Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Upadesa Sarah of Ramana Maharshi – Sloka 29

Bandha Muktyatheetham param sukham
Vindhathi iha jeevah thu daivikah

Word meaning
Jeevah tu – The individual jeeva (who has acquired knowledge which is the nature of the Self)
Vindhathi - attains (realizes)
Daivikah – the divine state
Param – which is supreme and ultimate,
Sukham – blissful in nature and
Bandha Mukthi atheetham – beyond bondage and liberation
Iha – here in this world itself.

Sloka meaning
The Individual Jeeva (who has acquired the knowledge of the Self) realizes the divine state (his own real nature) which is supreme, blissful and beyond bondage and liberation here in this world itself.

Any work according to the scriptures contains the phalasruthi or the result of learning the work & imbibing the import of the work through practice and experience. Maharshi explains what would happen for the person who reads this work and contemplates on the meaning of the work and puts it to practice through intellectual conviction realizes the Self knowing which nothing remains to be known.

Thus the effect of the work is Self-Realization alone. Self-Realization is not just the fruit of this work alone but of all the Upanishads. The Upanishads has Brahman as its Vishaya or Subject. The achieving of Brahman or attaining Brahman alone is the import of all Upanishads. All various philosophies of Vedanta or schools of Vedanta accept this. The difference of opinion comes as to whether this Brahman is different from the Self or one’s own real nature – or it is the same as the Self. Most of the schools except Advaita don’t accept the Self to be one with Brahman – they also don’t accept Brahman as without qualities or Nirguna. For such schools, Brahman is God with various attributes.

But as Maharshi has explained previously itself that God and Jeeva are essentially one alone – but only seem to be different due to the limitations which are only mere illusions in the reality of Consciousness. The essence of both God and Jeeva are Existence which is not different from Consciousness. Thus the Brahman and the Jeeva are not different but they are essentially the same. It is ignorance which causes one to think that “I am different from God, I am different from Brahman – hence liberation is being a part of God or attaining the loka of God or praising the God”. Once the ignorance is known to be only mere illusion through knowledge of the Self, the Self alone remains – one without a second. There is at that time no Jeeva or Ishwara different from the Self. The Self existing, all other objects exist, all other limitations exist. This is the ultimate reality which if not known will not lead to eternal bliss whether the person goes to Vaikunta or to Kailash, whether he prays Avataars or the Lord himself – because all the differences of Avataars and Lord etc are only creations of the mind. They simply vanish during deep sleep. This shows that they are not real but seem to be real when the mind is present. As Maharshi himself has proclaimed, mind is only a bundle of thoughts arising out of Ego or I-thought. When the source of the mind or I-thought is sought out, it itself ceases to exist. At that time, only pure Consciousness exists – without any limitations.

Thus, the very purpose or goal of the Upanishads is to realize the Self which is one’s own real nature and not different from Brahman.

Let us now try to analyze one of the Upanishads in order to find out whether the import of Upanishads is to realize Brahman and also whether Brahman is the Self only or different from it.

The Mundaka Upanishad starts by the disciple of Saunaka (a householder) questioning Sage Angiras thus
Kasmin u bhagavo vijnaatham sarvam idam vijnaatham bhavathi ithi

That by knowing which everything becomes known – let me that O Lord!

A similar verse occurs in the 7th Chapter of Gita where Krishna tells to Arjuna
Jnaanam te aham savijnaanam idam vakshyaami asheshatah
Yat jnaatva na iha bhooyo anyat jnaatavyam avashishyathe

I will tell you knowledge along with experience or wisdom – knowing which there will remain nothing else to be known.

In Mundaka, thus questioned by Saunaka, Angiras starts explaining the creation process of the world, how the world came from Brahman and that everything here is Brahman alone. He goes on to enumerate many things in the world telling that all these came from Brahman alone (which means that everything is Brahman alone as that which came from Brahman cannot be different from Brahman). In a very much similar way, Krishna says to Arjuna after the above verse that whatever you see here is ME alone (here Me means Brahman or Consciousness alone and not the form of Krishna as supposed by many people – Krishna himself states in many places that I am not this form but Brahman alone). After telling that everything is Brahman alone, Angiras then tells Saunaka the way to overcome the samsaara or suffering through chanting of AUM (AUM is the symbol which represents Brahman – it stands for Brahman which cannot be explained or described – thus it is a linga or pointer to the ultimate reality of Brahman).

