Friday, August 30, 2013

How to let our spiritual practices (sadhana) be free of doubt?

Question: How to let our spiritual practices (sadhana) be free of doubt?

Swami Ramsukhdasji: Yes! it is important to let the spiritual practices be pure i.e. free of doubt. If there is any doubt, remove it through books, questions, inquiry etc. Even if you think that the world is real, then it is no problem to stick to that view. But if you have any doubt about it, then remove that doubt by thinking over it, discussing until the doubt is clarified. If you believe in the existence of God (Soul), then without any doubt stick to this view. Being free of doubt is essential in one's spiritual practice.

You may follow any spiritual practice, but follow it without a doubt. It will be very beneficial. But when one has doubt, he perishes. The Lord declares - "The man who is ignorant and who is of a doubting nature, perishes" (Gita 4:40). The Lord declares, "the doubting self has neither this world, nor the world beyond, nor any happiness." (Gita 4:40).

We doubt that some people may have attained God Realization. In fact we doubt and do not even accept that we can attain God or Self Realization. When we ourselves have doubts, how can we ever attain God Realization?

Do not create obstacles. Do not close the door by doubting. Open all doors today. Accept that the same God is present in an exalted soul and in us. Acceptance will open all doors. Open the gates of your mind and self. Nothing new needs to take place or needs to be learned. When we say - I cannot accept, without first having complete understanding or without making logical sense, we are closing the door. Accept it first. This is my sincere request to all of you. All are born of God and all are dear to Him. He loves all. His Grace is equally on all. Just accept without any doubts and the rest will happen by itself.

From "Jin Khojaa Tin Paayiya.", page 63

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ravan abducted illusionary Sita

Happy JanmAShTami

Namaste, on this holy occasion of Krishna Janma-ashTami, let us shed some light into something that not known to all. For a change, inspite of talking about Krishna, we will talk about Sita.

According to Kurma Purana, Ravan Abducted illusionary Sita and not the real Sita.

It is certain that you know the story of the Ramayana and you therefore also known that Ravana, the king of lanka, abducted Sita, Rama’s wife. 

This story clearly illustrates that no harm can come to a person who is righteous.

Ravana disguised himself as a hermit and came to abduct Sita. But Sita got to know of Ravana’s plan and was determined to foil it. She therefore began to pray to Agni, the god of fire.

Thus stirred by Sita’s prayers, Agni appeared and produced a Sita who was really an illusion. This maya sita he left in the real Sita’s place. As for the real Sita, she was absorbed into the fire. Without realising the substitutions, Ravana abducted the illusory Sita and the entire war was fought over a Sita who was not even real.

When Rama triumphed over Ravana and recovered Sita, a test by fire (agni pariksha) was held.
In the process, the sita who was an illusion was returned to the fire and the real Sita emerged once again. Thus the real Sita was never tainted by Ravana’s touch.

(The story of the Sita who was an illusion is also given in the Brahmavaivarta Purana).

Monday, August 19, 2013

Bhagavad Gita on Unmanifest - Nirguna Brahman

Nirguna Brahman as Ishwara

अव्यक्ताद्व्यक्तयः सर्वाः प्रभवन्त्यहरागमे।
रात्र्यागमे प्रलीयन्ते तत्रैवाव्यक्तसंज्ञके।।8.18।।

English translation by Swami Gambhirananda

8.18 With the coming of day all manifested things emerge from the Unmanifest and when night comes they merge in that itself which is called the Unmanifested. 

Sanskrit commentary by Sri Sankaracharya

-- अव्यक्तात् अव्यक्तं प्रजापतेः स्वापावस्था तस्मात् अव्यक्तात् व्यक्तयः व्यज्यन्त इति व्यक्तयः स्थावरजङ्गमलक्षणाः सर्वाः प्रजाः प्रभवन्ति अभिव्यज्यन्ते, अह्नः आगमः अहरागमः तस्मिन् अहरागमे काले ब्रह्मणः प्रबोधकाले। तथा रात्र्यागमे ब्रह्मणः स्वापकाले प्रलीयन्ते सर्वाः व्यक्तयः तत्रैव पूर्वोक्ते अव्यक्तसंज्ञके।।अकृताभ्यागमकृतविप्रणाशदोषपरिहारार्थम्, बन्धमोक्षशास्त्रप्रवृत्तिसाफल्यप्रदर्शनार्थम् अविद्यादिक्लेशमूलकर्माशयवशाच्च अवशः भूतग्रामः भूत्वा भूत्वा प्रलीयते इत्यतः संसारे वैराग्यप्रदर्शनार्थं च इदमाह -- ।।8.18।।

