[Advaita-l] Nidhidhyaasana - 1

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Tue Oct 8 01:04:26 CDT 2013

PraNAms to all.  After landing in India this Saturday I
happened to attend Swami Paramarthanandaji discourses on Vevekachudamani on
Sunday. He was concluding the section related to Nidhidhyaasana. The following
is written based on the essence of the discourse on that day. I am splitting into four parts due to length of the article.

Nidhidhyaasana -1
Discussion on Nidhidhyaasana in
Vivekachudamani started from sloka 254 and ends with sloka 417.
From Versus 418 – Versus 471 fruits
of nidhidhyaasana are discussed. 
Scripture recommends Nidhidhyaasana
after shravana and manana. Shravana involves listening to the scriptures under
a competent teacher for a prolonged length of time until the teaching is
crystal clear. A competent teacher is one who has listened to the teachings for
a prolonged length of time under another competent teacher. Thus both
guruparampara and also indirectly sampradaya teaching are involved in Shravana.
Manana involves reflecting on the teaching via discussions until there are no
more doubts left. All though by shravana and manana one can gain crystal clear knowledgeand
one has even understood that the absolute truth, Brahman, is none other than
the self that I am, that understanding remains elusive due to remnant
raaga-dweshaas or likes and dislikes. During the initial preparation of the
mind through Karma and upasana yoga the intensities of these likes and dislikes
havebeen considerably reduced to facilitate one to be able to listen to the
scriptures and to have doubt free knowledge. Krishna emphasizes that one who has
acquired the capacity to withstand the pressure of likes and dislike before his
body drops, (kaamakRidhodbhavamvegam, shaknotihaivayaHsoDhumpraakshariiravimokshaNaat,
saHyuktaH) – has accomplished what need to be accomplished. It is in the sense
that his mind has become sufficiently pure to listen to the scriptures with
full faith to gain the knowledge. If the mind is very pure, just as in the case
of Nachiketas, shravana and manana are sufficient for abiding in the knowledge
gained. However due to lingering vaasanaas that reflect as likes and dislikes,
when one is involved in the obligatory duties depending on the ashrama or
status in life, his mind does not fully abide in the knowledge of – aham
brahmaasmi – the self in me is the self in all, and all beings are in myself –
sarvabhutastamaatmaanamsarvabhuutanicaaatmani. For him,nidhidhyaasnais
prescribed by the scriptures to help him abide in the knowledge that was
already gained. 
Nidhidhyaasana or meditation is not a
means of knowledge or pramaaNa. One cannot gain anynew knowledge, much less the
self-knowledge, by sitting in a meditation and contemplating on who am I, as
some people think. They think that the study of the scriptures under a
competent guru is not needed. That is all intellectual stuff, some say. We need
to sit down in meditation and go beyond the mind. Mind is essential for any
knowledge. There is no other instrument we have to gain the knowledge. Using
the mind only I have to do the Nidhidhyaasna. It involves contemplation on the doubt-free
knowledge that is already gained via shravana and manana. Hence nidhidhyaasana is
not substitute for shravana and manana, but is complimentary for those who are
have understood but not able to live up to that understanding. As JK puts it –
it should be understanding as understanding as a fact not as understanding as
understanding as a thought. Facts cannot be known without learning about them
via a pramaaNa and more so the subtle facts which appear to be contradictory to
what we experience. After learning nidhidhyaasana is required to abide in that
Shankar provides some instructions
for the seeker who wants to meditate on the absolute truth during
nidhidhyaasana. Having understood that the limitless Braham is pure existence-consciousness
that I am, Nidhidhyaasna involves owning that knowledge as I am that Brahman
and disowning the ownership of or identification of I am the body, mind and
intellect, BMI, which are made up of pancabhutas or five primordial elements. The
meditation starts with the morning prayer that involves recognition that self
that I am is the very substratum of the whole universe-
sat chit
yat swapna jaagarasushuptamavaitinityam, 
tat brahma niShkalamahamnacabhuutasanghaH|
In the early hours of
day, I meditate on the essential nature of myself, which is nothing but pure
all-pervading existence-consciousness-happiness that resides in the core of my
heart, which is the supreme goal of the discriminative intellect, which is
beyond the waking-dream-deep sleep states of experiences, yet enlivening all
the three states, andby default which is called the fourth by the scriptures,
which is eternal, division-less, Brahman that I am; and I am not this
assemblage of matter made up of five primordial elements that I thought that I

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