Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Upadesa Sarah of Ramana Maharshi – Path of Knowledge

The summary of the path of knowledge (from 16th sloka to 28th sloka):

16) The mind withdrawn from the seen is the vision of Consciousness. That is the vision of reality also.
17) When a person enquires “What is the source of the mind”, he finds out that there is no mind. This is the direct path to reality.
18) Now, thoughts are the mind. The thoughts depend upon I-thought alone. Hence know that I-thought is the mind.
19) “From where this I-thought arises”, thus for an enquiring person, I-thought vanishes. This is Self-Enquiry.
20) When I-thought or Ego is destroyed, the pure I shines forth on its own as the Supreme and perfect (full) Existence.
21) This pure Consciousness or Self which is indicated by the word “I”, following the merger of the individual “I” or jeeva and when the total I or Ishwara also merges – shines due to the indestructible nature of itself.
22) I am the one and only Existence or reality (the only thing really existing is I alone). The three bodies of gross, subtle and causal are not me as they are insentient and hence non-existent.
23) Where is there any other thing to illumine Existence apart from Consciousness (not there is not any other thing). Because Existence is Consciousness and I am Consciousness.
24) Between Jeeva (the individual) and Ishwara (the Lord or creator), there is difference only with respect to body and intellect (gross and subtle body). By their true and essential nature, absolute reality alone is (meaning by their essence both are Consciousness alone).
25) When the limitations or adjuncts of body and mind are removed, that is one’s own vision of the Self. This itself is vision of God as one’s own Self.
26) 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.
27) Consciousness is devoid of the thought or vritti of ignorance and knowledge also. Is there any knowledge other than the Self to know the Self?? There is not (The Self is self-knowing and hence doesn’t require any special knowledge to be known).
28) What is the nature of the Self (thus enquiring), one realizes the Self as Indestructible, unborn, perfect and of the nature of Consciousness and Bliss.

Knowledge and Action – Two distinct paths prescribed in the Vedas.

The Upanishads proclaim two distinct paths to be followed in the world (or while living in the world). One is the path of Nivritthi or that of renounciation and Knowledge. The other is the path of Pravritthi or action.

Any person in the world has the option to chose between either of these two paths. One path leads to eternal bliss whereas the other leads to temporary happiness either in this world or in the world hereafter (heaven or Vaikunta or Kailash or any such lokas).

There is no other path than these two in the world.

Realization or liberation can be achieved or rather realized only through the path of knowledge. Realization is complete cessation of sorrow which in turn ensures eternal bliss to be rejoiced, to become perfect, to become complete so that nothing else is either craved for or aspired for. The realized person has no desires, no actions but always remains established in the Self, one without a second. Even though such a person might be seen as doing actions from the view of the ignorant people, he never does any action – the Ego has vanished thereby no actions are possible – he is ever united with the Self or Brahman or God.

Sorrows are not something external nor the inherent nature of human beings. The nature of human beings cannot be sorrow because the nature is always aspired for and natural state is devoid of any tension or vibrations. But sorrow creates vibrations and tension. And nobody wants sorrow. This shows that sorrow is not the natural state of humans or the “I” or Consciousness (this “I” normally is associated with various equipments of body and mind – and hence seems to get attached to objects and emotions – but in reality this “I” remains just a mere witness to all the actions and this witness is called Consciousness or Self). And one analyzes the state of deep sleep, he realizes that “I” enjoy only bliss during that state – there is no sorrow. Also that state is always aspired for – hence it is right to conclude that bliss is the very nature of “I” or Consciousness (this Consciousness is the real nature of everyone in the world).

Therefore, realization is nothing but realizing that eternal bliss is in Me. Then where does sorrow come from????
The ancient rishis asked this question to themselves and when they were analyzing this, they found out the reality that sorrows are only illusions created in the mind. If sorrow was something inherent either in the Subject of Self or the objects in the world, any person enjoying the object should get sorrow. But it is not the same. Some people get sad or sorrow thinking of whisky or drinks – but the very same object becomes source of happiness for some others. This only shows that the sorrow or happiness are not in the external objects but in the mind of the Seer or Subject only.

