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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.
I find that many of you are going to Trichur. I don’t know how many of you understand Malayalam, and what the others are doing. So I will speak something about the subject I am discussing. You know our session is called 'Ātma Tattva Sameeksha'. The word 'Tattva Sameeksha' means trying to probe into, study and understand matters in a very, very essential and fundamental manner. For eighteen years, I was speaking on Bhagavad Gita, one chapter a year. And when we gave the name ‘Geeta Tattva Sameeksha’, then some of the people who are interested in all these matters, they said, “Swamiji, you should explain what is this 'Tattva Sameeksha'?” The word 'Sameeksha' and 'Tattva Sameeksha'.
'Sameeksha' means probingly perceiving into matters, enquiring into the fundamentals, trying to relate observation, experiences to their very genesis, go into matters very well. So Bhagavad Gita is a book which is generally spirituo-philosophical. But it discusses human life in all its complexity and even finality. It is one thing to read Gita as a religious scripture which is what generally people do. It is another thing to understand what are the propositions set in Bhagavad Gita, around what are they revolving, where do they lead to, etc. So, the discussion was, every proposition is related to preceding statements, succeeding statements and what exactly is the essence and how to apply it in our life.
So, there are some very important statements in Bhagavad Gita where no reference to God is made, no reference to soul also is there, but nevertheless they are presenting before us the supreme truths to be pursued, actualized, experienced, realized and perfected. So, I explained what is meant by ‘Tattva Sameekshana’. Looking at matters in a very, very essential, probing and evaluative manner. Now, after completing it, I thought this program could stop. But the people said, "Please continue." So I gave the name 'Ātma Tattva Sameeksha'. Instead of Geeta Tattva Sameeksha, the 'Tattva Sameeksha' was retained and we said it is going to be Ātma.
And the one text that speaks only about the self is perhaps Ashtavakra Samhita, a conversation between Janaka Maharaja and Ashtavakra Maharshi. Janaka is also considered a Maharshi. Ashtavakra had eight bends on his body. Janaka had a very recognized, well renowned assembly of advisors, all scholars. One day, using the freedom that our ascetics and maharshis have, Ashtavakra Maharshi stepped into the assembly of Janaka when the assembly was in session. The Maharaja was there and the scholars also were there. Finding this eight-bend visitor, you can imagine in what manner he would walk. He could not walk with any balance or harmony, waving the hands, moving the legs properly. There were eight bends in his body. So all of them burst into laughter. Ashtavakra Maharshi also laughed.
So Janaka felt very much touched. “My assembly laughed because they found something very unfamiliar and in a way uncouth also, because there was not a painful note, they started laughing. Then, why is it that you laughed, my dear sage?”
The sage said, “You are considered to be a great King, well renowned. And you have so many scholars to advise you. And it is their advice that is behind your successful rule. If your assembly is such that they could only laugh at my figure and my gait, then I am wondering what is their scholarship? If they are regular, I am irregular. The regularity and irregularity are both made by the same nature. A beautiful person cannot claim any credit for beauty. The ugly person cannot be charged with any discredit for ugliness. All are natural. Everything is within the fold of nature. And being enlightened, they were not able to understand this basic truth. And they laughed in derision. From the scholar’s mind, how is it that a derisional note comes? So I was wondering, is this the assembly of scholars whose advice the great Maharaja is listening to? Then, were does he stand? What substance does he have?”
Instantly Janaka was enlightened, touched also, he fell prostrate at the Maharshi’s feet and asked him, “Okay, please enlighten me.” He said, “How can Jñāna be attained? How can Mukti result? How can dispassion be cultivated?” These were the three questions he said.
The entire spirituality is a psycho-intellectual science. Human life is experiential from beginning to end, from head to foot. We experience that we have a body, we experience there is a world around. And our experiences are related to three important states – wakefulness, sleep and dream. These experiences called observations by the senses are the only data on which objective sciences also rest. Apart from the sensory observation, we have the mind and also the intelligence. It is the mind that collects the sensory data and it is the intelligence that does the further job.
