Spirituality can be categorized into four milestones based on mental purification of a disciple.
We will not go into much detail but give just one or two e.g. or maybe not even any e.g.
1. Aarambh Vaad
Aarambh means beginning.
Vaad means discussion or teachings. Upnishads are Face to face talk between Guru and Shishya (Master – Disciple)
This Vaad is for the ones who have just entered into spirituality. For them, surrendering to God, accepting God as almighty and all powerful and the strong belief that God can do anything and everything is absent. People under this class believe what they see and they need proofs to get convinced.
This is for the ones who believe what they see, doubt over the existence of God, have an allergy of the word ‘Guru’. They have some questions like was lord hanuman a real character or just a mythological figure, how the universe is formed, if I surrender to God then can I get my demands fulfilled just by sitting in a room etc, etc. The list will go on and on….
Moral values, dharma (duties), rights, worship to God - doing daily Puja, respecting saints, service etc are included and emphasized in this Vaad.
Saints have given the logical reasoning or explained using energy concept used by many saints practising Yog.
This Vaad is for the beginners who are learning ‘A for Apple, B for Bat, C for Cat’ of spirituality. A is not apple but we are taught so that we can learn it easily two things, A and Apple. Apple is superimposed on A. When one matures and proceeds to higher class, then naturally apple drops from A (which is unnoticed by us – do we remember when apple dropped from A?)
In the same way when one spontaneously matures and sattvic qualities begin to blossom in heart, then he is promoted to or becomes eligible or is considered fit to learn subtle teachings. He is taught cause- effect relationship which comes under Parinaam Vaad.
Parinaam means result or effect.
Example: God created this world with the help of his Maya. Here Maya is the material cause of entire creation (effect).
New subtle teachings and more refined thoughts, giving less importance to duty, work and responsibilities (moral, ethical. family and spiritual) are given. He is taught to ask the question ‘why?’ As in the beginning of childhood, there are dos and don’ts for the child and the child accepts them blindly, in the same way each religion has some rules that are to be accepted by all. Later, the reason for these rules and how they can help one to excel in spirituality are taught since a little grown child cannot and should not accept things blindly.
His intellect is nurtured and he tries to find out why a particular thing needs to be done. Now the emphasis is shifted from the work or action to the reason behind this action.
Now he has more broader vision, better logical reasoning. To add to this, he also develops faith in God and the idea of surrender begins entering him. The allergy of the word ‘Guru’ is now decreased and he begins to accept the teachings of a Saint which he once considered as a parasite on Human Society).
As he regularly practises, his vision broadens and faith and surrender begin to blossom in his heart. He becomes ready to receive more subtle teachings – Jnana Marg.
3. Vivarta Vaad (advaita – non duality)
Now that the questioning and reactions of mind have reduced greatly if not 100%, he given considered fit to receive true spiritual knowledge.
In this Vaad, logical reasoning is not given much importance and God and Atman is the only one which is given the importance, not even our own body is given much importance, which is in contrast to the prior teachings. The natural questions about these contradictions are justified and the student is made to realise by tark (logical reasoning) and by direct experience that God can do anything and everything. Satvik qualities like Strong Faith, Surrender and Love for God replace the grosser worldly qualities like duties, responsibilities. He is told that Self Realisation is the first responsibility, duty, birth right, and the only goal. Self Realisation is the biggest service that can be done to the mankind.
Maya is called as just an illusion and only Atman is the true reality which exits.
God makes him to realise by experience the bliss and peace of detachment. After this experience, he now has the choice to select God or his world. Only after the experience of detachment, one knows what is attachment!!! As the popular parable says, once a tiger tastes human flesh and blood he …. (You know …)
He develops (and prays to God to give him) intense desire for Self Realisation. He is no more interested in worldly life and its issues, renounces all the desires (at least mentally if not physically). Now the one and only Goal of Life is Self or God Realization. He does not settle for anything less and there is nothing anything more than this.
Now, technically, he has reached the lakshyartha (the destination) of all the karma Kand and other spiritual practises.
He becomes neutral and is at peace, rejects everything with an impartial eye. He rises above the religion and dogmas. He realises that, initially, all the logical explanations given were also true in its place and suitable for him at that time. Now they are no more needed. Since he did not knew how to swim, he used boat (saadhan - a tool). Once he reaches other side of the bank, it is time to leave the boat (saadhan - tool). Boat is only useful in water. He no more gives much importance to karma kand practises like puja, visiting temples, going on pilgrimages, etc.
He knows the purpose behind these activities is fulfilled and he no more finds any need to do such activities. He knows that everything is within him. Such a person is rare.
He silently sits in a room and meditates on the Supreme Being. Such a person experiences stress and pressure in case he takes up some responsibility, he feels bound. The moment he leaves the thought, he experiences freedom.
This does not mean that he does not do any work. He does, but according to the divine plan. Accept things as they come and work according to the situations. But he does not initiate any new work as it triggers the mind and gradually make it more and more active. An active mind is a sign of extrovert nature and he does not want his hard earned introvert ness to fade away.
Moksha, Self realisation, God Realisation is the only goal of his life. Still he is not free. He needs to make an effort in meditation. Meditation should happen spontaneously. With regular practise, his meditation transforms from effort to effortless. He now sees that he is not the one doing meditation, but the one who is aware of the process of meditation. He silently watches that thoughts come and go, mantra spontaneously uproots the thoughts and other subtle dormant desires (vasanas). All other desires and bhava (qualities) are renounced and are being replaced by peace, love for God and bliss.
