The Nature as Teacher – 24 Gurus around us

Life comes in various shapes, sizes and flavor. We share this world with natural elements of earth, space, fire, air, water, animals, plants, minerals and people. Of course there are supposed to be unknown elements and let us leave it out. We interact with them. A man who learns from his own experience leads a miserable life. the one who learns from others also leads a average life. The one who learns from anything and everything around us leads an exemplary life.

There is a converstation between “Dattatreya”, a Sage, and “Yadu”, a King in “Bhagavatham” where Dattatreya, when asked,  explains the reason for his happiness to the king, that it is because he has learned about the world from his Surrounding, Nature, and 24 Gurus follows it, he is happy, though from worldy point of view he might be considered a impoverished.

Now what are the 24 teachers around us. They are:

The Earth The Air The Sky Water Fire Moon
Sun Pigeon Python Sea Moth Honeybee
Elephant Honey Thief Deer Fish Prostitute Pingala Kurara Bird
The Child Young Girl Arrow Maker Serpent Spider Wasp

The Twenty-Four Gurus:

1.Earth: We use and abuse earth. We dig it out, load it, scorch it, dirty it and what not. Yet it provides us the plant, minerals, water bodies for our survival. It brings us stability. It is patient. Despite doing all this it supports us. Thus people may insult us, cheat us, ignore us do whatever may be keeping patience and not taking on us and not worrying about it helps us keep our mind stable and worry free. Learn the art of patience, performing ones duty, forbearance and helpful tendencies from Earth.

2. The Air: The air has no smell but carries the scent from the surroundings be it good and bad. But it is not tainted by it. The aromatic smell of flowers, spices, perfume or bad smell from dump yard, pollution does not affect the inherent quality of air. Same way the air goes into pipe in one but the sound that comes from it is varied. The cow is of different color but the milk is of white. Likewise the Atma-soul in all of us is Real, Happy and Eternal and is not affected by the happening to the person.

3. The sky: The sky is vast. Atma is so. Though the sky extends everywhere and everything rests within it, it does not mix with anything. The sky is never implicated or affected by the blowing action of the wind, water, rain, thunder or clouds. In the same way the living entity, the atma, is never affected though it may enter a body of material elements, the life.

4. Water: Water is essential for living. It is needed for our livelihood – drinking, cooking, cleaning, bathing, extraction, factory production etc. It is a great coolant and provides taste for food. It is a wonderful cleanser. The great seers of the world are like water. The yogi like that cleanses all the people who come in contract with him. Essentially that in being touch with great people everyone achieves greatness. Connecting with good people, help one in providing direction in leading the life.

5. Agni: The fire has beauty. It Illuminates.It is not easily reachable. Anything you put in it digests. It burns everything it comes into contact. It is impartial to shape, size and type of product. The Yogis and great people have charisma akin to Fire. He is not impacted by his company or the food he eats. He is able to maintain his purity under all conditions. Like fire he comes into contact with people for some time but he goes back to his work. He helps those who approach him also to achieve greatness. Similarly Atma is not affected by the body it takes, works based on it and comes and goes. From fire  learn to glow with the splendor of Self-knowledge and austerity.

6. Moon: The moon waxes and wanes but because of that the moon is not any less. So also the person who is born gets modified throughout his life – Being, born, change, growth, decline and death. And because the body is changed it is incorrect to assume the soul also gets transformed. Soul remains inviolate. As the man changes his cloths the Atma drops the body when it is not able to support him and gets into new one.

7. Sun: Sun is the cause for water cycle and clouds but it never takes credit for the same. The sun in the pond seems like moving but it does not. Sun Illuminates. Same way the soul and a Yogi does not take credit for the acts of body. The Atma seems to be affected by the acts of body but it is not.

8. Pigeon: Once in a family of pigeons, the father sees its wife and children are caught in hunter’s net and goes to free it, fails and it also gets caught in the same web. This is because of the excessive attachment, for the father pigeon thinks that without them life is not worth living. Had it thought for moment that it is difficult to free them it would not have attempted this and thus saving self. So also, we, the human beings get muddled into life because of our excess attachment. Attachment is bondage. The right way, learning from pigeon would be to love and yet be not excessively attached. Loving yet being discriminatory and detached our life would be peaceful.

  • to be continued

24 Gurus from Bhagavatam

 

Choose your company wisely

Influence of association:

When a drop of water falls on a heated vessel, it makes hiss before it evaporates into thin air.

When a drop of water falls on a lotus petal, it lies there, gleaming in the morning sun and then gradually disappears.

When a drop of water falls into the mouth of a molluscs, especially in the Swati star, fifteenth lunar mansion in the path of the moon, it is transferred into a pearl.

This illustrates that often, it is the company that determines the nature of things. The company that one keeps will undoubtedly influence on one’s nature. Ones company can control most of ones action and intellectual decisions.

_ Chanakya

Three states of Mind

The Man, the Mind and the world  

The senses together with mind, intellect, ego and consciousness makes the world of man. The eyes, ears etc. connect with the external object, send in the details of it to the mind which then connects with intellect and ego or personal experiences to produce the conscious knowledge about the object of visualization, hearing etc. Thus the real world is in the action, reaction of mind to the external objective world. Thus the world is not what is outside but what is in our perception, our decoding of it and our reaction to it. The real sense of self is beyond all that. This makes the mind as the most important instrument in the hands of the man. If the man is willing to stand up with and work the mind, then he becomes intelligent. If he is not able to control it then it falls apart and bound to lead him to destruction.

The Hinduism and Yoga philosophy understands this and is particular about the various tendencies, characteristics, attitudes of mind and how mind can be cultivated for more informed life and happiness. This commentary is an effort to understand the various characteristics of mind, its effect, its modification and ultimate selection of attributes that one needs for the appropriate stage of life.

Mind and its tendencies per Vedanta

The mind is said to be in three states or gunas  namely, Tamas, Rajas and Sattva. Gunas in Sanskrit means quality, attribute, virtue, or characteristic. These thress gunas operate in man in his mind/thought/action in various proportions. In fact, these three characteristics make up the world. Everything that is manifested such as space, time, knowledge, action, result, material goods, the situation is a composition of these three attributes. The interaction between these qualities leads to the evolution of man. All the three gunas are important and cannot operate in isolation and yet they have been graded as per the benefits that accrue to the man because of these traits.

