Hinduism - Lesson 9

Mahavakyas of the Upanishads (Part 1)

The Mahavakyas are “great sayings” that give you insights into core teachings of Hinduism. The Brehed Aranyaka Upanishad shows that Hindus believe that diversity can come through oneness and not be an “other.”

Lesson 9
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Mahavakyas of the Upanishads (Part 1)

V. Mahavakyas of the Upanishads (key metaphors)

1. Creation of the World from the Self

a. Key thought: Continuity between Brahman and creation

b. Key theological development: Efficient vs material cause of universe

2. Having created it, he entered it

a. Key thought: The relationship of the One and the Many

b. Key theological development: One Reality, yet obvious multiplicity

3. How many gods are there?

a. Key thought: devas are a “lower level” manifestation of nirguna Brahman

b. Key theological development: Continuity with Vedas affirmed

4. All things exist in Thee

a. Key thought: Everything in the universe is a reflection of the One Reality

b. Key theological development: One God may be known by many names (remember, Indian conception of henotheism)

5. Uddalaka’s Teaching Concerning the Oneness of the Self

a. Key thought: Modification is merely of name, not essence

b. Key theological development: Further development of One and Many theme

6. The Cosmic Person

a. Key thought: Atman equated with ultimate essence of universe

b. Key theological development: atman small, yet encompasses the universe, paradox understood through cosmical homology

  • Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world and one of the oldest. It is about 12% of the world population and about 95% are in India. Hinduism is difficult to define. There is evidence of civilization in the Indus valley as early as 2800 BC. The sacred literature that is the basis for Hinduism was created and developed over hundreds of years. It was originally transmitted orally and was eventually written down.

  • Introduction to fundamental ideas and literature that are basic to the Hindu religion. The first lecture given for this class is not available at this time. This lecture begins on the class outline at II, C.

  • Discussion of the influence that the Vedic tradition has on Hinduism. 

  • Mahavakyas is made up of two words meaning, “great utterances.” The creation stories are a collection of different stories with various themes. The world is created by a divine figure dismembering themself and their body becomes the world. The caste system has a racial element to it based on some of the creation narratives in the RgVeda.

  • The Upanishads are one strand of the Vedas. Brahman refers to the all-pervading reality in the Upanishads, not the Brahmin caste. The question throughout the Upanishads is, “Who or what is Brahman?”

  • Brahman is the ultimate reality of the universe. Our atman is encrusted with karma and stuck on the wheel of Samsara. A Hindu's goal, in the process of being reincarnated through thousands of lifetimes, is to rid themselves of karma so they can achieve moksa, oneness with Brahman.

  • Maya is the ability of the gods to create the world and give it the appearance they choose, thereby concealing the true nature of Brahman. Karma is the principle that what you sow, you alone reap.

  • A Hindu must work off their karma to be released from the wheel of Samsara and achieve moksa when their atman becomes one with Brahman. Yoga was developed as a way to achieve the goals of the Samkhya philosophy. Hindus see God as a material cause of the universe, not an efficient cause.

  • The Mahavakyas are “great sayings” that give you insights into core teachings of Hinduism. The Brehed Aranyaka Upanishad shows that Hindus believe that diversity can come through oneness and not be an “other.”

  • Sankara says that Brahman is unknowable and we can't perceive any of his qualities. The rope-snake metaphor is often used by Hindus to discuss the difference between perception and reality.

  • Hindu writers often use metaphors to illustrate and teach the essentials of the Hindu philosophy. In their writings, they refer to these metaphors in a way that assumes that you know and understand them.

  • The purpose of this lecture is to see the structure of Hinduism at a glance. Hinduism operates and a philosophical level and a popular level. Hinduism attempts to resolve the relationship between knowledge, works and devotion. The four stages of life and the caste system determine much of cultural structure of Hinduism. Hindus worship many Gods.

  • The three major dissent movements that area a challenge Hinduism are Buddhism, Janism and materialism. Hinduism is adept at absorbing other movements. Buddhism claims that there is a teaching that makes it possible for you to reach the state of Nirvana which is liberation from all suffering. The founder of Buddhism is Siddhartha Gautama. The content of his teaching is the four noble truths and the eight-fold path.

  • The key insight of the Upanishads is the identification of atman with Brahman. Buddhists deny both atman and Brahman.

  • The Bhakti marga is branch of Hinduism that emphasizes a spiritual journey undertaken by a devotee that will culminate in a state of union with God or mutual indwelling of the deity and the bhakta.

  • The Hindu gods have identifying characteristics that make them easy to recognize when you see them in temples or other settings. The Trimrti are the three major gods of India which are Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. Brahma is not often visually represented, so Vishnu and Shiva are seen the most. Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, Shiva the destroyer. Vishnu has 10 incarnations or avatars. These are partial incarnations and don’t represent the fullness of Vishnu.

