[Advaita-l] A Perspective - 9
kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Sat Nov 28 05:32:04 CST 2009
Jnaana yoga and Self-realization – VII
In the last post we have differentiated ignorance and ignorance caused vaasanaas or ignorance generated likes and dislikes or raaga dhveShaas. Knowledge of I am that or tat tvam asi, eliminates the ignorance which is anaadi – that part is immediate and direct. On the other hand ignorant generated vaasanaas can only be eliminated by constant remembrance of my true nature, which is called jnaana smaraNa. These vaasanaas are habitual notions which manifest in their true colors as I involve my self in the worldly transactions. Hence seekers complain that they understand Vedanta, but that understanding remains only in the class room. Once they come out into the world of transactions, they forget the teaching and get entangled in the emotional world. If they understand the truth as implied by Vedanta, then that understanding is the knowledge all that one needs in order to eliminate the ignorance of myself. This should be understood.
That understanding only eliminates the ignorance but not the ignorance generated vaasanaas that formed before I gained that knowledge. In my transactions, I am not able to utilize that knowledge because of the pressure of these vaasanaas. The only way to counter this forgetfulness is to bring back from memory the understanding of the nature of myself – that is called jnaana smaraNa, and reflecting on the true nature of myself, from which perspective all other worldly things become trivial, since fundamentally they are false. Nidhidhyaasana is, therefore, not meditation on some Brahman, nor seeking some transcendental experience of Brahman, but constant recollection of my own true nature that I have understood by the application of the mahaavaakya, tat tvam asi. This knowledge I had gained by shravana and manana, that is by consistent and systematic study of Vedanta, under a competent teacher. The recollection and constant abidance on my true nature
will help in looking at the problems at hand objectively as I face the world. The problems that come (obviously they do not belong to me as I am aware of the problems) will be understood either as part of praarabda of the BMI or understood as Iswara vibhuuti, depending how much I can detach myself from the problems and be objective about it. This is what Nidhidhyaasana means; and scriptures says after shravana and manana, one has to do nidhidhyaasana – nidhidhyaasitavyaH. Nidhidhyaasana therefore is constant remembrance of my true nature, which I understood on the basis of mahaavaakya shravana. That needs to be done whenever I forget due to habitual notions acquired when I was ignorant. With practice, it becomes natural and spontaneous where I am conscious of my true nature all the time in spite of ups and down in the life. The world will be understood as mithyaa and therefore can never affect me, who is absolutely real.
Here, we need to understand the nature of the vaasanaas that try to pull us back to the world. The sanchita and aagaami karmas will not affect us since in my understanding of myself, I have realized I am akarthaa, non-doer, and abhoktaa, non-enjoyer too. What is left is only praarabda which have already been let out to germinate. Hence because of praarabda only I have taken a particular body in particular womb; similarly the mind and intellect along with kaaraNa shariira or causal body. These are like arrow shot, have already been initiated and need to be exhausted, whether I am jnaani or not. Hence body continues to have the problems that it is destined to have. Similarly, the mind and intellect and their limitations will continue as before. That means BMI problems remain as they were before I became a jnaani. As I transact with the world with the vaasanaas that were pre-existing, I forget my understanding that I am sat chit ananda swaruupa. This is
expressed as – ‘Sir, I understand very well in the class, but when I go out into the world I forget and get carried away with attachments and aversions’.- In such situations, the solution is, therefore, to keep bringing back that understanding gained in the class to the field where I am in. This constant remembrance of the knowledge of my own nature has to be done deliberately until it becomes natural. Nidhidhyaasana can be done therefore anywhere; solitarily sitting in Himalayas, or actively involved in life, with constant study of scriptures, teaching, writing, discussing, contemplating – any or all of the above – in order to keep reminding oneself, and in the process reminding the others as well, of the nature of the absolute reality. Once we understand the theory, we can adopt it to suite to our needs. What is the essential requirement is for the mind to dwell on the absolute truth that the mahaavaakya has pointed and to remain in that
knowledge that is gained by shravana and manana. All other external environments, the doos and don’t, prescribed or interpreted, as requirements are all to be understood only as means to accomplish the above essential requirement. Giving more importance to the means than what they deserve is to miss the essential requirement. The best advice one can give is to follow the advice of your own teacher who can guide you considering your qualifications and circumstances.
We will address one final objection particularly from those who profess that who am I enquiry is enough and there is no need of Shaastras, particularly those that do not understand Bhagavan Ramana Maharishi’s teaching fully or correctly, although they claim themselves to be Ramana Maharishi’s disciples. Who am I inquiry will lead only tvam padaartha vichaara or inquiry of subject in the sentence - you are that. The mahaavaakya is not complete without the predicate. By ‘who am I’ enquiry using anvaya vytarika logic one can arrive at I am not this not this, as all this and this come under objects, while I am the subject different from the object, this. The object can include starting from external objects (like pot), physical body, sense organs, mind and intellect or suukshma shariira or subtle body. By rejecting all the objects as different from the subject, I will be able to arrive at the knowledge of who I am: That will leave us with the
knowledge that I am the witnessing consciousness:
1. different from all the witnessed objects
2. different from all the triads – knower-known and knowing – pramaataa-prameya-pramANa
3. which remains changeless all the time – hence beyond time – nityaH or eternal
4. and which is a conscious entity unlike the objects or saakshyam
5. most importantly that saakshii is myself – aham.
