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Are you the Seer or the Seen? Part 1

Are you intrigued by this question ? This was the question that Adi Shankacharya/Swami Vidyaranya chose to answer in the form of his treatise ‘Drg Drsya Viveka’. A few of us seekers have also been on a similar journey under the guidance of Sushma Aunty . We have been studying the text for a year and are ready to embark on the next part of this journey . Aunty had posted some thought provoking questions as we came back from the break . That’s what this blog post is about . Some wonderful insights from the students which I think everyone will be interested in . I have not named any of the students, since association of a name always makes it hard to reflect upon them .This was an actual discussion so apologies if I misinterpreted anything from my fellow students .

One of the questions asked was , ‘ What is the uniqueness of the discrimination in Drg Drshya Viveka as opposed to other texts or methods?

Student 1:

Before going through Drk Drishya Viveka, I have read Bhagavad Gita quite often. In that I read about Aatma. The way I understood Aatma was ,that it was internal to me , the person that is me and out there was the world. There was always a perceived boundary, there was the world and here I was .Once I started attending Sushmaji’s class for Drk Drishya Viveka, which gives you this very simple way of analyzing every day experiences that we have. Before starting this text, the way I understood this world was , I had eyes and I saw , I had ears and so I heard. That was the sum total of it. After going through the analysis of Drk Drishya Viveka , when we started peeling the layers, the eyes are seeing the sense objects. The eyes are ‘seer’ and the sense objects are ‘seen’. This was the first level of analysis. Eyes are not really seeing , but its the mind behind it which is seeing was eye opening. Then I started thinking if I am sleeping what is happening, if a person is blind they have eyes, but they cannot see .Then the next level was I have thoughts, every second I know I have thoughts . What is it that sees the changing thoughts while also letting me see and experience things through my sense organs. Even when walking , my eyes can be closed and my thoughts are going on, I can hear birds around me .. all of this on that one unchanging background. It is a transformative thing .
Drk Drishya takes your every day experience and makes you analyze it so beautifully and logically.
We are at the 20-21st shloka which is such a profound statement .
अस्ति भाति प्रियं रूपं नाम चेत्यंशपञ्चकम् । आद्यत्रयं ब्रह्मरूपं जगद्रूपं ततो द्वयम् ॥ २०॥

With respect to everything in this world it has 5 aspects, It exists, it shines , it is loved , is has a form , it has a name, While the first 3 relate to Brahman, the last 2 are related to this world.This is such an easy way to reflect upon the greatest truth of Vedanta. It is pointing to the relationship between jiva and Brahman. What we look at in our regular life is the last 2 and not the first 3. In Bhagavad Gita we are told to practice Samadarshananha. But it is very hard to practice . But dwelling on this stanza can help you in that exercise. You can look at the trees, birds and everything around you as expressions of that one god.

Student 2:
2 things stayed with me from Drg Drshya Viveka
Clarifications of Consciousness with RC using the example of the bucket of water ,given by Aunty .
Sunlight in the bucket of water is just the reflected sun and we are like the diff vessels of water where the sun is reflected. Water represents the mind . I contemplate constantly. Any restlessness happens, I go back to that example. Everyone is a bucket and we have different reflections and in essence we are that Sunlight only essentially .

Student 3: Talking about her favorite verses from Drg Drshya Viveka

I liked the fact that the word to seeing the mind is Saakshi which makes me think of something impartial and unattached which helps me distance myself from what I perceive myself to be. And that I am .
Favorite stanza: Verse no 8:
अहङ्कारस्य तादात्म्यं चिच्छायादेहसाक्षिभिः । सहजं कर्मजं भ्रान्तिजन्यं च त्रिविधं क्रमात् ॥ ८॥

What I liked about it is , how it is unravelling the attachment between the ego and the body and the mind. Attachment to the Reflected Consciousness is natural , attachment to the body can be removal of my ignorance and reduction of my prarabdha karma .
It connected a lot of vedantic concepts where we tend to associate with the ego which causes attachment and grief. We also associate ourselves with our body and that causes grief.
This tells me I can remove this attachment to the body . It tells I can do what is needed to work for my enlightenment .We have a lot of control over our future called Purushartha.
Identification with witness is due to ignorance and with knowledge it will go .