Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Upadesa Sarah of Ramana Maharshi – Sloka 15

Nastha maanasotkrishta yoginah
Krityam asthi kim svasthithim yathah

Word meaning
Utkrishta Yoginah – For that Yogi
Nasta maanasa – whose mind has been destroyed
Svasthithim yathah – and who is established in the Self
Krityam kim asthi – what is there to be performed (what action to be performed).

Sloka meaning
For that Yogi, whose mind has been destroyed and who is always established in the Self, what action is to be performed???

In this sloka, Maharshi is explaining the state of a realized Yogi and the characteristics of such a Yogi.

Maharshi mentions two points for the state of a Yogi.

He whose mind has been destroyed.
He who is established in the Self.

He is a real Yogi whose mind has been destroyed. Mind or thoughts arise when the ultimate reality of the Self is forgotten. It is by ignorance that a person wants something. Therefore out of IGNORANCE, DESIRE arises. Sankaracharya tells that any person in the world will have only two desires. All other desires can be reduced to these two desires which are CESSATION OF SORROW and ATTAINMENT OF HAPPINESS (termed in Sanskrit as Dukha Nivritti and Sukha Praapthi). This desire arises because one doesn’t know his own real nature of eternal bliss. This nature of eternal bliss is enjoyed by each person during the state of deep sleep. In that state, there is neither the external world of waking state nor the internal world of dream state. At that time, there exists just the Seer or the Self alone without any duality or differences. The inherent bliss of the Self was enjoyed during that time. But there was also the ignorance or the unawareness about the happiness. This is known when the sleeper wakes up and tells “I slept happily. I did not know anything”.

Therefore, this shows us that bliss is the nature of the Self and when all thoughts are eliminated, the eternal bliss of the Self is experienced or rejoiced. Since this real nature is not known, DESIRES arise. The major desire is “cessation of sorrow” and “gaining of happiness”. Every one in the world irrespective of caste, creed, religion, money, power and fame seek HAPPINESS. All the actions are directed towards getting happiness alone. Therefore, the final or ultimate desire of human life is HAPPINESS. Since the real nature is not known due to ignorance, DESIRES arise. The person now tries to put these DESIRES into practice and works towards attaining or satisfying the desire. Thus ACTION is born out of DESIRES. It is these actions which are the cause of sorrow and suffering. These actions are caused due to THOUGHTS which arise due to DESIRES.

Therefore, when thoughts are completely removed, there remains the Self alone. At that time, what is required is nothing but knowing about oneself (as there is no different object from oneself, knowing here would mean only realizing or being aware of). This knowledge is achieved through being established in the Self.

Thus, through destruction of the mind, thoughts are eliminated and through establishment in the Self – the ignorance is also removed. The destruction of mind removes DESIRES and ACTIONS. The establishment of the Self removes the IGNORANCE about one’s own real nature.

Thus, such a person who has realized his own Self is a real Yogi.

Patanjali defines Yoga as “Yogah chitta vritti nirodhah” – yoga is removal of the thoughts of the mind.
“Tadaa dristhuh svaroope avasthaanam” – at that time, the Seer rests in his natural state.

Maharshi is explaining the same thing what Patanjali has conveyed in his Yoga Sutras.

One has to remember the three distinct terms of AVIDYA-KAAMA-KARMA or IGNORANCE-DESIRE-ACTION. If these three terms are correctly known, then control of thoughts or destruction of mind will not be problem.

Sankara says in Aparokshaanubhuthi
“Ajnaana prabhavam sarvam jnaanena pravileeyathe”
Everything is caused due to IGNORANCE and hence Knowledge alone can cause cessation of the sorrow and suffering.

The Yogi who realizes his own Self and is established in the Self at all times, is not affected by any sorrows. When the mind is present and the sense organs are directed towards sense objects, the Self is not realized. Only when the sense organs are controlled and the mind becomes calm and without thoughts (the mind gets destroyed), the Self is realized as the source of the mind. This is the state of realization.

Now, one may have the doubt that how then do realized souls do actions????
Maharshi gives a beautiful explanation for this to his devotees. The Self is the Sun. The Mind is the moon. One can see at times, in the evenings, that there is the Sun and the moon also. But the Sun is not at all affected by the moon. Similarly for the Yogi who has realized the Self, the mind doesn’t affect his nature at all because he is always immersed in the Self. The mind of such a yogi might enter into thoughts, but even at those times the thoughts will not affect the yogi or his natural state of Consciousness.

The yogi whose mind is completely destroyed has no actions to be performed. This is what Maharshi explains in the last line of this sloka. Action has its source in ignorance. It is ignorance that propagates actions. Therefore when the ignorance is destroyed by knowledge about one’s own nature, then there is no question of actions arising or desires to do actions arising. Therefore, such a Yogi who is established in the Self and whose mind has been destroyed doesn’t need any action to be performed.

Such a Yogi is termed in the Scriptures as “Atiashrami” – one who is beyond the four ashramas of Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha and Sanyaas. He is beyond any limitations. He is beyond any conditions or criterias. One can never say that he will behave in this pattern, he will be doing these actions and all. We see in the life of great realized Yogis – we had Krishna Dvaipaayana Veda Vyaasa strictly following the Vedic injunctions and leading a life. At that same time, we had Krishna leading a life with 16008 wives and always smiling. We also hear about Suka, the great BrahmaRishi, who left his home in childhood and King Janaka taking care of the palace and his prajaas. Therefore a yogi’s behaviour can never be judged because he is always immersed in the Self (whatever may be the action he is doing).

It has been mentioned that a yogi might do action but unaffected by it. One may have doubt regarding this. Here what is meant is that the mind or the Ego of the yogi has been completely destroyed. He identifies himself as not the doer but as the real Self (which is the witness to whatever is happening). It is like the dreamer completely identifying himself as the witness during the state of dream. Therefore, he doesn’t have any actions to do and he doesn’t do any actions also (because he has realized his Self which is different from the Ego). The doer in the yogi is absent. According to him, he is not doing any actions because all actions have terminated in the reality of the Self. But the yogi is seen as doing actions from the view of the ignorant viewer. Since there is ignorance in the viewer, he sees the yogi as doing actions. When the viewer himself realizes the ultimate reality of ONENESS, he realizes that there is no action here but only pure Consciousness appearing as different names and forms (which are just illusions alone and hence unreal).

Krishna says in Gita
“Na me partha asthi kartavyam trishu lokeshu kinchana
Nanavaaptam avaaptavyam vartha eva cha karmani”

O Arjuna, I don’t have any DUTY to be performed in three worlds (mean I don’t have duty at all). I don’t have anything to be attained new which I don’t have now – but still I do actions.

This sloka if not understood properly will lead to all sorts of doubts regarding Krishna himself. If wrongly understood, it will mean that Krishna’s words are contradictory and hence he is a Mad person only.

But what Krishna means by “I do actions” is I remain doing actions (for the viewer). But those actions not at all affect me because from my view I am the Self (one without a second) and hence no actions can be performed.

One has to really understand the difference between Action and Knowledge. Actions can never lead to realization or eternal bliss because realization has its cause in knowledge whereas actions have its cause in ignorance. Ignorance can never lead to knowledge because both are opposing to each other. Sankaracharya deals this topic in detail in the introduction to his commentary on Aiteraya Upanishad and Ishavasya Upanishad.

Therefore it is only knowledge which can destroy sorrow and sufferings which are illusions of the mind & hence destroyed when the mind is destroyed and the Self is realized.

We will have a general description about the path of Yoga tomorrow.


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