Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Upadesa Sarah of Ramana Maharshi – Sloka 13

Laya Vinaashane Ubhaya Rodhane
Laya gatham punar bhavathi no mritam

Word meaning
Laya Vinaashane – Merging and destruction of the mind
Ubhaya Rodhane – are the two types of control of the mind, among these
Laya gatham punar bhavathi – the merged mind again rises up
No Mritam – but the destroyed mind never rises again.

Sloka meaning
Merging and destruction of the mind are the two different types of control of the mind. Among these two, the merged mind again rises up, but the destroyed mind never rises again as it is dead.

Maharshi here explains the two different types of control of mind. These two are the merging of the mind into its source of the Self and destruction of the mind.

When the mind is merged into the Self, it is temporary merging of the mind. This has some time limit and once a person comes out of this merging, the mind again rises to start off its duty of thoughts, sorrows and sufferings. But when the mind is completely destroyed, there can never arise any thoughts again. At that time, there is nothing but the Self alone. All the objects then become the Self alone. This ultimate reality of Oneness is realized at that time. What is meant by oneness is not closing the eyes and entering into nirvikalpa Samadhi, but is experiencing the oneness in all the objects, unity in diversity. All the objects that are seen are nothing but names and forms of Consciousness alone. The objects seem to be different but in their essence, they are one and the same alone. This waking world and its objects are similar to the dream world and its objects. As the dream world & its objects are the dreamer alone, similarly this waking world & its objects are the waker or Consciousness alone.

A person easily understands that all the sorrows are not really existent. They are creations of the mind alone. This is the reason why the very same object gives happiness to a person on one day and that very object gives sorrow the next day.

A husband loves his wife very much. But even the presence of the wife near him doesn’t give him happiness when he has been stabbed on the chest!!! This only shows that happiness and sorrow are not in the object but in the perception of the object which is in the mind alone.

Therefore, all great masters and saints have proclaimed that it is the mind which is cause for bondage and sorrow & the very mind becomes the cause for happiness and liberation. The mind which is full of diverse thoughts is the cause for bondage. That mind which is devoid of thoughts is the cause for happiness and liberation.

Therefore, removal of thoughts is the cause for happiness. This fact is being experienced by each person during deep sleep. In deep sleep, there is no mind at all. The mind gets merged into the Self at that time. Hence the person enjoys pure happiness in that state. But there is ignorance attached with the experience in that state. The mind is thus not destroyed but merged into ignorance or what is termed in Vedanta as AVYAKTAM. When the state is over and the person wakes up, he wakes up with the ignorance & this ignorance again manifests the mind which was previously merged. Therefore, the person again experiences sorrow and suffering in the waking and dream state.

Therefore, happiness inherent in the Self is realized or rejoiced when the mind full of thoughts is destroyed or annihilated.

The Yoga system tells us that the mind can be temporarily controlled. The control of breath or pranayama helps a person to merge the mind into its source of Self. This temporary merging is valid only till the person controls the breath. Once control of breath is lost, then all sorrows again arise (because the mind again rises up when controlling of breath is stopped). This is the same case with Nirvikalpa Samadhi (which Vedanta accepts). In this state, there are no thoughts, no objects – nothing but the Self or the Seer alone. The very word Vikalpa means modifications or thoughts. That state where there are no thoughts or modifications of the mind is called Nirvikalpa. This state can be achieved through practice of pranayama and other means.

Maharshi, in addition to Vedanta condemn this Nirvikalpa Samadhi also. One can tell that here in this Samadhi, external objects which are creations of the mind are not completely destroyed – they temporarily merge into the Self. This Samadhi is therefore internal Nirvikalpa Samadhi alone where the mind is controlled and not destroyed.

A person who is facing lot of problems goes to sleep in order to solve the problems. Will sleeping solve his problems???? No, the problems will again rise up when he wakes up. Similarly the Nirvikalpa Samadhi will not destroy the mind but only temporary merging of the mind occurs. Therefore, once a person comes out of Nirvikalpa Samadhi, the thoughts and the mind again rise which again leads one to sorrow and suffering.