When the mind is made pure, the very same object which gave sorrow previously gives happiness. This is the reason why great saints remain always happy in all surroundings and environments. They never are affected by those because their mind has merged into the Self. Their mind is no mind but only Self.

It is ignorance of one’s own real nature which causes the mind to enter into thoughts and thereby enter into the duality of sorrow and happiness. Clear out the mind, eliminate the mind – and the person sees only happiness everywhere (the happiness which is the inherent nature of the Self is seen or perceived everywhere).

This realization of one’s own real nature is called Realization or Moksha or Liberation. Realization is not something to be attained or achieved new – but it is already present. The Self is Nitya Suddha Buddha Mukta – ever pure, ever liberated, ever enlightened. Knowing or becoming aware that “I am realized” is called liberation. It is ignorance of this eternal and real nature of oneself that causes sorrow and suffering in the world (which in turn makes one drive towards various temples and saints to find happiness either through money or through power or through so-called devotion which lacks the real qualities of devotion). It is a real pity that the Self which is ever realized is trying to find happiness in the external world whereas it has the happiness inherent as its very nature.

The famous story of Kucchu and where are my glasses has to be remembered to understand this. The glasses or spectacles were in his eyes and with that he was searching where his glasses were.

This is the case of search for happiness in the external world. No object external whether it be the idol of Vishnu or Siva or whether it is the very Lord Vishnu or even the form of Ramana Maharshi cannot confer eternal bliss which is present only in the Self – in the heart of all beings – and is the very nature of the Self (which we all always were, always are and always will be). What the form of Vishnu or Siva can confer is only limited and temporary happiness which will last only till the form exists or the form is visible. So much is the devotion that the moment a person stands in between the Seer and the Lord’s idol – there starts cursing and abusing!!!!! Therefore, eternal bliss or Moksha is realizing one’s own nature – not going to any Mahatma or any temple or any saint (even be it Adi Sankaracharya also). A great realized saint will only say the ultimate reality that “TAT TVAM ASI” or THAT THOU ALREADY ART.

If people are thinking the above words as harsh and against scriptures as well as against great words of Mahatmaas, these are not my words. This limited intellect and body named HARIRAM has nothing to add to whatever has been told in the scriptures and by great Mahatmas.

Yoga Vasistha says
Santyajya hrid griha eeshaanam devam anyam prayaanthi ye
Te ratnam abhivaanchanthi tyaktvaa hasthastha kaustubham

Those who renounce or forget the eternal God in the heart (one’s own real nature) and run after other Gods, they are like people who run after jewels while having the great jewel Kaustubha in hand!!!!!

Kena Upanishad says
Iha ched vedha atha satyam asthi ched iha avedin mahathee vinasthih

If this reality is Known here, it is Truth – if not known here, it is a great miss.

Sankara says in Dashashloki
Nahaam na tvam –You are not there, I am not there.
Then what is there
Tad eko avashisthah shivah kevaloham – There exists only ONE Consciousness or Self which is absolute in nature (one alone without any second object).

In the great Gopika Gitam in Bhagavatham, Gopis tell about Krishna
Na khalu gopikaa nandhano bhavaan
Akhila dehinaam antharaatma drik

You are not the son of Nanda O Krishna, but you are the Self of all beings.

Krishna says in Gita
Avajaananthi maam moodhaah maanusheem tanum aasritham
Param bhaavam ajaanantho mama bhoota maheswaram

Those who consider Me (the Self) as being embodied (in the form of Krishna) are fools. They don’t know my real nature of pure Self and controller of the elements or controller of creation itself (or controller of the senses which is the Self).

Thus, all the above scriptures proclaim in one voice that the Self is one’s own very nature, God is not different from the innermost being & God is one’s own very nature only and knowing this ultimate reality is Realization.

The world of creation itself is only an illusion & like a long dream. This illusion is superimposed on the reality of Self whether it is called Consciousness or God or Brahman or Ishwara or Vishnu or Siva. All the various terms point to one reality alone of the nature of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss absolute.

Realization is thus realizing one’s own real nature knowing which one realizes that the world around are only thoughts & mere illusions in the reality of Self – which seem to exist because of ignorance of one’s own nature of Self.

As reality is veiled by ignorance, it can be removed only through knowledge & not through any other means.