  • The Siva icon always has the presence of the Trishal, which is a sacred weapon of destruction. There is also the nag (cobra), damaru (drum), third eye, Ganges river flowing out of his head. The dancing Siva has a damaru in one hand and a flame of fire in the other that represents creation and destruction of the world. He also has dreadlocks and the trunk of an elephant.  The third eye of siva is what Hindu women have on their forehead. The Siva Lingum is the most dominant icon in north India.

  • The Brahminical branch teaches that works and devotion lead to true knowledge (Upanishadic vision, tat twam asi). Bhaktis say that knowledge and works should lead to devotion.

  • The Ramayana is an epic account of India. It is the story or epic of Rama and Sita, and is the origin of the tradition of Suti. Mahabharata is the epic of India. It’s the longest collection of poems in the world. The Bhagavad-Gita  is the most important part of the Mahabharata. It talks about both the dharma of caste and the dharma of denial and renunciation.

  • Gurus integrate different parts of the marga system. Paramahamsa Ramakrishna declared the unity of all religions. He claimed to have visions of Hindu gods and Jesus Christ and Mohammed and that all religions lead to the same ultimate reality, sat chit ananda. Swami Vivekananda was the most well-known follower of Ramadrishna and brought his message to the western world. He accepts tat twam asi, the great insight of the Upanishads, but thinks that everyone, not just Brahmans can perceive that unity. (The last point of the lecture was cut short due to a technical limitation.)

    You may download the text of Vivekananda's speech by clicking on the Handouts link in the upper left corner.

  • These are nine of the major holidays celebrated in India. Sankara has been called India’s greatest philosopher. Sankara emphasized universals and Ramanuja emphasized the particulars, similar to Plato and Aristotle in Western thought. Sankara has greater status as a philosopher, but Ramanuja has had a great influence on how the masses practice Hinduism.

    The chart Dr. Tennent refers to near the end of the lecture is the “Three Vehicle Structure of Hinduism,” which is labeled Lecture 6 in the complete class outline pdf document on the class page.

  • Brahmabandhav Upadhyay was an upper jati Brahman teacher who converted to Catholicism. He attempts to explain Christianity by using Advadic motifs. Brahmabandhav is an example of how a Brahman can address the Brahminical community using a Brahminical line of reasoning.

  • There are opportunities for preaching the gospel and planting churches, but there are significant challenges. There is a difference between being unreached and being unevangelized. Homogenus unit principle is one factor that makes it difficult for the gospel to spread in India. It’s important to send people to unreached groups and use a strategy that is effective for those groups.

In-depth survey of philosophical and popular Hinduism’s historical and theological themes. Exposure to current strategies being used to bring the gospel to Hindus and how Christian theology is being formulated in the Indian context.

Dr. Tennent occasionally uses pictures of Hindu gods or other visual resources in his lectures. You can download a document with these pictures by clicking on the Hindu Deity Pictures link. 



Dr. Timothy Tennent



Mahavakyas of the Upanishads (Part 1)

Lesson Transcript


Well, let's turn to our markets and continue. I think we were actually on number seven, if I recall, because this is the famous one where Shweta K2 is talking to his teacher and he makes a statement that which is the settled essence, the root of all this whole world has for itself. That is the true that is the self taught. Tom, I see thou art that literally that art thou said to Kate to taught to my See, I even put in the little notation there. This famous text emphasize the divine nature of the human soul, the need to discriminate between the sexual self and the access which is confused and the fetish which is bound. Essentially what that means is that, again, we perceive individuality. We we perceive separateness, but we recognize that at the root of everything there it is the same thou art that. So it's referring to the inner essence of all things that is really considered to be the most sublime insight of the upon the shards. Let me just repeat, I keep saying this, but just to make sure we're clear on this. Right now, we're still exploring the upon historic vision. That's important to recognize because that is an important but only one element of the whole Modern-Day Hinduism. So there's some people who confuse upon exotic teaching with Hinduism. There's a lot of Hindus who want to do that. They want to tell you that the finest shards is Hinduism. But in fact, Hinduism. That's more complex, more diverse, much more varied than that. So right now we're just paying the planet like a vision. And we'll show you in due course of time how this particular vision fits in to the larger picture. Because one of the points I want to make is to kind of see how this fits into what I call the three Varna structure.


If I thought about just and if this is not going to bless you, then throw out the trash, because later on we will look at this chart with much more care in the more I had extra handouts from Gordon College. When I talked to Gordon College, some students like to have kind of an advance view of things. Some find it like overwhelming and they don't want it. If you don't want this, then don't worry about it. But it may help you to see kind of where we're going in all of this, because you'll notice when you get it that well, I call this the three vehicle structure of modern Hinduism. And essentially what I'm going to be arguing in the class as a whole is that Hinduism really has three major branches. Essentially, it has two branches, two major branches, philosophical and popular. But underneath that you have the way of knowledge, the way of action, the way of devotion. Gina marga carmen, marga bhakti marga. Now everybody in India, India knows John Mark a common marga bhakti marga. There's some other markers that people try to, you know, advance, but eventually they get absorbed into one of these three. So at this point we really haven't explored at all the one on the very right the way of devotion. And yet that's a big part of modern day Hinduism. We haven't even talked about it yet. The way of action works, we have talked about caste and some of that. We've just we dealt with some of those things and we're just exploring on the left the way of knowledge, the Vedas, the upon the shards Brahman taught. Tom I see. So this is now that's the familiar territory that we're in. So essentially we're building the major kind of structures of Hinduism, even though we realize that if you were to stop a man on the street, as it were, that man on the street could fall into a number of categories.


