The only way

Nanda Kumar nkumar at OPPENHEIMERFUNDS.COM
Mon Oct 6 10:14:28 CDT 1997

>I remember reading Ramana say that "bookworms" have all the trouble
>and sometimes I think it would be much better to be far less clever but
>more simple hearted. At the end of the intellectual's struggle, Ramana
>says "the intellect itself realises after continuous practice that it is
>enabled by some Higher Power to function. It cannot itself find that
>Power. So it ceases to function after a certain stage. When it thus
>ceases to function he Supreme Power is still there all alone. That is
>Realization; that is finality; that is the goal. It is thus plain that the
>purpose of the intellect is to realize its own dependence upon the
>Higher Power and its inability to reach the same. So it must annihilate
>itself before the goal is reached." When the intellect reaches this stage,
>I think it finds itself where the simple hearted never thought of leaving!

So true! But unfortunately not always feasible! Take me as an example.
One year back I was an atheist, without reading any scriptures and out
of sheer ignorance! Six months back I was drawn to Advaitam because
(I thought) it preached that all one needed was reason for salvation. In
both of the above stages, it was my ego which led me to the respective
path. So in my condition, where my mind is so full of it's own ideas and
notions, I need reason to silence it. I need to struggle to prove to my mind
that there's some power above it which makes it insignificant. But
struggle I must, to prove to my mind that the initial state was the ideal
state and then return to it. For even Socrates, had to be  in his prime
when he declared, "All I know is I know nothing"!

>From  Mon Oct  6 16:44:08 1997
Message-Id: <MON.6.OCT.1997.164408.0400.>
Date: Mon, 6 Oct 1997 16:44:08 -0400
Reply-To: chandran at
To: "Advaita (non-duality) with reverence" <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
From: Ram Chandran <chandran at TIDALWAVE.NET>
Organization: Personal
Subject: Vedanta Rasam
Comments: To: Advaita List <advaita-l at>
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Vedanta Rasam

The verses in Gita are direct revelations of the divinity.  Every verse
in Gita discusses  an important aspect of spiritual growth. Gita
describes the Divine qualities of the Self-realized person in Chapter 2:
verses, 55 and 72.   I believe that verse 71,  contains the essence of
the Vedantic philosophy in a nutshell.  This verse in poetic form uses a
powerful simile to describe the transformation of human soul after its
merger with the divinity!  The divine qualities of the Self-realized
soul are described in no uncertain terms.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Verse 71:

Aapuryamaanam acala-pratistham samudram aapah pravisanti yadvat
tadvat kama  yam pravisanti sarve sa saantim aapnoti na kaama-kaami

English Translation By Dr. Radhakrishnan:

He unto whom all desires enter as waters into the sea, which, though
ever being filled is ever motionless, attains to peace and not he who
hugs his desires.