After telling all this, the Mundaka Upanishad concludes by Angiras telling Saunaka
Sa yo ha vai tat paramam brahma ved Brahmaiva bhavathi

He who knows the Supreme Brahman becomes Brahman itself (here Supreme is mentioned in order to distinguish between Brahman from which creation starts which is inferior or Saguna Brahman endowed with MAYA and Nirguna Brahman which remains one without a second and from which no creation is ever possible).

Thus, a knower of Brahman becomes Brahman itself. This Brahman if known, everything becomes known. This is possible only if everything is Brahman alone – else knowing one single object, everything cannot be known. As by knowing a single mud particle, the complete mud products are known – similarly by knowing Brahman everything is known – thus says Chandogya Upanishad. This is possible only if mud products are mud alone but with a name and form. This is true as we all know.

Similarly the world is thus only a name and form of Brahman – by knowing Brahman, the world which is in essence Brahman alone is known.

This can be true only if the individual Self or Consciousness is not different from Brahman because Brahman also exists only if Consciousness exists – if Consciousness is not there, even Brahman ceases to exist. Thus we have to conclude that the individual Self is Brahman alone (as the various Mahavakyas say that AYAM ATMA BRAHMA – this Self is Brahman alone and SARVAM KHALU IDAM BRAHMA – everything is Brahman alone).

Thus, we come to the conclusion that the Self is Brahman only – that Brahman by knowing which everything becomes known: that Brahman which stands for the illusions of names and forms which is the world: that Brahman which is without any change and ever remains as one without a second, even during times of illusions when world seems to exist (as rope only exists even when the snake is seen and rope remains without any change even though it seems to change into the snake).

This is what Maharshi has been telling in the path of knowledge till now. Thus Maharshi says in this sloka that the Self realizes its Supreme state of Bliss (when knowledge becomes complete through the path of enquiry).

The Self is of the nature of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss absolute as has been explained in the previous postings. This inherent blissful nature of the Self is rejoiced by everyone at the time of deep sleep where no external objects are perceived & only the Self remains. Thus the person states after waking up that “I slept well but I did not know anything”. This ignorance of the bliss rejoiced in that state is the cause for all the sorrow and sufferings in the world because the world itself is a cause of ignorance alone. As ignorance of the real nature of rope is the cause for seeing snake in the rope, similarly the ignorance of one’s own real nature of Self or Brahman and one without a second is the cause for the dual perception in the form of the world which again leads to dualities, likes and dislikes and further to sorrow and sufferings.

Thus, the only way out of this is to realize one’s own real nature of Consciousness through the path of enquiry into one’s own nature after hearing from the Guru about the Self, reflecting on the mind the nature of the Self & then contemplating on the ultimate reality that I am the Self, one without a second.

Maharshi adds in this sloka that the Self is beyond bondage and liberation because the Self is ever-realized. There is no liberation for the Self. Liberation and bondage are only for the mind which seems to exist when the reality of Self is not known. Thus bondage and liberation vanish the moment Self is known – they do not exist at all, they only seem to exist & will appear as only illusions without disturbing the reality. That state where the Self is realized is termed as Mukta avastha or realized state.

This realization is to be attained or realized here itself and not in the other world of heaven, Brahma Loka, Vaikunta or Kailaash. The various Upanishads themselves proclaim this.

Katha Upanishad says (2nd chapter 3rd Valli 4th sloka)
Iha ched ashakat bhodhum praak sareerasya visrasah
Tatah sargeshu lokeshu sareeratvaaya kalpathe

If this reality is not known here before leaving off the mortal coil, then the person returns to various lokas and goes through the cycle of birth and death continuously (this means no Vishnu or Siva or any avatar can save the person unless the person realizes his own eternal nature of Self – the various Gods can only serve to make one eligible to realize the Self through purification of the mind & can guide one to the reality. It is the individual who has to realize his own eternal state of realization. A Sadguru who has realized the Self will know very well that there is no Guru and no Shishya but only the Self, he will always be established in the reality even though he might be seen as doing work through the eyes of the ignorant)

Kena Upanishad says (2nd Chapter 4th sloka)
Iha Ched vedeet atha satyam asthi
Chediha avedeen mahathi vinashthi

If the reality is known here – then it is Truth and becomes experience. But if it is not known here, then it is huge loss.