Three states of Mind

Now what are the qualities of each of these states. Each of them has some inherent attributes associated with it, acts on person in certain way and there are ways to overcome it.

Tamo Guna: It is a state of ignorance.  Tamo guna represents a state of darkness, inertness, a state where ones memory is weak and who is indifferent. Inertia, coarseness, heaviness, obstruction and sloth are some of the qualities of people with dominance of tamo guna. Tamas is the state of ignorance, darkness, laziness, indulgence and brute force.  It is lowest of the three forces/gunas. It promotes darkness, dissolution, death, destruction, sloth and resistance. It is also a guna or quality that is needed to counter evil. It is the lowest, heaviest, slowest and most dull like an earthen pot. It is devoid of the energy of rajas and brightness of sattva.

Tamas is due to ignorance, poverty, backwardness, illiteracy, disease, malnutrition, poor health, bad habits and resultant weak mind. It results in ignorance and heaviness as it opposes knowledge and lightness and produces the nature of sorrow and sadness that leads to a state of being bound by the circumstances.

Tamas can not be countered by sattva but has to be changed by engaging in action which is a rajasic quality.

Rajo Guna :

It is a state where is mind is full of passion and motion. The leading attribute of rajo guna are  quality of energy and activity. Dynamism, activity, excitement and pain and pleasure are the leading characteristics of the people dominated by this quality. Rajasik people are action oriented, who have strong belief in their doership, individualistic, and blinded and attached to the results of their action. Ideal example for rajo guna dominated person are business men, soldier and politicians. They are driven by their sense organs and mind and like to enjoy life in its fullest possibility. They love food that is pungent, sour and gives pleasure to senses.  In terms of color red depicts them well.

Rajas is the state of activity whose chief motives are power and enjoyment. When one is in this state, the mind makes him restless, a workholoic, seeker of new sensations and variety. He has a passion for new places, person, objects, activity, music, books, travel, food and enjoyment in general. They are extraverts. They tend to be judgemental and seeing both good and bad and hence are affected by pain and pleasure to a great extent.  It is worldly, achievement oriented mind always in search of something and hence in continuous state of activity and agitation arising out of it. Rajo guna is needed whenever any action is to be carried out. The down side of this need for uncontrolled activity is unfixity of mind affected by distractions that prevents a person from being focused in an activity for a long time there by creating obstacles in reaching desired results.

Rajo guna when combined with tamo guna results in actions that is detrimental but still needed to wake up people from their state of apathy and darkness.  And when rajo and sattva guna is combined the result is beneficial to everyone. Rajo guna in its own tends to be activity for selfish gain and when combined with sattvik tendencies would result in collective goodness. The activity driven state when finds an outlet that is uplifting, purposeful, pure and beneficial goal the outcome is bound to be liberating. If on the other hand one tries to control the restlessness by artificial means it is likely to find outlet in some other means that could be detrimental. So well directed and controlled activity is essential for peace and happiness.

Intensely active mind is known to take a satvic turn and history is repeat with such examples

Sattva Guna:

Sattva is the quality of purity and light. It is a state where one is not attached to the result despite performing, where one has faith in self and poise, fineness, lightness, illumination and joy are the qualities. Knowledge is the prime mover here and saint, sage are the people in whom Sattva is said to be dominant. Sattva people are said to like food that is wholesome, pure and easily available and their color is white.

Sattva is the state of serenity, calmness. It is not the apparent state of calmness and laziness of tamas. It is rather an active state and like the calmness on the top of lake where in ripples have stopped post the creation of ripple when a stone is thrown in.   It is a state where mind is controlled and unaffected by the thoughts emanating from and the actions of external world. It is where the mind is not affected by the dualities of pain and pleasure. It is a state where patience and desires are under control. It is a state where mind is steady unaffected by the turbulence created by the external world and internal deliberations on it. It is a state of awareness where in one knows that the world is in mind and ultimate peace is in mind. There is no dualities in the world and that there is only one creator and everything else is the different manifestation of the same. It is ultimate state where and which leads to liberation.  It leads to a state of great knowledge, of pure and determined will and a state of being-consciousness-bliss. Sattvic virtues are patience, generosity and Sattva guna is developed by prayer, thinking, good company, meditation, light food, discrimination and self-learning.

The result of such state of mind is that because of its steadiness one is able to get rid of ignorance and gains knowledge. He gains freedom from the pain and pleasure syndrome comes from the activities. The mind is able to enquire into various aspects of the world and is able to take impartial and superior decisions, though it is not the ultimate aim of it. The mind that delights in itself ultimately and becomes capable of engaging in focused activities for a longer duration is the character of mind in Sattva dominated persons. It is the mind that is capable of turning out outstanding work whatever may the field in which one is engaged.

Sattva to be effective has to manifest on its own accord and should not be forced.

The result of tamo is carelessness and laziness, rajo is anger and sense of balance or equilibrium is from the result of sattva state dominating.  Rajas is akin to life force in one and Tamas is the physical body and Sattva is the natural state of mind a state where the externalities have no effect and the state where mind is calm, conscious and happy.

-by Karparation

Knowledge acquisition as in Upanishads

“Knowledge is Infinite. What we know is very little.”

 

Knowledge as pure consciousness is infinite. What we know collectively and individually is limited and unknown is humongous. And knowledge has various names, forms, levels and types in all variety of subjects. World over trillions is being spent in the name of education. Corporations are spending in billion for training and knowledge management. Multiplicity of mediums, tools, technology and techniques are in vogue.  How effective are we in it? Are we learning right and learning the right subjects? Is there an order and process to acquire knowledge?

India has a rich tradition by way of Vedas and Upanishads.  Vedas and Upanishads are the fountain of knowledge both secular and spiritual. For they are prior to the times when philosophy and science and arts with is various sub divisions became a separate subject of study on their own.  The “Chandogya Upanishads” seventh chapter which goes by the title “Bhumaiva Sukham” meaning “completeness is happiness”, has a beautiful exposition on learning and knowledge acquisition.

