"Based on the lectures by Sri Bimal Mohanty" |
So when we venture to discuss about Bramhan, the objective can not be to get an absolute view, but to go through some vital slokas from our important srutis to get some glimpses only. That is all there to it.
This is a fundamental hypothesis. Since we are venturing into the pure philosophy of Bramhan, as we go along we shall face many doubts of mind naturally and obviously. To have a better perspective of what we are aiming to achieve, it is essential that in the beginning itself we are made aware of the instruments of probe that we have and what to expect from them.
For a common man of today srutis poise another kind of difficulty. These of course which are difficulties for us to understand and overcome, are indeed the real strengths of sanatan philosophy. However to us in the present times it is a difficulty.
Firstly let us understand, how knowledge is transmitted from one source to another. And here we are talking of adhyatmika or spiritual knowledge of absolute truth only. Even this is a great science on which our seers have pondered extensively.
The transmission of knowledge takes place differently depending upon the different mental and psychic state of the person receiving the knowledge. This is understandable. You do not teach or explain the same way to a child as you would do to a grown up. Different people physically similar but mentally and spiritually dissimilar also receive knowledge differently.
In a broad perspective we all exist in three levels of consciousness. Sri Aurobindo"s words here from essays on the Gita states it very well. He says "the existence of man is a triple web, a thing mysteriously physical-vital, mental and spiritual." In each of these catagories of course there are as many layers from ordinary mortal humans to enlightened divine souls at the other end. The truth realisation and retention of truth being different the mode of transmission is also different.
Our scriptures state that there are four modes of knowledge transmission matching with above three broad levels of the recipient. These are called:
Para, Pashyanti, Madhyama and vaikari.
Many people wonder, how such vast amount of knowledge that the Vedas contain and all the truths and principles about the creation, how was it transferred to this world? How much time it took? How long Lord Krishna must have taken to spell out so many chapters of Bhagavad Gita right there in the middle of the battle field? And then the crucial question is how long the jiva or these physical beings will take to attain Bramhattva or Bramhahood?
These are interesting questions with no esay answers. But we can get a fair perception as we understand the ways and modes of acquiring and transmission of knowledge.
The lowest mode is vaikari. This is the mode of learning at the level of physical-vital. All that goes in the name of adhyayana or study of the scriptures, discourses, etc are vaikari. The tool used is written or spoken word or language. All that we acquire by studying is vaikari. All that we acquire by listening is vaikari. The language is all important here.
The next mode madhyama, and next higher pasyanti are at the levels of mind, higher mind and soul. Here the tool is waves of thoughts. The words are still there to define the thoughts, but the transmission is silent and swift. Swift as the mind travels.
Para mode is said to be divine. It is the movement of consciousness between an enlightened divine entity and the source of knowledge- the Divine itself. The speed at which consciousness transmits itself is said to be unexplainable.
To simplify our understanding we may think that the transmission of entire knowledge of the creation that took place between Krishna and Bramha the creator along with the creation was Para.
The mode of transmission of the knowledge of Bhagavad Gita from Krishna to Arjuna can be imagined as to be madhyama and pasyanti with Para when the Viswaroopa was revealed.
But it is futile and foolish to look for proofs in these matters. These are divine spiritual experiences exclusive to the giver and the recipient. For us it should be sufficient to understand that transmission and receipt of knowledge takes place in different forms and time frames determined by the stage of consciousness of the recipient. That at least is not difficult to understand.
Now we come back to our study of srutis. Here the mode is vaikari. The spoken or written word is used. The language is the essence. Since sruti is the only source available to us to know about Bramhan and the only mode associated with sruti is vaikari, it will be of great help if we know something about the words and the language used in sruti.
The real brilliance of the srutis is based on the language in which these are written or spoken, which is sanskrit. We of today hardly understand this great language which was once the medium of speech and writing of the society. All these are now things of past. Every one practically today relies on translations to understand sruti. Unfortunately in the world today, there is no language that exists that can match the expanse and reach of sanskrit. As a result most of the words in the Vedas and Upanishads are only half understood by common people. The esoteric or hidden meaning which is a characteristic of all sanskrit words are seldom comprehended.
The relation of sanskrit and sruti is a very special relationship in our spiritual thought process. In order to clear the fundamentals, it is worth dwelling upon this awhile before we proceed further.
