[Advaita-l] The Four-fold Essential SAdhanas for Self-Realization

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Mon Feb 10 01:14:00 CST 2014

                                                                               The Four-fold Essential SAdhanas for Self-Realization

Seeker has to follow the four-fold sAdhanas compulsorily until videha mukti happens. These are: 1. Karma yoga (or lokakalyANam 2. UpAsana or Iswara DhyAnam  3. Sat guNatvam or sAt puNyam 4. Vedanta vichaara or nidhidhyaasana.

1.	Karma yoga from the point of seeker or ajnaani – that involves pacha mahAyagnas  - deva yagna – Rishi yagna – Acharya yagna – manushya yagna and bhUta yagna – Deva yagna involves thanking the deities of the phenomenal forces because of which one is able to interact with the world outside world and  taking benefits from the creation. Rishi yagna involves study of the scriptures or Vedas which have been handed down by the great Rishis.  Acharya yagna involves following the aachara  or discipline prescribed by the AchArya, and after the study is over propagate that knowledge to those students who approach him with humility.  manushya yagna involves helping the fellow human beings and in the process uplifting their minds to see the higher purpose in life .  bhUta yagna involves taking care of the animals, birds and plants without hurting them. Karma yoga prepares the mind for jnana yoga. From the point a jnaani, the above actions are continued
 till death – but with the understanding that everything is part of the vibhuti of the Lord or vibhUti of the self. The karma yoga itself becomes loka sangraha or loka kalyANam. 

2.	 UpAsana involves invocation of the Lord – for a beginner it is eka rUpa Iswara with ishTa devata where one worships using all formal and/or informal means of worship involking the Lord in the form that one appreciates.  As understanding of the Iswaa swarUpam or the natures of the Lord becomes more and more , eka rUpa Iswara worship switches to aneka rUpa Iswara or vishwarUpa Iswara discussed in the 11th Ch. of Geeta – where one recognizes all forms are His forms. For a jnaani the upAsana becomes arUpa Iswara  or vision of the formless form – or pure Brahman or the self expressing himself as many. Abiding in that knowledge itself is a worship since all worships should ultimately lead to this understanding. Seeing oneself that pervades the whole universe itself becomes a upAsana or nidhidhyaasana until it becomes natural. Initially it is deliberate until it becomes natural. Hence before jnaanam it is called meditation on the Lord and after
 jnaanam it is called nidhidhyaasana.

3.	 Sat guNatvam involves maintaining the daivI samapatthi that Krishna discussed in 13, 14 and 16th chapters –for example,  amAnitvam adambhitvam..etc the 24 values discussed in the 13th chapter. These are values are inculcated as shadhaka or seeker; and once realized these are values that become inherent with the jnaani. They become lakshaNas or alankaaras or decorations for a jnaani. 

4.	Vedanta vichAra : Constant study of the scriptures throughout life. For a seeker, the scriptures advise him to approach a teacher who knows the scriptures and who is well established in the knowledge. It involves shravanam, mananam and nidhidhyaasanam – where shravanam involves constant, persistent study of the scriptures under a competent teacher for a prolonged length of time, mananam involves reflection on the teaching until it becomes doubt free, and nidhidhyaasanam involves internalizing the teaching until one fully abides in that knowledge. This forms the main sAdhana fora seeker as one proceeds in steps 1 to 4 above. Even for a jnaani, the study of the scriptures becomes important as part of nidhidhyaasana. There is a statement – until one realizes the scriptures protect the sAdhak and after realization the jnaani protects the scriptures. The study of the scriptures becomes an essential or mukhya sAdhana while the others become sahakAri or
 subsidiary sadhanas. As long as one has BMI, the sadhana should continue since one depends on the society for the essential things even to maintain the body. The nidhidhyaasana can be constant study of the scriptures, reading, and writing, discussing and meditating on the essential truth expounded by the scriptures. 

The above write up is based on Swami Paramarthanandaji’s talk on essence of Brihadaranyaka Upanishad that deals with upAsana khAnDa. 

Hari Om!

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