It starts as dialogue between Sage Narada and Sage Sanatkumara where in Narada requests Sanatkumara to teach him for which Sanatkumara asks him to tell what he knows and beyond that he will teach.  Narada replies saying that he is well versed in phenomenal knowledge or secular knowledge of maths, science, astronomy, arts and art forms, architecture, politics, economics and so on. He understands that while these knowledge helps him to make a livelihood, acquire name and fame, wealth, and power it is not capable of giving him lasting happiness and peace of mind. What is the knowledge that by which one can go beyond, sorrow, ignorance and delusions?  Sage Sanatkumara replies that what he has learnt is only the theoretical knowledge in the forms of words, objects and thoughts pertaining to the physical world. However, one has to have self-knowledge to gross over the worldly problems. But then prior to acquiring self-knowledge there are different stages of knowledge that one has to acquire before self knowledge could be acquired. Thus begins his instruction for acquiring secular knowledge.

Meditation or worship as a technique of acquiring knowledge

Meditation or worship is an intellectual and internalized concept, as in this context is, different from the earlier notion of, as a form of physical worship, actual sacrifice and offerings to god. It is a state of heightened concentration where whatever is meditated upon is completely identified, absorbed with self and unified with as one identifies self-consciousness with one’s body.

To consciously superimpose or invoke a superior, or extraordinary thought or ideal in an ordinary object and venerating it as higher is called worship. Worshipping lord Shiva in the form of an idol, Jesus in the form of cross, or god in the form of fire, space, direction, nation in the form of flag are some of the examples. Such conscious impositions of higher in the lower and meditating on its attributes makes it easier for the mind to concentrate, focus, devoid of distractions and conflicts such that mind is able to imbibe the qualities of the idols in us.  As it depends on the person who is invoking it, the success of meditation is purely personal depending upon the strength of worship, time frame, period and sincerity. Depending upon what one is idealizing and practicing, the meditation can give him the worldly accomplishments of success, prosperity, fame, comforts and also other capabilities.

Knowledge starts as Names and forms

Every form or object has a name.  The names are much wider in scope than the object or its form. For example, when we see a particular ‘rose’, all the attributes of rose and the experiences in general of rose comes to our mind. And the name and form are generally not separable.  Thus when a name is mentioned the form associated with it manifests. Thus when the words and meanings are acquired and one who meditates on it, all the worldly power thereof can be obtained. However, mind being what it is it seeks to learn something beyond name and forms once it is known. If we recollect, when a child first learns to talk, he gets immense pleasure in identifying the objects around him and calling them by name. or when one learns any subject or language one starts with learning the words and terms specific to the field of study and starts identifying and associating it with objects around him.

Power of Speech

The first knowledge is that of names and forms, and is available as words. However, since speech proceeds words, and being the cause of words, it is superior to words.  All the knowledge originated in the form of sound/speech.  Speech is a powerful form to communicate thoughts. By the power of speech business is won or lost, relationships thrive or wither away, knowledge is acquired and communicated. There are infinite possibilities.

By meditating on that speech one gains mastery over it. The power of speech is improved by truthfulness in it, silence, speaking only when needed, avoiding unnecessary speech, sweetness and gentleness of the words uttered and speaking for the benefit of all.

Mind Power

Mind is superior to speech.  Speech is a process. There are four stages before speech is manifested. It first starts as un-manifest potential, beyond words and thought outside of us.  In the second stage idea takes into to shape in the mind.  In the third stage express is formed in the mind just before speaking.  And in the final stage speech is out of us by the coordination of various organs of the body through vocal cord and mouth. As mind is the cause of speech and proceeds speech, and speech is the effect of mind, mind is superior to speech.

Mind is the cause behind thinking and desire. Mind is the notion behind the self. All the world is created and experience in the mind. Mind is the cause of all names, speech and action. So mediate on the mind. By meditating on mind, one achieves all powers possible by mind.

Mental powers thus gained can be enhanced by living a righteous life, practicing self-contentment and other spiritual powers.

Supremacy of Will (Sankalpa) power

Sankalpa is defined as – power of conception, ideation, intent, desire, volition, resolution, and one pointed determination to achieve something. A vedic sankalpa generally comprises of time, location, constituents, lineage, purpose, wish, desire, target, action to be performed and nature of action. (So who says we thought of the concept of project plan, manifesto and so forth!!!!) it is about setting a positive intention to achieve something.

Man’s discriminating ability, the desire and will to do something is the basis for functioning of the mind. And hence superior to mind power. The will as sacred formulae, the mantra, when intoned with earnestness, appropriateness and correctness will result in action. The entire cycle of creation happens by will. By God’s will are the five elements created and sustained. The heat of the sun causes rain, which produces crops and food and from that sustenance, prana or the vital air, is obtained and by breath action is carried out and from that world is created. The willing creates the whole world and hence worship will.

One who meditates on will gains all the power related there off and is capable of gaining and experiencing wealth, power, fame and all that one intends.  He also acquired the bodily wealth of health body, robust mind, good sense organs, capacity to enjoy without outside obstacles. These though are of temporary nature by virtue of action being limited in its nature and that anything limited can created only things with limitedness.

Cultivation of Intelligence

Intelligence is superior to will, for only when one understands, he will, then he intends in mind which results in speech and name and form. Intelligence is that presence of mind, discriminating capacity, contextual understanding and decision making skill. Hence its greatness. An intelligent man is well respected in the society.

Capacity for Contemplation

Contemplation is greater than intelligence. The whole universe as in earth, heaven, water, mountains, divine beings, man, women, animate and inanimate contemplate and share the results there off. He who contemplates obtains multitude of knowledge. He then becomes free to act. The result of contentment is tranquility, stillness, steadfastness and contentment. Once mind is healthy, it further leads to health body, keen mind both of which enables one to perform well and achieve in the external world. Internally it leads one to a state of ultimate absorption, thoughtlessness resulting in peace and mastery over one’s subject of study.

