Commentary by Mr Ambarish N Dave
I hope this offering to Bhagwan and his devotees by this insignificant bhakta will be received with a spirit of pardon for any shortcomings. In case you find anything useful in the explanations it is Bhagwan’s grace and in case you find anything unacceptable the weakness and fault is mine.
The explanations are kept very brief. The verse translations are by B V Narsimhaswami.
There is a folklore that once a group of ascetics were performing some yagnas for obtaining the merits of such yagnas. Lord Siva felt that they were not performing karma for a lofty cause and decided to come down to give them Brahma Jnana. To make the story brief the ascetics mistook Him for some ordinary wanderer and decided to fight him. They soon realized that He was none other than Lord Siva. The Lord then gave them instructions on Brahma Jnana.
Sri Murugnar decided to put this down in verses but when he got to the Brahma Jnana part he requested Bhagwan to write the verses. Bhagwan promptly did so. This is presented as Upadesa Saram. It is the essence of Brahma Jnana.
Bhagwan has composed it beautifully to help aspirants to achieve their goal. The first three verses deal with Karma, the next seven with Bhakti , the next six with Ashtanga Yoga and the rest with Jnana. Throughout the text Bhagawan has given instructions to guide the aspirants in their sadhana, practice. This composition has the status of scriptures for Ramana devotees and is complete in its teachings of vedantic principles. This is a much loved composition.
- कर्तुराज्ञया प्राप्यते फलम् ।
कर्म किं परं कर्म तज्जडम् ॥1
Karma must ever yield its proper fruit,
For thus it is ordained by God, Himself,
Supreme Creator. Then is Karma God?
No, for it is itself insentient.
The fruits of karma ( action ) are obtained as ordained by the ultimate doer ( Kartruh ). The same karma performed by different people, at different times and at different locations may all give different fruits. Even the same karma performed by the same person at different times and locations may give different fruits. To obtain the fruits of any karma requires the karma itself, a karta and a karmaphaladata. The fruits are ordained by the karmaphaladata ( Kartuh agyaya ).
The karma is not supreme and desired fruits cannot be taken for granted. The karma performed by the jada ( insentient ) body and mind can only be jada.
- कृतिमहोदधौ पतनकारणम् ।
फलमशाश्वतं गतिनिरोधकम् ॥2
Of Karma the results must pass away,
And throw the actor back into the flood
Of Karma’s ocean. Karma cannot save it leaves seeds which in their turn will sprout
The fruits of action being jada, are impermanent and we keep performing actions to meet our kamanas ( desires ). We create an ocean of karma, sanchita karma. This leads to the cycle of births and deaths and is a hurdle and barrier to liberation. They are the cause for our fall or destruction.
- ईश्वरार्पितं नेच्छया कृतम् ।
चित्तशोधकं मुक्तिसाधकम् ॥3
But acts performed without attachment’s urge
And solely for the service of the Lord
Will cleanse the mind and indicate the way
Which leads at length unto the final goal.
It seems from the first two verses that karma is very damaging and jada, insentient so must be avoided. It is actually the reverse. Act we must. So, how to act and yet not create bondage. Bhagawan guides us. Dedicate all actions to God. This means perform actions with an attitude that I do this only because He wants it. I have no specific desire of fruits of my action. Every action will create a result and that will come by His grace. Karma performed with this attitude will lead to purification of the mind ( chitta shuddhi ) which will prepare the buddhi to receive jnana and will hence become the means to liberation ( muktisadhakam ).
- कायवाङ्मनः कार्यमुत्तमम् ।
पूजनं जपश्चिन्तनं क्रमात् ॥4
Worship, reciting of God’s Holy Name,
And meditation, mainly are performed
By body, voice and mind, and they excel
Each other in the order here set down.
