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sacred texts

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charioteer

New member
"This is perfect, that is perfect. Perfect comes from perfect.Take perfect out of perfect , remainder is perfect."............can anyone please give me exact meaning...
 

Naina_Marbus

Well-known member
The Isha Upanishad starts with this verse:

poornam.JPG

Om, poornamadah, poornamidam, poornat poornamudachyate.
Poornasya poornamadaya poornamevavashishyate.
Om shanti, shanti, shanti

Purnam can be translated as: Full, Infinite, Whole, Complete

There are many translations and commentaries on this verse, each of which has a different slant. An explanation of the nature of Reality and the entire wisdom of the path of Self-Realization is believed to be expressed by this verse.

That is perfect,
This is perfect.
When perfection is taken from the perfect,
Perfect alone remains


That is ‘whole,, this is ‘whole’;
From the whole, the whole becomes manifest;
Taking away the whole from the whole,
The whole remains.

That is infinite, this is infinite;
From That infinite this infinite comes.
From That infinite, this infinite removed or added;
Infinite remains infinite.


That is full; this is full.
This fullness has been projected from that fullness.
When this fullness merges in that fullness,
all that remains is fullness.


Completeness is that, completeness is this,
from completeness, completeness comes forth.
Completeness from completeness taken away,
completeness to completeness added,
completeness alone remains.


It is like Zen koans, and may point to the origin of this mode of yogic contemplation. It refers to a kind of mathematics that is not our common experience, but it is not mathematically outrageous either. It is the mathematics of infinity. If one adds to or takes from infinity, it is the infinite that remains. One may add infinity to infinity or take infinity from infinity, still it is the infinite that remains. Infinity may go forth from infinity and still persist as infinity. In fact, in such a case, we will have two infinities, the original one, which remains infinite and the extracted infinity. However, both these infinities yet remain one infinite.

This Upanishad had a considerable influence on Sri Aurobindo, whose philosophy has been named Poornadvaita Vedanta- translated as Integral Non-dualism.

In my limited understanding, perhaps it represents a gist of the statement about the oneness of the supreme self; that "For the enlightened one all that exists is nothing but the Self"
 
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auh

New member
Could it not mean that one cannot "take away" anything from completeness? It is like a fish, in water, hoarding the very same water for its personal use in a tiny shell. And it does not realize that it has not taken anything away

In other words, I could also say that our existence is complete - life and death are but balancing factors and ensures that the sum total of energy or life force remains constant (or neutral).
 

charioteer

New member
Thank you main a sir.
Thank you auh,

But the same doesn't hold clear and appropriate when another vedic teacher says from zero all number comes and to zero all returns....difficult for me to interpret, help me sir
 

sangom

Well-known member
I feel the meaning "infinity" to the word "poornam" is not correct because infinity-minus-infinity is indeterminate. As a simpleton myself, I have tried to understand this so-called great upanishadic verse as follows:

(This is without any disrespect to anyone - in this forum or outside, please.)

If you take away something from any substance, the remaining will be the same, original substance only and nothing else. For example if you take away some milk from a vessel full of milk, what remains in the vessel will also be milk ;) and not coconut oil or something else.

I have heard some old people relating the story of a tabra lady, fed up of making "kozhukkaTTais" for vinayaka chaturthi for her large family, saying this slokam in which the word "poornam" refers to the sweet stuffing for the kozhukkaTTais!

But scriptures being kind of "holy cows" in the minds of people, a large amount of greatness, high philosophy, etc., are invariably thrust on to them invariably and thus we have many great, abstruse and exotic meanings for such simple observations.

The principle of Occam's razor possibly will lead one towards kozhukkaTTai explanation than to anything more philosophical, I suppose.
 

auh

New member

The principle of Occam's razor possibly will lead one towards kozhukkaTTai explanation than to anything more philosophical, I suppose.
Occam's razor is only a methodology and its applicability, or inapplicability thereof, may not prove anything substantial, imo.
 

Govinda

New member
Sangom Sir,

Though I like your disclaimer in the first line, I still disagree with your analogies and the Occam's razor hypothesis.

We indians were the first mathematicians to not only have the idea of advanced concepts, but even the basic numerals and abstract concepts. Can you imagine negativenumbers abstractly? like -2. No. We wouldn't have had calculus and geometry without some abstract geniuses. With education/popularity, we have come to understand them easily as a debit of $2 or loss of 2 pens.

So, same way when such abstractions can be possible, then a broader/abstract intelligence with many boundaries can lead to more accurate understanding than the Occam razor's hypothesis of littler/cheap understanding (with least chances). That is how silly, is the kOzzhukatai analogy. By thinking lower with easier examples, our neurons gets lost eventually, and we stick to cheaper theories/values/ideas/living. May be why overtime, our fellows found Sankara advaita easier to comprehend, they didn't want to think further. So Occam Razor is an excuse, when only mathematical abstractions/equations lead to rocket/satellite launches.