Capability to Right Understanding

Understanding is superior than contemplation for contemplation is only effective when one understands the subject better for without understanding it is likely to lead to disastrous results. Only by understanding the world all that is in the world the sciences, the scriptures, and the knowable, various aspects of nature, plants, of animals etc, can be studies and research undertaken such that the laws governing them could be known.

The understanding of any knowledge, scriptures etc is gained by listening to the teachers, by self-study and reflection, by discussions with colleagues, and through the passage of time, experience and practice. One who meditates and understands all the scriptures and secular knowledge attains all the powers possible by understanding.

Thus are the various forms of intelligence one being superior to the other. By succeeding in gaining these knowledge one elevates himself to acquire the material wealth and becomes ready for the next stage of gaining self knowledge.

Based on “Bhumaiva Sukham”

Ref: “Bhumaiva Sukham” – Notes on Chandogya Upanishad, Chapter 7, by Swamini Vimalananda, Central Chinmaya Mission Trust Publications, 2003

“Sanatsujatiyam” – The story of US

“Sanatsujatiyam” is a chapter from udyoga parva in Bhagavatam, a well known Indian epic, of the same time period as that of Bhagavat Gita. While Gita is about the dialogue between  Lord Krishna and Arjuna in the battle field, Sanatsujatiyam is the teaching of Sage Sanatsujata  to Dhrutarashtra, the blind King and the father of Kauravas who are one of the main protagonist of Mahabharata war.

The Questions

Sanatsujatiyam answers some fundamental  philosophical questions that has been in our mind from time immemorial and raised by Dhrutarashtra in this case.

What do we do to go beyond all sorrow and will we be able to look with equanimity upon gain and loss, desire and hate, old age and death, joy and sorrow, hunger and thirst, fear and fearlessness, merit and sin, decline and rise the essential dhwandhas or the duality that are the conflicts of life.

Which are the cause of transmigration and how to attain liberation from these.

Is there death are there is no death.

Who are we. What is “Brahman”? How do we know Brahman which is our essential nature. What do we do to regain our essential self.

The man thinks himself to be body, mind and senses.we are active, doing things constantly trying to avoid pain and enjoy pleasures and result is facing miseries and failure to attain freedom which is the goal of life. We are born and we die again and again continuing this life cycle only each time under different body, name and circumstances. But then question arises. Is there death. Or what is death. Who is the real person behind these names and forms.

what is the knowledge that would make man immortal free from the duality of the world. Can enlightenment be reached and death be conquered by performance of Vedic rituals. Could it be done through combination of ritual and knowledge. Seers are of the view that there is death and no death. How can these contradictory views can be realised.

Who are we and when do we die are some of the questions asked of  Sage Sanatsujata and he replies to them as follows.

Who are we

The scriptures say ones real nature is liberation. We are divine beings. We are on vacation in this world.  The death happens when we forget that and fall from that state to this life. This forgetting of the natural state is the cause of all our problems in this life and the start of Karmic activities of production, attainment, modification and purification.

Ignorance is the cause of bondage and knowledge is the cause of liberation and we are all deluded because of this sheath of ignorance

The Atma or the soul residing in a person is beyond body and mind and beyond and continues in three states of waking, dream and deep sleep of a person. Since one is Atma there is no birth and death.

Body identification and doership is the cause for miseries of life. The man who is created from water, five elements, has gross body that embodies soul in his heart which is purely consciousness, and wrongly identifies himself with gross body. This body identification creates  self-not self concept and that leads to all sorrows, joy, misery and worry again based on his karma. Body identification leads to samsara in other words this circle of life of desire fulfillment, old age, decay and death. The five sense organs, the five organs of action, mind and intellect twelve in all are the cause of externalities and by withdrawing them internally the cause of transmigration is avoided and bliss is attained.

When any activity has to be carried out it has to be done with total detachment, without the feeling of ” I ” am doing it and expectation of result. Thus when mind is pure and free from desire and emotions of anger, greed, jealousy etc self knowledge and realisation happens. If one thinks the body is real and there are these unfulfilled desires at the time of death then the soul carries them along with it and comes back again and again. Hence no liberation from this cycle of life or samsara. When sense objects and desire arising from sense organs are understood to be transient and ephemeral leading to more karma and sorrow and overcome liberation is achieved. Raising above the body level and keeping the mind content and calm which happens when there is no thinking or no mind, or when activities of the mind ceases then path to liberation opens.

The  Brahman

The Brahman is that which is beyond cause and effect, all pervasive, beyond the reach of speech and mind that which is present in every being and object in the universe.it is experienced as pure consciousness. The Brahman has no form. It is infinite and not confined into any space and not made up of five elements. It can not be negated and is beyond ignorance. It is subtler than the subtlest and bigger than anything imaginable. It is that from which all in the universe emerges and  and at the end time of universe everything merges with it.  The entire universe shines because of the light of the Brahman. All the universe is established in it.

The person who is born in this world, the self, is the manifestation of Brahman and the self is a non-dual, infinite consciousness and bliss. The knower of self knows it as Brahman and who knows it becomes immortal.

Know Brahman

It is the creator, the supreme being who creates the entire universe out of five elements – fire, air, Earth, water, and ether- in everything and everyone and transmigrates. Who makes him do that and for what purpose and what happens when that action ceases is the play of creation. It is Brahman the being, pure consciousness and bliss.

The Brahman can be attained by truth, rectitude, humility, control of the senses, purity of mind and knowledge and keeping out pride and delusion.

Avoid these

As to the question if one can escape the consequences of sinful acts if he has learnt the scriptures the answer is no and that the fruits of good and bad activities have to be experienced separately and that one does not negates the other. The Brahman can be obtained by tapas which is rigour, penance and austerity. As it is affected the qualities of desire, anger, lust, greed, ignorance, pleasure from sense objects, cruelty, casting aspersions delusion, complaining, worry, covetousness malice, envy and hatred aspirant should avoid these qualities. Also one should avoid sense gratification, prosperity at the cost of others (note the qualifier here), lamenting giving away of gift after it is done, willing to face humiliation for gain, lack of discrimination, boasting and  ill treating one’s spouse.

Pride and the qualities that amplify it are also to be avoided by one.

