[Advaita-l] Sundara Khanda- II talk - Part 1.
kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Sun Oct 15 01:24:02 EDT 2017
Sundara Khanda – 2nd Talk- Part 1
This write-up is somewhat based on the discourses by Swami Advaitananda, at 2017 Chinmaya Maha Samadhi Camp held in Chicago July 29 – Aug. 3rd.-------------------
Life itself is a journey. However, the journey depends on the goal one sets. Everybody wants to live – but for what purpose? Any journey depends on the goal to reach. If one does not know what is one’s goal is, any journey becomes just run around in circles without any aim. This is how many people live in this world. The destiny for everyone – the ultimate journey – is to find absolute uninterrupted or inexhaustible happiness that one wants. Happiness involves peace or shanti of the mind. If the mind is disturbed one cannot be happy or peaceful – ‘ashaantasya kutaH sukham’ – echoes Krishna. Where is happiness for those whose minds are disturbed or agitated?
For Hanuman, finding Mother Seeta and information back to Rama is the goal. For us getting over all our limitations becomes our ultimate goal, since any limitations cause unhappiness. The limitations can be thought of desha-kaala-vastu parichhinnam – space-wise, time-wise and object-wise limitations. Freedom from these limitations involves understanding that I AM Brahman, which being infinite is free from all the three limitations. I cannot become infinite or become limitless by any process. In other words, I can never reach infinite inexhaustible happiness by any means. By finite means, one cannot gain infinite. Unfortunately, I cannot but pursue means to gain that limitlessness. In essence, I cannot reach by any process but at the same time I cannot but try all means to reach my goal. This forms the essential struggle for all beings. Everyone wants to reach the ultimate inexhaustible happiness, and none can attain it by any process since all processes are limited. The only way to solve this problem, as Vedanta says, is to recognize that I am already infinite. Therefore, I am trying to solve a problem where there is really no problem to solve; and that itself has become a problem. Vedanta says the problem is only the lack of knowledge of my true nature. It is like searching for a key all over when it is there all the time in one’s own pocket. The seeker of the key is the possessor of the key. In essence, the seeker himself is the sought. Further when the seeker is himself a sought, then any type of seeking is bound to fail, since in the very seeking the seeker has assumed that the sought is not there where the seeker is. The only way to solve this problem is recognize or realize that one is already full by himself. Seeta herself stands for peace – shanti, she is the very embodiment of bhakti or devotion. Ravana kidnapped Seeta. The peace is lost. Ravana stands for moha or delusion. The deluded one also wants to secure peace, but by foul means. The deluded one seeks peace by self-indulgence represented by the ten-heads of Ravana standing for five jnaanedriyas and five karmendriyas – that is five sense organs and five organs of action. Thus, peace is lost due to moha or delusion. Only way to secure peace is to remove all obstacles that dissipate the mind and to make it to abide in the truth of one’s own nature. Hell looks very attractive initially but as one indulges it gets increasingly bound, and one loses the peace of mind. I heard a story depicting this. A fellow was being taken to Heaven and they stopped over at the gates of Hell to take a short break- perhaps for filling up the gas tank. He saw big flashing signs all over near the entrance with welcome signs and singing and dancing girls. The fellow was very much surprised to see so much of fun-loving advertisements there and thought if the hell itself is so enchanting, the heaven should be even more. Hence he wanted to go to Heaven quickly. When they got down at the gates of Heaven, to his surprise, it was very quiet and every one (of course there were not many people) was sitting under a tree and doing meditation. Everyone was reveling himself by himself and was self-contended- ‘aatmani eva aatmanna thuShtaH’, since everyone was feeling full by himself. Vedanta says any dependence on other than oneself is slavery, ‘sarvam paravasham duHkham, sarvam aatmavasham sukham’. There was no fun or excitement, he found. He wanted to go back to Hell since there seems to be more fun. When they took him back to Hell, to his surprise, he found out that everyone inside was suffering and crying. He was surprised again and asked what happened to all those neon signs and the fun advertisement. He was told that it was all their PR-department – they have to advertise it, otherwise, nobody will want to come inside. Lanka was also like that – lot of fun and enjoyments.
Hanuman after passing Meenank encountered additional obstacles. Obstacles come only to those who want to secure peace. All seekers will face such problems. One has to have determination and commitment to reach the goal, and full faith in himself to overcome all the obstacles. The first obstacle that Hanuman had is the temptation to take rest on the way in the form of Meenaank. Hanuman handled very intelligently. He confronts the obstacle head-on with gratitude and reverence to those who are ready to provide all the comforts. He just touches Meenaank and says, I am on the path to do the Rama’s work and I cannot stop and take rest until the Lord’s work is completed. Hence he requests forgiveness and blessings. Meenaank was very happy to listen to Hanuman and blesses him with all the success in this journey to discover peace. This should be the attitude of a sevak or daasa or saadhak.
The second obstacle that Hanuman appears in the form of a female snake called Surasa. The mother of all snakes – Surasa – was sent by Gods to test Hanuman. Snakes come in many forms, some enchanting and some frightening for those who want to reach the highest goal. The higher the goal, greater or severe is the type of obstacles that one faces. Some of these obstacles test the integrity and commitment of a saadhak in his pursuit for the highest. She wants to swallow him. Unless one is diligent, the obstacles can look as though unsurmountable in the beginning. As a saadhak or seeker, one finds all sorts of obstacles that test one’s integrity and commitment to the goal. Surasa wanted to eat Hanuman and Hanuman offers to be her food after he has completed Shree Rama’s work. To overcome that is the insurmountable obstacle, Hanuman uses strength, intelligence, and patience – balam, buddhi and nidaan. He turns the obstacles into his blessings. Surasa, in the end, blesses Hanuman certifying him that he has all the necessary qualifications required to do the Lord’s work.
Thus a seeker according to the situation has to handle the obstacles that one encounters on the path with full determination and commitment to the goal. The problem, when faced head-on, normally reduces to small as we intensify our sadhana. I am reminded of Bhagavan Ramana’s sloka in Upadesha saara. He says one’s meditation should be – aajya dhaarayaa srotasaa samam – like a flow of ghee or a flow of a river. Thus, He gives two examples. In the flow of ghee, there is continuity and ghee also sticks to the hand. Similarly, the mind has to stick to the goal. In the other example, he says it should be like aflow of a river. The river as it flows and encounters small obstacles, joyfully go over them making a gurgling noise. If it encounters big obstacles like mountains, she gracefully goes around it, and even bending backward to surmount the obstacles. It never forgets its goal that is to merge and become one with the ocean. That should be the attitude of the mind of a sincere seeker.
To be continued.
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