Thursday, 30 January 2014

Per Speculum Vedarum


Mirror 1:

The reflection of a face in a mirror is different from the face, as it imitates the mirror. The face which does not depend on the mirror (for its existence) is also different from its reflection. Similarily, the reflection of the Self in the ego is also regarded (as different from the pure Self) like that of the face which is different from the face. The pure Self is considered to be different (from its reflection) like the face (which is different from its own). In fact, however, the Self and Its reflection are free from (real) distinction (between each other like the face and its reflection)
(from Upadesa Sahasri - A Thousand Teachings by Shankara)

Mirror 2:

But consider the case of an original object and its reflection in a mirror. We do not regard it as a contradiction that, although the original and its mirror-image are one, the smudges and other characteristics deriving from the mirror which we attribute to the image are not found in the original, and it is free from them. Even so, although the Absolute and the individual soul are identical, there is no contradiction in regarding the Absolute as omniscient and the individual soul as the seat of Ignorance …..
(From The Method of the Vedanta (pg.767) by Swami Satchidanandendra)



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If you are a monist it is easy to go from saying ‘it’s like a mirror’ to ‘it’s a mirror’. In the one view everything is demarcated but not without boundary disputes, in the other really it’s all one, everything is everything else - somehow. In the spirit of such general solubility and following the rule of John Thresher:
Mix the three, strain and throw away the sediment.(Adventures of Harry Richmond by George Meredith)
I offer the anfratuose etymology of wit through to wis, wot and wise to 'videre’ to veda. We see in a glass darkly but say Shankara and Satchidanandendra that does not affect the objects. They are not altered by imperfections in the glass. Those reflections in the mirror of the mind are merely the subtle form of the objects which are themselves forms of limitation of the absolute.

I have prepared my peace
With learned Italian things
And the proud stones of Greece,
Poet's imaginings
And memories of love,
Memories of the words of women,
All those things whereof
Man makes a superhuman,
Mirror-resembling dream.
(from The Tower by W.B. Yeats)



Reflecting as such is not altered by the medium of an imperfect mirror; pure consciousness is not changed in its immutability by fleeting personal states. There is a real relation between the objects and their reflections. The mutable reflections are real as reflections of real objects just as Creation is real as a manifestation of the Absolute. This is different from saying that creation is an illusion. It is real but not as a ‘free-standing’ reality in its own right.

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