Saturday, April 30, 2011

Maha Periva's words on The Vedas

The Vedas consist of hymns, thousands and thousands of them. They represent an ocean to which countless Sages have contributed, going back to a period when there was only the spoken language and no script.

The hymns of the Vedas represent thoughts and revelations that came to the Sages of yore during their meditations. These revelations were in the form of hymns, which the Sages transmitted to their disciples. Thus it was that they were passed from generation to generation.

For centuries, all this happened entirely by word of mouth. The written version came much later. Thus the growth of the Vedas is like a series of small streams joining to form tributaries that feed big rivers, the rivers all finally merging into the ocean. This analogy is very apt, because the water that the streams get is from the rain, whose source is really the ocean.

In the same way, the revelations that the Sages had were from the Divine; and the Ocean made up by the collection of revelations that constitutes the Vedas, is also Divine.

The Sound Aspect of Vedic Hymns – It’s Significance:

The first is that the Vedas exist in the form of chants, and the sound aspect is therefore very important. The Vedic hymns must be chanted properly and there is a spiritual significance to the chant, which the late Paramacharya of Kanchi explains as follows:

Vedas must be chanted with grandeur so that the sound can be properly heard. Vedic Mantras not only produce beneficial vibrations in the pulse of the one who chants them properly, but also similar vibrations in those who may hear them. Since it is spread in the atmosphere, it ensures wellbeing here and hereafter.

The outstanding feature of the Vedas lies in the fact that the sound of the Mantras by itself when chanted has a meaning, apart from the words themselves, which too are pregnant with significance.

The sound aspect has been preserved from very ancient times and that is something remarkable. The sound aspect is linked intimately to the words, and the two, namely the sound and the word together have been so intertwined that over time, Vedic hymns have defied corruption and mutation. This is an important point and needs some reflection.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Maha Periva - Divya Drishti

Sri Ekamram (had been a personal attendant to Mahaswamigal for nearly three decades) said that once when Mahaswamigal had camped in Pandaripuram, there lived in this holy kshetra a young boy who used to do severe sadhana.

He used to visit Mahaswamigal every day. He used to have ‘jadai’ (unkempt hair) and wore religious marks on his body. He repeatedly sought sanyaasa from Mahaswamigal.But Mahaswamigal’s only response to all his pleadings was silence.

Whereas, there was this man who was doing ‘Bhiksha Kainkarya’ (cooking and serving food) to Mahaswamigal and who was not in the least interested in sanyasa. But Mahaswamigal coaxed him into it!

This man went on grumbling, ‘I did not want sanyasa but Mahaswamigal has given it!’ And people around found fault with Mahaswamigal’s actions. They said, “ How religious and spiritual this young boy is but Mahaswamigal has refused sanyasa to him whereas He has given it to another who does not want it and does not seem to deserve it!”

People see and judge a person outwardly whereas a Mahaatma ‘sees’ through him and knows him inside out.

After some years it was learnt through newspapers that this boy who had sought sanyasa from Mahaswamigal, had married a foreign lady!

With our limited mind we cannot see within. But a Mahaatma’s viewpoint (‘drishti’) is always right.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Maha Periva's usage of Mantra Shastras

Mahaswamigal took sanyasa at the young age of 12. He came to the Peeta at this tender age.

Just as we say a father should behave like a father, a mother should behave as befitting her status, so was Mahaswamigal as a ‘Peetadipathi’ (Head of a Religious Mutt). He was an example of how a Peetadipathi should be.

He was so in all aspects – as a Sanyasi, as a Guru, as a Vidwan and as a Tapasvi. He possessed highly exceptional qualities that were beyond description. He was an adept in mantra Shastras.

Once a boy came to Mahaswamigal in deep anguish. He was not wealthy. He had none to call his own except a sister whom he had married off. But now she was mentally deranged and her in-laws were pressuring him to take her back. He had no permanent earning or place of stay, and so was perturbed about bringing his sister back. She used to behave abnormally.

Mahaswamigal asked the boy to bring the sister while He performed Chandramouleeswara puja. Mahaswamigal said that after the puja He would do japa with the sandal paste (‘chandan’) which He would splash on her. And she will react violently and run to a mango tree.

Mahaswamigal instructed, “No one should follow her or stop her”. She was very restless when brought in and would not stand there. Mahaswamigal did as He had said. She ran out and hit against a tree and fell. She then became all right as the ‘brahma raakshas’ that had caught hold of her had left her!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Monday, April 25, 2011

Vairaagyam - Part 15 of 15


It is in such a land of ours we have modern Sannyasis who say they cannot remain without coffee or ovaltine! And if you ask, they may say: “We are ati-varNAshramis, who are above the Sannyasi level; as that low-caste woman said, we know what to do and what not to do”

Instead of showing off like this, if one wants to be really in possession of Atma-jnAna, the one single thing very, very necessary, is vairAgyaM. It is said (e.g., in Jabala Upanishad IV and other Sannyasa Upanishads) that when that vairAgyaM has been acquired, then that very day one can leave home as a Sannyasi -- *yad-ahareva virajet tadahareva pravrajet*.

But one should not leave home or karma in disgust of the present life not giving any permanent happiness. Such a thing will turn out to be dry. The disgust about the present impermanent life should be accompanied by the thought about the permanent bliss of the Atman. Then only it will turn out to be a right SAdhanA and in turn lead to everlasting bliss. Once the Realisation is reached, the disgust also will disappear and everything will be full of Love.

In other words it is in association with the comprehension (vivekaM) of the syndrome of the permanent and the impermanent that one should practise vairAgyaM. Neither vairAgyaM without that vivekaM nor vivekaM without the vairAgyaM will suffice. They have to combine.

The very fact we are asked to analyse the distinction between the permanent and the impermanent is to discard the impermanent through dispassion.

To get that dispassion is the first step of the spiritual ascent. That is why ‘AparokshAnubhUti’ gives importance to vairAgyam and classifies vairAgyaM as the first step. In ‘VivekachUDAmani’ also *mokshhasya prathamo hetuH* (Verse 69/ Verse 70 in another reading) – An extreme vairAgya in things impermanent is the first cause for Moksha – thus combining the two in a symbiotic way.

Thus these constitute the first two of SAdhanA-chatushhTayaM.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Vairaagyam - Part 14 of 15


There is a similar story in the life history of Sadashiva Brahmendra. He sings in his Atma Vidya Vilasam (#46): “With the folded hand as pillow, the sky as blanket, the bare ground as bed, and dispassion as wife – thus sleeps a renunciate in the blessed state of samAdhi”.

