12 – Drg Drsya Viveka (17-20): Distinguishing Real from Unreal – What is Real & Unreal?


Lecture 12 shows that Moksha (freedom) is not an experience, but a cognitive understanding. Example showing how our language reveals false superimposition (EG: Wooden-box). Distinguishing Real from the Unreal. What is unreal? Everything in existence has asti, bhati, priya, nama, rupa.

Source: Drg Drsya Viveka

VERSE 17: Veiling of Seer & Seen Within (also covers V18-19)

अस्य जीवत्वम् आरोपात् साक्षिणि अपि अवभासते | आवृतौ तु विनष्टायाम् भेदे भाते अप-याति तत् ||
asya jīvatvam āropāt sākṣiṇi api avabhāsate | āvṛtau tu vinaṣṭāyām bhede bhāte apa-yāti tat ||
TRANSLATION 1: The jivahood (finitude) of the jiva (individual) appears in the Witness also due to superimposition. But when the veiling is destroyed, the difference becomes clear and that (notion of finitude) goes away.

TRANSLATION 2: The character of an embodied self appears through false superimposition in the Sākṣin also. With the disappearance of the veiling power, the distinction (between the seer and the seen) becomes clear and with it the jivahood superimposition of the Sākṣin (Witness) is negated (by knowledge).

[COMMENARY: Due to ignorance of the distinction between the Sakshi and the mind-body-sense complex, the jiva (embodied self) character appears superimposed on the Sakshi. This superimposition is due to the projecting power (vikshepa shakti) of maya. Though the Sakshi is ever free, it appears limited as the jiva due to this false superimposition. With the disappearance of the veiling power (avarana shakti), the distinction between the seer (Sakshi) and the seen (mind-senses) becomes clear. Then the jiva character superimposed on the Sakshi is negated, realized to be merely an incidental appearance. The mind-body's problems are wrongly transferred to the Sakshi due to identification. Trying to solve these non-existent problems of the Sakshi is futile. Ignorance is removed by Shravana (study of scriptures) and Manana (contemplation). For the wise, the mind-body continues but identification dissolves.]

VERSE 18: Veiling of Reality & Creation Outside – 1

तथा सर्ग-ब्रह्मणोः च भेदम् आवृत्य तिष्ठति | या शक्तिः-तत्-वशात्-ब्रह्म विकृतत्वेन भासते ||
tathā sarga-brahmaṇoḥ ca bhedam āvṛtya tiṣṭhati | yā śaktiḥ-tat-vaśāt-brahma vikṛtatvena bhāsate ||
Similarly, the veiling power covers the distinction of the creation and Reality (Brahman) and due to its influence, Reality appears as though undergoing modifications.

[COMMENARY: Just as there is confusion between the Sakshi and the mind-body complex, there is confusion between Brahman and the world.  The world appears as one entity but is actually two – Brahman and the world of name-form (nama-rupa). Brahman is the substantive reality, while the world is just hollow name-form, like a desk is just name-form over the wood. Due to the veiling power (avarana shakti) of maya, we mix up Brahman and the world. There is a mutual superimposition between Brahman and the world, like iron-ball and fire. Confusion at both levels, subjective (Sakshi-mind) and objective (Brahman-world), must be resolved for freedom.]

VERSE 19: Veiling of Reality & Creation Outside – 2

अत्र अपि आवृति-नाशेन विभाति ब्रह्म-सर्गयोः | भेदः तयोः-विकारः स्यात् सर्गे न ब्रह्मणि क्वचित् ||
atra api āvṛti-nāśena vibhāti brahma-sargayoḥ | bhedaḥ tayoḥ-vikāraḥ syāt sarge na brahmaṇi kvacit ||
In this case also by the destruction of the veil the distinction of Reality (Brahman) and creation becomes clear. Of the two, the modification exists in the creation, never in Reality (Brahman).

[COMMENARY: As with the distinction between Sakshi and mind-body, the distinction between Brahman and world becomes clear with the disappearance of the veiling power (avarana shakti). Then it is known – change belongs to the world of name-form (nama-rupa), not Brahman. The problem is not vikshepa shakti which gives the body-mind for enjoyment. The problem is avarana shakti or ignorance. We experience both Brahman (existence) and world but don't distinguish them, like light and hand.]