Now, the word spirituality or Ādhyātmikata, it is completely based upon experiences and thereafter rationality, inferences. The entire world is made up of panchabhūtās and all the panchabhūtās are inert. Our body is also made up of panchabhūtās and that is also inert. At the same time, we are not inert, we are sentient. So the question generally arises – what in us is sentient and causes sentient cognitions, activities and the like? It cannot be the body, then what else is it? We only know of something like the mind, intelligence and ego. Are these the final truth? Or they are themselves expressions, functional notes of something else? This is the probe that spirituality takes up, progresses in and finalizes.
On the basis of experience, when we look at the world including our own body, mind, intelligence and ego, we find that all of them are changing and changeful. Physically they are changing, chemically they are changing, everything in this world is given to transformation. Our own personality in the bodily, mental, intellectual and ego level also is transforming. At the same time, we have an un-transforming note in us, that is what we refer to as the 'I'. A child start speaking 'I', the oldest man also says 'I'. In between, you will find for the so-many decades, so many changes have taken place in the world in which they live, and also in their own personality outside as well as inside. How is it that the 'I' remains the same?
When I say that in the whole creation there is nothing that you can locate, let any experiment be done, nothing that you can locate which is un-transforming or changeless, at the same time the 'I' remains unchanged. To change is not a characteristic of reality. Not to change is the nature of reality. If you apply this test, that which is denoted by the term 'I', by virtue of which we say 'I', and continue to say changelessly 'I', that must be the reality and it is so. 'That must be' is an inference, 'That it is', is an experience, realization. Our spirituality is based upon these two factors. That the world including our body personality is changeful is an observation. That the changeless 'I' is there is another experience. Putting the two together, they arrived at the inference that there is nothing in this world which is changeless and there is something in us which is changeless. That should be the reality. Their sole focus was on this point.
The word 'Adhyātma' arises because it is concerning Ātma and derived from Ātma. The word 'Adhyātma' is an adjective and 'Ātma' is a noun. So the whole Ādhyātmikata or Adhyātmik science is based upon this Ātma. The word Ātma is defined in this manner, 'Aham pratyaya gocarah', it is the one thing denoted by the idea, or thought or concept called the 'I'. Tell me how distant is the 'I'. Tell me how difficult it is to locate it. If you can be guided by your observation, guided by your inference, then the realization is very instant. It all depends upon the purity of your mind and the subtlety and perceptive refinement of the intelligence.
The purity of the mind consists in dropping all desires, becoming non-possessive and having no ego about anything. These are the only three points. Do not desire and become a slave, and do not be possessive and create botheration, and do not have the ego that 'I have done, I will do, I will enjoy, I will suffer', etc. If these three things can be eliminated, instantly the self reveals itself and you will understand what am I referring to as ‘I’. Whatever is said and done, the ‘I’ is within the body. It is closer to you than the body, than the object world, than the mind, than the intelligence, than even the ego.
The Adhyātma is something very simple and straightforward. Ashtavakra presents this in a very simple and straightforward manner. Generally it is not read by many people. But I don’t generally like to discuss it for an evening session but somehow in Trichur, hundreds of people are listening. Yesterday I found quite a number of people and there must be non-Hindus also there. Just see, with what tenacity and attention they listen to the talk!
Now, my role is to make it interesting. Though it is made interesting I cannot get away from the subject. And my nature also is like that. So keeping this wonderful subtle text, I have to keep the audience engrossed. I generally divert to get parallel shlokas from here and there, that’s all. But it is all in extension and corroboration of what Ashtavakra Gita says. I have spoken for three days. I have covered only two verses apparently.
It is a wonderful session. Everything is spoken of only about the self. Ramakrishna Dev used to hear this from Vivekananda. Vivekananda would read one or two verses and then say, “I cannot read.” And he will drop the book. Ramakrishna Dev said, “You are reading for my hearing. So continue to read.” So even Vivekananda could not read the book. What was the reason, you should think. It is something very, very great. People are very fortunate if they can hear even a small measure of it. Maybe fifteen minutes of a very representative talk, if it is given, it is something very rare. So I think all of you also are very fortunate.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.