"It is not what you do that matters, but how you do it – with what attitude and aim. The spiritual effect that a seemingly spiritual activity brings, can also be had by the domestic pursuit, provided you preserve a spiritual attitude and dedication."

The Guiding force of Narayanashrama Tapovanam & Center for Inner Resources Development

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

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Practical Guidance

Prabhaata Rashmih talks by Poojya Swamiji
  • PR 18 Jan 2016 - World Experiences are Only Mental Imprints
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    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

    Whenever I started reading about our spiritual philosophy, I always wondered whether the truly spiritual truths… The spiritual truths are those truths which are based upon one’s own inmost being. Otherwise it cannot become a spiritual truth.

    Our mind is not a material product nor is it an energial something. Though the mind is associated with the body which is matter and energy, mind itself is not a physical part of the body because the body is an inert aggregate. It does not have the power or property to know, to sense, to remember, to understand, to enquire into. But these are the functions which the mind and the intelligence do. So obviously, in terms of logic and reason, we cannot say mind and intelligence are the physical parts of the body like any other organ or cell. This is the mystery of creation. How is it that within the material matter-energy body, there can be something totally different? It is there. This is the mystery of creation.

    So whenever I used to read about the spiritual truth that the whole world is an illusion, illusion, illusion, the self alone is the reality, the truth, I was always wondering. I never gave any place for māya as such. The manner in which I explain māya is different. Generally people understand by māya something that is totally non-existing. If something was non-existing, why should we say it is māya? First of all, there is something to be referred to. After referring to it, after experiencing it, we assess it as māya. So there is a great confusion about these matters. So I always wondered what could be the truth? So it was really a consistent research I was going into which I even now do.

    Yesterday I was referring to the verse to be taken this year, first, that is.

    त्वया व्याप्तमिदं विश्वं त्वयि प्रोतं यथार्थतः ।
    शुद्धबुद्धस्वरूपस्त्वं मागमः क्षुद्रचित्तताम् ।। १.१६ ।।
    tvayā vyāptam-idam viśvam tvayi protam yathārthataḥ |
    śuddha-buddha-svarupas-tvam māgamaḥ kṣudra-cittatām || 1.16 ||
    (Ashtavakra Samhita 1.16)

    Tvaya vyaptam-idam viśvam tvayi protam yatharthatah.See the way I look at it is, the literal meaning of the line is,

    Tvayā vyāptam-idam viśvam - “My dear Janaka”, Ashtavakra says that “The entire universe is permeated by you.”

    Tvayi protam yathārthataḥ - In truth, the world is woven in you, woven in you, woven in you. You are permeating the whole world and the world is woven in you.

    See, either I read it, I accept it and I act upon it and I realize it or I totally cross it. There is no in-between position. So the reading of spiritual truths will not give you any other choice than to accept it and realize it. So what is that realization which will completely vindicate the statement? So listen to what I say.

    It is a very, very logical and scientific proposition but unfortunately even if people listen to the proposition, their minds and intelligences will somehow create some obstruction. I don’t know why. This is where, what shall I say, only fortunate people can take to this wonderful path and come to the pinnacle. What else can be done and said!

    Whenever you refer to the world, you are referring to the world which you see and perceive. You cannot refer to something which you are not perceiving or experiencing. So I from here look in the eastern direction through the door and I find a number of trees are present before me. If my vision is unobstructed, I can see the Western Ghats in my front. The distance to that mountain is quite huge. In spite of it I see it.

    When I look at the sky during night, a number of stars, celestial bodies are there. All of them are seen by me. Please come along with me when I say. When I see them, it is not just seeing. It is experiencing them. And this experience is only inner and inward and mental. Whatever be the distance, seeming distance of the object and whatever be the variety of the objects I see like the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountain, the sea, the number of trees, all these are experienced by me, in me. I am using my eyes, not the world’s eyes. And in reality, the eyes have been made by the power within me that has shaped the eye.

    So I am using my own eyes to see the objects. But the seeing process is not taking place in the eye’s level. The actual seeing process is inside me in the level of my consciousness or mind. So whatever may be the objects, their multitude, their distances, their sizes, their distinctions, all of them are experienced by me in my mind.

    With the eyes when I focus in a certain direction, what happens? The eye helps me to take imprints. The mind is forming the imprints of objects in itself with the help of the eye. It is these imprints that I am seeing. So the moon, the sun, the stars, the mountain, the sea, all the variety of objects lying around, all of them are experienced by me in my mind as mental imprints.

    If you agree that these are mental imprints and these imprints alone I experience… I don’t go to the mountain. I remain here and see the mountain. And what is it that I see? I see the imprint my mind makes through the eyes about the mountain.So the eyes are mine. The seeing is mine. The outcome of seeing is mine. And the imprints are all in my mind. So the mind forms the imprints. So are not the imprints woven in the mind? And more important, am I not in all the imprints that I see? I cannot feel the imprint unless I am involved in it.