Karma can be performed only with the instruments available to us which are our Bahyakaran and the Antahakaran,the outer instruments and the inner instruments. Bhagawan guides us on how to use these. With the body we must worship the Lord, with our voice (representing senses ), we must do japa ( repeating the Lord’s name ) and with the mind we must think of the Lord ( meditate on Him ). This is the order of excellence of karma. Notice that this is also the order of subtlety of karma. Bodily karma being grossest and mental karma being subtlest. While Bhagawan says that this is the order of superiority, it does not mean that we only do what is superior most, karma has to be performed in this krama ( sequence ), as we progress in our Sadhana, performing all at a particular stage.
- जगत ईशधी युक्तसेवनम् ।
If we but recognize this Universe
Of eightfold form as form of God, Himself,
And serve in adoration all the world.
This is of God most excellent worship.
Bhagwan now guides us on worship. We must serve this jagat (universe ) as His eightfold form (ashtadha prakriti; also given in the Bhagavad Gita; earth, water, fire, wind, ether, mind, intellect and jiva ( ahamkara ) is the eightfold form of the Lord ). The universe is His divine form and serving the Universe is His puja. We must perform puja with this attitude. We must not mistake doing our daily jobs for ourselves as service of the world and hence his puja. The attitude is important. Do it for Him. The more we serve His form the more we love him. It means see His Virat roop in His puja. The whole world is one single living entity, it is the Lord Himself. We love those whom we serve and we serve those whom we love.
- उत्तमस्तवादुच्चमन्दतः ।
चित्तजं जपध्यानमुत्तमम् ॥6
Constant repeating of the Holy Name
Is more than praise, at length the voice will sink
To silent repetition in the Heart,
And in this way is meditation learnt.
We now move on to the next stage, that is, japa. In ascending order of excellence singing the praise of the Lord, continuous repetition of His name, repetition of His name softly, then repetition of His name mentally leading to meditation on His form is the guidance given by Bhagwan for karma through sense organs and the mind. Again one has to progress in this sequence for benefits. Every name represents a form. By constant repetition of the Lord’s name we concentrate on His form which represents purity and divinity and so the mind too gets purified.
- आज्यधारया स्रोतसा समम् ।
सरलचिन्तनं विरलतः परम् ॥7
Better than meditation that recurs
In broken fits and starts is that which is
A steady ceaseless flow, like to the course
Of falling oil or a perennial stream.
The meditation should be a constant flow of thoughts on His form like a constant flow of ghee or a continuous river or stream. Constant and natural ( effortless ) flow of thoughts is superior ( param ) to broken or interrupted flow of thoughts. In case of a broken flow other thoughts will squeeze in and one cannot concentrate on His form to make the mind assume His form. If a constant flow of thought is maintained the mind will take His form, duality will vanish. The mind will be pure.
- भेदभावनात् सोऽहमित्यसौ।
भावनाऽभिदा पावनी मता ॥8
Worship of God as in no way distinct
From him who worships, or in other words
Thinking that .He is I., is better far
Than any other kind of worshiping.
Contemplation on the Lord as ‘He am I’, without duality, submerging the mind in Him, is superior to contemplating with duality, differentiating between Him and me. The Lord is Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent, however, I am limited and the only way to know the Lord is to become Him. A limited mind cannot grasp an infinite self. It can only merge and become that to know it. A river cannot conceive the ocean, it can become the ocean to know it. To know Him I have to become Him. Contemplating with non duality submerging the mind in the Lord is a great purifier ( pavani ) because the mind will take the form of His purity. Purification of the mind ( antahakaran shuddhi ) prepares it for receiving jnana.
- भावशून्यसद्भावसुस्थितिः ।
To rest in the Real Being, that transcends
Our every thought, by reason of the strength
Of our devotion to something conceived;
This of supreme devotion is the truth.
Eliminating all other thoughts and holding on to the thought ‘He am I’, firm abidance in Him is gained. By the strength of this thought supreme devotion results. Merging the mind in the Lord, being devoid of any other thoughts, a state of complete surrender occurs which when strong enough is supreme bhakti (devotion ). The cessation of all thoughts means being pure existence, being one with the Self. This is yet another step to create conditions in the mind for jnana.
