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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.
Day before yesterday, I was sitting with Yoga Vasishtha Ramayana to write “The Science of Inner Redemption” series. As many of you know that this is a series where I present the Nirvāṇa Prakaraṇa, that is why it is called “The Science of Inner Redemption”. Nirvāṇa means redemption. In a very brief manner, I am trying to summarize the Nirvāṇa Prakarana, the last of Yoga Vasishtha Ramayana. I think we have published about 78 essays and a few essays collected together, the first few also have been published in a first volume of the book. The second volume is about to be published.
This time, I am writing about Manu talking to Ikshvāku who became a seeker of truth. He was not able to progress. So he went to Manu and asked him that “I am not able to progress. What is this? How to go about to understand the self?” Manu gives an explanation, as usual, focusing on the mind. You have to focus on your mind, from where or which everything else comes. Mind was the first item to emerge or to evolve from the Paramātmā. And after the mind came up or evolved, it has the capacity to imagine, and through imagination it can create, un-create and the whole universe, gross, material universe has come from the mind.
Now, he switches on to a discussion on ‘Sapta Bhoomika’. The word ‘Bhoomika’ means a stage, a level, a plane. How many planes our mind can reach to, our mind can actualize? There are altogether seven planes. This is called bhoomika. This Sapta Bhoomika description is occurring in more than one place in Yoga Vasishtha Ramayana. This one is a very brief one. A better and a more detailed description is there perhaps in Utpatti Prakaraṇa and somewhere else also. If you read it, you can understand how the entire spiritual entry of a person takes place and following the entry, how he progresses. It is very clearly explained without any miracle or mysticism.
The first bhoomika he says is getting exposed to the sāstrās and also Mahatmas, Knowers of Truth. Only when you go to them and you read sāstrās, you will know that there is something called spirituality, spiritual truth and spiritual life. It is actually a knowledge exposure. In the entire academic centers, right from the Kindergarten level to the Post Doctorate research, you are always taught about the gross and objective sphere of the universe. I once said that the word ‘University’ must have been derived from Universe. So University is a place of learning where the whole Universe is sought to be explained and understood. But in Universities you will find only the things visible, gross are dealt with in the form of Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Nuclear Science, Anthropology, Psychology and all that. But the entire visible universe is seen by the mind in itself as a reflection. We see the Universe only in a reflectional manner.
The sun rises at a great distance. The sun does not come to us, we don’t go to the sun, nevertheless we see the sun. Where do you see? How do you say it’s an orb? It is all because the mind produces with the help of the eyes, a chāyā, an image of the sun, that image is a mind-born mental image. That image is what we experience and refer to, not the sun.
So actually, though the external objects and objectude are there, they are there only in the subject dimension of the human. So without a reference to and study of the subject magnitude and dimension, how can the University be so? This is a point when I was talking to in the Delhi University Social institute, Institute of Social Work, for celebrating their 50th year or something like that or 75th year. I don’t know how people understood it. University can become so only when it discusses the Universe and makes you understand it, and in that discussion, this subject counterpart is more important than the object or objectude, that counterpart. So in the spiritual exposure alone, you get to know that the mind within the body is really the fulcrum and pivot of our life and the universe.
The first bhoomika is called prajñāvriddhi, knowledge and enrichment of one’s discretion, discrimination and intelligence. We are not really enriched by the object education. The object education does not help us to formulate a better character and characteral qualities, then a better behavioral majesty and an interactional efficiency. All these are proceeding from within the body. Your character is inner, behavior is its display and interaction is its skill and it’s potential. So unless the inner personality is probed into and understood, it becomes a subject of understanding and enquiry for us, you cannot say you are spiritual at all.
As I told you yesterday,
Like the panchabhutas outside, mind, intelligence and ego are inside and they alone are sentient. They have the power of creation, dissolution.
So in the first bhoomika, you get exposed to the inner dimension of yourself and you understand the inner dimension is far superior to the outer dimension. Once this knowledge comes, your viewpoint, your estimation, your worth, everything changes. So it’s called prajñāvriddhi. In some other place, he called it prajñā-vivardhana. One should first of all try for this - Enrichment of one’s discretion and intelligence. That effort takes place in the first bhoomika.
