Saturday, 29 August 2015

Knowing the mind


The  Gita  revisited. 
Knowing  the mind. 

                      We  saw in the last page  ,that  there are three steps  to perfecting  the mind. and  they are:  knowing,  tuning,   and   transcending  the  mind.  To  know  the mind  we  need to understand  the three fold nature  of creation itself.  Prackriti  is  the material cause of  creation  and  has  three  gunas -sattva, rajas  and  tamas. These gunas  remain in  their  Pure  state before  creation. . Their  intermingling causes  creation and  hence  the three   gunas  pervade  the entire  creation of  things  and beings. 

                  Sattva  manifests  as  knowledge  , peace  ,love  , patience  ,awareness  etc. .Rajas  manifests  as  intense  activity  , dynamism  , restlessness, anger ,greed  ,etc. , and  Tamas  manifests  as inertia, laziness  , dullness  , ignorance  etc.  One  of  the three  gunas  remain predominant  in a living  creature  at any particular point  of time. , though  all three  gunas pervade  its  nature. . Inanimate  things  are   predominantly  tamasic. . Plants manifest  more  rajoguna  than  stones  , animals  more  than  plants  ,  while  man can  manifest  more  sattva  than  animals,  gods  more  than  man. 

               Coming  to humans  , we  find, his  body  is more  tamasic  , while  the  sense organs  and  the  pranas  manifest  more  rajoguna. . The  mind of each individual  is  different  and  is a combination of  all  the three  gunas but  some  have  more  sattvik minds , some more rajasic  and some  predominantly  tamasic. . Even  in each individual,  we  will find  that , during  some  time of the day  he is  more  sattvik, sometimes  more  rajasic .,  and as  night approaches  he is more  tamasic. . So  we  are  asked  to study  the  scriptural texts  in the  Brahma muhurtham  ,when  sattva  is  predominant  in us. and  this  helps  us  to sharpen  our intellect  . We  all know  that  we need  a sharp intellect  to   do sravana and  manana  of  the   Guru's  teaching.  to then enter into  meditation. on  the highest Truth, though  it is equally true that we have  to transcend  the intellect  to experience  the Self. 

Monday, 24 August 2015

Three steps to perfecting the mind.


The  Gita  revisited.
Three steps  to perfecting  the mind. 

                    The  14th  chapter deals  with the management of the mind .  We  can attain perfection by managing our mind right. We  have  seen the  qualities  of a perfect man in some  previous  pages  that  he  has a perfect mind because  he has learned  to manage  his mind well. . He  has no anxieties  ,worries or   mental agitations   about  birth, death  or rebirth   or about  the various  challenges  that he has  to face  in his  daily  life. 

                    A perfect mind  can be achieved  through   the three steps  of  knowing  ,tuning  and transcending  the mind. . The  first step is knowing  the mind.   Psychologists say  that  only a very small part of our mind is known to us,while the  major portion is  submerged  in the  subconscious.  The  mind that  is  known to us  is  made up of thoughts  . Mind  is insentient  in nature  because  it is after all matter only. . This  mind  is  enlivened  by the reflection  of consciousness  and because of which it  gains  the capacity  to know  and  become  aware  of things. We come  to identify  with our thoughts  and become  the knower  and  enjoyer  of    our own thoughts. This  identification  then becomes  a cause  for our  bondage. 
              The  second  step  lies  in tuning  the  mind  which  means  the  strings  of the  mind  should  be  neither  too loose   (  tamasic  ) nor too tight   (  rajasic  )   but  just  right   (  sattvik ) like  any  stringed  musical instrument  to bring out  music  when  played  on . The  third step  is  transcending  the mind  . It  is the identification  with  the  mind  and its  qualities  that  creates  the  sense  of  ' me ' and ' mine'  that  binds  us .When  I  inquire and  realise  that  I am the  Knower, the  witness  consciousness   and  not  the  known  objects  , I stop identifying  with my own body,mind,  intellect equipments   ,I then  transcend  the  mind. 

            Each of the three steps  will be  dealt  in detail in  the coming pages.  

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

How real is bondage ?


The  Gita revisited.
How  real is  bondage ?