You could meet somebody, as I did just this week, that a man who was a deeply committed to the Punjab Shards. He was one of these in the arsons. And he was he's a clear follower of General Marga to in the Punjab or the end of everything. But the average person in Koha in the village or our school is would probably be over here in the right the way of devotion. So you have people kind of from different perspectives, but we have to build this thing historically and properly so. The way of devotion does not emerge until after Buddhism. This is a concession to Buddhism. We haven't gotten to that point yet. So for many, many years, centuries in Hinduism, there was only the way of knowledge. The way of works was there was the Brahma, the Brahmins, nobody else. So what you've got is a simpler structure of Hindus, you know, the Brahmins who believe in the right, the truth of knowledge, and everybody else who just has to do what they can with their karma because there's no other way they can advance cause they're not Brahmans. So essentially that was the only two choices. The way of devotion both complicates and beautifies the whole thing because it it totally changes the possibilities within Hinduism and in many ways creates a lot of good opportunities for Christian Witness that otherwise would not be present and also horrifies Hinduism as well. I should say. It's both beautiful as horrified said all that's there. Everything in India is an extravagance. Whether you've got it either really rains or it's really dry, you don't really get like a light sprinkle, you know, or just a warm day and then it's either hot or it's cold to the raining or it's dry.


People are either fabulously rich or horribly impoverished. You know, you've got you don't really have the kind of middle. The clothes are like really bright or they're really drought jury. I've often said that in my experience, Indians, most any as I know are in terms of bodily hygiene, are the cleanest people in the world, which I know goes against the stereotype because we often think about people with lack of hygiene. But actually my experience, most Indians are extremely clean. They may inhabit a very dirty town and they live in a very dirty home, but they bodily are extremely clean. So you have the cleanest people in the world living in some of the dirtiest homes in the world. It's amazing. It's extravagance. Everything is extravagant. So it this helps you to see kind of where we're going. Then hold that. We'll eventually pass another one. We may see some slight alterations on it and we'll look at it with more, more detail, but we can't do that yet. Okay. The eighth Maha vacuum. Great utterance is this text from the speech of it's taught upon the Shard. The second chapter, which is about the mirror stain by dust even is a mirror. Stain by dust shines brightly when has been cleaned. So they embody one. One has seen the real nature. The self becomes integrated, fulfilled purpose and freed from sorrow. This mirror imagery is really, really important. What is the dust on the mirror? What is the dust on the mirror and what is the mirror present? Would it be karma to dust is karma. Definitely. Definitely. You have not been in a plane. You should be able to answer these questions just like that. If the dust is karma, what would the mirror be? You're great.


Okay, so we're we're making progress here. So essentially, everyone has an ottoman. You can't see the reality of that until you clean off the dust, which is the karma. So the way of works, for example, would argue that through various activities, keeping your, you know, your car, your, your dharma, you can clean it, the say to the proper knowledge, you can clean the dust off. But eventually you look into the mirror. Or when the mirror when you look in the mirror that's been clean of all the dust, what do you see? Third question. First question, what is the does is something definite karma. Second question, what is the the mirror argument? Third question When you finally clean it off and you look in the mirror, what do you see? Brahman Very good. We are making progress. Okay, that's it. That's it. Because now you see the real nature of the self. Ignorance keeps us from seeing the true nature of the self. That's a key thought. The key theological development. How this is used theologically is that different groups began to argue that their MARGA, their pathway is the way to clean off the dust. So the Brahmans say that knowledge is the key to getting rid of the dust, which means studying the Vedas, learning upon the shards and get ultimate get inside of Tomasi, the common Marga. People say, No, it's not that important to study the Vedas. You can have this experience just by keeping your dharma, keeping, you know, for your Shastri to be a good Choudhry. That's the kind of whole Bhagavad Gita thing, you know, fulfill your own duties in the stages of life and all that. Later on the book, the people who argue that these gods can clean it off for you or can help you in some way to clean it off if you're devoted to them, they have seen to the mirror clearly.