Once he was himself in that blissful pose of sleep on the ground in an open field. A farmer girl who was passing by, remarked to her friend, with a sarcastic smile: What a sannyasi! He needs a head-rest for his head; what type of renunciation is this?

This made Sadashiva Brahmendra think: ‘How come I am thinking like an ordinary man that the head has to rest above the level of the rest of the body in order to sleep? Unless I get rid of this attachment to the body my sannyAsa is not worth the salt. It is only Mother Goddess who has come in the form of this low-caste woman to give me this upadesha’.

Thus thinking, he removed his hand that was used as a head rest and lay on the ground without any headrest. But the same woman who had commented earlier passed that way again, saw the change in the posture of the sannyasi and again gave a sarcastic laugh followed by an equally sarcastic comment!

She said: “A Sannyasi should know things for himself. Just to keep reacting to comments made by passers-by does not speak well of renunciation!”

That was the day when Sadashiva became an honest-to-goodness non-reacting, non-acting, non-responding inert-like entity, Sadashiva Brahman!

Thus even the commonfolk seem to be knowing what kind of vairAgyaM should a Sannyasi possess.!


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Vairaagyam - Part 13 of 15


I told you about BhartRhari. There is a story that even he was a disciple of this Pattinathar. BhartRhari is also known as Bhadragiri.

This Bhadragiri was a king of Ujjain; but he renounced his kingship and came to Tiruvidaimaruthur where he was sitting as a renunciate begging for food with a bowl in hand.

He used to get Biksha (alms of food) for both his Guru Pattinathar and himself. It is amazing to note that one who was an incarnate of Kubera and another who had a kingdom to own both became renunciates with that much of dispassion! Even then Pattinathar thought that Bhadragiri did not have enough vairAgya!

Because the latter had kept a begging bowl for his begging! A poor man went to Pattinathar and asked for alms. It is said that it was the Lord Himself of the temple (Mahalinga Swami) who went so disguised. And Pattinathar told him: “I myself have nothing; why do you ask me? Go and ask that ‘family man’ sitting at the western gate of the temple. And tell him that I sent you there!”

When Bhadragiri heard this statement reported to him, he realised the force of the words ‘family man’ and in that very instant threw away his begging bowl!

There are more interesting things in this story; but I am not going to continue the story, for, then I won’t have time to tell you about all the things I want to say about SAdhanA.

When we are talking of VairAgyam I thought the mention of these great role models of renunciation would add to the depth of the ideas.

Here the one who sang *Odu namakkuNDu* (‘we have the begging bowl’) later came to the conclusion that even one who has the Odu (Begging bowl) is actually a family man!


Friday, April 22, 2011

Vairaagyam - Part 12 of 15


From their mouths we learn how, though acquiring that kind of vairAgyam may be most difficult, once we achieve it we then really have the treasure of the bliss of the Atman, -- the treasure that belittles as trash all those treasures that we have been holding as great.

Did not our own Acharya run away with the utmost vairAgya at the age of eight from home, from town and from the very mother who was treating him with extraordinary affection as her own very soul? In fact he has produced a panchakaM (a piece of five shlokas) where each shloka has the ending refrain: *kaupInavantaH khalu bhAgyavantaH* (Blessed are those with nothing but a loin cloth).

In BhajagovindaM also he asks *kasya sukhaM na karoti virAgaH* -- Who is the one that will not get Eternal Bliss from vairAgyaM?

The moment one thinks of vairAgyaM one will not fail to recall the famous PattinattAr! He was born as an amsha of Kubera and was doing even overseas trade.

But one day there came the boy, an amsha of Lord shiva, who left a written message “Not even a useless needle will come along with you on your last journey” and disappeared.

As soon as Pattinathar saw that, he renounced all his immense wealth and left home clad only in a loin-cloth, carrying only a begging bowl (‘Odu’ in Tamil), singing the couplet *VIDu namaakkut-tiruvAlangADu vimalar tantha Odu namakkuNDu*.

In course of time even that begging bowl was thrown away by him since holding that ‘property’ was thought to be unbecoming of a renunciate. And he sang:

Hometown is not permanent; nor are relatives
Neither is the name they gave you .....

(In Tamil: *Oorum cathamalla, uRRaar chathamalla [uRRup-peRRa] perum chathamalla ...*)

When we hear the innumerable songs he has composed, vairAgya arises in us, even though temporarily just as one gets after a child-birth (called *prasava-vairAgyam*) or after visiting a cremation (called *smashAna-vairAgyam*) !


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Vairaagyam - Part 11 of 15


BhartRhari was a great man. He has composed a *shatakaM*, that is, a piece of hundred verses, with great feeling and majesty, about Sannyasa and Sannyasi. He could have as well named it “Sannyasa shatakaM”. Instead he has named it “VairAgya shatakaM*. If VairAgyam is there Sannyasa is not far behind – seems to be the thought.

What else is ‘San-nyAsaM’? Is it not a total ‘renunciation’? Unless you renounce that which is called desire, how can you renounce everything else? So it is not surprising that Sannyasam, as well as Renunciation, are both synonymous with vairAgyaM.

The great Tiruvalluvar has told us in Tamil about Dharma. In the chapter on Renunciation, he says that renunciation is when we attach ourselves only to the attachmentless God, thus renouncing all other attachments. It is by desire, by rAga, that one gets attachment. Alternatively, when we have an association with something, that is when we are attached to something, then there arises desire towards that – just as the Lord has said *sangAt sanjAyate kAmaH* (II – 62). Thus both desire and attachment are mutually cause and effect for each other. Therefore when Tiruvalluvar says *patru viDarkku* (abandonment of attachment), he is actually referring to the rise of vairAgyaM. He calls that renunciation and closes that chapter with the words *patru viDarkku*.

In the same section of chapters there is another chapter called “cutting off of desires” (*avA aruttal*), which is also only vairAgyaM. VairAgyam is the walking off from all wealth. That VairAgyam itself is a great wealth, There is nothing equivalent to that in the whole world, why, nothing in the divine world either – says he very beautifully:

*VenDamai anna vizhuccelvam INDillai
ANDum akdu oppadu il*.

Almost the same thought (about renunciation and vairAgyam) has been expressed by Sadashiva Brahmendra.