When it succeeds, this effort becomes a habit and a preference. That is called vichāraṇa. You start thinking and reflecting upon the subject matters, discussions about the Supreme Reality, our Upanishads, our Bhagavad Gita and allied texts. All of them become interesting to you and useful and relevant.
One of the visitors was telling me that, “Swamiji, I don’t like familial and social obligations, I have no interest. I like to read spiritual books, your books. I remember. My mind is not very much in the family and social affairs, particularly social. I am not able to respond to our friends, my friends and others. Going here, going there, arranging for picnic, eating something, this way, that way. These things are not appealing to me.” I said, “It is very natural”.
So the mind wants to stimulate introspection on these spiritual matters. That is called vichāraṇa. The first depends upon the sāstrās and the Mahatmas, their association and the like. Not that they stop, but the second, your mind itself prefers to have your spiritual introspection, things about the mind, things about the reaction, what is passion, what is prejudice, what are my defects etc.
Then, when the first and the second are effectively had, embodied, then a seeker goes to the third one. In the third one, you become dis-attached. It is called asakti or asanga. People always wonder, having been born in a family, how can we ever be detached from the family? This question will remain only earlier. Later, that question will not be there. Just like attachment was habitual to you, dis-attachment becomes habitual. So it is called asanga. These are the three bhoomikas where spirituality is in the making and in the progress.
Then you go to the fourth one called ‘Vilāpani’. The word ‘Vilāpani’ means what? All that is taking place in the mind and the mind undergoes various modifications in the form of thoughts, emotions, responses, reactions, enquiry, doubt, clarity, all these are mind’s creations. You understand that the mind’s creations whatever it may be, anything, even spiritual enquiry, everything is mind’s. Now, all these mano-vrittis and mind modifications, they start getting dissolved in the mind itself. The thoughts become lighter and feebler. The reactions do not last for long. You are able to survive and outlive all reactions. So mind is the source, mind is the terminus, mind is the sustenance of everything, everything, everything, everything, everything. That feeling comes to you.
These are the four and in the fourth one, one becomes knowledgeable. We are looking for the self, looking for the self, looking for the self, that looking will be actualized. You understand that every thought arises from a source. As you are feeling the thought, you will start feeling the source. Mark my expression. As you are readily feeling your thoughts and reactions, you will start feeling the source. The source is more effective, more impressive, more everything! Thought is a very feeble thing. In between two thoughts, we are in the source. Before the thought and after the thought, we are in the source and the source we miss. Thought alone catches up. This situation will change and it will change to such an extent that you will find that the source is revealed not merely as the source of thought, the same source is in display while thoughts arise. So instead of feeling thoughts and reactions, you will start feeling the source. That is what is called the self. Even in the thinking stage, the self in display is thought, the self in display is the body, the self in display is grief, the self in display is joy, the self in display is doubt, the self in display is clarity. That kind of an experience will come. That experience gives rise to Jeevanmukti.
Whether I think or do not think, I cry or weep, I am what I am. It is the source that produces multiple things. If the knower can be joyous, he can also be sorrowful. If he can be wise, he can also be foolish. If his eyes can see light and darkness, the mind can experience pleasantness and unpleasantness. Unpleasantness is not distasteful at all. That is also necessary. He will be hurrying. He will be sometimes slowing down also. He will be resourceful, he will be resource-less. This is something that people will not understand also. They will not care. They will talk, start speaking quite a lot.
Now, it can go further to svasamvedana and turiya, the sixth and seventh. Our sāstrās discuss about the turiyātīta even. Now all these are revolving around the mind and it starts in the way of an exposure, cruise into dedicated and constant introspection, then further develops detachment, and after the detachment it starts feeling what is the self and that realization grows further and further into. This is the sapta bhoomika description that Yoga Vasishtha gives. I want to write on the whole of it in a brief manner. So the matter was fresh in my mind so I thought of sharing with you.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.