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Saturday, December 31, 2011


When I was traveling last week from Tiruvarur to Mannargudi by road it was cloudy and at Tiruvarur temple above the Gopuram lot of birds were flying in the background of excellent clouds and my daughter was clicking lot of photos of them then I was thinking about two poets one the great Kalidasa and his Meghadutham which of course is a master piece beyond comparison and then Shelly's immortal poem, 'the cloud' which made an ever lasting impression on me. Let me share with you the pleasure of reading that poem wherein he has given a picture of Hindu philosophy see in my comments below and at the end see the verse I wrote titled Limitations of knowledge and read the info at the end of the message and try it out when the sky is blue pregnant women and those with weak eyes must not do this.

I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
In their noonday dreams.
From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
The sweet buds every one,
When rocked to rest on their mother's breast,
As she dances about the sun.
I wield the flail of the lashing hail,
And whiten the green plains under,
And then again I dissolve it in rain,
And laugh as I pass in thunder.

I sift the snow on the mountains below,
And their great pines groan aghast;
And all the night 'tis my pillow white,
While I sleep in the arms of the blast.
Sublime on the towers of my skiey bowers,
Lightning, my pilot, sits;
In a cavern under is fettered the thunder,
It struggles and howls at fits;

Over earth and ocean, with gentle motion,
This pilot is guiding me,
Lured by the love of the genii that move
In the depths of the purple sea;
Over the rills, and the crags, and the hills,
Over the lakes and the plains,
Wherever he dream, under mountain or stream,
The Spirit he loves remains;
And I all the while bask in Heaven's blue smile,
Whilst he is dissolving in rains.

The sanguine Sunrise, with his meteor eyes,
And his burning plumes outspread,
Leaps on the back of my sailing rack,
When the morning star shines dead;
As on the jag of a mountain crag,
Which an earthquake rocks and swings,
An eagle alit one moment may sit
In the light of its golden wings.
And when Sunset may breathe, from the lit sea beneath,
Its ardors of rest and of love,

And the crimson pall of eve may fall
From the depth of Heaven above,
With wings folded I rest, on mine aery nest,
As still as a brooding dove.
That orbed maiden with white fire laden,
Whom mortals call the Moon,
Glides glimmering o'er my fleece-like floor,
By the midnight breezes strewn;
And wherever the beat of her unseen feet,
Which only the angels hear,
May have broken the woof of my tent's thin roof,
The stars peep behind her and peer;
And I laugh to see them whirl and flee,
Like a swarm of golden bees,
When I widen the rent in my wind-built tent,
Till the calm rivers, lakes, and seas,
Like strips of the sky fallen through me on high,
Are each paved with the moon and these.

I bind the Sun's throne with a burning zone,
And the Moon's with a girdle of pearl;
The volcanoes are dim, and the stars reel and swim
When the whirlwinds my banner unfurl.
From cape to cape, with a bridge-like shape,
Over a torrent sea,
Sunbeam-proof, I hang like a roof,--
The mountains its columns be.
The triumphal arch through which I march
With hurricane, fire, and snow,
When the Powers of the air are chained to my chair,
Is the million-colored bow;
The sphere-fire above its soft colors wove,
While the moist Earth was laughing below.

I am the daughter of Earth and Water,
And the nursling of the Sky;
I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;
I change, but I cannot die.
For after the rain when with never a stain
The pavilion of Heaven is bare,
And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams
Build up the blue dome of air,
I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
I arise and unbuild it again.

No other English poet has expressed so beautifully about the heavenly drama the thunder and lightning plays in the sky. If it was Kalidasa who gave life to the great 'Himalayo nama nagaadhiraja' and converted the ice mountain to an affectionate father with so much love for his daughter, it was Shelly who made the cloud a 'daughter of the Earth and the water and the nursling of the sky'

And no other English poet has translated the

'Punarabhi jananam, punarabhi maranam; concept of our philosophy as beautifully as P.B. Shelly has done in this poem.

"I am the daughter of Earth and Water.....I change but I cannot die." and again, " like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb, I arise and unbuild it again.A western mind creating this ? Amazing !


I know how clouds are formed
I also know its uses
I also know the various names of its various forms and shapes; be they the
The ragged Fractus,
Or the superposed layers of Duplicatus,
Or the dense and dark Opacus,
Or the small flattened Humilis,
Or the small turreted Castellanus,
Or the comma shaped Uncinus,
Or the hairlike Fibratus,
Or the banded Radiatus,
Or the dense Spissatus,
Or the cauliflowerlike Congetus,
Or the entangled Intortus,
I also know nephography,
I can even make a cloud
But I can never direct the smoke
Or gas or dirt to the specific form I want in the sky
That is beyond my artistic skills
And scientific capabilities.

Last important piece of information to prove that everyone has the ability to make optimum use of creative visualization I had a Guruji who taught me something and everyone can easily try this. Just keep gazing at a small cloud in the blue sky and wish it to disappear either by dissolving or merging with another cloud nearby depending upon your intensity of visualization it will and it does definitely disappear

Friday, December 23, 2011

Gather knowledge from as many sources as possible-like a butterfly that hops from flower to flower

I have without any exaggeration more than 1000 books and articles all very interesting, factual, sane, superb and most importantly highly scientific on different types of craving of the human body physically, emotionally and psychologically and most of which are the result of explainable but not necessarily easily controllable and/or correctable. However, evolution, as it must and as it does always, either with or without our active participation or defective indifference, keeps exploring, expressing the secrets through some unprejudiced probing souls or enlightened wise spiritual beings. Surprisingly many things that happen to us or that we make to happen are decided by many factors, but of these at least some are determined by certain hormones and genes and are scientifically provable but yet only some scientists and only certain quarters of knowledge hubs make them known or available as the rest are curled up in their comfort zone of narrow spectrum which sometimes is eulogized as focus and specialization.Life when perceived however well through any micro analysis will miss the overall splendor of macro view.

Certain facts of science which are very important to know and interesting to know are therefore left uncommunicated and later on when that causes problems we regret why we did not know. Knowledge is power but blocked knowledge is dangerous. For example, it is the genetic makeup that would kill pregnant chettiyar community women if she is administered scoline because one of the 24 sects of Chettiyars, are fatally allergic to this anesthetic administration. Multanis in Pakistan, certain tribes of Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Egypt, and many sections of Europeans carry this defect.

Irrespective of any Viagra it is a particular gene that determines the size of your big toe and penis and many more like this. So you can be addicted to carbohydrates or carnatic music or cars or cash or proteins or alcohol or anything but the reason is or perhaps the reasons are not yet fully explained but very often they are all defended or defined away by justifications or logical fallacies or worse still, sick, explained away through statistical surveys.

All the 1000 odd books and materials that I have are from sources emanating from a wide spectrum of individuals some internationally renowned spiritual leaders, scientists, unsung and unnoticed heroes, people like me who follow many things in their cauldron of desultory hobbies whose contents and ingredients change with every dawn as they have weakness of enjoying many wonderful things that life offers, the many colors and fragrance of multiple splendor of nature like the butterfly that hops from flower to flower and like the butter fly they do play a very important role in evolution of life.
" God is UNITY but always works in VARIETY" RALPH W.EMERSON

Saturday, December 17, 2011


If you can synergize your head and heart properly you have an attitude. And like your heart beat and brain cells it also works 24 hours a day throughout your life. physically mal functioning and poor maintenance of heart and head can determine the length of your life. Similarly your attitude determines the length of your relationship in society, in the family, with your own inner self and ultimately with the universal divine life force.


A-Z of tips…
A - Achieve your dreams. Avoid negative people, things and places. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
B - Believe in your self, and in what you can do. Use motivation as your steering wheel.
C – Consider things from every angle and aspect. To be able to understand life, you should feel the sun from both sides.
D – Don’t give up and don’t give in. Thomas Edison failed once, twice, and then, many more times, before he came up with his invention and perfected the incandescent light bulb. Motivation comes from determination.
E – Enjoy work as if you don’t need money. Dance as if nobody’s watching. Love as if you never cried. Learn as if you’ll live forever. Motivation takes place when people are happy.
F – Family and Friends – are life’s greatest treasures. Don’t lose sight of them.
G – Give more than is enough, and then make a bit more effort. Where does motivation and self improvement take place at work? At home? At school? When you exert extra effort in doing things.
H – Hang on to your dreams. They may dangle in there for a moment, but these little stars will be your driving force.
I – Ignore those who try to destroy you. Don’t let other people to get the best of you. Stay away from toxic people – the kind of friends who hate to hear about your success. Negativity can be a motivational killer, if you let it.
J – Just be yourself. The key to success is to be yourself. And the key to failure is to try to please everyone.
K – Keep trying, no matter how hard life may appear. A motivated person will eventually see the "light at the end of the tunnel", paving the way to self improvement.
< that isn’t Now yourself. love to Learn –>
M – Make things happen. Motivation is when your dreams are put into work clothes.
N – Never lie, cheat or steal. Always play a fair game. Honesty is obvious to all who meet you.
O – Open your eyes. Look for the path to where you wish to go, then don't give up until you get there.
P – Practice makes perfect. Practice is about motivation. It usually helps us learn from our mistakes.
Q – Quitters never win. And winners never quit. So, choose your fate – are you going to be a quitter? Or a winner?
R – Ready yourself. Motivation is also about preparation. We must listen to that little voice within us telling us to get started. Remember, it wasn’t raining when Noah build the ark.
S – Stop procrastinating. Stop being negative. Take charge of your life.
T – Take control of your life. Self discipline and self control live synonymously with motivation. Both are key factors in self improvement.
U – Understand others. If you know very well how to talk, you should also learn how to listen. Yearn to understand first, and to be understood the second.
V – Visualize it. Motivation without vision is like a boat on a dry land.
W – Want it more than anything. Dreaming means believing. If you want something bad enough, your dreams will come true. Belief is another motivational tool to aid in achieving self improvement.
X – X Factor is what will make you different from the others. When you are motivated, you tend to put on “extras” on your life like extra time for family, extra help at work, extra care for friends, and so on.
Y – You are unique. No one in this world looks, acts, or talks like you. Value your life and existence, because you’re just going to spend it once, so spend it wisely and don't waste it.
Z – Zero in on your dreams and go for it!!!

Vedantic significance in Ramayana-Swami Chinmayananda

Vedantic significance in Ramayana

"In Ayodhya, ( yudhdha means conflict, Ayodhya means where there is no conflict ) to the king Dasharatha ( = one who has conquered all the ten indriyaas ) was born the Supreme Lord, Sri Raama (= 'That One' who is revelling in every form - ' sarve ramanti yasmin iti Raamaah ' ) as a baby.

Raama grows up in Ayodhya (without any conflicts ) and then goes out of Ayodhya with sage Vishwamitra to protect the yagnaas......................

Rama gets married to Sita. Janaka is her father. Janaka found her while ploughing the mother earth,............, most improbable place to come out from. Ultimately, she goes back to mother earth. So here is someone who came from no-cause and goes back to no-cause, and this is called, in vedaanta, as ' Maaya '.

Thus Raama, the Atman, the self, gets wedded to Maaya...........Once ' Self ' gets wedded to Maaya, the Ego, ' I ' can not remain in Ayodhya. Conflict must necessarily start. Thus he goes to jungle with Sita. Jungle means the forest of pluralities, conflicts, in which you and I live today.

There, as long as Sita was looking at Raama, living in Raama, for Raama, ( Ego thinking of God only ) she never knew the difference between Ayodhya and forest. But one little moment she turned her attention outwards and there stood the Golden deer - the delusory golden deer.........................

And once we see that delusion, we do not want God, we want that delusory thing only. Sita got stung by the desire, rejected Ram, sent him away saying, " I want that Golden deer ". Rama goes. The deer is killed no doubt, but it starts crying out and Sita asks Lakshmana also to go. He hesitatingly goes..........

It is at this time that Ten-headed monster, Ravana, comes in the guise of a sanyasi Bhikshu. See the anti-thesis. Dasharatha, who has conquered the ten indriyaas, is in Ayodhya, and Dashamukha is in Lanka. We are like Ravana. Our attention is constantly turned outwards through the ten indriyaas. Materialism enters the bosom of a seeker in a deceitful form. Ravana, the extrovert man, with lusty living came to Sita in a deceitful form. He comes and takes her away and Sita becomes a prisoner in Lanka.

Her fall from Ayodhya to Lanka is the fall of man from greatness of divinity into the present condition of guilt, sorrow, agitation, worries and suffering. Thus you and I are Sita now in Lanka.

What did she do there ? We must also go thro the same discipline. She refused to co-operate with materialism all around. When she says ' NO ' materialism can not touch her. She remained under Ashoka tree. Shoka is sorrow and Ashoka is sorrowless. Though there is sorrow in all our minds, we refuse to recognise it. There under the Ashoka tree she contemplated on Ram with a sense of total surrender, recognising and realising the terrible mistake that she made and remained there. When we thus remain contemplating on Ram, every seeker will get intimation from the Divine, Sri Ram, that ' I am coming '. Hanuman reaches her and gives her the Symbol. Her hope increases and she is confident that Rama is coming. She awaits the arrival of Rama.

As Sita weeps for him, Rama also expresses sentimental emotions. Valmiki wants to communicate to us that when we cry for God, he responds. How will he go there ? He is in jungle. The only army he can have is monkeys'. We find so much of criticism in Western literature that monkeys can not make an army. But here it has to be monkeys. Human minds and thoughts are the only ally for the Lord , the Spiritual Self, for I and you to reach that state. Monkeys and human minds have the same qualities of ' chanchalatwa ' and ' asthiratwa ' ( lack concentration and attention ).

These monkeys can never be the ally of the Lord as long as they are ruled by Vali, the incorrigible lust. As long as our minds are ruled by lust we are not ready to do Ram's work. So Vali is to be destroyed and see who comes to the throne - Sugreeva. Greeva means the reins of horses. Sugreeva - the total self control ! Under Sugreeva the monkeys are available to do Ram's work and together they build the bridge - the bridge of contemplation to reach the realm of Ravana - the realm of pure materialism, to destroy the extrovertedness, destroy Ravana and take Sita to Rama.

Sita, the ego, when comes face to face with Rama, the Self, the ego disappears. Just as ' the dreamer I ' disappears before ' the waker I ' . Sita thus disappears. It is Kapila muni who tells Rama that he can not go back to Ayodhya and bring about Rama Rajya without a queen. Hence the Kapila muni makes a delusory Sita with whom Rama returns to Ayodhya and rules for a short time. All men of Realisation, having realised the Truth, always come back to the world for a short time to serve as Saints, Prophets. We can not work in the world without an ego. But here, it is not a true ego, but an illusory ego. When he thus rules, Luva and Kusha are born. Similarly when a Jnani works in the world, a Bible or a Koran , a Gita or an Upanishad will necessarily emerge out of Him.

Then he gives up the world . There is no compulsion on him to give up because it is already an illusory one. It is not a real one. He gives up the world and there ends the masterpiece.

Thus Raamayana, from Ayodhya to Lanka is the process of an individualised Ego , coming into the present state of misconception that I am a limited, individualised ego, and the return of Rama back to Ayodhya from Lanka is the man's piligrimage fulfilled in the Realised Self. There after they live in the world for a short time serving the mankind and then the story ends.

Thus there is a spiritual background to the entire story fo Ramayana. That is the reason why it is so popular. The average man is happy with the story. To the mediocre man, the idealism that Rama stands for is a great education. But even the man of Realisation enjoys Ramayana , because he sees in and through the story , the entire Vedantic Wisdom, echoing and re-echoing as a melody Divine."

~Swami Chinmayananda


A young vaidik couple prostrated to Paramacharya and rose in SriMatam, Kanchipuram. The young vaidik appeared to be around 25 years, his wife about twenty. The Acharyal, who was conversing with another bhakta, paused it and looked up at the dampati. Happiness spread across his face. He said with enthusiasm, "Are you not Raghunathan, son of Madurai Seshu Ganapatikal? But then, I should address you in such a way! Because you have now become Raghunatha SastrigaL! Like your father, you have become well known in the Madurai region." Paramacharya continued: "Obviously, this is your AmbadaiyaL. She is the grand-daughter of Tiruchirapalli Vaidhyanatha Ganapadigal. The only daughter of Subramanya Vadhyar. Am I right? Last year, your father and father-in-law both came here with your marriage invitation, to seek the blessings of Matam. You also came and prostrated, correct? Alright. Now as dampati you are both cooperative and well?" Swamiji asked with rightful concern. Raghunatha Sastri promptly replied, "We are very well Periyavaa, with your blessings." Swamiji did not accept that. "You have said it, but your wife doesn't open her mouth!" He laughed as he said this. Gaining her wits, the young wife replied, "My name is Alamelu, Periyavaa. We are happy only... happy." Swamiji took note of the thread of sadness that ran through her acknowledgement. "It is not that Amma! Your tone betrays that you are not all that happy. Come on, tell me more." "Nothing of that sort, Periyavaa", Alamenu tried to get by. "No, no! Your tone is telling me that you have some sadness. Come on, tell me what it is." Alamelu said hesitatingly, "Periyavaa, I am a very God-fearing woman. Have full faith in the shastra and sampradayakah. Before my marriage, I used to go for pilgrimages with our family, relatives, and well wishers. It was very much to my liking! I am married with him for a year now. And we have not gone anywhere Periyavaa, that is the cause of my sadness!" Before she could finish, Swamiji interrupted, "Why...why couldn't you go?" Alamelu hesitated. "After marriage, I cannot go for pilgrimages on my own, isn't it so, Periyavaa? Only if the bharta comes along with me, the fruits of the yAtra will be realized? I asked him twice or thrice, but he did not come!" She started crying as she narrated her woe. Acharyal persuaded her, as he understood the situation. "What Raghunatha SastrigaL, is it proper to let your wife have a drop of tear in her eyes? After all is she not asking you to observe a holy routine? tIrthayAtrA and kshetrAdanam. What is the difficulty in going as she asks you for?" Paramacharya raised his bows. Young Raghunatha Sastry prostrated to the sage once again and said, "What she asks for is reasonable, Periyavaa. But then to visit the northern kshetrAs for at least ten days, and that it possible for me Periyavaa?" "Why don't you try it and fulfil the affectionate wishes of your wife?" Raghunatha Sastry replied in a poignant voice, "Periyaa knows everything. I have vaidikam for vritti. My father is also not too well, so I have to take care of his assignments in addition to mine. You tell me Periyavaa, how can I go for yAtra once in two months, leaving aside all my vritti?" Pamaracharya was silent for sometime. Then he said laughingly, "So you both have come to me for madhyastha in this matter," and continued: "What she says is reasonable. She has a taste for going tIrthayAtrA with bhakti. She also knows that after marriage the fruits of any yAtra will be available only if accompanied by the husband. What you say also has reason. Your vritti is vaidikam. You will be busy for all the thirty days in a month. It would be very very difficult to go on tIrthayAtrA with wife, once in two months. So, what can be done?" "Only you can tell us a way Periyavaa", the husband and wife said together. Swamiji sat for sometime, thinking. Everyone was eager to know what he would suggest as a remedy. After sometime, AcharyaL started speaking. "Alamenu! You are determined to go on tIrthayAtrA once in two months. You also are familiar with the dharma shastric rule that the fruits of a yAtra will be realized only if your husband comes with you. Since he has vaidikam as his profession, he says it would be very difficult for him to accompany you. So you do onething..." Before he could proceed, the couple said, "kindly bless us with a solution Periyavaa." Sitting a little more uprightly, Swamiji said: "I shall tell you a way, listen Alamelu! Whenever you start for tIrthayAtrA, before actually stepping out of home, request your husband to stand facing east and prostrate to him! What you do, Raghunatha SastrigAL, place your upper angavastra in the hands of your wife and tell her that her carrying your cloth is equivalent to your accompanying her, and bless her for the yAtra. You both will get the punya of having undertaken the yAtra together. And neither of you will have any uneasiness of mind. What... happy now?", Swamiji asked them mercifully and gave them prasAda. The couple were happy with the solution given by MahaperiyavaaL. With tears of joy, they prostrated to the sage. Everyone around who were witnessing this incident were happy with Paramacharya's tactful handling of the situation.
by: Muralikrishna Venkatraman

The Vision of the Sages BY Pandit Raimani Tigunait, Ph.D.

*The Vision of the Sages
Yoga International Magazine, Asia Edition, Nov./Dec. 2004
Pandit Raimani Tigunait, Ph.D.

There are still thousands of villages in India that are as yet untouched by
the complexities and comforts of modern civilization. Here people live
simply, farming, raising cattle, and practicing the same trades their
ancestors practiced working as carpenters, blacksmiths, washermen, barbers,
cobblers, tailors, ropemakers, potters, and fishermen. I was born in one
such village and raised on the plains of northern India. I grew up in a
world that was lighted only by sunlight, moonlight, and firelight, a world
governed by the rhythms of nature the rising and setting of the sun, the
waxing and waning of the moon, and the slow turning of the seasons. But it
was not until my life in the village had become a childhood memory that I
realized it had been shaped by the vision of the sages.

Our village had the only primary school in a ten mile radius, so it drew
hundreds of children. The small building housed an office and one classroom,
which was reserved for fifth-graders. The rest of us had our lessons under
the surrounding trees. After fifth grade we went to a middle school in a
village three miles away, but we considered ourselves lucky - some of the
students had to travel fifteen miles to get there.

School was where we learned to read and write and work with numbers and
where we heard about such exotic inventions as electricity, telegraphs, and
telephones. But we learned how to behave and formed our concepts of virtue
and sin - and of gods and demons - in the course of village life.

None of what we knew about the causes of disease had anything do with the
principles of modern science. We learned that killing frogs would cause an
earache, for example, and we were certain that anyone who eavesdropped would
be reborn as a bat. We called ladybugs Rama ki Ghodi, "the mares of Rama,"
because it was from the back of these tiny creatures that Lord Rama
inspected and nourished our crops, and we knew that harming them was
self-destructive and offensive to God. We were convinced that a ghost lived
in the eye of the small, powerful dust devils that swirled across the
countryside in the dry season, and we knew that tucking an onion in our
pockets would protect us from being possessed by these ghosts. But if the
dust devil was exceptionally strong, the ghost might prove more powerful
than the onion. The symptoms of possession thirst and feeling hot were
unmistakable. I was possessed more than once, but I knew how to exorcise the
demon: wash my hands and feet and recite a prayer to the mighty god Hanuman
before taking a drink or eating anything.

