Wednesday, September 03, 2014
VIVEKACHOODAMANI-BY ADI SANKARA
Sri Mahaganapathye Nama:
Excerpts from Sri Sankara’s Vivekachoodamani - Reference: - from commentary published by Central Chinmaya Mission.
Vedanta is truly is science of Life. Sri Adi Sankara is a great interpreter of Vedanta. His commentaries on Upanishad, Brahma Sutra, and Bhagavat Geetha are the main ones. Vivekachoodamani is also one of the other great texts. The article on Vivekachoodamani deals with development of discrimination between the Real and the Unreal. Vivekachoodamani means “The crest Jewel of Discrimination.”
In 77 chapters consisting of 581 verses- Sri Sankara has brought out the details of how to discriminate the Real from the unreal.
Durlabam tryametat Devanugraha hethukam- Manushyatwam- Mumukhatwam- Mahapurusha samasrya:
To be born as a human being; second to employ in life a deep discriminative understanding- and to perceive the ultimate futility of all the ordinary mundane pursuits of life and thereby seek a nobler path of Self redemption. Thirdly to find a right master (guru).
So manhood‘s burning desire for liberation and the capacity to surrender completely to a man of wisdom. All the above three are very rare. But if found they are due to the Lord’s own Grace.
Amrutatwam - Immortality - is not a state or condition that comes to us after our departure from this world. It is a perfection that can be lived here and now. A state of continuous existence.
Sustained self- effort by yoga is required to elevate the mind to rise from low values of its present existence to a healthier and diviner scheme of living. Understanding the Real Self is itself the route to Moksha.
Any amount of knowledge by study of scriptures or invoking of God through various sacrifices; or doing elaborate rituals – yet without the experience of one’s Identity with the Self ( Atman and Self are one)- there shall be no liberation for the individual.
Selfless work and charitable acts help to purify the mind but they do not by themselves contribute to the perception of Reality. The discovery of the Self is brought about only by discriminative analysis. Therefore, a true seeker of the Self should learn to enquire and meditate after duly approaching a Guru, who is himself established in the experience of the Self. He alone is considered qualified to enquire after the Supreme Reality, who is able to discriminate ( between the Sat and Asat); detachment; qualities of calmness and burning desire for liberation.
The required qualification for realisation of Real Self are
1. Ability to discriminate real from unreal.
2. Spirit of detachment from the enjoyment of the fruits of actions.( Vairagya born out of Viveka is called detachment)
3. Burning desire for liberation.
4. Six essentials like Dama- Sama- Titiksha-Sradha-Samadhana and Uparathi.
Dama: -Self-control –control of sense organs
Sama: sama is condition experienced by the mind when it does not function in worldly activities but quietly settled upon the contemplation of the Supreme Lord- calmness.
Titiksha:- Titiksha is forbearance -That is the capacity to endure all sorrows –sufferings- without struggling for redress or revenge and also free from anxiety over them.
Shraddha: - Faith in Self, Sastras, and in Reality. Shraddha is by which one understands import of the scriptures as well as the pregnant words of advice of the preceptor.
Samadhana:- Tranquility:- This is that condition when the mind is constantly engaged in the total contemplation of the Supreme Reality. It is mental attitude of individual with hardened out-look and grown in sensible - mental equilibrium.- Contentment with what one has been blessed with.
Uparathi: - Mind withdrawn from all objects- emotions- thoughts.
With above mentioned requirements un alloyed faith-devotion- and the practice of meditation are mentioned in the Sruti as chief factors that helps a seeker to attain liberation.
Anthakarana - Sudhi is the other requirement. This consists of Manas- Budhi- Ahamkara and Chitha. These four inner equipment’s play through organs of perceptions and actions make it possible for a person to come in contact with the world around him.
The Supreme Reality- Atman- Self- is said to be covered with five sheaths. i.e. Food Sheath- Vital Air Sheath- Mental sheath- Intellectual sheath- and Bliss sheath.
They apparently cover the Atman from direct vision and are born out of the Atman’s own power- divine- called Maya. When all the above sheaths have been negated the Self can be apprehended as being the essence of everlasting Bliss - as the indwelling- Self effulgent- Spirit Supreme.