    So the word tvayā vyāptam-idam viśvam, I am referring to a viśvam which I see, the universe which I see. And that universe is in the form of an imprint in my mind. So the universe I am seeing imprinted in my mind, I am permeating in that and the whole sights and objects are woven in me. What further proof do you want for this?

    All of you are seated in my front. When I look at you, none of you comes into my mind nor do I go to you. You are there, I am here. But I am seeing every one of you. I can count them, I can tell you what kind of a distance you are in, what is the dress that you are wearing, how bulky you are, whether you are a man or a woman, every detail I am able to say remaining here. I don’t come to you and you don’t enter into my system. Nevertheless, I can give you a full account of the presence before me. So this is only because of the imprints my mind makes. And except the imprints, I cannot experience or realize anything about the world.

    So the world I see is my imprint. And these imprints are in me in all the thoughts, in all the thinking processes, in all the thinkerhood, in everything. I, my mind is permeating, permeating, permeating. Can u ever deny that the thinking process is in you? So all the thinking processes are just like a net woven by a thread. The mind is the thread and all the net is woven by it. The whole process is inside.

    So when we say, “I am permeating in the whole universe”, it is not an imaginary statement. It is a fact, a fact greater than the solid objects of the world. It is a fact greater than the rock, It is a fact greater than earth, the ocean. The earth and the ocean also are perceptions for me. I say this is ocean, I say it this is earth. I experience it in my mind and that is what makes me say.

    So for all the words and the pronouncements I make, my experience is the ground factor, foundation. And that experience is inner, inner, inner. It is mental, mental. It is in the consciousness. And consciousness pervades everything that it produces. It has got no external focus. Thought is not external, experience is not external, memory is not external, wakefulness is not external, sleep is not external, dream is not external. What is there external? Everything is inward, inner, and being so, I am pervading in whatever I experience and perceive and all the perceptions are woven by me, in me into me.

    And you, śuddha-buddha-svarupas-tvam māgamaḥ kṣudra-cittatām. So many forms and shapes are arising in the mind and all of them are wiped off also in the mind. At the end of the day, you sleep wiping the entire wakeful impressions. And you get up in the morning. What does it mean? You are not tainted by, you are not smitten by, colored by any of the impressions. You may have seen an elephant, a dog, a dead body, you may have seena huge fire, all these things are experienced by you but none of the experiences has affected you, it has not colored you. So are you not pure consciousness?

    Māgamaḥ kṣudra-cittatām. Being so, never become small-minded, little-minded. To say that I am this, I am that, I am poor, I am rich, I am aggrieved, I have this loss, that loss, what loss can you have? Even if you have the entire world around you, nothing is going to enter your inner system. Neither your son nor the property nor the house, no object will ever enter your mind. Mind remains inaccessible to the outside world. So what you mean by “I have lost”? What have you lost? And what have you gained? So do not be small-minded , little-minded.

    See, what a wonderful statement is this! This is the greatest form of research that you can think of. Through the telescope and microscope also, it is human eyes that see and it is the human mind and intelligence that infer. The microscope and the telescope do not do anything. They are inert. Our eyes also are inert. The only sentient factor is within the body in the way of the mind, intelligence and ego.

    So this is such a wonderful philosophy. I am becoming almost speechless because this philosophy or this truth when I say, I don’t think people will like to hear or even if they hear, they will like to understand and be guided by it. To me it is the best and the absolute form of science. The scientist also is operating with the same senses, with the same mind and intelligence. All the models he think of, all the conclusions he arrives at are helped by only his senses, then the mind, then the intelligence. Now, this is a very science of the mind and its imprints, mind and its processes. How can it be wrong? So I am wondering whether any one of you will be able to rise up to this wonderful statement, the spiritual philosophy and make use of it.

    Tvayā vyāptam-idam viśvam tvayi protam yathārthataḥ. The entire universe is permeated by you, pervaded by you. In truth, everything is woven in you.

    Śuddha-buddha-svarupas-tvam. you are not what is woven. You are not what is imprinted. You are the imprinting, pure, colourless, odourless, unborn, undying, untransforming consciousness. Do not become small-minded to dispose off this truth. This is the śloka I will explain this evening to begin with and then continue the session.

    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.

  • PR 16 Jan 2016 - The Power and Potential of the Mind
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    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

    How to bring this point home to all of you? Either in the world or in the human world, whatever you call activity, interaction, and achievement; all these are traceable only to the mind and intelligence of the human individual. When are you going to arrive at this conclusion?

    The alphabet for any language, invariably it has been evolved by one person. Kālidāsa is a legendary figure. He is not an imagination. We have got poems, great poems of Kālidāsa. When a written document is there we cannot doubt its author. So, whether there was anybody like Kālidāsa or not you cannot doubt because we have got his creations before us.

