Thursday, 25 August 2016

Bhagavad Gita 2.16

नासतो विद्यते भावो नाभावो विद्यते सत: |
उभयोरपि दृष्टोऽन्तस्त्वनयोस्तत्वदर्शिभि: || 2.16||
nāsato vidyate bhāvo nābhāvo vidyate sata
ubhayorapi d
iho nta stvanayos tattva-darśhibhi
(Excerpts from Universal message of Bhgavad Gita by Swami Ranganathananda of Ramakrishna Math.)
Asat and sat , these words were used. The word asat means the unreal. So the sloka says, na asato vidyte bhavo , ‘the unreal never is’ ; similarly , nabhavo vidyate satah  ‘the word “non-existent” cannot be applied to what is real’. The sat is the real; it can never be the non-existent.
Our thinkers , when they studied the world, found two aspects of the world: one is changeable aspect and another an unchangeable aspect. Everything in this world is changeable; every second it is changing. Change is the characteristic of this external and much of the internal world. And anything that changes, moment to moment, Vedanta calls it unreal. That is how we use the word unreal; it exists, but it is unreal. It appears, but it is unreal. The nature of this manifested universe, a universe which one experiences with five senses, is that, it is constantly changing, and therefore unreal. Whatever changes is unreal. Then where is the reality? Vedanta says, yes, there is changeless reality beyond the sensory level, you come to the world of reality, which is unchanging, infinite, eternal.
But man feels there is a unity where all this change is really centered. Just like all the changes of pictures in a film, making for the unity of the film. That is due to the curtain behind the film. That makes the unity. Similarly, we search for the unity behind the multiplicity in the universe. The first truth is change, and we see that whatever changes is unreal.
Then what is real? That which exists in the past, present and future, that is called real. Is there such a real? Yes says Vedanta, and that search is the search of philosophy everywhere in the world.
So we use the word sat for that infinite imperishable reality; asat for this perishable universe. The belief that this sensory world alone is true, is called materialism and that materialism is a strong philosophy today. An astro-physict , Millikan, has said “ to me a philosophy of materialism is the height of un-intelligence”. Matter is just a symbol. Nobody has seen matter. We are seeing , from the Indian point of view, one infinite reality, which appears as matter in the world outside, and as the Self within us. There is one reality in this world, and we call it Brahman or Atman, of the nature of pure consciousness.
So, Sri Krishna says here, ubhayorapi diho nta stvanayos tattva-darśhibhiḥ. This anta , ‘this conclusion’ , nirnaya, has been arrived by whom? Tattvadarsibhih by those who have realized the tattvam.  Tattvam also is a scientifically precise word of Sanskrit. Tasya bhavah tattvam – the nature of a particular thing is called tattvam . Not what it appears to be. Just like the earth is flat, is not tattvam but matam, opinion. Our senses tell us the earth is flat., but what is tattvam. It is round, the earth is globe. That is tattvam. Those who know the tattvam of things, by scientific investigation, they have come to this conclusion; that this sat, reality, is always, is. and what is asat, that which doesn’t exist , has no reality. So the sages , who have discriminated and investigated this subject, have come to this conclusion -- There is one reality in this world, and we call it Brahman or Atman, of the nature of pure consciousness. This is tattva; not what appears, not what is pleasing; these are called beliefs and dogmas. Have plenty of them, but tattvam is different.
What is tattvam of a thing? Suppose I have an opinion. I can hold on to an opinion; but , it must be based on truth. It must be a true opinion. Then only it gets the status of a tattvam. Otherwise, it is called matam. The word opinion in English is called matam in Sanskrit. Tad-asmakam matam , ‘it is our opinion’ or ‘it is my religion’. It is not the truth, I have not investigated it. But when you investigate and find it to be true, then that opinion becomes true opinion. It can stand challenge. So ordinarily, our religions in the world are always a plural. They are matams. What pleases me, what attracts me, what is relevant to my needs, that is called matam. I choose to be a Vaishnava, a Saiva, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Christian, all these constitutes matam. That is one aspect of it. The second aspect is: if you scientifically investigate, what is all this matam? Is there a truth behind all this? That discovery will lead you to tattvam of religion. When  tattvam is discovered, there will be no conflict in religions. Scientific truths do not conflict; only dogmas conflict. We know that all these are forms of the same single reality. There will be no conflict thereafter. Harmony and peace alone can come. And respect for each other: your opinion I respect, you also respect my opinion. You take some food, I respect it. I take some food, you respect that also. Don’t say that my food alone is food, your food is poison. That is what we have done in the name of religion, mistaking it to be tattvam . Tattvam is quite different. Any food you may take – that is matam . but see that you take so many calories, so much of nourishment needed for health; that is tattvam.
So, you can see in religion as well as in food the distinction between matam and tatvam . only when you investigate, you will come to this truth. In our country today, when more people begin to question, why so many religion? What is the truth about all of them? Every religion says I am true; yes you are true. But you can’t take a copyright of all truth. Others also say they are true. When such questions come, very impartial objective investigation is needed, and that is what our ancient and modern sages did, and raised matam to the level of tattvam. And tattvam is one. Tattvam can never be plural. Matam can be plural. So, matams are but different expressions of that one tattvam. That is how our Indian sages discovered that wonderful unity behind the diversity of religions, established harmony and peace, with so little of intolerance in the name of religion on the soil of India.
But that tattvam is spoken in differently in language and style by different people. What are these? Some call It Brahman , some call It Paramatma, the supreme Self, and some call It Bhagwan, the all-loving God.
In this way, this investigation of matam and tattvam has done immense good to the country. And today, we have to  inaugurate that kind of investigation, to find harmony behind these diverse manifestations.

(Excerpts from Universal message of Bhgavad Gita by Swami Ranganathananda of Ramakrishna Math.)

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