At every stage it is this poetry that came to me in a very inspiring and memorizable manner. Because our Vedanta is taught in poetry. So where is the distance between the mind and the poetic presentation of the whole subject? Say each shloka fifty times, automatically the mind becomes qualitative in the manner in which you have recited. This is how you cultivate quality. You don’t have to cultivate it. This poetry will work it. This is called cultivation. Is it not manana to remember it and repeat it with fervor, with taste, deliciousness?
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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.
I have been speaking on how my spiritual life and sādhana have been very, very poetic and I also told you ‘Z’ was telling me, “Swamiji it has been so for you. But can it be for the others?” This is a very important question. I don’t know why she asked this question especially having been associated with me and culling out a number of references all from poetic texts.
I have no difficulty in mentioning that if our Vedantic science was not a poetic presentation, perhaps Vedanta would have lost me. The greatness and distinction of India is that all sciences and narrations including history, mathematics, physics, chemistry, medicinal science, everything is rendered in poetry. I was speaking in the “Sankara Institute of Philosophy and Culture” in Calcutta. So I always speak in greatly exclusive terms of praise for the poetic treatment of all the subjects by Indian thinkers.
So when I was mentioning that it is a distinction of India that every branch of science has been dealt with in poetry. One of my listeners literally jumped from his seat, he was sitting and at the end of the talk he told me “Swamiji, I am a researcher in the Indian Institute of Science, Baranagar, Calcutta. He was saying that in California or so, in the United States, a conference was held and the subject of discussion was “Science was a pursuit and promotion of Intelligence and Poetry is an expression and outpouring of the heart. The two cannot be blended. Maximum they can run parallel.” This was the finding of the great international conference. “Now what you are saying is absolutely in contravention of their statement and finding. I am very much surprised and enlightened”, he said. There is a lot of emphasis in my stating this.
Yoga itself is the blending of intelligence and mind which means the blending of intelligence and heart. The intelligence provides the knowledge, the heart and the mind provide the ecstasy and fulfillment. Vedanta becomes fulfilled and it attains fruition only when the quest of the intelligence and the crying need of the heart and the mind both get equal fruition and there is a blending. That is why as I mentioned to you..
The self knowledge does not become true unless desires from the mind completely fall.
The one who knows the bliss of the self alone transcends fear.
Just see? To know the self is to have the ecstasy of the self. The ecstasy is an experience provided by the mind and heart. The knowledge is something provided by the intelligence. The two cannot be separate. The two are in close fruition and synthesis, harmony. Every one of you should start thinking about it.
So in poetry one item after the other is there.
वस्तुसिद्धिर्विचारेण न किंचित्कर्मकोटिभिः ।।
I am going back to my Calcutta days before taking up sannyāsa and coming over to Kerala to start my parivrājaka life. What is this? Cittasya śuddhaye karma, any extent of religious, social, personal, familial and other activities can only be for the purity of the mind.
Na tu vastu upalabdhaye, it cannot result in attaining the knowledge of truth. So indulgence in rituals will not take you to the knowledge of truth.
Then how can knowledge be had? vastusiddhirvicāreṇa, na kiñcitkarmakotibhiḥ, the attainment of the imperishable can only be had by vicāra, introspection, dedicated enquiry by the intelligence. Na kiñcitkarmakotibhiḥ, not by crores and crores of rituals. The moment I read it, I understood that rituals were not the right means. Vicāra.
Now the question arises. What is this vicāra?
This is from Aparokshanubhutih of Sankara.
ko'ham kathamidam jātam ko vai kartā'sya vidyate. Ko aham - who am I? We always say ‘I’, ‘aham’, ‘aham’, ‘aham’. The first personal pronoun is the maximum used by everybody. Our life revolves around this ‘I’. Without the ‘I’, there is no life, there is no experience, there is nothing. Even the world is revealed by the ‘I’. God also is thought by the ‘I’. So the ‘I’ comes first, everything else next. What is this ‘I’? There cannot be a doubt because this ‘I’ is a reference to something within the body. So it is not a matter of doubt or indecision.
