Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse  18

“That by whose proximity the body, the senses and other such objects acquire the power to act, to select and to differentiate – that am I. This you must understand”.

Commentary

Having established by reasoning that the Self is neither the mind nor the senses, nor a combination of the two, the holy Acharya now says something positive about the Self. The Self does not and cannot allow of a direct description because such descriptions are in the realm of relativity and as such would condition that which they describe; nevertheless, in this verse, the Acharya throws out a hint as to the real nature of the Self.

Just as by the proximity of a magnet iron filings acquire activity, and by the proximity of the sun’s rays the earth becomes fertile, so by the mere proximity of Purusha prakriti changes and goes into modifications. This is the Sankhya view, but the Advaita view is slightly different. It is not due to the mere proximity of the Self, although in a sense this is so, but rather due to the omnipotent will of the Lord, expressed macrocosmically as the world and microcosmically as the individual Self or jiva, that the mind acquires the power to feel, to imagine, to reason, to will and so forth.

It may be said: “If the Lord is the real doer, why blame the jiva for any of his acts which may be contrary to dharma?” The explanation is that the individualised consciousness (jiva) suffers from a deluded feeling of identity with the prakriti or Maya, which is the cause of suffering and limitations. The jiva has to be awakened to the spiritual wisdom, and then the actions of the mind and the senses will accord with the universal scheme for the evolution of prakriti and the release of all jivas from the delusion of duality. There is no fatalism in the holy philosophy.

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse  19

Share This