[Advaita-l] Kanchi Maha-Swamigal's Discourses on Advaita Saadhanaa (KDAS-56)
profvk at yahoo.com
Sat Aug 26 14:57:04 CDT 2006
For a Table of Contents of these Discourses, see
For the previous post, see
SECTION 43: TWO STAGES OF EGO IN SADHANA
Tamil Original: http://www.kamakoti.org/tamil/dk6-117.htm
"When We say 'Love' or 'Relationship' it needs two people. Consequently it
is dvaitaM. It should not come anywhere near advaita-sAdhanA" - this might
be the general understanding. Yes, for a long time during the course of the
sAdhanA it remains that way. In other words, understanding love to be
limited to just kindliness one is not supposed to bring it anywhere near
actions. But in due course of time, by the very fact that a refinement takes
place by sAdhanA, one gets to know what true love is. The relationship that
arises from that is not any more dualistic. One knows that it is to become
a relationship whereby the one who relates gives oneself up to the object
that is admired and dissolves to the extent that there are not two now, but
only one. And then one gets the maturity to practice what one has known.
That is where Love has been termed as Bhakti by the Acharya. If one
continues in that practice, the maturity ripens further and thereafter there
is only the non-dual dissolution!
For what purpose does one begin a sAdhanA? His goal is the thought "I should
reach Brahman. I must become Brahman". And he continues the sAdhanA to reach
that goal. But when he reaches the goal, does the 'I' who started it all
become the Brahman? No. Not at all. There is no one to claim that 'I' now.
There is only Brahman. Only when the 'I'-hood ends there is Realisation
(*sAkShAt-kAraM*). Even the word 'Realisation' is only a formality
(*aupachArikaM*). It is actually wrong to say 'One realises Brahman'. No one
can do anything to Brahman. There is no 'sAkShAt', no 'karaNaM'. Nothing can
be done with Brahman. Really what happens is, in that final state this very
person (sAdhaka) vanishes. Whoever did the sAdhanA he himself is not there
at the end of the sAdhanA; only the goal remains! It is this very phenomenon
that the great Ramakrishna described as "the story of the doll of salt
examining the depth of the ocean".
Desirous of being totally consumed and dissolved by it, one sacrifices
himself to it. That is what is termed here as 'higher-grade' bhakti.
When one begins sAdhanA we keep on using the word 'I' in our thoughts: "I
should get Release. I should reach Brahman. I should become Brahman". It is
impossible to sacrifice that 'I' at that stage itself. Even the thought of
it might be scaring. Many westerners who are strong in their intellect and
courage are fearful of the thought of sacrificing the Jivahood - the feeling
of an individual self - and they say: "What? Am I to sacrifice my
individuality?". Even when one is not afraid from the very beginning itself,
the Jiva-hood does not disappear then and there. Only when all old vAsanAs
are extinguished it will go. The extinction has to be done by means of the
Jiva-hood itself. The sAdhana-set- of- four is for that very purpose. First
the effort goes with the thought "I shall try to cultivate Discrimination";
after some time one gets the satisfaction "I have got some Discrimination
now" and then the effort continues with the thought "Now I shall try to
cultivate Dispassion" and this, afterwards becomes "I have cultivated some
Dispassion now". This goes on. All the time the efforts as well as the
results are all based on the individual self. This is an ego-based feeling,
no doubt, but it is necessary to enthuse ourselves in these earlier stages.
Nothing wrong. Not only for encouraging ourselves in the progress but also
for a proper regret and due correction at times of slipping down. Only when
the individual feeling of 'I' is there, the thought will arise: "Oh, I have
slipped down. I should correct myself and practise more carefully". On the
other hand if we rationalize it by an incorrect use of Vedanta by saying
"After all everything is false; there is no individual jIva. So where is the
slip? Where is the correction?" then there will be no upward progress of
spirituality. The apex attitude of "There is no individual 'I' at all" is
not to be imagined on the way. If in that imagination one ignores the
necessary self-effort, then there is nothing to hold you back and all the
sAdhanA will go waste. The very fact of sAdhanA is for the egoistic
individual self. It is not for the Atman. Does the Atman have to do sAdhanA
to realise itself? The Atman is actionless and it remains as it is always as
Atman. Therefore it is the individual Jiva, that has to do the sAdhanA
basing its actions on the ego which is the cause for its individuality.
However, after one obtains a certain success in controlling one's senses,
mind and intellect, having discarded much of those that need to be
discarded, having obtained the formal teaching about the Atman to be
realised, one reaches the stage of readiness for being in the only thought
of That and that is the stage when the ego joins the set of those that are
to be discarded. Hereafter whatever is achieved is not to be 'earned' as the
result of effort by the sAdhanA of the Jiva, but they are the solvents of
the self awarded by the Grace of God. That is why the sAdhanA-set-of-four
ends with 'mumukShutvaM' according to the Acharya. So what happens
thereafter is not by the sAdhaka's effort; He has nothing to earn. They are
what he has to do to sacrifice himself. They are shravaNa (listening),
manana (thinking) and nidhidhyAsana (contemplation).
When we manufacture a cracker we pack tightly a lot of explosive material
inside, wrap it up by decorative paper, and make it attractive from outside.
All this is done for the final purpose of lighting up the wick and explode
it so that nothing remains of that cracker. Here also the ego inside has to
be exploded so that nothing remains. In Tamil one word for cracker is
'vANam'. The vANaM' (that is the ego) is elaborately prepared through a
sAdhanA for the final purpose of exploding it and making it 'NirvANa!
It is true that even in the beginning, everything happens by God's Grace.
But during those times the JivAtmA was engaged in self-purification and for
that to happen well God's Grace helped. But now the purification task has
reasonably progressed. Now the purified antaH-karaNa (inner organ) has to
reach step by step the state of experience. 'Reach' is really not the right
thing; unusually instead of 'reaching', now it is 'giving'. As
Manickavachagar said, it is a smart trading. One gives up the Jiva-bhAva
and receives the 'shiva-sthiti' (the state of being the Absolute). But even
this is only true in a poetic sense or in the sense of bhakti. In reality,
there is no Jiva who receives the 'Shiva'. Jiva is gone but Shiva remains!
Bhakti has been prescribed for reaching this maturity of the vanishing of
the ego. The Acharya says, as it were, "I have prescribed sAdhanA so that
you may acquire the wealth of the sextad (ShamAdi sampat) starting with
Shama, the wealth of Dispassion, the wealth of Discrimination, etc. You have
acquired them all. Hereafter you must learn to empty yourself. That is why
Bhakti has been prescribed.".
(To be Continued)
PraNAms to all students of advaita.
PraNAms to the Maha-Swamigal.
Latest on my website is an article on Krishnavatara, the Miraculous. See
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