Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Upadesa Sarah of Ramana Maharshi – Jnaana Yoga

Maharshi is expounding the path of knowledge in the last 15 slokas from 15th to 30th sloka of Upadesa Saram.

There is a very wrong notion among people that Jnaana is very tough and only devotion or karma will suitable for laymen or normal people. This is not right. The scriptures and Maharshi also proclaim that realization of the Self can be had only through knowledge of the identity of Brahman with the individual Self or Consciousness. There are no two different paths towards the ultimate reality. Even though the paths of devotion, action, yoga and all are there – they all unanimously lead to the ultimate path of Knowledge.

The various paths are all followed in order to get eternal bliss and to get rid of the sorrows-sufferings. Upanishads proclaim that these sufferings are not real, they are only illusions in the Self which seem to be present due to ignorance of the real nature of Consciousness. If these sufferings were the nature or quality of the jeeva or one’s own Self, then they must be present in deep sleep also. But in deep sleep, there is no suffering or sorrow. This only shows that the sufferings are temporary and seem to be present only for some time. And if we see, great Mahatmas suffer more than we do. Ramana Maharshi had cancer and he suffered from it for the last few years of his life. Jesus Christ was crucified. Krishna was chased constantly by Kamsa and Jarasandha. Sri Rama was sent to forest and had to be separated from Sita Devi. A person might now say that Krishna, Rama, Jesus are all stories only. In the first place, these are not stories but real incidents. But even if they are stories, they point out that suffering and sorrow are not internal in the person – they are only creations of the illusory mind. We see Tapovan Maharaj, the guru of Swami Chinmayananda suffering from cancer – these great saints never worried about their sufferings, instead they were much happier than the millionaires of their time. Swami Vivekananda went to US and lost his Visa and money also. Even before sanyaas, he suffered from poverty in his family. But still he was happy.

These are only historical events or stories but real incidents which have happened in the recent few centuries. All these show that sorrow is not the very nature of the Self or one’s own nature – but it is only creation of the mind. If these great saints could live happily amidst sorrows, then why can’t we????

The only reason why these great saints were happy is that they knew the ultimate reality of oneness with Brahman – they knew that they are not the body but the Self of the nature of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss absolute. This is the absolute and ultimate reality knowing which alone a person can conquer sorrow and sufferings which are only illusions.

The very famous and most preferred Bhakthi Yoga or devotion path is not seeking an external God, but it is contemplation of the God in the heart, seeking of one’s own real nature of God or Consciousness. Until this God in the heart is sought out, all search will continue and go in vain only. That is the real devotion wherein a devotee seeks only the God and finds out that the Lord is not different from me but my own very nature. This is what all great scriptures and Mahatmas proclaim. When the scriptures proclaim that “SARVAM BRAHMA MAYAM JAGAT”, it means that whatever is present is Brahman alone (Consciousness) in the form of illusions of the world. Any illusion cannot be different from the reality and hence is reality alone perceived wrongly.

The great Narayana Sookta says
“Yat cha kinchit jagat sarvam drishyathe srooyathe api va
Antar bahih cha tat sarvam vyaapya narayana sthithah”

That whatever is present as the world which is seen and heard – it is pervaded internally and externally by Narayana – the ultimate Being of Brahman. Here external and internal means that there is no difference and no duality which again point out that the Self or Consciousness alone is everything.

This is what all great scriptures and great Mahatmas proclaim that everything is in you only and everything is you only – there is no duality here and you are the ultimate and absolute reality of Consciousness or Brahman or God.

The path of knowledge is the ultimate and the easiest also. Isn’t it easy to know our own nature??? Yes, that is what includes in the path of knowledge. Isn’t it tough to contemplate on a God (the contemplator being Consciousness) who is sitting somewhere else (leaving behind the natural state of Consciousness or God in us)???? Yes, of course it is.

People think that Jnaana is suited only for the intellectuals, but this is a wrong notion only. The path of knowledge is suitable for anyone who wants to know the reality as the reality and not the reality as a form and name of Vishnu or Siva. Every name and form is bound to change is not the reality but only an illusion in the reality. What is required in the knowledge path is to realize one’s own real nature which has been forgotten. Because of this ignorance, one thinks he is the devotee and the Lord is someone great and unattainable. Maharshi has very well refuted this in the previous two slokas wherein he mentioned that whatever is present is Consciousness or the Self alone. There can never be a independent God who doesn’t depend on the Self or Consciousness because such a God will be dependent on Consciousness alone for his existence – neither Vishnu nor Siva can give a person existence other than Consciousness. This ultimate reality that all Gods, all beings, all plants and other things are all Brahman or Consciousness alone is what the path of knowledge tells us.

Path of knowledge doesn’t put forth many long procedures to the reality but just says three things to do.
Hearing of the scriptural statements about one’s own reality
mentally reflecting the truth of the scriptures in order to avoid and remove doubts
contemplate on one’s own real nature so that ignorance veil is removed.

These are the only three things mentioned in the scriptures for the path of knowledge. These are not tough but in fact easy. In order to understand the scriptures which are very tough, Acharyas have written Sanskrit commentaries which have been translated in almost all the languages. As if that is not enough, Sankara has given us easy and simple contemplative works like Ekasloki, Bhaja Govindam, Nirvaana Shatkam among others. As if that was still not enough, people like Ramana Maharshi have spoken to devotees in order to clear their doubts and show the path to all other normal people.

If we still do say that knowledge is tough for me, then not even Brahman or Consciousness can help the person realize his own eternal reality of Brahman itself.

One never needs to study the chaturdasha vidyas, the Upanishads, the Brahma Sutras and other tough works. Every work of Sankara tells the same theory in different ways. A single work of Upadesa Saram which Maharshi has written is enough to lead the seeker to realization. The only thing required is little effort and time from the seeker to devote in listening, reflection and contemplating on this ultimate reality that everything is Brahman alone.

If even that is not possible, a person just needs to see oneness everywhere. This itself will lead one to the ultimate reality of non-dual Consciousness.

Every Mahatma says that all paths lead to the ultimate step of non-dual knowledge (knowing one’s own real nature of Brahman or Consciousness). Any path a seeker may take according to his nature, but ultimate that will lead him to this ultimate reality of Knowledge or jnaana that “I am Brahman, one without a second”.

Srimad Bhagavatham which is considered a text of Bhakthi by most people proclaims about itself in the last few slokas
Srimad Bhagavatha puranam amalam yad vaishnavaanaam priyam
Yasmin paaramahamsyam amalam ekam jnaanam param geeyathe.

Srimad Bhagavatha is that purana which is pure and liked by seekers of knowledge – wherein the ultimate knowledge of oneness is being propounded.

Thus, what is required from the seeker is just little effort to contemplate that “I am not the body, but I am Consciousness, one without a second. There is nothing here but Consciousness alone. As there is no duality, then how come sorrow or delusion – there is thus only Bliss, eternal Bliss”.


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