Hindi translation by Sri Harikrishandas Goenka (on Sri Sankaracharya's Sanskrit Commentary) 

प्रजापतिके दिनमें और रात्रिमें जो कुछ होता है उसका वर्णन किया जाता है -- दिनके आरम्भकालका नाम 'अहरागम' है, ब्रह्माके दिनके आरम्भकालमें अर्थात् ब्रह्माके प्रबोधकालमें अव्यक्तसे -- प्रजापतिकी निद्रावस्थासे समस्त व्यक्तियाँ -- स्थावर-जङ्गमरूप समस्त प्रजाएँ उत्पन्न होती हैं -- प्रकट होती हैं। जो व्यक्त-प्रकट होती है, उसका नाम व्यक्ति है। तथा रात्रिके आनेपर -- ब्रह्माके शयन करनेके समस्त उस पूर्वोक्त अव्यक्त नामक प्रजापतिकी निद्रावस्थामें ही समस्त प्राणी लीन हो जाते हैं ।।8.18।।

English translation by Swami Gambhirananda (on Sri Sankaracharya's Sanskrit Commentary)

8.18 Ahar-agame, with the coming of day, at the time when Brahma wakes; sarvah vyaktayah, all manifested things, all things that get manifested, all creatures characterized as moving and non-moving; prabhavanti, emerge, become manifested; avyaktat, from the Unmanifested-avyakta (Unmanifested) is the state of sleep of Prajapati; from that avyakta. Similarly, ratri-agame, when night comes, at the time when Brahma sleeps; praliyante, they, all the manifested things, merge; tatra eva, in that itself; avyakta-sanjnake, which is called the Unmanifested referred to above.In order to obviate the defect of the emergence of some unmerited result and the destruction of merited results; The following verse says that the very same multitude of beings continues in the different cycles of creation, and there-fore these two defects do not arise. for pointing out the meaningfulness of the scriptures For the earlier reason the scriptures do not lose their validity. dealing with bondage and Liberation; and with a view to propounding detachment from the world on the ground that the helpless multitude of beings perishes after being born again and again under the influence of accumulated results of actions that have for their origin such evils as ignorance etc. The five evils are: ignorance, egoism, attachment, aversion and clinging to life. (See P. Y. Su. 2.3), the Lord says this: 

Undestructive Brahman - Creation of Universe

भूतग्रामः स एवायं भूत्वा भूत्वा प्रलीयते।
रात्र्यागमेऽवशः पार्थ प्रभवत्यहरागमे।।8.19।।

English translation by Swami Gambhirananda

8.19 O son of Prtha, after being born again and again, that very multitude of beings disappears in spite of itself at the approach of night. It comes to life at the approach of day. 

Sanskrit commentary by Sri Sankaracharya

-- भूतग्रामः भूतसमुदायः स्थावरजङ्गमलक्षणः यः पूर्वस्मिन् कल्पे आसीत् स एव अयं नान्यः। भूत्वा भूत्वा अहरागमे, प्रलीयते पुनः पुनः रात्र्यागमे अह्नः क्षये अवशः अस्वतन्त्र एव, हे पार्थ, प्रभवति जायते अवश एव अहरागमे।।यत् उपन्यस्तम् अक्षरम्, तस्य प्राप्त्युपायो निर्दिष्टः 'ओमित्येकाक्षरं ब्रह्म (गीता 8।13)' इत्यादिना। अथ इदानीम् अक्षरस्यैव स्वरूपनिर्दिदिक्षया इदम् उच्यते, अनेन योगमार्गेण इदं गन्तव्यमिति -- ।।8.19।।

Hindi translation by Sri Harikrishandas Goenka (on Sri Sankaracharya's Sanskrit Commentary) 