Ko'ham kathamidam jātam, how is it that all these planets and celestial bodies including the earth on which we live, all of them are hovering, revolving in the empty space? Space is śūnya. From the śūnya space could so many dense planets be born in the form of matter and energy? Is space matter? Is space energy? No. Then it is emptyness, śūnya. From śūnya can pūrna arise? Kathamidam jātam.
Ko vai kartā'sya vidyate. Normally for everything we find a creator. A child is born from the parents. A tree is born from the seed. The earth maybe born perhaps from the sun. So what is this ultimately, the kartā, the designer, the planner and the executor of the whole universe?
Upādānam kimastīha. Just see? In those days also they were considering about an efficient cause that is what you say as God. Another is material cause, upādānam kimastīha. Suppose God produces the universe, he must be producing it with some kind of material. So what is the material cause and what is the efficient and knowledge cause?
Vichāraḥ so'yamīdṛśaḥ, now this is the type of vicāra that will lead you to the realization or comprehension or attainment of the truth, the self. Just see? Is it not in poetry?
If it were in prose, I would not have remembered at all. I have read quite a lot of prose also in the course of my learning but I don’t remember it whereas this one.
See the concept of nitya and anitya is introduced. Nitya is eternal, anitya is fleeting. So the difference between the fleeting and the lasting, this is called viveka. So this was a new element in life. We are living. We are having our food. We have our sleep. We have our activity, many, many things take place. All this does not mean that we are interested in an analysis of whatever we do. So he says nitya-anitya-vastu-vivekah. We must have the discretion, discrimination between what is nitya and anitya.
When I started thinking about nitya-anitya I found the whole world including our body is anitya. Just imagine what would be the reaction and response to this finding! Including our body, the entire world is anitya! In spite of the fact that it is created and preserved by God. If it is anitya, then what is the purpose of our doing many things to get hold of these fleeting things? So is there anything lasting? There should be. Where it is? How it can be found?
At every stage it is this poetry that came to me in a very inspiring and memorizable manner. I don’t know why ‘Z’ says can it be so for all people. Because our Vedanta is taught in poetry. Everything is in poetry. Upanishads are in poetry, Bhagavad Gita, full poetry, Brahma Sūtrās, only aphoristic statements. Srimad Bhagavatam in poetry. All the Vedantic texts, take this advaita-siddhi or chit-sukhi or anything. Aparokshanubhuti, Vivekachudamani, Drgdrsya-vivekah, sarva-vedanta-siddhanta-sāra-sangrah, so many stotrās, all of them are in poetry. So where is the distance between the mind and the poetic presentation of the whole subject?
The evaluation about one’s own life how beautifully Sankara puts it!
I don’t have a photograph of how my mind, heart and intelligence reacted when I read this. Somehow having got the human birth and particularly a man’s life and also an exposure into the scriptures if one does not try for liberation he virtually commits suicide. So our life is actually a suicide. Vinihantyasadgrahāt, why? Because we are relating ourselves, connecting ourselves to the perishable, perishable items. When the mind connects to perishable items, it becomes perishable.
So this one śhloka from Vivekachudamani by Sankara, it must have gone into my system with so much of fervor, inspiration, enlightenment, guidance, correction and compulsion. And to reinforce all this, I learnt it by heart and I started repeating it.
I never wanted to be a fool! Don’t become a fool. Become wise if at all and try for mukti. So in the language of foolishness and wisdom when the subject is dealt with, presented, where is the option for man? I cannot afford to be a fool. My dear children, why are you saying like this? “Can it be for everybody else?” It can only be! I think you should learn. If you want me to do something let me know. I will chant these verses any number of times for you so that it starts becoming an operational force in your mind. You may be in the bathroom, you maybe in the bed.
Say that fifty times, automatically the mind becomes qualitative in the manner in which you have recited. This is how you cultivate quality. You don’t have to cultivate it. This poetry will work it. This is called cultivation. Is it not manana to remember it and repeat it with fervor, with taste, deliciousness? I would like to say more about it.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.