There is one aspect of our scriptures, which is worth keeping in mind. That happens to be a unique feature not adopted in other philosophies. On one hand it puts down very clear-cut directions for general people to follow - mostly as rituals. On the other hand, for the purpose of higher knowledge, it talks in terms of very, very cryptic sutras, short ideas or pointers pointing to a particular subject- just touching it so to say - and leaves everything to self deduction by intuition, logic and discerning power of the mind, higher mind and the supramental faculties of a still supermind.
The brilliance of this concept takes into account on one hand the majority of common human category who are in the fringes of their spiritual quest. They can start from the very basic meaning of all things. On the other hand those advanced minds, the jinyasus or the seekers of higher knowledge are handed out mere cryptic sentences which opens the window towards the truth but does not limit the expanse of vision. There is no boundary drawn of the horizon in front of you. This is in keeping with the theory that the comprehension of consciousness, the truth or the Bramhan is verily without limits. No one can say "this and this alone". Rather it is to be said "this and beyond this" or simply "that".(Tat). The sanskrit word "Tat" often used for Bramhan defies any kind of limiting adjuncts.
It is worth repeating many times over. Bramhan is never "this and this alone", but always "this and beyond this"
In this kind of exercise of text in our shastras, the seers (Kavis) are ofcourse greatly supported by this unique language sanskrt in which it is written. Most words in sanskrt are derived from a root or a Dhatu or base metal which can be moulded by expert hands and intellectual minds into any number of connected meanings. Most sanskrt words have many meanings springing out from the same root.
The uniqueness of sanskrt is indeed mind buggling. It is the most scientific and refined language known to human kind.
Consider these unique aspects. When sanskrt flourished as the means for verbal and written communication there was no developed language worth the name any where in this world. There is"nt one even now which is phonetically and grammatically so correct. We have advanced languages in this world where there are words which have identical consonant, vowel combinations, but for no apparent reason pronounced differently. Even the same letters of the alphabet have different sounds when used in different contexts. This is the result of a weak and underdeveloped grammar. No such anomalies exist in sanskrt. A perfect grammar does not allow any aberrations between sound and text which might distort the meaning.
Again, all sanskrt words are created words. They have a root which has a specific charateristic meaning. By using it as a base and conjoining with alphabets, their operative features or matras, thousands of words can be created with very specific meanings. Sanskrt words are "created" and never "coined" or lifted from alien sounds. Thus every word when analysed reveals its hidden meaning itself without asking for help. Take this word jagat, loosely translated as world. Why world is named `world" and not "drowl" is difficult to justify. But jagat clearly explains itself the ever changing phenomenon ( jayate gachati iti ) which is the striking feature of the physical phenmenon all around us. It is constantly jayate i.e coming into being, and gachati i.e. vanishing or going away. That is to be understood as jagat. Take again that difficult word Maya. What is maya? Why it is called illusion and not collusion or something else? But spoken in sanskrt it gives its own explanation. Ma (it is not) ya (whatever) sa maya. It is maya, when something is not what it appears to be. It is so simple. Rama or Vishnu or Vivekananda are names with specific meanings of their characters. The same can not be said about proper names in other languages. The same thing is true for other words also. Each word is self revealing in sanskrt.
Let us see what Sri Aurobindo"s observations are on the subject. I quote : "The sanskrit has always been a language in which one word is naturally capable of several meanings and therefore carries with it a number of varied associations. It lends itself, therefore, with peculiar ease and naturalness to the figure called slesha or embrace, the marriage of different meanings in a single form of words." Unquote.
He says again "The different meanings of a word, though distinct, are not yet entirely separate." To cite examples, he refers to the words like ardha which commonly means half and it means nothing else. But he observes and I quote again " To the Vedic man it carried other associations. Derived from the root rdh which meant originally to go and join, then to add, to increase, to prosper, it bore the sense of place of destination, the person to whom I direct myself, or simply "place"... So when
they spoke of higher worlds of Satchidananda as paraardha, they meant at once the higher half of man"s inner existence and the parama dhama or the high seat of Vishnu in other worlds and, in addition, thought of that high seat as the destination of our upward movement. All this rose at once to their mind when the word was uttered, naturally, easily
Further there is yet another unique feature in sanskrt that greatly help us realising within our hearts the true meaning of spiritual knowledge. The modern researchers are slowly discovering the wonder of the effect of the sound that is produced when a pure word comprised of right alphabets and adjuncts, when pronounced in a phonetically flawless manner. That is sanskrt for you. It can be pronounced only in one correct way. Its phonetic composition does not allow any aberration what so ever. And the sound emanating is the same who ever is the speaker. Its effect on body mind and intellect is fascinating.