न किये कर्मोंका फल मिलना और किये हुए कर्मोंका फल न मिलना, इस दोषका परिहार करनेके लिये, बन्धन और मुक्तिका मार्ग बतलानेवाले शास्त्रवाक्योंकी सफलता दिखानेके लिये और 'अविद्यादि पञ्च-क्लेशमूलक कर्मसंस्कारोंके वशमें पड़कर पराधीन हुआ प्राणी-समुदाय बारंबार उत्पन्न हो-होकर लय हो जाता है' -- इस प्रकारके कथनसे संसारमें वैराग्य दिखलानेके लिये यह कहते हैं -- जो पहले कल्पमें था, वही -- दूसरा नहीं -- यह स्थावर-जङ्गमरूप भूतोंका समुदाय ब्रह्माके दिनके आरम्भमें, बारंबार उत्पन्न हो-होकर दिनकी समाप्ति और रात्रिका प्रवेश होनेपर पराधीन हुआ ही बारंबार लय होता जाता है और फिर उसी प्रकार विवश होकर दिनके प्रवेशकालमें पुनः उत्पन्न होता जाता है ।।8.19।।

English translation by Swami Gambhirananda (on Sri Sankaracharya's Sanskrit Commentary)

8.19 O son of Prtha, bhutva, after being born again and again at the approach of day; sah eva, that very-not any other; bhutagramah, multitude of beings, consisting of the moving and the non-moving objects that existed in the earlier cycle of creation; praliyate, disappears repeatedly; avasah, in spinte of itself, For they are impelled by their own defects without any independence whatever; ratri-agame, at the approach of night, at the close of the day. Prabhavati, it comes to life, verily in spite of itself; ahar-agame, at the approach of day.The means for the attainment of that Immutable which was introduced has been pointed out in, 'He who departs by leaving the body while uttering the single syllable, viz Om, which is Brahman, ' etc. (13). Now, with a vies to indicating the real nature of that very Immutable, this is being said-that It is to be reached through this path of yoga: 

Two levels of unmanifests – refer Br. Up. Truth of truth. Earlier, Brahman was called seed or garbha from which universe spring. The actual Brahman is not this seed.

परस्तस्मात्तु भावोऽन्योऽव्यक्तोऽव्यक्तात्सनातनः।
यः स सर्वेषु भूतेषु नश्यत्सु न विनश्यति।।8.20।।

English translation by Swami Gambhirananda

8.20 But distinct from that Unmanifested is the other eternal unmainfest Reality, who does not get destroyed when all beings get destroyed. 

Sanskrit commentary by Sri Sankaracharya

-- परः व्यतिरिक्तः भिन्नः; कुतः? तस्मात् पूर्वोक्तात्। तु-शब्दः अक्षरस्य विवक्षितस्य अव्यक्तात् वैलक्षण्यविशेषणार्थः। भावः अक्षराख्यं परं ब्रह्म। व्यतिरिक्तत्वे सत्यपि सालक्षण्यप्रसङ्गोऽस्तीति तद्विनिवृत्त्यर्थम् आह -- अन्यः इति। अन्यः विलक्षणः। स च अव्यक्तः अनिन्द्रियगोचरः। 'परस्तस्मात्' इत्युक्तम्; कस्मात् पुनः परः? पूर्वोक्तात् भूतग्रामबीजभूतात् अविद्यालक्षणात् अव्यक्तात्। अन्यः विलक्षणः भावः इत्यभिप्रायः। सनातनः चिरन्तनः यः सः भावः सर्वेषु भूतेषु ब्रह्मादिषु नश्यत्सु न विनश्यति। ।।8.20।।

Hindi translation by Sri Harikrishandas Goenka (on Sri Sankaracharya's Sanskrit Commentary) 

जिस अक्षरका पहले प्रतिपादन किया था उसकी प्राप्तिका उपाय 'ओमित्येकाक्षरं ब्रह्म' इत्यादि कथनसे बतला दिया। अब उसी अक्षरके स्वरूपका निर्देश करनेकी इच्छासे यह बतलाया जाता है कि 'इस योगमार्गद्वारा अमुक वस्तु मिलती है' -- 'तु' शब्द यहाँ आगे वर्णन किये जानेवाले अक्षरकी उस पूर्वोक्त अव्यक्तसे विलक्षणता दिखलानेके लिये है। ( वह अव्यक्त ) भाव यानी अक्षरनामक परब्रह्म परमात्मा अत्यन्त भिन्न है। किससे? उस पहले कहे हुए अव्यक्त से। भिन्न होनेपर भी किसी प्रकार समानता हो सकती है? इस शंकाकी निवृत्तिके लिये कहते हैं कि वह इन्द्रियोंसे प्रत्यक्ष न होनेवाला अव्यक्तभाव अन्य -- दूसरा है अर्थात् सर्वथा विलक्षण है। उससे पर है ऐसा कहा, सो किससे पर है? वह उस पूर्वोक्त भूत-समुदायके बीजभूत अविद्यारूप अव्यक्तसे परे है। ऐसा जो सनातन भाव अर्थात् सदासे होनेवाला भाव है, वह ब्रह्मादि समस्त प्राणियोंका नाश होनेपर भी नष्ट नहीं होता ।।8.20।।