    This Kālidāsa seems to have been a shepherd boy. He was such a fool that he climbed on a tree and was sitting on a branch away from the trunk and he was cutting the portion of the branch where he was sitting close to the trunk. What does it mean?

    Generally you can sit on a branch and cut ahead of your seat. Now here, he is cutting towards the trunk and he is sitting away from the trunk. Can there be a more foolish person? It was this person that a set of pundits selected to be married to a proud princess. So you can imagine how miserable the life of the couple would have been.

    From that situation, this Kālidāsa did some kind of an austerity or tapasya. What is this austerity? Any austerity ultimately is motivated by, conducted by, sustained by the mind. “I am going to do tapasya taking only one meal in a day.’ That “I am going to do tapasya , I am going to forego one meal a day”, it is a decision that is made by the mind. Now this will be implemented by not having food physically through the mouth and hand, that’s all. But even not taking food is not done by the mouth and the hand, it is done by the mind. So mind is the sole focus. So by doing tapasya, the same idiotic Kālidāsa, he became an astonishingly wise person to write monumental poetry, immortal poetry.

    Just imagine, how this happened? Total ignorance was there in his mind and intelligence. In the same place, astonishing wisdom dawned. The transformation was to the mind and intelligence. Any discovery, any invention, any technological venture, success, everything is traceable to the mind and intelligence.

    What will this mind and intelligence do? This also you have to understand. I would like you know. Pāṇini wanted to write a grammar. There were already grammar compositions in the country. He wanted to write a grammar excelling others and making it more complete covering even the Vedic language that was there from the timeless past or from the ageless past. He first of all did tapasya on Parama Shiva. Let the focus be Parama Shiva, Subramanya, Ganesha or anybody else. The point is that his mind and intelligence started getting heated up about the venture and he applied them, applied them, applied them with as much of concentric force as possible. Then whether Parama Shiva himself came with his damaru and played or not, he got some sounds from which he got the clue to the sutrās on the basis of which he composed the entire grammar.

    You tell me very clearly, in the whole process, exercise, was there anything besides the mind and intelligence? You will say Lord Siva is there. Who is this Lord Shiva? He is there very much for you, you are not able pray to him and get the same result as Pāṇini had. Any God is already present, everywhere present. Then what is the difference? Our mind making use of this God by means of austerity or contemplation. That austerity or contemplation is an exercise, an expression of the mind. So the mind, mind, mind and its austere application is what counts. Will you understand this proposition very well?

    For anything and everything, the focus is the mind, the substance is the mind, the means is the mind, the material is the mind. Mind, mind, mind!

    Meera drank the glass of poison given by the mother-in-law. Her sincerity and devotional reliance on Lord Krishna were so much that she did not have any doubt about drinking it. Physically she drank and bio-physically the poison did not have its bio-chemical effect. Just imagine? The mind overcoming matter. The mental laws overcoming physical, chemical, bio-physical, biochemical, biological laws. Is it not an instance where the chemical effect of poison was not there in the physical body of Meera? And how did this happen? There was no doctor, there was no physician. It was her decision to drink it and after drinking, it did not have an effect. Where are you searching causes for magic?

    So in our line whenever people take initiation, deeksha, Brahma Vidya deeksha, I give them deeksha, I had got it from my Gurudev. Ultimately it is in the form of a concept or a mantra or something, a formula which the mind has to cling to, preserve and invigorate. When you start chanting or revolving a thought in the mind, this is the greatest austerity that you can think of. First of all, understand that mind is everything. This mind is given to thinking and it thinks discursively, divergently, distractionally. When the sunrise is passed through a convex lens I believe they get converged and they can burn paper, dry leaves etc. That convergence is not there for the mind. Mind is infinitely vast. But the mind is not converging. But if you start chanting a mantra, it is not chanting the mantra. It is making the mind active and exert itself in a very, very, very unitary, concentric manner. Not even concentric, centric manner.

    Suppose I give you a hammer, 250 grams and I ask you “Go on powdering this huge rock.” You will say “How it can it be?” Go on beating, beating, hitting at the same point, at the same point, at the same point. Then the rock will start powdering. It will be pulverized. If this is the effect of a hammer on a huge rock, how small is the hammer and what is the weight of the hammer? 250 grams. And you start hitting the rock. The rock will be countless number of times in size and weight of the hammer. Much more infinitely greater is the effect of the mind hammering, hammering, hammering, hammering, hammering...

    How will the mind hammer? By virtue of a hammer it produces. And that is that mental formula. It goes on applying, applying, applying, applying, where? Itself. On itself! You cannot imagine the effect. It is far greater than an atomic explosion. People don’t understand it. Many people approach the subject with faith which they are not able to get also.

