“The paths leading man to god or Truth are said to be many. I will speak only of the shortest. It is to recognize God as the Self in you and then to find Him out. What is the distance then between you and God, between you and yourself? Ah, there is no distance at all, a full Zero! Yet, how dare you say to find God and Truth is hard?’’ 

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

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru. 

You know that in the evening, a session is going on in Trichur. It is an open-air program. This time, a pandal erected by somebody else and equally needed after our session ends, by the other party, that roof is standing there. Otherwise it will be completely open. I have been speaking from that platform for the past twenty-one years consecutively, and this is the twenty-second year. All the chapters in the Bhagavad Gita have been taken in a course of eighteen years. After that, I was wondering what kind of a text could be a subject of discussion for the further years.

Because Bhagavad Gita is a moksha sastra and it is included in Prasthana Traya, the study of Bhagavad Gita itself is complete Vedanta sadhana. Its objective is to get rid of the shackles, mind and intelligence imposes. When the shackles you become free from, that state of freedom, inner freedom is called moksha. Just like bandhana, bondage is experienced here, moksha also should be experienced, here and now. The same mind and intelligence which bring about the bondage will also become free of the bondage and radiate freedom. It is something like a mirror whose surface has been covered by dust. It is not able to reflect anything. When you wipe out the dust and clean the surface, it will start reflecting.

Now what was the trouble now? The mirror was the trouble or the mirror not being available was the trouble. Mirror was the same. Even when the dust covered the surface of the mirror, though it is covered, nothing has happened to the mirror. The glass remains the same. Similarly, our bondage does nothing to ourselves, the soul. That bondage when removed, you start experiencing freedom. Now this is the subject of discussion in Ashtavakra Samhita right from the beginning, right from the beginning. Ashtavakra’s words and descriptions, assertions and evaluations, all of them should be understood as Janaka understood. If you also contemplate upon the discussions or the instructions given, that contemplation will instantly result in your becoming free from mind-intelligence shackles.

We have selected as the master shloka for this year’s discussion,

मय्यनन्तमहाम्भोधावाश्चर्यं जीववीचयः ।
उद्यन्ति घ्नन्ति खेलन्ति प्रविशन्ति स्वभावतः ।।
(Ashtavakra Samhita 2.25)

Mayi Ananthamahāmbodhau. In me, the infinite ocean. In me, the infinite ocean. Consider yourself as an infinite ocean. Then, all the waves are the jeevas, the embodied souls which surface there. Consider yourself, Ananthamahāmbodhau.

Udhyanthi ghnanti kelanthi. Like different waves emerging on the surface of the sea, in me, the infinite inner ocean, all the jeevas are arising. They strike at each other like waves striking at a rock in between. The waves themselves, they strike the bank and then they return. When they return, they strike at the incoming or oncoming waves, kelanthi. And the whole process is a sport.

This is what I want you to understand. You may get married. You may build up your deposits, purchase a house, do many things. Whatever you may do, understand everything is only sportful. If you ask the question and enquire into whether there is the world, whether there is the world, whether there is my body, the answer is ‘no’. That is why every day for one third of the twenty-four hours you go to sleep. And in sleep you lie there, you neither experience the world nor your own body, mind, intelligence and ego. Just like you have the wakeful experience, you also have the sleep experience. Both are experienced by the same you or the same ‘I’.

If wakeful experience is true, sleep experience is also true. In sleep, any second factor is not there. So that is your nature. Once you have that sleep nature, can it become otherwise at any point of time? Can a thing change its nature? No! Now this is a point that Ashtavakra emphasizes repeatedly. He says,

शरीरं स्वर्गनरकौ बन्धमोक्षौ भयं तथा ।
śarīram svarga-narakau bandha-mokṣau bhayam tatha |
(Ashtavakra Samhita 2.20)

Our body, that body itself is felt by the mind. Do we have a body? No! But the mind feels, make you feel that there is a body. So, for the body feeling, what is responsible? Mind is responsible. Mind wakes you up and you start seeing the objectful world.

A few hours pass and you feel tired. The eye start winking. You go to your bed, lie there and you sleep. Now you tell me, who produced the wakefulness and who wiped it off and who then follows it with the sleep? We don’t have a body. But we have the awareness that we have a body. We don’t see the world. The sight of the world is felt because of the reflected rays from the objects touching the cornea, and the image formation is in the mind and it is experienced. Whether you call it the world, the elephant, the donkey, the pin, the mustard or the mountain, where are you experiencing these? In your own mind, within the body. Within the body is there any place for an object entity? Anything like a mountain, can it be within your body? The body is very limited. The moment the mountain enters through your nostrils or mouth into your inside, the body will break. Does any object from outside enter you physically? No! You only have your own mind’s impressions about the object to experience. So, it is the mind’s play, witchcraft.

Sarīram svarga-narakau. Swarga and Naraga are based upon your life upon the earth. If life upon the earth is itself what the mind produces as an imagination, what about svarga and naraka? Equally so. Similarly bandha and moksha. The moment you understand that the mind is different from body and it is different from matter and energy, non-material and non-energial existence called the mind, can the matter world affect it?

Can space be penetrated, scarred, colored, tainted, made foul? There can be damage for the earth, damage for air and wind, damage for water also. Maybe fire also may stop burning. But do you think anything can happen to the space or the sky? Now this is to speak of matter, the finest form of matter. If that itself is unhurt, uninvolved and unbound, what about the consciousness which is even still subtler and still potent? So, you don’t have to strive for liberation. You have to understand that bondage is a myth and bondage never exists.

It is the removal of impurity and ignorance that is necessary and not the gaining of knowledge. Asādhana is to be removed, then sadhana will automatically be. Now this is the theme I am presenting there. I have my anxiety and concern that the talks should be well received by the audience. I always ask them. “Do you come along with me, lift your hands?” All the people are lifting their hands. But when I get into a verse, I always find that it is describing the most subtle nature of what you call life, the animating power in the body, the animated body points to the power of animation. Just see?

What one has to do is read Ashtavakra Samhita again and again, again and again, stopping now and then to reflect upon the message. I can take a crowbar and I can make a pit on the earth. But is there any instrument available whereby I could make a pit, a dent in my own mind? This is the theme I am discussing. The same subject is discussed over and over again from different points of view, sometimes with allegory, with simile, with metaphor, sometimes with real discussion, reflection. I just wanted to tell you something about it because many of you are not able to understand Malayalam and it is a very important session.

Normally I don’t like to discuss Ashtavakra Samhita in the evening, because of the terse nature of the text and the subtle nature of the discussion. Here somehow, I thought we will make a challenge, meet a challenge and we announced it. Every day I am told by the people that “Swamiji, everyone who comes here, it is the erudite people of Trichur and near-abouts that come here. Every one of you wants to listen to you. We are all very fortunate that such a session is going on.” I also told them. “To be able to host an Ashtavakra session continuously for three years earlier and the fourth year now, it is not something very easy to conceive of and implement. I can only say the listeners and the participants are extremely fortunate, extremely fortunate to have a discussion of this kind.

Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

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