        The science of Vedanta as expressed in Gita combines both the
scientific rationale and the mystic experience.  We can possibly apply
scientific rationale to explain rains, rivers and oceans.  Science also
explains why water is essential for the survival of  life in this
planet.  Scientists have developed models to predict the time, location
and the amount of rain fall with a higher level of  precision than ever
before.  They can try to explain why rain waters fill the rivers and why
rivers can't be recognized when they reach the ocean.  But science has
its own limitations. When Scientific explanations fail to satisfy the
human mind,  mystic experiences enter to fill up the gap.  Those
experiences bring inner peace, happiness and stability to the agitating
human brain.  Science can explain neither the reasons for the searching
for inner peace nor it can explain how to attain peace. Mystic
experiences do occur when we walk along the beaches, stand on the banks
of a river and climbing over the top of the mountain.  Sometime inner
peace and tranquility are established while sitting quietly and doing
nothing!  The boundless beauty of oceans, rivers, mountains and silence
is Divine and is beyond Science.
        Science identifies water as the material connection between rain,
river, ocean and  life.   The subtle connection between material objects
and life comes from  mysticism.  Science is an explanation and mysticism
is an experience.  Scientists may be able to prove that there can be no
life without water.  Vedanta explains that the universal consciousness
is the spiritual connectivity across the planet.
        This verse portrays a motion picture to explain the spiritual
transformation of the materialistic life.  Using scientific approach,
Lord Krishna describes the spiritual man with the divine qualities using
a simile.  When rivers reach the ocean, they are no more called rivers
and the qualities of the river disappear instantaneously.  When the
materialistic human becomes spiritual, he is no more human and he
becomes the Brahman.   There is no better substitute than  ocean to
represent Eternal Truth.  The vast boundless ocean is motionless, serene
and SILENT. Ocean is always FULL and human intelligence has no capacity
to imagine an empty ocean!
        The nerve center for human desires is mind which undergoes changes with
the spiritual growth.  Rain waters represent the desires and rivers the
spiritual path to human life.   A spiritual path requires dedication,
determination, love and discipline to divert our desires to satisfy
community needs and abandon selfishness.  Spiritual life has a sense of
direction, purpose and destination.  The waters of the rivers flow
through the planet for the survival of the subjects which include
humans, animals, plants and insects.  The spiritual person, similarly,
proceeds the life with desires and duties for the betterment of the
society.   The river merging with the ocean is the symbolic union of
Atman and Brahman.  Just like the rivers which became the ocean, the
spiritual people become the Brahman.   The human mind vanishes to become
the Divine mind and True Divine Nature is reestablished.   The True
Divine Nature establishes the PURE Mind and all desires are fulfilled
without experiencing plurality.  It retains the Stable Mind,  Peace,
Happiness, Kindness, Goodness, Generosity and Love.
        This verse also contains a subtle message on the Nature of the
Brahman!  At the realized stage desires do not disappear but all those
desires will have no effect on the Pure  Divine Mind.   This description
of Brahman is significantly differs from "Nirvana," the concept of
Buddhism.  The person at the Nirvana state will have no desires. People
who want  "No desires" need the DESIRE of no desires!  I would argue
that when humans apply literal meanings to the concepts developed from
Divine Experience, they appear contradictory.  In reality there can be
no difference between Divine experiences that originate from any
religion whether it is from   Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam or
other.  Purity of mind and divine qualities represent the common
denominator of all religions. The divine the unity is visible only with
the Divine Vision.  Minds that are corrupt like ours enjoy temporary
pleasure by projecting differences and divisions across religions,
cultures and races.

Note:  Please note that the explanations given above come from human
thinking and have their limitations.   I am aware of the pitfalls and
please forgive my errors.  For interested readers, commentaries from
Swami Chinmayananda and Tilak are included.  If any of you have access
to other commentaries, please post them so that we get more insights.

Swami Chinmayananda's Interpretation:
        "It is a well-known example that although gallons of waters reach the
ocean through the various rivers, yet the level of water in the ocean
does not change even by a fraction. Similarly, even though through the
five sense-channels the infinite number of sense-objects may pour in
their stimuli, they do reach the mental zone of the Perfect Man
(Self-realized) and yet they do not create any commotion or flux in his
bosom. Such an individual who is ever finding his own level in spite of
the fact that he is living amidst the sense-objects, is called a Man of
Perfection - a true saint. And Krishna asserts that such an individual
alone can truely discover peace and happiness in himself. The Lord of
the Gita, not satisfied with this negative assertion, positively denies
any true peace or joy to those who are ^Ñdesirers of desires.
        The Gita herein is only repeating what the Upanishadic Rishis are never
tired of emphasizing in the scriptures of India. The desirers of desires
can never come to perfect peace (santi). Only one who has in his spirit
o detachment gained a complete control over his mind so that the
sense-objects of the outer world cannot create in him an infinite number
of yearnings of desires, he alone is the man of peace and joy. The
objects in the outer world cannot themselves tease a man by their
existence or by their nonexistence. The outer world can borrow its
capacity to ill-treat man only when the individual exposes himself
unguarded, and thus he gets wounded and crushed by his own attachments
to a wrong valuation of the sense-objects."
Interpretation by Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Translated by Sukthankar:
        "Just as all water enters, from all sides, the sea, of which the shores
are not transgressed, though it is being filled on all sides, so is
(true) tranquility obtained by that person who is entered by all objects
of sense (without disturbing his tranquility); not by one, who desires
the objects of sense.
        This does not mean that one should abandon action in order to attain
tranquility; what is meant is that the minds of ordinary people are
confused by the Hope of Fruit. Whatever the number of actions he has to
perform, his peace of Mind is not disturbed, and he performs them
remaining as peaceful as the sea; and he does not, therefore, suffer
from pain or happiness."

"The Bhagavadgita" by S. Radhakrishnan, Blackie & Son Publishers,
"Sreemad Bhagawad Geeta" by Swami Chinmayananda, Chinmaya Mission.
"Srimad Bhagavadgita-Rahasya or Karma-Yoga-Sastra" by S Bal Gangadhar
Tilak and  Translated by B. A. Sitaram Sukthankar, Poona.

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