These were facts of life as real to me as the ground beneath my feet. Even
when I was quite young I never sat with my feet pointed toward the fire,
because I knew it was a sin. Spitting, urinating, or throwing garbage in
fire or water was a spiritual offence, and so was selling either fire or
water. It was a sin to turn away a stranger stopping at your door in the
evening, and no one ever ate before an invited guest began eating.

In our village, as in all of rural India, the economy operated on the
jajamani system, in which every family in the village is a "client" of all
other families. We all worked for each other, and remuneration for all
labour was in the form of an exchange of goods and services. (Money was
scarce, and scarcely needed.) The washermen collected and laundered the
clothes of the entire village, and in return collected pots from the
potters, rope from the ropemakers, hay and grain from the farmers; they got
their hair cut by the barbers and their clothes stitched by the tailors. Our
family owned some land, and by observing how my parents treated the barbers,
washermen, cobblers, and others who performed services for us, I understood
that giving these people less than their fair share of hay and grain was a

In the interval between harvest and planting anyone's livestock could graze
in our grain fields and those of the other landowners. The same was true of
vegetable patches the owner took only what he needed and when he declared
himself finished with his harvest, anyone could come and take what remained.
When all the vegetables were harvested, cattle and goats ate the plants.
Thus nothing was wasted, and at certain times of the year all the land
around the village was open pasture.

The same attitude applied to fruit trees. We all understood that the person
who owned the land where the tree grew was the only one entitled to pluck
fruit from its branches, but anyone even a passing stranger was entitled to
fruit that had fallen. (Shaking the tree to make fruit fall was theft.) Once
I heard someone tell my father that a landowner had prevented other
villagers from picking up fruit that had fallen from the trees on his land.
"How low of him," my father remarked. "This is one more proof that the kali
yuga [the dark age] is in full swing."

In the realm of personal behaviour, separating yourself from your aging
parents and failing to take care of them in their old age was an unthinkable
disgrace. Sleeping after sunrise and failing to light the lamps at dusk were
spiritual offences. A teacher who did not pass on his knowledge to the next
generation would remain unembodied after death. Using wind and light as a
locus for his consciousness, such a teacher would become a brahma rakshasa
and suffer regret, hunger, and thirst until the bad karma incurred by his
negligence was exhausted.

There were many actions we all regarded as especially virtuous. Chief among
them was planting trees, tending them, and renouncing all claim to them when
they began to bear fruit. Thus the roads were lined with trees that gave
fruit and shade to us all. We understood that the fruit from these trees
could be plucked only when it was ripe taking unripe fruit was stealing.
Cutting down one of these trees or indeed any tree growing on public land
was a sin so grave that it carried the taint of murder.

The villagers associated lack of progeny with bad karma and believed that
performing virtuous deeds, such as digging a pond for the use of the entire
village, would wipe that karma away. A woman could enhance her chances of
conceiving by planting banana trees, watering them daily, and watching them
blossom. Building bridges across streams and rivers would strengthen the
bond between wife and husband. Future troubles could be averted by building
a doorless shelter on the roadside for travellers. Digging a well and
offering the water to anyone who came ensured that you would never suffer
from thirst.

In village life, almost every useful plant is believed to have some sort of
association with the divine realm. My mother worshipped the neem tree
because, like her neighbours, she saw it as the abode of the Divine Mother.
We all revered the ashoka tree because Mother Sita had lived under just such
a tree for ten months. We knew the peepal tree as the home of Shiva and
revered the bilva tree because Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, lived
there. We knew that the tulsi plant is always accompanied by Lord Vishnu;
keeping one in the courtyard guaranteed Lord Vishnu's presence in your home.
Durva grass is favoured by Ganesha. Sugarcane is the direct manifestation of
Sri, the goddess of beauty and bliss, whose favourite flower is the
aparajita. Palasha is the tree of Agni, the fire god, and the banyan is the
tree of Krishna himself. Destroying or threatening any of them would offend
the gods, and no religious ceremony was complete unless the leaves, the
flowers, or the fruits of one or more of these plants were incorporated into
the ritual.

Each of life's transitions sacred or mundane was marked by ritual
ceremonies. Conception, childbirth, naming a child, the child's first
haircut, the first bite of solid food, the first day of school, marriage,
death, the funeral, and post-funeral rites all had their own ritual. Each
day of the full moon and of the new moon was dedicated to worshipping the
god of protection and nourishment. In addition, those people wishing to lead
a virtuous life performed specific rituals on certain days of the week. For
example, they worshipped the sun god on Sunday, Shiva on Monday, Hanuman on
Tuesday, the spiritual teacher on Thursday, and the Divine Mother on Friday.
Then there were special days such as Diwali (the festival of lights), Holi
(the festival of colours), Navaratri (nine days dedicated to the Divine
Mother) which the villagers celebrated with grand rituals. There were also
special days dedicated to honouring the plant and animal kingdom, such as
Naga Panchami, honouring snakes (the fifth day August), and Vata Savitri,
honouring the banyan tree (the day of the new moon in early summer).

All of these rituals centred around the fire offering. We could compensate
for failure to perform the obligatory practices or any shortcomings (known
or unknown) in our performance of the rituals simply by performing the fire
offering portion of the ritual. Many of the villagers did not know the
meaning and purpose of the fire offering; they made it because it was their
custom their fathers and their forefathers had done it before them. But they
all believed that fire is the mouth of God and whatever is offered into the
fire reaches God. Every family tried to make at least three oblations to the
fire each day. Chapatis (unleavened bread) were a staple of life, and the
first one was always offered to the flames over which it was cooked. Those
villagers who were especially devout also offered raw sugar and clarified
butter into the fire each day.

The web of life

While I was growing up it never occurred to me that these were religious
practices they were simply part of everyday life. When I was twelve I joined
a traditional Sanskrit school and began to study the scriptures. There I
learned that certain customs and rituals are more important than others. I
began to believe that if I observed those customs and performed those
rituals I would become a better person and that worldly and spiritual
prosperity would be mine. I also came to believe that if I did not perform
them, I would be abandoned by the benevolent forces. I admired my Sanskrit
teachers, who were deeply devoted to rituals, and their company fuelled my
conviction that I too should perform these rituals. But later, when I went
to the University of Allahabad and began taking courses in social science,
ethics, anthropology, and the history of philosophy, my attitude toward
these customs and ritualistic practices changed. I began to regard them as
silly and to believe that the villagers observed them only because they were
backward, illiterate, and superstitious.

Then I met Swami Sadananda, a saint who in a mysterious way restored my
respect for the web of rituals that governed village life. Though he lived
simply, he was intelligent and highly educated, an expert in ayurveda,
astrology, and all systems of Indian philosophy. He was also an unmatched
scholar of Sanskrit and well-versed in the scriptures. And he was known for
his miraculous healing powers.

One morning I arrived at his ashram to find him in the company of a man who
suffered from epileptic fits so frequent and severe that someone always had
to accompany him. After a short conversation Swami Sadananda gave this man a
powder that looked like ash and told him to take it as a medicine. Then he
instructed him to feed cracked wheat and other grains to wild birds before
eating the first meal of the day.

When the man and his companion left I said, I understand the value of taking
medicine, but why does he have to feed the birds?" "You should watch," Swami
Sadananda replied. "When he is cured I will explain."

For three days the man went hungry because the birds would not eat the grain
he scattered for them. Finally on the fourth day they ate the grain, and the
man too could eat. It became his routine to feed the birds before starting
his day, and within a month his fits came less frequently; within six months
they vanished. When I asked Swami Sadananda to explain he said, "Birds are
part of nature. Their relationship with humans is not contaminated by
selfishness and expectation. Serving them is serving nature, the repository
of all our karmas."

I did not understand how curing epilepsy had anything to do with feeding
birds, and told him so. "You are unable to grasp this because you don't
understand the spiritual aspect of the planet's ecology," Swami Sadananda
replied.The earth is one living organism. Here everything in the web of life
is interconnected. Our health and happiness are not separate from the health
and happiness of others. Similarly, the world within us and the world
outside us are interconnected. What happens in the outer world affects our
inner life; our inner life affects the outer world. Everything within and
without is part of the collective consciousness that pervades both the
manifest and unmanifest aspects of creation. And if the collective
consciousness is undernourished, then our individual consciousness becomes
sick. If we are to be healthy and lead harmonious lives, nature's forces
must be healthy and harmonious, for we are an integral part of nature. To
cure this man of epilepsy, I used feeding the birds as a means of
propitiating the collective consciousness that supplies healing energy to
all individuals."

Then, after pausing for a moment, he said, "You are not yet satisfied with
my explanation. You are a Sanskrit student. Study the Vedic and tantric
scriptures properly and you will develop a better understanding of yourself
and the world in which you live."

I had already read many of the scriptures Swami Sadananda was recommending
and had found them to be a collection of prayers and mantras for ritual
worship. But after this encounter I began to read them with a different
intention and a new attitude. To broaden my understanding of the scriptures,
I studied Hindi texts on Vedic and tantric mythology. I was particularly
intrigued by the Hindi translation of the book Vedic Mythology by A. A.
McDonald. An eminent twentieth-century Indologist, McDonald described the
place of each particular god in the Vedic pantheon. According to him the
people of ancient India were polytheists and worshipped a host of gods, each
of which presides over a different aspect of nature. For example, Indra
presides over rain, Varuna rules the ocean, and Vishnu presides over the
three worlds - earth, heaven, and the space in between.

But when I discussed these Ideas with Swami Sadananda, he said bluntly,
"This is a Western interpretation. The god Indra does not preside over the
rain - rain itself is the god. The word for 'god' in the Vedas is deva,
which means 'shining or bright being, one who is loving and compassionate,
one who is constantly giving, serving, protecting, and nourishing all
creation.' Life on earth depends on rain, therefore rain is deva. Further,
rain is central to life, therefore rain is the central deva. All other forms
of nourishment are secondary to rain which is why Indra is the king of the
gods. The actual, physical form of rain is the body of god, and the dynamic
forces that act together to bring the rain form the spirit of that god. The
entire universe is the body of the Absolute Divine Being, known in the
scriptures as Virat, the cosmic being. Different aspects of nature are the
limbs and organs of that cosmic being. Everything in this world big or small
is an extension of one cosmic being."

This explanation helped me understand why the ancient sages called earth,
water, fire, air, sky, sun, moon, stars, day, night, lightning, clouds,
mountains, ocean, rivers, and forests "deva." These sages had a very simple
definition of god: one who illuminates our path and enables us to complete
the journey of life. We cannot survive without food, they realized,
therefore food is deva. We cannot complete the journey of life without water
or air, therefore these forces of nature are deva. There would be no light
on earth without the light of the sun, therefore the sun is deva. There is a
perfect symbiotic relationship between plants, insects, birds, animals, and
humans because all are an integral part of the web of life. ... ...

Pandit Raimani Tigunait, Ph.D., the Spiritual Head of the Himalayan
Institute, is Swami Rama's successor. Lecturing and teaching worldwide for
more than a quarter of a century, he is a regular contributor to Yoga
International magazine, and the author of eleven books. Pandit Tigunait
holds two doctorates: one in Sanskrit from the University of Allababad in
India, and another in Oriental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania._

The Advaitic Meaning In The Ramayana (Dasamukh) Swami Chinmayananda a)

The Advaitic Meaning In The Ramayana (Dasamukha)
Courtesy : Vedanta Vani, Chinmaya Mission

Dasamukha, Symbol OF Extroversion

Dasamukha does not mean having five heads on the right and another five on the left, with one neck in between. If it were so, think of the traffic jam and think what a calamity it would be if Ravana were to catch a cold. He would have to sneeze ten times in every round. Even to clear one nose is a terrible thing. What is meant here is that the five Gnanedriyas and the five Karmendriyas together constitute the Dasamukha. A totally extrovert man lives in the flesh, for the flesh, and by the flesh. It is the rule of the flesh. Such a man is a sensualist and a total extrovert.

Materially he can become great as did Ravana who ruled over a prosperous land, Lanka, Compared to this land, Ayodhya was under-developed and village-like with perhaps bullock-carts plying on the roads. While in Lanka the country boasted of the Pushapaka Viman, the herals of the age of space travel. In fact Lanka was so advanced that even at 8 o'clock in the mornings women folk were found drunk! What a situation!! Even present day Delhi or New York , has not developed to that extent. Drunks are rampant only in the evenings.

In Lanka, nobody worked, everybody was supported by the socialist government, and people from all over the world came to pay homage to Ravana, who was supremely powerful. ' But does materialism provide anything more than mere physical comfort? It is not a solution to the problem of life. Spiritual and cultural values alone can save the world. This idea is brought out in the Ramayana.

We all know that Sita was abducted and taken away, but look at the beauty of it. Valmiki decides that she should not more be a citizen of Aryavarta. She may be the consort ofRama, yet she does not deserve to continue to be a citizen of this hallowed and cultural land any longer. She will be given a place in Lanka, another island, no doubt very near, but altogether another land.

Rama weeps like an ordinary mortal, not because he is attached to her, but because of his longing to help a devotee.

Even there she was exiled. We are all at this moment 'Sitas' in exile. Should we give in to sensua1ity? To gain back our original Ayodhya, what should we do? We should do exactly what Sita did. A modem girl in Sitas place would have said; "Rama was a nice man, no doubt! I can well remember him. But what can I do? Ravana, is constantly asking me. Let me cooperate with him.

The Dawn of Realisation

But not Sita. She realised she had fallen and to prevent a further fall, she firmly said 'No' to Ravana and remained in the garden under an Asoka tree. Soka means dukha, i.e sorrow, Asoka therefore means 'not dukba' (devoid of sorrow). You and I will have sorrows,but we do not recognize it. This, is the 'Asoka' state. Under the tree of nonrecognition of sorrow when we want to remain steadfast in character, we will doubt-less be tempted and put to a lot of strain. But in that Asoka attitude, we should remain steadfast, constantly remembering Rama.

Sita was constantly and vigorously thinking of Rama. And we cannot say that Rama did not respond. In the Ramayana, we will find that the scene is alternately changing - once Lanka is shown, the next moment Rama is shown in the jungle. This shows that there is a secret communication between them. The more intense Sita's cry, the more frenzied does Ram's search for her becomes. He weeps like an ordinary mortal, not because he is attached to her, but because of his longing to help a devotee.
Success of Spirit the Vali episode

The spiritual essence in man can kill and destroy Ravan, the ten headed monstrosity of extroversions. It can do it with the army of monkeys. An educated man reading this should know what the monkeys refer to, The monkey has two qualities - 'Asthiratwa' and 'Chandhalatwa' - instability and restlessness. The thoughts in the human mind have these two qualities. They cannot remain sthira stable. The monkey cannot remain on one branch, it jumps from one branch to another and from tree to tree. If it gets tired and sits on a tree, it will still be restless, and scratch all over. Thus, it cannot keep quiet even for a minute. So too, our thoughts. They can never remain quiet, but keep jumping from topic to topic.

The army of thoughts is to be controlled. But, at this moment, Vali- who stands for lust controls them. This has to be destroyed. And how? It can be only done from behind, and not from the front. It is like a person wanting to curb his desire for alcohol. He cannot do it by sitting before the bottle; for the moment he does this, not only is half his strength gone, but the pull of the bottle is three times as strong. Hence every time it is your lust that wins, and not you. So, if ever you want to conquer this lust, you have to shoot it from behind the tree.

So, if ever you want to conquer this lust, you have to shoot it from behind the tree..

Vali had such great power, that any time an enemy approached him, half the strength of the enemy would drain away and Vali would become three times stronger. So, Rama had to kill him from behind. To whom should he then give the kingship of the monkey-clan - the thoughts? To whom better than Sugreeva? Greeva means reins, "Sugreeva" means well-reined, i.e well-controlled. When the thoughts are under one's control, the army is then available to cross the frontiers and reach Lanka to kill the ten headed monster and bring back Sita.

Sita disappearing

When Rama regains Sita after having destroyed extroversions, the mind that is no longer extrovert is no mind at all. It (Sita) has to disappear. Without Sita, Rama cannot bring about "Rama-Rajya'. He can not rule without a wife. Therefore Kapila comes and offers him a Mithya Sita or Maya Sita. And with Maya Sita, Rama returns to rule Ayodhya, with a tranquil and poised mind in a state of perfection, having regained his spiritual status. Though he returns with a mind, it is not really there.

It is like the sky which allows everything to remain in space without getting contaminated. So too, Rama, the man of perfection, allows the mind to remain in him, but is not affected by it.


Since Rama functioned in the world outside with a perfectly controlled mind, the result had to be a 'Rama-Rajya' as he created beauty around him as did Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed and all the Rishis of yore. People might laugh at them in their ignorance, and to please them, the great ones let go their mind. Sita was banished. But Rama having functioned with her for sometime, something must emerge. It did in the form of Lava and Kusa. From great masters, Wisdom emerges, generally in the form of books which sing the glory of the Lord. When Lava and Kusa sang the glory of Ram, they were merely singing the glory of the Reality. It is the spread of such literature that has sustained the culture of our country.

About the author

Swami Chinmayananda

Swami Chinmayananda's lectures were an outpour of wisdom. He introduced the Geetha Gnana Yagna. He wrote a lot of books on spirituality, commentaries to Vedantic texts, children books etc. He then started spreading His teachings globally.


Tehelka on Sai Baba -- Why we believed in him - (Dr J Geeta Reddy,
Kunal Ganjawala, Dr Devi Shetty, Bombay Jayashri)
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Why we believed in him
Dr J Geeta Reddy
Dr Devi Shetty
Bombay Jayashri
Kunal Ganjawala
M N Krishnamani
FOR NON-BELIEVERS and many in the media, Sathya Sai Baba was an
ambiguous figure on the landscape, a scamster cheating his followers
with the dazzling conjuring of vibhuti and other small objects, the
master of a multi-crore empire, a mortal accused of sexual
improprieties. But this week, it has been difficult to avoid the
mighty upsurge of grief that has marked Sathya Sai Baba's passing.
For millions of devotees, this was a lifechanging moment. It is clear
the stream of belief ran much deeper than gullibility and awe. Here
are five deeply personal stories from seemingly unlikely Sai Baba
devotees -- doctors, Supreme Court advocates, serving ministers and
musicians -- detailing the miraculous ways in which their faith was
jump-started. Clearly, faith bears no cold analysis. Perhaps, it is
the particular genius of this land that we can inhabit spaces that
blur the line between reason and unreason. These accounts go some way
in explaining the charismatic phenomenon that was Sathya Sai Baba.
1.Dr J Geeta Reddy
Industries Minister, Andhra Pradesh
My husband had a paralytic stroke. He recovered within days of
meeting Baba
Dr J Geeta Reddy
I NEVER THOUGHT I would become a Sai Baba devotee. But fate had other
plans. In 1980, my husband, Dr Ramachandra Reddy, had a paralytic
stroke at the age of 30. It paralysed the left side of his body, even
the left side of his mouth. We went for the best possible medical
care in London, but were told he would never recover fully. I was
almost beginning to lose hope when some people, including English
doctors and professors, told us to look up the godmen in our own
country. We had never heard of Baba before this. Finally, we got our
first darshan in Whitefield outside Bengaluru. Nobody told Baba what
the problem was. He just went up to my husband and started touching
his left side, his arms and head. Baba told my husband not to worry.
After he had finished the gents' queue, he came to the ladies side.
He didn't have to ask for me. Baba just came to me and said, "Don't
be disheartened, I'm taking care of your husband." As I looked at
him, there was no way I could miss the love and compassion in his
eyes. Following this meeting, my husband recovered really fast.
This wasn't the only time when Baba made a difference to my life. My
husband and I went abroad for a 12- year spell. In 1992, Baba came to
Hyderabad. My mother had passed away recently, and I was shattered.
But once he spoke to me, I knew he'd taken my mother's place in my
life. He told me he was my mother. It was indeed comforting.
Seeing him in person was an electrifying experience. He had an
enchanting smile. One would feel so happy and content when he'd just
look at you. The great thing about him was he didn't believe in long
discourses, rituals, pujas or shlokas. In fact, he once told me, "I
use these illnesses as my calling cards." And now he is gone when we
need him the most.
2. Dr Devi Shetty
Cardiac surgeon and founder of Narayana Hrudayalaya
Baba walked into the room and his sister slipped out of a coma Dr
Devi Shetty
GOD HAS NOT CREATED everyone equal. I believe that some people have
superhuman powers. Sathya Sai Baba was one of them. My brother-in-law
told me about him 12 years ago. When I met him, he already knew I
wanted to build a cardiac hospital on the outskirts of Bengaluru -- a
project most were sceptical about. When I met him, he simply told me,
"The city will come to you." It really did come to me. Baba once gave
me a ring that I wear all the time, except during surgery, because I
feel his warm presence.
The most beautiful miracle of Baba's is the one my brother-in-law
witnessed. He was treating Baba's sister, who at the time, had been
in a coma for days. When Baba walked into the room, she woke up,
talked to him for a few minutes and slipped back. How do you explain
that medically?
A Hindu woman once came to me for treatment. Someone in the Ajmer
Dargah had told her it would save her life. She had aortal arteritis,
a rare and serious condition. She insisted I operate. I didn't know
how to. I had to patch up her liver, her intestine and re-establish
circulation to the brain. I did and she has been healthy for eight
years now. Similarly, a very established doctor and friend saw his
patient in a hospital levitate while meditating. I have seen people
who are two yards away from death surviving and perfectly healthy
people dying suddenly. How do you explain this? We do 36 heart
surgeries a day in our hospital. We cut off circulation to the brain,
paralyse the heart, and the patient is practically dead. Each time, I
don't know if he or she will survive it. Any doctor who thinks he
does is kidding himself. You don't want to hear this from a doctor
and a scientist, but my hands are about as powerful as forceps
controlled by God.
3. Bombay Jayashri
Carnatic musician
He picked me from hundreds of people in a religious gathering and
asked me to sing
Bombay Jayashri
WHEN I WAS nine, Sai Baba was addressing a huge gathering in Mumbai.
I was far away from his gaze, yet he managed to find me. Of hundreds
in the gathering, he picked me, a small girl, and asked me to sing. I
often wonder how could he have known that I loved to sing. Ever
since, I have sung for him in Mumbai, Chennai and Puttaparthi. I
think he was a Mahapurusha in the true sense of the word. I might not
have seen any of his ‘miracles', but I think his very presence was
magical. It is hard to maintain discipline in a house of 10 people.
He, on the other hand, created a spiritual silence in audiences that
were sometimes as large as three lakh people. People say it is only
his physical presence that is gone. For me, it is a huge loss that I
won't be blessed by him the same way again.
4. Kunal Ganjawala
A mercury Shivling sent by Baba helped my wife recover from a fatal
accident in 24 hours
Kunal Ganjawala
FOR ME, Sai Baba was neither a godman nor a saint. He was God
himself. He has been the force that protected my family during
challenging times. Everyone in my family is a firm believer of Baba
and his powers. In 2006, my wife had an accident and was bedridden.
The doctors had given up on her. Baba sent me a Shivling made of
mercury. Science tells you that you cannot bind mercury, but here I
was with a mercury Shivling in my house. My wife did the abhishek of
the Shivling and drank the water. Within 24 hours, she was feeling
alright. Once she was hale and hearty, the Shivling broke by itself.
Years later, my wife and I met Baba at a religious gathering. He
stopped by us and produced a mangalsutra and a ring in front of
40,000 people. I tied the mangalsutra around my wife's neck and she
put the ring on my finger. Later, I was fortunate enough to spend
some time with him in his private chamber. His body might have
perished but his soul will live for ever.
5. M N Krishnamani
Senior Advocate, Supreme Court
My wife had hip cancer. Baba just said, ‘Cancer, cancelled', and she
was well and could walk
M N Krishnamani
SAI BABA saved his miracles for others. My sister suffered from a bad
gastric ulcer. She was weak and the hospital doctor prescribed milk
fed through the nose. A young, inexperienced nurse misunderstood the
instruction and gave my sister milk intravenously -- directly into
the blood. She lost her consciousness and it seemed she would die.
When the error was corrected, she suddenly got up and said, "Baba was
He gave me vibhuti. I am perfectly okay." She walked out of the
hospital without an operation.
In 1999, my wife suffered a heart attack. Four months after a bypass,
she fainted during an evening walk. I rushed her to the hospital. She
was in the intensive care unit and had breathing problems. They said
-- four months to live, operate immediately. When she heard this, my
wife insisted on having Baba's darshan before surgery. The doctor,
who was also a devotee, discharged her. Bound to a wheelchair, oxygen
cylinder in tow, my wife and I went to meet the Baba. It was
Christmas. At Puttaparthi, we stood in the front row waiting for
Baba's darshan. On seeing me, he said, "No second surgery for her."
He produced vibhuti out of the air and told me not to worry. She was
wheelchair-bound but after the darshan, she started walking and
didn't need that second surgery.
I went back to Baba a second time for my wife, about eight years
later. My wife had developed cancer in the hip. She could neither
walk nor lie down and was on morphine injections. When I saw Baba, he
said, "Cancer cancelled", and produced a crystal Shivling with a wave
of his hand. "Do abhishek and give her the water to drink," he said.
On the ninth day, my wife went to the market. Her cancer was gone.
Sai Baba's life, however, meant far more than the many miracles he
performed. I used to believe only in the Vedantic philosophy. Now
when I pray, I also chant Jesus, Allah and Buddha's names. You can
find all the world's religions in Puttaparthi. I once saw an Iranian
boy chant the Gayatri Mantra with perfect diction. By showing us the
similarities in religions, the Baba united us. Not to mention the
several cashless hospitals he ran or his colleges that took students
without fees. For us, he was a living God.