I am not belittling the simpler analogies, they are easier to start with and invoke curiosity. But such examples cannot provide a broader picture. That Kozhukkatai churnam/stuffing, though we make in 50 numbers and taxing, they would eventually come to an end. Whereas, Just take this universe, it is of million possibilities, and cannot compare to that kOzhukattai making. We have had civilizations from ice age, and with so much technological abuses, we still have resources, and the earthly resources are recycles and replenished. Our own body is a toughest survivor of abuses, except extreme conditions. Just consider the amound of gold in India (summation of all possessions, black gold among political parties), imagine the vastness of the earth's resources. How about the vast space in the universe? It is mind boggling!

Antares is a red super-giant, that is 900 times bigger than sun, contains thousands of stars with mean age 11 million years at a distance of approximately 470 light years (Ym) (calculated by mathematical equations!). Much smaller than the atoms are sub-atomic particles - quarks measured in planks (10^-35m). We couldn't see both these - be it antares or x-rays, they were found through mental-abstractions/scatter-experiments rather than direct perception or weight/length calculations. Read metrics here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attometre.

We need to understand the magnitude of measure scales, than that smaller examples while comprehending the Highest Brahman. So, when upanishads talk of Brahman, they aren't about a cup of milk (which can be emptied over few sips) or eating a seed (which would be later perceived as excreta), but there is so much that we can't perceive in-between, let alone the external objects of higher/lower magnitudes. So, we should really analyze with real sincerity, than just short-cuts with our in-adequate perception/denials.

That verse means "Brahman, the only One being that existed in the beginning, and everything else belong to Him and cannot exist without Him". All is pervaded, be it quarks or antares, nothing is outside of Him or outside of His control/power. That was the opening verse in BrihadAranya Upanishad, and the upa. explains that , through many sequential steps/verses, how everything was created from Him and how we are completely woven in that web of creation. You and me are going nowhere, until we finally reach Him, through the right threshold of good karma and right knowledge of Him/Reality.
 
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charioteer

New member
Thank you very much govind sir, main a sir.
But that is OK for high-level thinkers
How can we relate to our daily life this great verse.
For ex, By this I may stay back thinking about my " self " , when someone got raped/ killed.
How to take this extraordinary define scriptures to postmodern mindset?
 

sangom

Well-known member
Sangom Sir,

Though I like your disclaimer in the first line, I still disagree with your analogies and the Occam's razor hypothesis.

We indians were the first mathematicians to not only have the idea of advanced concepts, but even the basic numerals and abstract concepts. Can you imagine negativenumbers abstractly? like -2. No. We wouldn't have had calculus and geometry without some abstract geniuses. With education/popularity, we have come to understand them easily as a debit of $2 or loss of 2 pens.

So, same way when such abstractions can be possible, then a broader/abstract intelligence with many boundaries can lead to more accurate understanding than the Occam razor's hypothesis of littler/cheap understanding (with least chances). That is how silly, is the kOzzhukatai analogy. By thinking lower with easier examples, our neurons gets lost eventually, and we stick to cheaper theories/values/ideas/living. May be why overtime, our fellows found Sankara advaita easier to comprehend, they didn't want to think further. So Occam Razor is an excuse, when only mathematical abstractions/equations lead to rocket/satellite launches.

I am not belittling the simpler analogies, they are easier to start with and invoke curiosity. But such examples cannot provide a broader picture. That Kozhukkatai churnam/stuffing, though we make in 50 numbers and taxing, they would eventually come to an end. Whereas, Just take this universe, it is of million possibilities, and cannot compare to that kOzhukattai making. We have had civilizations from ice age, and with so much technological abuses, we still have resources, and the earthly resources are recycles and replenished. Our own body is a toughest survivor of abuses, except extreme conditions. Just consider the amound of gold in India (summation of all possessions, black gold among political parties), imagine the vastness of the earth's resources. How about the vast space in the universe? It is mind boggling!

Antares is a red super-giant, that is 900 times bigger than sun, contains thousands of stars with mean age 11 million years at a distance of approximately 470 light years (Ym) (calculated by mathematical equations!). Much smaller than the atoms are sub-atomic particles - quarks measured in planks (10^-35m). We couldn't see both these - be it antares or x-rays, they were found through mental-abstractions/scatter-experiments rather than direct perception or weight/length calculations. Read metrics here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attometre.

We need to understand the magnitude of measure scales, than that smaller examples while comprehending the Highest Brahman. So, when upanishads talk of Brahman, they aren't about a cup of milk (which can be emptied over few sips) or eating a seed (which would be later perceived as excreta), but there is so much that we can't perceive in-between, let alone the external objects of higher/lower magnitudes. So, we should really analyze with real sincerity, than just short-cuts with our in-adequate perception/denials.

