Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Soundarya Lahari - Part 1

Today, we are commencing the translation of Periva's discourses on Soundarya Lahari, which has been very aptly translated in to English by Prof VK.

"How could Adi Shankara, who preached the jnAna mArga, have promoted this work (Soundaryalahari) of bhakti? It cannot be his",” say some who profess ‘Philosophy’. But our Acharya was not a professor who isolated philosophy as a separate discipline. Having written very profoundly on advaita and its deepest implications in his several commentaries and the other works of his, he promoted the spiritual pursuit of the common man by writing and talking about the need to follow one’s swadharma by Karma and Bhakti.

His intent was to raise the common man from his own level. For this purpose he went from one pilgrim centre to another all his life and composed hymns after hymns and also established yantras in temples.

The philosophers argue: JnAni says everything is One. But Bhakti can happen only when there is the duality of the devotee and the deity. Therefore, they say, the jnAni can never be a bhakta. These philosophers cannot themselves claim to have the Enlightenment of advaita !

But there have been those who could have so claimed, like the sage Suka, Madhusudana Saraswati or Sadasiva-brahmam. If we carefully study their lives we will know that they had been devotees of God in the fullest sense of the word and have themselves written works of Bhakti.

Even in our own times Ramakrishna Paramahamsa has been a great devotee of Mother Goddess. Ramana Maharishi has done works of devotion on God Arunachalesvara.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Ishvara Bhakti - Part 4 of 4


The next example is that of the iron needle moving quickly towards, and sticking with the magnet. The needle stuck to the magnet, develops magnetism itself and starts attracting other pieces of iron. By this example Sri Bhagavatpada illustrates that the Bhakta (devotee) will also develop the qualities and powers of Bhagwan (God).

Next comes the example of the devoted wife. A devoted wife’s thoughts, speech, actions all will be about her husband. Likewise our mind, speech and actions should be about Bhagwan (God). Sri Bhagavatpada terms the husband as vibhu (in Sanskrit). When applied to Bhagwan (God) this term means omniscient. By this Sri Bhagavatpada indicates that we should regard Bhagwan (God), not as one confined to a particular location, but as one who is omni-present and all pervading.

The example of the creeper comes next. If we separate the entwining creeper from its tree, it wavers in the wind but ultimately entwines itself around the supporting tree. This illustrates that we should not swerve from our ideal, ignoring the many distractions that take our mind away from the thoughts of Bhagwan (God).

Last is the example of the river and the ocean. This is the height of advaita (non-duality) philosophy. Water from the ocean evaporates, forms into clouds and falling back into earth as rain, becomes river. The two are not distinct from each other. Whichever may be the mountain top from where it originated, the river flows in continuously (- and it seems tirelessly -) merges with the ocean; and losing its individual name and shape, becomes the ocean itself. The ocean comes forward and greets the river! This is the reason why the waters of the river taste brackish some distance ahead of the estuary. Similarly if we have real devotion, Bhagwan who is like an ocean of mercy, will come forward, bless us and make us His own.

One may practice devotion at first for material benefits or higher social status etc. But, due to His extraordinary qualities, we shall gradually attain the maturity of devotion to Bhagwan for its own sake. In the end we shall merge into the nirguna (without the attributes of qualities) Brahmam (Supreme God) and become one with Him.

For a good life on earth or for personal realization of the philosophies of dwaita (duality), visishtaadvaita or advaita (non-duality) – for whatever goal, Bhakti (devotion) becomes essential. Of all the routes to attain Moksha (liberation), Bhakti is the best, says Sri Bhagavatpada. He follows with the statement that Bhakti is defined as the intuitive realization of the real nature of Atman (Soul).

Mokshasaadhana saamagrayaam bhaktireva ghareeyasi

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ishvara Bhakti - Part 3 of 4


We now roam about calling something as “I”, “I”. In reality this “I” belongs to Him alone. If this awareness is mentally and intuitively attained, then our roaming about will cease. If we realize that there is no case for personal likes and dislikes, then there will be no roaming about. There will only be complete peace and quiet.