Bhagavad Gita-Ten Essential Verses of the Bhagavad Gita

Swami Dayananda: Ten Essential Verses of the Bhagavad Gita
Swami Dayananda, one of the foremost Vedantic teacher of recent times has selected ten essential verses of of the Bhagavad Gita.

1. ashochyaananvashochastvaM praGYaavaadaa.nshcha bhaashhase .
gataasuunagataasuu.nshcha naanushochanti paNDitaaH .. 2.11..

You grieve for those who should not be grieved for. Yet you speak words of wisdom. The wise do not grieve for those who are living or for those who are no longer living. [Introduction to Gita. Adi Shankara begins His Gita commentary with this verse.]
2. vedaavinaashina.n nitya.n ya enamajamavyayam.h .
katha.n sa purushhaH paartha ka.n ghaatayati hanti kam.h .. 2.21..

Oh! Son of pritha, the one who knows this (self) to be indestructible, timeless, unborn, and not subject to decline, how and whom does that person kill? Whom does he cause to kill? [Nature of the Self (tvam).]
3. prajahaati yadaa kaamaansarvaanpaartha manogataan.h .
aatmanyevaatmanaa tushhTaH sthitapraGYastadochyate .. 2.55..

When a person gives up all the desires as they appear in the mind, Oh! paartha, happy in oneself, with oneself alone, that person is said to be one of ascertained knowledge. []
4. mayaa tatamidaM sarva.n jagadavyaktamuurtinaa .
matsthaani sarvabhuutaani na chaahaM teshhvavasthitaH .. 9.4..

This entire world is pervaded by Me whose form can not be objectified. All beings have their being in Me and I am not based in them. [Nature of Ishvara (tat). ]
5. loke.asmin dvividhaa nishhThaa puraa proktaa mayaanagha .
GYaanayogena saaN^khyaanaa.n karmayogena yoginaam.h .. 3.3..

Oh! Sinless One, the two-fold committed life-style in this world, was told by Me in the beginning -- the pursuit of knowledge for the renunciates and the pursuit of action for those who pursue activity.[The two-fold committed life-styles.]
6. karmaNyevaadhikaaraste maa phaleshhu kadaachana .
maa karmaphalaheturbhuurmaa te saN^go.astvakarmaNi .. 2.47..

Your choice is in action only, never in the result thereof. Do not be the author of results of action. Let your attachment not be to inaction. [Karma-yoga: Ishvara is the author of the results of action.]
7. yataH pravR^ittirbhuutaanaa.n yena sarvamidaM tatam.h .
svakarmaNaa tamabhyarchya siddhi.n vindati maanavaH .. 18.46..

Through one's own duty, worshipping him from whom is the creation of beings, by whom all this is pervaded, a human being gains success. [Karma-yoga: Doing one's duty is worshipping the Lord.]
8. sa.nnyaasastu mahaabaaho duHkhamaaptumayogataH .
yogayukto munirbrahma nachireNaadhigachchhati .. 5.6..

Renunciation of action, O Arjuna, is difficult to accomplish without karma-yoga. Whereas, one who is capable of reasoning, who is committed to a life of karma-yoga, gains Brahman quickly. [Sannyasa-yoga: vidisha-sannyaasa -- taken by a qualified seeker to know the self.]
9. sarvakarmaaNi manasaa sa.nnyasyaaste sukhaM vashii .
navadvaare pure dehii naiva kurvanna kaarayan.h .. 5.13..

The indweller of the physical body, the one who is self-controlled, having renounced all actions mentally (by knowledge), remains happily in the nine-gated city (the body) neither performing action, nor causing (others) to act. [GYaana-karma-sannyaasa: renunciation of all action by the knowledge (GYaana) that the self is not the doer.]
10. sarvadharmaanparityajya maamekaM sharaNaM vraja .
ahaM tvaaM sarvapaapebhyo mokshyayishhyaami maa shuchaH .. 18.66..

Giving up all karmas, take refuge in Me alone. I will release you from all karma; do not grieve. [Conclusion.]

The above collection is available from Arsha Vidya Satsangh as a PDF file. Swami-ji's lectures on these verses are an excellent introduction to Gita as well as Vedanta. They are available from any Arsha Vidya Book stores (India or U.S.A).

Illustrative Examples from the Gita

Some Illustrative Examples from the Gita
Lord Krishna uses many illustrative examples (upamaana) as part of His teaching in the Gita. Many of these have become almost canonical in Vedantic teminology. Here are some of them, with Swami Gambhirananda's translation, and my notes.

1. vaasaa.nsi jiirNaani yathaa vihaaya
navaani gR^ihNaati naro.aparaaNi .
tathaa shariiraaNi vihaaya jiirNaani
anyaani sa.nyaati navaani dehii .. 2.22..

As after rejecting wornout clothes a man takes up other new ones, likewise after rejecting wornout bodies the embodied one unites with other new ones.

[Ephemerality of the Body-Mind complex and the independence of the Self with respect to them.]
2. yaavaanartha udapaane sarvataH saMplutodake .
taavaansarveshhu vedeshhu braahmaNasya vijaanataH .. 2.46..

A Brahmana with realization has that much utility in all the Vedas as a man has in a well when there is a flood all around.

[Relevance (or rather non-relevance) of karma and "the path" to one who is realized.]
3. yadaa sa.nharate chaayaM kuurmo.aN^gaaniiva sarvashaH .
indriyaaNiindriyaarthe.abhyastasya praGYaa pratishhThitaa .. 2.58..

And when this one fully withdraws the senses from the objects of the senses, as a tortoise wholly (withdraws) the limbs, then his wisdom remains established.

[The nature of one who has so little association with the senses that he can control to the direction in which they move, including shutting them down or reversing their direction (reversing their direction has its source in kaTha.).]
4. indriyaaNaaM hi charataaM yanmano.anuvidhiiyate .
tadasya harati praGYaaM vaayurnaavamivaambhasi .. 2.67..

For, the mind which follows in the wake of the wandering senses, that (mind) carries away his wisdom like the mind (diverting) a boat on the waters.

[The mind getting carried away by its association with senses.]
5. aapuuryamaaNamachalapratishhTha.n
samudramaapaH pravishanti yadvat.h .
tadvatkaamaa yaM pravishanti sarve
sa shaantimaapnoti na kaamakaamii .. 2.70..

That man attains peace into whom all desires enter in the same way as the waters flow into a sea that remains unchanged (even) when being filled up from all sides. Not so one who is desirous of objects.

[The sense association is not cared for, by the Jivanmukta.]
6. dhuumenaavriyate vahniryathaadarsho malena cha .
yatholbenaavR^ito garbhastathaa tenedamaavR^itam.h .. 3.38..

As fire is enveloped by smoke, as a mirror by dirt, and as a foetus remains enclosed in the womb, so in this (Self-knowledge) shrouded by that (desire).

[The three examples for how kaama shrouds the fire of Self-knowledge. The three are at different levels. The first one is easy to remove and goes away in a short time, the second one goes away with right effort in a short time, while the third one takes longer time and more right effort. The effort the three are the wind, water and mother.]
7. yathaidhaa.nsi samiddho.agnirbhasmasaatkurute.arjuna .
GYaanaagniH sarvakarmaaNi bhasmasaatkurute tathaa .. 4.37..

O Arjuna, as a blazing fire reduces pieces of wood to ashes, similarly the fire of Knowledge reduces all actions to ashes.

[Only GYaana can burn the association with karma.]
8. brahmaNyaadhaaya karmaaNi saN^ga.n tyaktvaa karoti yaH .
lipyate na sa paapena padmapatramivaambhasaa .. 5.10..

One who acts by dedicating actions to Brahman and by renouncing attachment, he does not become polluted by sin, just as a lotus leaf is not by water.

[The senses and their associations do not touch the person who is intensely dedicated to the path..]
9. cha.nchalaM hi manaH kR^ishhNa pramaathi balavad.h dR^iDham.h .
tasyaahaM nigrahaM manye vaayoriva sudushhkaram.h .. 6.34..

For, O Krsna, the mind is unsteady, turbulent, strong and obstinate. I consider its control to be as greatly difficult as of the wind.

[How can one control the vritti, which is like the wind? The next verses offer the method. The key is perseverance and detachment.]
10. mattaH parataraM naanyatki.nchidasti dhana.njaya .
mayi sarvamidaM protaM suutre maNigaNaa iva .. 7.7..

O Dhananjaya, there is nothing else whatsoever higher than Myself. All this is strung on Me like pearls on a string.

[The immanence of Brahman.]
11. yathaakaashasthito nitya.n vaayuH sarvatrago mahaan.h .
tathaa sarvaaNi bhuutaani matsthaaniityupadhaaraya .. 9.6..

Understand thus that just as the voluminous wind moving everywhere is ever present in space, similarly all beings abide in Me.

[Immanence of Brahman.]
12. idaM shariiraM kaunteya kshetramityabhidhiiyate .
etadyo vetti taM praahuH kshetraGYa iti tadvidaH .. 13.2..

O son of Kunti, this body is referred to as the 'field'. Those who are versed in this call him who is conscious of it as the 'knower of the field'.

[The field is a field only if properly cultivated with the right goal in mind. Further, the "seen" is a perishable entity and hence ephemeral. The seer, on the other hand is eternal.]
13. yathaa sarvagataM saukshmyaadaakaashaM nopalipyate .
sarvatraavasthito dehe tathaatmaa nopalipyate .. 13.33..

As the all-pervading space is not defiled, because of its subtlety, similarly the Self, present everywhere in the body, is not defiled.

[The immanence of the Self. Also see 9.6 above.]
14. yathaa prakaashayatyekaH kR^itsna.n lokamimaM raviH .
kshetra.n kshetrii tathaa kR^itsnaM prakaashayati bhaarata ..

As the single sun illumines this whole world, similarly, O descendant of the Bharata dynasty, the Knower of the field illumines the whole field.

[The awareness of everything owes to the Self. Refer to verses 15.6 (na tatbhasayate suuryo ...) and 15.12 (yadaadityagatam tejo ...).]
15. uurdhvamuulamadhaHshaakhamashvatthaM praahuravyayam.h .
chhandaa.nsi yasya parNaani yasta.n veda sa vedavit.h .. 15.1..

They say that the fig Tree, which has its roots upward and the branches downward, and of which the Vedas are the leaves, is imperishable. He who realizes it is knower of the Vedas.

[The classic illustration of the fig tree, adapted from kaTha Upanishad.]
16. adhashchordhvaM prasR^itaastasya shaakhaa
guNapravR^iddhaa vishhayapravaalaaH .
adhashcha muulaanyanusa.ntataani
karmaanubandhiini manushhyaloke .. 15.2..

The branches of that (Tree), extending down-wards and upwards, are strengthened by the qualities and have sense-objects as their shoots. And the roots, which are followed by actions, spread down-wards in the human world.

[Upside-ness of the tree of Samsara.]
17. shariira.n yadavaapnoti yachchaapyutkraamatiishvaraH .
gR^ihitvaitaani sa.nyaati vaayurga.ndhaanivaashayaat.h .. 15.8..

When the master leaves it and even when he assumes a body, he departs taking these, as wind (carries away) odours from their receptacles.

[vaasanas, sukshma and kaaraNas exist beyond death. This keeps happening till the jIvatva dies off and the aatmatva dawns.]
18. sahajaM karma kaunteya sadoshhamapi na tyajet.h .
sarvaarambhaa hi doshheNa dhuumenaagnirivaavR^itaaH .. 18.48..

O son of Kunti, one should not give up the duty to which one is born, even though it be faulty. For all undertakings are surrounded with evil, as fire is with smoke.

[The undertakings which are egoistic in nature lead to further bondage. Also see 3.38 above.]
19. iishvaraH sarvabhuutaanaa.n hR^iddeshe.arjuna tishhThati .
bhraamayansarvabhuutaani yantraaruuDhaani maayayaa .. 18.61..

O Arjuna, the Lord resides in the region of the heart of all creatures, revolving through Maya all the creatures (as though) mounted on a machine!

[The immanence of the Self. Refer to 7.7 above. Also the working of the Ishvara and Maya locus with the jIva. Also refer to 15.15 (sarvasya chaaham hR^idi sannivishhTo...)]

These are taken from an introductory section of Swami Sri Vidyaprakasananda Giri's "Gita Makarandam", a very well known translation of Gita in Telugu speaking people. The book is availableonline at Telugu Bhakti Pages.

