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:
Ramana Maharshi and the Cinema Screen Analogy
The Meaning of Truth, Consciousness and Bliss – Satchitananda