Actions are propelled by desires. Any thought alone is converted to actions. Hence, desires are what is generally termed as thoughts. These thoughts and desires arise of the goal to achieve perfection or completeness. This desire to achieve perfection is due to ignorance about one’s own real nature of PERFECTION or PARIPOORNA ATMA.

Hence KARMA arises out of KAAMA and KAAMA arises out of AVIDYA. Thus ignorance is the main cause of actions. Since ignorance is the cause of bondage & its removal being the only way to realization – action cannot pave way to realization (because action is not against ignorance as it itself is born out of ignorance and will add more to ignorance). Therefore the only way to realization is KNOWLEDGE which is opposite of ignorance & is capable of removing ignorance.

The Upanishads proclaim the path of Knowledge as the one and only way to realization. Whatever other means of devotion or action or yoga one follows – one has to reach the goal through knowledge alone – the ultimate non-dual knowledge that I alone exist here is called Knowledge or Brahma Vidya. This alone is realization and liberation.

Therefore no action can confer one realization as action is not against ignorance which is the main obstacle for realization.

Interested people can go through Sankara’s Brahma Sutra Bhashya on Sutra 1.1.4 or the first chapter of Sureshwaracharya’s Naiskarmya Siddhi where they both deal in depth that Action can never confer realization and only knowledge can make one realize one’s own real nature of Consciousness.

Even the acts of meditation or Samadhi or bhajan or devotion are only ACTIONS which has its base in ignorance alone. Hence the one and only way to realize the Self is to contemplate on the ultimate reality of one’s own nature through hearing of the scriptures, reflecting in the mind & contemplating in the reality. This is what Maharshi tells as Enquiry or Vichara in Upadesa Saram. Maharshi himself has mentioned in the work that the meditatation or devotion that “I am HE” is better than the devotion which has the separation between the devotee and the Lord.

Ishwara and Jeeva
These are two terms which have caused lot of problems and different theories or philosophies among various acharyas. One has to understand that whether it is Jeeva or Ishwara both have their base in Consciousness alone. We cannot imagine Vishnu without Consciousness, we cannot imagine God without Consciousness – that God ceases to be a God in that case. Therefore it is Consciousness which appears as the dual objects of the world. Ishwara and Jeeva are different based on their limitations of intellect & in essence, they are one and the same only.

This is what Vedanta proves through various Mahavakyas of TAT TVAM ASI (THAT THOU ART), PRAJNAANAM BRAHMA (Consciousness is Brahman), AHAM BRAHMA ASMI ( I am Brahman) and AYAM ATMA BRAHMA (This Self is Brahman only).

When the limitations of intellect, mind and body are removed, what remains behind is Consciousness alone – one without a second. This Consciousness is the only thing in the world which is capable of experiencing its own existence (that “I-exist, I-exist”). The various objects in the world exist only because of the light from Consciousness. Therefore Maharshi proclaimed that the Self is Existence and Consciousness. The Self is also of the very nature of Bliss as experienced in deep sleep. This bliss is not rejoiced now because of the limitations of the body and mind. When these limitations are removed, one enjoys the eternal bliss inherent in the Self. Therefore the Self is of the nature of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss Absolute.

The Self is beyond both knowledge and ignorance – as both of these are objective even the knowledge got from the scriptures are not real knowledge of the Self – but they are only objective knowledge used to negate objective ignorance. When illusory ignorance is removed through illusory knowledge of the scriptures, both vanish & the real knowledge or svaroopa of the Self shines forth. This is the reason why even though one is already the Self, one is advised to contemplate that I am Brahman or I am the Self. This is not real knowledge but only vritti knowledge or knowledge in the form of thoughts which are used to remove all other thoughts. When other thoughts are removed, this thought also vanishes (as –ve eliminates +ve and vanishes itself leading to a state of voidness where objects are not there and only Subject of Self remains).

Lastly, Maharshi proclaimed that the Self is neither born nor will it die. IT is always present, it is the only thing present. It is the only reality which is seen in all illusions of rope-snake, dream, mirage and the long waking world. There is only Self here, one without a second. And this Self is not somewhere in Vaikunta or Kailash but it is one’s own very nature. Knowing this is realization and the aim of human life. This is what is the main aim of Maharshi’s Upadesa Saram also.


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