Saturday, November 24, 2012

Jñâneshvar - Wonderful Letter of Friendship to Chângadev (excerpt)

(left) Jñâneshvar (c1275-1296) and (right) Tukârâm (c1607-49)

Jñâneshvar's Wonderful Letter of Friendship to Chângadev (excerpt)

A jealous man once brought to Âlandî the fierce, proud yogi, Chângadev, to challenge Jñâneshvar in a psychic contest. The saintly youth preferred the loving way of preemptive diplomacy: he won over the yogi with a beautiful letter of friendship and nondual wisdom, the 65-verse Chângadeva Pâsashtî, a gorgeous literary gem deserving much wider readership. We give excerpts below, from a lovely translation by Swâmi Abhâyânanda.

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Salutations to the Lord of all, Who is concealed within the visible universe. It is He who causes this universe to appear and it is He who causes it to vanish as well. // When He is [fully] revealed, the universe disappears; when He is concealed, the universe shines forth. Yet He doesn’t hide Himself, nor does He reveal Himself; He is always present before us at every moment. // No matter how diverse and varied the universe appears, He remains unmoved, unchanged; and this is just as one would expect, since He is always One, without a second. // Though gold may be wrought into many ornaments its “gold-ness” never changes. In the same way, He never changes, though the universe contains so many varied forms. // The ripples on the surface of a pond cannot conceal the water; this universe of many forms— can it conceal His Being? (1-5) … Truly, everything is Himself, and He is the cause of everything. (8)

The condition of separation does not exist in one whose vision is clear; He remains alone, amidst all duality. To him, the perceiver and the perceived are one. (10)

It’s the one pure Consciousness that becomes everything— from the gods above to the earth below. Objects may be seen as pure or impure, but the ocean of Consciousness, ever pure, is all that ever is. (12) // … Though the shadows on the wall are ever changing, the wall itself remains steady and immobile. Likewise, the forms of the universe take shape upon the one eternal and unchanging Consciousness. (13) // Consciousness always remains in its pristine state, unmoved by feelings of sorrow or joy; even though It may suddenly become aware of Itself, Its state and Its unity remain forever undisturbed. (16) // From within Its own divine pure depths, It gives birth to the perceivable world. The perceiver, the perceived, and the act of perception: these three form the eternal triad of manifestation. // Throughout the triad of perceiver, perceived, and the act of perception, One pure and primal Consciousness enchantingly shines and sparkles alone. // Though It always has existence, It sees Itself only when this “mirror” [the triad] is present. Otherwise, there is no vision; there is only the [formless] Awareness of Itself. // Without causing any blemish in Its unity, It expresses Itself through this triad as substance; these three are the ingredients in the creation of this perceptible universe. (18-21) // … The three dissolve [ultimately] into absolute unity; then, only One exists. The three exist in the void of imagination; only Oneness is real. All else is a dream. (25)

By no means may It be understood by the intellect. It is always complete and whole…. // The pupil of an eye cannot see itself! … In the same way, even the Self-realized Yogi is helpless to see the Seer. Knowledge cannot know Itself; the Perceiver cannot perceive Itself. // Where Wisdom-Knowledge (Jñâna) is perfect and full, ignorance cannot exist at all; so how could even the desire to know Itself arise in Knowledge absolute? // Therefore, one should address It through silence by being nothing, if one would be free, all-knowing, all-pervading; for in that “nothing” all power exists. (30-3) // It is Seeing, without an object; It is Vision, clear, perfect, and free. It exists alone, without anything else; within Itself is everything—and nothing. // … It sees without any object to see. It enjoys without any object to enjoy; It is complete and whole in Itself. (35-6)

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