‘Adwitham’ as I understand IT.

(Written by and © Udayabhanu Panickar.)

(These are my partial thoughts of interpretations during my study of braHMavidya including TirumantiRam and TirukkuRaL, along with the words of wisdom and information I received from my own Guru, Parents and our Great Masters. Whatever is written here is all borrowed from them. It may also contain the revelations made possible by the grace of “The Absolute” to me in “The Silence of the Unitive Experience”. I just put them together during my learning process. udayabhanupanickar@yahoo.com )

Gurudevan was an Adwithin (അദ്വൈതിൻ – അദ്വൈതവാദി) and HIS followers should also be so. To be able to be a real adwithin, we must first withdraw from all the surroundings. By examining and understanding everything and everyone. We must withdraw from this physical world which includes our own body. And then, at the culmination windrow even from the mind; that is from the tumult and feverishness of the mind. Then only we can understand that we are in fact that ‘Being’ itself; from which everything manifested. There is no ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘him’, ‘his’, ‘her’, and ‘theirs’; it is only ‘We’ and “Ours”. At that stage we see no difference between anything. There shall be no difference in living or being dead; we don’t see difference between death and birth; between sorrow and happiness; between black and white and so on. That is what Gurudevan declares through HIS literary works, especially daivadeShakam and AdmopadeShaShathakam. That is also what HE indicated with every action of HIS. HE was not a social reformer, not just a poet, nor anything else, but an adwithin at the pinnacle of braHMavidya. Bhagavad Geetha also declares that everything came out of ‘IT’ and they are all ‘ITs own variations, and ‘IT’ is not in them but everything else are in ‘IT’ and everything nothing but the same braHMan.
‘IT’ is the beginning, the middle and the end. ‘IT’ is the first of aksharam, (the one that shall not perish) the “അ” (“A”) and its compounds, ‘IT’ is the paired compounds; the unexpanded time; the maintainer universally and the Universality. ‘IT’ is the all-engulfing death and also the source of bringing up everything ‘to be’ again. And ‘IT’ is the feminine values of fame, grace, speech, memory, will-power and the endurance. Likewise, ‘IT’ is the ‘irresponsible chance’ and the risk of the gamblers and also the brilliance in the brilliant. ‘IT’ is the victory, decisiveness; and the goodness of those who are well established in “The Reality”. ‘IT’ is the scepter of those who rule and ‘IT’ is the statesmanship of the victorious, and ‘IT’ is the silence, and the knowledge of the knowers. Whichever entity is unique and perfect in value, in grace or in radical strength, all these manifested from a sheer functional spark of ‘IT’. The whole universe, whatever we see (and do not see), all including the static and the dynamic, and all that are unitively (As One) established are ‘IT’. If we are close enough to ‘IT’, we may be able to see the boundless forms of ‘IT’; on all sides, with multitudes of arms, stomachs, mouths, and eyes; but we cannot see the beginning, the middle or the end of ‘IT’ because ‘IT’ has no beginning or end. There is nothing, moving or unmoving, which exists without the grace of ‘IT’; and ‘IT’ is the seed of every being. ‘IT’ is the giver of the germ, thus ‘IT’ is the cause of the birth of all beings. ‘IT’ is the Father and also the Mother of all. ishavAsyaOpaniShad also very clearly says that “that moves, and That does not move, That is far, and That is near, That is inside of all these and That is outside of all these are all braHMan and when we understand this fact there shall be no sorrow and no delusion, there shall only be unity of all. This is very clearly declared by Gurudevan in AdmopadeShaShathakam. In daivadeShakam (ദൈവദശകം), He says that ‘IT’ is the mAya, the mAyAvi and also the one watches over everything and enjoins it all; thus the mAyAvinOdan (മായാവിനോദൻ) also.

