"The power to promote and reward, as also to demote and punish the individual and his fate in this world, lies within his mind, its thoughts and feelings. No external agency is necessary to bring this infallible fruition. As the growth and development of a seed, an embryo, or a cell designed and preserved by its own inner makeup, here too the causal forces for what one rightly deserves lurk within one’s own invisible bosom."

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

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

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While moving, while keeping still, while awake and also while lying down or sleeping, if one’s mind is not given to vichāra, he is a dead body indeed. What is meant by vicāra is truthful introspection – enquiry about what is true and what is false, enquiry about oneself as well as the true nature of the world is to think always where lies the long lasting auspicious development – within and without.

Audio

गच्छतस्तिष्ठतो - Introspection Has to be Done at Every Moment

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गच्छतस्तिष्ठतो वापि जाग्रतः स्वपतोऽपि वा ।
न विचारपरं चेतो यस्यासौ मृत एव सः ।।
- योगवासिष्ठरामायणम्
gacchatastiṣṭhato vāpi jāgrata: svapato’pi vā
na vicāraparaṃ ceto yasyāsau mṛta eva sa: ||
- Yogavāsiṣṭha-rāmāyaṇam

Translation:

While moving, while keeping still, while awake and also while lying down or sleeping, if one’s mind is not given to vichāra, he is a dead body indeed.

Points for Introspection:

Mostly one is complacent about the life one lives. He thinks that life means – to be born, to grow, earn money, have family, educate and settle the children, grow old and die eventually.

Mostly one does not think beyond this. He is driven by his sense-organs to the various allurements of the world and becomes a victim of unending desires. The desires cloud the mind to such an extent that very rarely man thinks about what is supremely auspicious for him. In fact, very rarely he thinks deeply about anything.

This shloka says emphatically that vicāra or introspection has to be done at every moment – while moving or keeping still, while awake, while lying down or even in sleep. One must be thoughtful, and introspect about all thoughts, words, actions and interactions.

This shloka also says strongly that one whose mind does not engage in vicāra is virtually dead. Out of all the creatures, man is special for his intelligence. Of what use is one’s intelligence if one does not think deeply?

What is meant by vicāra? Vicāra is truthful introspection – enquiry about what is true and what is false, enquiry about oneself as well as the true nature of the world. Vicāra is to think always where lies the long lasting auspicious development – within and without.

Not remaining complacent with the common flow of life, a man of intellect should introspect to know:”Who am I, what is my relationship with the Creation and the Creator?” He should enquire into the real nature of the World, and also about God: “What is God? Why do we worship Him? Where does my worship lead me to? With all my worship why is it that I am still gripped by anger, fear, etc.?”

His introspection and thoughts should be about everything that he encounters in life: “What is dharma; what is adharma; what is sin and what is virtue; what is real and what is unreal.”

His vicāra should be on the transitory and momentary nature of the world. Constantly encountering the fact that nothing is permanent in this world, one should introspect on the permanent changeless substratum over which the changeful world moves on unendingly.

Vicāra should be there about one’s own mind – the states of happiness and unhappiness which the mind undergoes repeatedly. One must introspect whether there exists a state of unaffectedness and freedom; whether there exists a state of fearlessness. He has to find out what is bondage and what is liberation.

And finally, the supreme vicāra is: “What is the Soul, God or Brahman? How do I realize the Self?”

When the mind becomes used to vicāra, the intelligence gets sharpened further and further. He is then spontaneously led to the vicāra of the eternal, imperishable, immortal Soul and realizes it as different from the changeful, perishable body. By this ultimate vicāra of the Self one realizes that he is not the body-mind-intelligence but is the changeless Self. Gaining this knowledge, man becomes immortal. One who is not given to vicāra, thinks that he is mortal.

While chanting this shloka with fervour one is repeatedly reminded how essential it is to do vicāra every moment; how vicāra alone opens the door to Self-realization.

Word Meaning:

गच्छतः (gacchata:) = while moving; तिष्ठतः (tiṣṭhata:) = while keeping still; वा (vā) = and; अपि (api) = also; जाग्रतः (jāgrata:) = while awake; स्वपतः (svapata:) = while lying down/sleeping; अपि (api) = also; वा (vā) = and; न (na) = not; विचारपरं (vicāraparaṃ) = given to vichāra; चेतः (ceta:) = mind; यस्य (yasya) = whose; असौ (asau) = this; मृतः (mṛta: ) = dead; एव (eva) = indeed; सः (sa:) = he.

अन्वयः

गच्छतः वा तिष्ठतः अपि (वा) जाग्रतः (वा) स्वपतः अपि वा यस्य चेतः विचारपरं न (भवति) सः असौ मृतः एव ।

gacchata: vā tiṣṭhata: api (vā) jāgrata: (vā) svapata: api vā, yasya ceta: vicāraparaṃ na (bhavati) sa: asau mṛta: eva.

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