    So I wanted to drive home to you the power of the mind, the exclusiveness of the mind in human life, in the world. The world will not change at all except in the presence and working of the mind. Other beings also there. They don’t have, they haven’t brought about anything called civilization. Civilization has been brought about only by the human mind and intelligence. Mind and intelligence are not different. Mind’s own elder brother, refined form is intelligence. Only in application, the two differ. Substance wise, mind and intelligence are the same. It is like running and jumping done by the same legs.

    So I would like you to understand the presence of the mind, the role of the mind, the potential of the mind and how Kālidāsa became a Kālidāsa, Pāṇini wrote a grammar, Meera drank the poison and Sankara walked up and down the country meeting the scholars of the time, talking to them and establishing our Vedanta. Everywhere it is the resoluteness of the mind!

    व्यवसायात्मिका बुद्धिरेकेह कुरुनन्दन ।
    vyavasāyātmikā buddhir-ekeha kuru-nandana |

    Buddhi, the resolute nature of the buddhi is the only factor to count in the whole of karma-yoga, says Krishna. Spend some time and think about what is this ‘vyavasāyātmikā buddhiḥ’? ‘Vyavasāyā’ means ‘niśchaya’, resolution. ‘Vyavasāyātmikā buddhi’ means buddhi given the quality of resoluteness, the resolute intelligence, resolute intelligence.

    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.

  • PR 15 Jan 2016 - Sensory Control and Even Vision Are The Two Takeaways from Bhagavad Gita
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    Harih Om Tat sat.  Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

    Today I have to speak for Asianet. I am discussing the twelfth chapter of Bhagavad Gita. One additional note in my discussions for the Asianet, this Mukthisudhakaram program is that I spend some time, not sometime, enough time to find out how best I can relate important concepts which are presented in Bhagavad Gita with earlier and succeeding references.

    The twelfth chapter commences with an enquiry from Arjuna as to whether the people given to the devotional path or the other spiritual, knowledge path, who are better and more connected with the truth? This was the question.

    Krishna as usual with his psychological expertise says that “The people who are devoted to me through devotion are the best. But the other people also come to me provided,” he says, “sarva-bhūta-hite ratāḥ”, “provided they are interested in the welfare of all creatures.” And then he gives a beautiful description as to what the other people are. In that description,

    सन्नियम्येन्द्रियग्रामं सर्वत्र समबुद्धयः ।
    sanniyamyendriya-grāmaṁ sarvatra sama-buddhayaḥ |
    (Bhagavad Gita 12.4)

    Are two phrases he uses. So I was thinking about, ‘sanniyamyendriya-grāmaṁ’, regulating and refining the senses, all the senses very well. And ‘sarvatra sama-buddhayaḥ’, fostering an equal vision everywhere and at all times.

    So I was thinking… Generally I do my morning walk. That is the time I think about these matters. So I wanted to enlarge this concept and say how much important these two are. And not only that, what is the very special significance or uniqueness about the two?

    Bhagavad Gita is a śāstra. A śāstra means a scientific treatise. Being a śāstra, our Sanskrit śāstras are supposed to have six lakshanas. Every śāstra must incorporate these six lakshanas. That is our scientific tradition. What are they?

    Upakramaḥ, Upasamhāraḥ. What is the subject discussed in the śāstras should be first mentioned. It should also be mentioned at the end. Then, it should be repeated in between. So, at the commencement, in the conclusion and repeated throughout. These are the three. Upakramaḥ, Upasamhāraḥ, āvarthiḥ.

    Then, whatever is presented should become scientific, logical and rational. That is called Upapatthiḥ. So how many are they? Upakramaḥ, upasamhāraḥ, āvarthiḥ, then upapatthiḥ, reasonableness, rationality, a scientific nature of the discussion.

    Then, there must be phala-shruti - what is the benefit of following this śāstra on this particular subject?

    Then sixth is artha-vadhaḥ, eulogism. Eulogism means exaggeration. Exaggeration is a quality of the śāstras. Whatever is mentioned in the śāstras, in order to make people interested in it, the benefits, qualities, its nature, features etc. will have to be exaggerated. That exaggeration in terms of profusion of words and profusion of many things, that is what makes it alluring, enchanting.

    Suppose, a person says “A dog came here.” Nobody will listens to him. “Do you know a dog came here? It was twelve feet high!”

    “12 feet?” Everybody will be interested in seeing.

    Whenever you call somebody for speaking or you are conducting a function, what is the uniqueness of the function, what is the uniqueness of the person, this has to be mentioned. Otherwise nobody will be interested in it. This is also a scientific analysis and need.

    So, Upakramaḥ, upasamhāraḥ, āvarthiḥ, upapatthiḥ, phala-shrutiḥ, artha-vadhaḥ. There is one more. It is called Apūrvatha. I don’t know where it will fits in. It becomes seven according to what I have said now.