English translation by Swami Gambhirananda (on Sri Sankaracharya's Sanskrit Commentary)

8.20 He is parah, distinct, different;-From what?-tasmat, from that aforesaid (Unmanifested).The word tu, but, is meant for showing the distinction of the Immutable that is going to be spoken of from the Unmanifested.He is bhavah, the Reality, the supreme Brahman called the Immutable. Even though different, there is the possibility of similarlity of characteristics. Hence, for obviating this the Lord says: anyah, the other, of a different characteristic, and He is the Immutable which is beyond the range of the organs. It has been said that He is distinct from that. From what, again is He distinct? Avyaktat, from the Unmaifested spoken of earlier, which is the seed of the multitude of beings, and which is characterized as ignorance (avidya) Ast. adds, 'anyah vilaksanah, bhavah ityabhiprayah: The meaning is that the Reality is different and distinct (form that Unmanifested).-Tr. He is sanatnah, eternal.Bhavah, the Reality; yah sah, who is such; na, does not; vinasyati, get destroyed; when sarvesu bhutesu, all beings, beginning from Brahma; nasyatsu, get destroyed.

Bhagavad Gita on becoming immortal while leaving the body

Bhagavad Gita on what to do at the time of Death in order to free oneself from the cycle of birth and death.

ओमित्येकाक्षरं ब्रह्म व्याहरन्मामनुस्मरन्।
यः प्रयाति त्यजन्देहं स याति परमां गतिम्।।8.13।।

English translation by Swami Gambhirananda

8.13 He who departs by leaving the body while uttering the single syllable, viz Om, which is Brahman, and thinking of Me, he attains the supreme Goal. 

Sanskrit commentary by Sri Sankaracharya

-- ओमिति एकाक्षरं ब्रह्म ब्रह्मणः अभिधानभूतम् ओंकारं व्याहरन् उच्चारयन्, तदर्थभूतं माम् ईश्वरम् अनुस्मरन् अनुचिन्तयन् यः प्रयाति म्रियते, सः त्यजन् परित्यजन् देहं शरीरम् -- 'त्यजन् देहम्' इति प्रयाणविशेषणार्थम् देहत्यागेन प्रयाणम् आत्मनः, न स्वरूपनाशेनेत्यर्थः -- सः एवं याति गच्छति परमां प्रकृष्टां गतिम्।।किञ्च -- ।।8.13।।

Hindi translation by Sri Harikrishandas Goenka (on Sri Sankaracharya's Sanskrit Commentary) 

उसी जगह ( प्राणोंको ) स्थिर रखते हुए -- 'ओम्' इस एक अक्षररूप ब्रह्मका अर्थात् ब्रह्मके स्वरूपका लक्ष्य करानेवाले ओंकारका उच्चारश करता हुआ और उसके अर्थरूप मुझ ईश्वररूपका चिन्तन करता हुआ जो पुरुष शरीरको छोड़कर जाता है अर्थात् मरता है, वह इस प्रकार शरीरको छोड़कर जानेवाला परम गतिको पाता है। यहाँ 'त्यजन्देहम्' यह विशेषण 'मरण' का लक्ष्य करानेके लिये है। अभिप्राय यह कि देहके त्यागसे ही आत्माका मरण है, स्वरूपके नाशसे नहीं ।।8.13।।

English translation by Swami Gambhirananda (on Sri Sankaracharya's Sanskrit Commentary)

8.13 Yah, he who; prayati, departs, dies; tyajan, by leaving; deham, the body-the phrase 'leaving the body' is meant for qualifying departure; thereby it is implied that the soul's departure occurs by abandoning the body, and not through the destruction of its own reality, having abandoned thus-; vyaharan, while uttering; the eka-adsaram, single syllable; om iti brahma, viz Om, which is Brahman, Om which is the name of Brahman; and anusmaran, thinking; mam, of Me, of God who is implied by that (syllable); sah, he; yati, attains; the paramam, supreme, best; gatim, Goal. Further, 

अनन्यचेताः सततं यो मां स्मरति नित्यशः।
तस्याहं सुलभः पार्थ नित्ययुक्तस्य योगिनः।।8.14।।

English translation by Swami Gambhirananda

8.14 O son of Prtha, to that yogi of constant concentration and single-minded attention, who remembers Me uninterruptedly and for long, I am easy of attainment. 

