|This is the first of three very important discussions. If you attend all three you will get a complete introduction to Indian philosophy, especially Śrī Caitanya’s school: Bhedābheda Vedānta.
There are three essential subjects in Śrī Caitanya’s teachings. The first is sambandha, your relationship to reality. The second is abhideya, how to realize that relationship. And the third is prayojana, the result of realizing it.
Your Relationship to Reality (Sambandha-jñāna)
Today we will discuss sambandha, your relationship to existence.
Existence has three main components. The first is ātman, consciousness. The second is prakṛti, the objects we are conscious of. The third is īśvara, the origin and foundation of both.
We will explain each one.
It’s difficult to know what really exists. Sometimes we think things exist, but then we wake up and realize we were just dreaming. Who knows if we will “wake up” again and find out that even now we are just dreaming? Sometimes we think something is real, only to find that it disappears and becomes unreal. I once had a car parked in front of my house, and one day I woke up and it wasn’t there anymore. It was stolen and ceased to exist for me. I once had the body of a seven year old boy, but that also no longer exists.
One thing we know for sure is that we exist.
But what are we?
It’s hard to know for sure, everything we think we are keeps changing. First I thought I was a little boy. Then I thought I was a baseball player. Then I thought I was a teenage musician. Then I thought I was a monk in a temple. Now I think I am a husband and father. Which one am I? It is confusing. But if we look carefully into ourselves we can find one thing that is always there. “I.”
I am a boy. I am a baseball player. I am a musician. I am a father. “I” is in all these ideas. What is this “I”?
It is consciousness. One thing we can say for sure is that we are consciousness.
Consciousness is like light. If there is no light you cannot perceive any objects in the room, but when there is light you become aware of everything. Consciousness is the “light” that shines on things, enabling us to perceive ourselves and the world around us.
But consciousness is a very special kind of light. An ordinary light is not aware of what it shines on; it simply reveals objects to others. Consciousness is a light that is aware of what it shines on; it reveals objects to itself.
Many religions call consciousness the “soul.” In Sanskrit we call it ātman. It is your true self – who you really are.
Meditate carefully on your own consciousness and you’ll begin to realize that you are always conscious of things from a particular point of view. If you and I look at the same picture, we both become aware of the picture, but from different angles. It’s more than a physical viewing angle, we have different emotional and intellectual angles as well.
What does this reveal about consciousness? It shows that consciousness is always subjective and individually distinct. Individuality is not a problem, it is part of the beauty naturally inherent in consciousness itself.
Objects of Consciousness (Prakṛti)
We know that we exist and we know that other things exist, too. Look at a tree, for example, and you will realize, “I exist and the tree exists.” The “I” that really exists is not a temporary identity with a certain age, gender, nationality, and so on. It is the true “I” – consciousness. Similarly, the tree that really exists is not what it seems to be on the surface.
Think carefully about the tree. If you look at it long enough sometimes it will have green leaves, sometimes red, sometimes none at all, and sometimes it is covered in flowers! If we observe it long enough it will disappear, or change into dirt.
The tree exists, but not always in the same form. This is very different from consciousness. Consciousness always exists in the same form, but the objects we experience with our consciousness always change their form.
We cannot have a permanent relationship with any object, because, like the main character in Hinotori, we are eternal and everything we encounter is temporary. We deeply desire a real and permanent relationship, however. Where can we find it? Is there something real and permanent behind all the temporary things everywhere around us?
Behind all the changing forms are eight primordial elements. A tree is not really a tree. It is really a temporary permutation of these eight elements: solids, liquids, energies, gasses, space, emotion, intellect and self-centeredness.
These elements are eternal, but they aren’t personal. We can’t have a satisfying relationship with them, and we also can’t interact with them in their eternal form. We can only interact with their temporary permutations. But where do these eight elements come from? This leads us to the third aspect of reality: īśvara – the origin of everything.
The Foundation (Īśvara)
We are confused about who we are. Since our consciousness can be put into confusion, it’s not logical to say that it is the ultimate source of itself. There must be things more powerful than our consciousness, and our consciousness must have a source.
The elements that form the objects we are conscious of also must have a source. We know they don’t come from us – because we can’t perfectly control or understand them.
What entity is the source of both consciousness and the objects of consciousness? Although we rationally know that such an entity must exist, it’s impossible to intellectually comprehend what that entity is – since it’s beyond perception and objects of perception.
We can avail ourselves of statements made by those who have realized this entity. If we meditate carefully on such things with all our hearts and minds, we can realize that this entity must be completely outside our limitations, self-causing, and perfectly able to satisfy our need for a real, permanent loving relationship – the entity must be All-Attractive. That is what the word “Krishna” means.
But to fully comprehend and realize our permanent relationship to Krishna requires a trans-intellectual process. That process is the topic of the entire next discussion.
|これは三つ重要な話合いの最初のものです。すべての三つに出席し、あなたはインド哲学への完全な導入を取得します, 特にŚrī Caitanyaの分科: Bhedābheda Vedānta。
Śrī Caitanyaの教えにある三つ本質的な話題があります。最初はSambhandha, 「実在にあなたの関係」。第二はAbhideya, 「その関係をどのように実現するか」。第三はPrayojana、「それを実現したの結果」。
 Krishna explains this in the Gītā, 13.20: prakṛtiḿ puruṣaḿ caiva viddhy anādī ubhāv api. vikārāḿś ca guṇāḿś caiva viddhi prakṛti-sambhavān
 7.4: bhūmir āpo ‘nalo vāyuḥ khaḿ mano buddhir eva ca. ahańkāra itīyaḿ me bhinnā prakṛtir aṣṭadhā
 For example in Gītā 7.6 Krishna says: etad-yonīni bhūtāni sarvāṇīty upadhāraya ahaḿ kṛtsnasya jagataḥ prabhavaḥ pralayas tathā – “I am the entity who is the foundation of both consciousness and the objects of consciousness.”