[Advaita-l] Missing chapter in Online version of book 'Hindu Dharma', sayings of Kanchi Paramacharya
sujal.u at gmail.com
Sun Nov 10 03:43:23 CST 2013
Namaste Sri Sunil bhai,
In earlier post I had shared my thoughts on Neti-Neti. Since most Advaitins
(including me) meditate on OM, I think that I should also write something
In meditation on OM, after certain practice, OM continues to chant by
itself. After this happens, one has to find the source of OM, which is
Brahman and merge in it.
In the meditation of OM, one detaches oneself from any thoughts, images or
urges and focus on OM. For convenience, let us take 'thoughts' to imply any
type of distraction like images or incidents that pop up when we are
So how does one detach oneself from thoughts?
One detaches oneself or 'I' by neglecting thoughts and focusing on OM. in
the beginning, OM fades away and we get involved in thoughts. After
sometime, when the force of thoughts decreases, one becomes aware that - I
am sitting in meditation and is being dragged in thoughts. I should
concentrate on chanting OM. Immediately one shifts to chanting OM. Again
thoughts come, followed by realization which results in focusing back to
OM. After regular practice, and developing and increasing vairagya in day
to day life, OM and thoughts both continue parallel. Later the force of
thoughts decreases and period of OM chanting increases. Now the ratio of
thoughts : OM tilts in favour of OM. Now one begins to find peace and
enjoyment while meditating. One gets refreshed by meditating. Now, OM
continues by itself and one is just aware of chanting. Even the pitch,
intonation, length, etc is controlled by OM. This is the phase of
transformation - transformation from effort to effortless. Time duration of
meditation increases, as there is no effort and so there is no fatigue or
boredom, there is no stress too. More the period of effortless chanting,
more is the duration of meditation and the depth. Finally mind searches for
starting and termination point of OM, thereby making concentration without
break. i.e. one is aware of OM, gap (silence), (next) OM. In Sri Ramana
Maharshi's language it is called as saral chintan, while the earlier was
viral chintan. Saral chintan is like aajyaa dhaaraa meaning flowing
continuous like ghee (warm ghee is free flowing), while viral chintan is
like drop by drop water falling on Shiva Linga. Mind tries to find the
source of OM. As one finds source, mind transcends everything and merges in
the source. Here, OM silences itself. Only silence remains. This is
Sri Ramakrishna explains this in simple words.
By listening to the waves of ocean and moving in the direction of sound,
one can reach sea shore.
Sri Ramana Maharshi says,
Fire, after burning corpse, does not continue to burn, but it extinguishes.
Similarly, OM, after destroying thoughts, silences itself into it's source.
What happens in this meditation?
One detaches oneself from 'thoughts' and merges into source. This is
similar to neti-neti. The difference is that it happens via OM or through
the medium of OM. I say 'medium' because, though initially, we have to
focus on OM, later on we are aware of source of OM i.e. from where OM
originates. This happens only by the grace of God. Only God, Nirguna
Brahman, who is beyond 3 gunas can take one beyond gunas. So there is
detachment form non-self and later on there is just the source, the real
'I', purna vastu, Brahman, which is maun.
As said (in earlier mail), this is not the last stage, Sri Ramana Maharshi
says this state as mano laya and not mano nasha. Mind awakes again, and the
whole process of thoughts, detachment, their destruction by OM, and merging
into source repeats till nothing is left to be destroyed. This is mano
The process is similar to that of Neti-Neti, but unlike Neti-Neti, we take
the help of OM. Mind cannot stay without thoughts or without holding on to
something. After detaching from thoughts, mind can attach to OM, thereby
giving some aadhara. Later on, OM itself takes one to the fourth state, the
origin of OM, which is source of all, Brahman.
In short, it is detachment from non-self and merging into Self.
OM is invariable nirakar. There is no deity 'OM', nor do we find any temple
dedicated to deity 'OM'. Krishna, Shiva, Ganesh all are connected with OM.
This means that paramatman also accepts Om and it's formless aspects. OM is
most revered and it's importance can be easily known by the fact that an
entire upanishad, Mandukya Upanishad, is dedicated to OM. Besides, most
principle and many minor upanishads talk about OM. This shows the
importance of OM. even of acharya Adi Shankara Bhagavadpad instructs us to
meditate on OM in is last message, Sopan Panchak / Updesh Panchak.
Gaudapadhacharya wrote karika on Mandukya Upanishad, further increasing
importance of OM. Since karika is on Man. Up., which explains OM, one
should not confuse that according to Gaudapadacharya, there is no need to
meditate, as he preached ajaata vaada. After one reaches a state where all
thoughts have been destroyed except one - I want moksha and there are only
a handful of thoughts or attachments like strictly following a particular
routine or daily sitting in meditation, etc, ajaata vaada of
Gaudpadacharya, Yog Vasista and Ashtavakra Gita comes into picture, not
OM is the only tatva or mantra which is capable of directly giving us
experience of non-dual Self. OM also silences itself. Other mantras are
connected with names and forms and they continue till you have darshan of
chosen deity. Still you do not know the non-dual state. OM is beyond 3
gunas, hence OM, which represents Nirguna Brahman, can easily establish one
It is also possible that some may later shift to neti-neti after they can
abide in Self, but not constantly. Some may continue to meditate on OM. In
either case or be it pure neti-neti, the result is same. In OM, one enters
into samadhi, suddenly (achAnaka), while in neti-neti, one enters into
samadhi with Jnana (Jnana-pUrvaka praveSa). Now we know that Neti-Neti is
very difficult and that OM is universally accepted to all, including other
dharmas like Buddhists and Jains.
It should also be noted that nothing happens without the grace of Guru and
God. Advaita, like any other path is purely dependent upon grace. I say
purely dependent because not you, but OM, destroys vaasanaa-s. No one has
claimed that they have been Self realized all by themselves. All say, it is
grace of God and Guru. Else OM would not continue on itself and change it's
intonation or pitch by itself. It is the God who is sitting in our heart
that is controlling our sadhana. All we have to do is just be aware, stay
surrendered, have faith, have vairagya and sit in meditation, according to
the instruction of Guru. This is the only purushartha required. Rest all is
in the hands of God. God cannot help if we do not meditate, but what is
going ot happen in meditation or that we are able to meditate properly is
in the hands of God.
Though i have strayed from the topic, I hope this is helpful to sincere
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