                        We  have  seen in one  of the previous  pages  how  bondage  happens  and  we came  to understand that  because  of our  ignorance  of our own real nature  that  we come to think we are  in bondage. When the Knower  and the known come  together,it becomes  the cause  for  samsara , bondage.  Relationships  between  two things  with the same degree  of reality can be of  various types. It  could be  a part-whole  relationship ,  like  my hands with my body , a cause-effect relationship,  like  mud and  pot, ,a substance  -property relationship  like  the red colour  of a   rose flower   or  a part-part  relationship. like  brother and  sister relationship.  These relationships  between  two  things  having the same degree  of reality, is easy to comprehend. 

                 What  kind  of relationship  can there be  between  two  things  with different  degrees  of  reality?. What  kind of  relationship  does a  waker have  with that  of a dreamer ?. It  is the waking mind alone  that becomes  the dreamer  but  upon waking up  the dreamer vanishes  . What  can be  the  relationship between  the Knower  ,the  Subject   and  the  known, the  world  of  plurality ?Vedanta  says  that the only possible  relationship between the  knower  and the known  is between  the  substratum and   the superimposed . A snake  is  superimposed  on a rope  and  seen as a  snake  and not as a rope. This  happens  when one sees the rope  in  a  not well lit place. But when the  light is switched  on  ,the  rope is then seen as a rope  only and  not anymore  as a snake. . The  snake  was superimposed  on the rope  as the  substratum hence this  illusion takes place  but the snake disappears  when the rope is seen  only as the rope 

              Similarly, the  known , which  consists  of the  world  of  plurality  ,is superimposed  on the  knower,   the  substratum   and  seen as real.  by  the individual jiva   due to his ignorance  of the true nature  of reality. . When  the jiva's ignorance  is removed  by knowledge  , there is no more  of the superimposition of the world on the  knower. .The  world ceases to exist.  The  knower is  the substratum  upon which  is superimposed  the  entire  world  of plurality  . Hence   comes  the  concept  of birth  , death and rebirth , bondage  and liberation   for  the jiva  . The  knower  does not undergo   birth, death or rebirth   and  there is  no  bondage  for  the knower  and hence  the knower who is eternally free  does not have  to strive  for liberation. He  is  ever free  , never in bondage.  

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Liberation through knowledge


The  Gita  revisited
Liberation through knowledge. 

             Ignorance  of the  self  is the cause of our bondage  and hence it can be removed  only by knowledge.of  our infinite  nature . ,just as  darkness  in a room can be removed  instantaneously  only by switching on  the light in that room.  Adi  Sankaracharya  says  in the  Atma Bodha  that  without  jnanam  no liberation is  ever possible. 

          The  knower  is within us  as the sakshi chaitanyam of  all our thoughts  and  actions. This   chaitanyam  lends  its existence  to the body-mind- intellect  and  as life it  holds it  together  but  when   the life  leaves the body  , the  dead body  without  consciousness  becomes   fit only  to be disposed off   Consciousness  gets reflected  in the mind-intellect   and makes the individual a bhokta  of all his thoughts . When in individual knower comes  to know  his  swarupa  ,the  identification with the  body,mind, intellect  gets  dissolved  that very instant.  The  knowledge , that  one  is none other than the  infinite Knower  , when  gained  ,remains  with  the realised   master  at all times, places  and under all circumstances  , he does  not fall back into ignorance  again. 

            The  scriptures say " sravana matrena moksha  "  . This  is possible  for the  seeker  who by just hearing  the  Truth  "  Tat Twam Asi "   from a  Guru  ,gets  liberated. and  claims  " Aham Brahma Asmi . " For  the  majority of us   ,seekers, we need  to approach a Guru  with  sraddha  and  humility  and  do  sravana,  and manana    for many long years   and  then do nidhidhyasanam   to realise  the Truth  within  and get liberated   from bondage. . Scriptures  assure us   that  we can  attain  liberation through knowledge  in the here and now  , in this very life. 

Thursday, 13 August 2015

How does bondage happen ?

The Gita revisited.
How does bondage happen ?

                 If  I , the individual knower , and the infinite Knower  are one and the same , why is it then that  I go through sorrow and suffering living  like a limited finite being  and  not as an infinite Knower ,  who is  all Bliss?   Vedanta says  the cause  of bondage  is my ignorance   of  my own real nature. This  ignorance  is beginningless. God 's  inscrutable power  Maya   is  also beginningless .. The  infinite Knower  is also beginningless. . Ignorance  ends only with knowledge  as darkness  is removed  only by light  . So Vedanta asks us not to waste our time  in asking  fruitless  questions  about the  beginning of ignorance  or our first birth. . We  should rather  enquire  to find out as to how we  can put an end to ignorance   and  become  free  from bondage  ,the cycle  of birth and death.

