Wednesday, 12 October 2016

A Method of Enlightening the Disciple (A Thousand Teachings/Upadesa Sahasri_

So what then is the procedure for the instruction of the pupil? Nobody gets to the enlightened state, in one hop. 'With one bound he was free', certainly not. The master (guru) has to deal with the material, the normal crooked timber, not true and twisted. For a start he has to offer the teaching at the level that the pupil (sishya) is at. That means the method of approximation or more technically adhiropa apavada which is to say, assertion followed by subsequent retraction. Each understanding is refined by a subsequent one. It must be kept in mind that the instruction in the traditional manner is one to one which means that it is gauged by the material to hand. What are the aspirant's presuppositions? A Western student of philosphy might demur and ask 'Does that mean that everyone gets his own version of Plato's Republic? Essentially, is that not the actual situation? We get a hold on it using whatever prehensile capacity we have and progress from there.

Theoretically there are perfect souls who on hearing the mahavakya Tat Tvam Asi (that thou art) get liberated. This is the ultimate sravana, hearing. Shankara's typical disciple is not one of those. He is characteristically sceptical offering the standard arguments against the advaitic concept of the Self.

If he says, "The pain due to burns or cuts in the body and the misery caused by hunger and the like, Sir, are distinctly perceived by me. The supreme Self, is known in all the Srutis and the Smrtis ('heard' and 'remembered' or Scripture and Tradition) to be "free from sin, old age, death, grief, hunger, thirst, etc. and devoid of smell and taste.

In summary the student contrasts this with his own transmigratory being. He has identified himself with his own mental states, his sensations, perception and emotions. In response the teacher must suggest a higher synthesis that characterises thes events as objective happenings.

Chap.1 para: 34:
The teacher should say to him, "It was not right for you to say, "I directly perceive the pain in me when my body gets cuts or burns". Why? As the pain due to cuts or burns is perceived in the body, the object of the perception of the perceiver, like a tree burnt or cut, must have the same location as the burns or cut etc.

Here there are two themes emerging. One of them is like the Cartesian Inner Theatre and the other is Causal Closure. Assesing these must be the subject of another post. As they say in that aggregator, - a 5 minute read.

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