The term Swami itself has been formed to emphasise that we have no right to anything on our own; we are His property to be used at His will. Such a realization is Saranagati (complete surrender) that is the ultimate ideal of Bhakti (devotion).
There is another justification for practicing Bhakti (devotion). There is no pleasure in living without love. It is the gist of experience that there is incomparable pleasure in love. But the person we love will separate from us one day or we will separate from him. Then the love instead of being source of pleasure becomes the cause of grief. Isvara (God) is the only permanent entity, which will not go away or separate from us. If we place our love on Him that love will give us pleasure eternally. On maturing this love leads to the awareness that He is one and all. This will not have the basis that love towards one, means hate towards another. Since He is in all beings, we shall have same love without any discrimination towards all. Thus Bhakti (devotion) helps us to avoid being loveless and waste our lives.

There is no need to try directly for liberation, giving up the practice of Bhakti. The constant practice of the latter itself leads to liberation. Hence it is sufficient to pray not for liberation as such but for the gift of Bhakti (devotion). As the Tamil poet Gopalakrishna Bharati says, practicing Bhakti gets one Moksha (liberation).  
Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada has composed Stotras (prayers) wherein all deities are looked upon as the embodiment itself of Brahmam (Supreme God). He has also explained the characteristics of Bhakti (devotion) beautifully in Sivaananda-lahari. He has cited five apt illustrations.

Ankolam nija-beeja santatir

Ayaskaantopalm soochikaa

(Sivaananda-lahari, 61)

Just as: the seed of azhinjil (or ankola) tree merges with the parent tree; the iron needle is attracted towards the magnet; the devoted wife is immersed in thoughts about her husband; the creeper grows around the tree; and the river merges with the ocean: Bhakti is the constant immersion of the mind in the thoughts about the lotus feet of Pasupathi (or Siva).

It is stated that there is a tree called Eru Azhinjil. Its fruit ripens, falls on the ground and breaks open. Then the seeds from the fruit, attracted as it were by a sort of force of gravity, move gradually and attach themselves to the parent tree. Thereafter it is said that these seeds form part of the latter and disappear from sight. We, who have become separated from Bhagwan (God) should similarly gravitate towards Him; and ultimately become one with Him.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Ishvara Bhakti - Part 2 of 4


We with our countless wants have but limited prowess. On the other hand, the want-less God is all-powerful. We are in depths. God is in great heights. Not only is He supreme in prowess and knowledge; He is highest in mercy too. Therefore He lifts us up from our depths and makes us fulfilled. We are deficient. He is the fullest of the full. Only His fullness can fulfill our wants and make us also full. He is such an all-merciful. If we worship Him, He dispels our shortages.

If there is shortage it means something is wanting. If our wants completely disappear, we can become full then and there. God fulfills our wants. He leads us to the satisfaction of fullness where we feel complete lack of wants. Then that supreme height (God) fills our depths; and lifts us who have been in depths and makes us equal to and the same as Himself.

Swami remains Brahmam (action-less God) residing inside human beings; He is also the outside entity Isvara who performs all actions.

Human beings are swimming in the waves of samsara (the world or the constantly repeating cycle of birth and death). Seers are standing in the fields on the other side of the lake. In between is the shore of the lake. Due to its intervention the seer is unable to see the lake. He is not visible to the human beings in the lake. Swami on the other hand is in the shore between the two. Hence the title, Thatasta. He sees the universe as well as the Seer; the latter is bereft of awareness of the world. God is capable of calling the person in the field (the Seer) and instruct him to rescue the sinking man and place him on the shore.

God is fully aware of His omniscience. But He playfully looks upon as distinct (from Him) those persons who consider themselves separate and distinct from Him.