Rama Gita-Sri Rama Gita

Sri Rama Gita
This is complete collection of sixty-two verses spoken by Lord Rama to his devoted brother Lakshman are found in Veda Vyasa’s Adhyatma Ramayana, in the Uttarakanda as its fifth chapter. It is conceived in the literary style called Pauranic. The text, popularly known as Sri Rama-Gita, is also often described as sruti-sara-sangraha, a brief summary of the very essence of all the Vedas.
sri mahadeva uvaca tato jaganmangala mangalatmana vidhaya
ramayanakirtimuttamam cacara purvacaritam raghuttamo myatha.
Thereafter, the great hero of the Ramayana, the best among the Raghus – the glory of the universe ever blessing the world of creatures – organized his life into a program of intense tapa, as lived earlier by the royal saints in his own dynasty.
Kailasa. Springtime. A dim crescent moon imperceptibly floats against the snowy peaks of the sacred Himalayas. Lord Siva has just emerged out of deep meditation and smiles at his devoted consort, Parvati.
When Lord Mahadeva is in the higher states of meditation, his consort. Sri Gauri, though ever wedded to him feels out of contact with him. Rare are the moments when the Lord comes down to play in his lower state to contact his greatest devotee and sevika, Sri Parmesvari. Seeing him at a level where she can easily hug his personality and desiring to hold him at that level before he next soars into the Higher. Parvati asks a question regarding a theme that is ever fascinating to Lord Siva – the life of Sri Rama. It is well known that in the heart of Siva dwells Rama, and in the heart of Rama Siva is ever present.
Perhaps Lord Siva has many a time told the story of Sri Rama to his consort, and she knows very well how dear that theme is to the heart of Mahadeva. So she asks : “After making the inhuman sacrifice at the altar of his royal duty as a king and after deserting his pregnant and innocent queen Sita near the ashram of Valmiki, how did Rama continue his life ?” As king, Rama had to attend to his administrative duties and live in is luxurious palace, surrounded by his ministers and courtiers. Physically, he had to live as if nothing had happened. The foolish demand of the people had been fulfilled, and the spirit of democracy had been maintained. The inquisitive Mother of the Universe wants to know from Lord Siva the life-style that Rama adopted after this terrible personal tragedy.
It is under these circumstancs that the facile pen of Vyasa set to work. The fifth chapter of his Adhyatma Ramayana contains the exquisite Vedantic poem called Sri Ram Gita, which holds Lord Siva’s answer to his consort’s question :
Prompted by Parvati’s inquiry, Siva with an irresistible enthusiasm, eloquently explains that in the midst of the luxurious life at his palace in Ayodhya, Rama lived in total penance (tapas), just as his ancestors had lived, and earned the worthy title of “royal saint” (raja rsi).
Rama, popularly known as Ramacandra, was the son of dasaratha. Rama’s name derives from the Sanskrit rama, which means “that which revels in every form.” (ramate sarva bhutesu, sthavaresu caresu ca) “that” being the Self, the higher Reality in us.
Text II
saumitrina prsta udarabuddhina ramah kathah praha puratanih subhah ramah kathah praha puratanih subhah rajnah pramattasya nrgasya sapato dvijasya tiryaktvamathaha raghavah.
At the request of the large-hearted Laksmana, son of Samitra, Rama told him many gracious and ancient stories, such as the story of the in advertent King Nrga, who, when cursed by a brahmin, became a chameleon.
Sri Rama Gita
Continuing, Lord Mahadeva, as though seeing in his mental vision the scene in the palace, describes how Rama told his beloved brother many ancient stories, emphasizing the right values of life and the tremendous pit-falls and unavoidable injustices one is compelled to suffer in the world of plurality. In the present state of consciousness, life around him can never be without its contradictions, confusions, and compelling compromises. Truth in all its glory and purity can be lived only in the higher planes of consciousness.
Rama seems to have emphasized the story of King Nrga. It was ridiculously unjust. The sufferer was totally innocent. Yet, he had to live and suffer:
King Nrga, on all auspicious occasions, would invite many learned pundits and poor brahmins and distribute cattle to them. (In those days, before the existence of money, cattle was wealth.) One old brahmin also received some cattle as a gift.
Somehow, one of the cows in his share strayed away from the herd and instinctively mingled with the thousands of cattle in the king’s herd. On the next auspicious occasion, the king again away cattle to the poor, and it so happened that the cow that was given to the brahmin and had strayed away and later returned to the king’s herd was again part of the king’s gift, this time to a new recipient. This was a totally unintentional mistake, but the old brahmin was not forgiving, and the king was cursed to become a chameleon.
The story has an intimate reference to the immediate personal suffering of Sri Rama, although it is not clear whether Laksmana received the message. Through stories such as this, elementary students of Vedanta are trained to recognize, appreciate, and come to live the nobler values of life. Everywhere, value-oriented educational systems best follow this technique; there is no other way in which we can impart healthy moral values to the growing generation. Values and principles of living are too subtle for a young mind that does not have thorough schooling in the experiences of life. But when these subtle values of life are concretized in the form of stories, they are readily taken in, easily digested, fully assimilated, and comfortably absorbed by the student.
Text III
kadacidekanta upasthitam prabhum ramam ramalalitapadapankajam saumitrirasaditasuddhabhsvanah pranamya bhaktya vinayanvito ‘bravit
Upon seeing Lord Ramacandra, (who is none other than Lord Visnu), whose feet are everadored and served by, Laksmi, sitting all alone, Laksmana, the son of Sumitra, whose heart was extremely purified (through selfless service), after prostrating to the Lord in deep devotion, humbly asked :
One day, free from administrative duties and programs of his severe spiritual sadhana, Rama was sitting relaxed under a tree in the garden, all alone, listening to the noisy orchestra of birds gathering to roost upon the trees for the night, when his brother Laksmana approached him.
After fourteen years of a perfect life of self-control, every moment of which was spent in selfless service to Rama and his life’s work, the spiritual seeker Laksmana has already gained a steady mind, undisturbed by the pressure of vasanas in him. A mind that has been thus steadied is an instrument fit for seeking the spiritual dimension of life through contemplation.
The brother did not dash into the presence of Rama shouting a cheery “Hi!” as a loving brother would, but he approached Sri Rama as a devoted disciple should. With great reverence and humility., surrendering himself to the Lord’s gracious will, humble and dedicated, the devotee in him asked Sri Rama.
Text IV
tvam suddhabodho ‘si hi sarvadehina –matmasyadhiso’so nirakrtih svayam pratiyase jnanadrsam mahamate padabjbhrngahitasangasanginam.
O wise one ! You are, indeed, pure Knowledge, the Self of all beings, the Lord of all, but in Yourself Yo are formless, You are seen by those men who are endowed with the eye of wisdom and are attached to the company of Your devotees who court Your lotus feet, like the bees.
Laksmana was not considering Rama as a physical entity, who has relationships qualities. Sri Rama, the great warrior, the benevolent king on the throne of Ayodhya, was Laksmana’s own blood brother, now living in dignified sorrow at his tragic bereavement. But Laksmana had penetrated deeper than this superficial person, the delusory name and form, and in his devoted heart recognized the inner spiritual significance of Sri Rama, the paramatman, the supreme Self. He not only recognized it, but he openly acknowledged it and declared : “You are nothing but the pure light of Consciousness in which Knowledge – not knowledge of something, but pure Knowledge in the light of which all other knowledges are rendered possible.”
This seat of Consciousness is the flame of life, the enlivening Presence in the heart of all living beings, the one Self in all. So long as Consciousness is present in us, our sense organs, mind, and intellect function. This Self enlivens everything. Where Consciousness is not, all physical, mental, intellectual, and even our spiritual activities cease to be, and hence Consciousness is the sole proprietor, owner, master, and boss of the universe. It is the supreme Lord of the world vividly throbbing in the fields of time and space.
Laksmana was saying to Rama: “In your essential nature, as the supreme Consciousness, you are formless.” Form is possible only to the limited. When something is conditioned by something else, it possesses a form. Space, being all-pervading, has no form. Pure Consciousness, being beyond the body, mind, and intellect equipments, is deconditioned from everything, and therefore this unconditioned Self can only be formless.
The Laksmana continued: “ Yet, as those who are ever devoted to you (Rama) gather mental purity, they come to apprehend your true spiritual nature, arriving at the state of Knowledge (jnana). The dreamer in the dream state apprehends the dream; the sleeper in the sleep state apprehends sleep; the spiritual seeker in the spiritual state apprehends the pure spirit (jnana darsana).”
As a result of steady contemplation upon the deep significance of the great statements such as “That thou art.” the mind leaves all its preoccupations with its familiar world of objects, emotions, and thoughts and starts exclusively contemplating upon Brahman. This state of mind unfolds a unique faculty of perception – the eye of wisdom – with which the seeker “perceives” the state of the pure Self, which is Sri Rama’s real nature.
Text V
aham prapanno’smi padambujam prabho bhavapavargam tava yogibhavitam yathanjasajnanamaparavaridhim sukham tarisyami tathanusadhi mam
O Lord ! I am surrendering at Your lotus feet, upon which yogis contemplate and which can liberate one from the bondage of time. Please teach me the quickest means by which I can cross the shoreless ocean of ignorance, comfortably.
The previous verse declared the student’s acceptance of the teacher as more than a mere person or individual: he recognized in him the very presence of the infinite Self. This kind of a glorification of the teacher is beneficial to the student because the physical presence of the teacher becomes to him a symbol to remind him of the final goal and destination,, the Self. Secondly, it also turns the teacher’s beam of special attention upon the student. Thus, a mutual tuning-in can be brought about between the teacher and the taught for ready and easy communication.
In the Indian tradition, extreme importance is given to showing respect and reverence at the feet of the Lord, and again at the feet of those we love and respect – “touching the feet” of the elders. The teacher stands rooted in Truth. Since the student cannot directly reach this subtle and transcendental Reality, the best he can do is worship the Truth upon a symbol nearest to it, the teacher’s feet, upon which he stands, just as he stands rooted in Truth. Sri Rama’s feet are the object of contemplation of every devoted seeker, every developed spiritual seeker in his seat of meditation.
Time is the medium in which the world of plurality comes to play. The equipments of experience, the body-mind-intellect; our fields of experience, objects-emotions-thoughts; and even the very experience, the perceiver-feeler-thinker, all exist and function in time, Time is ever changing, and therefore everything in time must also constantly change. Caught up in the present state of consciousness as we are, we can exist and function only in the realm of time in the world of change. Nothing is permanent; every experience is ephemeral. Thus, our individual selves are tossed about mercilessly in this endless tide of time. To establish ourselves in the contemplation upon the Lord’s feet is to enter into a harbor safely away from the tyranny of time.
Laksmana, the student and disciple, after surrendering thus to Rama, his teacher, demanded knowledge and help. He wanted to know what is the quickest means for going beyond the ocean of ignorance.
It is a trick of the human mind – perceptible everywhere and to everyone – that when we don’t know the real nature of something, in our nonapprehension our minds project a newly created reality, and we experience misapprehensions. On a dark, moonless night, when we come across a misshapen post at the roadside, we may not apprehend it properly in the dim light and therefore convince ourselves that we are seeing a ghost: the nonapprehension of the post gives rise to the misapprehension of a grinning, frightening ghost. The noapprehension of Reality given us the misapprehension that we are the limited, tired, sorrowful individual (ego). This nonapprehension of Reality and the consequent misapprehensions of the same are together termed ignorance (ajnana) in the subjective science of Vedanta.
Laksmana has pointedly asked what is the quickest means by which one can cross over this shoreless ocean of ignorance, comfortably and effortlessly (sukham). “Teach me that path, instruct me upon this secret means, guide me. O Teacher, to the yonder shores of this boundless state of ignorance.”
English Wording: srutvatha saumitrivaco ‘khilam tada praha prapannartiharah prasannadhih vijnanamajnanatamahprasantaye srutiprapannam ksitipalabhusanah
Then, having heard all that Laksmana had said, Sri Rama– the serene jewel of royal kings, who destroys all sorrows of those who surrender to him – gave out to Laksmana, who was eager to listen, the Knowledge, for dispelling the darkness of ignorance.
Every teacher becomes extremely happy and enthusiastic when he recognizes the glory, ripeness, and devotion in a student’s heart. The guru in Rama finds an ideal disciple in Laksmana, an therefore he declares pure Knowledge as the most direct means to end ignorance. The teacher represents the infinite Self; to contemplate and meditate upon Him and thus come to surrender to Him is to end all miseries felt by the ego in its own limitations. The knowledge that Rama imparts to Laksmana is not anything new or original. It is the very knowledge declared in the ancient Upanisads by the masters of yore.
According to the Vedic tradition, once the seeker has purified the mind and intellect and gained a steady consistency in thinking, he or she must strive to employ the mind in a mood of unwavering contemplation, analyzing and discovering the total identity of the essence behind both the individuality (jivatma) and the universal Self (Paramatma). Knowledge then becomes both the means and the goal. Knowledge gathered from the Upanisads (jnana) takes us to a direct spiritual apprehension of the higher state called vijnana. To gain this direct spiritual apprehension of Truth is the last leap of the limited to reach the Unlimited, for the finite to experience the Infinite, for the mortal to arrive at the state of Immortality.
Text VII
adau svavarnasramavarnitah kriyah krtva samasaditasuddhamanasah samapya tatpurvamupattasadhanah samasrayetsadgurumatmalabdhaye
First of all, after we have performed all the obligatory duties required of us due to our position in society (varna) and status in life (asrama), and thereby have gained a purified mind, we should give up all these earlier karmas, and thus endowed with the necessary qualifications, we must surrender totally to the teacher in order to attain the Self.
The great rishis of yore have prescribed to the individual in the community certain irrevocable duties in his or her social life, and these are prescribed with an eye to the status of the individual in the society (varna) and the stage of life he or she is in (asrama). When these obligatory duties are performed without any anxieties for their fruits, they tend to exhaust th vasanas and bring the mind to a quiet, vigilant, and alert composure, ready for study and contemplation.
With such sensitive equipment, the student must arrive at the feet of the reacher in order to gain the maximum in his or her interaction with the teacher’s words
kriya sarirodbhavaheturadrta priyapriyau tau bhavatah suraginah dharmetarau tatra punah sarirakam punah kriya cakravadiryate bhavah.
Action is considered to be the cause for the manifested body. He who is extremely attached to the body performs both desirable and undesirable actions, which create dharma and adharma (that produce joy and sorrow), giving rise to another body by which more actions are performed. Thus, like a wheel, nonstop runs the procession of briths and deaths – samsara.
Rama is not going to mince words, because the disciple in front of him is fully matured. The teacher in Rama ruthlessly dissects the nature of work and convincingly points out that through work we can never reach the absolute state of inner poise, the Self. Work can only produce yet another lease in the world, with the body as the harvester of the experience in duality. Confrontation of the body, mind, and intellect with the world of objects, emotions, and thoughts is called work. All such physical, mental, and intellectual encounters leave tendencies, called vasanas, as their end result in the doer’s personality. These tendencies try to express and exhaust themselves in similar actions.
Those who are striving in the outer world, prompted by their own desire to fulfill their likes and dislikes, come to experience ephemeral moments of exciting pleasure and flashes of painful sorrow.
Righteous actions are those in which our selfishness is at a bare minimum; unrighteous actions are those prompted largely by blind selfishness. These good and bad action necessarily create moments of joy and regrettable moments of tearful sorrow. The good and bad karmas generate positive and negative tendencies (vasanas). In order to work them out of our system, we have to take an appropriate body-form and manifest ourselves in a conducive environment.
In short, the present is a product of the past, with past karmas providing the blueprint for the present. The future is never a mere continuum of the past; the past is remolded under the pressure of present activities and thoughts.
Thus, work can only guarantee continuation in the field of plurality in an endless array of lives, with different forms functioning in different environments. Actions create vasanas; vasnas mature and become impatient to express and exhaust themselves; and, for this, new forms and new environments may be needed. Work, however sacred and noble it may be, can only yield for us relatively good and bad experiences, never total liberation from the realm of time and space to reach the timeless Essence divine.
Text IX
ajnanamevasya hi mulakaranam tadhanamevatra vidhau vidhiyate vidyaiva tannasavidhau patiyasi na karma tajjam savirodhamiritam
The root cause for this samasara is ignorance; naturally, its destruction here is the sole remedy prescribed by scriptural injunction or teaching. Knowledge alone is efficient in destroying that ignorance, never karma (work); for work is said to be the product of ignorance and hence not opposed to it.
The nonapprehension of Reality creates the misapprehension in us that we are limited entities, helplessly panting to seek our fulfillment and total satisfaction from the world of plurality; hence our exhausting and fatiguing work – sweating labor whipped up by our desires, anxieties, and worries.
Apprehension of Reality, knowledge, alone can be the efficient antidote to remove our misapprehensions, ignorance. When the individual awakens to the higher state of Consciousness, the sense of individuality and its world of experience, physical, mental, and intellectual, roll away, just as a dream rolls away on awakening. Karma (work), however noble, cannot end this subjective ignorance, because all actions are undertaken by the individual in the context of his or her misapprehensions. In short, work is a product of ignorance, and it cannot destroy its own cause. Symptoms cannot destroy the disease :
Text X
najnanahanirna ca ragasanksayo bhavettatah karma sadosamudhavet tatah punah samsrtirapyavarita tasmadbudho jnanavicaravanbhavet.
English Meaning:
Work cannot end ignorance nor reduce one’s attachment to the fruits of action; on the other hand, from such karmas new, evil (binding) karmas arise, because of which samsara also becomes unavoidable. Therefore, a wise seeker should inquire into and contemplate upon the nature of Knowledge – Reality.
Karma cannot ever destroy spiritual ignorance. Here, ignorance may be considered as the product of ignorance, the ego the sense of limited individuality (the perceiver-feeler-thinker). The sense of doership cannot be totally eliminated from the field of work. In fact, no matter how alert we may be in our work can only fatten the sense of doership in us.
So long as the individual functions with a arrogant conviction of doership, he cannot stand divorced from the desire to enjoy the fruits of his actions. Doership and enjoyership go together, and this is called the ego. Both these misapprehensions cannot be ended through work. Work can only produce its reward, which is to open up for us fresh fields of undertaking and to provide the appropriate equipment to function in those fields. Work creates tendencies, vasanas, which seek their exhaustion through further work, for which, unavoidably, we will have to move from one field of work to another within the span of this life, and move from one body to another after death. Sir Rama therefore concludes with the idea that the wise seeker, after purifying his or her vasanas through selfless work, undertaken in a loving spirit of dedication, “must begin to contemplate upon the nature of Reality.” To analyze and to deeply and consistently ponder over the great statements such as “That thou art” is the way of knowledge, the path of jnana, which is to be diligently pursued.
However great and holy the work be, it cannot produce the Reality ever present in every one of us. Selfless work undertaken with love and devotion to the Lord and to our fellow man can indeed, chasten our vasanas; and when noble (sattvic) vasanas become predominent in us, our mental and intellectual extrovertedness is slowly eliminated. Our thoughts learn how to become quiet, alert, and vigilant. Such a purified heart will have the necessary poise for steady contemplation upon the nature of Reality, the Self. As we practice, we become more and more dexterous in maintaining ourselves steadily in the mood of contemplation and a state of ever-expanding joy.
This verse becomes, a it were, an introduction to the text. The teacher has judged his student rightly that he has practiced karmayoga (the path of dedicated action) sufficiently long, purifying his mind in the process, and for such a student to walk onto the path of contemplation is the next step. Due to its attachment to the teacher, a child refuses to move on to his new classroom, even though he has been promoted to the next grade. Then the parents have to intercede in order to persuade the child and if need be to use the required amount of compulsion, until the child becomes familiar with his new teacher and gathers new friends. Similarly, the spiritual teacher has to slowly persuade his students to leave their fields to work for the seat of contemplation. It has to be done very carefully. To break faith is easy; to create faith is almost impossible.
Sri Ramcandra seems to have known Laksmana’s heart through and through; therefore, with a surprising abruptness, he bombshells him with an uncompromising declaration that karma can never release our personality from it misapprehensions : “Knowledge alone can end ignorance; karma is but the product of ignorance.”
English Wording: nanu kriya vedamukhena codita tathaiva vidya purusarthasadhanam kartavyata pranabhrtah pracodita vidyasahayatvamupaiti sa punah
Just as the Vedas declare that knowledge is the means for attaining the ultimate goal, with the same emphasis the Vedas also prescribe karmas. Moreover, the karmas prescribed are compulsory for a living being. Therefore, these karmas can be complementary to the path of knowledge. In order to derive home the conviction to the student, Rama here repeats the arguments of others and answers them himself.
The ritualists argue that not only the path of contemplation is prescribed by the Vedas, but that the very same Veda has commanded that karma should be done. Thus, Veda-prescribed karmas must be undertaken along with the practice of contemplation for the final liberation. The argument has legs, because the Veda has an unquestioned authority in spiritual matters.
Text XII
English Wording: karmakrtau dosamapi srutirjagau tasmatsada karyamidam mumuksuna nanu svatantra dhruvakaryakarini vidya na kincinmanasapyapeksete.
The scriptures have even cautioned that by not doing karma one will incur sin; therefore, the prescribed karma. In case you insist that the path of knowledge is independent and quite efficient in achieving the goal by itself and needs no karma – not even in a dream – then … [the argument continues in the next verse].
The opponents continue their arguments. In their eloquence they are not able to stop the flood of their words. If karmas is not done, the default can bring sin and consequent punishment. Not only by commission but also by omission sin can be incurred. Thus the argument that the jnana path needs no karma to complement it is a dangerous lie. These are the words of the Samuccaya Vadins, repeated here by Sri Ramacandra. The teacher in Sri Rama wants his disciple Laksmana to know about the existence of such an argument.
na satyakaryo‘pi hi yadvadadhvarah prakanksate‘nyanapi karakadikan tathaiva vidya vidhitah prakasitair-visisyate karmabhireva muktaye.
It is not so. Just as the Vedic rituals, though meritorious in their results, depend upon many accessories such as the doer, and so on, so too the path of knowledge becomes capable of giving liberation with the help of those karmas that are revealed by the Vedic statements. The Vedas describe rituals very elaborately, and eloquently promise rewards for those who follow the strict discipline the rituals require, performing them properly at the right time and place, using the right materials and mantras.
Those who support the integral path (Samuccaya Vadins) argue that just as we need many accessories to perform karma properly, so also those who pursue the path of contemplation need the support of the path of karma. Each blesses the other, and the seeker gains his goal. In these three verses the arguments of the Samuccaya Vadins are vigorously paraded. According to them, contemplation and karma must be pursued together. When each strengthens the other, we have a sure means for our personality liberation. The path of knowledge (jnana) is not independent : jnana will fruitfully lead us to the state of spiritual freedom only in combination with karma. These are the arguments of the Samucaya Vadins.
Text XIV
kecidvadantiti vitarkavadina stadapyasaddrstavirodhakaranat dehabhimanadabhivardhate kriya vidya gatahankrtitah prasidhyati.
So argue some men of erroneous logic; but that, indeed, is false because of the obvious contradiction. Action is performed (increases) due to identification with the body, whereas Knowledge is realized at the elimination of the ego, that is, of body identification. Sri Ramacandra, having summarized the arguments of the Samuccaya Vadins, answers them all. With one powerful word he smashes down their array of arguments: he declares their stand as a mere delusion, and then supports his conclusion by showing the inherent weakness in their elaborate arguments.