    That apūrvatha means any śāstra will become relevant only when it has something exclusive to provide which the other śāstras do not have. Then only it will gain popularity and following. So I was trying to link it up and wanted to say that ‘indriya-nigrahaḥ’ is the apūrvatha of Bhagavad Gita.

    See, you will find philosophy discussed in many places. The philosophy is only an exposure of the subtle truth. So it is primarily a question of using various methods of logic, reason etc. and tell you that this is the supreme truth. In explaining it, why should we discuss sensory control? Truth is something to be understood. The understanding arises in the intelligence. So the entire approach should be in the way of an exposure to the intelligence. But Sri Krishna and Bhagavad Gita repeatedly say, ‘control of senses’.

    वशे हि यस्येन्द्रियाणि तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता ।।
    vaśe hi yasyendriyani, tasya prajña pratiśṭhita ||
    (Bhagavad Gita 2.61)

    Right in the second chapter describing the ‘sthitha-prajna’, what is that? A man with a steady mind, stable mind, stable intelligence. So the intelligence has to be come stable. And while describing that person, at one point, he says.

    Vaśe hi yasyendriyani, tasya prajña pratiśṭhita.Whose senses are under control, his mind alone is stable. So the stable-minded and the sensory-control man, both are same. From that time onwards, he goes on saying ‘indriya-nigrahaḥ’.

    So I wanted to find out in how many places there is a reference to sensory control and in how many places sama-buddhiḥ. sama-buddhiḥ is also Bhagavad Gita’s uniqueness. But you cannot say no other śāstras have spoken about sama-buddhiḥ. Sama-buddhiḥ has been dealt with in so many places. So I was going through, rushing through to find out in how many places, this sama-buddhiḥ has come. I could not complete it. This is where I require some help. Sometimes I ask Satish to find out.

    This Bhagavad Gita is a book where you can spend a lot of time. Why should this sama-buddhiḥ be discussed in such detail and what is this sama-buddhiḥ? It is actually a quality of intelligence. Can the quality of the intelligence be purely subjective without any objective reference or relationship? If so, how does Krishna describe its objective relevances? So you will find in many places he has referred this samatva, sama-buddhiḥ, sāmya , sama-dṛṣti, sama-darśana. So many places he has mentioned.

    If you start reading Bhagavad Gita with interest and with a view to find out how it is applicable and how it can be followed, you will find beautiful references here and there. Unfortunately people go on committing Bhagavad Gita to memory, they recite it regularly, but nobody spends any time to understand how this book becomes a sādhanā book and what is the sādhanā element in it? You will find sensory control and even vision - these are the two essentials of Bhagavad Gita. Senses you have, control you can make. Buddhi you have, make it even also you can. These are the only two exercises. These are the only two sādhanās to be pursued according to Bhagavad Gita.

    So I spend some time, try to think about it, relate it, and bring about. That is why the talk becomes very extensive. Here I am not governed by any time limit. Provided we have money it can be telecast. Provided I am able to speak, I have the health and voice, I can speak. So today I am going to have recording. For about nearly three hours I will be shut up in that room for recording.

    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.

 

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Poojya Swamiji says that the real focus

  • of devotional practices is not God, but the devotee's own mind and behaviour;
  • of karmayoga is not action but the attitude of the mind with which an action is performed;
  • of knowledge is not knowledge, but the purification and expansion of the seeker's mind.

Swamiji's Teachings

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Poojya Swamiji says that the real focus

  • of devotional practices is not God, but the devotee's own mind and behaviour;
  • of karmayoga is not action but the attitude of the mind with which an action is performed;
  • of knowledge is not knowledge, but the purification and expansion of the seeker's mind.

 

NSJi-HmPgSwami Nirviseshananda Tirtha

Swami Nirviseshananda Tirthaji, a renunciate disciple of Poojya Swamiji, is known for his scientific expositions which are a source of inspiration to seekers.  Read More...

MaJi-HmPg-White

Ma Gurupriya

A disciple of Poojya Swamiji, Ma is the loving mother of Poojya Swamiji's devotees around the world. Devotion and service remain the predominant forces shaping Ma's life.  Read More...

Short Description

Answers questions like what a seeker wishes to know about the supreme spiritual state. They are also meant to throw light on how a Knower distinguishes himself from the rest of mankind, both in the matter of inward absorption and external interactions. Where lies the difference between a spiritual Knower and a non-Knower? Do spiritual life and its fulfillment pose a conflict to the life in the world? Will life in the world and the interactions it warrants bring about any dislodgement for the Knower from this inward state? Will the world also find the Knower’s presence and movements any disturbance or disharmony? Or, these will be enriching to the world too? How does the Knower ensure that his pursuit of activities in the external world does not disturb him, instead it turns out to be a great enrichment to his life of spiritual enlightenment?

