Friday, 25 August 2017

Bhaja Govindam -verse 4 part-3

                In  the  Vivekachudamani  , acharya  Sankara  says three  things  are  very  rare. -durlabam - to  be  born  as a  human  being, to have  a  burning  desire  for  Moksha  and to  surrender  to a  man  of  wisdom. . Human  birth  is  very  rare. This  is  not  our  first  birth  , we  definitely have  gone  through  thousands  of  lives  as  different  types  of  animals  , and  by  the  Grace  of  the  Lord  only  we  are  now  blessed  to  have  a  human  birth  . But  this  birth , as in other  different  types  of  birth , is  ephemeral  and  fleeting  and  can  be  snatched  away  any  time  by  Lord  Yama, the  God  of  death, when  He  so chooses . Hence  the  acharya  says  employ  this  life in a  deep  discriminative  understanding  of  the  goal  of  life and  perceive  the  futility  of  all  mundane  pursuits  of  life. . So  taking  to  the  path  of redemption  is  rarer  still  and  rarer  still  it  is  to find  a  proper  Guru  and  have  the  shraddha  to surrender  unto  him.  and  all  this  happens  only  by  the  grace  of  the  Lord. 

       Let  not  anyone  think  that  the  grace  of  the  Lord  falls  down  on us  from  a  packet  in the  skies  at  the  whims  and  fancy  of  the  Lord. . In  Vedanta,  Grace  is  to  be  understood  as  the  sum total  of  all  results  gained  through  healthy  and  intelligent  way  of living  in which  man  has  lived all  his  previous  lives following  disciplines  and  not  squandered  away  the  precious  life  in unhealthy  pursuits  of  wealth  and  pleasures.  So  the  acharya  says  in the  Vivekachudamani  that  if  after  being  born  as  a human  being  if he  squanders  his  life  in chasing  pleasures of  the  world   and  not  seek  the  life  Divine  ,then  it  is  equal  to  committing suicide. By  his false  attachments  to the  world  of  objects  and  beings  ,he  forgets  his  real  nature  , he  looks  for  permanent  happiness  from  impermanent  things.  So  he  becomes  a  samsari  ,a  victim  of  his  own  ignorance. . This  the  acharya  calls  as  spiritual  suicide. 

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Bhaja Govindam -verse 4 part 2

          In  the  4th  verse,  the  acharya  is  showing  an  urgency  in his  words  when  he  says  do not  waste  your  life  over mundane  and  useless  things. . Lord  Buddha  ,it  is  said , also  showed  a similar  urgency  in his  words  when  he  said ' sarvan dukkham , dukkham,  sarvam  kshanikam ,kshanikam '. The  analogy  of  the  water drops  on the  lotus  petals  has  Vedantic  importance . The  lotus  is  born  in water,  nourished and  nurtured by  water  and  ultimately  perishes  in water.  and  then  becomes  an expression  of  water only. . Similarly  , Brahman  the  infinite itself  expresses itself  as  the  jivatma  by mere  sankalpa. . The  jivatma  is  the  expression  of  the  Paramatma / Brahman  at  the  individual  level.  When  the  jivatma , which  has  identified  itself  with its  own  instruments,  transcends them  , it  comes  back to  its  own  source  -the  Paramatma. . So  the  waterdrops  falling  on a  lotus  petal   and  merging  with  the  waters  of the  lake is  the  same as  the  jivatma shedding  its  own  identifications  and  merging  back  with  the  Paramatma  and  realising   that it  was  none  other  than  the  Paramatma  / Brahman  at  all  times. 

       The  physical  body  is  attacked  by  various  types  of  diseases  which  cause  pain  to the  physical  body  . But  suffering  is  always  at  the  mental  level. So  one  can  choose  to  suffer  or  choose  not  to. Suffering  is  optional.  The  intellect  is  always  bothered  by  desires  and  they  are  deadly  if they  are left  unchecked  for  they  then  turn  into  greed , anger , delusion ,envy, conceit  and  fear. . So  the  individual  gets  surrounded   by diseases and  endless  desires   and  the  jivatma  suffers  all  through  his   life. . The  acharya  expresses  concern  at  the  individual  who  just  wastes  all  his  life going  through  pain , suffering  and  sorrow. . So  he  says  put  in your  best  efforts  in the  here  and  now to  attain  the  state  of  liberation. 

