Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Upadesa Sarah of Ramana Maharshi – Sloka 26

Atma Samsthithih Svaatma Darshanam
Atma nirdvayaat Aatmanisthathaa

Word meaning
Atma Nirdvayaat – Since the Self is non-dual or one without a second,
Atma Samsthithih – established in one’s own Self or Consciousness
Svaatma Darshanam – is the vision of the Self.
Aatma Nisthathaa – this is also fixing oneself in the Self.

Sloka meaning
As the Self is non-dual or one without a second, establishing oneself in one’s one Self or Consciousness is the vision of the Self. This itself is being fixed in the Self or Brahman.

Maharshi in this sloka again stresses that the vision of the Self is establishment in the Self alone.

A seeker should be very clear with the definition of liberation or realization and should know what this really means. Realization is not something to be gained fresh or after leaving the mortal coil on Earth. Realization is not something that can be seen because whatever is seen vanishes (is illusory alone like the worldly sense objects). This means realization is not an experience that can be attained in either heaven or during yoga meditation when kundalini power is aroused.

Realization is what already is. Realization is knowing one’s own nature of God or Brahman. Realization is vision of oneself (as one cannot see oneself, realization means removal of obstructions of ignorance so that the Self shines forth without any hindrance). Realization is one’s own very nature. Unless realization is what already is present, it will be born and hence will die also – thus it will not be eternal. Hence, realization is something that already is present – that which is ever present and pulsates as “I-exist, I exist”. Knowing one’s own nature of this Self which pulsates as “I-exist, I-exist” is called realization.

Any object in the world can be experienced. All these are experienced by the experiencer. But the Self is the experiencer of everything and hence it can never be experienced. Thus the Self cannot be an experience of the mind and sense objects as it is beyond all these.

Therefore if a person says that I saw God in Kailas yesterday, this means that his perception of God was not the real Self but only mortal God with a name and form which will obviously vanish after sometime (as the very experience of the person tells it).

Such a God is not the reality of Self or Brahman. Thus, such a God is only a perception of the mind and an object of experience. As explained earlier, God cannot be seen because it is the Seer of all objects, the experiencer of all experiences, substratum of all illusions.

Thus, realization is knowing or realizing one’s own real nature of Self and not attaining some God sitting in heaven.

Haven’t the Upanishads said about attaining Moksha or liberation which in turn means there is bondage present???
Upanishads proclaim attainment of Moksha only from the illusory viewpoint of the seeker. As there is ignorance in the seeker who finds himself not liberated, Upanishads proclaim that there is illusory bondage present due to ignorance and this bondage is removed by knowledge of one’s own nature which is termed liberation.

Thus, bondage and liberation are only illusions and therefore for the mind alone – they do not affect the Self which is ever-realized. The Self is ever-realized, ever-liberated.

Upanishad proclaim
Man eva manushyaanaam kaaranam bandha mokshayoh
Bandhaaya vishayaasaktam muktaih nirvishayam smritam

Mind alone is the cause for liberation and bondage.
When the mind is craving for sense objects, it is in bondage & when it is not craving for sense objects – it is in liberation.

Chittameva hi samsaaro tat prayatnena shodhayet
Mind alone is the cause of Samsaara or bondage. It is removed through effort from the individual.

Yoga Vasistha says
Chit chetya kalitha bandhah tanmuktaa muktiruchyathe
Chit achetya kila atmethi sarva Vedanta sangrahah

Consciousness when through ignorance gets mixed with (seems to get mixed with) thoughts is called bondage & liberation from thoughts is freedom or liberation.
Consciousness without thoughts is called Atman or Self – this is the essence of Vedanta.

Thus, realization is already there but it has been veiled by ignorance by which a person superimposes the unreal and illusory things of body and mind over the sentient Self. Removal of these wrong notions is called realization.