Karma is performed by the ego with noble, not-sonoble, or stark-selfish desires. The ego asserts itself in all karmas. The ego is the doer-experiencer entity in each one of us.
Jnana, the path of contemplation, starts when the ego is curbed; in the final stage of the path, the ego disappears totally as we glide into the state of pure Consciousness, the Self. Movement into the state of Self-Awareness is not possible unless we leave the ego of the previous state. The dreamer-ego can never perceive or enter the waking state. The waker-ego must end in sleep. The waker-dreamer-sleeper ego must cease to be when we realize the Self.
Therefore, to claim that karma and jnana are to be pursued at one and the same time is a misconception. In the path of karma, the ego must play, while in the path of knowledge, the ego must disappear.
These opposed conditions exist in the very working of these two paths. Through karma we gain inner purity, and such a purified mind gains its necessary poise in contemplation. The process of contemplation purifies the mind more and more. The quieter the mind, the more intense becomes the contemplation; the higher the intensity and steadiness of contemplation, the quieter becomes the mind.
In this cycle, a state should come when the mind is totally quiet. Thoughtless mind is Brahman, the absolute Self. Karma and Jnana can never be practiced together; they must be taken serially. First, perform karma as a sadhana, then follow the path of contemplation. After realization, again perform karma as a selfless expression of the siddha, a man of wisdom.
Text XV
visuddhavijnanavirocanancita vidyatmavrttiscarameti bhanyate udeti karmakhilakarakadibhir – nihanti vidyakhilakarakadikam
The exclusive thought of the Self, arrived at through comtemplation with a purified heart, is called knowledge (vidya). Karma rises from its various (five) causes, while vidya demolishes all these instruments of karma. Sri Ramacandra clearly defines what is meant by the term “knowledge. ”vidya. As a result of exhaustive pondering upon the deep significance of mahavakyas (great spiritual statements) such as “That thou art.” the student’s mind, in deep contemplation, comes to dwell upon the thought of the Self, exclusive of all other thoughts. This thought of the Self dies away by itself on realizing the state of the Self.
Just as fire, having consumed the fuel, disappears into its unmanifest or, just as the dreamer and his world of dream merge and disappear upon awakening, so too the ego, as our sense of individuality (ahamkara vrtti), disappears into the experience of the supreme state, Brahmasaksatkra. I and my sole desire to sleep disappear when I enter the deep-sleep state. The “dreamer-I” and my dream world dissolve and disappear into the “waker-I” upon awakening.
Karma and jnana cannot be lived at one and the same time because of their opposite natures. Karma springs from its unavoidable five essential factors:
the body, which is the basis of actions;
doership and enjoyership together called the individual;
the instruments, the sense organs;
the various functions in the body; and
the presiding deities of the sense organs,
which are the conditions necessary for each sense organ to function efficiently. The path of knowledge has its destination in direct apprehension (jnana), wherein all these factors and the sense of doership end.
Thus, because of their essentially contrary natures, karma and jnana can never be practiced at one and the same time by the same seeker – as the Samuccaya Vadins recommend and fanatically argue to prove their viewpoint.
In this verse, Sri Rama applies an axe to the very root of all the arguments of those who recommend integral yoga. We can pursue a variety of karmayogas – service of the people, prayer, worship, and so on. But work and contemplation cannot be pursued at one and the same time. In karma, the mind is active and turned outward into the field work, while in contemplation, the mind’s attention is turned away from the outer world, and the mind is exclusively engaged with thoughts of the nature of the Self, seeking to realize the total identity of “I” (ego) with the divine Self.
Text XVI
tasmattyajektaryamasesatah sudhir – vidyavirodhanna samuccayou bhavet atmanusandhanaparayanah sada nivttasarvendriyavrttigocarah.
Therefore, let the pure-hearted learn to drop all activities; as activities are contrary to knowledge, their combination with knowledge is not possible. Quieting all activities of the senses and mind perceptions, one should always be engaged in contemplation upon the Self.
Since Samuccaya is not possible, let the one who has purified his heart through selfless, noble work, learn to drop all activities of the sense organs and the mind. The body-mind-intellect equipment gushing out into objects-emotions-thoughts to possess, embrace, and enjoy them constitutes all our physical and mental activities. We must withdraw all our attention from this childish preoccupation with the world of plurality; we must cease from all activities. This is a precondition before we can hope to be successful in contemplation. Since karma and jnana cannot be practiced together as they are contradictory to each other, having purified our inner equipment, let us stop work and dive into contemplation – a state where we are exclusively alert to the knowledge of what lies behind the mind, at the very foundation of our personality.
Nobody can give up work totally. Work is the signature of life in the individual. But the Gita explains that when we work “without anxiety for enjoying the result of work” (that is, without desire or an ego-sense), our work is “not-work.” When the desire to enjoy the rewards of work is eliminated, our minds gather a unique poise, and in this inner peace, steady contemplation becomes easy and extremely enjoyable.
This is not a free sanction to give up work altogether. Having awakened to the Self, then give up work, says the Gita. As long as body-consciousness is with us, we must keep on doing the prescribed noble work – but without the desire to enjoy its rewards.
Train yourself to turn your entire attention to contemplation upon the nature of the Self, until you realize the absolute identity of the ego-sense in you with the supreme Self. First, do selfless service of the society (karma), then worship the Lord (upasana). Through these, when the mind gets purified, it detaches itself from all pursuits of sense objects and from all sensuous thoughts (visaya cintana). Such a mind alone can steadily contemplate upon the Self (brahma cintana). Once you experience the joy arising out of a quiet, alert, and vigilant mind, you will never stop your contemplation sessions. They are always so rewarding, so full, so very fulfilling.
English Wording: vavacchariradisu mayayatmadhi – stavadvidheyo vidhivadakarmanam netiti vakyairakhilam nisidhya ta – jjnatva paratmanamatha tyajetkriyah.
As long as one identifies with one’s body as a result of the play of Maya, so long one must perform the scared work prescribed by the Vedas. Thereafter, with the help of the sruti declaration of negation -”not this, not this”-one must learn to rise above one’s body identity and realize the Self-and then give up all work.
The earlier verse that daringly asserted that “all work should be renounced, ”though very logically arrived at, can shock the seeker and undermine his faith. This is suicidal for the seeker’s spiritual life. Hence, in this verse, Sri Rama, with endless patience, explains what he meant by his apparently cruel rejection of all that the culture had been insisting on and the seeker had been practicing perhaps for many years now.
As long as you have the “I am the body” Feeling, as long as the delusory misapprehension that “I am the body ”persist, so long perform selfless, devoted works as prescribed in the scriptures. The ”I do ”Mentality is the ego (ahamkara). When as a result of following spiritual disciplines the ego and its desire promptings have thinned out, then start contemplation. Learn to rise above that which you are not, indicated so vividly in the Upanisads by the words of negation: ”Not this, not this ”(neti neti). When you have arrived at pure Consciousness, when the Self is realized, then all work becomes meaningless, empty, and purposeless.
Having woken up from a dream, what duty have you toward your dream family? Once you reach sleep, how can the sleeper continue the effort of the waker, who was then but trying to compose himself to sleep.
All work ceases when the ego -I wakes up to the “I am the Self awareness. When a river reaches the ocean, its flow ends as it merges to become the ocean.
Non apprehension of the true nature of the Self created in you the misapprehension that you are a limited helpless, and tearful individual. Your non-apprehension of Reality (avarana) and the consequent misapprehensions (viksepa) are together called delusion (Maya). On apprehending the Self (jnana), all your misapprehensions (ajana) end. On realizing this grand goal, in that state of Self, no work is possible, no work is possible, no work is required. It is not really a question of your renouncing all activities -all activities simply slip off from you!
tasmattyajektaryamasesatah sudhir – vidyavirodhanna samuccayou bhavet atmanusandhanaparayanah sada nivttasarvendriyavrttigocarah.
Therefore, let the pure-hearted learn to drop all activities; as activities are contrary to knowledge, their combination with knowledge is not possible. Quieting all activities of the senses and mind perceptions, one should always be engaged in contemplation upon the Self.
Since Samuccaya is not possible, let the one who has purified his heart through selfless, noble work, learn to drop all activities of the sense organs and the mind. The body-mind-intellect equipment gushing out into objects-emotions-thoughts to possess, embrace, and enjoy them constitutes all our physical and mental activities. We must withdraw all our attention from this childish preoccupation with the world of plurality; we must cease from all activities. This is a precondition before we can hope to be successful in contemplation. Since karma and jnana cannot be practiced together as they are contradictory to each other, having purified our inner equipment, let us stop work and dive into contemplation – a state where we are exclusively alert to the knowledge of what lies behind the mind, at the very foundation of our personality.
Nobody can give up work totally. Work is the signature of life in the individual. But the Gita explains that when we work “without anxiety for enjoying the result of work” (that is, without desire or an ego-sense), our work is “not-work.” When the desire to enjoy the rewards of work is eliminated, our minds gather a unique poise, and in this inner peace, steady contemplation becomes easy and extremely enjoyable.
This is not a free sanction to give up work altogether. Having awakened to the Self, then give up work, says the Gita. As long as body-consciousness is with us, we must keep on doing the prescribed noble work – but without the desire to enjoy its rewards.
Train yourself to turn your entire attention to contemplation upon the nature of the Self, until you realize the absolute identity of the ego-sense in you with the supreme Self. First, do selfless service of the society (karma), then worship the Lord (upasana). Through these, when the mind gets purified, it detaches itself from all pursuits of sense objects and from all sensuous thoughts (visaya cintana). Such a mind alone can steadily contemplate upon the Self (brahma cintana). Once you experience the joy arising out of a quiet, alert, and vigilant mind, you will never stop your contemplation sessions. They are always so rewarding, so full, so very fulfilling.
vavacchariradisu mayayatmadhi – stavadvidheyo vidhivadakarmanam netiti vakyairakhilam nisidhya ta – jjnatva paratmanamatha tyajetkriyah.
As long as one identifies with one’s body as a result of the play of Maya, so long one must perform the scared work prescribed by the Vedas. Thereafter, with the help of the sruti declaration of negation -”not this, not this”-one must learn to rise above one’s body identity and realize the Self-and then give up all work.
The earlier verse that daringly asserted that “all work should be renounced, ”though very logically arrived at, can shock the seeker and undermine his faith. This is suicidal for the seeker’s spiritual life. Hence, in this verse, Sri Rama, with endless patience, explains what he meant by his apparently cruel rejection of all that the culture had been insisting on and the seeker had been practicing perhaps for many years now.
As long as you have the “I am the body” Feeling, as long as the delusory misapprehension that “I am the body ”persist, so long perform selfless, devoted works as prescribed in the scriptures. The ”I do ”Mentality is the ego (ahamkara). When as a result of following spiritual disciplines the ego and its desire promptings have thinned out, then start contemplation. Learn to rise above that which you are not, indicated so vividly in the Upanisads by the words of negation: ”Not this, not this ”(neti neti). When you have arrived at pure Consciousness, when the Self is realized, then all work becomes meaningless, empty, and purposeless.
Having woken up from a dream, what duty have you toward your dream family? Once you reach sleep, how can the sleeper continue the effort of the waker, who was then but trying to compose himself to sleep.
All work ceases when the ego -I wakes up to the “I am the Self awareness. When a river reaches the ocean, its flow ends as it merges to become the ocean.
Non apprehension of the true nature of the Self created in you the misapprehension that you are a limited helpless, and tearful individual. Your non-apprehension of Reality (avarana) and the consequent misapprehensions (viksepa) are together called delusion (Maya). On apprehending the Self (jnana), all your misapprehensions (ajana) end. On realizing this grand goal, in that state of Self, no work is possible, no work is possible, no work is required. It is not really a question of your renouncing all activities -all activities simply slip off from you!
yada paratmatmavibhedabhedakam vijnanamatmanyavabhati bhasvaram tadaiva maya praviliyate ‘njasa sakaraka karanamatmasamsrteh
English Meaning:
When the shining, direct knowledge of the Self -the destroyer of the difference between Paramatma and jiva -arises in the heart of an individual, then alone Maya, the cause for the jivs’s samsara, disappears instantaneously, along with its effects, all misapprehensions.
The Lord (Paramatma), the individual ego- sense, and the world of plurality created by God and perceived by the ego, all these three are destroyed by the direct experience of the higher Self (vijnana). Then , in the inner equipments of mind and intellect, arises (avabhati) the resplendent (bhasvaram) Self.
Just as on waking up from the dream the entire dream rolls away instantaneously, so also the delusory world of plurality rolls away when the contemplative student arrives at the direct knowledge of the self. All non apprehension and misapprehensions are instantaneously wiped out. The individual, the, universe perceived, and the Creator (God) all merge into the one experience divine.
It is profitable to remember that Laksmana’s demand was how he could cross over the ocean of nonapprehension instantaneously (verse 5). Here Sri Ramacandraji uses almost the same word (anjasa) and takes pains to explain how the seeker can instantaneously go beyond his delusions and come to apprehend Reality.
Text XIX
srutipramanabhivinasita ca sa katham bhavisyatyapi karyakarini vijnanamatradamaladvitiyata – stasmadavidya na punarbhavisyati.
Once Maya, (ignorance) is totally destroyed by the process expounded in the struti (the valid means of knowledge), how can she (Maya) even be capable of creating various delusory effects ? Since the Self is absolute Knowledge, pure and nondual (and is realized by the wise one) avidya will therefore not rise again.
There can still be a lingering doubt in the student’s mind that Maya, even if destroyed once, might again do her trick of projecting delusory misapprehensions. The teacher is denying this possibility because the misapprehensions were caused by the nonapprehension of Reality. When nonapprehension is destroyed in the direct apprehension of Reality. Maya folds her magic kit and disappear, never to come back.
In direct apprehension, all misapprehensions end; thereafter, in the state of the direct vision of the Self, nonapprehension cannot rise. Therefore, the individual in never more caught up with enchanting misapprehensions. Sri Ramacandra thus concludes. “Therefore, this Maya (avidya, ignorance) can never again arrive to delude the bosom of such an accomplished spiritual seeker.”
Text XX
yadi sma nasta na punah prasuyate kartahamasyeti matih katham bhavet tasmatsvatantra na kimapyapeksate vidya vimoksaya vibhati kevala.
If Maya, once destroyed, cannot ever rise again, how can the idea “I am the doer of this karma” ever rise for the realized person? Therefore, knowledge is independent and does not need anything else. By itself, it is capable of giving liberation. Sri Ramacandra is still trying to make the Samuccaya Vadin feel ridiculous at his own false assertions and arguments. If Maya, once destroyed through the apprehension of Reality, can no more bring any misapprehensions, how can the delusory sense of “I”, the sense of doership, arise ? Therefore, karma and jnana can never be performed at one and the same time by the same individual. Integral yoga is a palpable contradiction in terms. Knowledge alone removes ignorance. Apprehension alone ends nonapprehension. Thus, the path of knowledge is totally independent of all other help, and indeed self-sufficient in itself.
sa taittiriya srutiraha sadaram nyasam prasastakhilkarmanam sphutam etavadityaha ca vajinam srutir-jnanam vimoksaya na karma sadhanam.
The famous Taitiriya sruti declares clearly and emphatically that all sastra-prescribed karmas are to be given up entirely. The Vajasaneya scripture (the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad) also declares, by statements such as “This alone is immortality,” that the means to total liberation is knowledge (jnana) and not work (karma)
What has been already established through logic and reason is now being reaffirmed by the declarations in our famous scriptures. Other than direct knowledge (pratyaksa) and inference (anumana), Vedanta accepts as a third source of knowledge scriptural declarations (apa-vakya). Therefore, when an idea or point of view is logically established and that idea is found supported by the rishis in their Upanisadic declarations, that idea becomes an authentic conclusion.
That karma is not the means to liberation and that jnana alone is the effective and sole means has been proven so far on the strength of mere arguments and common-sense logic. Here, that very same conclusion shown to be doubly valid because the Upanisads also clearly declare the same idea.
In the Taittiriyaranyaka, we read the rishi clearly declaring : “Immortality, and timeless Essence, can be realized not through karma, nor through children, nor through wealth; it is gained only through renunciation.” This is not done to insult the Vedas, but to show the way to liberation. Through karma, one who has already quieted and purified the inner equipments (antahkarana) must now give up all activities and compose oneself into deep contemplation upon the nature of the Self.
This declaration gets again reconfirmed in the bold statement of Yagnavalkya to Maitreyi in the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad : Liberation is to be achieved by the process of negation (netineti). Practice negation, and you arrive at the state of Self. This path of contemplation requires no help from any action (born of duality).’
Laksmana had asked, “Please tell me what is known to you as the most direct means to realize the timeless Self.” Sri Ramacandra has just elaborated upon the path of knowledge (jnana marga) in answer to Laksmana’s question.
From these two different scriptural declarations, it becomes clear beyond all traces of doubt that karma, the product of “nonapprehension” cannot take us to the direct apprehension of the Self. It can only create more and more karma, and ultimately tie us down to the level of the ego and its vanities of doership and enjoyership. “I do” and I-experience” are the constant whisperings of the ego. Jnana (apprehension) alone can end ajnana (nonapprehension).
This direct apprehension is independent, and need no support from any karma. Where the physical, mental, and intellectual karmas cease, the Self becomes self-evident in its own effulgence.
vidyasamatven tu darsitstvaya kraturna drstanta udahrtah samah phalaih prthaktvadbahukarakaihkratuh samsadhyate jnanamato viparyayam.
The example you had given to prove the similarity between karma (yajna, and so on) and jnana (knowledge) is not proper, because each produces different results. Also, karma (yajna) can be performed with the help of many accessories, whereas knowledge is opposite of this.
In verse 13 we heard the Samuccaya Vadins thundering their argument and hammering it tight by an example. Just as yajnas are performed with the help of many things, jnana needs the support of karma to accomplish itself, they said. This lame argument has no legs to stand on. The Samuccaya Vadins can never prove what they are supposed to assert, the jnana needs the support of karma.
You had tried to show the similarity between karma and knowledge, but your example fell flat, proving nothing. Why? Only because the two have contrary results. Karma can produce only more and more karmas, to fulfill which new bodies have to be taken to play them out in ever-widening fields and pastures new.
Also, the accomplishment of karma is accompanied by many accessories. But vidya (knowledge) is free and independent of all accessories. Therefore, karma and jnana are contrary factors: karma springs from body consciousness; while vidya comes to be when this body-consciousness is eliminated.
sapratyavayou hyahamitanatmadhi – rajnaprasiddha na tu tattvadarsinah tasmad budhaistyajyamavikriyatmabhir – vidhanatah karma vidhiprakasitam.
“If I don’t perform karma, I will incur sin.” This erroneous notion about oneself is true only in the case of ignorant ones and not for a seer of Truth. Therefore, wise men who have realized their nature to be the acitonless, changeless Self should renounce all karmas prescribed by the Vedas.
The Samucaya Vedins had argued earlier that the scriptures have declared that it is a sin not to perform karmas. Sri Ramacandra is now trying to explain the implication. The idea “I will be committing a sin in defaulting on my prescribed karmas” belongs to them who have identified with their own misapprehensions, never to those who have ended their nonapprehension. To the limited ego, such fears are natural.
The wise man, in his actionless state of contemplation, renounces all actions – even those prescribed by the Vedas. In Vivekacudamani, Sri Sankaracarya brings it out very vividly. Only those who are conscious of the body through their identification with it experience joy and sorrow and evaluate things as auspicious (subha-punya) and as inauspicious (asubha-papa) But he from whom this body consciousness has left, who has merged himself in the Self-how can he recognize these vivid experiences of the ego ?
Therefore, he who has reached the state beyond the body, beyond the gunas (the three thought textures), beyond the emotions of joy and sorrow, to him even the prescribed Vedic rituals are empty and should be renounced. In that higher state of Consciousness, it is not possible to undertake any work.
sraddhanvitastattvamasiti vakyato guroh prasadadapi suddhamanasah vijnaya caikatmyamathatmajivayoh sukhi bhavenmerurivaprakampanah.
A man of pure mind, endowed with faith, through contemplation of the great statement “That thou art,” with the grace of the teacher comes to realize the perfect identity between the Paramatman and jiva, and then gains supreme happiness and becomes like the Meru Mountain, unperturbed under all circumstances.
Sri Ramacandra, demonstrating the art of a perfect teacher of Vedanta, beautifully maps out the stages on the spiritual path for the benefit of Laksmana, his disciple. Having purified the mind, through desireless activities, into a complete steadiness, the seeker gathers a fresh momentum in his growing understanding–and so in his faith in the higher Reality. Thereafter, through steady and deep contemplation upon the pregnant suggestions of the great statement “That thou art,” he becomes supremely happy, and, like the Meru Mountain, is steady under all circumstances.
That which functions as conscious individual ego (jiva), that which expresses itself as the world of plurality (jagat), and the Creator of it all (Isvara) are all expressions of the one Essence, the Self. To realize this essential identity between the ego and the Self is the final goal and true destination of all spiritual seeking. To reach this goal means to achieve a state of blissful Consciousness (citananda), a state possible only for the extremely pure mind.
adau padarthavagatirhi karanam vakyarthavijnanavidhau vidhanatah tattvampadarthau paramatmajivka – vasiti caikatmyamathanayorbhavet.
It is well known that according to the rules for understanding the true meaning of a given sentence, understanding the meaning of individual words is the initial means. (In the sentence “That thou art,” the words “That” and “thou” indicate the Paramatman and jivatman, respectively, and the word “art” indicates the total identity between the two.)
In the earlier verse, Sri Rama suggested that one must analyze and examine the deeper significance of the great statement “That thou art.” This verse reveals how this analysis is to be undertaken and shows the technique of discovering the deeper significance of the terms employed. In order to grasp the silent and secret suggestiveness of the mahavakya, in the beginning (adau) each word is to be thoroughly examined with the help of the scriptures, as guided by the ancient teachers. Knowing the exact import of all the words employed in a sentence reveals the total idea communicated by the sentence.
Free thinking may not help in exact sciences like mathematics. Every theorem in mathematics has its own definite significance. By the grace of the mathematics teacher alone can the student of mathematics hope to learn this precise meaning.
The term “That” (tat), in its direct word meaning, indicates the omnipotent, omniscient, ever-free God Principle (Isvara), which has for its conditioning the Total Mind (Maya). The word “thou” (tvam) indicates, in its direct word meaning, the individual entity (ego), which is limited in its power (if not completely helpless), and conditioned by a total sense of nonapprehension of Reality, indicated in the scriptural texts as spiritual ignorance (avidya).
To say that these two, the God Principle and the individualized ego, are identical is to talk through the hat. The direct word meanings of these two terms do not signify this essential and total identity declared in the mahavakya. Therefore, Sri Rama employs the very expressive phrase “now” (atha), meaning that this identity is to be realized not through superficial, direct meanings of the words, but through their implied suggestiveness (laksana).
English Wording:
pratyakparoksadi virodhamatmanor – vihaya sangrhya tayoscidatmatam samsodhitam laksanaya ca laksitam jnatva svamatmanamathadvayo bhavet.
Rejecting the difference of nearness and remoteness and so on, between jivatman and Paramatman, one should know one’s own nature as that of pure Consciousness, arrived at through inquiry and implied by the method of implication. Thereafter, realizing one’s own true Self as Brahman, one should merge to become one with it.