So if you can be lost in that God or that goddess because that God has seen clearly, you will see clearly. So this eventually becomes kind of like the launching pad for different groups in India to advocate and therefore different gurus who advocate various practices, both ascetic practices, meditation or practices or even pilgrimages or even dietary things. So all kinds of ideas about how to clean the mirror, where Dehradun is, where the school is, is a very famous pilgrimage point. And so they have what they call a kumbh Mela is a kumbayah. Mela is a pilgrimage to a holy site, and you dip into the Ganges River and they believe at certain points auspicious times that heaven will come very close to earth. And if you can dip in the river at that point, all your karma will be taken away. So that's a very powerful thing. If they believe the gods are very, very close at that particular spot. It actually goes back to a ancient Hindu myth because all the mythology ties into all the most exalted Hinduism. And there's a story about this goddess who God, they're fighting over this, this stuff called M rith it's a it's a like a milky substance that will give you eternal life. So they're all fighting over it. So there's times when the demons control it. There's times when the gods control it. And so there's all kinds of history about this and different everything is tied into this myth in one way or another. It seems like a lot of the early mythology. At one point the demons have taken this coconut bowl full of this stuff in their sleep, trying to escape from the gods. In the process of fleeing. They slightly tip it and seven drops come out.


And fall. And these drops hit at seven points in India along the Ganges Valley. One of them is Haridwar, where you've been there. One of the drops that fell there. Varanasi. I love odd, very famous places in India. So essentially people believe that because that drop of immortality felt in every child, any growth rate in these stories is all part of their popular culture, say. So even if you don't know about Hindu philosophy, they encounter it through stories as children. So they learn that going to Haridwar is a special thing. So we're right there at Haridwar. So all these programs are coming and they believe by dipping in the Ganges River, they can be freed from the dust on the mirror. So this becomes kind of the paradigm which launches eventually into millions of different ways in which a person can conceivably get rid of their karma. Not everybody is out there studying the eponymous charge, believe me. Many people more a more likely scenario of the typical Hindu is not a person on the banks studying the Vedas or the Punjab, but someone going on pilgrimage to dip in the Ganges River. It's much more like popular kind of Hinduism. So but it all comes out of the upon the shore. That's the thing that's interesting is rooted in this, even though the expressions become very popular. And eventually I want to show you how even the most popular village Hindus who know nothing about the romantic teachings. Virtually everything they do in one way or another is supported by the philosophy. All of this is very much this much more integrated. You realize, and there's a lot of support that it's shown through this. Okay. Any questions about the mirror imagery? Okay. Number nine is the famous transmission.


I think we have discussed this. Why don't we already discuss this? I'm trying to think what was the context. But having already discussed the transmission at the end of one's life, this is the text where we just never read the text. This is where I mentioned to you that when a man thinks he's about to depart, he says to his son, You are Brahman. You are the sacrifice. You are the world, the son answers. A Brahman is the Sanskrit. I am Brahman. I am sacrifice. I am the world. The I am Brahman is essentially the way you would testify to the thought. Tomasi There's no essential difference between Brahman and the self I and the sacrifice clearly ties the final shot back into the Vedic worldview, which is sacrifice based. So it's less important for our modern day purposes, but it's important in their purposes. I am The world again recognizes the oneness with the world as well. That actually is probably against a certain school of philosophy there that tried to argue the world is separate from us. So this transmission is really important because this lays the basis for the cosmic call homology idea. You're identifying the individual self with the universal self and by extension, that's that's very famous. The sacrifice of the of the of the altar becomes the sacrifice of the world and so forth. The cosmic homology between the self and Brahman is the key thought. This has also been used because the transmission occurs between the rabbinical father and his son. This has been used to reinforce the role of the Brahmins, the high caste Brahmins. And so it basically says that unless you have the inside of tatami, si I am Brahmin, then you cannot be released from Moksha.


And that's of course, very, very important. So this this would be a way of turning back a multitude of ideas about how the dust can be clean from the mirror. This is reinforcing rabbinical stronghold on Hindu thought. Are any questions about number nine? I'm getting a little public scrutiny. Okay. They say I'm a sacrifice. Pretend you buy that because when we say we know what it means, Jesus Christ. But what does it mean when a Robinson like sacrifice? Okay, what that means. And again, you know, Christians have tried to make a lot of parallels and all that, too. But I think it's looking like this is a long stretch. But essentially in the Vedic worldview, they believe that by sacrificing things, they create heat, tap us, and that releases power. And so the idea of sacrifice is long held in ancient religions to be a way of, you know, placating the gods or whatever else. All right. So that's part of the Vedic worldview. So the upon a sides, because they're not separate books, they're appendices to the Vedas. The upon us shards cannot be. Even though they do it, they cannot be seen to be producing new theology. So they Panesar is essentially is vastly importing tons of new theology, but they have to do it very carefully. Right. Well, this has always been there. That's even true. By the way, what we do with Christianity, you know, it's hard to introduce a new thing in India to somehow tied into like long hopes, long aspiration because the Indians don't like new things. So the fact that it says here I am, the sacrifice is just simply saying that the Brahmins idea of taht Tomasi and of the Monism encompasses everything, including the Vedic sacrifice.