That verse means "Brahman, the only One being that existed in the beginning, and everything else belong to Him and cannot exist without Him". All is pervaded, be it quarks or antares, nothing is outside of Him or outside of His control/power. That was the opening verse in BrihadAranya Upanishad, and the upa. explains that , through many sequential steps/verses, how everything was created from Him and how we are completely woven in that web of creation. You and me are going nowhere, until we finally reach Him, through the right threshold of good karma and right knowledge of Him/Reality.
Dear Shri Govinda,

Thank you for your detailed explanation.

I got familiar with this Isopanishad (Isavasyopanishad) santi mantra while in college when our professor, a Nambuthiri who was very learned in our scriptures - besides his subject, Atomic Physics, taught this in one class! Even then I had the doubt about the validity of "pūrṇamidaṃ" because the advaita pov says that the jiva suffers from a certain disadvantage due to its association with māyā. I asked my doubt and my professor gave an explanation that in the final analysis the jiva is nothing but the brahman itself and so the upanishad says so (pūrṇamidaṃ), etc. But that lack of conviction is still there in my mind. That was why I considered giving the explanations often said in a lighter vein.
 

sangom

Well-known member
Thank you very much govind sir, main a sir.
But that is OK for high-level thinkers
How can we relate to our daily life this great verse.
For ex, By this I may stay back thinking about my " self " , when someone got raped/ killed.
How to take this extraordinary define scriptures to postmodern mindset?
Shri Charioteer,

Excuse me for my response to your query addressed to Shri Govinda.

That Upanishadic verse (pooranamadaH poornamidam...) has very little relevance or applicability in our daily (worldly) life. Most of the Upanishads are like mild rebuttal of the then prevalent vedic religious belief, which was centred on different types (kinds) of sacrificial rites (yAgAs) and the attendant animal sacrifices. Some enquiring minds/intellects possibly started pondering over the question whether such indiscriminate killing of animals and burning of the so-called sacred fires, etc., were really meaningful methods of "worship" and if not, what was the right way and what was it that was to be really "worshipped". Their enquiries led them to different conclusions possibly, but those people made a record of their thought processes and/or conclusions and these became the Upanishads and gained a place of respect within the fold of hindu scriptures.

Even brahmins did not study all the Upanishads by rote; for example most yajurvedi smaarthaa tamil brahmins compulsorily studied, by rote, the first three "vallees" of the Taittiriya Upanishad only. Those who understood the apparent literary meaning of this sanskrit text comprised only a small percentage of the said learners and those who had in-depth knowledge of the upanishad were really few.

The verse you have cited viz., pooranamadaH poornamidam...etc. appear as the śānti mantra (peace invoking mantra) in the Brihadaaranyakopanishad and the Isaavaasyopanishad. It kind of summarises the idea that there is but one true reality (or, only a single truth) underlying all the visible world/universe which we experience through our organs of sense and action, and that the very same reality or truth inhabits our physical bodies and actuates us. It adds that both the absolute reality and the actuating force within us is full and complete - each in its own respect - and that though the latter (the actuating force within us) emanates or arises from the single reality, that single reality never gets diminished from its state of complete fullness.

The above concept is not very difficult to understand and internalize. But the brahmins who were the preservers of hinduism possibly interpreted it to mean that the absolute reality or Brahman manifests completely only in brahmins, etc. They could not, or rather did not, concede the point that the very same brahman manifests equally in the most saintly and venerable brahmana as also in the most cruel, sinful, chandaala. Today, the above upanishad mantra can be put to best use by each one of us understanding and accepting that the same Brahman, the single reality, is present in every human being and therefore trying to dislodge all kinds of partialities and bias against other human beings based on skin colour, caste, creed/religion, nation, culture, etc.

Perhaps another use of the above mantra may be to abjure food of animal origin. But this is a grey area because even plants have been found to have emotions and reactions and food of some kind is inevitable for man in order to survive.
 

dvrrajakumar

New member
I think this way even a common man can understand it better of the above slokha.

Example 1:
Air in the atmosphere.

Fill up a thousand baloon with the air. The air in the environment does not reduce. Let off all the air from those baloons to the environment. The atmosphere is not having increased amount of air. It remains same by taking it or filling it.

Example 2 : Same for solar energy

Example 3 : For Aatma also.

From Paramaatmaa Jeevatmaas have come. HE/SHE/IT whatever way you perceive it remains always same. By some Great Saints Jeevaatma joining back Parmaatmaa does not become more than what Paramaatmaa is.

I have understood Ishavashya Upanishad slokha like this.

Prof.D.V.R.Rajakumar
 
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