Thus, the Self is one’s own real nature which is to be realized here and in this world and in this birth itself – one should never wait to realize the Self after getting old or after marrying and getting grandchildren or after doing rituals or after doing devotion to the Lord or after getting a vision of the Lord. All these are good and fine, but they are not the ultimate reality. The ultimate reality is that I am the Self – one without a second, I am the God, I am Brahman, I am the Vishnu who is all-pervading and seems to be present in Vaikunta, I am the Siva who seems to be wearing rudraakshas and bhasmaas sitting with Parvathi in Kailash, there is nothing here different from Me, I am the reality which stands for the illusion of the world, I am Consciousness of the nature of Bliss absolute.

This is the ultimate reality which is aim of Upanishads and of all beings in the world (some know it and search for it in the heart, others don’t know and hence search for it in temples and other objects in the illusory world).

Maharshi therefore asserts in this sloka that the ultimate reality has to be realized here itself.

A person should not term that realization here (and that too that I am God) is not right and is only suited for certain intellectual people or certain people ordained by the Lord. All these are wrong ideas and rubbish (not my words, but all great Mahatmas and Krishna himself says this in Gita and Bhagavatham). Those are fool who think thus and are not willing to realize their own very nature of Self – those people are to be termed as MAD and IDIOTS who don’t know their own very nature of God, Brahman and Self and think that I am the devotee of the Lord, I am the servant of the Lord, I am the body and the mind, I am a grihastha, I am a Brahmin, I am a ritualist etc. All these notions are mere superimpositions on the reality of “I” present due to ignorance about one’s own nature. Such people are termed as MOODHAAH or IDIOTS by the scriptures.

Sukracharya, the asura Guru tells to Mahabali in Yoga Vaasishta.
Chit iha asthi hi chin maatram idam chinmayam eva cha
Chit tvam chit aham ethe cha lokaah chit ithi sangrahah

Consciousness is what is present here, there is Consciousness alone. All this is full of Consciousness alone. You are Consciousness, I am Consciousness and the various worlds are Consciousness only – this is the essence of all teachings and the ultimate reality.

Bhavyosi chet etasmaat sarvam apnoshi nishchayam
No chet bahvapi proktam tvayi bhasmani hooyathe

If this know now, then everything is known. But if you are capable of knowing this, then nothing can make you realize the reality and everything will be like offerings to the ashes (instead of the yajna fire).

Chit chetya kalitha bandhah tan muktaa muktiruchyathe
Chit achetya kilaatma ithi sarva Vedanta sangrahah

Consciousness when mixed with thoughts (due to ignorance) is bondage & liberation is removal of thoughts. Consciousness devoid of thoughts is the Self – this is the essence of Vedanta.

Evam nishchayam aadaaya vilokaya Dheeyedhayaa
Svayameva atmana atmaanam anantha padam aapyasi

Knowing this reality, a person should see things with this discrimination and from this understanding. Thereby, he will realize the Self without any external effort & attain the infinite state of one’s own real nature (attain here means realize).

The last part of the sloka thus says that Guru is not important (in human form). The various scriptures themselves are Gurus only, the various works of Sankara are gurus. If a person follows then with devotion and faith, he realizes the Self within no time because the Self is already realized and all efforts are only to remove the ignorance which is done through study of scriptures or contemplation which don’t necessarily require a Guru.

Thus, the Self is already realized and each & every one is the Self alone. Without knowing the Self, nothing in this world or the other worlds can help the person because all these are creations of ignorance alone. One’s own very nature is Self and realizing that is the ultimate aim of all beings. This realization of the Self can be had through learning of the Upadesa saram, reflecting upon the meaning of the Upadesa saram (reflection means to clear out all doubts and getting a clear intellectual conviction about the reality) and contemplating on the reality that has been propounded by Maharshi in this work.

With this sloka, Maharshi has ended the essence of the work. In the last sloka (30th sloka) which is the next sloka, Maharshi again summarizes the whole teaching of the work thereby stressing on the ultimate reality that has to be realized through the various Upanishads and through all the various paths to the reality. We will see the last sloka tomorrow.


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