- हृत्स्थले मनः स्वस्थता क्रिया ।
भक्तियोगबोधाश्च निश्चितम् ॥10
To be absorbed again into one’s Source (Heart)
Is Karma, Bhakti, Yoga, Jnanam, all
These things in truth. Or put in other words
Good works, Devotion, Union, Gnosis, too.
The Self abides in the spiritual heart or can be said to be the spiritual heart. This is just conceptual, a feeling, since the Self has no form to reside anywhere. This is for the purpose of meditation. Firm abidance in the spiritual heart is the goal of all the means of sadhana, karma, bhakti, yoga (ashtanga yoga ), jnana. What abides? The mind ( manah ). This is for sure, truth ( nishchitam ). All paths of spiritual practises, sadhana have only one goal Self Realisation. To know the Self is to be the Self. Pure water poured into pure water becomes indistinguishably one with it.
- वायुरोधनाल्लीयते मनः ।
As by the fowler birds are caught in nets
So by the holding of the breath within
The mind can be restrained. This a device
That will effect absorption of the mind.
We now start with Ashtanga yoga. It is presumed that sama, dama and asana would already be practiced by the sadhakas and therefore Bhagawan now starts with Pranayama. The mind and our breath are closely connected. This is borne out even in our daily experiences. When the mind is agitated the breath is fast and when the mind is cool the breath is slow and vice versa. Hence by controlling the breath, the mind is controlled. However, this control is like the control of a flock of birds by a net thrown over them ( jaala pakshi-vad ). This kind of control leads to a kind of swoon, laya. The birds will fly helter-skelter once the net is removed. Control gone, laya gone. Bhagawan will guide us further on what is to be done.
- चित्तवायवश्चित्क्रियायुताः ।
शाखयोर्द्वयी शक्तिमूलका ॥ 12
For mind and life expressed in thought and act,
That is with thought and action as their function,
Diverge and branch like two boughs of a tree,
But both of them spring from one single stem.
This verse is to further explain the previous verse. The mind and the vital airs, Prana, have the powers of thought and action respectively. As discussed in the previous verse both are very closely connected. This is because both have the same roots or the same powerful source. They both have the Self, Brahman, The Lord as their source. They are like two branches from the same roots. The mind and Prana are both the Prakriti of the Lord, His nature, His power and are hence, divine.
- लयविनाशने उभयरोधने ।
लयगतं पुनर्भवति नो मृतम् ॥13
Suppression of the mind in two ways comes,
Absorption and extinction; mind absorbed
Will live again, but mind which is destroyed
Will never more revive, for it is dead.
As discussed earlier the control of the Prana leads to control of the mind that is laya however this laya is just absorption and when the control ends the mind is alive again. However, if the mind is controlled directly it gets destroyed. This seems very scary because my mind defines my personality and it is my thinking power, if I destroy it I am finished. This is not what is meant. What is meant is that the mind has two modes of functioning sankalpa and vikalpa, by the former the mind identifies and understands, by the latter it looks at alternatives and imagines. Through imagination and wrong knowledge it attributes or superimposes joys on the objects of the world and imagines that joy lies therein. It is this power of imagination and wrong knowledge which has to be destroyed. Once destroyed it does not rise again, a sleeping person wakes up a dead one does not. With wrong knowledge destroyed the mind can discriminate between the real and the unreal ( nitya anitya viveka ). It is therefore prepared for recognising and knowing the Self ( atmajnana ).
- प्राणबन्धनाल्लीनमानसम् ।
When, by the means of restraint of the breath,
The mind has been controlled, then make it flow
Along a single current, that achieved
Its form will then entirely disappear.