 

The following article is reproduced from the English Monthly Vicharasetu – March 1998 published by the Ashram

Krishna has, in a way, completed his exposition of Sankhya and Karma yoga, their sadhana and goal alike. He has also shown when the saadhaka would reach his goal and what, in a nutshell, is the ultimate fruition of yogasadhana. Krishna’s description would naturally have their relevance and purpose, only when Arjuna, to whom they are addressed, is able to grasp what he heard and express his reaction to the message. Arjuna’s response shows that he did grasp Krishna’s teaching. That is why he asks:

स्थितप्रज्ञस्य का भाषा समाधिस्थस्य केशव ।
स्थितधी: किं प्रभाषेत किमासीत व्रजेत किम् ।। 

                                                                                                      Bhagavad gita (2.54)

Arjuna’s questions are basically two; but they cover the entire range of Yoga and its practical fruition. Equally so, they bring forth the nature of the Knower’s inward and outward life. It is very significant that Arjuna uses the word sthitaprajnain his first question, whereas he uses sthitadheein the next.

How can the samadhistha sthitaprajnabe described, is what Arjuna asks first. “How will the sthita-dhee speak? How will he be resting. And how will he move about in the world and interact with people?” – he asks next.

This portion of the second chapter of Bhagavadgeeta is called sthita-prajna prakaranaIt is a very deep and subtle enunciation which brings great value and clarity to the whole spiritual and philosophical exposition of our land. In many of the unique excellences which Geeta has, this is a significant one. It shines distinctly with all its emphasis and revelation. The manner in which Krishna answers Arjuna shows how well a dialogue can be conducted, even in a battlefield. Generally subtle philosophical discussions are held in calm environments and leisurely spells. In spite of the fact that the situation here is entirely different, neither Krishna nor Arjuna has allowed fullness and sublimity of the discussions and the messages imparted to suffer the least.

The first question of Arjuna has its special note: sthitaprajnasya samadhisthasya ka bhasha– “What is the description of the sthitaprajna seated in samadhi?” In other words, how would Krishna describe the Yogic Knower absorbed in samadhi?” One’s prajna (consciousness) becomes sthita (steady and still) only in samadhi. At all other times the prajna will remain active, generating thoughts and reflections. So the sthitaprajna will not be able to speak or describe his state himself. His sthitaprajnata has to be described by another person, who knows about it well. By wording the question in this manner, Arjuna shows how keen he was in listening to Krishna.

Vedavyasa, too, is showing his great insight and purpose while penning the whole dialogue. More than sketching the biography of the rulers and the ruled of his time, the Sage intends to lay down before the people of the land a message that would last for all times. The intricacies of human behaviour, the sublime purpose of all our interactions, the hidden potential the human personality contains and hosts within itself, how this can be brought to manifest in all relevance and usefulness, ultimately how the individual has the full scope to outlive and assimilate all challenges and inputs from the world around him, these and allied questions are clearly set forth in the narrations of Vedavyasa, whatever be the scenes and events before him.

Philosophy is truly a complement to our external life. It is not to be read and reflected in the leisure of retirement. Instead, it is to be read and applied to the actual needs and riddles of life right from early stages. Arjuna’s enquiry focuses these points with an emphasis that is hardly found elsewhere.

In the next question of Arjuna, he has used a different note and basis. The sthitadhee can speak himself, because he is no more in his sthitaprajna state of samaadhi. His speech naturally will strike a difference from that of the rest. What is that difference? Sthitaprajna will be still and absorded into himself. The sthitadhee is not so. He can be quite vocal and even eloquent. Arjuna wants to know how will the sthitadhee take his rest. In other words, what will be his mind like when he stops his activities any time and withdraws into restfulness? Will his mind be brooding and bothering in the same way as that of the ordinary people? Or there is a clear distinction? And lastly, how will he move about, conduct his vyavahara, without causing any disturbance to his own sthitaprajnata treasure. He can even be a greatly helpful source for others. With his unique attainment, he can immensely contribute to the inner welfare of others around.

On close analysis, Arjuna’s questions cover what a seeker wishes to know about the supreme spiritual state. They are also meant to throw light on how a Knower distinguishes himself from the rest of mankind, both in the matter of inward absorption and external interactions. Where lies the difference between a spiritual Knower and a non-Knower? Do spiritual life and its fulfillment pose a conflict to the life in the world? Will life in the world and the interactions it warrants bring about any dislodgement for the Knower from this inward state? Will the world also find the Knower’s presence and movements any disturbance or disharmony? Or, these will be enriching to the world too? How does the Knower ensure that his pursuit of activities in the external world does not disturb him, instead it turns out to be a great enrichment to his life of spiritual enlightenment?

In short, Arjuna is requesting Krishna to give a full description of the sthitaprajna state, samaadhi, and also about the sthitadhee state. One refers to the individual’s inward absorptional state and the other to the interactional life of the Knower.

