Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Upadesa Sarah of Ramana Maharshi – Sloka 12

Chittavayavah chitkriya yutaah
Shaakayor dvayee shakthi moolaka

Word meaning
Chittavaayavah – Mind and prana or breath
Chit kriya yutaah – endowed with Consciousness and action respectively
Shaakayor dvayee – are the two branches
Shakthi moolaka – of Sakthi or Divine Power of Brahman.

Sloka meaning
Mind and prana endowed with Consciousness (or quality of knowing) and action respectively are the two branches of Sakthi or Divine power of Brahman.

Maharshi here explains that mind and prana are two different branches of the same power.

All this world, whatever is seen and whatever is not seen are Brahman or Consciousness alone. These things have got their existence because of Brahman alone. This Brahman is omni-present, omni-potent, perfect and full. Such a Brahman can never create any world (but the world has come from Brahman alone – says Upanishad).

Therefore, Vedanta answers that it is not Brahman that creates the world or the things, but it is the Sakthi or power of Brahman called Maya which creates the world. Brahman and the power of Maya are not different. They are like Sun and its rays. The rays are not different from the Sun. Similarly Maya is not different from Brahman.

“Ya ma sa maya” – that which is not there, that is Maya.

Whatever is being seen is only Consciousness. If Consciousness is not present, then there is no world at all. But Consciousness is there even when world is not there. Therefore, whatever is being seen as external is Consciousness alone.
This is what the Upanishads stress again and again. Whatever is seen is Brahman or Consciousness or God. All these are different terms for the one reality alone.

Whatever is being seen as the world is thus only an illusion and a name and form of Brahman – as bubbles, waves are nothing but water alone with a name and form.

But, this ultimate reality is not apprehended by people whose mind is not pure, whose sense organs and mind are extroverted into the various names and forms. That mind which is purified through introverted nature is alone capable of realizing this subtle and absolute reality.

Hence, to take a seeker from the lowest level of ignorance to the highest level of absolute reality, the Upanishads follows the Chandra Shaaka nyaaya. According to this nyaaya, a child is shown the moon through a branch. First the child is shown the nearby branch and then through the branch it is shown or pointed to the moon.

Similarly the scriptures proclaim about how this world came, what is mind, what are the objects, what are the various paths to the reality and the way to realize the absolute reality. After this, the scriptures progressively state the absolute reality once the mind of the seeker is purified. A mind which is purified is nothing but its source of Consciousness alone. Such a mind ceases to exist. This destruction of the mind is what leads one to realize one’s own real nature of pure Consciousness (devoid of any thoughts) of the nature of Bliss absolute.

Therefore, even when a person hears about Maya, creation and other things, one should remember that whatever is present is only Brahman. These definitions and explanations about various objects and things are meant only for purification of the mind and to guide the seeker progressively to the ultimate reality.

If all of a sudden, a person says that “you are not this body, you are the Self of the nature of Consciousness, whatever you see or perceive is consciousness alone – one without a second”, that person will run away J Therefore the scriptures are very compassionate towards the seeker and therefore explain various paths and terms and finally negate all this saying that “Everything is, was and will be Brahman alone – which is beyond time and space”.

Maya or power of Brahman is the cause of the world. This Maya has two distinct powers – one is that which identifies objects or Conscious of objects and the other is which helps one to perform actions.

The mind is that which helps a person to be aware or be conscious about objects. One should realize here that the mind by itself is not self-luminous but it gets luminosity and life from the Self alone. Prana is that vital force which makes a person do actions. Vedanta splits prana or every action in the body into 5 different pranas. It is Prana which upholds all activity of all human beings.

These two powers of Maya have been told as two different branches of Maya by Maharshi in this sloka. We all know that each and every action or activity requires knowledge and consciousness about that activity. Therefore it is only when both Prana and Mind work that an action is performed.