In the previous sloka we were advised to destroy the mind. The mind is nothing but a bundle of thoughts. Naturally, the question now is how to destroy the mind, what is meant by destruction of the mind? Bhagwan now further explains that as he has already said earlier the mind gets controlled by the control of the pranas, but as already stated earlier this control goes away once the control of the pranas is removed. We have seen in the previous verse that our mind which is controlled will rise again once the controls are removed, however, a mind which has been destroyed cannot rise again. We have also learnt what is meant by the destruction of the mind. How to destroy the mind? Bhagwan says make it flow along a single line of thought make it flow towards the Self. When the mind flows continuously towards the Self it stays there and is subsumed by it, it gets merged into it and is destroyed like a salt doll put into the ocean.
- नष्टमानसोत्कृष्टयोगिनः ।
कृत्यमस्ति किं स्वस्थितिं यतः ॥15
For the Great Sage for whom all form of mind
Has disappeared and who is ever one
With the Reality, there is no Karma more,
For He, indeed, the True Self has become.
Bhagawan calls one whose mind is destroyed, a great yogi. Nashtamanasah, whose mind is destroyed, Utkrishtayoginah, an excellent yogi. Control of the mind and preventing its tendencies – chitta vritti nirodhah – is the goal of yoga ( Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga ). The mind runs after different objects of the world seeking happiness in them. When the tendencies of the mind to run after such objects seeking happiness is destroyed then the mind resides in the true Self and experiences happiness of the Self. It realizes that happiness is our very nature. It is due to ignorance that we imagine that happiness lies in the objects of the world. It is actually the joy of the Self, our very nature, which we superimpose on the objects and think that happiness lies there. We perform karmas just to fulfill our desires to seek happiness. Once the tendencies of the mind to seek happiness in the objects of the world outside are destroyed the mind resides in the self, the very source of happiness and then there is nothing more to be done, nothing more to be sought.
- दृश्यवारितं चित्तमात्मनः ।
चित्त्वदर्शनं तत्त्वदर्शनम् ॥16
When mind has given the sense-objects up
Which are external and has drawn within,
And has perceived its own refulgent form,
Then verily alone True Gnosis is.
The mind is chanchalam ( चञ्चलम् ) and asthiram ( अस्थिरम् )- ( Bhagvad Gita ). It is outgoing by nature. It experiences or sees the world outside, the external objects. When it restrains itself or stops looking at the external objects and turns inwards and looks at itself, gets a vision of itself then it gets a vision of reality, the Consciousness Absolute, tattva.
Now, seeing, vision, experience have to be understood. Here, one is not to be understood as being a seer seeing with eyes and other instruments. Seeing or vision is to be understood as knowledge. We acquire knowledge, or see the external world in the light of the sun. But we also see sunshine, hills, rivers in our dreams even with eyes shut and in darkness. From where do we get that light to see, get knowledge. It is the light of the Atman. The Atman itself is self luminous and does not need external light to be seen. Just as we do not need another light to see the sun.
When the mind sees itself, gets knowledge of itself, the illumination comes from the Atman. So, what it sees or experiences is the Atman ( चित्त्वदर्शनं तत्त्वदर्शनम् ).
In fact we see, experience, have vision of everything only in the light of the Atman. Even the Sun is illumined by the Atman. Only the Atman (Self) is self luminous ( स्वयंज्योति ).
With this verse ends the instructions on Ashtanga Yoga.
- मानसं तु किं मार्गणे कृते ।
नैव मानसं मार्ग आर्जवात् ॥17
When pondering with constant vigilance
Upon the actual nature of the mind
One finds that there is no such thing as mind;
This, of a truth, is the straight course for all.
Now instructions on Jnana begin with this verse to the end.
If we inquire deeply and investigate as to what the mind is we find that the mind is unreal. In Vedanta reality is that which never changes, that which changes is unreal. We all know that the mind keeps changing, in fact, too frequently. It experiences love, hatred, greed, compassion and so on. It also goes away and comes back, like in the case of deep sleep the mind goes away and comes back when we wake up. So the mind is unreal. In the previous verse Bhagawan has already said that the vision of the mind is the vision of reality because the mind is not there and what we see is the Self. In partial light we see a snake where there may be a rope. When we investigate with a torch light and a stick in hand we come to know it to be just a rope. There is no snake. Similarly upon investigation of the mind we find that there is no mind. Bhagawan calls such an inquiry the direct path or the straight path ( मार्ग आर्जवात् ) – मार्ग , path, आर्जवम् , arrow, straight as an arrow.