Gradually, he has the first glimpse of Samadhi. Then later on, time in which one remains in Samadhi increases. One cannot stay in Samadhi, since the mind is not destroyed but has become inactive (just like hibernation). Like Rise of the Phoenix from ashes.
Such a person is blessed and rare to find. Nothing happens if we surrender to God. Things happen only if god accepts you and blesses you with these experiences.
All thoughts are now uprooted except one – ‘I want moksha, liberation’. With the help of this thought, he has managed to uproot all other thought, but what about this thought?
Now it is time (remember the boat e.g) to renounce this thought too, as it now makes him restless (like in case of Lord Buddha).
He begins to think:
If I am the God then why do I need to surrender?
Does this very idea of surrender indicate duality?
It is time to reveal the highest doctrine, Ajaata Vaad.
4. Ajaata Vaad
Upnishads like Mandukya have talked about Ajaata Vaad. Classic Example is the Great Gita of all Gitas – Ashtavakra Gita . It is a dialogue between
Great Guru Ashtavakra ji and his Great Disciple King (Raja) Janak. Both were jnanis.
Ajata Vaad says that, if you need to make mental effort to meditate to realise your true nature, then it is of no use. All you have to do is abide in Self. Since you are Atman, there is no need to make an effort for it. There is no need to meditate, no need to do anything for knowing your true nature. If you consider bandhan (ignorance) as an illusion, then Moksha is even bigger illusion.
Advaita says maya is an illusion. Ajata says that there is nothing like Maya. There is only one thing – Atman.
Ajata means A+Janma i.e. one which is not born.
According to Ajata, nothing exists. No world, no Maya, no God, nothing, except you – Atman / Brahman.
You were, are and will always be that you are – atman. Now even the goal of liberation – Moksha is renounced and as in case of Lord Buddha and Raja Janak, without any delay, there is spontaneous realisation of your true self. Now meditation has come to an end.
You accept everything as it is. There is not even a need to renounce. Who will renounce whom?. There is no second one. The dual nature of mind to select or reject has been dissolved into reality. Mind is introduced to the third dimension of stillness, of observation (shakshi bhava).
Such a man is blessed with completeness. He is blessed with uninterrupted peace and infinite bliss. Such a wise man, worthy of worship, is very very rare and is called as Jivan Mukta.
He is no more bound by the laws of society, religion or nature (laws of karma) or by the laws of scripture as he has realized the highest truth, which these shastras point. He is the living power of God. Such realized saints have no limits to his power.
Even though he possesses such power, he is no more interested in them. The very nature of spiritual path is to leave everything except God. It is true that it is only after you leave everything, you get everything. Jnani is filled with completeness.
God has given him full freedom to use or not to use super natural powers. Some use them, according to divine plan, some not. Still each one of Jnani is filled with powers, as he is one with God and not different from him. Through him, God works for the up-liftment of humanity.
Some live for up-liftment of masses, some stay isolated, some quit their bodies, all according to the divine plan.
Glory to such Jivanmuktas. My humble pranams to them. May we all be blessed by them. May God blesses us to have their darshan.
For beginners – Grosser Intellect – From Spiritual Standpoint
For the ones who have subtle intellect and like to find the reason behind everything .i.e. they ask the question ‘Why?’
Vivarta Vaad (Advaita)
For the ones with more subtle intellect. They have dedicated their life for only one goal – Moksha.
For ones with subtlest intellect. This is the highest truth. It is the nector of Immortality for the qualified sadhaka. It is an atom bomb for any other person.
Ajaata Vaad is not for Beginners
If a spiritually immature person learns Ajaata Vaad, then he will leave everything, does what he likes, stop doing spiritual practices and ends up doing nothing. His spiritual progress shows downward trend. Do not touch it unless you are being given by your Guru.
Anyone can be a devotee. There can be thousands of devotees of a famous saint, but his disciples can be counted on finger tips. It is good that you surrender to your Guru. But finally, it is felt to a Guru to accept you as his disciple. You have to be a disciple and he confirms to you that he will never leave you.
 It is truly said that there is no better guru then Lord Krishna. That is why he is called Jagat Guru – Krishnam Vande Jagat Guru. But even Lord Krisha did not have a disciple like Raja Janak. Lord Krishna has to make eighteen attempts, (18 chapters) before the Great Warrior Arjun could realise the highest truth.
In case of Raja Janak, It took only a few answers in the chapter one of Ashtavakra Gita. Guru Ashtavakra Knew that the runway was ready, the plane had the position, security and safety checks were done, pilot was ready in cockpit. He only needed the green signal- GO and he flew in the infinite sky after running for a short distance ( he needed to be answered only a few questions).
Raja Janak was the best Disciple, who accepted everything without reactions and with strong faith to such an extent that he immediately became realised. Entire Ashtavakra Gita is been Told from the Graveyard of Karma. It reveals the highest truth. It has only one chapter in which these is an updesha (spiritual instruction). Rest is the dialogue between two realized saints talking from the standpoint of supreme reality. A Silent discourse between great saints.
Disclaimer: The author has no intention to hurt, challenge any system or faith.