Thus, realization is being established in the Self. Each moment the person forgets this ultimate reality that “I am the Self or Consciousness”, he is facing the illusory world and sorrow-sufferings from the world. Thus effort must be always towards being established in the natural state of the Self. Established in the Self is nothing but being the Self, knowing that there is nothing here but Self alone.

Knowing thus the definition of realization, it is very easy to understand Maharshi’s current sloka. Establishment in the Self is the ultimate aim of human life through which alone a person can get eternal bliss inherent in the Self. The happiness that one gets from the external world are only temporary and hence unreal – they cannot give eternal satisfaction or perfection to the individual. The only thing which is capable of giving eternal bliss is the Self which is the very nature of a person.

When a person starts from his house and reaches office – he always has a bit of uneasiness until he reaches back home. One may sleep in a five star hotel bed but still the happiness got by sleeping in the bed at home is different and superior only. This means that whatever is not natural to oneself, that will not give eternal bliss but only anxiety and incompleteness. In deep sleep, everybody rejoice in the eternal bliss inherent in the Self (at that time when there is nothing but the Self only). This shows that natural state of Self is one without a second, the state where there are no thoughts & where one abides as “I” and not as “I am the body or I am the mind”. This is what is termed by Maharshi as being established in the Self.

The very scientific theory of inertia plays here also. Wherever there is deviation in the form of thoughts and actions, there anxiety also arises because one is not in his natural state of Bliss. Thus, abidance in the natural state is vision of one’s own real nature of Self of the nature of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss Absolute. This abidance when not mixed with any thoughts is the vision of the ultimate reality knowing which there remains nothing else to be known.

Maharshi also states the ultimate reality that the Self is one without a second. Abidance in the Self can give eternal happiness only if there are no external objects to divert the attention. We find the various objects in the world diverting our attention in the states of waking and dream. But the real state of the Self is non-duality which is experienced during deep sleep. Only when there are no dual things can a person rejoice in the eternal bliss inherent in the Self (because at that time there will be no divertions).

The scriptures proclaim thus that the world that one sees is nothing but Consciousness or Self alone. When the Self is known in its entirety, the world loses its stature – it becomes as unreal as the mirage seen in desert, as snake seen in rope, as the dream world. That person who realizes the Self realizes that the mirage seen in desert is nothing but desert only – the dream that is seen is nothing but the dreamer alone, the snake seen in the rope is nothing but rope alone. Knowing thus, a person always abides in the Self and this is called vision of the Self, realization, liberation, jeevanmukthi etc.

Adi Sankara thus says in Brahmajnaanaavalimaalaa
Ghada kudyaadikam mrittikaa maatrameva hi
Tadvad Brahma jagad Sarvam ithi Vedanta dindima

As pot, wall are all nothing but mud alone (with a name and form which is illusion in the reality of mud), similarly the world is Brahman alone – this is the statement of Vedanta or Upanisahds.

When this ultimate reality is known through the process of Self-Enquiry which Maharshi so elaborately and logically discussed till now, abidance in the Self becomes as natural as breathing. It is really a pity that the natural state of Self has to be realized through effort!!!!! That’s where the Brahmic power or Maya comes into picture.

Vedanta system according to Sankara is wrongly being termed as Mayavada. Sankara never put forth a theory about Maya but said that the world is only an illusion in Brahman and as all illusions are nothing but the reality alone, therefore Sankara put forth the theory of BrahmaVaada where everything is nothing but Brahman alone. This is the ultimate reality of one’s own nature – one already is Brahman or Consciousness alone, one without a second. This reality has been forgotten and hence one has to constantly abide in the Self of the nature of Consciousness. Constant effort needs to be put to set aside the ignorance that I am not the Self & always reside in the ultimate reality through contemplation that “AHAM BRAHMA ASMI – I am Brahman” – CHIDANANDA ROOPAH SIVOHAM SIVOHAM – I am that Self of the nature of Consciousness and Bliss, I am the Self – one without a second.


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