[Advaita-l] Kanchi Maha-swamigal's Discourses on Advaita Saadhanaa (KDAS-70)
profvk at yahoo.com
Mon Sep 25 08:11:19 CDT 2006
For a Table of Contents of these Discourses, see
For the previous post, see
SECTION 56: SANNYAASA
Tamil Original: http://www.kamakoti.org/tamil/dk6-129.htm
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.
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. 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 alreadyt 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.
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.
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. 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.
Thus listening to and receiving the teaching is called 'shravaNa' in the
Brahma Vidya scriptures.
(To be Continued)
PraNAms to all students of advaita.
PraNAms to the Maha-Swamigal.
Latest on my website is an article on Kanchi Mahaswamigal. Go to
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