His greatest act is to liberate people from Maya (illusion). That act is known as anugraha (grace or blessing). There is no other path but this Anugraha to attain the state of advaita (non-duality or oneness with God). Soliciting this Anugraha again and again is termed as Bhakti (devotion). Believing God is full of mercy and capable of gracing us we have to pray with extreme sincerity and devotion. This is called Bhakti.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Ishvara Bhakti - Part 1 of 4

Swami (in Sanskrit) or Udamai (in Tamil) refers to ownership. Udaiyavar or Swami means one who owns everything. In Vaishnava (followers of Vishnu) parlance, God is known as Swami or Udaiyavar. Originally, Saivaites (followers of Siva) also referred to deities as Kapaaleeswaramudaiyar etc. As Guru and Swami are considered one and the same, Sri Ramaanujaa (founder of Visishtaadvaita philosophy) goes by the title of Udaiyavar himself.

Physically humans have some energy and so are able to lift weight up to a limited extent. Cattle lift heavier weight than humans; camels and elephants can lift even heavier weights. In intelligence too, worms, ants, cattle and humans display progressively higher levels. Pursuing this line of discussion, one would conclude that there must be a basic entity with the fullest physical and intellectual prowess. That entity is named as Swami (God).

Nature displays pair of opposites in the energy too. Samples are: severe winter – severe summer, night – day, soft flower – sharp thorn, sweet – bitter, love – hate etc. Thus each entity in nature has another different entity with the opposite qualities. To continue the logic, there has to be some thing different from human mind. What is the nature of the human mind? It is to be always thinking immersed in likes and dislikes, to be discontented always without ever being satisfied. Conversely there has to be some thing without any motion, perpetually calm, peaceful and contended. That some thing is named as Swami (God).

In nature there is continuous change. A few changes are visible to us. Though we consider the mountain and the ocean as unchanging, these too keep on changing in the course of time. In nature nothing is permanent. In opposition to this state, there must be an entity which is unchanging or permanent. That entity is Swami (God).

In nature again, one entity leads step by step to another entity. In the same nature, all entities have changes. Both these happenings point to a divine principle. These lessons are conveyed by Sridevi (Goddess).

The question arises why one should worship the divine. What is our condition? We are always with endless wants. Paramatma (God) remains without any wants whatsoever.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sannyasa - Part 20 of 20


Nothing should be missed here. One should not move forward without having done the earlier one. Nor should one have anything to do with the earlier one once he has moved forward.

When a cloth is washed, we do mix a lot of water and wring the cloth for the dirt to go. But once the dirt is gone no more wringing is necessary.

If we keep wringing the cloth after that it will only damage the cloth. What is necessary now is to dry it up in air. This is the going to the jnAna path!

The air and sunlight evaporates the water in the cloth. But jnAna evaporates the cloth itself.

It is not just a total end of the cloth. The Jiva cloth is there no more, but now it has become a golden sheet of Brahman.

The nishThA in the Atman that the Jiva was engaged in is not any more the action of the Jiva, the Jiva is not there any more, the Existent Thing (*sad-vastu*) that was in an experiential form in the culmination of the nishThA – that alone remains.

It is the Peace Ultimate, it is the parAyaNaM talked about as the peak state. *nishThA shAntiH parAyaNaM …* says the Vishnu sahasranAmaM.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sannyasa - Part 19 of 20


The svadharma that the Vedas talk about is the division into the varNas and the allocation of duties to each.

There is also prescribed what a Brahmachari should do, what a householder should do, what women should do and so on .

So the nishThA that comes from the authority of the Vedas means the nishTA in the discharge of all karmic obligation. Thus one should do one’s karma completely.

That is what gives purification of mind. And then follows Atma-jnAna as well as the end of all bondage.
When one does karmas according to the prescriptions of the Vedas, first it drains all the dirt from the body by those sheer karmas. Not only that.

Simultaneously the dirt of the mind is also rinsed and wrung out. Afterwards one stops doing his karma but now goes into the karma of the mind by doing dhyAna.

And still later even that dhyAna stops and he reaches the stage of jnAna.

So the sequence is first dharma nishThA, then karma-nishThA and finally jnAna-nishThA.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sannyasa - Part 18 of 20


How does that purification of mind happen? He gives it in the first half.

Svadharma-nishhTA : (he who is) fully and firmly established ( nishhTA) in one’s own dharma.

