Wednesday, September 03, 2014



                                                 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:
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

4.     Forbearance.

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

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