Sanskrit commentary by Sri Sankaracharya

-- अनन्यचेताः न अन्यविषये चेतः यस्य सोऽयम् अनन्यचेताः, योगी सततं सर्वदा यः मां परमेश्वरं स्मरति नित्यशः। सततम् इति नैरन्तर्यम् उच्यते, नित्यशः इति दीर्घकालत्वम् उच्यते। न षण्मासं संवत्सरं वा; किं तर्हि? यावज्जीवं नैरन्तर्येण यः मां स्मरतीत्यर्थः। तस्य योगिनः अहं सुलभः सुखेन लभ्यः हे पार्थ, नित्ययुक्तस्य सदा समाहितचित्तस्य योगिनः। यतः एवम्, अतः अनन्यचेताः सन् मयि सदा समाहितः भवेत्।।तव सौलभ्येन किं स्यात् इत्युच्यते; श्रृणु तत् मम सौलभ्येन यत् भवति -- ।।8.14।।

Hindi translation by Sri Harikrishandas Goenka (on Sri Sankaracharya's Sanskrit Commentary) 

तथा -- अनन्यचित्तवाला अर्थात् जिसका चित्त अन्य किसी भी विषयका चिन्तन नहीं करता, ऐसा जो योगी सर्वदा निरन्तर प्रतिदिन मुझ परमेश्वरका स्मरण किया करता है। यहाँ 'सततम्' इस शब्दसे निरन्तरताका कथन है और 'नित्यशः' इस शब्दसे दीर्घकालका कथन है, अतः यह समझना चाहिये कि छः महीने या एक वर्ष ही नहीं किंतु जीवनपर्यन्त जो निरन्तर मेरा स्मरण करता है। हे पार्थ ! उस नित्य-समाधिस्थ योगीके लिये मैं सुलभ हूँ। अर्थात् उसको मैं अनायास प्राप्त हो जाता हूँ। जब कि यह बात है, इसलिये ( मनुष्यको ) अनन्य चित्तवाला होकर सदा ही मुझमें समाहितचित्त रहना चाहिये ।।8.14।।

English translation by Swami Gambhirananda (on Sri Sankaracharya's Sanskrit Commentary)

8.14 Partha, O son of Prtha, tasya yoginah, to that yogi; nitya-yuktasya, of constant concentration, who is ever absorbed (in God); and ananya-cetah, of single-minded attention, a yogi whose mind is not drawn to any other object; yah, who; smarati, remembers; mam, Me, the supreme God; satatam, uninteruptedly; and nityasah, for long-.By satatam, uninterrupteldy, is meant 'without any break'. By niryasah, is meant along duration. Not six months, nor even a year! What then? The meaning is: He who remembers Me for his whole life, continuously. To that yogi aham, I; am sulabhah, easy of attainment. Since this is so, therefore one should remain ever absorbed in Me, with mind given to nothing else.'What follows from Your being easy of attainment?' This is being answered: 'Hear what follows from My being easy of attainment.' 

मामुपेत्य पुनर्जन्म दुःखालयमशाश्वतम्।
नाप्नुवन्ति महात्मानः संसिद्धिं परमां गताः।।8.15।।

English translation by Swami Gambhirananda

8.15 As a result of reaching Me, the exalted ones who have attained the highest perfection do not get rebirth which is an abode of sorrows and which is impermanent. 

Sanskrit commentary by Sri Sankaracharya

-- माम् उपेत्य माम् ईश्वरम् उपेत्य मद्भावमापद्य पुनर्जन्म पुनरुत्पत्तिं नाप्नुवन्ति न प्राप्नुवन्ति। किं विशिष्टं पुनर्जन्म न प्राप्नुवन्ति इति, तद्विशेषणमाह -- दुःखालयं दुःखानाम् आध्यात्मिकादीनां आलयम् आश्रयम् आलीयन्ते यस्मिन् दुःखानि इति दुःखालयं जन्म। न केवलं दुःखालयम्, अशाश्वतम् अनवस्थितस्वरूपं च। नाप्नुवन्ति ईदृशं पुनर्जन्म महात्मानः यतयः संसिद्धिं मोक्षाख्यां परमां प्रकृष्टां गताः प्राप्ताः। ये पुनः मां न प्राप्नुवन्ति ते पुनः आवर्तन्ते।।किं पुनः त्वत्तः अन्यत् प्राप्ताः पुनरावर्तन्ते इति, उच्यते -- ।।8.15।।