Tayaiva Atma vishuddhiH : By that alone the mind gets purified Well, how does one know what that svadharma is?

The answer is already there in the very bveginning of the shloka:

Shruti-pramANaika-mateH: The nishhThA of svadharma comes from the unique faith and comviction that the religious sanction comes from only the vedas.

What the Vedas say is the authority. With that faith one goes about doing his svadharma as the be-all and end-all.

That is svadharmaika-nishhThA.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sannyasa - Part 17 of 20


*shruti-pramANaika-mateH svadharma-
nishhTA tayaivAtma-vishuddhir-asya /
vishuddha-buddheH paramAtma-vedanaM
tenaiva-samsAra-samUla-nAshaH //*

The latter half of the shloka says:

‘tenaiva samsAra-samUla-nAshaH’ :

through that alone the samsAra bondage is cut along with its roots.

Through what?

‘paramAtma-vedanaM’ : the sparking of the jnAnaM about the paramAtmA.

‘Vishuddha-buddheH’ : to the one who has had his mind purified.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sannyasa - Part 15 of 20


‘To do karma and also to do dhyAna simultaneously’ is incompatible. So long as one is in karma stage, associated with that there will be several relationships.

*sangAt sanjAyate kAmaH …krodhaH … * as the Lord has said (B.G. II – 62), a single such association will set up a chain relationship of kAmaM, krodhaM, etc. and finally end up in *buddhi-nAshAt
praNashyati* (intelligence is destroyed and the individual is lost).

That is why the Acharya says in Vivekachudamani (147/149) “karma-koTibhiH na shakyaH” – even if a crore of karma is done, the bondage will not cease.

*viveka-vijnAna-mahAsinA vinA dhAtuH prasAdena sitena manjunA* --

It can be cut asunder only by the grand sword of sAdhanA starting from nitya-anitya-vastu-viveka (discrimination between the unreal and the real) up to the vijnAna stage when one gets the wisdom of experience, by the Grace of God.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Sannyasa - Part 14 of 20


Truth is the absolute ultimate, no, it is tapas (austerity) that is ultimate. No again, it is dama (control of mind); it is only shama (control of the mind) -- and so on goes the Narayanavalli, detailing the greatness of one after the other (Mahanarayana Upanishad. Anuvaka 78).

But finally, it says: “It is none of these that is ultimate. SannyAsa is the Ultimate Principle. The Creator Brahma Himself has said so”.

When one reaches the higher rungs of the ladder of sAdhanA to know the Atman, it is possible only by the SannyAsi who has left karma behind. Atma is inaccessible by karma.

It has to be enquired into, meditated on, further meditated on, and then in due course even that meditative action has to stop – only in that stage one can know the Atman.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sannyasa - Part 13 of 20


When a matter occurs in the Gita, then there is no higher certificate needed!

If we question whether the matter of sannyAsi having the only right for shravaNa etc. has occurred in the teachings of the Lord, the answer is yes!

“All karmas finally end up in jnAna” (IV – 33, 34), says the Lord and continues “The seers of Truth will teach you the jnAna. One should bow to them, be in servitude to them, and learn by questioning and further questioning”.

Ending up of karmas means thereafter it is only sannyAsa. Does it not then mean that “Only such a sannyAsi has the eligibility to receive the teaching of jnAna”?


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sannyasa - Part 12 of 20


In Brahma-sUtras, the sannyAsis are referred to (III-4-17) as *Urdhvaretas*. This means those who don’t waste their energy in low activities of the senses, but take it Brahmasutras and also upward into noble paths.

Reading through those portions of the the Achary’a Bhashyas on them, it is clear that they (the SannyAsis) are the ones who are qualified for the third stage in advaita-sAdhanA.

A jnAni has to be a sannyAsi; should be.

Brahmasutra has another name for it: ‘Bhikshu-sutra’. Bhikshu means sannyAsi. One who lives, not on one’s home-food, but on BhikshA (formal ritualistic begging) is called a bhikshu.

