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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.
You know that I am spending a lot of time in Srimad Bhagavatam solely because of the fact that it is this text on which I speak for the two series, Muktisudhakaram and ‘Inner Spiritual Splendour’. Both of them are on the eleventh skanda of Srimad Bhagavatam. The eleventh skanda of Srimad Bhagavatam is actually the essence of not merely the Srimad Bhagavata narration, but also the entire spirituo-philosophical exposition.
Our whole spirituo-philosophical culture, religious culture commences itself from the Vedic period and Vedic literature. The Vedas would not have been evolved all of a sudden. There must have been a time lag between the first thoughts on the Vedas and the last thoughts on them. We cannot say how much is the period but there certainly is an evolution if you can call it an evolution, a search, research, finding, processing the finding further, thinking further and finally they arrived at a finale. This is what we call the Upanishads. The Upanishadic thoughts climax and also crown the Vedic enquiries, the Vedic life and it climaxes in what? In a zero.
It started elaborately with praises and hymns addressed to the super human powers. These were followed by elaborate ceremonies and rituals. Even now people have a great admiration and awe towards them. Then they receded into a contemplative state. Finally they found even the contemplative effort is to be surrendered and we should become a zero within ourselves.
The verse I quoted is from Kathopanishad. When all the senses along with the mind and the intelligence keep quiet, doing nothing. तां आहुः परमां गतिम् – that is said to be the supreme abode, refuge and fulfillment. This is what I called a zero. ‘Are we living only to know and be this? - is an important question. There is so much of widespread alluring materials and other things around us. Can we suddenly say that these are nothing and of no value? This is a question that should occur to everybody, anybody.
Srimad Bhagavatam is the latest scripture written about fourteen hundred years back. So you will find that in Srimad Bhagavata you will have the latest thinking in the subject. It is not that all the Srimad Bhagavata thoughts were new at that time. The Srimad Bhagavata thought process should have started very soon after the Upanishadic period. Because the Upanishads are philosophical and primarily meant for intelligence, the highest faculty, constituent in the human personality. Not all will be able to access the Upanishadic thought or adopt them all of a sudden. At the same time, everybody should be given the benefit of the ultimate truth. That is how our Vedic thinkers thought of producing something in the way of a puranic narration. Through a process of narration where time, place and personality featured repeatedly. The imagination soaring very high into the unseen heights above the earth, they started communicating with the normal people who do not have time either to read and think themselves or who may not be able to understand even when they read. So, the puranic processes had started earlier.
In Srimad Bhagavata, you perhaps find a kind of a climax and fulfillment of the thinking. Srimad Bhagavata is primarily a devotional text, means it is completely resting upon God. God who is the creator, the preserver and the dissolver of everything in this world. Normally people say God is sporting in the whole creation. In a way it is right. Would you like to be a cat and also a rat together? Become the rat and become the cat. And as cat you pounce upon the rat. You don’t allow it to go, you don’t kill it also, you sport with it for some time. As a rat, you submit yourself to it. What should be your dimension when you are able to sport in this manner?
You know we take to wrestling and boxing etc. as a vinoda, as a play and so many people watch it. What are they doing? One hits the other, the other counter hits until at last one is defeated and we are trying to see it. So, in sport there is something called punishment, hurting and the pinnacle of it is killing. Not only that, eating. This is the perhaps the biggest of sport that you can think of, though it is on the first hearing very painful and excruciating. There is something called bull fight. People fight with the bull until at last he is able to insert a sword into the heart region of the bull and so many people are seeing it. So killing is not avoided in sport. Maybe people delight it, may not be all. So God is sporting, you can say, except as a sport this cannot be justified. That rat being pounced upon by the cat. Like that so many animals, Our own body preyed by a number of germs. Some incurable diseases. Sometimes we have to be shut up in a dark room. So many things are there. Can you justify it as a normal act? Then God will be considered very cruel. He is not. So it is only a vinoda for Him. But is this vinoda justifiable? Can a God sport in all these cruelties? That is also a question. So an ultimate answer has to be found out.
In Srimad Bhagavata you find in more than one place, several places it says that the whole creation is non-existent. It is nothing but an extension of man’s illusion. If there is an illusory product, an illusory cat killing an illusory rat, then I think you have no problem. The problem arises only when the cat and the rat become real. So Srimad Bhagavata clearly says यत्र त्रिसर्गॊ मृषा (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.1.1). The combination of words is such that it allows to be read as त्रिसर्गॊ मृषा and त्रिसर्गॊ अमृषा. In very critical places Srimad Bhagavata clearly sees that the words are put as a positive and negative. It can be split as a positive word or a negative word. But there are occasions when doubtlessly Srimad Bhagavata says everything is an illusion.
I was just reminded of Mundakopanishad how this illusion has come, we find so much of concreteness, grossness, weight, this, that and all. Positing Brahman as a source of everything, Mundakopanishad says,
The tapas of Brahman is jnanamaya.
Brahman is actually consciousness. It is not matter, it is not energy, it is not anything conceivable. On the other hand, it is knowledge. Knowledge is not unknown to us. We are knowing. We have knowledge. We have consciousness. Consciousness does not take any space or place to be. Now this Brahman, तपसा चीयतॆ - it goes on swelling. How does it swell? तपसा. The process is tapas. What is this tapas? You can have various forms of tapas. Physical tapas like walking a few kilometers, fasting, taking āsanās, prānāyāma, all these are forms of austerity. But Mundakopanishad says यस्य ज्ञानमयं तपः whose austerity is knowledge, knowledge. So, knowledge is not a process. It simply dawns. No activity is involved. And from that knowledge austerity अन्नात्प्राणो मनः सत्यं. Matter evolved. Force evolved. Mind evolved. And the elements, five elements evolved Shabda, sparsa, rasa, roopa, gandhah and panchabhutas. I would like you to grasp this word ज्ञानमयम् तपः.
You know whenever I read something, I try to understand it and that understanding itself is the process. Nothing else is necessary. Spend your time devotionally, piously and with attunement in whatever you read and try to understand. That is the best form of austerity that you can think of. I am not sure even now that our inmates have understood that knowledge is the best corrector, improver, refiner, sublimator, fulfiller. You are not respecting knowledge. You are not able to assess knowledge. When you know something to be bad, bad, that knowledge that it is bad is sufficient to cast it aside because if the knowledge is not firm, the bad thrives. So, knowledge is the deepest faculty and constituent in the human personality. So that knowledge austerity is the process by which the knowledge Brahman started growing and becoming matter, energy, force, senses, mind, intelligence and ego. Will you think about this proposition and try to understand it? It is a very, very great statement.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.