Religions, especially the Semitic religions are of the opinion that there is an all ‘Good God’ and there is an evil, ‘The Satan’ and the world is in continues fight between them. However, it is not an ‘all-white’ and ‘all-black’ or evil and good as in religions. According to braHMavidya the ‘good and bad’ are in everyone and everything and vary in each individual and there is no ‘all good’ and ‘all bad’ one; because, all including the braHMan, has both negatives & positives. The religions had created a “Satan” or evil and gave it a very hateful place. Whereas, in braHMavidya, this negative is also a very useful thing when within limits and that is what we refer to as mAya. The mAya is phenomenally considered as feminine principle and metaphysically considered as a negative counter point to the braHMan’. Here the creation or the recycling of the universe is done together by the braHMan & the mAya. For every event there has to be a positive and a negative. If there is no negative (and positive), no electrical or electronic equipment will work. The same way everything in the universe is produced by the braHMan & the mAya, the Positive and the Negative. Even though we refer to it as braHMan & mAya, it is just ONE.
Bhagavad Geetha says that the great braHMan as Moola PrakRiti (മൂലപ്രകൃതി) is the great womb. In ‘IT’ the PurusHa, which is also the ‘Great braHMan’ place the germ; from which, is the birth of all beings.” “Whatever forms are produced, in all the wombs whatsoever, the great Moola pRakRti (മൂലപ്രകൃതി) is their womb and the PurusHa (പുരുഷ) the seed giver. Purity, passion and inertia – the three GuNa are born of pRakRti.” (പ്രകൃതി) “Earth, water, fire, ether, mind, intellect, egoism; these are the products of the lower pRakRti”. And there is a higher pRakRti, which is the very life element by which this world is upheld and sustained.” “These two pRakRti, are the womb of all beings. So the braHMan is the ‘Source and the Cause’ of formation, sustenance and reformation (dissolution) of the whole universe”; and All this world is pervaded by braHMan. In ‘IT’s Un-manifest form (aspect); all beings exist in ‘HIM’, but ‘HE’ do not dwell in them; as the ‘Mighty Wind’, moving everywhere. ‘HE’ rests always in space (AkASh) (ആകാശം); even so, all beings rest in ‘HIM’; and all beings, go into pRakRti at the end of a Kalpa (കല്പം) (measure of time). The braHMan send them forth again at the beginning of (the next) Kalpa. Animating ‘IT’s pRakRti; braHMan, again and again send forth all these multitude of beings, by the force of pRakRti. Thus the braHMan is the cause of all, the moving, unmoving; the living, the dead; the birth, the death; the good and the bad; all in ONE. It is an endless cycle. But, alas some authors of the West and some leftist intellectuals of the East can only see this in the light of human sexual activity.
If everyone is “ONE”, then why we see difference from one to the other, we may think. Let us see. People very often play card games. The distributed cards are not same for all; some may be same and some may not be. Also after every game the cards are collected and shuffled and re-distributed. The value of the cards may or may not change. In short the cycle goes on with each individual getting some similar and some of different value. The same way the game of life also goes on. And braHMan is the one does this distribution and the same in the case of human life. This in effect is the formation (creation), sustenance, and reformation (dissolution) and with this constant game of birth and death, with the span of life in between is the game played by the braHMan. As in any game there can be “win & lose”, and the pleasure of winning and the pain of losing shall be accompanying. But we are constantly in search of the Ultimate happiness and that is what we are aiming in our life. As human enjoy the games they indulge in, the braHMan sure enjoys the game of mAya. As the “Being” in every one of us, the braHMan is rejoicing the game along with us and thus HE is also enjoying it all.
The waves which originated in the ocean merge back into the ocean. Also the sound waves or sound merge into a state of silence. Both are very similar to what we go through as we merge into the silence of life, which we may call ‘SamAdhi’. And of course this is achieved only by the help, actions and sanctions of the braHMan. Thus ‘HE’ is the ‘ONE’ who removes that game of ‘birth and death’; and the pleasure and pain filled of ‘life-game’ we all are bound to be in. Thus HE is the ONE who can help in resolving it all and grant us the entry into the final destination. This again is expressed by Gurudevan in HIS various literary works specially in daivadeShakam and AdmopadeShaShathakam. And as the remover of that mAya HE is the Noblest of all, the one who gives us that Saayoojyam, moKSHam. (നീയല്ലോ മായയെനീക്കി – സ്സായൂജ്യം നല്‍കുമാര്യനും) the “Aryan”.

Wisdom and Vision of Gurudevan on Spiritual Evasion and Invasion.

Written by and © Udayabhanu Panickar

Often people assume that the dictum of Shree NArAyaNa Gurudevan “One in Kind, One in Faith, and One in God is Human” (oru jaathi oru matham oru daivam manushyanu – ഒരു ജാതി ഒരു മതം ഒരു ദൈവം മനുഷ്യന്) is a free license for accepting a religion. This is far from the truth. A comprehensive study of Gurudevan’s words and deeds can clearly show this. 