Cultivate these qualities

One who knows Brahman is a brahmana. (Note – it is by qualities and not be birth). And the twelve great qualities of brahmana are speaking truth, speaking what is good for others, controlling ones mind, studying scriptures, caring for well being of others, proprietary, not talking about faults of others in public, self control under all circumstrances and control of senses. Thus those who have achieved these qualities would be in a position to attain great knowledge and success and position in this world.

Control of senses is effective when along with above qualities one is not quarrelsome, respects all, not lamenting about past or worrying about future, equanimous in all circumstances, Knowledgeable, not causing injury to others, detached and spiritualistic.

Practising the above leads one to happiness.

Know thy self

An object is identified by words only if it has some quality as name, form, action, and relationship with some other objects. As the self does not have any of these qualities it cannot be described but only perceived as pointed by Vedas. Self can be realised by giving up sense objects, which is done by withdrawing senses, being quite, away from all actions and by contemplation and meditation. Brahman is the source of all names and forms and self is Brahman. So knower of the self knows the source of everything in the universe. Attaining Brahman, the ultimate reality, pure consciousness, bliss (sat, chit, ananda) that is happiness, and that is the goal of life. And those who attain the knowledge of self are liberated.

Thus one who knows himself to be Brahman had no death. It is unborn and is the self of all moving and unmoving. By meditating on this he is fulfilled. Brahman is immortal and all beings are born from it and merge into it. Brahman is the self, not self and all that exist and exist not.

-Karparation

Ref:

-“Sanatsujatiyam” translated by S N Sastri

  • Discourse by Shri Swami Anubhavananda Saraswati on Sanatsujatiyam – available on YouTube

Series in Living IV – J Krishnamurthi on Living

J Krishnamurthi on Life

Life demands that you listen to every movement of it.

Life is yourself, your thoughts, your feelings, your activities, your ways of life. How you react to all that is the movement of life. And you have to listen to it passionately, completely, totally with all your being. Then only does one understand the actual fact of life and the movement of life in which thought and mind can flow

Because our life is very short, we have to live so completely in the now. So we have to understand this movement of life with its tradition, with its brutality, with its agony, with its violence, disorder; and in understanding this movement of confusion, conflict, out of such understanding comes order. So, order has to come naturally not by your act of will as then it would create conflict.

All the characteristics of man, most of the characteristics of the human being are shown in the animal. Unless there is a transformation in each one of us as a human being – that is, freeing ourselves from the animal – we shall live everlastingly in conflict.

What brings about unity is the understanding of disunity? Nationalism, religious organizations, beliefs, dogmas, conceptual attitudes towards life – all these bring about disunity. You and I notice this; any intelligent man reading history, observing daily facts, knows all this; and yet we keep on repeating this pattern over and over again. So we do not learn through suffering, we do not learn through experience, we do not learn through history. But apparently we just want to live for the moment, suffer and die and not re-create a new world, a new sense of being.

As long as you are satisfied, as long as you are left undisturbed in your little backyard, as long as nothing threatens you, you live peacefully. But the moment there is any kind of threat, any kind of uncertainty – uncertainty about your relationship with your wife – you become violent; when there is uncertainty about your position, when you are not capable of fulfilling yourself, being somebody, having a position, prestige, when all those are threatened, you become violent.

So what you really want is not the ending of violence; what you really want is to be completely secure, both inwardly and outwardly. You want to be secure inwardly with your ideas, secure in your relationships, secure in your concepts. But unfortunately you can never be secure. That is one of the first things you realize: that life is not for the secure – which does not mean that you must be insecure or that you must seek insecurity. That is, each one of us, as a human being, wants to be secure within the pattern which we have created for ourselves as being secure, and that pattern will invariably contradict the pattern of another, and so there is a battle between us. And if you observe, not idealistically but factually, life is never secure. There is disease; there is death; nothing is secure. As a human being, can you understand for yourself – observing life, the every day incidents – that there is no such thing as security, that life is a movement, an endless movement? And a man who can move with it and go beyond this movement – he will find that peace, that joy, that eternity.

And seriousness leads to efficiency, clarity. It is only the serious, earnest man that lives, and the rest become merely either cannon fodder or useless human beings.

Revolution must begin within oneself. And then you will have peace, a state of non-violence, a state of freedom from violence and order. Without these we are not human beings; we are violent, destructive, incapable of order, and therefore we have no love thinking one thing and doing another; thinking marvellous thoughts, how you should be this and that and the other, and living contrary to them. So there is this contradiction. The more intellectual, verbal, theoretical, political you are, the greater is the contradiction: because you are living in theories, but not in facts. So this contradiction breeds conflict.

We are concerned with the life of each one of us, because each one of us has to live in relationship, and relationship is life. And when there is conflict in that relationship, then it is destruction, it is disorder. A man who is not in conflict with himself or with society – he has no conflict and therefore he is essentially peaceful.

So, we see all this – effort, contradiction, imitation, conformity to a pattern, this everlasting thinking, thinking which has very little meaning; that is our daily life, our daily problem of anxiety, of fear, of greed, of envy. Seeing all this how is a human mind which is the result of time, which is the result of violence – how is such a mind to bring about a mutation within itself.

The fragmentation of our lives in various roles that we carry- they are all contradictions, there we live in departments and each department is in contradiction with the other. And so our life is a series of contradictions and therefore conflicts, therefore misery and confusion. And unless we solve this problem of fragmentation for ourselves, as human being, we shall always be in a contradiction and conflict and therefore in sorrow.

Life has no significance. Life is meant to be lived, and in that very living one begins to discover the reality, the truth, the beauty of life. To discover the truth, the beauty of life, you must understand the total movement of it. And to understand the total movement of it, you have to end all this fragmentary thinking and ways of life; you have to cease to be a Hindu, not only in name, but inwardly; you have to cease to be a Muslim, or a Buddhist, or a Catholic with all the dogmas, because these things are dividing people, dividing your own minds, your own hearts.