  • Because of superimposition (aropa), the Sakshi (Awareness) is taken to be jiva, thus Sakshi is not completely known. But what seems very well known is the body-mind complex. Therefore Awareness (being the truth of body-mind) gets hidden.
    • Analogy using Wave-Ocean-Water:
      • When wave’s focus is on forms, the content gets, as though, hidden. That’s why we say wave is upadhi to water. Actually it is water, but the form, as though, lends it’s appearance to the substance. Thus we take the substance as the intrinsic nature of the form.
        • In fact, even when look at Ocean, first thing we say is “Ocean”. So Ocean also as though lends it’s big attribute to water.
      • So Water as though takes on attribute of Wave and Ocean. In your vision, Wave/Ocean seem to be reality, but Water is forgotten.  Orientation gives more reality to the form then the substance. Orientation is so strong, that if you’re told “Awareness is limitless”, you want to create another form for Awareness which is very-big.
    • Example showing how ingrained tendency to attribute limited reality to things is:
      • When we say “This is a wooden-box”, the wood becomes adjective, and box becomes noun. So noun has more reality, while wood an incidental attribute. Our language shows our confusion.  If understood right, you’d call it “boxy-wood”.
    • CONCLUSION: You don’t need to search for substance somewhere else. Only understand, wherever there is form, that’s where substance is.
  • However, in reference to Awareness, it can’t be perceived by perception (pratyaksha) through eyes/ears, nor inference (anumana), because it has no attributes (unlike water/wood example).
    • Awareness is known as the ever present subject, who remains equally familiar to oneself in 3 periods of time, as “I am, I am”, despite changing moods & opinions about world and “I am”.
    • Long as orientation is “I want Liberation to be like THAT”, then you’ll never get it. Because the pramana is showing: Take any Form & experience > why form/experience arises (karma) > Knowledge-power by which all forms & experience are produced (Isvara) > truth of knowledge-power is sat-cit.
  • Therefore verse says, when avarana goes, then sakshi takes center stage, and individuality (jivahood / jivatvam) becomes incidental attribute.
    • Before / After:
      • BEFORE: Form was real, content forgotten.
      • AFTER: Content is the reality, and form is known to be incidental. Change of understanding.
    • EG: Before box was real. Now wood is more real. So only way to uproot the samsara tree is through this understanding.
  • NEXT VERSE: Methodology by which understanding takes place, is explained in next verse…

VERSE 20: Distinguishing Real From Unreal – 1

अस्ति भाति प्रियं रूपम् नाम चेति अंश-पञ्चकम् | आद्य-त्रयम् ब्रह्म-रूपम् जगद्-रूपम् ततः द्वयम् ||
asti bhāti priyaṁ rūpam nāma ceti aṁśa-pañcakam | ādya-trayam brahma-rūpam jagad-rūpam tataḥ dvayam ||
Every entity has five aspects – it is, it shines, it is dear (attractive), its name, and its form. The first three belong to Reality and the latter two to the world.

[COMMENTARY: Every entity has 5 aspects – asti (existence), bhati (shines/is known), priyam (is dear because it’s full/limitless), nama (name), rupa (form/attributes). [1] Asti refers to sat or existence. Everything experienced is existent. [2] Bhati refers to chit or consciousness. Everything is known or experienced. [3] Priyam refers to ananda or likeness. Everything has some dearness or liking. [4] Nama refers to name. Everything has a name. [5] Rupa refers to form or attributes. Everything has attributes. The first three – sat, chit, ananda – belong to Brahman, the absolute reality. The last two – nama and rupa – belong to the perceived world. Though intermixed, these 5 aspects can be intellectually discriminated. This intellectual discriminative enquiry between the real and unreal is the essence of Vedanta. Physically Brahman can't be separated from the world due to its all-pervasiveness. So it's a cognitive separation.]

  • In any object in universe (including times-space), you will find:
    • ASTI: It IS (asti). Exists.
    • BHATI: Form reveals itself to Me, Awareness (bhati).
    • PRIYA: Priya (most will say “it’s pleasing”, but implied meaning is infinite/eternal; Anantam).
    • NAMA-RUPA: Name-form (nama-rūpa); that which is revealed to Awareness. Content on any name-form is prior 3. It exists. It’s existence is known in presence of Awareness, and this Existence-Awareness is inexhaustible; limitless. No name-form can add or subtract from Existence-Awareness.
    • First 3 are the Reality. Other 2 belong to jagat. Notice they don’t use sat-cit-ananda for first 3, as scriptures change vocab to keep it fresh/engaging.
  • Analysis of word Priya/Ananda and why Pleasant/Bliss are Attributed to Them:
    • The real search behind all searching is for freedom from limitation. When you come to right place as jijnasu, you discover, “Self is limitless”. However limitless is hard to relate with; it’s not emotionally appreciable. However “happiness” is. Therefore need to understand what is relationship between limitlessness and your pursuit of happiness.
    • Everyone has been blessed by moments of happiness. But what is the source of happiness?
      • Senses? No. Else don’t need objects.
      • Absence of desire? No. Can also be happy with fulfillment of desire.
      • Fulfillment of desire? No. When look at sun, which desire did you fulfill?
      • ANSWER: When fulfill a desire, the seeker (complaining/wanting me) & sought have a temporary resolution. When there is seeker/sought resolution, there is experience of happiness. What world is seeking is resolution of seeker/sought. It is this seeker/sought resolution that gives you an insight into your WHOLENESS.  That’s why we continue to seek another resolution, because it’s so pleasing to you.  So whole life goes into searching for WHOLENESS through experience of happiness.
      • How is this fact connected to Vedanta?
        • Vedanta permanently dissolves the division between seeker/sought by pointing out division is as-though. And it even takes the experiential wholeness and points out, that wholeness is your nature which you can appreciate by knowledge all the time.
        • Why solves permanently? Because the nature of Seeker/Subject is limitless. Limitless means there’s no second, so there’s nothing to seek. Because whole jagat is mithya.
        • Therefore through happiness (ananda), you are searching for your wholeness, and through Vedanta, you discover that wholeness is your nature.


Course was based on [1] Drig Drishya Viveka book by Swami Tejomayananda [2] Book by Swami Nikhilananda [3] Neema Majmudar.

Recorded 18 Jan, 2024

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