So it's essentially, I think, a way of connecting to a major paradigm in the Vedic worldview. And I don't think there's any place where a Christian can really say, I am a sacrifice. Jesus Christ is the sacrifice. In some sense, we could say, you know, I die daily or, you know, I've increased our Christ in that sense. Maybe we can talk in those terms, but it's not really too difficult to kind of tell that in. Okay, number ten. The 10th Maharajah is a very long passage, but a very, very important one. This is known as the inner controller. It's a extremely important development. And later theology and later Hindu philosophy. This is actually becomes part of a dissent movement in Hindu philosophy run by Ramanujan rather than Shankara. We haven't gotten to those figures yet, but this becomes very, very important because this is going to find this is going to be trying to find a way to develop the concept of how are qualities of our lives, the differentiation. We see how it relates to the oneness of God. So essentially what he is arguing is that the Brahmin, the the Ottman, the universal self is within everything, controlling everything that we do this inner control or idea. If you look at all these things, the reoccurring phrase is the inner controller. Look at verse 17 he who dwells in the organ of speech yet is within speech, whom speech does not know whose body speech is? Who controls speech more then he is yourself the inner control or the immortal? He dwells in the eye, yet is within the eye, whom the eye does not know whose body the eye is. Who controls the eye from within. He is yourself, the inner control or the immortal? So this is a very important continent.


The term the phrase inner control trawler is the term and thiamin in Sanskrit and thiamin is Brahman in the Ottoman. The idea is how does Brahman activate and fill the lives of people for the various things they do? Well, because he's in everything. He is in everything. First 22 he who dwells in the understanding and is within the understanding, who understand, does not know whose bottom seeing as who controls the understanding from within. He is yourself the inner control of the immortal. So the divine presence affirmed as the essence of self. This is that very well known thing. The last three are very short ones, just to be aware of it. You notice that I have taken these text from a single Upon a Shard, but from two verses about four verses apart of five verses apart. Verse 11 and verse 16. And the reason I did this is to show you how the upon the shards toys with these two forms of Brahman. Verse 11, the one God hidden in all beings, all pervading the inner self of all beings, the ordained are of all deeds who dwells in all beings. The witness, the knower, the only one near goona Brahman, devoid of qualities. Okay, that's verse 11. So is describing essentially God, Brahman as ultimately devoid of qualities, but goes on to say he is the maker of all the knower evolved self cause the knower, the author of Time the Possessor of qualities. You should underline those two phrases devoid of qualities in verse 11 and possessor of qualities in verse 16 and year upon shards of this text, you can quickly turn to and look at the overall text to get the flow of this. But I want you to be aware of this text because this is what troubled the great commentators of the Punish Shards greatly, especially Shankara, is deeply troubled by these statements here.


How can Brahman be devoid of qualities and yet possessor of qualities? That becomes a very, very important philosophical discussion in the later commentaries on the upon the shards. So they all resolve it in different ways. But the way that Shankara resolves it, as we'll see later in more detail, is to say that Brahman is being spoken of in two ways near goona and sub Guna. And so he essentially uses this grid to go all through the upon shards and whenever Brahman sort of with qualities, he's okay that's Sigona whenever God is spoken of without qualities that's near goona and he can do that in a way that creates an abstraction of the divine self and essentially makes God unknowable because you can't speak with assurance about God because that's reduced the signal, which is ultimately illusory. It's important theological hermeneutic for Shankara, because Shankara is essentially all of his theology is driven by one overriding concern to promote and to defend the absolute freedom of God. God is not dependent on anything. So the only way He knows to do that is to promote the idea of undergoing a Brahman, because the once he starts saying, for example, that God is just you have to compare him to human justice and our human justice is incomplete. It's not always fair and accurate, and therefore it has a way of soiling God's nature. And so the only way to really preserve God's freedom, God's independence, God's total purity, is to allow human language to only function at a lower level. Now, why is this important? It's very important as my book tries to bring out, because what Shankara does in the name of defending God's greatness and you can't argue against him at that point. I mean, I admire Shankar's commitment to fighting for the freedom of God.


I make that point in the dialogs. I say to my Hindu friend, I say, I appreciate this because we've we've done this the opposite. We've tended to make God totally dependent on our needs. God becomes like a genie, you know, we pray and we wrote the Bible and we used to do things for us. On the other hand, if we allow Shankar to go unchecked, which is what he does, especially his uncle's followers, then you can say nothing with certainty about God anymore. You cannot say for God to love the world that He gave His only begotten son, John 316 is an impossibility because you start saying that you're starting to speak in human language, human terminology. Propositional truth is out the window, so you cannot make truth statements. God is anything. And that becomes a huge problem for Christian communication. And Shankar, I think creates a very powerful barrier to Christian penetration. And even though most Hindus are not, Shankar writes, most Hindus have been influenced by Shankar, and that influence is mostly negative to the gospel. And what about Shankara? He was he was a Leela. He was from Southwest India is a Carolina brilliant minded guy. His writings by any philosophical standard of the world, you compare to Plato, Aristotle, and the great thing is the world. His thinking is airtight. Not that it's true. I'm saying it's internally consistent within its overall falseness. So it's difficult to penetrate it because he follows certain line of reasoning and he maintains certain commitments and he rigorously holds to that. And because of that, it makes the worldviews difficult. This is not like going into a tribal area where the worldview is weak or whatever. This is a very difficult worldview to penetrate and therefore you can't.