Give up the confusions that might arise in accepting the direct meaning of the terms tat and tvam. The direct meaning of tat is the Creator, who is not perceivable by our sense organs or comprehensible through our emotions or rational thinking. The direct meaning of the word tvam is the individualized ego; we perceive its calamitous confusions at very close quarters. To say that the ego and the Creator are identical will not withstand the scrutiny of reason because of their contrary natures. It is in the suggestive meanings of the two terms that their identity is justified, and we can arrive at this understanding only through a careful and exhaustive investigation into these suggestive meanings. When we examine tat and tvam closely (samsodhitam) and successfully derobe them of their conditioning, avidya and Maya, we come to recognize the pure state of Consciousness, which is the one enlivening Essence behind both the ego and the Creator. The difference between the two is only between the equipments of the individualized mind and the Total Mind. The contemplative student, in the final stages of his contemplation upon the mahavakya, comes to realize the perfect identity between the essence in him (jiva) and the essence behind the universe (Isvara).
After gaining direct knowledge of this sacred and divine identity (atha), the seeker merges to become one with the infinite Self: the river loses its distinct name and form and merges with the ocean to become one with it. On awakening from the dream, the dreamer folds up his dream world and his experience in the dream and disappears to become one with the waker. In an effortless movement in moments of intense contemplation, the individualized ego glides into a new dimension of consciousness and there disappears to become one with Brahman. At this moment one could declare that one has “reached the Goal”, but that statement is meaningless, just as it is meaningless to cry out that we “got” the key – which was, during our entire search for it, lying quietly in our pocket !
ekatmakatvajjahati na sambhave- ttathajahallaksanata virodhatah so yampadarthaviva bhagalaksana yujyeta tattvampadayoradosatah.
Since the suggestive meaning of the terms tat and tvam indicates their total identity, the jahati method cannot be employed. Neither can we use the ajahati method, because in the direct meaning there is total distinction between the two. Here the method of bhaga-tyaga is to be applied without fear or any misapprehension, as in the case of the sentence, “He is this man.”
In our daily communication, we liberally employ the suggestive meaning lyig hidden behind sentences. The intelligent listener sometimes rejects what is meant literally by the sentence to make sense out of the sentence heard (jaha laksana); sometimes the intelligent listener will have to add something in order to interpret a statement correctly (ajaha laksana); and sometimes he has to give up some aspect and retain another one in order to recognize the exact meaning of a statement made by others (jaha ajaha laksana).
When my listener hears the statement “My house is right on the sea.” he does not conclude that the house is made up of cork and bamboo and is floating on the sea, but he subtracts the sea from under the building and understand that my house is next to the sea, but standing firmly upon its own foundation. This is an example of ajahati.
When any intelligent listener hears the statement “The guns marched,” he adds a soldier under every gun; this is an example of an ajahati laksana.
“That Devadatta (as a child) is this youth” is a statement wherein a child from a given time an place and of a given size and with other qualities of childhood is shown to have become, after fourteen years, this youth. The listener has to subtract the time, the place, the size, the shape, the innocence in the child and add the new time, place, size, shape, and the mischief of the youth, retaining the person himself, in order to arrive at the perfect identity between the person in the child and the square-shouldered teenager who is now sitting right in front of him. This is an example of jaha ajaha laksana.
Sri Ramacandra is elaborately explaining to his dear brother Laksmana that to grasp the significance of the mahavakya, we have to use the method of jaha ajaha laksana, which is also called bhaga laksana. Because jiva and Isvara are in essence nothing but the one Self (ekatmakattvat), jahati laksana cannot be used.
Similarly, in trying to understand the significance of tat tvam asi, we see the word meanings to be the supreme Lord of the Universe, the Creator (Isvara), and the limited ego (jiva). They are different in their expressions because of the difference in their equipments, ignorance (avidya) and total vasanas (Maya).
We cannot employ jaha laksana and conclude that avidya is Maya – this is not the goal of Vedanta. To pursue such a goal would be a wasteful expenditure of human energy.
Similarly, we cannot use the ajaha laksana method by merely analyzing and concluding that avidya, conditioned Consciousness, is jiva and that Maya-conditioned Consciousness is Isvara. The student is not arriving at the direct apprehension of “I am Brahman.” Therefore, ajaha laksan is not an adequate method for apprehending the spiritual Essence.
We will have to use bhaga laksana (also called bhaga-tyaga laksana), wherein the contradictory factors, such as avidya and Maya are removed, and we understand that the Self that expresses itself through these two equipments, manifesting itself as jiva and Isvara, is one and the sme Essence.
Pure Maya is extremely sattvic. When it is disturbed by rajas and therefore muddied by tamas, it becomes avidya. At this moment, avidya is the equipment in the seeker. When he quiets the mind and eliminates the rajas that creates the misapprehensions and the tamas that creates nonapprehension. Sattva increases in his inner equipment; and when this process is continued, the mind becomes more and more quieted inits creative poise (sattva). Sattva by itself can never exist except in combination with rajas and tamas. When all rajas is removed, in that pure sattvic state, the nonapprehension created by tamas ends, and the individual goes beyond sattva to realize his own pure Self.
rasadipancikrtabhutasambhavam bhogalayam duhkhasukhadikarmanam sariramadyantavadadikarmajam mayamayam sthulamupadhimatmanah
Made up of the five gross elements, for example, the earth, a hut of all experiences, fashioned by one’s own past actions, having a beginning and an end, a product of Maya – is the gross body. This is considered to be the gross equipment of the Self.
The Self is not readily available for our recognition because at this moment it is conditioned by – is expressing or functioning through, is wrapped up in – its equipments (upadhis). In this verse and the following two, Sri Rama defines and describes the nature and function of the gross, subtle, and causal bodies, which are the three equipments enlivened by the Self. In this verse, he gives an exhaustive definition of the gross body. The material from which the gross body is made is a happy mixture of the five gross elements. The process by which the subtle elements (tanmatras) become grossified is elaborately described in our sastras. The gross material from which bodies are made, whether they belong to plants, animals, or humans, comes from the same five gross elements. However, the same material can be structured in may different ways, and the blueprint is determined by the individual’s own past actions. The past actions recorded in our personality are called vasanas; and these vasanas determine the shape of the gross body (of a plant, animal, or human): its healthy or unhealthy condition, its size and shape, its color. We have taken this present body in order to exhaust our past impressions, known collectively as prarabdha.
All bodies, all names and forms, are conditioned in time, and therefore they are perpetually in a state of change. They are finite: they have a beginning and an end.
Nonapprehension of Reality creates misapprehensions, and the three equipments, the gross, subtle, and casual, are all products of this nonapprehension, avidya. This gross body, described so eleborately, is the gross equipment in which the Atman, the Self, is conditioned to become the ego (jiva).
In these three verses, Sri Ramacandraji is trying to dissect and exposethe significance of the term “thou” (tvam) in the mahavakya. The Self (Atman) is a mere witness, itself unaffected by the equipments. But we, identifying with the equipments, express ourselves as limited entities. The gross body is not the Self. It is only an equipment through which the Self apparently expresses itself.
suksmam manobuddhidasendriyairyutam pranairapancikrtabhutasambhavam bhoktuh sukhaderanusadhanam bhave- cchariramanyadviduratmano budhah
Consisting of the mind, the intellect, the ten organs (of perception and action), and the five pranas, and structured from the five subtle elements, this serves as the instruments for the jiva togather its experience of joy and sorrow – this equipment of the Self is declared by the wise as the subtle body.
The gross body is supported by the subtle body, which consists of the mind and intellect, the faculties in the five sense organs of action and perception, and the powers called pranas, which govern and control the five physio-logical systems.
These seventeen items together constitute the subtle bdoy, which once again is structured from the five subtle elements (tanmatras). The subtle body is the instrument that serves the individual in contracting the world outside and gathering experiences of joy and sorrow.
Text XXX
anadyanirvacyampiha karanam mayapradhanam tu param sarirakam upadhibhedattu yatah prthak sthitam svatmanamatmanyavadharayetkramat
The timeless and indescribable Maya product body constitutes the third equipment of the Self, which is declared by the rishis as the causal body. Since the Self is separate from these different equipments, let the seeker learn to recognize his true Self in the heart (negating the equipments) in stages.
In his dissection of the human personality – while trying to point out tous the Self, which is beyond the personality – Sri Rama describes the third and last of the equipments, the causal body (karana sarira). Because it consists of vasanas, we are justified in calling it the casual body, since vasanas determine the nature and the quality of the individual’s gross and subtle bodies, as well as the environments and circumstances that those bodies confront in the form of objects, emotions, and thoughts. This subtlest of equipments functions in one’s body in deep sleep; it is pure state of nonapprehension, because of which all misapprehensions arise. Therefore, it is right to name it the causal body.
The nonapprehension of Reality and the consequent misapprehensions are together called ignorance (avidya or Maya). Thus, even though the three bodies are all together expressions of the same avidya, for purposes of analytical study, they have been depicted as three distinct entities, Essentially separate (prthak stitha) from these three is the pure Self, which enlivens them all by its mere presence (sannidhimatrena).
Sri Ramacandra wants Laksmana to grasp this idea and firmly make it his own personal knowledge. The Self is the Consciousness that illumines our equipments, they being nothing but Consciousness itself grossified, just as the objects in our dream are projections of our mind stuff.
English Wording:
kosesvayam tesu tu tattadakrtir – vibhati sangatsphatikopalo yatha asangarupo yamajo yato ‘dvayo vijnayate ‘sminparito vicarite.
Just as by the contact of a red flower, a crystal glass looks apparently red, so too, this Self, unattached and unborn, when in contact with the five kosas (sheaths), appears to be of their characteristic individual nature. But when one discriminate intelligently and thoroughly, then one realizes that the Self is unborn and not attached to anything, since it is nondual.
If Atman, the Self, is unborn and not attached to anything, how is it that it appears to have no existence other than in the form of gross, subtle, and causal bodies ? Such a question would be natural in the mind of Laksmana. Anticipating such a doubt, Sri Ramacandra explains this phenomenon of delusion-superimposition.
A crystal glass is spotless and colorless; but when we place a red flower near it, the glass appears to have red color. Against a blue background it appears blue. When it tests upon a yellow tablecloth, it appears yellow. These colors are not its own. It has no color in itself. Yet, it reflects whatever color is in contract with it.
In the same way, while functioning through the five kosas, the Self, Consciousness, appears to have gathered to itself all the properties of the kosas. This apparent illusion created upon a substratum is called superimposition. The Self is ever unattached. That which is unattached can never get contaminated by anything; yet, the Self appears to be of the nature of the kosas (personality sheaths), in which, at any given time, it happens to function. When it is playing in the gross body, it appears to have for itself all the properties of the gross body – the body appears fat, lean, black, white, healthy, and so on. This gross body is called annamayakosa (the food sheath).
The subtle body consists of the pranamayakosa (vital air sheath), the manomayakosa (mental sheath), and the vijnanamayakosa (intellectual sheath). The causal body is called anandamayakosa (bliss sheath). In whichever kosa Consciousness functions, it temporarily appears to be entirely of the nature of that particular kosa. When we intelligently reconsider this situation in all its total implications, we can distinguish the Self from the not-Self. Discarding the not-Self, the seeker can realize his own ego as nothing other than the pure Self, ever unattached and nondual. This is accomplished by intelligent contemplation upon the great statement (mahavakya) “That thou art.”
This Self is unborn, ever present, and uncontaminated by anything that exists in it. Therefore, it is advaya; the Chandogya Upanisad confidently proclaims that the Self is one without a second. Only when it functions through the equipments does it appear to be many. This is to be rightly realized.
buddhestridha vrttirapiha drsyate svapna dibhedena gunatrayatmanah anyonyato ‘sminvyabhicarato mrsa nitye pare brahmani kevale sive.
The intellect comes under the sway of the three gunas; therefore, it has three states of consciousness, such as the dream state. Since the experiences in the three states contradict each other, they are by themselves illusions and they do not exist in this eternal, supreme, non-dual, ever-auspicious Brahman.
The intellect comes under the sway of the three gunas: sattva, rajas, and tamas. Tamas creates “veiling,” incapacitating the intellect to know the Truth. This nonapprehension creates misapprehensions projected by the mind, expressing themselves as rajoguna. When tamas and rajas are reduced, the mind and intellect enter into a calm domain of creative poise called sattva. The waking, dream, and deep-sleep states are thus all experienced by the equipments and not by the Consciousness, the Self. These three states are conditions of the intellect and not of the Self, which is the same Consciousness ever present in all the three states of vivid experience.
An intelligent person, however, can detect the obvious fact that the three states contradict and cancel each other. The security of one’s well-to-do existence in the waking state can, for instance, be contradicted by the object poverty in one’s dream. And the experience of both the waking and the dream states are entirely negated in the peaceful state of deep sleep.
Truth is something that cannot be contradicted at any time or at any place. That which can be contradicted is false; it is an illusion, a delusion. The Self is never contradicted in the three periods of time. In the Self, which is beyond the three bodies, the five kosas, and the three states – in the pure, nondual Self, the individuality as we now experience it can never be. Recognizing all these as the not-Self, reject them all and be in the pure state of the blissful Self.
dehendriyapranamanascidatmanam sanghadajasram parivartate dhiyah vrttistamomulatayajnalaksana yavadbhavettavadasau bhavodbhavah
The inner equipments, presided over by the Self, come to identify with the body, the sense organs, prana, the mind, and so on. This complex makes the intellect dance in endless thoughts. Because thoughts stem forth from tamas, they are of the nature of ignorance. As long as the intellect remains, so long remains this birth in samsara.
In the Self, in pure Consciousness, there is no perception of plurality, as it is one without a second. Consciousness has no senses to perceive, no mind to feel, nor an intellect to think. But when the inner equipments are presided over by Consciousness and Consciousness floods through that complex, perceptions and feelings start and the intellect is made to dance to their tunes. Electricity by itself does not produce light or heat or sound, but explodes into expression when it functions through various equipments – a bulb, a heater, or a radio. The play of dancing thoughts springs from nonapprehension of Reality (tamas), creating all misapprehensions (rajas). Thus tamas creates rajas; that is, nonapprehension (tamas) creates all misapprehensions (rajas).
As long as thoughts are dancing in the mind and our attention is dissipated into the world outside, so long the world of plurality appears to be real. The seeker who is thus perceiving plurality maintains an ego-sense (jiva-bhavana). This limited ego must necessarily get tossed about helplessly in the midst of its endless imaginations and fancied experience of joy and sorrow. The experiencer can only experience the miserable world of plurality and cannot comprehend, nor ever spiritually apprehend, the one Self, the One without a second. Only when the sense of individuality gets merged in the higher state of Consciousness can the world of perceived plurality totally cease to persecute the individual ego.
Until we discover the rope, the imagined serpent-in-the-rope, with its dreadful fangs, will frighten th deluded.
netipramanena nirakrtakhilo hrda samasvaditacidghanamrtah tyajedasesam jagadattasadrasam pitva yathambhah prajahati tatphalam.
After rejecting all the equipments with the help of the famous scriptural statement “Not this, not this” and experiencing the immortal, changeless mass of pure Consciousness in his heart, the wise man, having enjoyed the existent, blissful Self, should discard the entire world, just as one throws away the empty shell of a tender coconut after having enjoyed the sweet water of the fruit.
The Brhadaranyaka Upanisad concludes that the outer vehicles of life are not the Self and thus indicates the pure Self through a process of repeated negation of the not-Self : When an individual, through the process of negation (“Not this, not this”) dismisses the entire perceived world and frees himself from all equipments of experience as well as the fields of experience, he – in his quiet, alert, vigilant mind-intellect equipment – comes to experience the state of pure Consciousness, Brahman, the Blissful. Thereafter, he renounces everything that was seen and experienced in the state of misapprehension – he rejects them all for all time to come.
Having enjoyed the pure Self, which is the substratum for all plurality (atta sadrasam), reject the sorrow-ridden names and forms, urges Rama. He brings this subtle idea to his dear brother’s mind through a simple but brilliant example: A traveler opens up a tender coconut. Having drunk of its ambrosial sweetness and feeling refreshed, he, without any regret, easily drops the useless, empty shell. So too, having experienced the blissful Self, with effortless ease and ready comfort, drop the delusory shell of names and forms that constituted the world of sorrows in your past.
kadacidatma na mrto na jayate na ksiyate napi vivardhate ‘navah nirastasarvatisayah sukhatmakah svayamprabhah sarvagato ‘yamadvayah
This Self is never born, never grows up, never decays, and never dies, It is not new; that is, it is most ancient, devoid of all attributes of the equipments. It is blissful, self-effulgent, all-pervading and One without a second.
In the previous verse, Sri Rama indicated that we must learn to enjoy the pure Self, the substratum of the pluralistic world, and having enjoyed this blissful Presence, we must throw away the pluralistic, finite, ever-changing world of names and forms, just as we throw away the shell after enjoying the delicious coconut water.
Since Atman, the Self, is beyond the intellect, it is timeless and therefore also changeless. It is ever the same in all the three periods of time. Thus, it was never born. It is not an effect that has come out of any cause. It is both changeless and unborn.
The Self never grows. If it was not even born, how can any growth or modification come to it ? Neither does it decay. How can a thing that is not born ever come to decay ? Being changeless and immutable, it can never die. That which was not born can never die. And that which has neither birth nor death is infinite, permanent.
The Self cannot be called new because it was, is, and shall ever be. Thus, Rama uses a very forceful word, a-nava, “not new.” The Self is perpetual (sasvata) and most ancient (purana). These are the terms in which the Katha Upanisad declares the nature of the Self.
When we discover the gross, subtle, and causal bodies and their objects as mere whiffs of our delusory fancies, and reject them all by the Upanisadic technique of “Not this, not this,” what remains as the substratum is the Self.
This state of the Self is one of blissful beatitude. It is self-effulgent, all-pervading, and nondual.
evamvidhe jnanamaye sukhatmake katham bhavo duhkhamayah pratiyate ajnanato ‘dhyasavasatprakasate jnane viliyeta virodhatah ksanat.
In this pure Self, which is of the nature of pure Consciousness and infinite Bliss, how can one perceive a pain-ridden world of names and forms ? It appears only because of the nonapprehension (of the Self) and consequent misapprehensions (of the body-mind-intellect equipments). When Knowledge (realization) takes place, ignorance disappears instantaneously, it being contrary to Knowledge.
If Atman is, indeed, blissful, how do we experience this pain-ridden, endless misery of a pluralistic world ? In the changeless, immutable Self, which is ever of the nature of pure Knowledge and infinite Bliss, how can there be even a whiff of perception of samsara, the endless flood of birth and death ? If the Self is blissful and One without a second, how do we perceive and experience the world, which is of opposite nature – riddled with pain and full of plurality ? In the nonapprehension of the Self (ajnana), our misapprehension of the equipments arises; superim-posing the nature of the not-Self upon the Self, we experience illusory world of endless miseries.
Illusion, or Maya, expresses itself in us as the veiling power (avarana) in the intellect, and as agitations (viksepa) in the mind. When our true nature is thus veiled from our direct perception, an entire chain of miseries is generated, including our sense of ego, from which our bondage and its endless sorrows and pains arise.
Is there an escape from this calamitous state ? The teacher points out that knowledge alone can wipe out ignorance – instantaneously, effortlessly. All the names and forms projected by ignorance suddenly disappear to become the one, all-consuming experience of the Self.
yadanyadanyatra vibhavyate bhrama-dadhyasamityahuramum vipascitah asarpabhute ‘hivibhavanam yatha rajjvadike tadvadapisvare jagat.
To perceive a thing to be something other than itself and to recognize the thing to be only what your perceive it to be is called by the wise the phenomenon of superimposition. Just as in the rope, which has no serpent, we see the serpent only, so too we see world of plurality (superimposed) upon the Lord.
To recognize the world of plurality (ajnana) on something other than itself (anyata), meaning Brahman, due to delusion (bhramat), we imagine (vibhavyate) Brahman to be nothing other than world of plurality. Vedantic literature calls this phenomenon superimposition (adhyasa). This is vivified by the classical example repeated by Rama: upon a rope (and other round, long things which have nothing to do with a serpent), in delusion, one perceives a crawling serpent with its hood spread, ready to bite.
Similarly, upon Brahman, which has none of the qualities of the finite world of plurality, the deluded individual, through an act of superimposition, recognizes a world of ever-changing names and forms. In the snake-rope example, nothing but the rope, in fact, exists, but due to the dim light of the gathering gloom of dusk, we misapprehend it as a snake, which quite naturally elicits fear. In truth, nothing but Brahman exists, One without a second, blissful and perfect. Yet, in the nonapprehension of this Reality, we entertain the misapprehension of a world of plurality riddled with sorrows and clothed in imperfections. In Vedanta-sastra, this delusory vision of the serpent in the rope is called the vivarta-theory.
When a thing, without losing its own essential nature, provides experiences other than itself, it is called vivarta. The snake is the vivarta of the rope. This world of plurality is the vivarta of Brahman. In Aparoksanubhuti, Sankara explains this theory very clearly:
Just as the blue color in the sky, just as the illusion of mirage waters in the desert, just as the ghost in the post, so too the world of happenings upon the pure Self.
Just as in a lonely place a deluded one may get frightened of a terrible face (vetala), jsut as in an idle moment one detects an entire city among the clouds (castles in the air), just as due to a defect in our eyes we may actually see a pair of moons in the sky, similarly, in truth we perceive the dynamic world of happenings.
Earlier Sri Rama had demanded that his disciple recognize Brahman, enjoy its delicious sweetness, and throw away the world of plurality as we do the empty shell of a tender coconut. Now, the moment he reaches the understanding that the snake is only a superimposition (adhyasa), the student recognizes the rope: there is no thing else for him to throw away ! Similarly, on awakening to Brahman, there is, in fact no world to be rejected. Brahman is all-inclusive. Vedanta rejects nothing, accepts everything, but keeps nothing.
yadanyadanyatra vibhavyate bhrama-dadhyasamityahuramum vipascitah asarpabhute ‘hivibhavanam yatha rajjvadike tadvadapisvare jagat.
To perceive a thing to be something other than itself and to recognize the thing to be only what your perceive it to be is called by the wise the phenomenon of superimposition. Just as in the rope, which has no serpent, we see the serpent only, so too we see world of plurality (superimposed) upon the Lord.
To recognize the world of plurality (ajnana) on something other than itself (anyata), meaning Brahman, due to delusion (bhramat), we imagine (vibhavyate) Brahman to be nothing other than world of plurality. Vedantic literature calls this phenomenon superimposition (adhyasa). This is vivified by the classical example repeated by Rama: upon a rope (and other round, long things which have nothing to do with a serpent), in delusion, one perceives a crawling serpent with its hood spread, ready to bite.
Similarly, upon Brahman, which has none of the qualities of the finite world of plurality, the deluded individual, through an act of superimposition, recognizes a world of ever-changing names and forms. In the snake-rope example, nothing but the rope, in fact, exists, but due to the dim light of the gathering gloom of dusk, we misapprehend it as a snake, which quite naturally elicits fear. In truth, nothing but Brahman exists, One without a second, blissful and perfect. Yet, in the nonapprehension of this Reality, we entertain the misapprehension of a world of plurality riddled with sorrows and clothed in imperfections. In Vedanta-sastra, this delusory vision of the serpent in the rope is called the vivarta-theory.