In his Atma-vidyA-vilAsaM he visualises the Sannyasi as a king (of the spiritual kingdom) and says: *svIkRRita-vairAgya-sarvasvaH* -- the one who has appropriated all the treasures of vairAgyaM. He himself was like that! Men like BhartRhari, Tiruvalluvar and Sadashiva Brahmendra were themselves in possession of great vairAgya.

Their thoughts about vairAgya touch our hearts -- at least for that moment!


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Vairaagyam - Part 10 of 15


In the very beginning of Gitopadesha, when he talks about the characteristics of a ‘sthita-prajna’, he mentions as the first characteristic: *prajahAti yadA kAmAn sarvAn pArtha manogatAn*. This itself is nothing but vairAgyaM.

In the last chapter, when he talks about what should be done in the jnAna path, after having attained success in the path of karma, he says *nityaM vairAgyaM samupAshritaH* (XVIII – 52) – “Dispassion to be practised uninterruptedly”. vairAgyaM is the distaste in everything that you see or hear. This is Acharyal’s statement (in Vivekachudamani).

Of these, putting aside ‘the seen’, the Lord says in the Gita, as I told you already, two things “what is heard, and what is to be heard”. Now in the same Gita when the Acharyal is doing the bhashya for *nityaM vairAgyaM samupAshritaH*, he says “The absence of a thirst of desire in both the seen and the unseen’ -- *dRRishhTA-dRRishTeshhu vishhayeshhu vaitRRishhNyaM*. What does he mean by deisre in the unseen? It is the desire for experience of heaven and in things like the post of Indra, etc.

If one goes through the regimen of veda-ordained karmas as if they are an end in themselves, one obtains such pleasures of the divine world. But they are not visible to our perception now, so they are called *adRRishhTaM*. *dRRishhTaM* means what is seen. The unseen is *adRRishhTaM*.

Thus we see ViarAgyaM from three different angles. One: The abandonment of the desires in everything that we see or hear; two: the abandonment of the desires in what we have heard or what we are going to hear; and three: the abandonment of desires in the seen and the unseen.

[Note by Ra. Ganapathy: In Gita XIII – 8 the word ‘VairAgyam’ occurs. When the Acharyal is commenting on this, he explains: “In the senses like sound etc. , a desireless attitude towards the experiences seen and unseen” .The etc. connotes all that can occupy the mind through the senses – just as the Mahaswamigal would want us to understand.]

Putting all this together we get the meaning for *sarvAn pArtha manogatAn*, that is, any desire that can occupy the mind has to be tabooed; that is what vairAgyaM is.This is a very important part of SAdhanA.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Vairaagyam - Part 9 of 15


The Upanishad says: He who has no vairAgyaM is a ‘kAmayamAnaH’ and he who has vairAgyaM is ‘akAmayamAnaH’. The Upansihad further talks about them.

The ‘kAmayamAnaH’ thinks that karma is everything and keeps on performing his karmas, then he reaps their fruits in the other world; when that gets exhausted he is born again here and revolves in the same rut of karma. On the other hand the ‘akAmayamana’, that is, the one who has vairAgyaM, is, the Upanishad goes on, ‘akAma’, ‘nishkAma’ and ‘AptakAma’ . When he throws off his desires he is ‘akAma’ (desireless).

Instead of his making efforts to get rid of desires, when they themselves run away from him, he is ‘nishkAma’ (devoid of desires). Then he becomes an ‘AptakAma’ – one who has attained his desires! When the Upanishad speaks like this, one gets the doubt: ‘How does an ‘akAmayamAna’ (one who is not subject to desires) have desires? What does he desire to obtain?’. But this is explained by the next epithet which the Upanishad uses in the series: ‘akAma’, ‘nishkAma’, ‘AptakAma’ and ‘AtmakAma’.

‘AtmakAma’ is one who has desire for the Atman only. When he gets that he becomes an ‘AptakAma’ – he who has attained his desire. Thus the one who has vairAgyaM becomes an akAma, nishkAma, AptakAma and AtmakAma; when he dies his jIva does not go to any other world. The Upanishad says that he is Brahman even while living and when the body falls, he is still immersed in Brahman (Br. U. IV – 4 – 6) .

It is the state of desirelessness, that is, vairAgyaM, that has been said to be so qualified for Brahman-experience.If one is not just a ‘shrotriya’ – a scholar with deep understanding of the vedas – but is also an ‘akAmahata’ , that is, one who is not destroyed by desire, he is the one who rises step by step, each times a hundredfold, in the bliss that starts from that of a ruler of this world to the ultimate bliss of Brahman, says Taittiriyopanishad (II – 8) and also (though slightly in a different way) Br.U. IV – 3 – 33. Thus here also, it is the destruction of desire, that is, being with vairAgyaM, is the prime qualification.

In the Gita also Bhagavan has emphasized as important, only the two things: “Practice and Dispassion” *abhyAsaM* and *vairAgyaM*. To still the truant mind in one place persistent efforts have to be made. Persistent effort is what ‘practice’ means. For stilling the mind the other important requisite is Dispassion (vairAgyaM), says He.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Vairaagyam - Part 8 of 15


We saw that the Acharyal has given the definition of ‘vairAgyaM’ as *darshana-shravaN- AdibhiH jugupsA*, that is, “a distaste for all that is seen and all that is heard”. He thus talks about two things ‘seen’ and ‘heard’.

Recall that Lord Krishna also mentions (in II – 52) two things *shrotavyasya shrutasya ca* -- that which is to be heard and that which has been heard.

All the nonsensical things that we have heard and stored up in our memory constitute those that have been ‘heard’. Further those about which we are dead curious and itching to know – ‘I should know about that and about this’ – these are the ones ‘to be heard’. From both of these we should get ‘nirvedaM’ – is what the Lord is saying (in II – 52). When the Acharyal writes the Bhashya for this he interprets ‘nirvedaM’ as ‘vairAgyaM’.

The Lord says here that when the intellect which has been totally tainted because of its being immersed in the gutter of delusion comes out of that gutter, then one gets vairAgyaM in whatever that is heard or whatever is to be heard.

The point of taintedness by delusion is explicitly named by the Acharya as “the confusion of the intellect in discriminating between Atman and anAtman”. That is what was listed as number one in chatushhTayaM. The next one is vairAgyaM. The Lord also lists them in the same order in this shloka.

vairAgyaM is the absence of ‘rAga’, that is, desire. One who has vairAgyaM is VairAgi, also BairAgi. The bairAgi homeless renuciates of north India are so called because they are VairAgis. In other words we have been equating sannyAsa with vairAgyaM.

