Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Upadesa Sarah of Ramana Maharshi – Sloka 14

Praana bandhanaath leena maanasam
Eka chintanaath naasham etyada

Word meaning
Leena maanasam – Mind merged
Praana bandhanaath – by control of prana,
Adah – This mind (which has been merged)
Naasam ethi – gets destroyed
Eka chintanaath – by thought on the ONE ultimate reality (concentration on the non-dual reality)

Sloka meaning
Mind merged by control of prana or breath gets destroyed by thought on the ultimate Reality of non-dual Self or Consciousness.

Maharshi is here explaining the way of destruction of the mind along the path of Yoga.

As explained earlier, when the prana is controlled, the mind gets merged into its source of Self or Consciousness. The prana is in turn controlled through control of breath. (this technique of control of prana through control of breath is termed Pranayama and Patanajali discusses in depth the different ways of pranayama in his Yoga Sutras. These different techniques might not be of much use to the normal seeker but will suit the seeker following the path of Yoga and having the proper guidance of a Guru).

Another direct way of merging the mind into its source of Self is trying to find out the source of the mind, trying to watch the mind. This method is called Self-Enquiry and Maharshi deals with this method in the future slokas.

Another way of merging the mind into its source is by concentrating on a single object. When the mind sees an object, a person to try to see God or Brahman or Self in the object. This seeing doesn’t mean seeing Vishnu as such in the object but knowing the object to be the ultimate reality of Vishnu alone.

When the various objects are analyzed, a person realizes that all the objects are nothing but Consciousness with a name and form. It is Consciousness which is the underlying principle of all the objects in the world. Whatever is being seen, whatever is being perceived is Consciousness alone. IF Consciousness is removed, then there are no objects at all. The objects cease to exist. This in itself shows that Consciousness is what is being seen wrongly as the objects. This is further known through experience of a person in dream. The dream world and its objects are nothing but the dreamer alone. Similarly this waking world and its objects are the waker alone.

But, presently the vision is faulty. Every one sees not the underlying reality but only the name and form. And people consider this name and form as reality and conclude that there is difference in this world & that the world is full of difference alone. This is what is generally termed as Ignorance. Removal of ignorance is the ultimate aim of human life because ignorance is the cause of sorrow and suffering.

This suffering can therefore be removed or destroyed only through realization of one’s own very nature of Self, one without a second.

Now, there are lot of theories or philosophies which speak about different Self or jeevatmaas which are different from Paramatman or part of Paramatman. These all theories can never be the ultimate reality. The ultimate reality should be ONE alone (without a second). Because if there is duality, then there should be another object which controls both these objects. Hence the ultimate reality should be non-dual alone. The reality should be unborn because if it is born, it will have another thing as its cause. As it is unborn, it is without changes and death. Since it is unchanging, it is partless (it is known that objects with parts are subject to changes). Therefore, that ultimate reality is non-dual, without changes, without birth, pure and blissful in nature.

Now, the question comes as to how the world which is changing and sorrowful came from the world????
Advaita says that the world has not at all come from the ultimate reality or Brahman. Brahman or ultimate reality is without changes and non-dual, hence there can be no change in it and this changing world can never come from the ultimate reality.

Therefore, the only way that the world is explained is that it is illusory and not real. The world is not a real transformation or creation from Brahman, but it is an illusory creation in Brahman. A person sees snake in the rope. The snake is not a real creation but only an illusion in the reality of rope. Similarly world is nothing but an illusion in Brahman or the ultimate reality. The experience of dream world proves this. In dream, there is no world at all created, but the individual or the dreamer experiences the world and the objects – enjoys in the world as if it is real. But only when he wakes up, he realizes that there was no world at all and everything was just an illusion alone. Hence, the world is nothing but an illusion seen in Brahman.

That Brahman is non-dual and hence it cannot be different from the individual “I” or Jeeva. This is because of the reason that the individual “I” never dies off. I always exists as “I-I”. It exists in all the three states of waking, dreaming and deep sleep. Therefore, “I” am Brahman alone.

This ultimate reality has to be known through hearing, reflecting and contemplating on this ultimate non-dual reality. This is what Maharshi mentions in this sloka as Eka Chintanam. When a person contemplates on his own real nature of Bliss, he verily becomes the Self. Here becomes means not that he was not the Self prior and is the Self now. It only means realizing one’s own nature which was forgotten previously.

This is the ultimate reality behind whatever is being seen or perceived now and whatever is not being perceived. Without knowing this, there will be no cessation of sorrow (which itself is illusory and caused by ignorance of one’s own nature).

Maharshi in this sloka tells that the mind which has been merged through prana yama or control of breath should be destroyed by the contemplation on the ultimate reality. When the mind is completely merged into its source of Self, when contemplation on the Self is performed, one realizes one’s own nature of Self. This therefore destroys the mind which never again rises up. It is pretty obvious that one can know about oneself only when there are no thoughts. The Self is pure and it is the Subject. This Subject can never be known when there are objects. When there are thoughts, the mind is attracted towards the objects and it is incapable of realizing the Self. Only when the thoughts are eliminated, the mind gets destroyed by realizing its source of the Self.

Therefore, Maharshi in this sloka points out that it is the realization of the non-dual reality which is the cause for cessation of all duality and sorrow. This realization alone gives one eternal bliss inherent in the Self.