Hindi translation by Sri Harikrishandas Goenka (on Sri Sankaracharya's Sanskrit Commentary)

आपके सुलभ हो जानेसे क्या होगा? इसपर कहते हैं कि मेरी सुलभ प्राप्तिसे जो होता है, वह सुन -- मुझ ईश्वरको पाकर अर्थात् मेरे भावको प्राप्त करके फिर ( वे महापुरुष ) पुनर्जन्मको नहीं पाते। किस प्रकारके पुनर्जन्मको नहीं पाते, यह स्पष्ट करनेके लिये उसके विशेषण बतलाते हैं -- आध्यात्मिक आदि तीनों प्रकारके दुःखोंका जो स्थान -- आधार है अर्थात् समस्त दुःख जिसमें रहते हैं, केवल दुःखोंका स्थान ही नहीं जो अशाश्वत भी है अर्थात् जिसका स्वरूप स्थिर नहीं है, ऐसे पुनर्जन्मको मोक्षरूप परम श्रेष्ठ सिद्धिको प्राप्त हुए महात्मा -- संन्यासीगण नहीं पाते। परंतु जो मुझे प्राप्त नहीं होते वे फिर संसारमें आते हैं ।।8.15।।

English translation by Swami Gambhirananda (on Sri Sankaracharya's Sanskrit Commentary)

8.15 Upetya mam, as a result of reaching Me who am God-as a result of realizing My nature; mahatmanah, the exalted ones, the monks; gatah, who have attained; the paramam, highest; samsiddhim, perfection, called Liberation; na, do not; apnuvanti, get; this kind of punarjanama, rebirth. As to what kind of rebirth they do not get, the Lord states its characteristics-duhkhalayam, which is an abode of sorrows, a resort of physical and other sorrows, i.e. a birth to which sorrows adhere. It is not merely an abode of sorrows, but also asavatam, impermanent, having no fixity of nature.On the other hand, those who do not reach Me, they come again.Again, 'Is it that those who attain someone other than You return?' This is being answered:

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Who is Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada (Adi Shankaracharya ji) ?

His Holiness Jagadguru Sri Chandrasekharendra Sarasvati Mahaswamigal, 68th Sankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham, reverentially and affectionately called Paramacharya presents Sri Adi Shankaracharya ji in his unique simple and elegant style.

This day is the birth anniversary of Sri Sankara. It was by His avatara that the Vedas and the Works of the Rishis were rehabilitated. It was only by their rehabilitation that the observance of the holy Sri Ramanavami, Sri Narasimha Jayanti, Sri Krishna jayanti, Uttarayana Sankranthi and Sivaratri and other holy days was revived. The avatara of Sri Sankara made the remembrance and celebration of other Jayantis possible. Sri Sankara jayanti comes off every year on the 15th day of the Maadhavi month in the Vasanta Ritu. Like the pure white jasmine, which is also called Vasanti and Maadhavi, may the Vasanta madhava jayanti fill our spiritual perception with its own rich fragrance.

Who is Sri Sankara? He is lokasankarah; he makes for the welfare of the whole world. He is Siva Himself. Sivam means auspiciousness or what is propitious.

What does `Sam'' mean in the name 'Sankara'? It means sukham, bliss or aananda. The Brihadaaranyakopanishad speaks of it as ... Read more

Hari OM

Friday, August 9, 2013

How can we experience the one (Atman) who does not change?

Question: How can we experience the one who does not change?

Swami Ramsukhdas ji: Do you ever doubt that you exist? Have you ever asked anyone whether you exist? It is your own experience that you exist. There is a difference between understanding and experience. I have said these things, you have heard them and agreed with me. You have understood what I have said but have not accepted it from within. To experience you have to accept it from within. To experience be situate in your existence. It is different from understanding. Nowadays people study Vedanta and think that they know God - they know the essence. It is mere knowledge - there is no experience. You cannot realize God through reading and learning only. The essence is beyond all means (mind and intellect). One can only understand the world by the means (instruments) that you have, not God.

The knowledge that you gain is always the same. You get information of the birth of a grandson and the death of a son (two extremes). The information is totally different but the knowledge of the information is same. You get happy and sad when you mix yourself with the information - when you have 'my-ness' with the information. The situation changes, your position changes (childhood, youth, old age) - but you remain the same.