The book that is totally dedicated to enquiry into Brahman being called ‘bhikshu-sUtra’ shows that it is the sannyAsi who has the right for this v idyA.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sannyasa - Part 11 of 20


An ‘atyAshrami’ is one who is either in the SannyAsa-Ashrama or one who is even higher than that, namely one who is a jnAni whom no ShAstraic injunctions touch.

The Svetasvataropanishad (VI-21) seems to be teaching Brahma VidyA only to such atyAshramis. There is an Upanishad called Kaivalyopanishad. The Acharya used to quote from it often.

In the beginning of that Upanishad it says the atyAsharami goes to a solitary place, sits in a straight Asana, controls his senses and mind and meditates on the Shiva svarUpa, his Atman.

After shravaNa, come manana and nididhyAsana. Just as it says: "Only after becoming a sannyAsi the shravaNa process takes place" so also there is also an authority for saying Only a SannyAsi has the right to do manana and nididhyAsana: *mananAdau sannyAsinAM adhikAraH*.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Sannyasa - Part 16 of 20


If one has to dedicate one’s life to cut this bondage, one has to get away from family, relationships, profession and even all religious obligations.

But one thing should not be forgotten. It is not as if any one can just throw away religious obligations of karma and become a sannyAsi.

The Acharya has never said so. He has ruled that such a right is there only for those whose minds have been purified.

How to purify the mind? The emphatic direction of the Acharya is to discharge all the karmic obligations systematically and without default.

The same Acharya who said that even a crore of karma cannot give you release from bondage, in his great compassionate anguish at the dim prospect of this being misused by immature people who may throw away the karmic obligations as well as their svadharma and thus destroy themselves, has, right in the next shloka, cleared this matter:


Sannyasa - Part 10 of 20


In the same mantra, the question is raised: "How will a jnAni behave?".

And the answer comes; "Howsoever he may behave, he is just such, he is a jnAnai".

In other words he is not regimented by any shAstra or regulation. For such a person , where is the need for the rule that he should adopt the fourth Ashrama among the four Ashramas?

So we should not interpret "AtmAnaM viditvA" to say "after learning by experience" but should interpret it as "understanding by the intellect".It is clear therefore "He who confirms by his intellectual understanding that what he has heard and learnt from the advaita-shAstras is true, now throws away all his desires and becomes a sAnnyAsi" is what is said here.

There is a custom of offering me a PoorNa-kumbha (the formal ritual reception with a vessel full of purified water). At that time, as well as in your marriages and other functions when you offer the sacred offering to the Achareya, there is a mantra which is recited by the Pundits.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sannyasa - Part 9 of 20


In BrihadAraNyakaM also (IV-4-22) the qualifications for sannyAsa are enunciated: "The one who wants the spiritual world, renounces the present world and his home.

Because that is how in ancient times the learned ones whoi studied the spiritual vidyA just discarded the desire for kith and kin, desire for wealth and property and desire for the other worldly attractions and they left home literally as beggars".

In every work there are always expressions of different opinions but following them there is also the reconciliation passage that comes later. So also in this BrihadAraNyakaM, earlier to this passage in (III-5 ) it says "AtmAnaM viditvA", that is, cognising the Atman, ‘discarding desires for kith and kin, wealth and property and the other world, they run away as beggars’.

Here the words "AtmAnaM viditvA" looks like saying ‘after one has cognised the Atman’. It appears that this means, in contrast to what was said earlier, namely the earning of eligibility for SannyAsa for the sake of earning the Atma-jnAna, it is now said that sannyAsa takes place after the acquisition of jnAna.

This is a legitimate question; but the answer comes if we carefully examine the context.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sannyasa - Part 8 of 20


The object of this shravaNa is to obtain mukti as nirguNa-brahman right where you are without having to go anywhere. Inferior to this is the union with saguNa-brahman by going to Brahma-loka along the path of the Sun.

Even for that, according to Mundakopanishad (1.2.11) a mature Jiva – who is learned and also accomplished with the qualities of shama, dama, etc. has to leave home, go to the forest, and do penance, living by bhikshA. So does it not mean that one who receives the teaching on NirguNa-brahman has to take SannyAsa first?