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Bhaja Govindam -verse 4

            In  the  fourth  verse , the  acharya  states :  the  water drops  playing on a  lotus  petal has an  extremely uncertain  existence , so  also  is  life  so  unstable . understand  that the  world  is  consumed  by desire  and  conceit  and  is  riddled  by pangs  of  sorrow. . Acharya  is  trying  to  make  us  understand  how  ephemeral  and  short lived  is  the  life  of  an  individual  . Life  has  all  kinds  of  experiences  , both  pleasant  and  unpleasant  , but  mostly  it  is  riddled  with  pain,  sorrow  and  suffering. . The  acharya  is  comparing  the  transitoriness  of  an  individuals's  life to  that  of  little  water  drops  on the  lotus  petals and  the  waterdrops  can  fall  off any  moment  from  the  lotus  petal. . Similarly  , everything  in life,  why  life  itself  is  so  uncertain  that  nobody  knows  when  the  bell  will  toll  for  him  and  snatch  away  his  life  in a  fraction  of a  second  for  Lord  Yama  does  not  serve  any  notice  before  he  comes. 

      Even  in the  midst  of  this  uncertain  short  life span  ,he  is  continuously  affected  by  diseases and  goes  through  physical  pain and  suffering  because  of  the  prarabda  karmas.  The  intellect  fights against  the  attacks  by  different  types  of  desires. . Most  of  the  time  the  intellect  loses  its  discriminative  powers and  fails  in controlling  the  desires.  Actually, in this  verse,  the  acharya  has  two  important  things  to  say.  First  he  points  out  to  the  individual  to  understand  the  ephemeral  nature  of  life  and  hence  his  impending  mortality. . In  the  second  half  of  the  verse,  he  talks  about  the  world  which  is  as  though  ridden  with  pain. . So  the  seeker  has  to  develop  a  pratipaksha  bhavana towards  his  own  uncertain  existence  and  the  sorrow  filled  world. 

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Bhaja Govindam- verse 3 part 4

                        The  acharya  says  reflect  over and  over  on this  aspect  in your  mind . In  the  Vivekachudamani  , Sankaracharya  says  in verse  22 " dosha  dhrishtyaa  muhurmuhu "  to  rise  above  desires  for  kanchana  and  kamini. . Reflecting  on this  ,one  develops  the  pratipaksha  bhavana ,that  is  ,through intellectual  evaluation  you  view sense  objects  from  a  different  angle. Sense  objects are  only  ephemeral  ,  temporary  and  the  law  of  diminishing  returns  applies  here   and  the  more  you  indulge  in sense  pleasures  , the  more you  develop  a  disgust  for  them. 

                   In  the  Kathopanishad , Nachiketas , when  tempted  by  Lord Yama with  varieties  of  wealth  and  pleasures,  says  they  are  ephemeral  ,and  they  tend  to  decay the  fire  of  all  senses  in man  . The  sense  objects  being  finite  and  when  meddled  with,  they  tend  to  weaken  the  very instrument  of  our  appreciation  and  enjoyment. . The  first  laddu  is  sweet and  may be  welcomed  eagerly,  but  not  so  much  the  fifth, and  definitely  not  the  twentieth  laddu  which  will  give  only  pain. . Nachiketas  uses  the word ' svah  abhava '  that  they  will  not  last  even  till  tomorrow.  

            The  acharya  sees  them from  a  new  angle  . He  says  the  entire  body  of  a  man  or a  woman is  composed  only  of  flesh  and fat  packed  within  the  skin. . So  when  this  truth  is  brought  in front  of  one's  mind  ,  one  comes  to  retreat  from  the  indulgence  of  sensual  pleasures . So  through  developing  a  pratipaksha  bhavana , one  can  re-educate  one's  mind that  after all  the body  comprising  of  only  flesh,  fat,  bones  and  blood  is  after all  not  that  pleasing  to  look at  when  seen  from the  new  angle. . So  the  acharya  in the  very  beginning  of  the  Bhaja  Govindam  thrashes  the  importance  given  to  the  two  most  important  attractions  man  has  that  of  wealth and  his  instinctive  longing  for  the  flesh.  