- वृत्तयस्त्वहं वृत्तिमाश्रिताः ।
वृत्तयो मनो विद्ध्यहं मनः ॥18
The mind is nothing but a lot of thoughts,
Of all these many thoughts ’tis the thought ’I’
That is the root. So we can see by that
The mind in truth is only the thought ’I’.
The mind is actually just a bundle of thoughts ( वृत्तयो मनो ). All thoughts are founded on or are based on the ‘I’ thought ( वृत्तयस्त्वहं वृत्तिमाश्रिताः ). Therefore, the mind is the ‘I’ thought ( विद्ध्यहं मनः ).
The mind perceives and experiences the world by collecting information through the senses of perception, then collates it, analyses it and gives it a name and form and finally the thought is ‘ I know ‘. Every thought actually begins with ‘ I know ‘. When I say, ‘ this is a table ‘, ‘ this is a tree ‘. The thought actually is or I actually mean, ‘ I know this is a table ‘, ‘ I know this is a tree ‘. Every thought begins with the I thought. The mind is therefore, the ‘ I ‘ thought.
Once we conceive this idea Bhagawan will guide us in the next few verses on how to use this idea for our progress
- अहमयं कुतो भवति चिन्वतः ।
अयि पतत्यहं निजविचारणम् ॥19
Whence, therefore, does this ’I-thought’ have its birth?
With vigilant and ever active mind
Seek this, and crestfallen the ’I’ becomes.
The search, itself, the quest of Wisdom is.
When one enquires ( चिन्वतः ), from where ( कुतो ) does the I thought, I am this ( अहमयं ) arise, or where is it born ( भवति ) then, oh ( अयि ) , the I thought falls ( पतति अहम् ) . This is Self Enquiry ( निजविचारणम् ).
This is an important verse.
I do not actually know who I am. Worse than that I wrongly know and believe that I am the body and mind. I attribute all actions and experiences to the body and mind. Therefore I believe that I experience and know the world, I act and work for meeting my desires and I enjoy the fruits or results of my actions. That is, I ( body and mind ) am the karta, bhokta, jnata ( कर्ता, भोक्ता, ज्ञाता ). This in Vedanta is called ahamkara ( अहंकार ), ego. In common usage we understand ego as pride or vanity. All this happens in the mind and the root of all these thoughts as one can see is the ‘I’ thought. Without the I ;the sentences above will not be valid. We know that the mind is the ‘I’ thought, as discussed in verse 18. We also discussed in verse 17 that the mind is unreal because it changes and also comes and goes, refer discussions of verse 17. We also discussed there that upon inquiry we find that there is no such thing as the mind. It only reflects the light of the Self. If the mind does not exist as real then the ‘I’ thought also is unreal. By logic therefore when I search from where does the ‘I’ thought arise, where does the ego take birth I find that the ego is false, an illusion. It falls ( पतति ). The true Self remains.
This is called Self inquiry ( निजविचारणम् ).
- अहमि नाशभाज्यहमहंतया ।
स्फुरति हृत्स्वयं परमपूर्णसत् ॥20
This search pursued till ’I’ has disappeared
There now vibrates the ’I-I’ all alone,
The quest is finished, there’s no more to seek.
For this is really the Infinite Self.
Once the ego ( अहम् ) is destroyed ( नाश – भाजि ) the Self vibrates ( स्फुरति )and shines forth of its own in the heart ( हृत्स्वयं ) as ‘I – I’ ( अहम् – अहम् – तया ). This Self is Supreme – Infinite – Existence ( परम् – पूर्ण – सत् ).