The next mantra talks about him. He examines the whole world-experience and decides: "Everything revolves around karma. Our goal of the Atman will not be accessible to/by any karma. So let me abandon all karma". In other words he is ready to take up SannyAsa. But it has to be done only through a guru.

So he goes in search of a guru. The words ‘only through a guru’ is because of the emphasis *guruM eva* in the Upanishad. The Acharya explains why *guruM eva* occurs there: "Even a scholar who is knowledgeable on everything should not make his own efforts and hope to independently obtain Brahma-jnAnaM".

Later in the same Upanishad (III-2.4) it says, ‘It is not only by a man devoid of spiritual strength or a man overcome by delusion that the Atman is unattainable, it is not attainable even by one who is doing the austerities but who is ‘alinga’, that is, one devoid of the symbol that represents sannyAsa’.

This is the way the Acharya comments on the word ‘alinga’ in the Upanishad.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Sannyasa - Part 7 of 20


Tayumanavar, in one of his songs, refers to the three processes, ‘shravaNa, manana and nidhidhyAsana’.

Tirumoolar follows the ‘shravaNa’ word by *guru-vuru-cintittal* meaning the memorisation of the mantra taught by the guru. The Tamil word *uru* here means mantra-japa that is manana.

By thus memorising and repeating the mantra one is automatically led on to the next stage of ‘nidhidhyAsana’.

There is an old saying *sannyasya shravaNaM kuryAt* -- one should do the ‘listening’ part only after taking up sannyAsa.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sannyasa - Part 6 of 20


Also there is a tradition that the new SannyAsi who is getting the dikshhaa must also get the additional mahAvakya that occurs in the ShAkhA to which he belonged before he took SannyAsa.

There is also a further tradition that first the PraNava ("Aum") is taught and then the mahAvakyas.

To hear and listen to such mahAvAkya teaching is what is called ‘shravaNa’ in Brahma-VidyA-shAstra.

The direct meaning of ‘shravaNaM’ is ‘hearing/listening’.In the Tamil Tirumandhiram Verse #139, Tirumoolar means by this word ‘Receiving the mahAvakyopadesha’.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sannyasa - Part 5 of 20


That Guru takes care to dispense the mahAvAkya teaching only after checking the Sishya’s eligibility and after initiating him into SannyAsa.

That eligibility is nothing other than the progress, to a certain extent, in Viveka (Discrimination), VairAgya (Dispassion), shama (sense control), dama (mind control), etc. in the SadhanA-set-of-four.

The Vedas have 1180 shAkhAs (branches). Each ShAkhA has an Upanishad of its own and every Upanishad has a mahAvAkya. Though there are thus more than 1000 mahAvakyas, four of them, one for each Veda, have been held as important.

It appears from ‘Visveshvara-smRti’, which details the SannyAsa Dharma, ‘Nirnaya-sindhu’, an anthology of Dharma ShAstras, and from other authoritative sources for Dharma ShAstra, and knowledgeable tradition that at the time of SannyAsa dikshhaa (formal initiation) these four mahAvakyas are to be formally transmitted from the Guru to the initiate.

And there is also scope for the teaching of other mahAvakyas.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sannyasa - Part 4 of 20


Moreover this is protected water. There is a watchman! Only if he allows you, you can draw water. That watchman is called the Guru!

The conglomerates of sound vibrations called mantras suck in several ways the Power and Grace of the Absolute, that is permeating the entire space and produce for us the many beatifics of this world and the world beyond.

Among such mantras the mahAvakyas that identify the JivAtmA with the ParamAtmA without any distinction are at the peak. The Acharya speaks of them (in Aitareya Upanishad Bhashya 1.3.13) as sounds that wake you up to Atma-jnAna, the advaita jnAna that lies dormant in the JivAtmA that is sleeping in Ignorance.

It is the Guru that trumpets the drum of the MahAvakyas, wakes you up, as it were, from your sleep, thus waking you up to Enlightenment.


