Thursday, September 18, 2014

yoga vAsisTha in arjunopAkhyAna explains who should meditate on viShNu as AtmasvarUpa and caturbhuja viShNu

|| Hari OM ||

yoga vAsiSTha is one of the best advaitic text and widely quoted one by SrI vidyAraNya svAmI in his pancadaSI. In the sixth part, there are 267 verses which are called as arjunopAkhyAna. These are sarga-s 55 to 58 of nirvANa prakaraNa - I (There are two nirvANa prakaraNa-s in yoga vAsiSTha which is said to have 32000 verses. Only 28000 are available today). This version of bhagavad gItA is the anticipated version to be spoken by kruShNa in dvApAra yuga.

SrI rAma asks questions as to what will viShNu give upadeSa in future (dvApAra yuga). guru vAsiSTha, being a trikALadarSI (knower of past, present and future all at a time) describes in brief the updeSa given by nArAyaNa (kruShNa) to nara (arjuna) both are the parts of bhagavAn viShNu. This version is also called as vAsiSTha's version of bhagavad gItA. This is an essence of vedAnta and a treat to read. It gives us a lot of clarity.

Scholars say that rAmAyaNa consists of two parts - kathA-upAya (the story part) and moksha-upAya (method for spiritual Liberation). According to yoga vAsiSTha, Both these two constitutes the entire rAmAyaNa. kathA-upAya is traditional rAmAyaNa and moksha-upAya is yoga vAsiSTha.

Many commentaries are written on yoga vAsiSTha, but the famous one is by Sri Ananda bodhendra sarasvatI (ABS), which closely follows advaita. ABS Comment is given after verse inside sq. brackets.

In chapter 2, sarga 53, titled 'The homily (religious discourse) to Arjuna' verses 35-40 discuss about two forms of bhagavAn kruShNa (Krishna)

Arjuna said:

35. O Lord of Gods, you have two forms; (the transcendental) beyond and the immanent lower (in this world). What (is) the form, of what nature, and when should I resort to and abide in it for fulfilment (siddhi)?

[Comment: Following the instruction concerning the two natures (of God) in verses 34, Arjuna now asks how to know the qualification (adhikAra) and the appropriate time for (worshipping either of the two natures).]

The Lord said:

36. O sinless One, know My two forms; the common one and the transcendental. The common form is endowed with hands and so forth, holding conch, discus and mace.

[Comment: 'Common' means easily understandable for ordinary people]

37. That which is my transcendental form has no beginning and end; it is one, without corruption, and it is expressed by words such as Brahman, 'Self', 'Supreme Self'

[Comment: The Supreme Form, difficult to attain by those of impure mind.]

38. Until you are fully awakened and remain without the knowledge of Self, be intent upon the worship of the god with the four-armed form.

39. When in due order you become enlightened, you will know that nature beyond; the form of Me that has no beginning and no end, and by (knowing which) one is not born again.

[Comment: 'In due order' means with the gradual purification of mind']

40. If, however, your being has known (the aspect of mine) that is worthy of knowledge, O destroyer of enemies, then resort immediately to my Self, the Self of (your) self.

[Comment: I have told you of devotion to the qualitative (saguna) nature, considering the possibility of a lack of purity of (your) mind. If, however, your being (bhAva), that is, mind, is so pure (as to be one with) Brahman, whose nature is totality of cognition (vijnAna-eka-svabhAva), and who is worthy of being known, you should resort to the indivisible and completely perfect Self. (This you may do) by coalescing My Self, (who am) God and your Self Self; (My Self) in it's transcendental nature determining its objects, and your self in its objective nature determining its essence. This coalescence is between investigating the meaning of the word tat (that), which is Myself, and investigating the meaning of the word tvam (thou), which is yourself. Then resort to the indivisible completely Full Self. Awakening to this, then, be firmly established in it. 'Resort to', that is, becoming enlightened: be resolute upon it.]

Source:  ‘Song of The Lord (Gita in Yoga-Vasistha)’- Swami Ved Bharti

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sri Ramakrishna on Theosophy

Surendra's Brother: "Sir, what do you think of Theosophy?"

Sri Ramakrishna : "I have heard that man can acquire superhuman powers through it and perform miracles. I saw a man who had brought a ghost under control. The ghost used to procure various things for his master. What shall I do with superhuman powers? Can one realize God through them? If God is not realized then everything becomes false."

Source: Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna

Sri Ramakrishna on how caste can be abolished

Surendra's Brother: "The Brahmo Samaj preaches the freedom of women and the abolition of the caste-system. What do you think about these matters?"

Sri Ramakrishna: "Men feel that way when they are just beginning to develop spiritual yearning. A storm raises clouds of dust, and one cannot distinguish between the different trees — the mango, the hog plum, and the tamarind. But after the storm blows over, one sees clearly. After the first storm of divine passion is quelled, one gradually understands that God alone is the Highest Good, the Eternal Substance, and that all else is transitory. One cannot grasp this without tapasya and the company of holy men. What is the use of merely reciting the written parts for the drum? It is very difficult to put them into practice on the instrument. What can be accomplished by a mere lecture? It is austerity that is necessary. By that alone can one comprehend.

"You asked about caste distinctions. There is only one way to remove them, and that is by love of God. Lovers of God have no caste. Through this divine love the untouchable becomes pure, the pariah no longer remains a pariah. Chaitanya embraced all, including the pariahs.

"The members of the Brahmo Samaj sing the name of Hari. That is very good. Through earnest prayer one receives the grace of God and realizes Him. God can be realized by means of all paths. The same God is invoked by different names."

Source: Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna

Note: IMO the only way one can rise above caste system is by rising himself above the dharma of body, mind and intellect, as caste system is related to them only and not to the Atman. By chanting God's name, sattva guNa increases gradually. After it becomes predominant, it does not matter which caste you belong. It does not depend upon the path one chooses. According to Sri Ramakrishna, chanting holy names of the Lord is the most easiest and natural way to progress spiritually.

One may be intelligent, but it is mental purity that counts.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Manu Smriti talks about offences and punishments

manu smriti (M.S.) chapter 8 talks about offences and punishments. Here are a few quotes.

M.S. 8.344. A king who desires to gain the throne of Indra and imperishable eternal fame, shall not, even for a moment, neglect (to punish) the man who commits violence.

M.S. 8.345. He who commits violence must be considered as the worst offender, (more wicked) than a defamer, than a thief, and than he who injures (another) with a staff.

M.S. 8.346. But that king who pardons the perpetrator of violence quickly perishes and incurs hatred.

M.S. 8.347. Neither for friendship's sake, nor for the sake of great lucre, must a king let go perpetrators of violence, who cause terror to all creatures.

M.S. 8.348. Twice-born men (those who have upnayana-samskAra, thread wearing ceremony) may take up arms when (they are) hindered (in the fulfilment of their duties, when destruction (threatens) the twice-born castes (varna) in (evil) times,

M.S. 8.349. In their own defence, in a strife for the fees of officiating priests, and in order to protect women and Brahmanas; he who (under such circumstances) kills in the cause of right, commits no sin.

M.S. 8.350. One may slay without hesitation an assassin who approaches (with murderous intent), whether (he be one's) teacher, a child or an aged man, or a Brahmana deeply versed in the Vedas.

M.S. 8.351. By killing an assassin the slayer incurs no guilt, whether (he does it) publicly or secretly; in that case fury recoils upon fury. 
Hari OM