This infographic explains the meaning and the origin of the word ‘avyakta’ (unmanifest) and it’s connection to the spiritual path and spiritual enlightenment.
Avyakta is a Sanskrit word. The verb root present here is ‘anj’ (a~nj), which means smear with, anoint, to apply to ointment or pigment.
The word ‘anjana’ which means kajal, a pigment applied to the eyebrows to blacken them comes from this verb root ‘anj’.
Kajal makes the eyebrows distinct and well defined. Once applied, the eyebrows become more manifest with clearer boundaries.
The word ‘akta’ is an adjective, which also comes from the root ‘anj’. It means ‘smeared’.
When you add the prefix ‘vi’ to ‘akta’, it becomes ‘vyakta’; vyakta means anything that is manifest, defined and has a boundary. Anything that can be observed or witnessed through sense organs and mind and by the awareness is vyakta or manifest.
The word ‘vyakti’ means identity, person, distinct or defined. It also comes from the same root. When you identify yourself as a person, you automatically feel separate from the universe. According to Vedanta, this sense of separation is the cause of the psychological suffering.
Avyakta is the opposite of vyakta. Avyakta is the undefined and boundlessness. When you lose the sense of separation, you realize that you are avyakta. You realize that this avyakta is the only truth there is. Avyakta is synonymous with absolute reality, Brahman, Tao, Satchitananda etc. When you realize you are that, you no longer identify yourself with a person, a mind or body, or anything that is manifest or defined. If anything has any definition or seen as distinct from the rest of the world, avyakta is not seen anymore.
Avyakta is like the screen of infinity where the everchanging manifest world is being played. It is the unmanifest which manifests itself as distinct objects or things. The essence of anything that is manifest is the unmanifest or avyakta. The objects on a screen doesn’t have any separate existence other than the screen itself.
Tat Tvam Asi – You Are That
For more elaboration of this screen analogy, read the following links:
Your life is the most beautiful mystery
And the screen which plays your private history;
Your life is the truth, consciousness, and bliss
That can’t be pointed out as that or this.
The life screen is the only truth you know;
All that are manifest move in its show;
This essence of life is your true nature;
Knowing this ends the distress and torture.
The one truth that pervades the time and space
Shines in the heart and showers love and grace;
By the veil of darkness it is concealed;
By nonstop inquiry, it is revealed.
That one truth is called by various names;
Deep inside you, it eternally flames;
It is the immortal life and the way;
Look inside, you can find its sparkling ray!
From the dawn of life, seers have seen this
And were reborn by its transforming kiss;
Unless you’re reborn as a wide-eyed kid,
It remains tucked away by a dark lid.
Those who mourn will be appeased by its shade;
Their craving thirst will be killed by its blade;
Those who cleaned their heart are blessed by its touch;
The mere words can convey only this much.
Neither moth nor rust can impair this truth;
None can steal it and none can cause your ruth;
No spade can cut it and fire can’t burn it;
Water can’t wet it and wind can’t dry it.
The birds of the blue sky don’t sow or reap;
About tomorrow, they don’t grieve or weep;
Like those blissful birds, you can become free
Then You’re not the wave, but the boundless sea!
Listen to this good news and wipe your tears!
Wake up from your dream and destroy your fears!
The guiding good shepherd is inside you
As a light that shines with a golden hue!
Whoever has ears, let them hear this song;
With their friends and foes, let them get along!
The kingdom of heaven is filled with love
where the peace descends on you like a dove!
Bhavacakra or Bhavachakra, known as the wheel of life is painted in the Buddhist temples in Tibet and India. It is a symbolic representation of the wheel of life.
Here is the gist of Bhavacakra:
- Ignorance of mistaking non-self as self-leads to aversion and attachments.
- This, in turn, leads to volition, action and the pleasant or unpleasant consequences of the actions.
- Depending on the consequences, a person enjoys or suffers the fruits of his action.
- The 12 nidanas give a clear picture of dependent origination. It states that everything is interconnected with various casual links. Nirvana or liberation is the only thing which is not affected by dependent origination.
- The five aggregates are impermanent and clinging to them causes suffering.
- There is a way to get liberated. It is called as eightfold path.
This is a mandala and can be used for meditation. To know more about the mandalas, read the following posts:
- A Shamatha Meditation Based on Symbolism, Visualization, Mnemonics and Classical Conditioning
- The Truth About Yantras, Chakras, Temples, Tantra and Agamas
(I will make a detailed video about this shortly. Subscribe to my Youtube channel to watch the videos in time: http://bit.ly/shanmugamy )
Here are some useful infographics which give the details about various aspects of Bhavacakra mandala.
(You can also interpret these realms as the periods of your current life. For example, a person might be in any of the following realms for a few months:
Sometimes we are like devas, very happy and pleased;
Sometimes like asuras, even though happy we don’t feel content and this leads to craving, attachment and aversion;
Sometimes like humans, being more responsible and showering love to friends, families and others;
Sometimes like animals, just eating and sleeping;
Sometimes like a hungry ghost, deprived of our needs and feel totally dissatisfied, frustrated and helpless;
Sometimes like beings of the hell, going through extreme suffering that seems to be endless.
The idea is to convey that none of these states are permanent and a proper spiritual practice is the only way to find permanent bliss in life.)
I wrote this poem just today:
Dear night! you’re beautiful at the fall of twilight,
When the reddish sky grabs our sense of sight,
When the sky gets smeared with a blackish tint
And when the trees become dark like a flint.
You’re made more charming by the milky moon,
when the adorning stars form a commune;
When the lights are off, you become darker,
Mystic, and scary like a strange stalker.
Your mystic murk at the witching hour
Touches and wakes up the midnight flower;
When the night blooming lilies rise and smile
And when the streat dogs howl, once in a while.
You start to retire at the early dawn
When the clouds get a shade of red and fawn,
When the tweets of robins bid you fairwell,
And when the temples ring the morning bell.
As the sun rises, you start to vanish,
When the eastern sky shines like a gold fish;
We look forward to seeing you again
When we call it a day and stop our strain.
- Shanmugam P (Written on 03 August, 2018)
I have started uploading videos on Youtube on a regular basis, in order to help spiritual seekers who are truly seeking self-realization. I would like to inform this to the regular readers of this blog so that they can take advantage of it.
Here are some of the recent videos that I have uploaded:
Videos regarding Spiritual Enlightenment:
Sadhana Chatushtaya – Fourfold Qualifications for a Spiritual Seeker
The following video addressed a very important but forgotten concept in non-dual traditions. I have given a detailed speech regarding ‘Sadhana Chatushtaya’ and I will be soon writing a post regarding that.
Conversations About Spiritual Enlightenment
This is a series and it has casual talks addressing spiritual seekers regarding various topics. These speeches address the friends I have, who have been reading this blog and my Quora answers. This video series will address many things discussed in this blog, including some questions asked by the readers regarding the spiritual path and spiritual enlightenment.
There are some older videos too. You can watch them on my Youtube Channel here:
जीवनं कश्चित् नाटकम्
तस्मिन् लगु नटकोऽहम् ।
वायुना नीता वाणीव
सञ्चराम्येतस्मिन् मीरे ॥
- Shanmugam P
jīvanaṃ kaścit nāṭakam
tasmin lagu naṭako’ham ।
vāyunā nītā vāṇīva
sañcarāmyetasmin mīre ॥
Life is a play; I am a small player there.
Like how a cloud is led by wind, I move in this ocean of life