As discussed in the previous verse when the wrong notion that I am this body and mind (ego ) is destroyed then the true I is known as ‘ I – I ‘. As already discussed this Self shines forth of its own. It is self luminous, that is that it reveals itself. It does not need external light to reveal it.
We get a feel of this Self in our deep (dreamless ) sleep. In deep sleep the body and mind are not available to us, hence we know nothing and experience nothing. However, when we wake up we accept that we existed in deep sleep, no one doubts this, and that we were in pure happiness. We had no limitations of size or knowledge. We were Supreme, we were Infinite and we were Existence itself (there was no object or body to exist and yet we said we existed, so we were existence itself ).
- इदमहं पदाऽभिख्यमन्वहम् ।
This is eternally the true import
Of the term ’I’.For in the deepest sleep
We do not cease to be. We still exist
Even though here there is no sense of ’I’.
When the individual ‘I’, the ego, merges with the total ‘I’, following this the total ‘I’ also merges into the true Self which shines as the Indestructible Existence.
Let us try to understand this. The wave and the ocean are the same from the standpoint of an individual or totality. When the wave subsides and becomes one with the ocean then we are left with only the ocean and the wave is destroyed. If we now remove the limitations of the forms of a wave and the ocean then what we see is only water.
The individual ‘I’ and the totality that is Ishwara enjoy the same degree of reality just as the wave is also the ocean. We experience this merger of the individual with the totality in our deep sleep. In that state the individual ego is absent. The problem is that as soon as we wake up the individual ego reappears. However, when the ego is destroyed even the Total ‘I’ merges with the One Single Reality – The True Self.
When we identify our individual ego with the total creation we move one step forward. However, when the ego is destroyed the entire creation is seen as the true Self.
- विग्रहेन्द्रियप्राणधीतमः ।
नाहमेकसत्तज्जडं ह्यसत् ॥22
As I am pure Existence, I am not
The body nor the senses, mind nor life,
Nor even ignorance, for all these things
Are quite insentient and so unreal.
I do not know who I really am. I wrongly allude to so many things as ‘I’. I am an officer at one time, an engineer at another, a father or a mother, a batsman….How can I be all of these, all on my own. I was there even before acquiring the knowledge of engineering, even before or after wielding a bat, even when I am not in office……I must therefore definitely be someone other than these. These are super impositions on me. I am not anyone of these. Similarly for several births I have believed that I am the body, the mind, the senses……..These are super impositions.
I am not the body, not the senses, not the pranas, not the mind, nor am I ignorance. I am the one who knows these ( the seer of these ). The seer and the seen are always different. If I see or know a chair or a table I must not be the chair or table. The eyes don’t see themselves. If I am knowledge ( sentient, consciousness ) then the seen must be insentient. Knowledge cannot know knowledge.
I am pure existence, pure knowledge who know the that insentient objects exist. I also can see my body, mind, etc. and the changes they undergo. I am unchanging. They, body, the senses, mind, ignorance are insentient, jada. They change, they come and go. I exist always. They are unreal. I am real.
- सत्त्वभासिका चित्क्ववेतरा ।
सत्तया हि चिच्चित्तया ह्यहम् ॥23
As there is not a second consciousness
To know Existence, it must follow that
Existence is itself that consciousness;
So I myself am that same consciousness.
We have just seen that I am not this body not the senses not the mind not the intellect. I know that I exist. No one doubts his own existence. If so then without the mind, senses and the body who knows that I exist. Who has knowledge that I exist. We also saw in the previous verse that I am knowledge itself. Must be so because I know that I exist. In deep sleep I know nothing about who I am and yet when I wake up I say I slept very well and I was happy hi there for admit that I was I existed and I was happy. In that state since nothing existed, no object, no body, no mind therefore it was not possible for experiencing anything and yet if I know that I existed then I must be existence itself and since I know that I existed I must be knowledge itself therefore I am existence – knowledge. Now a question can arise, which knowledge knows this existence – knowledge? Is there yet another knowledge to know existence – knowledge? Not possible, because then that knowledge without existence would be nonexistent and that existence without knowledge would be insentient. Existence is knowledge ( सत्तया हि चित् ) and that knowledge am I ( चित्तया हि अहम् ). Therefore it is only possible that existence and knowledge are both my attributes and I am Existence – Knowledge.