Because life is not something outside, something that is flowing by, which we look at. Life is this movement in ourselves, of which we are a part; it is that which we have to understand, which we have to unravel, comprehend, love, pursue; and we have to imbibe deeply the full significance of it all. Life is action from the beginning to the end; the whole movement is action. But, unfortunately, we have divided action into fragments: noble action, ignoble action, political action, religious action, scientific action, the action of the reformer, the action of the socialist, the action of the communist and so on and on. We have broken it up, and therefore there is a contradiction between each action, and there is no understanding of the total movement of action.

All life is relationship; and till we understand clearly the problem of relationship in our life, at whatever level we may try to live, fully or fragmentarily, we will always be in a state of conflict, confusion and misery.

if you will make life a significant thing in itself, a life that has a meaning, a life that is rich, full, complete – is that you understand this question of fear and death. Without love, without this feeling of beauty, life naturally becomes utterly empty. And being empty we seek the gods which are man-made; being empty, beliefs, dogmas, rituals become very important; and we fill that emptiness with these tawdry affairs of things, tawdry affairs which have been put together by man. So if you would know what love is, there must be freedom from jealousy, from conflict, from the desire to dominate, the desire to be powerful – which means you must live peacefully to know what love is, not outside of life, but each of us, as a human being, is both society and the individual. The individual is not separate from society; the individual has created the psychological structure of society, and in that psychological structure he is caught. And therefore he tries to break away from that psychological structure, which is a mere revolt and therefore does not resolve any problem.

I see that violence, in itself, is destructive; in itself, it destroys the human mind because, if I am competing, fulfilling, struggling, battling with you and with everything, the brain wears itself out. There is no affection, there is no tenderness, no grace, no beauty. I see that, but I do not know how to change this thing called violence.

So we need to bring about a radical mutation in our relationship, economically, socially, politically and all the rest of it, and also in our relationship with ourselves, in the relationships which we have created as an image according to which we function. Unless there is a change in the image that each one of us has about oneself, about the society, about the various values that we have given to life, unless we look at all these problems with clarity, mere outward change brought about by communism, by socialism, by war, or by great inventions will have very little meaning. Because in ourselves the image of ourselves will project, and according to that image we live. Unless in that image there is a mutation, unless that image is completely shattered, we cannot possibly have right relationship and therefore a way of life totally different from that which we are living now.

We said that there must be in ourselves and in our relationships a great change, because we cannot as human beings lead the lives that we are doing: in battle with ourselves. The society is you, and you are the society. The psychological structure of society has been created by each human being, and in that psychological frame each human being is caught. And until the human being breaks that psychological structure within himself, completely and totally, he is incapable of living peacefully with a great sense of reality.

And nothing can function or blossom in hate, in confusion, in conflict. And as human beings we have to find a different way of living: to live in this world without inward conflict. Then that inward sense of peace expresses itself in action in society. Life has no significance. Life is meant to be lived, and in that very living one begins to discover the reality, the truth, the beauty of life. To discover the truth, the beauty of life, you must understand the total movement of it. And to understand the total movement of it, you have to end all this fragmentary thinking and ways of life; you have to cease to be a Hindu, not only in name, but inwardly; you have to cease to be a Muslim, or a Buddhist, or a Catholic with all the dogmas, because these things are dividing people, dividing your own minds, your own hearts.

And so you have to examine your own life voluntarily, you will find that you look with eyes which are full of affection – not with condemnation, not with judgment, but with care. You look at yourself with care and therefore you look at yourself with immense affection. And it is only when there is great affection and love, that you see the total existence of life.

  • Excerpts from J Krishnamurthy’s talks on Life and Death

Effort and Destiny

Effort and Destiny – A Dialogue between Rama and Sage Vasistha

Will is the prime instrument of all actions. Will and effort varies from person to person. While some can work tirelessly in right directions some need great effort to do ordinary work. Fortune and effort vie with each other, and the stronger of the two wins in the end. Therefore, man should work diligently so that his tomorrow may be overcome by todays effort. If one is to meet failures, danger, and adversity despite his effort, let it be known that it is because of misguided and misdirected effort.

A man can overcome his misfortune because of his past action, known as fate, destiny, by diligent, meritorious and lawful action in the present. We are the results of our efforts. It is effort that leads one to attain status, greatness, and riches in life.  It would be as a result of our actions, either in previous lives or in present life. And acts of present life supersede the previous, and demerits in previous life can be broken down by present actions. Good effort and lawful acts by men leads to his success or else turn into nothing or disadvantageous.

Chance is a meaningless word. Do not waste your youth by being lazy.  Prosperity does not stick to a man who depends on luck. It flies away. Know like all things, there is a limit to both human fate and effort. So work logically. Work as per scriptures. Work as per good counsel. Any man who works in the right course would never fail. But if he is to fail, understand you can rise up again.

A person who instead of working depends upon fate to provide fortune is perverted and bound to have misery. So if one is courageous in their effort, it is capable of averting one’s misfortune for between fate and effort, it is stronger of the two that wins. So be known that present acts can destroy those of past life and those of past life can destroy the efforts of present acts but the effort of man in righteous way are undoubtedly successful.  Of these present act is more superior.

If at times fates overpowers one’s effort, one has to face misfortune, do not be sorrowful for there is no use to grieve for that which is beyond one’s control.   If one has sorrow for that which he is powerless to prevent then his entire life will be wasted in sorrow for ultimate misfortune of death cannot be prevented. So please work persistently with the clarity of understanding and guided by wise men and books to succeed in this life.

There are many acts that will result in gain or loss, but it is the duty of the man to do what is right be it, peasant or painful. Those who abide by the law and fulfill his duties is bound to get all riches of the world. Only the ignorant believe in fatalism. Please give up fatalism for it a myth  and devoid of any cause or effect. Working hard, following local customs, attaining perfection in ones activity is what wise men do. Having obtained a body free from disease, mind free from troubles, try to know the knowable to prevent further birth. Whoever wants to avert his destiny through action, fulfills his wishes both in this world as well as the other world.

Our perceptions are the cause of our our mental activity and this triggers the bodily action whereby we obtain the fruits of our desire.         Even the gods and divine beings were bestowed with divinity because of their efforts.     On the contrary some of the so called great men have to lose their position due to lack of rightful action from their end.