One who has renounced rAga is VairAgi. One who is subject to rAgas (desires) is rAgi. He who has rAga is rAgi. Such desire-prompted individuals are called ‘kAmayamAnaH’ in the Upanishad (Br.U. IV-4-6). Desires actually destroy a person; so the Upanishads speak of him as ‘kAma-hataH’ (Tait. U. II – 8; Br. U. IV-3-33). Analogously, he who is not subject to desires is called ‘akAmayamAnaH’ or ‘akAma-hataH’.

Usually we interpret ‘rAga’ and ‘kAma’ both as ‘desire’ and identify them. But there is a subtle difference between the two. At one place in the Gita (VII – 11) Bhagavan says *kAma-rAga-vivarjitaM*, to mean ‘without kAma and rAga’. This shows that ‘kAma’ and ‘rAga’ are two different things. What is the difference? These are the subtle situations where our Acharyal by his extraordinary intelligence helps us with explainations.

“ ‘Kama’ is the thirst or ‘tRshhNA’ in objects not yet attained; ‘rAga’ is the attachment in objects already attained” – thus does the Acharya distinguish the two. We shall not need this minute distinction here. Let us take both ‘kAma’ and ‘rAga’ to mean the same thing, desire.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Vairaagyam - Part 7 of 15


It is the distaste that arises from vairAgya that is called *nirvedaM*. When one obtains complete indifference to worldly matters, that is ‘nirvedaM’.

Incidentally, it is this feeling that is at the source of ‘shAnta rasa’ – says the alankAra shAstra. ‘vairAgyaM’ and ‘nirvedam’ are similar words. It is also spoken of in the same Upanishad (I – 2 – 12) that speaks of *vItarAga*’s.

The Acharyal comments in his bhashya: The prefix ‘ni’ added to the root ‘vid’ gives rise to the word ‘nirvedaM’ and the meaning is ‘vairAgyaM’ - *vairAgyArthe*. Two things that are spoken of very highly in the path of karma is what is known as *ishhTA-pUrtaM*, namely the yajnas and social services. But even they are only preliminaries (*pUrvAngas*) to be renounced after they have taken us to jnAna-yoga.

Instead of taking them to be part of karma yoga, those who think they can lead us to the goal are only downright fools -- *pramUDha*’s, says the Upanishad. ‘Not just ordinary fools, but totally deluded fools’.

“An intelligent brahmin should discover by analysis that even the heavens that one obtains even by the highest type of karma are only ‘anitya’ (impermanent) ; should get the knowledge that brahman which is actionless cannot be obtained by any action; and thus get *nirvedaM* , that is, he should get vairAgyaM. Thereafter he should seek a Guru who is a brahma-nishhTa, get the upadesha from him and himself get brahma-jnAna”.

Earlier we saw that Karma yoga is the first stage; to get the formal teaching for brahma-jnAna after becoming a sannyAsi is the third stage; what comes in between as the second stage is the SAdhanA-chatushhTayaM; and the second item in this four-fold SAdhanA is vairAgyaM. But here the first stage is spoken of as karma, then is mentioned only vairAgyaM and then quickly the teaching of brahma-jnAna, which is actually the third stage, is mentioned.

From this it is clear that vairAgyaM alone suffices and if one holds on to it steadfastly, all the four parts of SAdhanA-chatushhTayaM will be acquired automatically.

When the Acharyal is writing the BhashyaM for this Upanishad, several mantras earlier, when the matter of the worldly apara-vidyA and the spiritual parA-vidyA comes up (I – 1 -5) he says: “All can study the Brahma-vidya intending to give Brahma-jnAna and become very knowledgeable; but if one wants to get the experiential knowledge of Brahman, one has to go, with vairAgyaM, to a Guru, and get the upadeshaM – *gurvabhigamanAdi- lakshhaNaM vairAgyaM*”.

Thus he refers only to vairAgyaM here.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Vairaagyam - Part 6 of 15


It is not as if we are talking only about the pleasures that one enjoys through this human body in this world. Our distaste has to be even in those enjoyments one hopes to experience in the world of BrahmA. The jugupsA has to extend that far. *dehAdi brahma-paryante*.

The Absolute Truth that is formless and attributeless, called Brahman – that is the only thing to be aimed. The enjoyments that may be offered by The Lord whose form is Creator BrahmA, in his world, -- all these have to discarded as valueless.

In SAdhanA-chatushhTayaM, when the Acharya mentions vairaagyaM he actually refers to it with a long qualifying adjective as *ihAmutrArtha-bhoga-virAgaM* or *ihAmutra-phala-bhoga-virAgaM*. (Brahma-sutra- bhashya: I. 1-1; Vivekachudamani: 19)

‘iha’ + ‘amutra’ is ‘ihAmutra’. ‘iha’ means this world we live in now. ‘amutra’ means the pitR loka or indra loka etc. which are not ‘here’ or ‘near’ but ‘far, somewhere’. The world of the divines where several of the devas live as well as the farthest ‘brahma loka’ where Brahma lives – all of these are included in the ‘amutra’. Tiruvalluvar says: “Those with no Money miss this world; those with no Grace miss the other world” – ‘this world’ here is ‘iha’ and ‘the other world’ here is ‘amutra’.
The experiences in that brahma loka are also not the spiritual experiences; nor are the bliss of the Brahma-loka the Bliss of the Atman. The pleasure of Brahma-loka also vanishes during dissolution at the end of the kalpa. It is not eternal or permanent like the Bliss of the Atman.

Further, even there one gets only the pleasure that keeps the distinction between jIvAtmA and paramAtma and so it won’t be even an iota of the great Bliss of identification of the two. Thus the ‘virAga’ is the ‘vairAgya’ in the experience (‘bhoga’) of the objects (‘artha’) that one gets in ‘iha’ or ‘amutra’. That is why it is ‘ihAmutrArtha-bhoga-virAgaM’.

When we talk of this in another way as ‘vairAgya’ in the experience of the fruits of this world or the other world, he calls it ‘ihAmutra-phala-bhoga-virAgaM’. ‘artha’ is an object; ‘phala’ is that which we get from the object.

Those who have ‘vairAgya’ are known as *vIta-rAga*’s. The ‘vAtApi GanapatiM’ song has *vIta-rAginaM vinata-yoginaM*. In Mundakopanishad (III – 2 - 5), the Rishis are said to have obtained contentment in their Enlightenment, to have been established in the Atman, to be ‘vIta-rAga’s (free from attachment) and finally are described as ‘prashAnta’ – those who are fully composed.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Vairaagyam - Part 5 of 15


Only when we develop a disgust do we stay away from those objects which generate a bondage of MAyA.

