"Self-realization is meant to ensure fulfilment for one’s own self. It is not reaching somewhere or getting at something external, like going to the peak of a mountain. The attainment is in dissolving the mind and intelligence, and getting into the very core of oneself. In other words, it is like multiplying everything with zero."

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

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

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Harih Om Tat Sat. Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru. 

You know that I am still discussing Ashtavakra Samhita in Trichur from 23rd evening. The session will end tomorrow. This is an 8-day program I have been conducting for the past 21 years. This is the 22nd year. The entire Bhagavad Gita was completed, one chapter a year, 18 chapters. I was wondering what was the next subject to be discussed for the Trichur audience. Then finally I decided, we will discuss Ashtavakra Gita or Samhita.

Ashtavakra Gita discusses the subject of spiritual wisdom, spiritual liberation and also spiritual dispassion. These were the three items placed by Janaka Maharaja before Ashtavakra Maharishi seeking clarity and enlightenment. The entire text is an answer to these primary questions.

Jñānād-eva kaivalya prāpthih. Only by knowledge you can have liberation. Aloneness, solitariness. If there is only one, what can bind it? Where is the necessity for seeking liberation? Are we to find liberation or are we to understand that bondage itself is not there? We have to realize that bondage itself is a myth. It is only a concept of our mind. When the mind is not illumined enough, then only we think of bondage and as an opposite concept, liberation.

We assume that we are bound and we try to undo the bondage and be liberated. But true liberation is when you are able to understand the unauthenticity and falsehood of whatever you see, hear and otherwise experience. It is a very straight-forward discussion, forth right. Ashtavakra Maharshi discusses the subject in such a manner that just by hearing the sage, King Maharaja gets illumined and he begins to experience the self as an infinite, immortal presence.

After the first chapter, throughout which Sage Ashtavakra spoke to the King, Janaka comes up with his own experiential reaction. I thought I will read one or two verses and explain them to you so that you will not totally miss the evening program, it is in Malayalam.

शरीरं स्वर्गनरकौ बन्धमोक्षौ भयं तथा ।
कल्पनामात्रमेवैतत्किंमे कार्यं चिदात्मनः ॥
śarīram swarga-narakau bandha-mokṣau bhayam tatha ।
kalpanā-mātram-evaitat-kim-me kāryam cidātmanah ।।
(Ashtavakra Samhita 2.20)

In knowledge, you always try to know, try to know. We examine our bondage and try to know. What is it, where is it, how much it is, is it likely to terminate or get replaced? And by the enquiry you understand whatever we were afraid of is not there at all! This is the process of knowledge.

So he says, “śarīram swarga-narakau”. Sarīra means the body, one’s own body. In that, we have an inner personality consisting of mind, intelligence and ego. It is in the mind and intelligence that everything is experienced. Any experience, including the world experience, our own body experience, earth experience, water experience, air experience, fire experience, space experience, sun, stars, moon, everything is experienced in the inner personality in the mind. Now, if the perception and experience transpire only in the mind, you tell me, that I have a body, is it an experience or something else? It is an experience. Just like we experience a mountain, looking at it from a distance, we also experience body very close to us.

So he says, śarīram swarga-narakau. Swarga and naraka, these are spoken of, by whom? By man. What is swarga? Then he gives a picture of it. And what is naraka? Then also he gives a picture of it. But actually, these are the pictures drawn by our mind in itself. Our own body is an experience of the mind. The world is an experience of the mind. Now thinking about that experience, the body will be lost. So where shall we go? Obviously, there must be good and bad places. So I would like to go to the good place, that is called heaven and avoid the bad, that is naraka. All these are mental creations. Mind alone is the ground for them, adhishthana for them.

So he says, the śarīra itself is an experience of the mind. The same mind which experiences the body does not experience it for about seven to eight hours while we are asleep. Sleep is as much our state as wakefulness is. If the wakeful facts are acceptable, then the fact of the sleep should also be accepted.

So he says, śarīram swarga-narakau. Swarga and naraka are concepts which the human mind has made with a view to answer the question and seeking of the individuals. What will happen to me when the body dies? Where will I go? Will it be a comfortable abode or not so? These questions, as long as they agitate the human mind, an answer and clarity have to be given. That does not authenticate the concepts.

śarīram swarga-narakau bandha-mokṣau bhayam tatha

Bondage is an idea of the mind. Moksha is also a reverse idea or an adverse idea of ‘bandha’. The world consists of dvandvas, pairs of opposites and our concepts and inner creations also are also dvandvas. So, we have created a dvandva of swarga and naraka.

Kalpanā-mātram-evaitat, all these are but kalpana. Kalpana means the imagination of the mind. It is not a fact. Fact may have an external presence, something like solid, fluid, gaseous. But this is kalpanā-mātram. They are only imaginary creations or places.

Kim-me kāryam cidātmanah. My body is inert, insentient. What makes it sentient is the sentience that permeates it. One is Jaḍa. Another is cetanā, chaitanya. The two are different like darkness and light, earth and water, sun and moon.

kalpanā-mātram-evaitat-kim-me kāryam cidātmanah ।।

Of what use are they to me? Why? Cidātmanah, I am sentience itself, consciousness itself, awareness itself. And that is far subtler than even space, not to speak of earth and water. It is all products of the mind, creations of the mind. And who am I or what am I? Kim-me kāryam cidātmanah . I am the cit, I am sentience, I am the consciousness which has the power to sense anything else and itself.

Just see what he says? He doesn’t say there is moksha and this is the way to achieve it. He says bandha and moksha themselves are conceptual, imaginary and therefore non-existent. This is where you have to reach to. Now Ashtavakra Samhita consists of all kinds of verses of this dimension, this kind of a message. The source of everything lies within you. Search, dig out whatever you want. Never plead inability in the matter. Everyone is resourceful enough at least to understand what is the mind and what are the allied factors.

I don’t know how you react to this kind of an exposure. We generally have an imagination called God. And then we try to associate whatever we want with that God. We create, we constructed a temple and installed God as a deity. Is God such that he can be installed? Can you install the space akasa? You cannot install an idol also!

Just see? Cidātmanah. I am of the nature of sentience, of the nature of consciousness. For me, what is the use of all these things? Grass is a food of the cow. Suppose you give it to man, what will he do? He will turn away. For me who is chit, consciousness, what is the purpose of all these items? Nothing! Nothing! Nothing! In realizing this is your freedom. In knowing this is your liberation. Our jnana is very, very important. It is the greatest coordinate of human life. If you have knowledge, everything else will follow. If you don’t have knowledge, you will always feel an insufficiency in you. Remember this. Remember this.

Harih Om Tat Sat. Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

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