Maharshi tells the story of a Saint to explain this point. The saint was meditating and he was about to enter into Nirvikalpa Samadhi. He asked his disciple to give him water. The disciple went to the river nearby and brought the water. Before the disciple arrived, the Guru had entered Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Therefore the disciple went away. Years passed by. Then one day, the saint woke up from Nirvikalpa Samadhi. The first words which he uttered was “Water! Give me Water!”. This shows that the desire or thought of water and thirst was not destroyed and those were temporarily merged during Samadhi. When the person woke up from Samadhi, these thoughts which were not destroyed rose up again. (these rising up of thoughts is termed as Vasanas or latent tendencies in Vedanta. As long as there are Vasanas, a person has to take birth to end up those Vasanas. The only way out of this Vasanas is destruction of mind through knowledge about the Self because it is ignorance that causes one to perform actions which again lead to attachment (to those actions) & create Vasanas).

Therefore Maharshi tells us that the mind which is destroyed never rises up again and a person having such a mind is liberated. Yoga Vasistha calls such a mind the Self. Mind and thoughts are synonymous. There is no mind without thoughts. When thoughts are removed, the mind vanishes. This removal of thoughts can be done temporarily or permanently. When it is done permanently, the mind is destroyed and therefore it never rises up again.

Thus, indirectly Maharshi is here condemning the temporary control of mind through pranayama and practice of Nirvikalpa Samadhi. A Vedantin will never go for these temporary solutions. Vedanta directly leads one to destruction of the mind. This ensures that the mind doesn’t rise up again and therefore complete cessation of sorrows occurs. This is what is termed as Moksha or liberation in Vedanta.

Now, one may ask what is the way to destruction of the mind?????
Maharshi explains this in the next sloka that the mind which is focused or concentrated should be destroyed with a single thought. Every one can experience this fact that when a person is concentrating on a single object for a long period, that single object or thought also vanishes leading to the Subject without any objects.

But again, this method is temporary alone. The destruction of the mind can be done only through enquiry into one’s own nature. It is ignorance that makes a person forget the absolute reality that whatever is present is Self or Consciousness alone & that “I am Consciousness of the nature of Bliss and one without a second”. Therefore the only way out of this sorrow & suffering is Knowledge about one’s own nature. Therefore, only through knowing one’s own nature of Consciousness and through the knowledge that “SARVAM BRAHMA MAYAM JAGAT” – “this world is Brahman alone” & that everything is Brahman or Self or Consciousness alone, that a person removes this illusory ignorance.

When this ignorance is removed, its products or effects of mind and other objects are automatically destroyed. It is a well known fact that each effect has a cause. When the cause is destroyed, then there can never be the effect. Therefore, when the cause of ignorance is destroyed, the effect of mind and sorrows also are destroyed.

When thus the mind is destroyed through ignorance removal, the person perceives only the Self or Consciousness. He is ever established in the Self. This state of complete absorption in the Self, one without a second is termed as Sahaja Samadhi or natural state of the Self. Each moment, the person perceives only Self – he perceives no differences, he never loses his concentration from the Self (because there is nothing but the Self alone & hence where to lose concentration and what to concentrate on – only when there is duality, concentration is required). The above said Nirvikalpa Samadhi, Savikalpa Samadhi (absorption on any form or thought), Dhyaana, Bhajan, Bhakthi – all this are meant to help one reach the state of Sahajam or natural state of the Self.

People who little bit of scriptures will know that there are 6 philosophies based on the Vedas (called Shad Darshanaas). These are Nyaaya, Vaiseshika, Yoga, Sankhya, Purva Mimamsa and Vedanta (or Uttara Mimamsa).

Those who know little bit about these will know that Yoga sastra is different from Vedanta in certain aspects. But when a person concentrates on the practical aspect of Yoga (which all Vedantins like Sankaracharya and others accept), he finds that it is very much similar to Vedanta (and helps a person to realize the Self).

It is interesting to note what Patanjali (whose Yoga Sutras is the basis for Yoga Sastra) says about this ultimate state of oneness and the cause for it (and how this can be eliminated)

“Tad abhaavaat samyoga abhaavaat haanam tad drisheh kaivalyam”
Tad here represents Avidya which is being mentioned in the previous Sutra of Yoga Sutras.

When ignorance is removed, the mixing of Consciousness or the Self or Subject and the insentient objects of the world is destroyed and at that time, the Seer or the Self attains kaivalya or absolute state of oneness.
Even though there are some basic differences between this description and what Vedanta has to put forth, the ultimate aim of Oneness is what needs to be stressed here. This ultimate reality if not known will lead one to sorrow. This can be known only through knowledge about one’s own nature and not through any other means. All other paths just lead to this final step of KNOWING ONESELF. One way to this ultimate reality is destruction of the mind (not temporary merging of the mind) and Maharshi mentions how to do it in the next sloka (which we will see tomorrow).


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