishad, 2.6)
4 māyāṁ tu prakṛtiṁ vidyāt māyinaṁ tu maheśvaram. (Shvetashvatara Upanishad, 4.10 )
5 sadeva saumya idamagra āsīt. (Chandogya Upanishad, 6.2.1)
6 vijñānamānandaṁ brahma. (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, 3.9.28)
Tapovan Prasad © Central Chinmaya Mission Trust, Mumbai, India. Reproduced courtesy of Central Chinmaya Mission Trust.