By getting ample clarification in this manner about both aspects of Yoga – the absorptional and interactional aspects – the study and pursuit of saadhana will stand to derive more depth and comprehensiveness. So Arjuna’s enquiries are quite timely, relevant and useful to all seekers of spiritual wisdom and yoga. We have quite a number of Upanishads, where Self-knowledge and Self-Knowers are presented and explained. But the words sthitaprajna and sthitadhee are not mentioned in them. These two concepts, especially the background in which they are presented here in Geeta, throw special light on the whole subject of Self-knowledge and Self-Knower.

Krishna always deals with Arjuna’s enquires and questions carefully and well, thereby fulfilling the questioner as well as enriching the subject of discussion greatly. After Krishna began his exposition from the 11th verse of this chapter, this is the first significant question Arjuna raises. Briefly but fully Krishna gives his answer:

प्रजहाति यदा कामान् सर्वान् पार्थ मनोगतान् ।
आत्मन्येवात्मना तुष्ट: स्थितप्रज्ञस्तदोच्यते ।।

                                                                                                  Bhagavad gita (2.55)

When one renounces all desires born of the mind and rejoices by himself on his own Self, he is considered a sthita-prajna.

Krishna emphasizes here only two points in describing the sthita-prajna state. All the desires have to be renounced. After so renouncing, the seeker must be able to take his repose on his own Self within. And in so doing, he must find all the delight and fullness he seeks and yearns for. Leave everything and all, and rest upon your own inward Self. Such restfulness must be delightful, so much so that the seeker will not feel like having anything else for his satisfaction.

The mind has first of all to be disconnected from all the desires it fosters towards things of this world or the other world. Any desire is a desire indeed. And it has the sure effect of disturbing the mind. The only way to make the mind undisturbed is to keep away all desires. In any kind of desiring, the mind gets drawn outside.

A question may arise now: Is the desire for Self-realization also to be renounced? Well, if it is a desire, that is not good. In trying to realize the Self, why should one foster anything like a desire at all? In looking at your body, is there any question of desiring at all? To look at your own mind likewise, does not imply any desiring. So too, to look at the Self within and try to realize what it is, why should any desire be there? Generally you desire to get at some place away from where you are, or you desire to get an object which is different from you. Where the thing sought is different from you, a desire for it is possible and relevant. But in striving to realize your very Self, the Self that you already are, where is the need for any desire at all? You can have an urge for it, an impetus or compulsion for it. That is no desire.

Desire is something that pulls or pushes the mind away from its centre and leads it elsewhere. But here the process is just reverse. The mind, if at all, must get to its own centre, its own essence and being. That process is certainly different from desiring.

Krishna clearly states that after the mind gets rid of the desiring habit and desires, it should become self-seated and in that self-seatedness, the seeker should find all the delight he needs, to make him remain immersed within himself. This point is quite important and clear.

Every day we go into deep sleep for several hours. In sleep (sushupti), the mind itself ceases to be, it becomes extinct, not to speak of the desire it generates. Unmindful of the body, mind and intelligence, the sleeper sleeps to get lost into himself. In what way does this deep sleep state (sushupti) differ from sthita-prajna state? In the suspension of desires, in their disappearance for a while, sushupti and sthita-prajnata may be held to be the same, or nearly so. Even to say this is not true, because sushupti is a biological development. When the body gets tired after being wakeful and active, the biological system sends it to sleep, a state of utter restfulness. It is not something that we generate. Sushupti is a regular state we have just like wakefulness, as a counterpart of wakefulness. Like dream and wakefulness, sushupti is also a state, repetitive in nature, and even periodical. All the three appear in sequence and complement one another. By sleeping for hours together, no special change is brought to the mind, its structure and function. Also, it is not a condition that one should leave all his desires, in order to get into sushupti.

In sthita–prajnata, the whole development starts with an effort – the clear discrimination to eliminate desires; and as a result desires become extinct in the end. It is not then like one slipping into sushupti to forget everything and remain dead to the world and environments for a while. The similarity between sushupti and sthitaprajnata is that in both there is no awareness of the objects outside. The difference between the two is that in sushupti one becomes unconscious of himself, whereas in sthita-prajna state one remains fully conscious of himself. In addition, the sthita-prajna enjoys full delight born of himself, his Self.

What is such an awareness-full, delightful withdrawal? And why are people missing it throughout their life? Can the Self of one bring such an all-inclusive delight, as to exclude the need and company of all things, which he otherwise interacts with? All these questions have their full answer in the sthita-prajnata the seeker is able to gain within himself.

Explained just in 32 poetic letters, Krishna’s description of the “samadhistha-sthitaprajna” is verily a synopsis of all that the Upanishads point out, explain and reveal in various ways.