To achieve liberation very well read bookish knowledge in philosophy of Vedanta is not enough. He has to give up his false identification with his body-sense organs etc.- which are unreal. Avidhya or spiritual ignorance is the cause of one’s delusory identification with the matter and the effect of such identification is “Bondage”. Mind must be diligently purified by one who seek’s liberation from bondage. Avidhya ends only when true wisdom comes and then liberation of self is possible.
Delusion or non-apprehension of Reality give rise to mis- apprehension- that I am the body- I am the mind etc. To achieve realisation one should be able to discriminate the Self – The Real from the non-self- Non real. Atman itself is the Supreme Brahman and nothing else. The following Mahavakyas from the Vedas confirm this statement. Prakjnanam Brahma- Aham Brahmasmi- Tat Twam Asi- Ayam atma Brahma. It is said that one which illumines everything is your own Self.
Atman –Brahman- Reality- Self-has the following attributes:-
Transcendental (para) 2. Real (Sat) 3. One without second (adwiteeyam)4.Extremely pure ( Visudham) 5. Absolute –mass of pure knowledge . 6. Without any taint (Niranjanam) 7. Supremely peaceful ( Prasantham) 8. Devoid of beginning and end ( Aadi antha Viheenam) 9. Beyond activity 10. In nature of eternal Bliss 11. Transcending all diversities created by Maya (Mayaadheetha) 12. Eternal (Nithyam) 13. Essence of all pleasures ( sukam) 14. Without any parts (Nishkalam) 15. Immeasurable (Aprameyam) 16. Form less (Aroopam) 17. Unmanifest (Avyaktham) 18. Nameless 19. Immutable-irreducible (Avyayam) 20. Self-Luminous (Jyhothiswayam).
It is also fact that Brahmam- Atman- The Truth- is beyond the triple factors of the knower, the knowledge, the known. That the same is pure consciousness (Kevalam Akhandam Chinmatram).
To know the Atman within you one should develop the study of scriptures and feeling for God; increased by bhakti or devotion. Knowledge and devotion are the methods to understand the God’s nature. Neither of them by itself is cable of realising the Truth; because it is beyond the mind and the intellect. Where the mind and the intellect merge- so forged is called the heart in all the spiritual literature. Understanding the Jnana is function of the intellect and feeling-Bhakti is the function of the mind. Contemplation -Bhavana is the function of the heart. Constantly meditate in the heart that “ I am the Brahman”- contemplate steadily upon it. Ultimately understand to apprehend your inner most Self is Brahman- pure consciousness-pure illumination.
Negative vasanas which is called sin or papa create agitation in the mind. Even good vasanas should be got rid of to know the Brahman- the Reality-the Truth. The Body, the Mind, the Intellect are the three cancerous ulcers that put forth the sorrow into life. When these three are transcended there can be no more agitations or disturbances.
Theoretical book knowledge is called Jnanam where as full subjective experience is called direct knowledge Vignanam. The personal experience of one’s ability with Brahman; the experience that the Self in me is the Self everywhere is cause for liberation. From the phenomenon of becoming - The experience of the merger of the Life with the life universal alone can remove the bondage of transmigration. Brahman; the life’s spark in each one of us is one without a second and is of the nature of all Bliss. Sathyam Jnanam Anantam Brahma.
That which remains the same in the three periods of time past present and future is called Truth- Sathyam The consciousness because of which all other knowledge are possible is called Jnanam. Because it is endless-eternal it is called Anantam.
Brahman is untouched by six waves of sorrows: They are Hunger-Thirst-Attachment for objects producing sorrows-Delusory fascination for pleasurable objects- Old Age -and Death. That which is not conquered and has no contact with these six waves of sorrows in life is the infinite – consciousness-Brahman-The Reality-The Truth. The Brahman is pure consciousness and is not made of Maya (Nirvikalpam). It is beyond all agitations of mind and intellect which are created by the Vasanas.