They get very, very seriously. And the influence of Shankar's hat on India's is very profound. And one of the influences that has come about is that we cannot speak with assurance about God. It's a big problem for Christians because we believe fundamentally the Bible has revealed true truths about God. Hindus are basically skeptical about that. Even the villages, even the most backward village, they don't really have a confidence that somebody can speak with accuracy about God. And because of that, we have problems and it goes back to Shankara. So this is a very important Maha Vaka because it kind of lays that groundwork. Thoughts are comments about number 11 or about the we've already discussed new goodness again and quite a bit about some of these texts at least that provide the basis for that theology. Ramanujan Thankfully, praise God. Ramanujan totally rejects this and provides an equally profound system of theology that refutes this, which has been of great blessing to Christian, because that has provided a little opening for us. But Shankara is still the king. And so it's difficult. Number 12, very small one, two birds, companions, always united, clinging to the selfsame tree. Are these two the one eats the sweet fruit? They are the looks on without eating. Okay, more questions coming your way. Put on your thinking cap. You have two birds sitting on a tree branch. One is eating the fruit, eating the berries, whatever, felling himself. One is just in there looking. Why is that a maharajah? Why is that one of the great saints of India? Who are the two birds? Are these birds? Well, yeah, you could. You could say that. Yeah, that's Dave. Definitely that point. Okay. Well, I was just looking more generally.


There's definitely people. But yes, those people could be a Brahman and one could be a shooter. And then just curious which one's a shooter, which one's a Brahman. So I would have to say the one who is eating the C sweet food would be the government and the one would be the people. Oh, interesting. I thought you might say that, but they don't say don't say it that way. They might not agree with that. This actually this little metaphor of the two birds has been used in a lot of ways. Everybody likes to use this. Almost anything you say can be right. So and that's what I suggest anyway. Well, the Brahman can be the one the fastest just observing, but it's not affected by the clutches, right? Definitely. That's definitely used a lot. That idea, the one not eating is the person freed from karmic. Or you can say to really know something, you have to experience it. So book knowledge isn't enough. You have to eat it. Yeah, right. Okay. There's no end to how you could interpret this. I would say let's just look at two major ways interpreted there. Even though it's a kind of a very various variation of the one way is the way that you have suggested is that essentially the two birds represent two people, the person enjoying the fruits of their of their work and their karma, their their activities. Its even the fruits of their past deeds. That is the person who's still captured by their karma. The one who looks on is the one that's unaffected, who sees the true nature of Brahman. So that would be the person who who has the inside of Tom. Tom. I see. He no longer eats the fruits of his past deeds or actions.


He's simply content because he's seen the nature of Brahman. The other idea that was developed is that actually both of these birds are Brahman, not Brahmans, but Brahman that the one all be the two Brahmans. Which one is which? The one eating fruit is what So Sigona Brahman, the one that eating fruit. And they're going to Brahman. Yeah, that's it. Those are different ways it's interpreted. So in a way, it's a has been used to kind of reinforce number 11, marking number 11. And it's also been used to talk about the eating fruits of your past deeds and all that. In practical speaking, even though we've used the expression. Laguna Sigona, because that's the this is actually technically the philosophical distinction that they make as philosophers like Shankara talks in this category near goodness. SIGONA Without qualities with qualities. But in practice, among most people who are talking, preaching, speaking, whatever, in Hindu groups and organizations, they will usually say Brahman seems to mean their goodness. So Brahman always means very good, not Brahman. And when they say so good, they say yes Vara. So each Vara becomes the personal form of God. So people who say that Shankara or they punish shards teaches a personal god. That's a difficult one because according to Shankara, this personal God that we're talking about is actually ultimately illusory because it's a good and therefore has no ultimate reality to it. So it's a little bit troubling. So if someone says the punishments teaches a personal God, if they mean by that that individual people in their respective lives experience God in various ways, in their lives. The answer is yes. But if you mean that you punish us, teach a personal God, meaning that there is an objective God on the throne of the universe.