Our consciousness generally moves about in three states, each different from the others. Wakefulness is the state in which grossness and externality prevail. Only when one wakes up, his waking consciousness brings in the presence and perception of the external objects, including earth, water, fire, air and space. So the entire gross world is a result and outcome of our wakefulness, wakeful consciousness.

But does this wakefulness remain unbroken forever? In fact, whenever wakefulness takes place, it can only be from and after sushupti (deep sleep). Jagrat (wakefulness) cannot be except as a contrast and succession to sushupti. If jagrat is broadbased, external and gross, sushupti is just the opposite of these. In sushupti one remains drawn into himself, subtle and internal, so much so that he does not even know that he is. None says, or can say, that ‘I am sleeping’, ‘I am in sushupti’. The awareness of sushupti comes to us only after we wake up from it. Wakefulness alone is the state in which we have ‘current awareness and knowledge’.

Inasmuch as we have this sushupti state, just like the jagrat state, and that also lasts every time for hours, can we allow the waking state all its seeming value and relevance as we do now? In judging the value and truth of existence of objects, we cannot become blind or partial. A judgement based solely on our jagrat state will not be adequate. The parallel state of sushupti should also become equal ground in making our assessment. And sushupti completely negates the entire waking state realities. If the existence of objects including our own body was absolute, then when we, the perceivers, go into sushupti state, how does none of these objects, including our body, seem to exist and get felt at all? Does the object world come first before us, or we first wake up ourselves, and then alone perceive the gross existence?

Our waking or sleeping does not depend upon the existence of anything other than ourselves. The inward states are brought about by every individual himself. As we wake up ourselves, so also do we get into sleep all by ourselves. Whether any object exists outside or not, one can and does slip into sushupti. Do not people sleep while travelling? Even when some one dear and near is present nearby and a dialogue goes on with him, sometimes one slips into sushupti, to the surprise of all concerned!

Similarly wakefulness also sets in all by itself. One wakes up himself, as he went into sleep, and then begins to feel the presence of his body and the rest of objects around.

There is another state in between, the dream state, svapna. Svapna is a sate in which the dreamer, unlike in sushupti, wakes up into a new world, similar to the waking world but different from it, to enjoy and suffer the activities and interactions taking place exclusively there. The dream objects, interactions and the resulting experiences often, rather invariably, invalidate and contradict the wakeful objects and interactions with them and the resulting joy and suffering. This is similar to the waking world invalidating and contradicting the dream world. But the waker and dreamer are the same. Naturally the truth of both the states – jagrat and svapna –– perceived by him remains the same, because, the test of any existence is its experience by oneself. Waking world derives its status because it is perceived by us. Dream too has its similar status on the ground of being perceived by us.

Besides these two mutually invalidating and contradictory states is the sushupti state, in which both the waking world and dream world are completely negated, and the waker and the dreamer remains all by himself, to be the only subject, devoid of all object connections and consequences. The waking and dream objects together with the interactions and resulting experiences subsist solely on the subject waker and subject dreamer. Without the subject, neither can ever be. Whereas in sushupti, the subject sleeper remains all by himself. Like the objects depending upon the subject (in jagrat and svapna) the subject does not depend upon the objects (sushupti)

Sushupti is thus the full and independent state of the subject. It is this subject alone that brings about by itself, for itself, in itself, the wakeful and dream state, without any kind of linkage with anything else. In waking the grossness and externality of objects prevail, whereas in svapna, the objects remain within the body and as such are subtle in nature. Even the externality we experience during dream reigns within the body. Dream is in fact a sheer expanse within the gross body. Yet the objects of dream are felt to be external. The internal dreamer and waker, produces, all in himself, the externality in both states.

The comparison of the three states goes a step further. Only in jagrat we have the awareness that ‘I am awake’, ‘I am doing this, experiencing this....’. While dreaming,  the dreamer does not feel that ‘I am dreaming’. It is instead to him a waking state itself. Only when he wakes up, he realises that he was in a dream state. So in dream he does not have the current awareness about what he is, as happens in waking.

In sushupti, it is not at all so. He does not have any awareness at all as he will have in waking or dream. Unaware of anything outside or inside, doing nothing, knowing nothing, he sleeps, to feel on waking up that he was sleeping. It is this lack of awareness that poses the problem, the only problem, in understanding the ‘I’, the sleeper, dreamer and waker. This constant ignorance is what the sthita-prajna state removes outright.

The subject, the Self, reveals itself in all its fullness and delight. ‘Atmani eva atmana tushtah’ denotes this self-revealing and self-delighting situation. Thus, in this single verse, Krishna presents not only the yoga state of fullness but also the spiritual and philosophical goal discussed and revealed in the Upanishads and allied scriptural texts.

 

 

 

In this discourse based on Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads, Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha outlines the destination of every Human Being.

  

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