It is interesting to note Sri Krishna stressing ONENESS in lot of place in Gita. The very famous sloka which terminates instruction of Krishna to Arjuna states the same only.
“Sarva Dharmaan parityajya maam ekam saranam vraja
Aham tvaa sarva paapebhyo mokshayishyaami ma suchah”

Renounce all objects and take refugee in ME alone. I will save you from all sins and you will get liberated. Therefore do not worry or get sad.

This sloka is often understood wrongly. Here dharma doesn’t mean righteousness, it means properties or qualities. The quality of Brahman (which is wrongly superimposed on it) are names and forms. When names and forms are removed, Brahman alone remains. This only means that one should renounce all objects and realize the ultimate reality of Subject or the Self. Little thinking will show that all objects are nothing but Subject and its light alone. Therefore, the objects are nothing but Subject. It is this realization what is meant by renouncing of dharma. When the qualities are removed from objects, the objects become the Subject or the Self alone. Now, mere renouncing of the objects is not what is meant here. Such mere renouncement is useless. Such mere renouncement is like a stone and comparing it with God or the Self which is sentient. Therefore Krishna mentions EKAM saranam which means taking Me as the sole refugee. Here the stress is on the word EKAM which means ANANYA or without any other refugee. This Oneness alone is being stressed by Maharshi in this sloka. When a single thing is being concentrated on, all other thoughts end and the thinker alone remains. The concentrated object here is not an object but the Subject or Self or Consciousness alone.

Krishna mentions ME here as not the form-Lord or the Ego. Wherever Krishna has used ME or I in Gita, it all means Krishna as the Supreme Being of Brahman or the Self. Krishna himself mentions in Gita that those are fools who consider Me as being embodied and not know by real nature of unborn Self.

Therefore, here the concentrated object is the Self (this type of Bhajanam has been mentioned by Maharshi in the 8th and 9th sloka).

What is the use of such concentration???
When the Subject or the self is contemplated, everything vanishes and the Self alone remains. This is the ultimate reality of the illusory world which seems to exist now. Only when the world is known as unreal (as it is perceived now), all the sorrows of the world will vanish off (as they too are unreal). Therefore, when the Self is realized, all sins and sorrows vanish. Here Krishna mentions thus that “I will save you from all sins”. Here Krishna means that the Self will be saved from sins because it is never in sins or sorrows. It is illusion which causes it to feel that “I am a sinner, I am sad” etc. therefore, when the Self is realized, all sins vanish not because of the capability of the illusory Ego but by the Self alone. Thus, the Self (which considers itself to be individualistic) gets liberated or knows its own real nature of ever-liberated blissful Consciousness. Therefore, Krishna asserts that “don’t get sad or worry” because there is nothing to worry or get sad. A person will never get up one fine morning and cry saying that “I lost my child in dream”. Similarly when a person realizes the Self, he never gets sad about the illusory world. At that time, there will not be any duality at all – then whom to worry about or what to get sad about????

This sloka of Gita thus brings out the essence or import of what Maharshi brings out in this sloka.
This ultimate reality of Oneness – without any second object or thoughts is the final state or realization according to the Yoga philosophy. A person has to constantly remember that the ultimate reality is realization of one’s own nature of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss Absolute, the one without a second.

Therefore, Maharshi mentions in this sloka that through Raja Yoga, when the mind is merged into the source – it has to be destroyed by thought or contemplation on the ultimate reality of Oneness. When the ultimate reality is contemplated, a person realizes the ultimate reality. Then, thoughts cannot rise again (even if they rise, they will not affect the Subject or the thinker). When the Manas is destroyed, only the source of Manas or mind which is the Self remains (of the nature of eternal bliss).

This is the reason why Katha Upanishad proclaims
“Manasaiva idam aaptavyam neha nana asthi kinchana
Mrityoh sah mrityum aapnothi ya iha nana iva pashyathi”

This ultimate reality has to be realized through a pure mind alone (through one-pointed mind with contemplation on the ultimate reality of ONENESS). There is no duality, not even little. He who sees as though existing duality, he goes from death to death (Death here indicates sorrow alone).

“Man eva manushyanaam kaaranam bandha mokshayoh
Bandhaaya vishayaasaktam muktaih nirvishayam smritam”
Mind alone is the cause for bondage and liberation. When it is turned extroverted & craving for objects (objects are nothing but thoughts alone), it is in bondage and when it is introverted into its source of Self, it is in liberation.

Yoga Vasistha says

“chit chetya kalithaa bandhah tanmuktaa muktiruchyathe
Chit achetyaa kila atmethi sarva Vedanta sangrahah”
Consciousness mixed with thoughts is bondage and liberation from thoughts is liberation.
The Consciousness which is free or devoid of thoughts or mind is the Self or Brahman – this is the essence of Vedanta or the Upanishads.

Therefore, a person should always try to practice oneness. A person should realize that the different diverse objects are not dualities but only seemingly appearing dualities in the ultimate reality of non-duality. Thus, when a person perceives only Oneness, the mind gets destroyed and the eternal bliss of the Self is rejoiced.

Krishna says “Samatvam Yogamuchyathe” – “Seeing oneness everywhere is called Yoga”.

Maharshi concludes the explanation of Raja Yoga and realization of the ultimate reality through Raja Yoga with this sloka. In the next sloka, Maharshi describes the state of a realized Yogi.


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