Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Sridakshinamurtistotram at advaitin

Disambiguation (1, 2 and 3) at advaitin between shridakshinamurthy stotram, that begins with "vishwam darpana drishya maana nagari tulyam" and others. It seems that there are three stotras by Shankara on Dakshinamurthy and the convention seems to be to call the most popular one (one that begins with "vishwam") as ShriDakshinamurthy Stotram. It is erroneously called astakam, as it obviously does not have eight shlokas.


Shri Subramanian continues his exposition of the ShriDakshinamurthy Stotram. In part VIII, he comments on verse 7 of the stotra.

bAlyaadhiShvapi jAgradaadiShu tathA sarvAsvavasthAsvapi
vyAvR^ittaasvanuvartamaanamahamityantaH-sphurantam sadaa |
svAtmaanam prakaTIkaroti bhajatAm yo mudrayaa bhadrayaa
tasmai shrIgurumurtaye nama idam shrIdakShiNAmUrtaye || 7 ||

Here are Part VIII-a, Part VIII-b, Part VIII-c, Part VIII-d, Part VIII-e and Part VIII-f.

There is a mistake in numbering VIII-e as VIII-f. Here is a supplementary comment on the word 'dhira' VIII-d dhira.

Link to previous ones.


Prof. VK's page on Shri Dakshinamurthy stotram. Read the rest of this entry >>


I have read the book Advaita Vedanta by Eliot Deutsch many times. Here is a selection on "Freedom", from chapter eight titled Moksha and Jnana-Yoga.

The distinctive characteristic of most practical and theoretical concerns with freedom is the attempt to discover how one can be free from something: be it one's own passions and appetites, society, laws, or forces of physical nature. Freedom is generally conceived of that state of being or that opportunity which is on the other side of "necessity". Thomas Hobbes sums it up neatly when he writes that "liberty or freedom signifies properly the absence of opposition" [Ref: The Levithanian].

The Advaitic concept of freedom (moksha or mukti) likewise is cast initially in negative terms, as freedom from karma, from actions that bind one to the world, and from the ceaseless round of births and deaths in the world (samsara). But it also recognizes that when freedom is conceived of only in the negative sense of "freedom from," it is not something that human beings ultimately value; and that when taken to its fullest term, freedom is something from which they flee. [emphasis mine]

Whenever one is in a situation of strong constraint, one may indeed earnestly desire freedom from this constraint; one may even indeed become obsessed with the desire to the point when one is rendered impotent to act effectively within the situation; but once all constraints are removed, one finds oneself facing an abyss. One doesn't know what to do, one doesn't know what to make of one's freedom, and rather than face an infinite possibilty, one voluntarily seeks some other kind of constraint. We ceaselessly chain ourselves to things, to ideas and to dreams and illusions. From some inner compulsion, we turn away from the possibility of freedom. We imitate the servitude of others and convince ourselves that we are thereby fulfilling our social responsibility. "Freedom from" is denied by us. In human experience it turns out to be empty of substantial content [Ref. footnote].

This "Freedom from," however, does not denigrate the meaning of freedom: there is another kind of freedom that is a positive goal towards men may strive. The other kind of freedom does not merely lie on the other side of constraint; rather all oppositions between "freedom from" and "necessity" are overcome by it.

The Sanskrit word moksha (or mukti) connotes to the Advaitin "freedom from karma" and also the other kind of spiritual freedom. Moksha, in the positive sense, means the attaining to a state of "at-one-ment" with the depth and quiescence of Reality and with the power of its creative becoming the a Spiritual freedom means the full realization of the potentialities of man as a spiritual being, It means the attaining of insight of oneself; it means self-knowledge and joy of being.

footnote : This denigrating of "freedom from" is not meant, however to deny the validity of the very important distinction between choosing one's constraints and having them imposed upon them by others. The word "liberty" is perhaps more applicable here and is something that is indeed valuable. Because man is unable to endure "freedom from," in the fullest sense of the term, does not imply that he is then subject of whatever constraints may be imposed upon him. Self-chosen constraints are one thing, externally imposed constraints (or involuntary actions) are quite another thing.
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New laptop!

A pleasant surprise, my new laptop was outside my door today. It invited me to blog.

A rendition of Ganapathi Atharva Sirsha Upanishad and a good rendition of Dakshinamurthy Stotram, thanks to this post on Advaitin mailing list. I donot know who the artists who sang the Stotram are, but they have done a great job!


The Western Taoist: Recently in a Pooh session, I read The World of Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner. I also read a couple of illustrated ones like this. (The sub-title is from the book by Hoff.)

Atanu feels at home and SJ writes about Reason vs. Faith.

One of these -- to paraphrase a saying about another person I admire -- is an philosopher in the garbs of an economist who I have never met. His philosophical thoughts which are rivalled by not many. Dare I even say, his writings rival some of the writings of the great late Raja Rao.

The other -- who I always respected for his sharp intellect, and power with words -- works in M$ and has been away for nearly eight years, though has been my close friend all the time.

In spite of these, I understand, rather experience, the feelings of each of these. Ah, the powers of Internet! Read the rest of this entry >>

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Tao and Lance on problem solving

UCLA column on Terrence Tao (the winner of this year's Field's medal). Link, thanks to a comment on Lance's blog. Lance's post on problem solving in math/TCS is quite useful. Read the rest of this entry >>

Two Jewels of books and others

Om Gam Ganapathaye Namah!: (from Ganapathi Atharva Sirsha Upanishad.)

Two Jewels: (1) Translation of Shankara's Self-Knowledge (Atmabodha) by Swami Nikhilananda. It also has a beautiful introduction to Vedanta philosophy with an appendix that includes English translations of many of Shankara's works. (2) Ramakrishna and His Disciples by Christopher Isherwood about Shri. Ramakrishna, the phenomenon.


Some belated obituaries: The great indian novelist Raja Rao, the great musician Bismillah Khan (interview and anecdotes [Hat tip: Uma]) and a great entertainer Steve Irwing.

Other books: Zen mind, Beginners mind, Our Kind by Marvin Harris, [Hat tip: Atanu] and Devil's Chaplain by Richard Dawkins [Hat tip: SMS].

Other stuff: In his introduction to Bhagavad-Gita, Prof. Deutsch considers Chapters 12 and 13 to be the pinnacle of Bhagavad-Gita.

Hope everyone is doing fine. More later.

Amar Read the rest of this entry >>

Thursday, September 07, 2006