Knowing who am I is not complete knowledge but only saamaanya jnaanam or common knowledge, since it leaves me with dvaita or duality as saakshii and saakshyam – the witnessing consciousness and the witnessed unconsciousness. Yoga, Saankhya, Nyaaya, VaisheShika, all stop this point. Hence the philosophy of who am I enquiry is not really new. In addition, that enquiry still leaves us as ignorant, since there is no advaita knowledge or vishesha jnaanam involved. Advaita knowledge comes only via mahaavaakya upadesha, which provides the identity relation between saakshii and the saakshyam with clear understanding that I, the conscious entity, pervade even the saaskyam too, thereby leaving behind all the saakshyam as mityaa. Therefore inquiry of –tat – and the identity relation between tvam and tat – is important and that is provided only by Vedanta. Nisargadatta Maharaj is an example where his teacher taught him - tat tvam asi- statement. He was a
gRihasthaa too. In contrast, if you read the writings of the Peace Pilgrim (www.peacepilgrim.org - an American lady, who walked around in US in fifties like parivraajaka preaching peace, appears to have understand the essential meaning of tvam padaartham and teaches that in simple terms) but the writings do not reflect that she has the substantive knowledge of jiiva, jagat and Iswara, the essence of the mahaavaakya statement.
As a result of Nidhidhyaasana, what will happen? Nothing will happen. Only thing that happens is I firmly get established in the knowledge that I am sat chit ananda swaruupa, and I understand that all actions are happening in my presence. Others think I am a kartaa or doer but I remain akarthaa or non-doer, in spite of very many dynamic actions that benefit the society at large. Praarabda will flow as it is destined to be and interaction with the world also continues as before. The only difference is I do not miss myself, that is, I keep that knowledge all the time, while all transactions with the world will go on while I am enjoying myself as myself – aatmani eva atmaanaa tuShTaH. These are called aatma kriiDa and aatma rati. Yes, my attitude towards the life situations will change. I see the beauty in everything – order in everything. I see some people complaining all the time, while some put-up with inconveniences, and some cause others to
complain; all are within the order. Advaitins and dvaitins will continue to argue, while Nayyayikas logically trying to establishe the illogicality of multiple aatmaas or conscious entities that are eternal and all pervading (nithaH and sarvagataH); all this is within the order. We have some people trying to blow up everything and other trying to counter that process – both within the order. People will be born, they grow, enjoy and or suffer and become old and die – generations come and generations go – All within the order. Once I am fully established in my own nature or in my swaruupa – I see myself everywhere and everything in me, since my nature is existence-consciousness which is limitless. Nothing will ever affect me. All I see is the incredible order and beauty in the universe from micro organisms to macro organisms, from very fundamental particles to gigantic galaxies, all within the order. Small insects crawling on the floor as if
there is nothing more important than what they are doing, while humans are worried about how to cope up with melt-down of the stock market, or Dubai having debit problems – all fascinating and incredible drama of life. Ten years from now all these problems become unimportant, since we will be more preoccupied with the equally unimportant problem of that day. How inert material assembled intelligently becomes so dynamic in the very mere presence of the consciousness is mind-boggling. The life in an inert or insentient body making so dynamic, repairing itself and even reproducing itself into many, is the miracle of all miracles. The moment it leaves the body, Shankara says, it becomes so unholy that even wife does not want to be near that- gativati vaayou dehaapaaye bhaaryaa bibhyati tasmin kaaaye. - No, I do not need someone dropping ash or make things appear or disappear as miracle. No, I cannot do all that. The greatest miracle I see is the inert
body can eat, breath, digest, and reject and move around and also sometimes think these things – that is the wonder of all wonders. I see happening all the time wherever I look, yet everyone takes that as granted. Thus there is a perfect order every where. All we need is to stand apart as saakshii and have the wisdom to see. Everything is the way it should be and it is; even though every body will be complaining that it is not the way they want it or that it is not the same as before; even that complaining is part of the order too. If one looks at Socrates writings we will find he was complaining exactly the same way as we are complaining now about the younger generation. Nothing has changed. Thousand of years ago people were concerned about the security of their kith and kin; same thing now, and same things will be happening thousand years from now. All this is within the order. Einstein was asked how they are going to fight the world war III. He
said I am not sure, but I know for sure how they are going to fight the world war IV; with sticks and stones. Star-wars remind us the human nature taken to the stars. That is part of human mind, and this is also within the order. Life moves forward to keep everything in dynamic status quo. We recognize His hands in everything, His signature in every movement. His glory in every smile of a child and in every barking of a dog – Hence Krishna says:
vidyaa vinaya sampaanne braahmaNe gavi hasthini,
sunicaiva shvapaake ca panDitaaH samadarshinaH|
One who understands the truth, looks at Brahmin, cow, elephant, dog or even dog eater with the same vision of equanimity, since substantive of all is nothing but Him only - thus he cannot but see His signature in all of them. That is the underlying order in the universe, in all things and beings. Equanimity for the whole creation becomes natural as one basks in the infinite wisdom permeating everywhere. That is what firm abidance in the knowledge of -I am that- implies. That is bhakti, that is sharaNaagati or prapatti as Shankara says Bhakti in vivekachUDAmaNi as – swaswruupaanusandhaanam bhaktirityabhidhiiyate or swaatmatatvaanusandhaanam baktirityapare jaguH|| as contemplation and abidance on one’s own true nature, where saakshii and saakshyam have become one, the advaita jnaanam, resulting in seeing myself as the essential self in all and everything in myself; sarva bhuutastam aatmaanam sarvabhuutanica aatmani; while I remain as unqualified – I
am neither saakshii nor saakshyam – but substantive of both.
With this, discussion on the essence of jnaana yoga and self –realization is over.
We will discuss now some of the aspects that were missed before in relation to the mahaavaakya, tat tvam asi, that involves tat and asi aspects in the identity relation although they are implied in the above discussions.
More information about the Advaita-l mailing list