Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Upadesa Sarah of Ramana Maharshi – Sloka 11

Vaayurodhanaath leeyathe manah
Jaala pakshivad rodhasaadhanam

Word meaning
Vayurodhanaath – By control of breath,
Manah leeyathe – the mind gets merged into its source of Self
Jaala pakshivad rodha saadhanam – like a fish being trapped in a net

Sloka meaning
By control of breath, the mind merges into the Self. This is like a fish being trapped in a net.

In this sloka, Maharshi is mentioning the control of breath or pranayaama. Maharshi tells that through control of breath or pranayama, the mind temporarily merges into the source of the Self.

The mind is very much connected to breath. Upanishad proclaims that mind has its source in prana or vital force. This vital force acts in the human body in the form of inhalation and exhalation. Therefore, by control of the breath, the mind gets controlled.

The breathing of a person is very much related to the mental state of the person. It is very well known that when a person is angry, his breath becomes very fast. When a person is very sad, his breath becomes very slow. Therefore everyone experiences this relation of breath and mind.

When a person is angry or has run for some time, his breath becomes very fast. Such a person when he tries to breath heavily or take in long breath, his mind becomes calm.

A mind which is wandering in the outside world and is always diverted to different objects can never relish the eternal bliss of the Self. This bliss is being searched in the external world, but it can be got only in the Self which is realized through an introverted mind and not an extroverted mind.

This way or path of control of mind by controlling breath is called path of Raja Yoga or simply Yoga. The mind is the cause of all sorrows and sufferings. When the mind or the thoughts in the mind is controlled or temporarily renounced, the mind merges into its source of the Self.

The mind and its thoughts have their source in the Self or “I”. Unless “I” exist, there cannot be any thought or the mind or objects in the world. Therefore, it is “I” or pure Consciousness from where the mind, thoughts and the external objects come into existence. Therefore “I” or Consciousness is separate and distinct from thoughts and the mind. I exist independently and don’t require the mind for my existence. But the thoughts or the mind requires this “I” or the THINKER for existence. Unless there is a thinker, there are no thoughts at all. Even a child knows that there is the world only when there is a SEER for the world. If the Seer decides not to see the world, then the world will cease to exist. Similarly, when the thinker decides not to think, then thoughts and the mind cease to exist. Such a mind, which is devoid of any thoughts, is termed as the Self or pure Consciousness or “I”. This is the ultimate aim of human life because only through realization of the pure “I” which is one’s own very nature, a person gets eternal bliss which he is searching in the external world.

One way of realizing the pure Self is removal of thoughts. Mind has its existence only when thoughts are there. But when the mind is controlled or the thoughts of the mind are removed, it merges into its source of Self. Therefore, the mind temporarily ceases to exist. But this is temporary merging and not permanent destruction.

Permanent destruction of the mind and its thoughts is possible only through enquiry into one’s own nature or knowledge about one’s own nature. Knowledge is required for realizing the Self permanently because the Self has now been forgotten due to ignorance. It is ignorance that causes a person to think that “I am the body, I am the mind” and hence arise all thoughts. These thoughts in turn make objects. The mind then directs the sense organs to enjoy the sense objects. Now, the mind has become extroverted and hence one is not able to rejoice in the eternal bliss of the Self.

A little thinking will make a person realize that whatever little happiness a person gets from external objects is only the happiness emanating from the Self. If this little happiness itself is so adorable, then what to speak about the eternal bliss which is the nature of the Self????

Therefore, the scriptures proclaim that a person should try to realize the Self this very moment itself. One of the path to realize the Self is the path of control of mind which Maharshi is explaining now.

The control of breath doesn’t destroy the mind completely, but the mind only temporarily merges into its source of the Self. This is similar to the deep sleep state wherein a person rejoices in the eternal bliss of the Self but when he wakes up, all the objects and sorrows again reappear. This is because in deep sleep, the objects temporarily merged into the Self and hence at that time no sorrow or suffering was experienced. But since there was no awareness in that state due to ignorance, once a person wakes up the sorrows and sufferings again appear. Therefore what is required is permanent merging or destruction of the mind and not temporary merging of the Self.

Hence, Maharshi indirectly says that control of breath alone is not enough for realizing the Self. This only makes a person rejoice in the eternal bliss of the Self for a temporary time period.

Vedanta says that as long as a person is ignorant about one’s own real nature of Consciousness and Bliss, the mind will again and again rise up and lead one to sorrows and sufferings. Therefore only when a person becomes aware of one’s own real nature and ignorance is destroyed, the mind gets destroyed and thereby sorrow and sufferings end once and for all.

This is what is termed as Mano Nasha or destruction of the mind. Temporary merging of the mind is useful only for experience of the eternal bliss of the Self and for the people who want to really know about the bliss inherent in the Self.

Vedanta speaks about two types of Samadhi or absorption wherein a person completely absorbs into a single thought or one’s own real nature. Everyone knows that when a person is completely immersed in a single thought or object, he gains complete knowledge about that object and hence he gains happiness from that object. This happiness through absorption on a single object is valid for any branch of science. When a person concentrates on mathematics and completely gets absorbed into Mathematics, he becomes a Ramanuja (mathematical expert). Therefore, this absorption is responsible for happiness from external objects.

One type of absorption is absorption into an external thought or object. This is called Savikalpa Samadhi (as it is with a modification). Here the meditator completely gets absorbed into the thought or object. But, here still the distinction between the person concentrating and the object of concentration remains. In Nirvikalpa Samadhi, completely merging of the mind occurs. Here there are no thoughts but only the pure thinker. This is the state when there are no external or internal objects (in the form of the external world or the dream world).

This state of pure thinker alone is the ultimate aim of Vedanta. Only when ONENESS or absolute non-duality is realized, sorrow and sufferings vanish.

Both these Samadhis are temporary alone and not permanent. Hence a person should always try to practice either of these absorption and thereby try to attain Sahaja Samadhi or constant absorption into one’s own real nature of the Self. When a person attains Sahaja Samadhi, he is a realized person who rejoices in the eternal bliss of the Self. He doesn’t have anything to do, anything to attain, anything to achieve, anything to grieve upon. He is ever established in the Self, one without a second. He doesn’t perceive any external or internal object but only perceives the pure Self alone (one without a second).

This realization of the Self is the aim through yoga path also. This cannot be achieved by temporary merging of the mind into the Self but only through permanent destruction of the mind through realization of the Self.
Maharshi explains destruction of the mind and merging of the mind as well as the way to destruction of the mind in the coming few slokas.


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