- ईशजीवयोर्वेषधीभिदा ।
सत्स्वभावतो वस्तु केवलम् ॥24
In their real nature as Existence both
Creatures and the Creator are the same,
The Unique Principle. In attributes
And knowledge only is a difference found.
The Individual and Totality, that is, Jiva and Ishwara are different only from the standpoint of the gross equipment and the subtle equipment, that is, body and intellect ( ईशजीवयोर्वेषधीभिदा ). The Jiva is limited in its powers and intellect, alpashaktiman, Ishwara, however, is all powerful and all knowledge, sarvashaktiman. However, from the standpoint of their true nature or basic nature (सत्स्वभावतो ) they are both the same. They are the Reality alone (वस्तु केवलम् ).
The individual is not different from or separate from the totality. Just like the wave and the ocean. The Reality, Brahman is the material cause as well as the efficient cause of the universe ( ईशावास्यम् इदं सर्वम् – Ishavasya Upanishad ). They are, however, different in their powers, the Totality is made up of the individuals. The basic stuff is the same.
- वेषहानतः स्वात्मदर्शनम् ।
ईशदर्शनं स्वात्मरूपतः ॥25
Realization of the Self alone,
Eliminating all its attributes;
Is God-Realization of a truth,
As it is He that shines forth as the Self.
As we have seen in the previous verse the limitations of the Jiva and the omniscience and omnipotance of Ishwara are only relative but they are One. If the Jiva gives up his conditioning ( वेषहानतः ) he gets a vision of the Self ( स्वात्मदर्शनम् ) which is the same as the vision of Ishwara ( ईशदर्शनं ) as the Self ( स्वात्मरूपतः ).
Once the Jiva destroys his ego born of ignorance that he is the body – mind – intellect he realizes that he is the Totality, Ishwara. He also realizes that Ishwara is his very Self. Self Realization is the same as God Realisation. When the wave merges with the ocean it realizes that it is nothing but the ocean. When the ocean leaves its conditioning it is water.
- आत्मसंस्थितिः स्वात्मदर्शनम् ।
To be the Self that is to know the Self,
As there is no duality in Self.
This is Thanmaya-Nistha, or the state
Of absolutely being That in truth.
Vision implies a seer and a seen, the seer being different from the seen. As discussed earlier, in Vedanta vision means knowledge. Since the Self is non dual and is self luminous or self knowing, knowing the Self means abiding in the Self. To have knowledge of the Self one has to become one with the Self. There is no other way in which a finite Jiva can have knowledge of the infinite Self. The river can only become the ocean to know the ocean, otherwise in no other way can it contain the ocean. Abiding in the Self ( आत्मसंस्थितिः ) is the vision of the Self ( स्वात्मदर्शनम् ). Since the Self is non dual, one without a second ( आत्मनिर्द्वयात् ), merging with the Self is firm abidance in the Self ( आत्मनिष्ठता ). When the false illusory ego is renounced the ‘I’ gets established in the Self and firm abidance in the Self, the firm conviction that I am not the ego is true Self Realization – I am That.
ज्ञानमस्ति किं ज्ञातुमन्तरम् ॥27
That knowledge is true knowledge which transcends
Knowledge and ignorance both equally.
And this alone is truth. For there is no
Subject or object there that can be known.
The mind and intellect gain knowledge of objects or knowledge of the absence of knowledge (ignorance). The mind and the intellect are illumined by Pure Knowledge (Conciousness ) or jnana. Conciousness does not have knowledge of objects or their ignorance. In sunshine we can get knowledge of objects ( or their absence ) illumined by it. Sunshine itself does not acquire knowledge. Similarly the mind and intellect are illumined by Consciousness, the Self.