An attitude of “Leave it alone; let it be” in this matter will not be a sAtvic attitude. It is only foolishness. “ Not being afraid of what has to be feared is ignorance” says Tiruvalluvar. *anjuvathu anjAmai pethamai*. His Tirukkural teaches us to be courageous men not to be afraid of anything.

Even then before one gets that courage, we should not bungle by our foolishness; so he says: “In this world one should certainly avoid those things of which we should be legitimately afraid; otherwise we shall only be foolish”. Ignorance and foolishness are not far apart.

Our Acharya who taught us to love everything – the same Acharya teaches us, to develop, in the early stages of spiritual ascent, a disgust towards those things which are in the nature of an obstacle to the growth of spirituality. He gives a really telling analogy that actually may hurt us deep.

It is an example which itself can be disgusting. The same example is given by him in three books, ‘Bala-bodha-sangrahaM’, ‘aparokshAnubhUti’ and ‘sarva-vedanta-siddhanta-sara-sangrahaM’.

In the first two, he says *yathaiva kAkavishhTAyAM* and in the third, he says: *kAkasya vishhTAvat asahya-buddhiH*. The analogy is to the leavings of a crow. Just as we have a natural disgust for the leavings of a crow, so also there should be a disgust towards things of sensual experience – this is the purpose of the analogy.

Suppose we are having a picnic under a tree in its shade and suddenly from the branches of the tree a crow’s leavings fall on your plate full of excellent food. That very moment we move away from the food in total disgust, don’t we? Even if the crow is hushed away and we sit at another plate of good food, our mood would have been upset and the good food refuses to go in! That kind of disgust is what should be developed in objects of sensual enjoyment -- that is vairaagyaM, says the Acharya.

When such a disgust becomes really intense, even a picnic will appear only as disgusting as the leavings of a crow! One will start thinking that there is no need for a picnic when, as the Acharya has said, it is only necessary to calm the disease of hunger by eating what one gets by BikshhA (ritual begging).


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Vairaagyam - Part 4 of 15


Revulsion is not of people. Certainly not.

The aversion or disgust is only towards the bondage that originates from our attachment to them; it is only of the pleasurable things they may offer. If one runs away from household, it is not out of aversion or disgust of the mother, or of the wife, or son or daughter; certainly not.

The repulsion or distaste is because of the obstacles to spirituality created by the bondage of attachment to them. The mother spoils our efforts at soul-cleaning when we fast for the purpose, by pitying with us on our fasting and tempting us with tasty food; when the spouse is at your side, the mind becomes vibrant.; the son has got to be admitted in an engineering college even if it costs a bribe of money; the daughter has to be married to a doctor according to her own wish and accordingly a costly dowry has to be met --- thus, each one of them binds you in a certain way.

The repulsion is from this binding. The revulsion is from such bondage of these actions and from the enjoyable things that arise from them, not from the people concerned. Nor from the community of animals. Even in the shloka that we are discussing, it says “bhogya-vastuni jugupsA” – meaning, the disgust towards ‘the objects of pleasure’ and not towards jIvas. In other words, if we isolate ourselves from the JIvas, it is not out of hate or disgust for them but because through them we get attached to enjoyment of experiences.

Thus by discrimination between the permanent and transient objects we learn that all objects of sense-experience are transient and therefore we develop a distaste for them *jugupsA... hyanitye bhogya-vastuni*.

Note the words *hyanitye* instead of *anitye*. It is actually *hi anitye* that has become *hyanitye*. The word ‘hi’ gives an emphasis to what is being said.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Vairaagyam - Part 3 of 15


‘tRshhNA’ is thirst. Desire is a thirst. When thirst arises, the tongue craves for drinking water; so also desire is the thirst for the enjoyment of sensual pleasures. Only when it is gone you can get NirvANa – that was the great discovery of the Buddha, say the Buddhistic texts.

Whatever religion there is among civilized society it does not fail to give importance to the eradication of desires. Our Acharya also has given great importance to Vairaagya that eradicates desires.

In his work *aparokshhAnubhUti*, when he refers to the SAdhanA regimen, he calls it (shloka 3) the *vairaagyAdi chatushhTayaM* -- ‘the four parts consisting of VairaagyaM etc.’, thus mentioning VairaagyaM as the chief part.

How does the Acharya define VairaagyaM, let us see:

tad-vairaagyaM jugupsA yA darshana-shravaNAdibhiH /
dehAdi-brahma-paryante hyanitye bhogya-vastuni //

This is the Acharya’s definition of VairaagyaM in Viveka-chUDAmaNi (shloka 21). ‘That is indeed VairaagyaM’, says he dramatically!

‘What is?’. Revulsion from objects of enjoyment by this human body, all the way from those things seen, heard, etc. in this human world to those objects of enjoyment in Brahma-loka – that is VairaagyaM.

“jugupsA” means the feeling of disgust that causes one to reject it. An alternative reading is ‘jihAsA’. The meaning is the same.

Once jnAna has been reached, then one feels love towards everything. There is no question of revulsion then. Because, then none of the objects whether bad or tempting, will affect him. In stages that precede that, it is not so.

All objects of enjoyment of pleasure that cause us to slip down have to be discarded with distaste -- only then one can save our Self. For the later sprouting of the personality of Love, one has to create for oneself this feeling of aversion!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Vairaagyam - Part 2 of 15


When a foetus grows into a baby, does it grow in sequence such as, first the feet, then the stomach, then the chest and so on?All of them grow up simultaneously. So also these SAdhanAs have to be done side by side – not one after another.

At each stage the concentration may be more in one or the other. Thus we begin with sorting out the good and bad. The very sorting will teach us something about the task of discarding the bad and taking the good.

And in due course of time this sorting will become automatic, by sheer practice over a long period of time! And that is when we have to start concentrating on the discarding of the undesirables.And that is the part Number Two in the four parts of SAdhana-ChatushhTayaM. That is called *VairaagyaM* (Dispassion).

It is also called *virakti*. *rAgaM* and *rakti* both mean desire or liking. The discarding of desire or liking is *vairaagyaM* or *virakti*.

Sensual pleasures are the greatest obstacles to Spiritual wisdom.They are pleasures of the senses. When we run after a pleasure it means there is a desire for experiencing that pleasure. If we have no such desire, do we run after them?