No one can see his fortune nor has any seen it .Destiny has no form, no act, no motion or might. It has originated from the idea of karma, the idea of future retribution for ones past actions and the like. From this ignorant are led to believe that there is such a thing as destiny, something incapable of explanation. Know that yesterdays misdeed is rectified by following days good action. Therefore, let today overtake yesterday’s action. If destiny is to be sole cause of everything, then most of the regular activities of men loose relevance. Destiny is immaterial. Nonexistent. If destiny is to be main spring of movements of all beings in three worlds, then men need not perform any acts, can rest as destiny will perform their parts. The belief that we are guided by destiny and do as we led to do is a deception and an excuse. One who fancies upon destiny and relies upon it does so to his disadvantage. The intelligent raise themselves to better position by their effort. So give yourself to your best efforts.

  • Pearls of wisdom from “Yoga Vasistha” of Valmiki

 

 

Cosmos and Man

Tree of life, circle of life, river of life are some of the terms used for the journey of life that is comprised of permanent change!, ups and downs, meandering, expansion and constriction, soaring and souring in the dump, of colours of spectrum and of all in between shades. As above so below, the famous saying shows the close relationship between the cosmos and mankind where both man and nature are needed for the survival of each other and nature more so for man. The Chinese creation. Mythology explains this as below.

According to one of the Chinese mythology of creation, the god of creation is “Pangu”, who creates our earth and separates earth and Sky out of darkness and chaos.  First there was a cosmic egg in which he was growing. He comes out breaking the egg, where by out of the material thrown out and up the sky is formed and earth by that which was thrown down, further creating yin and yang, spirit and matter, sky and earth. He grew the world, got tired and died. From his body the world and all the elements in it and human body grew as below.

From his breadth – wind and clouds

Voice – thunder and lightning

Eyes – sun and moon

Arms & Legs – 4 directions

Trunk – mountain

Flesh – soil and the trees in it

Blood – rivers and veins

Hair – gross and herbs, skin

Bones and teeth – stones and minerals

Sweat- rain and dews

Hairs in the head – stars in the sky

Moods and emotions – weather

Thus was the world created and human beings came later. The similarly between man, the world and all things in the world are unmistakable. It is also apparent that the man who is born from nature, grows with the help of nature, akin to nature, who is sustained by nature when at the end of his life dies, becomes fossilised and morphs and merges into mountains, trees, minerals, rainfall and so on. Thus man and nature become indispensable to each other and more so nature to man.

Considering the billions of years it has taken for the cosmos to evolve and vast ness of it, its complexity, its interrelatedness man as an individual is just a speck and looks insignificant. That he is like any other element, plants, and animals and other life forms with slightly advanced consciousness.

But many a men live their majority of their life unconsciously.  The challenges of life are various and as many as the number of men present. By overcoming the known, unknown and random obstacles man is able to lead his life successfully until he becomes oneness with nature.

  • inspiration from “Understand Chinese mythology” by Teresa Moorey

Reflections on “Small Boat, Great Mountain” , Amaro Bhikku – Part II

This part II discusses the whole issue of living and managing it effectively as per Theravada Buddhism.

“Ultimate and conventional reality – I was completely bewildered.  No matter how much I tried to be free and unhindered by conventions, forms and structures mostly by defining these things there always seemed to be another layer, another layer and another layer. I kept meeting up with limits and as a result I was constantly feeling frustrated. I was suffering and had no idea why. Not to be inhibited by the rules of society, dictates of my personality, conditions of the body, appeared free on the outside but on the inside I was a prisoner of my beliefs and behavior.”

******

Life

Life is habitually experienced as ignorance. We don’t feel unremitting bliss all the time. But ultimate reality is pure, perfect and blissful. Perfection and purity is our nature and we do not experience it all the time due to ignorance, laziness and wavering.

Exit point from the cycle

Day in and day out every moment we get caught in things we love, we hate, we have opinions about in feeling about ourselves, about others, liking, disliking, hoping, fearing. It goes on and on. The good news is there are several places where we can catch this cycle and ultimately free the heart.

Dependent origination cycle

When something painful has happened, worst has happened, we experience anguish, sorrow. How did we get ourselves in this mess. This is life but we do not need to feel like a victim or fly into why me tantrum. Experience of suffering can go into two directions. One it can compound misery and confusion. To it can ripen in search. When everything has gone wrong, we have a choice. Do we just wallow or do we say why is it like this. What am I doing to make this a problem? The search kicks in to find where we are clinging and why we are looking for happiness where it cannot be found.

Even at the birth, aging, sickness, death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair end of the cycle we can use that pain as the cause to help us wake up. Feeling is a world of innocence. We can have an intensely blissful existence and pleasant feeling. We can have a fuzzy neutral feeling through the body or mind. Feeling by itself is utterly innocent. There is no intrinsic posture or negative quality to it. If there is awareness then all mental and sense phenomena and the pleasant, painful or neutral feelings associated with them can be known without clinging as appearance. When ignorance enters opinions gets formed. When we are open we can cut the cycle.

In the beginning – ignorance, conditions, formations

Ignorance complicates everything. What does this mean. In broad term, that which is compounded is karmic formations, concoctions, fabrications, volitional formations, subject-object duality. When there is ignorance duality gets started, form and sprout. This and that, here and there. Me and the world.

Conscious conditions the mind. Mind and body conditions the six senses. The six senses conditions feeling, craving and so on. By the time we get down to six senses there is the body here and there is the world out there and we experience them as apparently solid realities.

As soon as there is a slippage of mindfulness or the faintest coloration or distortion that awareness duality kicks in. that is the seed of the whole thing. If it is seen at that point and not followed, then that seen primal movement will not grow further. It will cease right there. If it is not seen the vortex will build and build at until there is me in here and the world out there. And then I want it. I can’t stand it. I have got to have it. How marvelous. How wonderful. I am going places. Sorrow lamentations, pain, grief and despair and so on kicks in.