Monday, January 9, 2012

Sannyasa - Part 3 of 20


To hope to obtain Brahman-realisation by just continuous thinking about it is like a man who wants to have a bath, starts all the way from digging up a well for the purpose.

But to reach the same goal through the mahAvakyas of the Upanishads is like drawing water from an already constructed well.

Of course you have to draw the water – not like opening a tap and using the downpour from it. The drawing of sufficient water from the well depends on the size of the bucket or the pail, the depth of the well and other factors.

The Samskaras of the individual influence the efforts to be made just as the smallness of the bucket will force you to draw water several times.

But when you compare this with the process of our digging up of a well – well, that is the comparison I mentioned.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sannyasa - Part 2 of 20


Only after taking up SannyAsa one gets the eligibility and right to receive the teaching of the mahAvAkyas that the Vedas proclaim in forms like "This Jiva itself is Brahman".

Brahman also means Veda.

Since the Vedas which are verily Brahman themselves declare Jiva as Brahman the mahAvAkyas get that exclusive spiritual power.

Just by knowing well that Jiva is brahman and by meditating on that will not make that goal a fact of experience. That declaration has to be repeated as a japa through the conglomerate of the letters of these veda-mantras and has to be meditated upon as a regimen; that is what makes the goal accessible.

‘Accessible’ does not mean ‘easily accessible’! I only said it in a comparative sense.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Sri Maha Periva on Aardra Darsanam

Tomorrow happens to be Aardra Darsanam - let us listen to the Divine discourse of Sri Maha Periva about this, and receive His blessings.

Sannyasa - Part 1 of 20

Even though no one here may (or should have to) reach that stage, I have to talk about it since the very first part of true advaita sAdhanA starts with sannyAsa.

All links and bondages have to be cut asunder completely. It is not so for others. All seekers, however, have to work for reducing their attachments to a certain extent.

It is therefore good to learn about the SannyAsa stage at least to the extent of hearing about it. If we have to know about the Atman, we have to be constantly thinking about it as the only task and only goal.

The grand goal being Brahman, one has to totally dedicate oneself to that goal and be attached to that only task. If we have other attachments, interests and also try to do this, that mAyA and this jnAna cannot coexist.

We cannot succeed in fanning a fire by simultaneously pouring water on it. It is the renunciation of all other tasks and goals that is called SannyAsa.


Friday, January 6, 2012

Third Stage - the final stage !

Once we have passed the SAdhanA-set-of-four, we come to the third stage, the final stage.

No one here (in the discourse audience) is likely to go to that stage. Because it is a stage to be performed after one has renounced all wealth, possession, property and kinship. So possibly it may not have to be explained here.

But still, since I have said so much about advaita-SAdhanA, let me just touch upon it for the sake of completion. SAdhanA, according to the necessity and capability of the sAdhaka.

Three things come there.

Listening to the teaching; confirming what one hears by repetitively thinking about it; and keeping the antaHkaraNa in that thing and meditating on it.

These three are always to be practised right from the basic stage all through the

Therefore I should not leave out telling you about it.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Jnaana itself is Bhakti - Part 5 of 5


In the final chapter also He says “bhaktyA mAm abhijAnAti” – by bhakti one knows Me right; and thus emphasizes the jnAna angle.

The root ‘jnA’ gives rise to both the words ‘jnAnaM’ as well as ‘jAnAti’.

‘Through Bhakti one knows Me as I am, thereby enters Me and by My Grace obtains the eternal Immortal position’ -- so ends His message in the advaita fashion.

In pursuance of the same, while giving it to Arjuna, He says ‘Adopt Buddhi Yoga’ – not Bhakti Yoga!

Thus there is no ringing of bells, no offering of flowers, no relationship in several moods.

However it is the mood of Love with which one gives Himself up to the Universal Life-Source and this apex bhakti is what plays an important role in the path of jnAna.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Jnaana itself is Bhakti - Part 4 of 5

But note that this statement does not come in Bhakti Yoga or about those generally termed to be bhaktas.