Friday, 18 August 2017

Bhaja Govindam -verse 3 part 3

      Among  the  six  disciplines  in the  sadhana  chatustaya  sampatti,  one  of  them  is  sama  -mind  control  or  calmness  of  the  mind , which  can  be  achieved  only  when  the  mind  withdraws  itself  from  the  external  world  of  objects  and  draws  the  mind  within. . Usually  our  minds  get  agitated  because  of  various  desires  that  strike  the  mind  for  the  sense  objects.  Even  when  the  mind  is  withdrawn   from  the  sense  objects  , it  continues  to  revel  in  the  pleasures  gained  from  them. . So  the  mind  by  constant  practice  has to  be  diverted  from  its  pleasure outings  to  diviner  fields.  In  bhakti  , the  devotee puts his  whole  mind on  concentrating  his  mind  upon  his  Ishta  devata   and  this  helps  him  gradually  to  withdraw  his  mind  from  its  pursuits  of  sense  objects. 

     In  the  path  of  jnana  yoga  ,the  mind  is  given  an  alternative  field  of  contemplation  , that  of  contemplating  upon  the all  pervading  consciousness  principle  , also  called  as  Brahman  / Atma.  Here  also , as  in  bhakti  yoga,   the  mind  gets  weaned  away  from  entertaining  thoughts  of  the  sense  objects. The  mind  in these  sadhanas  ,whether  in  bhakti  yoga  or  in jnana  yoga  ,  never  forcefully  drops  the  desires  , because  the  mind  develops  vairagya  and  the  desires  for  sense  objects  fall  off  on  their  own  from  the  mind  because  the  mind  has  got  attached  to  diviner  fields.  The  intellect  becomes  aware  of  the  imperfections  and  weaknesses  in the  field  of  objects . The  more  and  more  one  practices  these  sadhanas , one  gains  self  control  and  stops  revelling  in the  sense  objects . So  in this  third  verse  the  acharya  is advising  us  to  withdraw  the  mind  from  the  sense  objects  ,through  constant  practice . This   is what  is  meant  when  the  acharya  says  'varam  , varam'  here. 

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Bhaja Govindam -verse 3 part2

                  It  is  true  that  man , like  all  animals ,  is  governed  by  the  natural  instinct  for  sex ,for  preservation  and  propogation  of  his  species   and  hence  he  runs  after  women . His  mind  becomes  fully  infatuated  with  lust  and  his  intellect  gets  deluded. . The  idea  expressed  in this  verse  is  not  to  abstain  totally  from  sensual  pleasures  but  to  give  up  the  endless  cravings for  sense  pleasures. . So  through  the    two  most  powerful  motivations  for  acquiring  and  enjoying  , he  becomes  a  slave  to  them   and runs  after  kanchana  and  kaminee  and  this  is  what  is  condemned  by  the  acharya. 

            Biologically  ,man  and  woman  are  attracted  to  each  other . But  this  natural  instinct  has  to  be  sublimated   and  directed  into  diviner  fields . . With  these  two  verses,  the  acharya  warns  us not  to  indulge  in  greed  or  lust. . The  sense  objects  do  exist  and  attract  us ,but  we  should   keep  a  strict  vigil  over  them ,by  developing  vairagya  through  repeated  practice  of  keeping  away  from  sense  pleasures. . The  objects  seen  in the  world  are  never  seen  as  they  are  but  seen  through  our  own  subjective  mind. There  is  beauty  in  nature,  in all  that  is  created  by  the  Lord  and  we  should  be  able  to  appreciate  even  a  man's  beauty  or  woman's  beauty  objectively.  Then  we  can  come  to  see the  beauty  in  our  own   inner  world  of joy  and  happiness . 

       In  the   second  chapter  of the Bhagavad  Gita  , the  Lord , while  giving  sadhanas  for  transforming  oneself  from   being  a  pragya  to  sthira  pragya  , emphasizes  the  importance  of  three  exercises  such  as  shama  and  dama   and  nidhidhyasanam.  Shama  and  dama  refer  to  getting  mastery  over  our  senses  and  mind. , without  which  one  cannot  get  peace  of  mind . The  Atmananda  can  be  reflected  only  in  a  calm  and  peaceful  mind,   that is  not  disturbed  or  distracted  by  the  sense  organs  or  the  wandering  mind. 

