clarification from Sri Dave regarding paramhamsas

Hemant reachhemant at ETH.NET
Fri Feb 22 00:58:35 CST 2002

My slow response to Sri Dave's posting

 The first type of person has a direct and unmistakable contact with the
Ultimate Reality. These are the most profound persons and are called
{\skt paramaha.msa} (those who have finally achieved oneness with the Ultimate
Reality). They generally keep quiet. In recent times in our country, two
persons come to my mind -- {\skt paramaha.msa} and
{\skt} -- who can be called this way.

The second type of person describes it after understanding
the true nature of Ultimate Reality. He is considered a little bit defective
as he tries to describe the undescribable. This refers to philosophers who
talk or argue about nature of Ultimate Reality. They try to convince others.
They teach and guide others. They will have to learn to keep quiet.

Hemantt: This was the passage which provoked my comment. He (Sankara) chose to philosophize about the nature of the ultimate. He taught and guided others in a most deliberate way. There is a mention in some scripture, I don't know which, that says that paramhamsas come in four categories; jada, bAla, unmattata and pischacha. Sri Ramkrishna clearly belongs to the bAlavat category. I can't pronounce on Ramana.
May-be you can clarify or modify your statement.

The third type of persons knows about Self by listening to others who had
either contact with Self or are able to explain its nature. He learns from a
teacher or from scriptures. He is a good student. He has yet to think, get
convinced and then ultimately keep quiet.

But some are not able to have any inkling about Self even when he has an
accidental realization, or a teacher or scripture shows the way. Such
persons have yet to take up the path of spirituality.

Doubt : Is it possible to have an accidental or chance contact with
Ultimate Reality?

Reply : Yes, but that contact is ignored due to ignorance. It is also
short lived, so does not get established in a persons life. For example,
during deep sleep, we are our true self but never realize that! Or, when we
are extremely happy, for a moment we are in contact with our true self, we
forget about the world around us, even ourselves. A lay person ignores these
contacts, but a person on path of spirituality understands their
significance and uses them as indications for the path to be taken.

In {\skt "sriimad bhaagavatam}, Narada describes his previous birth, where he
had a momentory glimpse of the Lord. On seeking further, Lord Vishnu himself
told him :

{\skt sak.rd yad dar"sita.m rupametatkaamaaya te.anagha |}

O sinless boy, I have shown you a flitting glimpse of myself to arouse
in you a craving for me.

If this craving get generated in you, you are a fortunate person.

But for most of us, some teaching is required, which gradually takes one
nearer and nearer to the final step.

There are four stages in this teaching :

i.      rejecting {\skt dehaatmabhaava} - "this body/mind complex is I
        sense", and find out who is real "I";
ii.     realizing {\skt aikya} - oneness of {\skt aatmaa} - Self and
        {]\skt paramaatmaa} - brahman;
iii.    realizing oneness of brahman and maayaa;
iv.     ajaatavaada.

So, the first step is to find out who (or what) is "I", technically called
{\skt saak"si} or {\skt dehin} - the One who owns or controls the body.
This we shall take up in the next posting.

Best wishes,
-- Himanshu
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