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Hari Om Tat Sat. Hari Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.
S. has come from Coimbatore and he has been spending some time with me – discussing his own studies, their outcome on the one hand and what is the life that should follow for him thereafter. The subject is a very interesting one, but it is much more sublime, wholesome and spiritual than perhaps even S. thinks. I thought of sharing my thoughts on the subject with all of you.
See, imagine the Vedas. They are a religious scripture. And the sole purpose of the Vedas is to enlighten humanity. About what? About themselves on the one hand and the world on the other and their relationship with so called God the Creator. The Vedas were composed at a time when we did not have any valid documents like history. So all that we understand about the evolution of the Vedas is from the Vedas themselves.
It must have been a product of many authors of many times. What would be the age difference between two different authors or two different portions we are unable to say. But we can certainly find a consistent growth in the Vedic literature and thought process. And the Vedas climax and crown themselves when we come to the Upanishadic declarations, revelations and exhortations.
The Upanishads do not give much of a command or a direction. On the other hand they make exhortations and declarations. When these are properly understood they become the inseparable values for our life. Goals and attainment for our life. So, through knowledge and revelations they try to enter into the hearts and mind of the readers or listeners. And then the process of wholesome Vedantic pursuit makes its beginning.
By any standard of imagination or judgement or reason, I want all of you to understand very clearly that the Vedantic pursuit is for the dedicated. Dedication is the one watchword throughout the Vedas. It calls for purity. It calls for resignation. It calls for resolution. It calls for renunciation.
The one person who brought this Upanishad into their limelight, and then formulated and established a way of life around them, not that it was not there, it was there, but it was eclipsed by the onslaught of Buddhism for about 1300 years as I can imagine. So, after an eclipsing, which lasted for one thousand three hundred years this one lad of Kerala, Shankara, being instructed, imparted by his gurudev, Govindapada, took up the task of highlighting the Upanishadic messages. He himself was a renunciate. His Guru was a renunciate. His disciples were renunciates. This you should understand.
Nothing short of renunciation and ascetic life will make oneself fit for taking up the pursuit, promotion, propagation and fulfilment of the vedantic thought and culture. And what is this dedication? This dedication is placing one’s life completely at the disposal of Vedantic ascetic life. For the ascetic there is no income. There is no profession. He renounces the world – bhuḥ, bhuvaha, and suvaha. He renounces the blood and matrimonial relations if he has both or either. He does not expect anybody to perform a sraddha for him. He does not himself perform the sraddha for his parents. His expectation form the world is a zero! So he drives his mind to a place of zeroness, to the pedestal of zeroness and from there - he proceeds. He is surrounded by the world. He is greeted by chance. Nursed, tried, tested and maturated by Providence at every time. At the same time he does not loose his independence and sovereignty. Before the entire world he remains as a singular monarch. Even the heavens and hells will be his slaves. Nothing he can be allured by. Nothing he wants to either establish, give or take.
Can the mind be driven to this state of pristine-ness is the question before the Vedantic seeker. And the Upanishads say ‘yes, yes’ a thousand times.
The whole process is accomplished by the rational intelligence which repeatedly tells and persuades the mind that “you, my dear mind, who looks for the joy connecting yourself with the outside world, the joy is yours, your own creation. Without the world interaction or world connection also you can have your own joy. Look for the sovereign independent joy and fulfilment within yourself and eschew the external dependence. This eschewing the external dependence cannot be a theoretical process. It has to be a practical wholesome and vibrant pursuit”. In order to accomplish this, whatever the seeker wants to do, he should do! He must do and he will do!
As Shankara himself puts it beautifully it in Vivekachoodamani :
Lokaanuvartanam tyaktwa tyaktwa shastranuvartanam
dehanuvartanam tyaktwa swadhyaasapanayam kuru
Whatever superimpositions, eclipsing and clouding you have, in other words whatever impurity and external dependence the mind fosters, eschew all that. For that purpose disregard the body and the bodily needs; disregard the society, the world and the worldly needs, disregard the scriptures and the scriptural injunctions! Nothing should be allowed to eclipse your mind. Your mind should revel in its own pristine purity, sovereignty, freedom and ecstasy.
Close your eyes, c-l-o-s-e your eyes. Sit a-l-o-n-e in a place. Sit a-l-o-n-e in a place. Handle your own thoughts and other processes, until at last they become fatigued, quiet, light, feeble and extinct. Find out what is permeating your body. It is something like space, but it is sentient space, sentient space. Try to understand the sentience part of it. Feel it. When you feel it, there will be fulfilment, there will be appeasement, there will be fullness. And there will be, there will be, I don’t know how to describe it.
It is not an external adventure or a conquest. On the other and it is an inner & an internal, inner & an internal dissolution, dissolution and splendour. When the mind is dissolved, when the intelligence becomes quiet and quiescent, in that stillness of the consciousness, there comes to be revealed a splendour and a sovereignty. The grandeur the world has is a trifle before this inner spiritual horizon that shines.
There are many examples, which will drive home this truth, but I don’t think they will have much of a meaning. But mind you, my dear children, dedication and zeroness. Sit upon a rock. Never want anything. Go to a desert. Be there. Want nothing, nothing, and nothing. Be surrounded by air and space. And you are already upon the earth. And see whether there is a supreme reality, which supports and sustains the earth and the creation. If it supports, it will sustain your mind, your soul and your jiva also. Or else it is extinct.
Now, can you stake your life by this kind of a dedication and reliance? Do it! Otherwise plead ‘ I cannot do’. I don’t want you to do it, but I would like you to aspire to be doing it. In this aspiration none of you should be lacking, lacking! You see an Ashram, with buildings and the rest. But I would like to declare before the world at least for my own satisfaction, ‘this Ashram has come to be from a zero, from a zero, from a zero’. From nothing, the everything, full universe has come. Similarly this Ashram also has come from the zeroness, which I cherish to possess and radiate. Even now I would like to possess and radiate the same zeroness. I always say, I always say, ‘In the impartial judgement of the impersonal Providence, if something is to be, it will be! Not otherwise. In the impartial judgement of the impersonal Providence! You have a gross body. But mind you it survives because of a subtle mind. The mind survives because of a still subtler ego. And the ego is sustained because of something still deeper, subtler, which is very nearly to be called the zeroness of your being, of your being.
It is like the pith of a huge tree, with a sizable trunk, branches, twigs, leaves, flowers and fruits. But all these have come up from the pith, which is none of these. Look for it, get merged into it, be dissolved into it and try to understand the dissolutional splendour and glory. This is the dedication, the expression of which is the renunciation and ascetic life. This is what Vedanta envisages for the true and the wholesome seeker. Make no mistake!
Hari Om Tat Sat. Hari Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.