So what it means to discard those obstacles to spiritual growth is to be rid of all desires – from the little desire for consumption of a snack to the great one of a desire for the obtaining of Bharat Ratna Award. This absence of desires is exactly what VairaagyaM means.

Tirumoolar, the Tamil mystic, describes Vairaagya parAkAshhTA (the apex of Vairaagya) as follows:

Cut off your desire; cut off your desire!
Even with God cut off your desire!
As you keep desiring misery follows
Cutting off desires – that is Happiness, Bliss!

[Tamil original: Asai arrumingaL, Asai arrumingal !
IsanoDAyinum Asai arrumingal !
AsaippaDappaDa Ayvarum tunbam
Asai viDa viDa AnandamAme ! ]

If desires are eradicated totally, moksha is right there!.

Nammazhvar has also sung: *atradu patrenil utradu veeDu*, which means exactly the same.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Vairaagyam - Part 1 of 15

Vairaagyam - Dispassion

One has to distinguish between nitya (permanent) and anitya (impermanent), discard what ought not to be and take what ought to be. In fact the discarding of what ought not to be is more important.

In life itself, between what ought to be done and what ought not to be done, it may not matter if you don’t do what ought to be done; but by doing what ought not to be done one invites great trouble.

Take the common cold,, for instance. They say: ‘You should have rice mixed in mustard powder, but no icecream.’ One may not eat rice with mustard powder. But by having ice cream the cold intensifies and one ends up in fever.

Thus by eating prohibited food one experiences bad consequences immediately; on the other hand by eating the prescribed things do they immediately help? Not necessarily; they may or may not.

Again bathing in the river Cauvery, if you do it near the shore, it is good both physically and mentally. Those who don’t know swimming should not go into deep waters; if they do they will be drawn into the vortex of the flow.

A bath in the Cauvery may even be missed; even if it is not missed, though the mind gets refreshed a little, one does not observe any great improvement in health or spiritual merit. But if one goes into deeper waters the danger of the vortex swallowing you up is great.

Thus it always happens that in this play of MAyA in the world, the negative forces have usually more power. It therefore follows that once we have made an analysis of what is good for the spiritual ascent and what is bad, thereafter we should give first priority to the discarding of those which are bad.

Here, as I have said earlier, the ‘thereafter’ does not mean there is a strict ‘one after the other’ rule in SAdhanA. It happens that we have to exercise all the different steps of the SAdhanA together in a mixed fashion. At one stage some one of them becomes important or prominent and we usually talk of it as coming ‘later’ or ‘earlier’.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Nityaanitya Vastu Vivekam - Part 10 of 10


The Acharya has his own doubts whether we can do this sorting in an intelligent way; so he gives in his prakaraNa work “anAtma-shrI-vigarhaNam” a long list of anAtma items.

In each shloka therein, the first three lines end with *tataH kim?*. It means, “ So what? What is the use?” Status, wealth, dress and decoration, physical beauty, fine health – there are many of this kind that we hold to be highly esteemable and in each line one of them is mentioned, followed by a “tataH kiM”.

Three such lines in every shloka are followed by the fourth line *yena svAtmA naiva sAkshhAt-kRRito’bhUt* (if one has not realised the Self). This is repeated in every shloka.

The meaning of this refrain is to say: If one has not realised the Self, what is the use of his status? Of his wealth? Of his decorative show? Of his beauty? Of his health?. One does not know the truth of oneself; and without knowing that, what is the value of adding one’s status, wealth and health? – this is the substance of the shlokas.

Will it not look absurd if “we don’t know somebody; but still we are going to honour that somebody with a presentation of a purse of money”? That is the situation here, says the Acharya.

Atman is the truth of oneself; if this truth is not known what else is going to be of value? On the other hand if one knows the Self, to him also all these are of trivial value. In fact only if one discards all these as trivial, one can know his own Self. Thus in any case, status, wealth, decoration, beauty, health and whatever other things we hold to be great – all of them are undesirable. The discarding of all of them as anAtmA (non-self) is “anAtma-shrI vigarhaNaM”.

The meanings of the word ‘shrI’ known to everybody are: Lakshmi, auspiciousness, wealth. But there is another meaning also: ‘poison’! Lord Shiva is keeping the poison in his throat and that is why he is also called ‘ShrI-kanTha’. The pleasures that we consider to be of value from wealth and auspiciousness, should be devalued as poison – this is ‘anAtma-shrI-vigarhaNaM’.

And this is nothing but another name for AtmA-anAtma-vivekaM, that is, nitya-anitya-vastu-vivekaM.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Nityaanitya Vastu Vivekam - Part 9 of 10


Suddenly he seems to switch over to two other categories; no, kshhetraM is prakRRiti and purushha is kshetrajn~a, as is clear from the context.

This is where he gives in a crystallised essence the matter we have been discussing – namely nitya-anitya-vastu vivekaM. What is known in sAnkhya shAstra as purushha is the Absolute Reality of advaita shAstra known as Atman and Brahman.

What is called prakRRiti there (in sAnkhya) is MAyA here. Of course there is a slight difference; but the fact that prakRRiti and purushha is the MAyA and the Atman, respectively, is 99 percent. true.

It is well known that the Atman is the eternal Truth (nitya). So what is meant by nitya-anitya-vastu-vivekaM is nothing but the comprehension of the Atman as separate from the effects of MAyA. In the word ‘AtmA-anAtma-vivacanaM’, the anAtmA is nothing but MAyA. So, to know the distinction between prakRRiti and purushha is to distinguish between anAtmA and AtmA. For an Atma-JnAni there is nothing like anAtma. But being an Atma-JnAni is in the future.

There is a work called “prouDhAnubhUti” by the Acharya, a wonderful rendering in a majestic manner of the status of a JnAni, written in such a ‘madness’ full of advaita-Ananda, that could be even mistaken by unknowing people as a kind of pride. In fact, [the Mahaswamigal adds smiling] the ‘pride’ justifies the name ‘prouDhAnubhUti’. In this the Acharya says very emphatically: “It is absurd to talk about Atma-anAtma – vivechanaM. Is there a thing like anAtma? If there is one such then how can it be negated out of existence?”.

But remember, this is the statement of one who has had the anubhUti (the Experience). But, for those who have yet to reach that stage, the question that looms large is : “Is there something like the Atman? It is only anAtmA that seems to be everywhere”! For all those who have not yet reached that apex of jnAna, it is necessary, during their efforts on the journey, to be alert and to keep sorting out with discrimination, which is the one that is really eternal, which is the one that is the impermanent anAtmA, and what those are that, though impermanent, would be able to help us go to the Eternal Permanent entity, and what those are that, being impermanent, would drag us deep into further impermanence.