It comes under ‘ VibhUti Yoga’ where the Lord’s Glory and Power is declared to be manifested in the whole universe.

In short He says those who see such Godly Power and Glory in everything repose their mind and life in the Lord and revel in thinking and talking about Him.

However they are not dry philosophers, but ‘bhAva-samanvitAH’, that is, knowledgeable people (budhas) who are involved in God with Love.

In other words they are like JnAnis as described by the Acharya.

Further on when the Lord continues, He does not propose to give them Bhakti Yoga.

He specifically promises to Grace them with the path of JnAna, that is, buddhi yoga; and burn any remnants of darkness of ignorance in them by the Lamp of Wisdom (jnAna deepena).

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Jnaana itself is Bhakti - Part 3 of 5

Nowhere has he said in Bhakti yoga, about revelling in the multifarious qualities of Bhagavan, weeping, laughing, dancing, singing, going into unconscious trance, establishing relationship with God through various moods like, servitude, filial affection, etc. or enjoying the ritual bathing (abhisheka) or decoreating the deity, etc.

The qualities that He enunciates, viz., love and affection to all beings, getting rid of the feelings of ‘I’ and mine, equanimity with respect to happiness and misery, fear and delusion, contentment with whatever one gets and being independent of possession and property – all these qualities are only those of the JnAni!

There is also one shloka which describes devotees:

Mac-cittA madgata-prANAH bodhayantaH parasparaM /
Kathayantashca mAM nityaM tushhyanti ca ramanti ca // B.G. X – 9

Those who have turned all their mind toward Me, who have reposed their very lives in Me, who are constantly enlightening each other and talking about Me and for whom that is the satisfaction and that is the delight!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Jnaana itself is Bhakti - Part 2 of 5

But this has been met with already by the Lord’s statement in the next verse : He has one-pointed devotion (*eka-bhaktiH*). The Lord caps this by the further statement *JnAni-tvAtmaiva me mataM* (JnAni and Myself are One – that is my final opinion).

Later when he dwells on ‘bhakti-yoga’ itself and teaches the upAsanA (dualistic saguNa upAsanA) he only uses the words *atIva priyaH* (XII – 14 – 20) (most dear to Me), he never says “he is Myself”; from this it is clear (when he talks about this JnAni here) he refers only to the advaita-JnAni.

In the teaching of bhakti-yoga he says: “The nirguNa-SAdhanA gives difficulties (klesha) and dukha (unhappiness) for those who are conscious of their body” and then goes on to teach the saguNa-upAsanA.

In other words, for those who are too conscious of their body, the jnAna path is not easy to attain and that is why he teaches the saguNa upAsanA to them; not with the idea that the saguNa upAsanA is superior to the jnAna path. Let that be.

Later when he starts talking about the qualities of the Bhakti upAsaka from the shloka *adveshhTA sarva-bhUtAnAM …* (The one who has no hate towards any being ,,,,) through seven or eight shlokas and winds up the chapter with “Such people are dearest to me”, it will be clear to any neutral observer that whatever qualities he has described here apply only to a JnAni.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Jnaana itself is Bhakti - Part 1 of 5

More than the idea that bhakti is an important accessory for jnAna, Lord Krishna has shown that jnAna itself is Bhakti.

He mentions four categories of devotees and in naming them he lists ‘ArtI, jijnAsu, arthArthI and jnAnI’ (B.G. VII – 16: Arto jijnAsur-arthArthI jnAnI ca bharatarshabha).

‘Arta’ means the distressed sufferer. ‘jijnAsu’ means the one desirous of knowledge, that is, the one who wants to know the Truth and makes effort to know.

‘ArthArthI’ means one who desires wealth, money, possessions, property, power etc. The fourth is JnAni himself.

The formal order among these should be ArtaH, arthArthI, JijnAsu and jnAnI. For the purpose of metre requirements, the order has been changed in the Gita verse.

Our business here is the mention, namely, the jnAnI as the topmost devotee.

Why can’t we take him as a dvaita (dualistic) JnAni? – may be a quixotic question here.