The three stages for Self Realisation are:
The three stages for Self Realisation are:
1. Discrimination between the Self and the not-Self.
2. Subjective experience of the Self within
3. Getting established in the oneness of Brahman and
I and mine notion in the body –sense organ etc. are not self. This super imposition with the body must end- by identification of the Real Self within his own self. Blindly following (Anu vartanam) - Like Deha is self- Sastra Anuvartanam etc. Should end to know the Truth.
The Vasanas of every individual fall under three categories- Tamas-Rajas- Satwa-according to balance of Sanchitha –Prarabdha-Aagami Karmas. The fruits of our actions linger in us as Vasanas. Vasanas act through our - doership and enjoyer-ship called Ego. Karta-Bhokta entitity is also the same Ego.
From desire starts attachment- from attachment to anger-from anger delusion- from delusion destruction of discrimination- the end is he perishes. Saint Narada is his Bhakthi Soothra states that having dedicated all activities to Him one should turn all one’s desire, anger, pride etc. towards Him alone. This is best way to control the mind. Whenever the seeker feels very lustful or other evil thoughts arise in him-without encouraging such thoughts- maintain the attitude of mear witness towards it. –with full consciousness by chanting God’s names. Vasanas increased by thoughts and action cause transmigration. Vasanas- Chinta- Karma is the three factors which are closely interred connected. With the end of Selfish actions brooding over sense objects ends. This would be followed by destruction of Vasanas.Distruction of the Vasanas is Liberation or Moksha. Santkurmara-Brahma’s son says that the forgetfulness of the essential divinity in us and our sense of holiness is itself is Death (Spiritual death) because thereafter that person can live only as animal.
Non apprehension of the Reality would create mis-apprehension –which is the root cause of all sorrows. It happens in the following sequence- From forgetfulness starts delusion – from delusion ( moha) comes the Ego- Ego sense leads to Bondage( Bhanda). Finally bondage breeds misery.
The self-existent Brahman created the senses with outgoing tendencies. Therefore, man beholds the external universe and not internal Self (Atman). Wise man by turning away his senses –and sensual objects-and desirous of immortality sees the “Atman within.” So if the mind ever so slightly strays from the ideal and becomes outgoing; then it goes down and down- just like ball inadvertently dropped on a flight of stairs bounces down from one step to another.
When the objective world is shut out, the mind becomes quiet and in such mind arise the vision of the “PARAMATMAN.” When that is perfectly realized the chain of births and deaths can be broken. Hence shutting out of the external world is the initial step for reaching Liberation. To recognise the entire universe as the Self is the means of release from all sense of bondage. One realizes this state by excluding the objective world through steady fastness in the external Atman.
As long as the veiling power (Avarana Sakthi) is not completely removed, so long the projecting power (Vikshepa Sakthi) will naturally make the individual dance. As long as there is non-apprehension of the Reality the mis-apprehension will continue; until the Reality- Truth is experienced the Vasanas will remain.
An Aspirant in order to be successful in his meditation should have the following fundamental qualities:-
1. Serenity (Santha Bhava) His mind is well trained not to run after sense objects with the false notion that there is happiness in them.
2. Control of sense organs
3. Total withdrawal from mental pre-occupation
Such seeker in his meditation realizes ultimately that the one Self is everywhere- nearer to Samadhi state is attained. Once he realizes that self is everywhere the bondage born out of spiritual blindness are all burnt down. Thereafter he lives ever content and blissful and life himself up to the state of Brahman and verily becomes Brahman. The first gateway of Yoga consists of control of speech. 2. Non acceptance of possessions. 3. Non entertainment of expectations. 4. Freedom from activity. 5. Living always in retired mood.
It has to be understood that dispassion ( Vairagya) and discrimination in an aspirant are like the two wings of a bird- unless both are active no one can take the help of just one and fly to the creeper of liberation which grows as it where at the top of the building)
Sri Sankara’s saying is
Brahma Satyam Jagat Mithya Jeevo Brahmmaeva napara:
Brahman alone is real. The phenomenal world is an illusion- the individual ego is nothing other than Brahman.