On many occasions Gurudevan has been misquoted and thus misunderstood on the subject of Spiritual Evasion and Invasion, which often some people refer to as “Religious Conversion”. Knowingly or unknowingly a lot of people made statements on this without doing a comprehensive study of all the words and deeds of Gurudevan on this subject. To fully understand Gurudevan’s messages and teachings, we must always explore the circumstances under which HE made each remark and each action HE took. Only then we can explicitly understand the essence of HIS articulate and well-calculated statements of limited words and gracious and gallant actions on this, or any other subject.

Gurudevan never imposed his Wisdom and Vision upon any one. However, HIS commanding appearance, honorable & conclusive words and HIS challenging and very effective actions were good enough for anyone to accept his authority and guidance without skepticism. According to the people who interacted with HIM, His eyes, words, actions and postures were highly impressive, thus effectual. No one could ever act against his wishes and words. No one could ever oppose to his actions because they were so perfect and timely. The genuineness, truth and sincerity of his words and deeds always overcame any doubt any one may have had about HIM and HIS divinity, intentions divine insights and knowledge.

On different occasions Gurudevan made clear remarks on accepting a religion or changing the course of Spiritual progression. At certain occasions he accepted people into the community and also brought back people who accepted a religion, thus preventing Spiritual Evasion and Spiritual Invasion at the same time. He also prevented people from doing it just for convenience, and material benefits. We can see examples of these actions based on HIS Wisdom, Vision, convictions and Spiritual conclusions in HIS life history.

HE never believed that the accepting a religion is in any way a threat to the society; provided if that acceptance is based on real understanding. HE very strongly emphasized that any such change must be executed purely on the basis of a person’s ‘belief born out of understanding’. No change should be made for any kind of materialistic benefits, temporary or long-term; convenience or as an escape route from discrimination, prejudice and persecution or anything else. Gurudevan only professed and advocated acceptance of a religion or Spiritual course based on these philosophies and fact based assumption. Here are few examples.

During HIS time, a family of Kannoor accepted Christianity for certain benefits; but not out of beliefs, and certainly not with understanding. However after some time, when they realized their mistake; this family desired to come back. But their previous community opposed the return. Gurudevan, when heard about this; intervened and asked the families and the community leaders concerned, to take them back into the community. Gurudevan’s arguments were so convincing that this was done happily by the community.

In Neyyattinkara, there were some families who accepted Christianity due to the discrimination and persecution existed at that time in the name of caste. But after witnessing the progress made due to the work of Gurudevan and his disciples, these families wanted to come back. But the community was not ready to accept them back. When approached, Gurudevan very happily took them back.

In the village of Vazhappalli, near Changanasherry; there lived a limited number of families of a community known as ‘PichanAttu KuruppanmAR’. They were small in number. This community was in a very difficult situation during Gurudevan’s time. In some respect they were considered lower in the social spectrum. But at the same time they were allowed entry in to the temples and allowed to walk the roads, where a lot of other communities were not. However the communities at the higher spectrum did not socially accept them. This coupled with the limited number of members in their own community, they had difficulty in functioning socially and they faced isolation. This isolation almost forced their leader, Mr Krishnan VaidyaR to make a decision for accepting Christianity for the whole community. This was a “Conversion of convenience”.

Sarasakavi Mooloor Padmanabha Panicker, a disciple of Gurudevan, who was very active in the welfare of the community and who used Gurudevan’s messages to unite and make progress for the entire population, (not just one community or just the so-called AvaRNaR, but for all the people); by dissemination of Gurudevan’s wisdom, informed HIM of this and requested that the ‘PichanAttu KuruppanmAR’ be accepted into the community so that this deceptive  Spiritual Invasion and the Evasion (or the “conversion of convenience”) could be avoided. Gurudevan happily accepted the proposal of Mooloor, and congratulated Mooloor for taking such a bold and courageous step. Gurudevan personally accepted them into the community. This was done at a public meeting in the presence of a large crowed which included leaders of various communities and religious groups.

Gandhiji during his visit to Shivagiri, (to meet Gurudevan) asked a specific question to HIM on this subject. The question was ‘Is conversion (accepting a religion) necessary for mOkSham?” Gurudevan’s reply was specific and to the point. HE replied that it is not at all needed for mOksham. He also asked Gurudevan if our Spiritual practices are adequate for this purpose. To this, HIS reply was also perfectly clear. HE stated that they are “perfectly adequate”.