As you are also aware, all sounds when produced create a very characteristic vibratory wave patterns. Modern machines today can identify every sound from the waves it creates. We also know today that some wave patterns could be discordant and destructive and some wave patterns could be soothing and beneficial. Then again, starting from the basic sounds it is known that by combining two or more sounds and varying their pitches the total effect of the sound could be made extremely powerful. So powerful that it can heal, it can eliminate mis-happenings, it can create new things, it can shatter objects by unleashing natural forces, it can trigger mental a nd spiritual growth and what not. It can transform the entire world for you. In the language of sanskrt these hidden powers of sound of the utterance or nada was recognised thousands and thousands of years back. Who knows what instruments were used and what experiments were made unless it was all the work of The Divine.
QUESTIONS FROM THE READERS
QUESTION 1 from Sri Ram Prakash Delhi
My friends tell me that while meditating in front of a relic or an idol of their reverence they get sensations/vibrations in their body. I have often tried this but I never get any such senssations. How can I experience such feelings?
Ans :In the first place, you will be well advised not to expect a duplication of your friends experience within you. This is a very common expectation with sadhaks at the very preliminary stages. Someone says he sees flashes of light and every one wants such flashes to appear before him. Some one says he sees a white clad figure in his dreams and everyone wants identical dreams. These are all childishness coming to the surface.
Physical, mental and spiritual experiences through out the process of sadhana is unique to every individual. No two persons experience the same thing. This is because until we have reached the final stage of purification and perfection the complexities of our existence derived from our individual sanskaras or impressions from our past actions are different with each person. Therefore their interplay with our body, mind and psyche is also unique to each one.
Their may be agreement on some broad aspects such as feelings or happiness, physical and mental well being of general nature etc. But expression of such feelings (either gross or subtle) are very personal and very unique.
Take for example, the mother"s love for her child. Whenever any mother picks up her baby to her bosom there is feelings of intense love. But the manifestation of that love, and even the inside feeling in the heart of the mother will be different from mother No1 to mother No 2. The complexities of relationship in each case are dependent on thousands of small things which all exert their influence.
The relationship between the sadhak and the Lord during the process of sadhana is also similar. It is a one to one relationship of Love, comparable to none other. Sanskaras of thousands of past lives, the effect of the thoughts and actions of the present life, the circumstances and above all the level of consciousness to which each of us has risen, the intensity of shraddha or faith within us, and millions of such things have gone into to make us what we are. What chance have two persons to be spiritually identical ?
The relationship between a sadhak and his Lord is indeed unique to each. Therefore the interplay of emotions are unique too. The sadhana of one is not the sadhana of another. It is intensely personal. It becomes more so as we progress. In the way of Bhakti, this personal aspect is indeed the greatest binding force.
QUESTION 2 from Sri PT. R N WATTS, New Mexico USA
Q. Is " DHARMA " not different from its translated and commonly used in English term RELIGION? Because a common man usually understands that observing and performing certains rituals in day to day practice fulfills his requirements of his religion ,without knowing the very purpose behind, or necessity of those rituals and traditions. Some of the people call it as their duty,without the knowledge of the reality . Is it not that because of not understanding the difference between DHARMA and RELIGION, various Sects , Subsects, Beliefs and disbeliefs ,Matta and Mattantaras , Panths have come into existence and all the great religions have divided and their divisions have sprung up creating chaos & confusion about the TRUTH & DHARMA?
ANSWER : Your question itself has touched upon the vital limbs of this problem. All right thinking persons in the world must be equally concerned. As every one knows well, Dharma in Sanatan philosophy in its simplest explanation means "that which holds together". It holds or protects the individual from disintegrating from its exalted state - the state which he has reached with the grace from the Divine. The state which is the springboard or his base from where his next step upwards can be made possible. Dharma supports this base. The english word religion is not a good translation of this sanskrt word.