So, is there another Knowledge or Consciousness to know the Self.No, the Self is self illuminating. If there was another Consciousness to know the first Consciousness the first Consciousness would become an object of knowledge hence inert. This is illogical. If both were equal Consciousness then there would be no difference and they would be one.
To illumine the Self no other light is required, It is self luminous.
- किं स्वरूपमित्यात्मदर्शने ।
If one can only realize at Heart
What one’s true nature is, one then will find
That ’tis Infinite Wisdom, Truth and Bliss,
Without beginning and without an end.
We wonder about our true nature, our fundamental nature. That which is unchanging like gold in ornaments. The ornaments may change but gold remains unchanged. Ornaments can be created or destroyed but gold does not get created or destroyed. What is that about us which does not get created or destroyed, is not born nor does it die. With such thoughts or desire when one gets a vision of the Self then one knows that the Self is un diminishing, unborn, complete and whole, knowledge and bliss.
We do get a glimpse of this every day. Bhagawan has said that you are one with the Self in deep sleep. What we are in that state is un diminishing, there is nothing to get born there or die, there is completeness, awareness and pure happiness.
That is our true nature. That is why we crave for these whenever there is a deviation from these and we are uncomfortable with deviations.
- बन्धमुक्त्यतीतं परं सुखम् ।
विन्दतीह जीवस्तु दैविकः ॥29
Remaining in this state of Supreme Bliss,
Devoid of bondage and of freedom too,
Is found to be a state in which one is
Rapt in perpetual service of the Lord.
We are ever liberated. Liberation and bondage are only in the mind (remember the deep sleep state ). We are beyond bondage and liberation (बन्धमुक्त्यतीतं). We are in Supreme Bliss (परं सुखम् ). However only a few (जीवः तु ) divine persons, persons with divine qualities ( दैविकः) will know this here in this world ( विन्दति इह).
The mind craves for happiness and looks for it in external objects. The objects being ephemeral and temporary go away, so the mind looks for further happiness in more objects and performs actions for obtaining these; this is what causes the samskaras and hence the bondage. Then the mind seeks liberation. The jiva seeking liberation does not know that it was ever liberated. This is because of ignorance of its true nature. It does not know that it is itself of the nature of pure bliss and there is no happiness to be sought externally.
Ignorance can be removed only through knowledge. This knowledge can dawn only in a highly purified mind. A purified mind is a mind with divine qualities. Such persons are very rare to find and are divine persons.
The purification of the mind is achieved through sadhana with the aid of the sadhana chatushtaya. The sadhana chatushtaya briefly is Viveka, Vairagya, Shat Sampat, six qualities ( Sama, Dama, Uparati, Shraddha, Titiksha, Samadhana ) and Mumukshutva. This purifies the mind to receive knowledge, jnana.
- अहमपेतकं निजविभानकम् ।
महदिदंतपो रमनवागियम् ॥30
By ardent quest and shedding ego’s veil
Realize the Self, the One that’s ego-less,
And function thus; the sole right penance this.
So teaches Bhagavan Sri Ramana,
Who is the SELF of everything that is.
The great sage Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi says (रमनवागियम् ) from the heights of self realisation, that this great tapa ( महदिदंतपो ) or penance, devoid of the ego( अहम् अपेतकं ) is the revealer of the self ( निजविभानकम् , the great truth.
Ignorance of the truth of our real nature and wrong identification with the body and mind, our ego, is the cause of all sorrows and problems. Ignorance can be removed only through knowledge. Knowledge cannot be obtained through hard work or wealth or through progeny or with the help of people. Only deep contemplation and intense inquiry into the nature of the Self can reveal this truth. This is a great tapas. The Self is revealed when the ego, the identification with the body and mind is completely out of the way. A sincere inquiry into the Self leads to the conviction that the ego is illusory. The true Self shines forth.
May Bhagawan Ramana Maharshi’s grace and blessings be upon all that we may gain firm abidance in the Self.
Aum namah shivayay
Mr. Ambarish P N Dave