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Bhaja Govindam- verse3

            From  the  days  of the  Upanishads to  our  own  times , we  find  Sastras give  us  a  warning to  give  up  greed  for  wealth and  the  passion  (  lust )  for  women.. Here  the  term  'woman   ' has  to  be  understood  as  any  object of pleasure. . The  whole  of  mankind  from  time  immemorial  works  for  sukha  prapti  and  dukkha  nivritti - attainment  of  happiness  and  escape  from  pain. and . man's  sense  of  insecurity  born  out  of his feelings  of incompleteness  and  finitude ,makes  him  run after  wealth ,and  he  builds  a  cover over  himself with  wealth  and  money. . When  a  certain  amount  of  wealth  is  acquired  to  satisfy  his  basic  essential  necessities  like  food  ,shelter, clothing  ,  his  mind  now  goes  in search  of  attaining  happiness  through  sense  objects.  Sastras  are  never  against  acquiring  wealth nor  against  finding  pleasures  from  the  objects  of  the  world. That's  the  reason  why  artha-kama  are   two  purusharthas  accepted  by  the  Sastras.(  the  other  two  purusharthas  are  dharma and  moksha ).  All  legitimately  earned  wealth  ,Sastras  accept  and   all  legitimate  material  and  sensual  pleasures  too  are  accepted . 

       In  the  3rd  verse  the  acharya  says " seeing  the  bosom  and  navel  of  a  woman ,do not   fall  a  prey  to  frenzied  delusion . It  is  only  a  modification  of  flesh  and  fat etc. Reflect  on  this  over  and  over  again  in  your  mind "  . We  saw  that  man  is  driven  by  two  powerful  forces all  through  his  life that  of  the  desire  to  acquire  and  the  desire  to  enjoy.  Let  us  understand  the  word ' woman '    from  a  higher  point  of  you.   The term  'woman  ' is  only  a  symbolic  representation  of  all  objects  of  enjoyment.  The  acharya  would  not  have  used  the  term  woman   only  to  mean  the  female  among  the  human  species.  Hence it  can  refer  to  a  man seen  from  a  woman's  point  of  view. . So  let  us  understand  the  term  'woman'  in the  context  of  the  verse as  representing  all  enjoyments  derived  from  the  sense  objects. 
            The  explanations  on this  verse  continue.....

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Bhaja Govindam-verse 2 part4

         The  Isavasya Upanishad  starts  as  follows  ' isavasyam  idam  sarvam'.  meaning  all  that  comes  as  our  experience is  pervaded  by  Isvara. , like  the  clay  pervades  the  clay pot.  Isvara  is  the  upadana karana  of  this  universe ,so  the  cause  appears  as  names  and  forms.,that  the  world  is  just merely  names  and  forms  with  no independent  existence or  reality.   When  we  go  through  life  with  this  Isvara  dhrishti,  we  are  free  from  sorrows  . Now  the  question  arises as to  how to  maintain this  Isvara  dhrishti ,  which  is  advaita  dhrishti , at all  times? The  Upanishad  says  that  after  gaining  this  knowledge , you  protect  yourself  by  not  accumulating more  and  more  wealth ,  having  more  relationships   but  only  by  tyaga you  can  protect  yourself  that  is   remain  in this  Isvara  dhrishti . 

       The  Brihadaranyaka  Upanishads  talks  about  three  types  of  desires:  putreshana,  vitteshana  and  lokeshana.  Wealth  is  desired for  what  it  can  buy  us,  son is  desired  for  going  to  higher  lokas  ,so  they  both  can  be  classified  as  sadhana ,the  means,  while  the  third  desire  becomes   the  sadhyam  ,what  you  get  from them,  the  pleasures  and  experiences  .  It  is  only through  vairagyam  you  can  protect  yourself  from these  desires.   The  upanishad  says  you  are  running  after  worldly  objects  as  though  they  are  real . ,protect  yourself  from  the  mithya  jagat. . Do not  covet  others  wealth  ,  do not  hold  on to  someone  else's  wealth . . Even  after  the  understanding  has  come, the  lingering desire  for   others wealth  might  still  be  there . So  give  up   your  desire for  wealth .  Only  as  long  as the  bhedbhav  is  there,  one  comes  to  desire  for  others  wealth,  when  the  advaita  bhava  comes  ,then  everything  is  mine  and also at the  same  time  , everything  is  everyone's  attitude  comes. Then you  stop  being  greedy  for  more and  more  wealth  and  stop  craving  for  others wealth also.