Friday, January 26, 2007


Tattvabodha - 14

Hari Aum

Prostrations to Guru. Prostrations to All.

Kaarana Sareeram Kim?
What is Kaarana Sareeram?
Anirvaacha Anaadhi Avidya roopam Sareeradhvasya Kaaranamaathram Satswaroopaajnaanam Nirvikalpakaroopam yadasthi tatKaaranaSareeram
That which is inexplicable, without any beginning, of the form of ignorance, the cause for the other two bodies, ignorant of one’s own Self, free from duality, is the karana sareeram or the causal body.

In this sloka, Shankara is explaining about the causal body. According to scriptures, there is only Ultimate Reality of Brahman present. We all are nothing but the Ultimate Reality of Brahman which is of the nature of Existence-Consciousness-Bliss. But this nature of Self is not known because of ignorance. Ignorance has 2 aspects, avarana shakti or vieling power and vikshepa shakti or projecting power. During the state of deep sleep there is only Avaranam. There are no dualities experienced but there is only ignorance as one says after waking up "I dont know anything". This veiling of the real nature of Self by ignorance only leads to the projection of other things and hence ignorance is the cause of the other two bodies, subtle and gross.

Ignorance is never really present, it is only seemingly present and hence it is only an illusion in the Reality. Illusion can never be explained in the similar way ignorance also cannot be explained, thus Shankara here says that avidya is anirvachaniya. Ignorance doesnt have any beginning, as any illusion doesnt have any beginning. But ignorance has its end when the knowledge dawns. The snake, which was only an illusion in the rope, when the rope is known. In the similar way, when one gets the knowledge about ones own nature of Self, the ignorance vanishes. During the state of deep sleep, one identifies himself with the causal body. During that state there are no dualities, there is only ignorance and hence causal body is devoid of all duality, but this is the cause of all the dualities. Thus Causal body is in the form of ignornace, which is explicable, which is beginningless, which veils the Real nature of Self, which is the cause of the other two bodies and which is devoid of duality.

Next Shankara starts his explanation about the 3 states of experience (Waking, Dream and Deep-sleep states) which we will learn the next day.

Prostrations to All.

Hari Aum



Prostrations to all.

Just to add a single point to what Rajesh has explained below, the body which is made up of ignorance is called KAARANA or causal body because it is the cause of the other two bodies.

If we analyze this either at individual level or cosmic level of creation, this would become more clear. First analyzing it from the cosmic level, Brahman is initially veiled by ignorance (which at the cosmic level is called Maya or the power of the Lord) - once Brahman is associated with Maya, Brahman is called Ishwara. Ishwara is one who controls everything (the everything which is initially dormant in Maya and then is converted or transformed into the gross world that we see). Whether we define Ishwara as the controller of Maya or being under the control of Maya or as an aabhaasa (fallacious) appearance in Brahman, Ishwara is Brahman associated with Maya. Once there is Ishwara, Ishwara thinks (tat aikshat) and thereby the process of creation starts.

The above is creation from the Upanishads but we can go further with the sankhya way of explanation -- first Ishwara attains an unmanifested state which is called Avyaktam (unmanifested) or avyaakritham (undifferentiated). This unmanifested state is the starting of transformation into vyaktha or manifested state. The first manifestation is what we call as Lord Brahma - the creator -- other words used for Brahma is Mahat tattva, mukhya praana, vishwa manas etc. From this Brahma starts the pancha tanmaatra (the five essence of the pancha bhootas). From here starts subtle entities and finally ends with gross things.

Thus all subtle and gross things start from unmanifested state which is caused by Maya of Ishwara. Therefore it is Maya (ignorance at cosmic level) which causes subtle and gross things -- thereby maaya is also called kaarana shareera. Sankara here explains avidya as Kaarana shareera and not Maya because of certain schools of Advaita Vedanta differentiating between Maya/Avidya as total/individual (shareera is obviously at individual level only here).

Now seeing the same at individual level -- its our sleep (of ignorance from the knowledge that I am Atman) which causes the illusions of dream as well as waking world. The Upanishads clearly mention that "jnaate dvaitam na vidhyathe" or once a person realizes, there will be no duality. It is this sleep state which is associated with ignorance that causes the dream and waking world or states to be created. The dream and waking states are based on the subtle and gross bodies. Thus sleep of ignorance causes the two bodies of gross and subtle. Therefore ignorance is called causal body or kaarana shareera. Once a person wakes up from the sleep of ignorance, then he realizes that whatever is being seen in dream and waking world is only an illusion of names and forms - that which doesn't have any reality at all but is an apparent appearance in adviteeya atman.

If the above seems to be a bit confusing, then ignore it and just remember that "causal body" is that which is the cause for the other two bodies of gross and subtle :-).

Prostrations to all.


Let a moment not pass by without remembering God
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