The Acharya, in the last but one shloka of his Bhaja Govindam, has recommended us to do this sorting between Atman and anAtmA very carefully: *prANAyAmaM pratyAhAraM nityAnitya-viveka-vichAraM*. The shloka after this in Bhaja GovindaM is a phala-shruti.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Nityaanitya Vastu Vivekam - Part 8 of 10


Another way of looking at it is to say that by proper discrimination he discarded the five koshas as impermanent and finally got to know that the Atman is the only Permanent entity.

*neti neti* -- “Brahman is not this, is not that; it is nothing that can be circumscribed by anything; it is not related to another; it is not limited to anything; it is not that which suffers; it is not that which is destroyed” so says the Brihad-Aranyaka Upanishad. Whatever has been said here not to be Brahman, they are all matters for the mundane world.

In other words, what is circumscribed, what is related, what is limited, what is destroyed, all these are material entities. So the “neti, neti” analysis means to pick out the impermanent entitites of the world, discard them as such, and hold on to the Permanent entity, Atman. “anyat ArtaM” – “all others are having an end” .

In other words, except the Atman, everything else without exception meet their end. This idea coming again and again in BrihadAranyaka Upanishad mantras is to distinguish the Nitya-vastu (Permanent One) from the anityas (the impermanents).

Right in the beginning of His Gitopadesha, Bhagavan makes it clear: Atman is the only Permanent entity. The body from the killing of which Arjuna retreats, is nothing but ephemeral (anitya). All experiences of the body come and go: *AgamApAyinaH anityAH*. That which is permanent, immeasurable is only the Atman : *nityasyoktAH sharIriNaH anAshinaH aprameyasya*, thus runs his elaboration.

Later *anityam asukhaM lokaM imaM prApya bhajasva mAM* (IX – 33) -- you have obtained a life in this impermanent miserable world; in order to get out of this, worship Me, says He. What does He mean by ‘Me’? He is the Atman, He is the Brahman. *ahamAtma guDHAkeshaH sarva-bhUtAshayaH sthitaH* (X – 20) [I am established as the indweller in the hearts of all beings]: this is His own statement. So worshipping Him means only the meditation on the Self. The sum and substance of what He says is: “In this world everything is impermanent; hold on to the Atman”.

The thirteenth chapter of the Gita is called ‘kshhetra- kshhetrajn~a vibhAga-yogaM’. It is the yoga that distinguishes the body that is the ‘kshhetra’ and the conscious Atman inside that is known as ‘kshetrajn~a’. This kshetra-kshetrajn~a yoga is nothing but the discrimination between the permanent and the ephemeral. When the Lord defines (XIII– 5, 6) ‘kshhetra’ as made up of the five elements, senses, the objects that senses run after, desire (icchA), hate (dveshhaM), happiness and misery, etc., he is actually dissecting all those that are impermanent.

In the same way, he shows the Permanent One as the kshhetrajn~a. It is clear from his further statements: “It exists in all the universes enveloping them all; without and within all beings, moving and unmoving, near and far away is that”. (XIII – 13,, 15). Then as He goes along distinguishing kshhetra and kshhetrajn~a, Bhagavan says: “He who knows the distinction between prakRRiti and purusha does not have another birth” (XIII – 23). In other words, such a person attains moksha, says He.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Nityaanitya Vastu Vivekam - Part 7 of 10


The Upanishads constitute the ‘anta’, the finishing portion of the Vedas. Therefore we find this matter in abundance there. Is not the very purpose of the Upanishads to take us jIvas who are stuck in this worldly impermanence out to the Permanent One ?

Starting from the small boy Nachiketas all the way up to Indra himself several have been known to have understood the impermanent as impermanent and comprehended the Principle of Nitya – such stories have come down to us in Kathopanishad, Chandogyopanishad, etc.

The Lord of Death himself offered several rare gifts to child Nachiketas, but the latter turned all of them down, saying “All these are ephemeral; one day or other won’t they all come back to you?”. And, he insisted on having the tattva-upadesha from the God of death himself and finally got it!

Among all the impermanent things, there is only one thing that is ever permanent – said Yama-dharma-raja *nityo’nityAnAM*. “Whoever finds it, to him there will be eternal peace; not for anybody else”. All that we call wealth is anitya; nothing that belongs to anitya will ever lead to the nitya-vastu, that is the Atman.

In the Chandogya story, Virochana the King of Asuras , as well as Indra the King of the Gods, both of them pursue the question : “What is the Atman?”. The asura comes to the conclusion that the body is the Atman. It is ‘Asura-Vedanta’! On the other hand, Indra does an analysis of experiences in the waking state, dream state and the sleeping state, discards them one by one as unreal and finally comes to the Reality that is the Atman.

This kind of discarding is nothing but ‘nityA-nitya-vastu vivechanam’ – the discrimination between anitya and nitya. In the Taittiriya Upanishad Brighu Maharishi begins from the anna-maya kosha, and goes through all the koshas, first thinking that it is Brahman and then after enquiry discarding it and finally comes to the right conclusion that Brahman is what remains as the substratum of even the Ananda-maya-kosha.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Nityaanitya Vastu Vivekam - Part 6 of 10


nityAnitya-vastu-vivekaM is also known as AtmAnAtma-vastu vivechanaM. ‘vivechanaM’ and ‘vivekaM’ are the same.

It means the capability to sort out what is good and what is bad. The only discretion that advaita shAstra recommends is this capability to sort out what is AtmA and what is anAtmA.

The work “Viveka-chUDAmaNi” is also called “AtmAnAtma-viveka-chUDAmaNi”. As soon as the mangalAcharaNaM shloka – that is, the verse of benediction in the beginning of a work – is over, the text begins with the topic of SAdhanA path.

There he talks about the performance of routine as per vaidika dharma, then scholarship in the vedas -- these two being common to all paths – and then he mentions just one thing, namely “AtmAnAtma-vivechanaM” which is the route for the JnAna pathfinder and then goes to talk about svAnubhUti (Personal experience) and Mukti (moksha).

Later in the book the Acharya defines, at the highest level, the concept of ‘viveka’ (discrimination) that decides between the permanent and the impermanent.