Source "MAnava Jivana MAtra KalyANa ke Liye Hai" in Hindi pg 80

[Understanding Advaita] v6.0.0 released | Major Update


The new website Understanding Advaita has undergone major change both in terms of contents and in terms of flow. It now focuses more on Understanding Advaita then dispelling Doubts and answering accusations.
Tthe site is divided into 6 categories

Understanding Advaita page went major changes. it is now much more descriptive and contains explanation of common terms used in Advaita.

New page dedicated to adhyAropa apavAda is published.

adhyAropa apavAda is a unique traditional method of teaching rediscovered by Swami Sacchidanandendra Saraswati,. Swamiji observed that this method of teaching was adopted by Shankara BhagavadpAda from his Gita BhasSya in 13.13.

According to this method, first super imposition on Self is mentioned and later on superimposition is negated. According to Swami ji, this method is consistent and is found in Upanishads, Gita and Brahma Sutra

Meditative Journey of an Advaita Vedantin was updated.

Dispelling doubts is renamed Clearing Accusations and Doubts. It also underwent many updates.

quotes form many Minor Upanishads added in Advaita in Shastras

Random Quotes was updated.

Please visit Recent updates for more details

Hari OM

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sri Ramakrishna on Attitude of Jnani (Advaitin) and Bhakta for an Avatar

The Resident of Dakshineswar — Is the Anahata Shabda always sounding within and without?

Sri Ramakrishna — This sound alone is not enough. There is something indicated by the sound. Can I derive pleasure just from your name? Unless I see you, I cannot be a hundred percent happy.

The Resident of Dakshineswar — That Shabda is Brahman, the Anahata sound.

Sri Ramakrishna (to Kedar) — Oh, I see. His belief is like that of the rishis. The rishis said to Ramachandra, ‘Rama, we know you are the son of Dasharatha. Bharadvaja and other rishis may take you as an avatar and worship you. But we only want Akhanda Sachchidananda (Indivisible Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute).’ Hearing this, Rama laughed and left.

Kedar — The rishis did not accept Rama as an avatar. They were fools.

Sri Ramakrishna (gravely) — Please don’t say such things. We all have our own inclinations. Besides, what one understands is what one can digest. The mother cooks fish for her children in different ways. To some she serves pulao (fish with fried rice). But every stomach cannot digest pulao. To them she gives fish soup – whatever one can digest. And then some people prefer fried fish, and some, fish with sour sauce. (All laugh.) We all have different dispositions.

“The rishis were jnanis (men of knowledge), so they sought Akhanda Sachchidananda (Indivisible Existence Knowledge Bliss Absolute). On the other hand, devotees seek the avatar – to enjoy his love. Seeing Him, the darkness of the mind is dispelled. The Purana says, ‘When Ramachandra entered the Council Hall, it was as if a hundred suns were shining.’ Then why were the councilors not burnt? The answer to this is that His light is not physical light. The lotus of the heart of all the councilors opened their petals. You see, when the sun rises, the lotus opens its petals.”

Sri Ramakrishna is talking to the devotees as he stands there. Suddenly his mind is withdrawn from the external world and plunges within. “The lotus of the heart has opened up,” he says. He now goes into deep samadhi.

The lotus of Sri Ramakrishna’s heart has opened in samadhi, having the vision of Bhagavan. He stands as before, but like an inanimate object. His holy face is radiant and smiling. Some of the devotees are seated, while others are standing. None utters a word. The devotees watch him intently. They have never before seen this unique image of love, or enjoyed the sight of samadhi. After a long time, his samadhi breaks.

Taking a long breath, Sri Ramakrishna repeats the name of Rama again and again, as though nectar flows from every letter of the word. Now he sits down. The devotees sit around him and gaze at him.

Sri Ramakrishna (to the devotees) — When an avatar comes, an ordinary man cannot recognize him – he comes as if in secret. Three or four of his intimate devotees recognize him. Rama was a full manifestation of Brahman, he was a perfect avatar – but only twelve rishis knew this. The other rishis said, ‘Rama, we only consider you as a son of Dasharatha.’ “The Akhanda Sachchidananda cannot be known by all, but he who attains Nitya (the Absolute) and yet lives in His lila (sport) to enjoy himself with Him has ripe bhakti. Only after you have seen the queen in the foreign land (England), can you describe her, her work, and anything else about her. Bharadvaja and other rishis prayed to Rama in these words: ‘Rama, you are that very Akhanda Sachchidananda. You have manifested Yourself before us in the form of Rama. In fact, it is with the help of Your maya that You have appeared as a human being.’ Bharadvaja and other rishis were great devotees of Rama. They had ripe bhakti.”