The fruit of dispassion is knowledge. That of Knowledge is withdrawal from sense pleasures. Fruit of this withdrawal is the experience of the Blissful Self and peace is result of this experience. Again it is stated that he who has steady wisdom; who experience endless Bliss –who has forgotten the phenomenal world- he is considered as Jeevan Muktha.
All our activities are called Karma. Karma is of three types. It is classified with reference to past present and future. Accumulated at the unconscious level of the mind are called Sanchitam (acquired). Large number of vasanas within is this karma. Out of which few of them become frutified and surge forth to express. Due to such vasanas we express ourselves the way we do. This is called Prarabdha Karma. (Which has started yielding fruits?) Some of the vasanas which are awaiting maturity and are yet to become effective are called Aagami. Once realisation is achieved his Sanchitha and Aagami karmas are destroyed. But this body being of Prarabdha Karma that which is result of past actions; which have already started yielding fruits; has to continue existence till it exhaust by itself. This body is the arrow which has already started from the mother’s womb and has been aimed at the tomb. A journey is from the Womb to Tomb. In that flight has started its career nobody can stop it. All the three karmas leave only when the Ego is completely dead. Vasanas affect Ego. The Ego is liquidated in the transporting experience of the Infinite.
It is said that the highest knowledge arises from the sincere contemplation upon the meaning of the Upanishad mantras. By this knowledge immediately a total annihilation of all sorrows born of “perception of change” take place. Shraddha-unalloyed faith-devotion and practice of meditation are the four factors mentioned in the Sruti that help a seeker to attain Liberation.
When the sense objects are conducive the situation is happy but when not conducive it is miserable. Hence happiness and misery are the dharmas of the Ego and not related to Atman- which is ever Blissful.
Invisible with all the three Gunas (Satwa Rajas Tamas) without a beginning is Avidhya- Maya which is power of the Lord. This is different from Prakruthi- Prapancham and superior to their effect. It is the Avidhya which projects the entire Universe.
Desire-anger-greed-hypocrisy-arrogance-jealousy-egoism- envy etc. are the attributes of Rajas from which the worldly tendencies of man are produced. Rajas is therefore, the cause for bondage in life.
The veiling power –Maya- is the power of Tamas-which makes things appear to be other than what they are actually are. Hence Tamas veils Reality and Rajas create agitation in the mind. As a combination of these two we see things which are not really there.
Ignorance, Laziness, dullness, sleep, inadvertence, stupidity etc. are the attributes of Tamo Guna.
Pure Satwa is like clear water. – The light of self-get reflected in Satwa alone like the sun it reveals the entire world of matter. Cheerfulness, the experience of one’s own self. Supreme peace, contentment, Bliss, supreme devotion to the Supreme Self are the attributes of Satwa Guna.
He who has deep devotion to the Sruti and who is established in his Swadharma is able to attain purity of his mind. With pure mind realizes the Supreme Self. By this knowledge alone is samsara is destroyed root and branch. The Atman is to the extent the mind becomes steadily established in the subjective Self; to that extent it leaves its desires for the objects of the world. When all such desires completely end then there is the clear unimpeached realisation of the Self. Thus purified by constant practice when the mind merges with Brahman; then Samadhi passes from the savi Kalpa to Nirvi Kalpa stage- leading directly to the experience of the Bliss of Brahman- the Non Dual. Therefore, with serene mind- the sense controlled-ever-drowning the mind in the subjective Supreme Self; and by realising your identity with the Reality-destroy the darkness created by the beginning –less nescience (Avidhya).
Living in solitude helps to control the sense organs. Control of senses serves to control the mind and by controlling the mind the Ego is destroyed. This gives the person an absolute Realisation of the Bliss of Brahman.
A person with the following qualifications are eligible to attain the Bliss and would be able to know the Reality-Truth- the Brahman.
1. Those who have completely purged of all impurities of mind by following prescribed methods like Sama, Dama, Uparathi, Titiksha, Shraddha and Samadhana.
2. Those who are averse to the pleasures of the world which are ever changing.
3. Those who minds are quiet calm because of the reduction of vasanas.
4. Those who take delight in the study of the scriptures
5. Those who are putting forth the efforts and are striving to realise what they have understood.Those who have a burning desire for liberation- M