No, it doesn't teach that because your experience of God is illusory ultimately from this perspective. So you'll be very, very careful about this because the language can allude you. Because when you read it, you just assume, Hey, this talk about God, God is this God is that. But there there always, according to Shankar, at least whenever he sees God's spoken in these ways, he immediately makes it and makes it in this new category, which is this far, which is ultimately serene. So if you have, for example, God created whatever or God created something, God created The world, for example, is a statement which we would interpret as being the eternal God who actually objectively existed, created the world. When they say God created the world, they don't mean that, at least as Shankar writes, don't other groups might mean that. But certainly the the kind of the hardcore Punjab vision would not accept that. Which brings us to the last of the 13 mark is I would say this is probably not a maha vaquero in the larger sense. If you were to go to a school and study Hinduism by Hindu scholars. But from a Christian point of view, it's extremely important and I think should be included in at least our list in the Havelock is because of its importance in later development in ending Christian thought. This is the last two punisher I think I saw. You had your punishments here. Can I see your point shot? This is. I think it's still not sure. I didn't look at this particular edition. I think it's the same as mine. It should be the last one. Yes. This is an appendix here. So this is the last upon a shot in the book.


The last few verses of the five photocopied off here, verse nine, which is the last verse of The Last upon the Shard in the book. Now, this is important because it's widely believed that in toward the end, you will make a great idea. It's like when you die, like the transmission, you reveal things that you've previously have not revealed. This is believed by many people, those who accept that these are the principle upon shards. If you accept that this is the corpus of these documents that we accept, then you take very seriously the fact that the whole thing culminates in this last revelation, which seems to give at least some limited qualities to Brahman. They won't call it qualities, but at least some attributes at least. And that's this text here he alone who is possessed of these qualities is the Ramana. This is the view of the Vedic text and tradition, ancient law and history of their time back in to the Vedic text and the permanent refers to the rabbinical caste. The accomplishment of the state of the Ramana is otherwise impossible. Meditate on Brahman, the self who is now known as that. Underline the word is there because that's really important. Whenever you have the upon a side saying that Brahman is something that's very, very important. Brahman is being consciousness and bliss without a second meditate on Brahman. The self who is being conscious and bliss without a second. This is the Upanishad. Now, that is a hugely important statement and has opened up all kinds of discussion in Hinduism, especially in the Christian discourse, because you have these three designations of Brahman, which are we started, we looked at this and the other lists sat sit on and said, okay, so these three expressions, three terms represent at least three indicators of Brahman.


Let's not necessarily use the word qualities because Shankar would not even like that. But at least there are indicators that are pointers to a reality. But we're finally able to say something about Brahman. So if you say that he has been he is consciousness and he is bliss, as we've already looked at and we discussed these top terms, this is the text that underscores that it represents very important because this is largely the theological. Point upon which Christians have tried to build Trinitarian theology that impacts the philosophical Hindus. So this has been developed by a number of people all the way to the present day. There are some beautiful Christian hymns. I should bring one in to show it later in the semester written to set it on. And it's fully Christian. It develops each of the three parts of Trinity in light of this. So later in the course, we will touch back on this again. But this is the text and the only text, by the way, in the entire point of shards that makes this statement. This is it right here. So I'm saying no to a thing like the self who is being. And when you say he is being consciousness, isn't that giving it anthropomorphic characteristics to go to the he in this opening text is not referring to Brown but to the Ramana. This is a language that I'm using here, so please forgive me for for referring to God as He. I know you prefer something else like it to be more accurate. Every place I've said the word he, I should just use the word Brahman. K Brahman is being conscious and blessed, but this is eventually developed by Christians in personal mystic terms. One of the ends things about Chakra manager, the two philosophy, which we'll look at later in the course is Shankara always refers to Brahman as it reminds us all his words of Brahman as he and that of course, is a big difference.


And so you have in Hindu philosophy, I beg to vie between those who accept personal mystic descriptions of God and those who reject it. And the basic of the vision, according to Shankara, does not accept it. A personal view of God. But other people will take this and develop it in a more personal mystic way. Personal theism. Okay, so there we have the major moral vacuous of the upon a shahid's. Okay questions or comments about about this. I want to briefly highlight a few major metaphors. We don't have time to finish this, but I want to very briefly highlight ten metaphors that are the most commonly used metaphors and tend to discussion this import for two reasons. Most people find Hindi philosophy to be a bit opaque. I know that you don't because it's all been just opened up so obviously clearly right. I realize that it's a bit opaque. It takes a while to sort of forward to kind of jump into the stream, you know, and the what is it? Is it is like the Ganges or it's a good metaphor. It's it's a it is a bit muddy at times. But what surprises people is how does such sublime philosophy. Things like. Tom, I see the unification of yourself with the south of the universe. That's not something that, like the average child would just like, pop out to see and yet is so pervasive. And the Hindu worldview, how are these principles passed down, as it were, And the way they're passed down is through two ways through metaphors and through the great epics of India, one of which you're reading the Bhagavad Gita, or in each reading a portion of that, that great epic, the Mahabharata, which the Gate is a part of, and the Ramayana are very famous epics.