When a thing, without losing its own essential nature, provides experiences other than itself, it is called vivarta. The snake is the vivarta of the rope. This world of plurality is the vivarta of Brahman. In Aparoksanubhuti, Sankara explains this theory very clearly:
Just as the blue color in the sky, just as the illusion of mirage waters in the desert, just as the ghost in the post, so too the world of happenings upon the pure Self.
Just as in a lonely place a deluded one may get frightened of a terrible face (vetala), jsut as in an idle moment one detects an entire city among the clouds (castles in the air), just as due to a defect in our eyes we may actually see a pair of moons in the sky, similarly, in truth we perceive the dynamic world of happenings.
Earlier Sri Rama had demanded that his disciple recognize Brahman, enjoy its delicious sweetness, and throw away the world of plurality as we do the empty shell of a tender coconut. Now, the moment he reaches the understanding that the snake is only a superimposition (adhyasa), the student recognizes the rope: there is no thing else for him to throw away ! Similarly, on awakening to Brahman, there is, in fact no world to be rejected. Brahman is all-inclusive. Vedanta rejects nothing, accepts everything, but keeps nothing.
vikalpamayarahite cidatmake – ‘hankara esa prathamah prakalpitah adhyasa evatmani sarvakarane niramaye brahmani kevale pare
In Brahman, which is untouched by the projections of Maya – in that pure Consciousness, the Substratum of all, which is untainted and ever pure, first arises an egocentric self-consciousness. This is a mere superimposition upon the Self.
From the pure Self, how can a world of plurality arise ? The Self is without the thought-agitations of the mind, and from this thoughtless state of pure Consciousness – which is of the nature of pure Knowledge unmuddied by the sorrows of the world – from this Self, a conceptual sense of an individualized ego is imagined. Thus, ego is the first misapprehension projected by Maya, the nonapprehension of Reality. The misconception that “I am the body, mind, and intellect,” and, therefore, “I am the perceiver, feeler, thinker” is the sense of doership and enjoyership that constitutes the individualized ego, which is the very first superimposition. In fact, there is no ego. There is nothing but the pure Self.
icchadiragadi sukhadidharmikah sada dhiyah samsrtihetavah pare yasmatprasuptau tadabhavatah parah sukhasvarupena vibhavyate hi nah.
The endless desires, the innumerable attachments, the varieties of pleasure are all the various conditions of the intellect and are the causes of samsara that always appear in the supreme Self. They belong to the intellect only, since they are absent in the state of deep sleep when the intellect is absent; at that time we experience the Self, which is of blissful nature.
In deep sleep, when the intellect is folded up, none of the various conditions of the intellect disturb the deep sleeper; he experiences only the bliss of sleep. Once the ego rises, the intellect, veiled by its nonapprehension, encourages the mind to project with its agitations a world of delusory objects. Thus, we come to misapprehend pure Brahman.
These misapprehensions are mere superimpositions upon Brahman, as the snake is superimposed on the rope. This process is the cause for the experience of the world of plurality. Desires and desirelessness, attachment and detachment, pain and pleasure – these pairs are indicated by the addition of adi (etcetera) to each of these words; indeed, without a doubt, they all belong to the inner equipment (buddhi). The term sada (always) indicates that these pairs are not of the nature of Brahman but belong to the inner equipment only, at all times and under all conditions. Identifying with these, the individualized ego comes to suffer the tossings of the world of plurality.
Students will not easily accept the fact that these pairs of opposites belong only to the inner equipment; therefore, the teacher reminds the student that proof lies in his own experience. In deep sleep, when the inner equipment quiets itself, all these urges of doership and enjoyership end. The individual in sleep experiences a vast expanse of bliss, which is the nearest experience that the deluded can have of the nature of the supreme Self. Upon awakening, we all have a strikingly similar response: “I had a good sleep. I enjoyed it well. It was blissful sleep.” Atman, the Self, as Consciousness, is the illumining factor in our lives. It is ever present, even in sleep, to illumine the absence of things, which we apprehend as joy, which is the very nature of Atman. Only in deep sleep does the buddhi no longer function, and thus no longer creates the illusions of desire.
anadyavidyodbhavabuddhibimbito jivah prakaso ‘yamitiryate citah atma dhiyah saksitaya prthak sthito buddhyaparicchinnaparah sa eva hi.
The light of pure Consciousness reflected in the intellect, which is born out of beginningless ignorance, is called jiva, the individualized ego. The Self as a mere witness ever revels as separate from the intellect. That which is thus not conditioned by thoughts is, indeed, the Paramatman, the supreme Self.
The direct word meaning of “thou” in the famous mahavakya “That thou art” is the individualized ego, which is the subject of Sri Ramacandra’s discussion in this verse. Out of the nonapprehension of Reality, which is recognized as timeless ignorance, is born the thought-flow, the buddhi, which represents the entire inner equipment. The light of Consciousness caught up in the play of these thoughts is the individualized, conscious ego. This is the direct meaning of the word “thou” in the mahavakya.
The individualized ego is limited in its knowledge and power. It recognize itself as the doer and the enjoyer, the happy and unhappy entity. Just as the sun is reflected in a bucket of water and appears to be the sun-in-the-bucket, so too the light of Consciousness caught up in the web of our thoughts appears to be the individuality.
In short, our thoughts glowing in the borrowed light of the Self is the intelligent, individualized ego. This reflected consciousness (cidabhasa), the ego, is that by whose glory the intellect has its intelligence with which we can observe, analyse, and come to our endless decisions and rational conclusions. This sense of ego in each one of us is considered by us as our true self, and we refuse even to try to apprehend the real Self beyond it.
The true Self is that which stands as a witness, uncontaminated by the intellect and its thoughts, merely illumining them. This illuminator of the thought flow is a mere witness, totally unattached by all the convulsions of the inner equipment. The unattached Self is ever immaculate: it never gets contaminated by the quality, quantity, or condition of the inner equipment (asango na hi sajjate).
The Self, without any modification, ever remains as something other than the flood of thoughts; when the sun in the bucket appears to be dancing, the sun in the sky is unaffected by the movement of the water in the bucket.
The Self is beyond the inner equipment; it merely blesses it with its own life. It is not conditioned by the quality or nature of the thoughts. Ever unconditioned by them is the pure Self.
cidbimbasaksyatmadhiyam prasangata- stvekatra vasadanalaktalohavat anyonyamadhyasavasatprutiyate jadajadatvam ca cidatmacetasoh.
Consciousness of the Self and the inertness of the intellect, due to their mutual proximity, get mutually superimposed, just as iron pieces glow in the fire. The product is the intelligent ego, a product of illusion.
When the self-effulgent supreme Consciousness and the inert inner equipment, a product of subtle matter, remain very near to each other (prasangatah), they combine together (ekatravasat), and the result is the intelligent and consciousness ego. To bring it out clearly for Laksmana’s full understanding and appreciation. Rama uses the classical example of iron and fire:
Iron is cold to the touch and black in color; but when different pieces of iron, beaten out in different geometrical shapes, are put into fire, they become hot to the touch and golden in color. This becomes an example of the phenomenon of mutual superimposition. The heat and golden color of the fire are superimposed upon the black, cold iron, and the geometrical shapes of the iron pieces are loaned out the fire. Together, in their unholy wed-lock, the iron and fire present themselves to our perception as golden, fiery pieces of precise geometrical patterns.
In the same way, thoughts of the intellect shining in the light of Consciousness give us a vivid illusion of an intelligent sense of individuality. This impossible marriage between the Consciousness of the Self and the inert inner equipments gives rise to the feeling “I am my thoughts.”
guroh sakasadapi vedavakyatah sanjatavidyanubhavo niriksya tam svatmanamatmasthamupadhivarjitam tyajedasesam jadamatmagocaram
When, through the grace of the guru, and also by deep contemplation upon the suggested implications of the great Vedic statements, the direct experience of Brahman is gained, the individual comes to “see.” in his own heart, the pure Self, which is devoid of all conditionings. Thereafter, let him give up the entire inert world perceived through the sense organs.
Having heard the science of Reality from the teacher through the great statement tat tvam asi, the student does his own reflections and deep contemplations, and comes to directly perceive the experience of Reality. The verse indicates the standard classical sequence of spiritual learning: listening to the teacher, reflecting upon the significance of what has been heard, and practicing deep and continued contemplation upon the same subject. The final end result of all this is direct experience. The experience of what ?
That which words cannot express, but which is the very substratum of our personality is experienced by the seeker in his own heart. That pure Self is experienced as devoid of all entrapments such as the gross, the subtle, or the causal bodies.
When once this experience has descended upon the student of contemplation, let him thereafter totally stop entertaining the gross, inert world of objects, emotions, and thoughts.
prakasarupo ‘hamajo’hamadvayo ‘sakrdvibhato ‘hamativa nirmalah visuddhavijnanaghano niramayah sampuna anandamayo ‘hamakriyah.
I am self-effulgent, I am unborn. I am the One without a second. I am the ever-resplendent light of Consciousness. I am extremely pure, the uncontaminated mass of pure Consciousness. I am holy, infinite, blissful, and actionless.
All the words used here by Sri Ramacandra are words borrowed from the Upanisads. Each one of them has very great significance. It is with these deep meanings for the terms employed that the teacher is able to communicate to the purified heart of the student the entire science of Reality (brahma-vidya).
When seekers successfully turn their entire attention in the direction indicated by these words and all their pregnant suggestions, they arrive at the gate of Truth and themselves “disappear into the vision” of the Supreme – just as a river, on arriving at the shore of the ocean, effortlessly disappears into the ocean to become one with it.
This verse and the following one give us a chart on how to perform nididhyasana, deep and continuous contemplation:
I am the source of all light, to know Me, no other light is necessary. I am self-effulgent. I am without birth, and therefore beginningless. I am One without a second; in Me there are no distinctions. (The Chandogya Upanisad) insists that the Self is one alone, with no otherness).
I am like the sun, ever resplendent with the light of Consciousness. Never does the light of Consciousness cease to be. Even when there are not objects for it to illumine, as in deep sleep or under chloroform, Consciousness illumines the very absence of everything !
I am never immaculate, with nothing to veil My intellect. Nothing can create agitations in the mind. Both these are products of Maya; therefore, I am beyond Maya.
I am unborn and continuous, the ever-present experience of bliss. I am without any activity, meaning that I am ever the same, with no modifications. There can never be any change in Me. Action can rise only as a result of nonapprehension, and it feeds and gets fed by our likes and dislikes. Since I am a pure mass of objectless Awareness, the all-pervading substratum for all names and forms, there can never be any action.
This verse is specially meant for contemplation. It provides ten arrow marks indicating the direction in which the student of contemplation should hold his entire attention. All the ten terms employed here indicate, from different angles of understanding, the one essential spring of all life, the Self.
The following verse enumerates additional exercises in contemplation.
sadaiva mukto ‘hamacintyasaktima – matindriyajnanamavikriyatmakah anantaparo ‘hamaharnisam budhair – vibhsvito ‘ham hrdi vedavsdibhih.
I am ever liberated. I am the power behind the universe which no intellect can comprehend. I am that pure Knowledge which is beyond all sense organs. I am immutable, endless, and shoreless. The erudite scholars of the scriptures meditate upon Me, day and night, in their hearts.
This verse supplies six additional arrow marks that indicate the direction in which a student in his seat of contemplation must hold his mind’s entire attention. In short, this verse constitutes another set of exercises in contemplation:
I am ever liberated – in the past, present, and future; in the waking, dream, and deep-sleep states; in all places, at all times, and under all conditions. Never have I been bound, nor can I ever be in bondage in the future.
My power is immeasurable: in fact, I am the source of the omnipotent Lord; being the creator, sustainer, and destroyer are all minor expressions of my total power.
I can never be the object of the sense organs, nor of the inner equipments. In short, I do not belong to the category of objects, emotions, or thoughts. (I am so described in the Taittiriya Upanisad.)
I am without any change: none of the six modifications ever touch Me. Birth, existence, growth, decay, disease, and death are the six modifications through which all forms must necessarily pass, but none of them can ever bring about any change in Me.
I am infinite : neither time, place, nor objects can ever condition Me. I pervade them all. Since I am infinite, no-thing can limit Me. I go beyond all limitations, and thus I am shoreless. It is this infinite nature of Mine that is continuously contemplated upon by great saints and sages in their quiet, alert, and vigilant hearts, suffused with a sattvic mood.
Both this and the previous verse are aimed at students of contemplation for their daily practice of lifting their attention toward the state of pure Consciousness.
evam sadatmanamakhanditatmana vicaramanasya visuddhabhavana hanyadavidyamacirena karakai rasayanam yadvadupasitam rujah.
If we continuously expose the mind to the thought “I am Brahman.” the special knowledge that arises removes, in a sudden flash, all spiritual ignorance and its consequences, that is, the perception of plurality – just as medicine taken regularly removes the disease and itself gets eliminated, all by itself.
The benefit of practicing what has been advised in the previous verse is spelled out here. By holding the mind exposed to this infinite Self, the nonapprehension of the Self (avidya) and the consequent misapprehensions (ajnana) are both blasted out, and the pure Self reveals itself. But we may ask: are we not again creating a “thought” during our contemplation ? Instead of thinking thoughts about the world of objects, are we not merely substituting them with thoughts of the Self? If thoughts are still with us, will not the mind continue to survive, and entangle us within its meshes? Will not golden chains bind us as efficiently as iron shackles?
These are valid doubts of an intelligent armchair-Vedantin who lacks the heroism to slip his seat of contemplation. However, Vedanta is a subjective science, and any amount of mere study and argumentation will not bring a clear understanding.
When a mind gets fully engaged in the practice indicated in the previous verses, the quiet mind, uncluttered with thoughts of the world of objects, expands to embrance the concept of the infinite Self, the sole substratum of the entire perceived world of experiences. In this thoughts of the infinite Self, thought is no more a thought: the thought-wave becomes a wave with no amplitude, and therefore becomes a no-thought wave. Thus, when one arrives at the Self, thoughts cease to be thoughts. The individuality merges into the vision of the Reality.
The very “thought” of “The Self am I” (aham brahasmi iti vrtti) is a “no-ware” (no vrtti); it merges to disappear in the direct experience divine. This idea that the thought will merge and disappear by itself is not easy for the intellectual student to grasp, and hence Sri Rama offers one of the classical examples often used in Vedanta :
The medicine (rasayanam) taken by the sick corrects the disturbance in the physical system (rujah) and then itself gets eliminated from the system, all by itself; so too the brahmakara-vrtti (the thought “Brahma am I”) ends all by itself when the seeker arrives at the realizion of the Self.
vivikta asina uparatendriyo vinirjitatma vimalantarasayah vibhavayedekamananyasadhano vijnanadrkkevala atmasamsthitah
Settling oneself down in an undisturbed place, quieting the sense organs from all disturbances of sense objects, holding the body steady and unmoving, calming the mind from all its oscillations – established in the pursuit of steady meditation and withdrawn from all other yoga-means – one should steadily contemplate upon the one Self, the spring of life within.
Sri Rama explains a scheme consisting of five adjustments for the contemplative student to strive for and successfully achieve in establishing himself or herself on the path of contemplation. Newcomers to the path must very diligently attend to all five adjustments:
Select the right place and time for your practice of meditation. Choose a quiet place: there should be no disturbances, at least not from the outside.
Clam the senses, and disengage them from all their preoccupations with sense objects.
Learn it sit firmly (sthira) and to hold the body without any swinging movement (acala). When the body is thus held firm and steady, the mind automatically enters into a state of inner poise and balance.
Many other yoga-means may have been pursued at one time or another by the student: Dedicated service to others (karmayoga), devotion to the Lord through worship of Him at the altar (bhaktiyoga), even serious and laboriously concentrated efforts to study and reflect upon the subtle declarations of the rishis in the Upanisads (jnanayoga), and so on. Memories of these might come up in the contemplative student’s mind as he sits in his seat of meditation. Let him learn to rise above these thoughts, and bend his entire attention to the nature of the Self, exclusively.
Let him then contemplate solely upon the one infinite Self, without allowing any other dissimilar thought current to crisscross his mind pell-mell.
These five adjustments are repeatedly indicated in many places along the vast expanse of Upanisadic literature. Thus gathering all the wandering rays of the mind, turn its entire attention to the one Self and learn to merge into the higher state of Consciousness.
visvam yadetatparatmadarsanam vilapayedatmani sarvakarane purnascidanandamayo ‘vatisthate na veda bhayam na ca kincidantaram
English Meaning:
This dynamic world of things and beings perceived by us is nothing but the supreme Self. One should merge it into that Self, the cause of all. He who accomplishes this in himself is merged into the limitless, blissful Self, and remains “knowing” nothing of his outer or inner worlds of plurality.
This dynamic world of names and forms is perceived by our instruments of experience: the body, the mind, and the intellect. The experience of this world of plurality is the perceiver-feeler-thinker entity, who, in his present state of consciousness, perceives the world as a march of events, a clamoring, noisy field of happenings. The individualized ego feels persecuted by the tensions and struggles brought to him by the merciless situations in his environment. Sri Rama is advising Laksmana that in the seat of meditation the student must try to recognize that the entire world of plurality, the endless crowds of confusing names and forms, are all but a disturbance in the infinite Consciousness.
The roaring, thunderous hosts of oceanic waves are all nothing but their own essential substratum, the serenely tranquil ocean.
One who accomplishes a full awakening into his own real nature merges into the Self to become the Self. From that realm of pure Consciousness, removed from all inner and outer pluralities of objects, he revels as the one objectless Awareness.
Names and forms are the interpretations of our sense organs. In deep sleep none of these names and forms disturb us. In the mood of contemplation, the mind rises above the inner and outer worlds of plurality and arrives at a unique state of consciousness where the Self alone is. It is a state wherein all the mental and intellectual fluctuations have disappeared; therefore, the mind-intellect (dhi) has become thoughtless, totally undisturbed (sama). In this samadhi-state, thoughts cease, the mind-intellect withers away, and the Consciousness that was caught in the web of thoughts gets released totally from all its encumbrances. In this total state of liberation one recognizes neither an outer world of names and forms, nor an inner world of emotions and thoughts. The individual and his world of plurality merge to disappear in the experience of the substratum, the Self.
purvam samadherakhilam vicintaye – domkaramatram sacracaram jagat tadeva vacyam pranavo hi vacako vibhavyate ‘jnanavasanna bodhatah
Before reaching this state of total absorption (samadhi), contemplate upon the entire universe of names and forms, the moving and the unmoving as nothing but Omkara. Om is a sound symbol representing the entire world. This (duality) appears due to ignorance and not after direct Knowledge. This practice is valid only before direct Knowledge; never afterwards.
Now Sri Rama is trying to explain how to take the mind to the state of total absorption (samadhi). Samadhi is of two kinds, with thoughts (savikalpa) and with no thoughts (nirvikalpa). The former is popularly known as the state of contemplation, and the latter is called the state of meditation.
In the state of contemplation (savikalpa), the contemplator has an awareness of the subject-object relationship, technically called the triputi. When the subject and object are merged into one awesome state of infinite Existence, that state is called total absorption (nirvikalpa).
Sri Rama now indicates how to persuade the mind to enter into these states of partial and total absorption. He first advises Laksmana to contemplate upon the entire world of perceived names and forms as Om or Omkara. The Mandukya Upanisad indicates how the three sounds that constitute Om (or Aum), a, u, and m, represent the experience of our individual waking, dream, and deep-sleep states. The silence between two successive Oms (amatra) represents the pure Self.
Names and forms have a validity only when we are conscious of them. One Consciousness illumines all names and forms, as well as all perceptions of the outer world and of the inner mind. When we shift our attention to the pure Consciousness, the names and forms merge, as it were – just as in the waker’s mind the dreamer and his entire dream world merge.
To stimulate the condition of steady mental poise, which is the immediate precondition for samadhi, contemplation upon Om is very useful. Contemplation is neither necessary nor valid once the individual has merged into the pure Self and directly lives the state divine.
akarasamjnah puruso hi visvako hyukarakastaijasa iryate kramat prajno makarah paripathyate ‘khilaih samadhipurvam na tu tattvato bhavet.
The rishis of the Vedic period declare that a-kara represents the waker, u-kara represents the dreamer, and ma-kara, the deep sleeper, and all their respective experiences. These distinctions are all valid only before samadhi, never in the absolute nature of Reality.
As was mentioned in the commentary for the previous verse, the three sounds that together constitute Omakara represent the three states of consciousness through which every one of us moves during each twenty-four-hour day of our lives. The sound a represents the waking-state world of the waker; u represents the dreamer and his dream world; and m stands for the deep sleeper and his experience of the absence of things.
All these pluralistic concepts prevail only before samadhi. Once the mind is transcended, when the thought flow has ceased and the mind is in state of total absorption, that is, has the vision of the realized saint, there is neither the waker, the dreamer, nor the deep sleeper; neither the individual nor the world of plurality (Virat); neither the Creator (Hiranyagarbha), nor the Lord (Isvara), the Creator-Sustainer-Destroyer, the Intelligence behind the cosmos. In the one Self there is neither the microcosmic world nor the macrocosmic expansion of the same.
Text L
visvam tvakaram purusam vilapaye – dukaramadhye bahudha vyavasthitam tato makare pravilapya taijasam dvitiyavarnam pranavasya cantime.
The a-letter sound in Aum represents the visva-jiva that expresses in a thousand ways, along with its microcosmic expression as Virat, and it may be merged into the u-letter sound, representing the taijasa-jiva, along with its microcosmic expression as Hiranyagarbha. Now the u-letter sound, the second letter in Aum, may be merged into the m-letter sound, the last of the triple sounds that make up the Aum symbol.
The process of contemplation, how to fold up all the delusory manifestations of our perceived world of plurality by using Om-upasana (Om-worship), is being explained in this verse and the next. Both the microcosmic expressions of the Self in the individual, visva (waker-I), taijasa (dreamer-I), and prajna (deep-sleeper-I); and the microcosmic expansion of the Self, Virat (total gross world of forms), Hiranyagarbha (the Creator, the womb of the universe), and Isvara (the Lord), are to be merged into the Aum sound-symbol.
This process is called upasana (worship). To recognize a mighty vision in an insignificant symbol is called the art of worship. To see the Mother Divine in an ordinary river Ganges; to see Siva in a stone idol; to see the son of God and His sacrifice for man’s sins in a wooden cross – this is upasana. In Om-upasana we try to seek the waker-I (visva) and the total universe of names and forms (Virat) in the a sound. Then we merge this private gross world (visva) and the universal gross world (Virat) into the subtle world of the dreamer-I (taijasa) and the total womb of forms (Hiranyagarbha). Let this then be merged into the last sound of Aum, the m sound, representing the deep-sleeper-I (prajna) and the universal cause of both the gross and the subtle worlds, the Lord (Isvara).
makaramapyatmani cidghane pare vilapayetprajnamapiha karanam so ‘ham param brahma sada vimuktima – dvijnanadrn mukta upadhito ‘malah.
Let the m-letter sound in Aum, representing the prajna-jiva, which is the very cause for both visva-jiva and taijasa-jiva, be then merged in the supreme Self, the mass of Consciousness. Come to live this Knowledge: “I am the supreme Substratum for the universe, Brahman – ever free, untouched by the filth of Maya, unconditioned by the equipments. This very Eye of Wisdom am I. Continuing to expound upon the orthodox method of Om-upasana., Sri Rama says that, having merged both the gross and the subtle into the causal principle of Isvara, let it be merged into the pure Self, the one Brahman. The individually that was flittering about as I (the waker, the dreamer, the deep sleeper) now merges into the universal One, and the seeker comes to realize. “I am the supreme mass of Consciousness; I am the supreme Substratum for the universe, Brahman.