*brahma satyaM jagan-mithyety-evaM rUpo vinishcayaH /
so’yaM nityAnitya-vastu-vivekaH samudAhRRitaH //*

It means: Brahman is the only Reality. The Universe is mithyA, that is, it may appear real but will become unreal; such a firm conviction is what has been well declared as nitya-anitya-vastu vivekaM.” Who has made the declaration? The Vedas. The authority to declare such Truths is that of the Vedas only. The Acharya follows that tradition and so even if he does not say “in the Vedas” he knows people will understand it that way.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Nityaanitya Vastu Vivekam - Part 5 of 10


What I have just said is for the majority of us who are the average.

Those who have done the Atma-SAdhanA exclusively and attained a certain maturity must have probably released themselves from the fascination for coffee, cricket, etc..

But even they would have some small weaknesses connected with the satisfaction of the senses. Such things may even be good for us at our level and might help us go up the spiritual ladder but these might not be necessary for them. So they should carefully search for these and release themselves of these things also.

Atman-Realisation is the only thing to be looked for; in the absence of it one should feel like a fish out of water. It is with that kind of anguish one should stay out of , say, even social service which may prove to be right for the average karma yogi, even pilgrimages, and even the upAsanA method of bhakti.

Remember I told you about lying on the lap of AmbaaL – even that! All these are impermanent; he should have the discretion to be able to avoid all this and resort only to those that can take him deep into the Atman. “Atman is the only thing desired; everything else is anAtma and all of them should be discarded” -- this should be the fervent conviction.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Nityaanitya Vastu Vivekam - Part 4 of 10


At the beginning stage we should choose, by our discretion, the good ones among these and use them to take us on the right path.

Recall what the God of Death (Yama) told Nachiketas: ‘By means of impermanent entities we should reach the Permanent One’ (Kathopanishad: II – 10).

The true Sadhaka on the JnAna path would have already escaped from the sensual pleasures that are nothing but obstacles to spiritual growth and from those others which are far away from the Atman, like the pleasures of gossip, and of being an idler doing nothing.

But ordinary people like us (note that Periva includes Himself while talking about us mere mortals) who have to start from these beginnings, have to use our discretion (vivekaM) that can distinguish between the Permanent and the impermanent.

Movies, gluttony, addiction to coffee or cricket commentary, reading senseless fiction, excited gossip about politics – thus there are many more that attract us very forcefully. We have to be alert and keep thinking: ‘Would these things contribute even an iota to my spiritual growth? Should I give them so much importance?’ What can lead us to That Permanent One and what cannot? – a mercilessly strict balancing analysis is what nityAnityavastu-vivekaM means.

I said ‘mercilessly strict’ because our mind always tries to rationalize doing what it likes to do; it will find all sorts of justifications. Use the discriminatory power that does not give in to that kind of imagination and that judges this analysis very strictly, to assess ourself. See that it does not allow itself to ‘pass’ what deserves a ‘fail’.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Nityaanitya Vastu Vivekam - Part 3 of 10


About impermanent things we certainly know well. In fact whatever we know well are all impermanent things! Though what is permanent transcends the mind and speech, the shAstras do tell us about it.

It is from them that we learn the fundamental information about the eternal Atman. Dwelling in thoughts of That which can give permanent peace and permanent happiness, we should be able to throw off the the impermanent things which can give only impermanent peace and happiness.

It is not necessary to throw them off right in this beginning stage. Though they are not the permanent entity, Atman, there are several things among the impermanent ones that can help us go towards that permanent one.

The shAstras about the Atman, the teachings of great men about it, the holy pilgrimage centres that produce a pure state of mind, puranas and stotras and several similar ones, are all there. Of course none of these is the Atman.

Only when even these are nullified, the Realisation of the Atman takes place. The experience of Permanence is that of being the Atman alone, without any thought or action. The only Absolute Truthful experience is that and nothing else. Even if God Himself stands before us and gives darshan, even if we are in the lap of Mother goddess (AmbaaL herself) and She pets us – even that is not the experience of the Permanent Reality of the Atman.

However, all these can lead us to a close proximity to that. Thus there are things of happiness – what we then consider to be happiness – that range all the way from those which takes us to that Permanent experience to those which takes us away very far.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Nityaanitya Vastu Vivekam - Part 2 of 10


If one wants to get involved in matters of the Atman, what should lie at the base of all that?

It is the knowledge that the Atman is the only permanent entity all other things being only ephemeral. If this knowledge is not there, man will always remain a samsAri and continue to suffer as he does now.

The basic conviction that ‘everything that gives us pleasure in this world, that gives status and honour, all of that is impermanent; nothing will ever give us permanent happiness; what gives permanent happiness is only the Atman, the only permanent entity’ – this faith is the most important thing.

Now and then the mind may be distracted and drawn towards several other things. At every such time one should beware and keep the mind steady.

“Should I go into this just because it gives me pleasure? Is this an unmixed happiness? Even if it be unmixed happiness, will it be permanent? Once the mind enters into it will not the taste of it entice it to make efforts to go into it again and again? Would that not be a bondage of the mind? If something will not help the mind to become pure and restful, should I enter into it?”

Such analysis has to be done by the intellect. It should keep weighing the pros and cons about what is permanent and what is impermanent. Only then can we hope to go the spiritual path.

This balancing analysis by the intellect is called ‘vivekaM’. The analysis of balancing between what is permanent and what is ephemeral is called *nitya-anitya-vastu-vivekaM*. This is the very first step of Atma-SAdhanA.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Nityaanitya Vastu Vivekam - Part 1 of 10

Nityaanitya Vastu Vivekam - Ability to distinguish between the permanent and the ephemeral

The first step in SAdhanA-chatushTayaM, is NityAnitya-vastu-vivekaM.

Doing our karmas sincerely and systematically as per the ShAstras, dedicating all of them to Ishvara, doing bhakti towards that Ishvara, by means of these attaining a certain purification in the mind, as well as obtaining a capability to keep the mind steady on one thing – all these constitute the first stage.

First stage, not in jnAna yoga, but in the spiritual dimensional journey of the jIva. This belongs to karma yoga only.

The second stage begins after this and that is the first stage in jnAna yoga. And in that, the first subject of mention is ‘nityAnitya-vastu-vivekaM’. So now let us asume that we have all reached that maturity resulting from the observance of karma and bhakti.

[The Swamigal adds with a smile]: Let us build castles in the air, or cheat ourselves so and start to learn the ways of jnAna yoga. We certainly do a lot of castle-building and self-cheating; let us now do it for some good purpose!