Maya is that power which veils the real nature of Brahman or the Self. It is Maya which is the cause for ignorance of the Self. This Maya has two powers – one is veiling power or avarana shakthi. This power hides the reality of Self. When the reality is not known, other things are superimposed on the reality. This power of Maya is the projecting power or Vikshepa Shakthi. These two powers of Maya are responsible for all sorrows and sufferings. There is suffering only when a person forgets that his very nature of Bliss Absolute and that he is not the body or mind and he has no relatives as he is the Self of the nature of one without a second. Therefore, it is Maya which is the cause for sorrow and suffering. This Maya has no real existence but only illusory existence. Such a power can never exist in Brahman which is partless, full and perfect. Therefore, Maya itself is an illusion alone. When this reality about Maya is realized, Maya ceases to exist. When Maya ceases to exist, one’s own real nature of Self or Consciousness is realized. When this is realized, there remains nothing else to be known as the Self is one without a second. This is the ultimate aim of human life and each human being irrespective of whether he is seeking money or fame or any other thing.

This ultimate aim can thus be realized only when Maya is conquered through realizing its nature of illusoriness. This illusoriness can be known only when its branches of prana and mind are destroyed. Therefore, the yoga system of philosophy mainly aims at control of the breath and destruction of the mind (which is nothing but destruction of the thoughts of the mind).

Maharshi is going to explain how this can be achieved in the next few slokas. But here Maharshi mentions the two powers of Maya so that these can be overcome and the real nature of Self can be realized.

In the next sloka, Maharshi explains that there are two types of nirodha or control of mind. One is temporary merging of the mind and the other is destruction of the mind (permanent). When mind is temporarily controlled, it again springs up with thoughts once the control is lost. This is not a final or complete solution. The complete solution is full destruction of the mind alone.

When the mind is destroyed, a person realizes that there was nothing called mind, there was nothing called thoughts – whatever was present was only Brahman or Consciousness. The objects that are being wrongly perceived are only Consciousness alone. That very Consciousness You are. Even if a person doesn’t know about his real nature of Consciousness, still he is Consciousness or Self alone. But when he is unaware about this reality, sorrow and sufferings arise out of dual perception and likes & dislikes. When the reality of rope is not known, snake is superimposed on it. Seeing the snake, a person gets afraid and runs away. Even when the person was seeing snake in the rope, it was rope alone. But because he was unaware of the real nature of the rope, he got afraid and ran away from it.

Similarly, every one is only the Self alone, but some are aware of it – others are not. Even when a person is unaware of this, he is the Self alone. If he realizes this, that very moment all sorrow and sufferings end – and he rejoices in the eternal bliss of the Self.

This Self is already realized – there is nothing to be done to realize this Self. But what is required is removal of ignorance of the Self and removal of the wrong notions that have been created about the Self, its nature and the dual perceptions.

Sankaracharya says in Upadesa Sahasri

“Aham ithi aatma dheerya cha mama ithi aatmeeya dheerapi
Artha shoonye yada yasya, sa atmaajno bhaved tatha”

When the thought of “I” and “mind” completely vanishes (I here mains the identification with the body and other objects & not the pure Consciousness), that very moment he becomes a knower of the Self.

That very moment, the person realizes his own very nature of Self.

Sankara says in Brahma jnaanaavali maala
“Ghatagutyaadikam sarvam mrittika maatrameva
Tadvad brahma jagad sarvam ithi vedantha dindima”

As pot, wall are mud alone, similarly the world and its objects are Brahman alone – this is the strong statement of Vedanta or the Upanishads.

“Brahma Satyam jagan mithya jeevo brahmaiva na parah
Anena vedhyam sat saastram ithi vedantha dindima”

Brahman is the ultimate reality, world is only an illusion seen in Brahman. The Jeeva or limited “I” or Self is Brahman alone and not different from it. Thus, all the scriptures and its essence is covered or known – this is the statement of Vedanata.

All the various paths of Yoga, Karma, Jnaana, Bhakthi are only means to removal of ignorance and realization of this ultimate and absolute reality. This if not known, a person will never get eternal happiness even though he may go to Vaikunta or Kailas.

This is the only way to eternal bliss – the ultimate knowledge that “I am the Self, one without a second” & “whatever is present is the Self alone”.
As Sankara says “Chidananda roopah sivoham sivoham” – I am that Siva or Self of the nature of Consciousness and Bliss, I am that Self.


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