After merger with Brahman, there can no longer be any equipments to condition the seeker, and therefore he becomes ever free (vimuktimat), fully liberated from all the persecutions of his earlier body-mind-intellect equipment (upadhittah muktah).
Since this state is beyond even the taints of vasanas, in this pure state of Consciousness there is neither nonapprehension (avidya), nor the consequent misapprehensions (dvaita pratiti); therefore, Sri Rama indicates it as amalah (immaculate). In the pure, infinite Self there is neither tamas (nonapprehension) nor viksepa (agitations caused by misapprehensions). The mind-intellect becomes supremely sattvic; in fact, the Self transcends even sattva. Thus it is glorified as being beyond the gunas – gunathita (amalah). These are not mere objective descriptions of a unique state of consciousness. In the fulfillment of Om-upasana, the student has a subjective realization that he is the Self (so ‘ham parabrahma), the very eye of wisdom, the one light that makes every experience shine (vijnana drk).
Text LII
evam sada jataparatmabhavanah svanandatustah parivismrtakhilah aste sa nityatmasukhaprakasakah saksadvimukto ‘calavarisindhuvat.
A seeker who, through the above process, realizes directly pure the nature of the Self becomes supremely contented in that blissful state of the Self. He totally forgets all the experience of earlier jiva-hood and rises above them. He remains effulgent and lives in the unbroken bliss of the Self. Supremely free, be becomes like a stilled ocean.
Laboriously, Sri Rama is trying to communicate to his brother the end result of Self-realization. For the person who has realized the nature of the Self and who has totally identified with it, the whole world of plurality (constituting the misapprehensions that rise out of the nonapprehension of Reality) suddenly disappears – so totally that even its memory cannot return back to him.
Such an individual’s mental condition is being described here in terms of our worldly experiences, because we can understand the mind of the man of realization only in terms of our own mind. Picture to yourself the roaring, thunderous ocean, ever frothing and fuming in the continuous clash of waves. If by the waving of a magic wand the waters of that ocean could suddenly be transformed into utter stillness, the awesome beauty of that silence, the majesty of that stillness perhaps could convey to your mind a vague picture of the boundless state of hushed joy that the realized one experiences when the mind becomes totally absorbed in the bliss of the silent Self (acala vari sindhuvat).
Sanskrit Wording:
evam sadabhyastasamadhiyogino nivrttasarvendriyagocarasya hi vinirjitasesariporaham sada drsyo bhaveyam jita sadgunatmanah
He who thus sincerely and regularly practices this yoga of contemplation, he who has withdrawn himself from the entire world of perceived objects, he who has won a total victory over all the inner enemies, he who has lifted himself from the six main urges of the body – to him alone I, the Supreme, am directly available in an effortless act of perception.
Sri Rama points out four adjustments necessary for the spiritual seeker:
To one who thus regularly practices samadhi, meaning who is regular in his practice of meditation, in him the vasanas get burned up, and consequently his mental agitations become increasingly fewer. To the extent that rajas (misapprehension) gets eliminated at the mental level, to that extent tamas (nonapprehension) also gets lifted at the intellectual level. The mood of the mind-intellect under such a situation of inner peace and alertness is called a sattvic mood. A sattvic mind settles easily into a steady, contemplative mood.
The source of disturbance in the mind is its engagement in the world of sense objects. The mind gushes into the fields of objects only when it is whipped up by the desires in the intellect. The desire to possess, embrace, and enjoy sense objects comes out of the foolish values we entertain – the erroneous misconception that an object contains a certain amount of joy-content. Those who examine intelligently the nature of the world of things and beings and realize for themselves that finite entities are impermanent, sorrow-oozing, mind-dissipating, and therefore not desirable, end their unproductive efforts at gaining them.
The inner enemies are six in number: desire, anger, and so on. These six are the horrible faces of rajas, and they are the destroyers of the sattvic poise of the contemplative mind. When sattva increases, the rajoguna qualities that prompt one into continuous fields of work and exhausting anxieties naturally clam down and disappear.
One who has successfully escaped the six urges of the body – both gross and subtle – discovers an evergrowing intensity in one’s daily contemplation. These six physical and mental urges are exhaustively examined in the Upanisads, and the rishis have declared that hunger and thirst belong to the physiological system (prana), sorrows and passions belongs to the mind, and old age and death belong to the body.
To those who accomplish the above four necessary adjustments, to them Sri Rama declares, “I am directly available for their personal experience” Sri Rama, the supreme Self, explodes into the vision of such a contemplative mind.
Text LIV
dhyatvaivamatmanamaharnisam muni-stisthetsada muktasamastabandhanah prarabdhamasnannabhimanavarjito mayyeva saksatpraviliyate tatah.
Through such steady and continuous contemplation the ‘spiritual-seeker-shall become ever liberated from all bondages. Thereafter, he lives his share of destiny without the sense of “I am the body,” and in the end he merges into Me, the pure Self.
Here the nature and mode of behaviour of a man of realization are being hinted at. A more exhaustive picture of the man of perfection is eleborately painted in the Bhagavad Gita.
A true student and seeker continues to practice contemplation as advised in the previous verse, slowly bringing into his life the fulfillment of all the four conditions. These four cannot be achieved all of a sudden: the seeker has to put forth much conscious effort at self-discipline and learn to ease his way slowly toward the state of pure Self. It is slow, at times exhausting, evolutionary progress.
Once successful, the Self-realized individual remains ever liberated from all bondages. The equipments of experience (body-mind-intellect) and the fields of experience (objects-emotions-thoughts) can no longer condition him. In short, he is no more the little ego (perceiver-feeler-thinker). This egoless state becomes natural to him. In the beginning, such a state can be frighteningly shocking, confusing to those who have no devotion to the Lord. It is a new dimension of experience: no ego – yet, we experience with the “no-experiencer” in us ! One is then no more in the objective world of things and beings, but within a realm where the objective world is not and yet is fully included. Nothing is excluded from the Self.
Such a Self-realized master’s mere existence in this world is in itself a blessing to the people and their whole era.
If the Self-realized one has no identification with his equipment, if he has no vasanas to exhaust – he wants nothing, desires nothing, expects nothing – if he has gained all that is to be gained, why does he live on ? Why shouldn’t his body fall off ? What propels such a master to continue living to vigorously and continuously work for the spiritual upliftment of the people ?
Following the Upanisads’ own assertion, Sri Rama declares that such an individual “lives his share of destiny” (prarabdham-asnan). Everyone of us is living to exhaust our past vasanas, but the master lives without any identification with such happenings – he passes through such events without ego and its selfishness. Success or failure, joy or sorrow, pain or pleasure do not affect him. He does what is to be done as best as he can. He lives on, rejecting nothing, accepting all, reflecting everything, keeping nothing – like a mirror.
At the end of the body’s allotted time, when it falls off to rest in peace, the master merges to be one with Sri Rama, the supreme Self.
Text LV
adau ca madhye ca tathaiva cantato bhavam viditva bhayasokakaranam hitva samastam vidhivadacoditam bhajetsvamatmanamathakhilatmanam
Understanding this samsara to be the cause of fear and grief in the beginning (childhood), in the middle (youth), and similarly also in the end (old age), the seeker should give up all identification with the equipments. Renouncing all other sadhanas prescribed in the Vedas, let him learn to contemplate steadily upon the Self in him as the one infinite Self everywhere.
In the earlier days of the spiritual sadhana, in order to learn how to fold up his or her attention from the outer world of dissipation, every student must have diligently followed, for a long period of time, the various yogas recommended by our scriptural textbooks – karma, bhakti, jnana, worship of the Lord through eleborate rituals, and so on. The samskaras (innate tendencies) are so powerful that even after the mind has become single-pointed and quiet, a seeker generally hesitates to leave his old desires and enter into a pure state of contemplation.
Sri Rama unhesitatingly insists that the student should totally give up (hitva samastam) what has been prescribed by our sacred books as something that we must diligently pursue (vidhivat coditam).
With the integrated mind and intellect rendered single-pointed, quiet, alert, and vigilant, let the seeker exclusively turn his entire attention to the Self within (sva-atmanan) and realize that it is Self everywhere (akhila-atmanam bhajet).
In the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad, Yajnavalkya insists that “this Self is to be ‘seen’: you must hear, reflect, and meditate upon it.”
Through such steady practice, when the successful seeker satisfies the four necessary conditions of the mind, he or she glides effortlessly into the higher state of the pure Self, the Rama-state. The individual becomes fully liberated from all the encumbrances of the body-mind-intellect – the equipments of experience – and is forever freed from all shackles of objects-emotions-thoughts–the fields of experience. Never can these conditionings entrap him again, as he has awakened to the state of the Self. He lives blessing the world with his pure holiness, even if he is not “doing” anything: his mere presence is an inspiration to the rest of society.
If he is thus liberated from all equipments, why are the equipments not falling away dead, when their owner, the ego, has been liberated ? The answer is that the force of its prarabdha karma keeps the body alive. The body is the product of our own karma (vasanas), and it is also a product of the karmas of others. One can redeem oneself of all one’s own karmas, but the body still lives and functions, sustained by the karmas of others. This macrocosmic vasana (samasti karma( is the equipment of the Lord (Isvara). Thus, a man of perfection is functioning under the Lord’s will only. Without any sense of “I-do” (ahankara) and any attachment (asakti), he appears to be functioning in the world, himself ever living the experience of the infinite Self, Sri Rama.
Once his share of destiny is exhausted, he merges into Brahman. This state is called videha-mukti. Even earlier, when others were considering him as a member of the community, he was already a liberated person (jivan-mukti).
atmanyabheden vibhavayannidam bhavatyabheden mayatmana tada yatha jalam varinidhau yatha payah ksire viyadvyomnyanile yathanilah.
Just as when water is poured into the ocean, as milk is poured into milk, as space is merged into space, as air is merged into air to mingle together and become one indistinguishable sameness, so, too, when the seeker contemplates upon this world of plurality as identical in essence with the Self, he comes to realize and live his total oneness with Me, the Self.
In the seat of meditation, through intense contemplation, the seeker persuades his individualized self to entirely drop all its identifications with the body-mind-intellect. He then effortlessly glides into the higher state of Conciousness and becomes indistinguishably one with it. When a river reaches the ocean, it loses both its name and form and becomes one with all the oceans around the world.
To vividly portray this total Oneness, Sri Rama repeatedly employs the classical examples that one meets with in the Vedantic tradition. When water is poured into the ocean, you cannot, later on, remove that specific sample of water, as it has merged completely with the oceanic waters. After a cup of milk is poured into a bucket of milk, that specific cup of milk can then no longer be separated from the total quantity of milk in the bucket. When a jar is broken, the space contained in the jar immediately and irretrievably merges with the space in the room, without effort, readily and naturally. Similarly, when a window is suddenly opened, the air inside the room and outside the room mingles. In all these examples, the idea hammered into the student is that on waking up to the higher state of Consciousness, the Essence in the core of the limited individual is realized as being identical with that which is at the core of the whole universe, the one nondual Self, the sole Substratum upon which the plurality of names and forms appears to dance, creating the illusion of a timebound world of flux.
“The knower of Brahman becomes Brahman,” say the scriptures. The distinctions between the individualized ego (jiva), the world of plurality (jagat), and the Creator of it all, the omnipotent, omniscient God, all merge together to be one Self divine. The Mundaka Upanisad declares clearly. “This world of dynamic action is nothing but Brahman.” This is again supported by the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad. When it declares. “All these are nothing but this Atman.
English Wording:
ittham yadikseta hi lokasamsthito jaganmrsaiveti vibhavayanmunih
nirakrtatvacchruti yuktimanato yathendubhedo disi digbhramadayah
Even if a wordly minded person of reflection were to practice this abheda-bhav (experience of nondifference), he, too, shall experience Me, because the world of plurality is indeed a delusion, which is proved by the words of the Upanisads and by logical thinking. The worl is a delusion just as the many moons seen, or as teh confusion of direction we may experience in a new place. Even if a person of reflection is still earth-bound, still has body-fascination, and is attracted by the fancied charms of sense objects (lokasamsthitah), if such a person dwells on the idea that the world of plurality is no-thing other than pure Conciousness, he, too, shall in time develop more and more detachment and move ahead into the spiritual dimension. In the end he will realize Me and My glory, the Self, pure and nondual.
As the spiritual seeker’s sadhana gathers momentum, his identification with the body becomes relatively diminished, and to that relative degree his sensuous life of passion naturally transforms itself into the contemplative life of spiritual pursuit: he moves from the undivine world of passions and yearnings into the divine realm of inner peace and fulfillment.
This world of names and forms is indeed a delusion, a misapprehension. The names and forms are impermanent, and therefore false. However, Reality, which is their substratum, is permanent and true. Through the authority of scriptural statements and through our own logical thinking we can come to the conclusion that this world of names and forms is delusory in nature. “Brahman is one without a second.” “In Brahman there is no plurality.” “This dynamic world of happenings is nothing but Brahman.” “This entire perceived world of names and forms is all nothing but Atman.” All these vivid and forceful statements from different Upanisads given out by different masters, in different periods of time, arrived at from different angles and through varying logical approaches, should clearly give authority to the claim about the delusory nature of the world.
Not only the authoritative statements of the scriptures command us, but by careful observation and close study of the data so collected, we can logically and rationally arrive at the same picture of illusoriness of the world of multiplicity. During sleep or under chloroform, when the mind is folded up, the world of plurality is not available for our experience. That which remains in all the three periods of time is Truth, Reality. In the dream, the waking world is negated. In deep sleep, both the dream world and the waking world are negated. When we wake up, yesterday’s dream and the peaceful deep-sleep experience are both totally negated.
Only the Substratum upon which these three realms of experience came and danced and from which they disappeared remains, Waves rise, clash with each other, and disappear, but the ocean upon which they came to play their game was continually there – before the waves took shape, while they clashed, and after they totally disappeared. In order to drive home the idea that names and forms are delusory and the Substratum is permanent and true, the teacher in Rama is tempted to string together some examples. In all these examples, certain entities are as though “seen,” yet, on analysis, our rational mind discovers them as mere illusions: We know there is only one moon; yet, we can see many moons reflected in many pools of water. Also, by pressing the top of the eyeball and thus creating defective vision in our eyes, we can actually “see” two moons in the sky !
Similarly, at dusk, a traveler to a new town in his weariness gets confused about his sense of direction. He will have to inquire of others and realize that what he thought was east is actually north. Once he has ascertained the true east, all his confusions end, and he gains the true knowledge of all the four directions.
yavanna pasyedakhilam madatmakam tavanmadaradhanatatparo bhavet sraddhaluratyurjitabhaktilaksano yastasya drsyo ‘hamaharnisam hrdi
As long as one is not able to “see” the entire world of plurality as My divine nature, so long one must worship My form with all devotion. In the pure heart of him who is endowed with deep faith and mighty devotion I become self-evident.
When the individual (jiva), in moments of deep contemplation, leaves all his identity capers with the body-mind-intellect equipment, the experiencer-ego awakens to the state of God-Conciousness, the Self. In that state, the familiar world of names and forms, interpreted by the equipments of experience, gets wiped out. The usual world of objects-emotions-thoughts disappears into the vision of the pure, blissful Self, Sri Rama.
As long as this mind-transforming experience of the one Self, without properties (nirguna), has not happened to a seeker, let him engage himself in the worship of Me, in My enchanting form (saguna). Worship nourishes devotion to the Lord, and when love is directed to an altar, the mind gravitates easily, readily, and effortlessly toward it. When we live in an attitude of surrender to Him – “Lord ! Thy will be done, not mine” – the existing vasanas get exhausted, and the inner personality of the devotee becomes extremely quiet and peaceful. In such a purified heart, rich in understanding and in supreme devotion, the Self, which is ever with us, comes to shine out, just as the sun emerging out of the clouds.
Behind the thick wall of our mental agitation lies the Self, apparently hidden, veiled form our direct apprehension. When the mind is de-clutched from its preoccupations with the world of perceptions, feelings, and thoughts, in that still moment of utter silence of deepest contemplation, the individuality disappears into the vision of Sri Rama, the supreme Self.
Text LIX
rahasyametacchrutisarasangraham maya viniscitya tavoditam priya yastvetadalocayatiha buddhiman sa mucyate patakarasibhih ksanat.
This discourse that I have given you here, dear brother, is upon the great secret, the very essence of the Upanisads, which I have assimilated and ascertained in my life’s personal experience. Any intelligent man who reflects upon these ideas shall, too, get liberated from all his host of sins.
“You are dear to Me,” says Rama, because Laksmana had purified himself by his selfless service to Rama, with deep and abiding devotion to the Lord. To Laksmana, Rama was never a mere elder brother. He was Lord Rama, the supreme Self.
That which Rama revealed in the Rama Gita is the very essence of all the Upanisads (srutisarangraha). And it is a great secret (rahasya). This great secret of the Upanisads can be ascertained only with the help of a sadguru and through sincere efforts in contemplation by the seeker. Sri Rama confesses to his brother that the theme he is giving out in this Gita is what “I had ascertained in my own subjective, direct realization.” You, too, strive with ease to realize this state and be one liberated while living (a jivan-mukta), Rama encourages us.
“Anyone who has your qualities of head and heart,” Rama is saying to Laksmana. “and who can seriously reflect upon this science of Reality (Brahmavidya) that I have revealed, can learn to enjoy the state of total fulfillment as a jivan-mukta.” Such a person very easily goes beyond all vasanas – both good and bad – patakarasibhih; and it takes no time (ksanat mucyate). When the criminal dies, the punishment for the crimes committed has no bearing; when the doer_I, the ego, ends, all vasanas must cease to be effective.
Text LX
bhrataryadidam paridrsyate jaga – nmayaiva sarvam parihrtya cetasa madbhavanabhavita suddhamanasah sukhi bhavanandamayo niramayah
Brother ! This perceived world of experiences is all but an idle projection of Maya (delusory, not real). Renouncing all identification with this, turn to Me alone with a purified heart. May you become thus ever blissful, with no restless sorrows, continuously happy.
Dear brother Laksmana, the world experienced as objects-emotions-thoughts, through the vehicles of experience (body-mind-intellect) are all mere products of delusion (Maya). Leave your misconceptions that they are real and all the consequent identification which you have cultivated with them. With your thoughts and emotions so purified, quieted and becalmed, turn your attention from the snare of Maya through steady contemplation upon My infinite, divine nature. May you thus become sukhi, away from all the sorrows of plurality; niramaya, peaceful, as you will be away from the vasana-tickled mental agitations; and blissful in the direct experience of the Self. At the end of all nonapprehension, all misapprehension of plurality ends: you will reach the final state of beatitude.
Text LXI
yah sevate mamagunam gunatparam hrda kada va yadi va gunatmakam so ‘ham svapadancitarenubhih sprsan punati lokatritayam yatha ravih.
Anyone who contemplates upon My pure, formless nature, or on Me with qualities and form, becomes of My nature, Brahman. Wherever such a fulfilled seeker goes, he makes the place holy with the mere touch of his sacred feet, just as the sun purifies the earth its atmosphere.
Sri Rama earlier advised Laksmana that in case one was not capable of directly contemplating upon the pure Self in its unconditioned, absolute nature, he could “worship My form.” In order to conceive of the vast, infinite Self, the mind must have the canvas-area to embrace and accommodate the full spread of the all-pervading Substratum of the universe. In its attachments, its limit vision and interests, its petty selfishnesses and laughable vanities, our distorted, stunted mind cannot successfully lift itself to the Absolute.
In the present state of our mind, then, the only available technique is devoted worship of the Self with form and qualities. This worship of an “idol,” a symbol that represents the highest Essence, is a sanctioned technique. In this verse, Sri Ramacandraji places his signature of approval on this method of worship.
“No doubt, in My ultimate nature, “Rama confesses, “I am without gunas – I am beyond gunas. “In fact, Rama is the very Consciousness that illumines all gunas. But in case a seeker, due to the agitated nature of his mind or due to his compelling sensuous nature, is not able to conceive of and contemplate upon this formless, pure nature, the Paramatman (mukhya), let him worship “My lower nature” (gauna), Rama as the son of Dasaratha, with qualities – omnipotent, omniscient, Lord of the Universe, beauty-incamate.
This worship is not to be a mere mechanical, physical routine, but must issue forth from the pure heart (hrda sevate), with ardent prayers, sincere surrender, and steady contemplation. In contemplation upon the pure, unconditioned Self, learn to identify yourself with Me, the Self, or in abiding devotion steadily contemplate upon My form and qualities, says Sri Rama. In either case, you will arrive to realize Me and become Me. The Bhagavad Gita also assures us of this final state. Those who worship the Lord’s form will also reach the supreme state of fulfillment. In the final stages of his intense devotion, the devotee comes to realize that he is not separate from Me; I shall lift him up to this higher state of realization.
Both the devotee of form and the contemplator of the Formless, render everything divine in their inner, direct knowledge; they sanctify whatever they touch, and wherever they roam about, they make the place holy with the mere touch of their feet. Jerusalem, Mecca, Saranatha, Kashi, the Himalayas are all famous and spiritually holy because of the masters whose presence sanctified them. Such masters need not “do” anything: their mere presence is sufficient, just as the sun nurtures, nourishes, and purifies everything it illumines.
vinnanametadakhilam srutisaramekam vedantavedyacaranena mayaiva gitam yah sraddhaya paripathed gurubhaktiyukto madrupameti yadi madvacanesu bhaktih.
This entire science of Reality, along with the techniques of realization (sadhanas), forming the essence of the Upanisads, is sung by Me – the “quarter” that is to be realized only through the Upanisadic declarations. He who with firm devotion to his teacher with ardent faith merely reads or hears this Rama Gita, he, too, can reach My form – if he has faith in My words.
The contents of this Gita, elucidating the supreme Knowledge, is the very Truth enshrined in the Upanisads. It speaks of the nondual Self, the One without a second, and “I, Sri Rama, the Self.” am giving it out. This Self, Sri Rama, is the state to be known through study of and contemplation upon the pregnant declarations of the Vedas.
“I am that quarter declared in the Vedas” – the quarter with which the Supreme supports the entire universe of names and forms. The world of change rests only upon a part of the Infinite, three-quarters of which is untouched by the plurality twinkling in time and space ! The Bhagavad Gita also expresses the same idea: “I am carrying the entire universe with a mere portion of Me.” This quarter is the very support of the entire universe of names and forms, the stage upon which the entire dynamic drama of life is being played out. This Lord of the universe, now acting as Sri Rama, is giving out this Rama Gita.
Whoever (yah) can reflect upon the meaning of these verses and contemplate upon their significance, if he has cultivated deep devotion to the guru, and also the ability to intellectually gain an understanding of the subtle impact of these verses (sraddhavan), even if he only reads or hears this Gita, he too, can gain “My form divine.” Rama-form here is identical with the nature of the Self (Atma-svarupa).
Thus ends the fifth chapter, in the Uttarakanda of Srimad Adhyatma Ramayana – a dialogue between Uma and Mahesvara – Rama Gita, by Veda Vyasa.