Gurudevan on one occasion in a message to SNDP Yogam said that, ‘Renaissance should not be an effort of accepting a religion or converting from one religion to another. Our organization should be one that will unite all humans. Religion should permit freedom of belief. Religion should be acceptable to the intellectual mind and it should lead common people to do pure, good and noble deeds (Sanathana Dharma) in life. “One in Kind, One in Faith, One in God is Human” is such an opinion. We feel that all the people who believe in this Eternal Truth should join together under this organization. The idea of such an organization shall be a noble one. People who think that accepting a religion is the only way of eradicating discrimination and persecution can consider this as a religious conversion and (at the same time) a declaration of independence from the discrimination, without discarding our Spirituality.’

According to Gurudevan, religions have the same goal. That is to guide people to the “Eternal Truth” or prepare them to understand the ‘Absolute Truth’. Once that is done people will find the “Truth” themselves. The teachings of the Masters are only to help them in their quest for the “Truth”. In HIS opinion, all spiritual paths are the tools for the understanding of that “Truth”. None of them can claim to be the only source or the only way. Common man must follow the path of their own choice after learning and scrutinizing them.

Gurudevan’s messages indicated that the teachings and Spiritual guidelines given by the Spiritual Masters were according to the need of the place and circumstances existed at that particular period of time. As changes occur in time and place some of those principles may need modifications. May be the interpretations of those teachings needs to be reevaluated and restated. That responsibility is of the intellectuals and Spiritual Masters. They should also eradicate the anti-social and discriminatory elements, which lurked into them.

In Gurudevan’s opinion any Spiritual Practice has two aspects, internal and external. If accepting a change is for the external aspect, which is not a Spiritual change at all, that is only a social change. As regards to the internal or the Spiritual values concerned, it is always changing as the individual’s ability to think and contemplate advances. (Remember, in relegions this change cannot happen as they are supposed to follow a set of rules and regulations; and if this happens, it shall be against the norms of that religion.) That change cannot be made with any external force. It has to come from within the people themselves, and that can only happen as the depth of Spiritual knowledge increases. So, accepting a religion for material benefits; or for any other reason without the proper understanding of IT, is just an intellectual slavery, not Spiritual practice. Remember religion is a social setup and our Spiritual practices are not. Gurudevan categorically stated that anyone who does not believe in a particular path must not stay with it, which clearly indicates and emphasizes that accepting a religion or Spiritual Practice must come with understanding of what they are getting into and what they are getting out of.

According to Gurudevan, almost every religion is a collection of codes or teachings of one personality, even though it may contain bits of teachings from others. But our Spirituality which is often refered as “Hindu Religion” is actually a collection of religions, thus, the codified collective teachings of a group of Spiritual Masters.

Let us take an example from the nature and try to understand this point. Look at the ocean and the rivers. Once the rivers merge in to the ocean, can any one point out the water of any particular river? No, it is impossible. Now let us go further and take water from different parts of the ocean and taste it. All tastes the same. It is very similar in the case of different religions and our Spirituality. The relegions are same in essence, but superficially different. That is the difference between our braHMavidya and religions. Religions are one directional and flowes just in one direction, like the Rever. But BraHMavidya, which is the Spiritual Practice of our good old bhAratham, is constantly expands with more and more Spiritual thoughts. That is why it is braHMavidya. Remember all the rivers have their origin from the ocean to start with.

According to Gurudevan the essence of all the Spiritual teachings, which emphasis on the betterment of the society as a whole when put together could be called as the “One Religion” HE professed for.

The eternal values such as love, brotherhood, charity, dedication, truth, undiscriminating, freedom are all equally important. One is not better than the other or inferior to another. Relegions may have some of it. But braHMavidya has it all. According to the time and place, certain values get more importance. It does not mean that others are to be neglected or an ideology based on that is inferior. But they are not fully equipped whereas braHMavidya is.