             Matter  and spirit come  together  and  become  the cause  for  the world of things and beings  and  in turn they become  cause for our bondage. . Matter  manifests  as both  the gross  and subtle  world  and  is enlivened  by spirit ,which is a reflection  of infinite Consciousness  . The  individual knower  identifies  with  his  body-mind-intellect  equipments  and becomes  the  karta  and bhokta . He considers  each and   every object  and being  as separate  from him .He  forgets  his essential nature  , his oneness  with the  infinite  Consciousness  . This  forgetting  , this  ignorance  of  its  own divine  nature  becomes the cause  for his  bondage.


Sunday, 9 August 2015

Realising the knower , the Ksetrajna


The  Gita  revisited
Realising  the  knower, the Ksetrajna. 

         Lord  Krishna  explains  the nature  of the knower  in six verses. The  argument put forth here  to assert  that the knower is birthless  and deathless  is 'that  which  knows birth    must exist before birth  and that which knows  death must  exist after  death. ' .The  knower  exists at  all periods  of time  .  So  the knower is birthless  and  deathless .The  knower is beyond  sat and  asat. It  is beyond the  gross  and subtle , it  is the illuminator of all that is  present and absent , existing and  non - existing  ,  it is the  substratum of all  that is manifested and  that which is yet  to be  manifested.  The  knower gives  existence  and  life to all things  and yet remains  unaffected by them . The  knower is both inside  and outside as the illuminating  Self  within and  as  the substratum  of the  world  outside  the individual. 

         The  knower  is  both  near  and far, the  knower  being  me  ,myself  is  therefore   nearest to me  but  for an extrovert mind  , the  Self  is very far  . The  knower illumines  both knowledge  and  ignorance  of  the  object  as well as the process  of knowing . To  know  this  knower  , ksetrajna  , all we need to do  is to know  within us  the  knower Himself  and  the  mind has to realise  that  the  individual knower  and  the Infinite  Knower  are  one and the  same . In realising  the knower, will I make it  an object of   my knowledge ?. Vedanta  says  , the knower  is  always  the  subject  and is never  the object . All  I have  to do to know the  knower is  to  realise   the knower  to be  my own very Self . We  have  to realise the oneness  of the  individual with  the  Infinite  Knower. 

Monday, 3 August 2015

Important values to realise the Truth.


The  Gita  revisited.
Important values  to realise the Truth. 

              Values  are essential for realising the Truth.    Honesty and humility  are  universal values  . Some values  like  the value for reading can be acquired  and  hence can also be given up. . When we apply values in our lives  ,we turn them into virtues   and  when they become  well established  ,they  come to us  naturally  without any effort.  Sometimes   it may happen that a person who has not understood  the value of honesty  but values  money  ,may  speak the untruth to get some money  by illegal means. . Sometimes  we find ourselves  in  some  peculiar situations  ,when we value  ahimsa  more than truth ,then we will try  to avoid hurt   at all costs  even if  it requires  us to tell a  harmless  lie. A person who values  truth more  than non- injury  will find it  difficult  to tell even  a small lie

           This chapter enumerates  some  important values  essential  for realising the Truth. . The  seeker  should  have    no arrogance  , ego or pretence. . Arrogance  is  to have  an over estimation of ourselves , to be egoistic  is  to take credit  for all success  to oneself  while blaming others  for one's  failures .and pretence   is  hypocrisy which  is to pretend to be   what you are not. . Some  other important values  are having  ksanti meaning   forgiveness ,   forbearance. and  acceptance of all. . Another value  to be cultivated  is to have a critical look at life,without being judgemental. . Developing  detachment  ( vairagyam )   is important  in this spiritual path.  It is also important   for a seeker  to take to solitude  ,which is  not only to be physically  alone  but also  to  be  with oneself  even in the midst of a crowd.

        When  these values  are inculcated  in our lives  and when we come  to live them, it becomes easy  for us  in the spiritual  path  to face  the obstacles  that may come  to disturb us   and  finally to attain the  goal.