Later end of the cycle – endless hunger leading to addiction

What happens at the end of the cycle? When sorrow has not ripened in search for truth and we have let our missing get compounded we feel incomplete. There is me feeling unhappy, miserable, insecure, incomplete, alienated. Then as soon as there an idea or feeling or an emotion or a sense object that might possible make us complete again we jump on it. Well that looks interesting. Perhaps this will do the trick. There is a feeling of hunger, a lack or a longing that comes from the experience of suffering. If we are not awake to what is going on, we think that what we lack is something. The new job, new car, new partner, or we lack perfect health etc. we go after any kind of external object or internal program to find the missing piece. This is the cycle of addiction.

To encourage this familiarization and relinquishment it is important to experience and acknowledge the disadvantages of cyclical existence. Above all it hurts. Just as thrill is real so is the pain. We don’t get thrill without pain. Where the pain comes we see that it is empty. When the thrill comes we experiences it as absolutely real. As the pleasure is raising we feel really, really happy. As the pleasant feelings diminish we try to see the pain and disappointment it is all empty. Empty. Empty.

The fact is, things in life don’t match. You can’t align all the loose ends. But you can go to the place where they come from.

  • Excerpts from – “Small Boat, Great Mountain” – Theravadan Reflections on The Natural Great Perfection, “Amaro Bhikku”

Reflections on “Small Boat, Great Mountain” , Amaro Bhikku – Part I

Small Boat, Great Mountain

  • By Amaro Bhikku

This book “Small Boat, Great Mountain” by Amaro Bhikku reflects on philosophy espoused by Theravada sect of Buddhism.  The book has three distinct sections. Section one discuses nature of reality, section two on the whole issue of living and managing it effectively and section three on some exercise and Buddhist chants relevant to the above two sections. This Part I  discusses Buddhist view  on nature of reality and living.

*****

“I was suffering and had no idea why”

~~~

What is a living being?

We are conditioned to believe that there is such a thing as a real living being. We see ourselves in forms of the limitations of the body, personality and we define we are within these bound. We assume then that other beings are also limited in little pockets of beingness that float around in the cosmos.

Where are we

If one takes out physical element of what you are and just looks at in terms of mind, you will find that whole quality of boundary breaks up and as does the idea of “where I am”, “where other people are” and you will see that the body and its locations and three dimensional space apply only to material form. In fact, inside, outside here and there, space and spatial relations only apply to form. They do not apply to mind. Mind does not exist in space. The material form is giving us clue to separateness. We create illusion of separateness and individuality through our belief in the sense world.

Let go

Am I feeling sorrow. Is there a feeling of alienation or difficulty? If there is it means, we are clinging and hanging on to something. We need to see that the heart is attached to somewhere and then make gestures to loosen up. To let go.

Non-abiding

Non abiding is that timeless, selfless quality that is independent of location. Non abiding draws us to the fact that the whole concept of and construct of whereness, the act of conceiving ourselves as this individual entity living at this spot in space and time is a presumption.

Non abiding was the essence of path, as basis of peace and a door way into the world of freedom. The principle of non-abiding is exceedingly frustrating to the conceptual thinking mind because that mind has built up such an edifice out of me and you, out of here and there, out of past and future and out of this and that. In the abandonment of self, time and place all questions are resolved.

Where does not apply

The seen is merely seen. There is nothing there. There are forms, shapes, colors so forth but there is nothing there. There is no real substance, no solidity, no self-existent reality. All there is the quality of experience. No more no less. There is just seeing, hearing, feeling, sensing, cognizing, and the mind naming it all is just another experience.

Quantum physics

The sea of potential, primordial level of physical reality exists and from that all particles and energy crystalizes and into which subsequently dissolves. The principle of non-locality means the places where something happens cannot be truly defined and that a single event can have exactly simultaneous effect in widely separated place.

Who and what do not apply. Where does not apply. Birth and death does depend on time. Something apparently born in the past living now will die in the future. If we let go of time, if we also let go of thing then no being or dying.

Nature of Mind

The nature of mind is still and yet flowing. Mind is still, spacious, silent and all objects of sights, sounds, smell, taste, touch, thoughts and emotions flow through it.  It has no movement; it is not related to all that arises and ceases. It is silent and spacious. Problems arise because the clarity of the mind gets entangled with sense impressions. The untrained heart chases the delightful, runs away from the painful, and as a result, finds itself struggling, alienated, and miserable. By contemplating our own experience, we can make a clear distinction between the mind that knows and the sense impressions that flow through it. By refusing to get entangled with any sense impressions, we find refuge in that quality of stillness, silence, and spaciousness, which is the mind’s own nature. This policy of noninterference allows everything and is disturbed by nothing.

Body and mind

The body is in mind rather than mind in body. What do we know about our body? We can see it. We can hear it. We can smell it. Touch it. Where does all these things happen – in mind. Everything that we know about the body now and at any other time has been through agency of our mind. What we have known about out body the world has happened in our mind. So where is our body. Physical world is there but experienced in mind.

Cessation and consciousness

Your persistent energy, sharpest mindfulness, physical calm, one pointedness of mind have to do with restlessness. Unsupported consciousness wherever there is something that is intended, something that is acted upon or something that lies dormant then that becomes the basis for consciousness to lead. And where consciousness lands then is the cause for confusion, attachment, becoming, rebirth and so on. And having no basis to land on consciousness is released. Since consciousness is released mind is firm. Owing to staying firm the heart is contended. Owing to contented mind it is not agitated. One then realizes complete bliss within themselves.

When heart is released from clinging to four nutriments- physical food, sense contact – of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch, intention and consciousness then consciousness does not land anywhere. That state is without sorrow, affliction or despair.

World is within our mind

It is pointless to try to find peace through nullifying or erasing the sense world. Peace only comes through skillful handling of the world’s abrasions. Peace only comes through not giving that world more substantiality or more reality than it actually possesses.

Relaxation

Even though we might have this enlightened free space internally it needs to be interfaced with the phenomenal world.  Who are you. Observe coming and going of feelings, thoughts and perceptions and so on.

The balance comes when we stop creating each other and allow ourselves to relax into pure quality of knowing. In not fabricating the world ourselves or our stories there is gentle relaxation and we find ourselves more attuned to life than ever

  • excerpts from – “Small Boat, Great Mountain” – Theravadan Reflections on The Natural Great Perfection, “Amaro Bhikku”