It is the support not only at the superficial physical level but at three levels of human existence. Firstly the physical body level, where it protects bodily functions, our interactions with family, society, community the world and the universe. The entire gamut of our relations not only with our own kind but with all the creatures and objects in this creation are governed by Dharma.
Secondly the mental level, that governs our actions which separates humans from animals and lower creatures. It is this level where lies the basis of our urge and longing to overcome ignorance and seek the truth, realise it and dwell in the bliss that comes through this realisation. Dharma is the blue print of action worked out at our mental level for our upward evolution.
Thirdly the spiritual level where the seed of our eternal consciousness resides. It is here that we get the first glimpse of our final goal which is our true nature. The glimpse of ananda or bliss. Dharma facilitates and speeds up the process of our journey to this end.
Life without Dharma is a purposeless and wasted life.
You are absolutely right when you say that the true role of dharma has to be properly understood. Only then we can derive the required benefit. Mere ritualistic activities without understanding and intelligent pursuit, takes you no where.
However, everything about multiplicity of faiths, opinions and paths etc. can not be discarded as useless. If the purpose is genuine, then the path followed sooner or later meets the right path. The conflicts between religions should be looked at from the following view point.
Every true religion has invariably three aspects to it. Firstly , The Vichara or the core philosophical thought. Here all true religions have maximum commonality between them. Secondly the Acara or the "do"s and "don"t"s or the ritualistic practices to translate the Vicara or the philosophy into actions in life. Every religion needs to have some ritualistic pattern to sustain itself. This is the practical side of Dharma. And thirdly we have Vyavicara or the aberrations which invariably creep into all religions over a period of time. This is because there are always powerful and evil people in this world who recognise the power the religion can have over gullibles and exploit them with fear for their personal benefit. No religion is free from these aberrations or vyavicara. When vyavicara becomes excessive or beyond tolerance, you invariably have advent of great reformers or even an incarnation to clean up and reestablish the religion.
QUESTION 3 from Sri S K Roy
Q. How can we control our desires?
ANSWER : Dear Sri S K Roy- Thank you for your interest in AHWAN and your question about desires. I assume that you are a regular reader of The Spiritual Approach to Life in the website AHWAN, because this question has been taken up in different context in some of the topics covered earlier. While in future also we shall deal with it, let me give you a short answer, which we may elaborate in future articles.
Essentially, all desires are the urges to satisfy our sense organs of our physical body and also (this is important) to meet the aspirations of our psyche or our inner self. When it is related to the physical, it brings only a momentary appeasement but the desire comes back with renewed vengence. The result is utter unhappiness. But its purpose is to precisely teach this very lesson that one would never get happiness from sense dictated cravings. Once this truth is understood, the desires weaken and eventually die.
On the otherhand, when the desire relates to the aspirations of our inner self, it is sublime and divine. Our "self" being essentially pure and one with the divine, its aspirations - however latent or pronounced that may be- are also essentially towards purity and perfection. The Self craves constantly to achieve that highest level of conscious perfection from which it has descended. That is Satchidananada - the absolute truth consciousness, its realisation and the resulting bliss that comes from the realisation. Such aspirations or desires of mind are not negative and are to be kept burning in the heart of the sadhaka.
The control of negative desires is indeed the heart of Yoga. Two main approaches are suggested. Firstly, seeking happiness from something which is incapable of giving happiness is nothing but ignorance. Remaining in Yoga, practicing the basic requirements of sadhana (Please read the four articles on Preparations for Sadhana Part 1,2 3&4 in June, to October 02 issues of AHWAN), one acquires understanding and knowledge that will dispel the ignorance. It takes time but it works
Secondly all desires have their seat in the mind. The mind by nature, can dwell only on one thought at a time. It can never think two things at the same time. When the mind is indulging in sense gratification, it is dragging you, towards worldly pleasures, unhappiness, more desires and more unhappiness. However if by effort, mind switches over to the Self and its aspirations, it will drop the worldly thoughts and get fixed in the Divine Satchidananda. It is difficult but possible. Remaining in Yoga practices, the effort should be to remain more and more on the positive side and less and less in the negative side. Eventually the positive wins over negative. The worldly desires weaken and die. Yoga is the key. .
Author Bio :
From Ahwanm the spiritual approach to life by Sri Bimal Mohanty. http://www.ahwan.org/index.php
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