And then there's many regional epics that everybody knows around Shiva, around various gods and goddesses. And these metaphors are really, really famous because of that. They kind of bring things to life. And we will look at these. For example, we've already looked at the rope snake, right? The rope snake in the tent, and we just get something already. We haven't. Okay. This is the most famous metaphor in all of Hindu philosophy. This is the metaphor cause it's called rope snake. In fact, it's so popular that Shankara, in his writings, when he wants to recall it, he doesn't even retell the story because everybody knows. And so it's like saying, as in Goldilocks and the Three Bears, you know, you don't need to go over the story again and everybody knows the story. Goldberg simply bears. So he'll just say, as in rope. Snake can only say is that everybody knows the story of rope snake. So this is pervasive all through. So this is the story rope snake. A guy comes into his tent one night, he's tired, he wants to go to sleep and he opens his tent up. He has like a metal lantern or something. And he looks down and to his horror, he sees a snake curled up on the floor of his tent. And that's something every Indian can appreciate because we put our we built our campus, built the buildings we first got there. They're just snakes constantly on air everywhere, Snakes, snakes, snakes everywhere. Going to classroom to teach to be a big, huge cobra crawled in the wall and wall is like, unbelievable. All that's gone now we have you know, but we have record of the first year. We call it something like 58, maybe 78, first year.


58, 48, you know, down to 20 something. We kept recording how many snakes are caught on campus Every year is getting less and less nice. Every year now is like one or two a year at the most. So the idea of going into your tent and seeing a snake curled up is not an unusual problem to have. All right. So the guy goes in, he sees a snake, he's petrified. He's so scared. But then upon closer examination, he realizes it's not a snake is a call, a curl of rope. He was fooled. It looked like a snake, but it was actually a rope. That is the most famous metaphor in Hinduism. All of these are famous. But that, I must say, that's got to be way up there on the list. It's not number one because it's just constant alluded to. So you can imagine the way this is used. Part of the problem of Hinduism is to distinguish between perception and reality. You know, you perceive that you are an individual self, but in reality you are Brahman. Well, that's a huge perceptual gap. You perceive that the world has ultimate reality. It does not have ultimate reality. You perceive that, you know, you have individual existence. You actually don't have individual existence. Buddhism is full of this. Buddhism is going to go even farther, you know, because Buddhism denies Brahman, denies. OTTMAN So there's no basis for any reality. So Buddhism also likes this idea of perception. And in reality, this metaphor is a very important metaphor. It means because you see something that appears as x snake, it may in fact be Why a rope? And so that's something every child can understand. And so people use this. They also use that this like a the same category of metaphors ropes.


Maybe they'll use the especially down south with a million plays Shankara uses the the thing of mother of pearl you know he says you you you look out on the sea on the beach and you see a mother of pearl shell, very famous shell in Caroline. It looks like silver. The sun shines on us like silver. You think, Oh, this is great. I found silver. You run and you go with excitement. You grab the shell and it's just a shell. You thought you found silver. And they use the rope snake and the mother of pearl to say. Because one's that experience of horror, one's experience of joy. But both are found to be false. So whether your experience in life is negative, like suffering or you're completely content and happy and well-fed, either way doesn't matter. The reality is different from the perception is like finding silver or seeing a snake are two different things. One, a very negative experience, one, a very positive experience. But in either case, the perception is different than reality. So that's a very, very important example. They use the example in the same category of a dream. You have a dream. You dream that you did this, you did that, you did the other. You wake up, you realize you didn't do any of those things. You were in your bed all night, but you dream that you were out walking through the woods. You dream that you're riding a horse. You dream that you were doing whatever every human being in the world. To my knowledge, I don't think there are exceptions. Everybody dreams. Dreams are an inherent part of the human makeup. And there's all kinds of explanations for why we dream. But the fact that it's a universal human experience.


So that's something that everybody understands, that you have dreams and you wake up and the dreams are different from what the what, what you're actually doing so that this is also used. All these are examples to point out the difference between the facts and the illusion, comments or questions about this. Yes, it's, you know, some point of that whole. Does it really exist? Let me just briefly answer. We'll come back to it next time, because it's an important question, actually, because there are people who kind of argue that their point is simply to distinguish between the perception and reality are different. They're not talking about repeated experiences of one, you know, multiple examples of seeing a snake, and secondly, the value of true knowledge. So if you were to say the second time you go back, if the rope was cut up there, you would probably more likely see it as a rope rather than a snake. The second time there was so good. That reinforced what we're saying, that right now it's liberate you and we're providing the right knowledge. That doesn't bother them. The real. I thought you were going to ask actually was another question. And the other question, which is a lot more difficult, is to say, okay, you say you thought you saw a snake, they saw a rope. What is the reality of the rope? Are you saying the rope actually has reality? What is the reality of the rope? Are you saying there are objective? Because if everything is optimum, you know, then even the rope is not really a rope. And so the whole thing can be pressed down a lot. But next time, we'll look at some analogies that will help clarify that point as well.