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Amrutanubhav – A Poetic Work Of Sant Dnyaneshwar

Amrutanubhav is a poetic work of Sant Dnyaneshwar, the 13th century mystic saint of Maharashtra. Amritanubhava, literally, “the experience of the immortal”, is the popular name for Anubhavamrita. The work explains non-dualistic idealism, chidvilasa (play of consciousness), and deals with Brahman as being the one reality without attributes.

Amritanubhav is a work in verse containing ten chapters composed in the Ovi meter. Sant Dnyaneshwar enunciates clearly at the beginning o the work, in five Sanskrit shlokas, his own philosophical position of the fundamental unity of all existence in the form of transcendental reality.

Anubhav Amrita is the realization of that fundamental, all-pervading, all inclusive reality, which is beyond duality of every kind.

Amrutanubhav First Chapter

In the first chapter of Amritanubhav, Sant Dnyaneshwar describes the nature if Shiva (the Ultimate Reality) and his power, Shakti. Together they bring the world into existence. He says that when he offers prayer to these two objects of devotion, they merge into one and his own separateness vanishes. Thus his vandana (prayer) culminates in a single undifferentiated unity beyond description.

Amritanubhav Second Chapter

In the second chapter, he explains the greatness of his guru, Nivrittinatha. Sant Dnyaneshwar was initiated into the Natha sect. by family tradition he belonged to the tradition of the bhagavatas, who worshipped God is sakara (visible form) as the deity Vitthala of Pandharpur through bhakti (devotion). The influence of both these traditions is observed in Sant Dnyaneshwar’s exposition of cidvilasavada (the theory o the manifestation of consciousness).

Amritanubhav Third Chapter

The third chapter describes how words are inadequate to say anything about the absolute unity of reality. According to interpretation of Advaita Vedanta of Adi Shankara, avidya (ignorance) is removed by jnana (knowledge). Sant Dnyaneshwar says that essential reality is beyond both ignorance and knowledge. It can be achieved only when knowledge also retires and becomes silent like ignorance. In Vedanta, Brahman is spoken of as sat, chit and ananda (knowledge, power and bliss respectively). Sant Dnyaneshwar says that Brahman has no attributes, it is beyond all attributes. The fourth and fifth chapter elaborates these ideas.

The sixth chapter challenges the Advaita Vedanta belief that when the veil of ignorance is removed by knowledge, reality would shine forth. Sant Dnyaneshwar argues that such a thing is not possible.

The seventh and eighth chapters discuss ajnana khandana (the refutation of ignorance). He argues that avidya has no positive existence at all; it is simply the absence of knowledge. To be negated or canceled, ignorance must have some kind of existence, which it does not have. So how can one say that avidya is removed by true knowledge? Similarly, the idea that knowledge overcomes ignorance must also be given up. How can it overcome something that is non-existent?

Amritanubhav Ninth Chapter

In the ninth chapter, Sant Dnyaneshwar describes the state of jivanamukti where ignorance is dispelled completely and one experiences complete unity with the abiding fundamental reality. It is a state in which duality and multiplicity of all kinds vanish totally, leaving no vestige behind. This state is variously spoken of in Hindu philosophy as unmani (absence of mind), sahajavastha (purer state of being devoid of accretions), tuirya avastha (transcendental state), nirbija Samadhi (seedless absorption), or aparokshanubhuti (unmeditated experience).

The tenth chapter of Amritanubhav is an epilogue explaining the essence of doctrine of cidvilasa of Sant Dnyaneshwar. Amritanubhav, as a treatise on the philosophy of Vedanta as well as a poetic work rich in imagery and diction, is an illuminating work of Hindu philosophy and literature.

Source – 
Mysticism in Maharashtra (1933) R D Ranade – Oriental Book Agency, Pune
Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume I (2011) – IHRF - Rupa