What is the need of the society now, at this time? That is what the intellectual and the spiritual community should deliver to the common people. The world is in a very dangerous stage now. There are conflicts all over the globe, almost every one of them based on religion. What should be the remedy for this? We, the whole world must try to understand others opinion, on each and every matter with an open mind, mutual respect and mutual understanding. We should try to study each other’s ideology, culture, and administrative systems of all kinds, starting with their own first. This should be done not in a confrontational or aggressive or discriminatory way; or to high jack it and claim ownership later; as it is done now. It should be in a very friendly atmosphere (without deception) and it should be a cooperative effort. The objective should be to understand the others and to make others understand your side of the spectrum with respect for all. Only then the whole picture can be understood and problems solved.

The problem is universal. Understanding the entire picture only can give you a vision of remedy. And for sure the remedy will materialize if all can understand their own and each other’s beliefs, customs, needs, programs and problems and restrain from creating problems by forcing own agenda on others. Then people will understand that the requirement of the time is not religious, ideological or Spiritual change, but understanding and respecting each other. The need of the time is, “understanding”. That could be achieved by the learning of Gurudevan’s teachings, which are, completely imbedded in braHMavidya the spirituality of our good old bhAratham. 

Once Gurudevan said that the conflicts are not due to religion or the chosen Spiritual paths; but it is due to the intoxication of the mind with the blind belief, which leads to ‘not understanding’ or misunderstanding, the other side. This is what should be removed. For that the society, now more than ever, the world needs Narayana Gurudevan’s spiritual guidance. Learning HIS Spiritual works is the solution.

Our spiritual heritage is not a cult or a creed. It is not a dogma, or a one-way single path to heaven. It is a multiple lane Super highway for moksham, which is the merger of jeevAtman with paramAtman. It is not even just a religion as such; nor is it just a way of life. It is the complete and comprehensive collection of divine knowledge of the Absolute Truth, which, when learned and practiced; can lead people to the experience of the Absolute and the Ultimate Bliss. It is a continuously evolving and absorbing science; “The Science of the Absolute”, a flexible body of Divine knowledge centered on the quest of the jeevAtman (for the English speaking world, we may refer this as soul) for its’ birthright, ‘the divine realization’. In addition, it makes provisions for all jeevAtman in this quest. Yet, it remains immeasurable as it safeguards the very purpose of all life everywhere and in all things. We may call It Sanathana DhaRMam, but never categorize it just as a religion, or just as a way of life. It is much Greater and Spiritual than both. The wise called it “The Science of Spirituality”, The Science of the Absolute”, “The Science of the Self” or “The Science of the Soul”; It is braHMavidya.

This can very easily be understood if we learn HIS Spiritual works and understand the wisdom contained in it.


(Note: This article was originally written in 1996. It has been reworded now with some modification.)

Who am I?

“I am Neither SanKHyan, nor Shaivan, nor Jainan, nor does any other doctrine hold good for me.” “I am not the Earth, nor Water, neither Fire, nor Air, nor Ether, nor any sense-organ, nor am I their aggregate. I am not any of these as they are all transient and variable.” “I do not have neither castes, nor their rules and customs, nor I am neither the observances nor the duties attached to them, nor are for me even meditation, Yoga and other practices.” “I am neither Mother nor Father, nor the gods nor the worlds, nor the VedaH, nor sacrifices, nor any holy places.” “I am neither above nor bellow, neither inside nor outside, neither the middle nor across, neither East nor West. I am neither white nor black, neither red nor yellow, neither bent nor stout, neither short nor long. For me there is neither waking nor dream, nor deep sleep, nor am I the one conditioned by these three states; because these are of the nature of avidya, nescience. I am incapable of being known in any manner or form owing to my being of the nature of light or knowledge or self-resplendent Consciousness. There is neither teacher nor scriptures, neither pupil nor teaching, neither you the hearer nor I the speaker, nor this empirical universe, because the teaching of one’s true nature; the consciousness of Reality, does not admit differentiation.

By special realization it is revealed that my nature is Absolutely Pure. I am indivisible one by nature, and all pervading like space.

This entire universe, being other than the Self, is unreal; for the Self alone is all-inclusive, and constitute the Ultimate goal, and IT is self-established and self-dependent.

All this illusion of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ which are rooted in the ‘Non-Self’, thus is dispel-able by the knowledge of the Self.

Therefore, I am that One, Auspicious and Pure, and that alone remains.

 (From a speech; on the subject “GurusmaraNa”; few paragraphs on Aadi ShankarAchAryaR presented at the KHNA convention in California, USA on July 11, 2009 by Udayabhanu Panickar.)