[Advaita-l] Obstacles for Spiritual Progress V - Part II
kuntimaddi sadananda via Advaita-l
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
Thu Sep 18 20:00:12 CDT 2014
Part II – Obstacles for Spiritual Progress:
We recognize that nidhidhyaasana does not give any new knowledge or new experience. It removes the obstacles in the mind arising from deficiency in the saadhana chatuShTaya sampatti so that jnaanam that is acquired will give rise to jnaana phalam. Moksha is not a result of any meditation – it is our very swaruupam or intrinsic nature. Knowledge is nothing but recognizing and owning my nature. Nidhidhyaasana is not for expectation of moksha, but to remove any expectations of moksha. Vedanta is very clear that knowledge can be gained by only through 6 sources of knowledge. Meditation is not a pramANa or a means of knowledge. The source of knowledge is guru-shastra upadesha shravaNam. If shravaNam so far has not given knowledge – then continue some more shravaNam until doubt free knowledge takes place. If this does not happen in this life nothing is lost, since shravaNam will continue in the next birth. Once I am exposed to Vedanta, that knowledge can
never get lost. Therefore, samaadhi abhyaasa or practice of meditation is not meant for giving any extra experience confirming Vedantic teaching. The people think that there is some kind of advaita anubhava or experience to be gained after study and some aachaaryas seem to endorse or encourage such an idea. There is no experience which is going to validate this knowledge. Meditation is not meant for extra knowledge. Patanjali, the master of nirvikalpaka samaadhi, did not seem to have gained the knowledge, since in the end he subscribed to dvaita as reality. Therefore nirvikalpaka samaadhi is not a proof for advaita. Every one, including the stanch dvaitins, experience advaita during the deep-sleep state, but no body gets up from sleep as jnaani. In fact after experiencing advaita in deep sleep state, a dvaitin vehemently argues in the waking state that the truth is not advaita. Therefore, the purpose of nidhidhyaasana is to firmly abide in the advaita
jnaanam that is gained by shravana and manana, so that mind is under control without any distractions due to emotions. As the mind dwells on the teaching more and more, the teaching get absorbed to the core and expresses itself in terms of jnaana phalam.
Q. Is it necessary for a jnaani to take bhoutika sanyaasa for Nidhidhyaasana?
Shankara provides exhaustive discussion of sanyaasa in his introduction to 5th chapter. This chapter entitled karma sanyaasa yoga starts with the Arjuna’s question - which of the two, karma yoga or sanyaasa, is better. This question follows after Krishna’s discussion in Ch. 4 of vidvat sanyaasa that a jnaani can take. Karma yoga being a pre-requisite for jnaanam, an objector says the choice between vidvat sanyaasa and karma yoga is redundant. Shankara agreeing with the objection says that therefore the choice is not for jnaani to have vidvat sanyaasa or karma yoga. The choice is only for ajnaani or ignorant person between vividhiShaa sanyaasa vs karma yoga. ajnaani is the manda adhikaari discussed above. For such ajnaani, Krishna says karma yoga is better in terms of its efficacy to gain the saadhana chatuShTaya sampatti. We will discuss the attitude or bhaavana of a karmayogi separately; but from the point for our discussion, the question
therefore pertains to, is vidvat sanyaasa necessary for jnaani for embarking nidhidhyaasana. According to tradition, the vidvat sanyaasa is necessary for nidhidhyaasana. The pramaaNa for this is Br. Up. wherein Yagnyavalkya proposes to take sanyaasa for nidhidhyaasana, even though he is a jnaani, and is able to impart that knowledge to his wife, Maitreyi. Implication here is that what is good for Yagnavalkya should be good for everybody else. With two wives at home, he might have felt more urgent need to take up sanyaasa for nidhidhyaasana. Whatever is the reason, it forms a pramANa for the traditional view. The fact is traditional sanyaasa system itself is not there any more. Discussing purely on the basis of the issue, Nidhidhyaasana involves manovRitti or mentally regurgitating the teaching that is already received to get firmly established in that understanding. Hence what is needed is a conducive environment to facilitate the process. From that
perspective, while external sanyaasa will be helpful, but what is needed is internal sanyaasa or reduction of possession, obligations, relations and transactions, PORT. There is a change in the bhaavana or attitude towards the world and transactions with the world, as one firmly gets established in the knowledge. Thus there is a shift from triangular format involving jiiva, jagat and Iswara to binary format of aatma and anaatma, where everything other than aatma is anaatma, which is understood as mithyaa. Whatever problems that arise during the course of the remnant life are reduced to anaatma or mithyaa, and therefore they have no lasting value. Alternately the jnaani understands that the pleasures and pains come and go due to praarabda, and they are taken as vibhuuti of the Lord. Praarabda is what one experiences and where one does not have any control. Conversely whatever circumstances or events that one faces during ones life where one does not
have any choice (that covers all the past and all the future), can be taken as praarabda. Due to this, BMI will undergo the pains and pleasures that come and go because it is part of the prakRiti, but jnaani can stand apart and watch the drama of life. Hence Krishana says – duHkheShu anudvigna maanaH, sukheShu vigataspRihaH, viita raaga bhaya kRodhaH, sthitadhiiH muniruchyate-, ups and downs at the body level will not affect the jnaani. It is taken as bhagavat prasaada or vibhuuti of the Lord. All prakRiti is His maayaa only. Hence there are no emotional reactions other than wonder at the beauty that permeates in all. Such a jnaani, who firmly abides in that knowledge, Krishna says, is His greatest Bhakta. That is the very fulfillment of life itself.
Next we will discuss the obstacles in the Nidhidhyaasana as discussed by GouDapaada. .
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