Source: Ramakrishna Kathamrita, Vol II, Section II, Chapter III

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Nirvana Shatkam (Atma Shatkam) by Adi Shankaracharya

॥ ॐ ॥

॥ निर्वाणषट्कम् ॥


मनोबुद्ध्यहङ्कार चित्तानि नाहं
न च श्रोत्रजिह्वे न च घ्राणनेत्रे ।
न च व्योम भूमिर्न तेजो न वायुः
चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ॥१॥

manOBuddhyahankAra cittAni nAham
na ca SrOtrajihvE na ca ghrANanEtrE |
na ca vyOma bhoomirna tEjO na vAyu:
cidAnandaroopa: ShivOham ShivOham ||

(मन: - Mind, बुद्धि - Intelligence, अहंकार - ego, चित्तानि - mind stuff, न - not, अहम् - I
न- not, च - also, श्रोत्र - ear, जिह्वा - the tongue, न - not, च - also, घ्राण - nose, नेत्र - eyes,
न- not, च - also, व्योम - sky, भूमिः - earth, तेजस् - energy signifying fire, वायु - air,
चित् - conciousness, आनंद - bliss, रूप - nature, शिव: - Auspiciousness, अहम् - I)

Mind-intellect-thought-ego am I not,
Neither have I ears, tongue, nor nostrils, nor eyes;
I am not the five great elements;
I am Pure Consciousness, Bliss, the Self; I am Auspiciousness, Auspiciousness alone.

न च प्राणसंज्ञो न वै पञ्चवायुः
न वा सप्तधातुः न वा पञ्चकोशः ।
न वाक्पाणिपादं न चोपस्थपायु
चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ॥२॥

na ca praNasamjnO na vaI pancavAyu:
na vA saptadhAtu: na vA pancakOSa: |
na vAkpANipAdam na cOpasthapAyu
cidAnandarupa: ShivOham ShivOham ||

(न - not, च - also, प्राण - vital breath, संज्ञः - concious of, वै - or, पञ्च - five, वायु - airs,
न- not, वा - or, सप्त - seven, धातु - ingredient, न - not, वा - or, पञ्च - five, कोशः - sheath,
न- not, वाक् - speech, पाणि - hand, पादः - feet, न - not, च - also, उपस्थ - organ of reproduction, पायु - organ of excretion,
चित् - conciousness, आनंद - bliss, रूप - nature, शिव: - Auspiciousness, अहम् - I)

The vital-air I am not, Nor have I anything to do with the physiological functions in my body;
Nor am I the seven-fold material that goes into the building up of the body;
Nor am I in any way attached to the five sheaths of my personality; I have nothing to do with the five organs of action
I am Auspiciousness, Auspiciousness alone.

न मे द्वेषरागौ न मे लोभमोहौ
मदो नैव मे नैव मात्सर्यभावः ।
न धर्मो न चार्थो न कामो न मोक्षः
चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ॥३॥

na mE dvEsharAgau na mE lObhamOhau
madO naiva mE naiva mAtsaryabhava: |
na dharmO na cArthO na kAmO na mOksha:
cidAnandarupa: ShivOham ShivOham ||

(न - not, मे - in me, द्वेष - hatred, रागः - affection passion, लोभ - greed, मोहौ - infatuation,
मद - vanity, न - not, एव - indeed, मे - in me, मात्सर्य - jealousy, भाव - feeling,
न- not, धर्म - righteousness, duty, च - also, अर्थ - wealth,  काम - desire,  मोक्षः - liberation,
चित् - conciousness, आनंद - bliss, रूप - nature, शिव: - Auspiciousness, अहम् - I)

I have neither likes or dislikes, Nor have I covetousness or greed,
Nor I have any arrogant vanity nor any competition with anyone;
 I have not even a need for the four main purposes of life
I am Auspiciousness, Auspiciousness alone.

न पुण्यं न पापं न सौख्यं न दुःखं
न मन्त्रो न तीर्थो न वेदो न यज्ञ ।
अहं भोजनं नैव भोज्यं न भोक्ता
चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ॥४॥

na puNyam na pApam na saukhyam na duKham
na mantrO na tIrthO na vEdA na yajna |
aham bhOjanam naiva bhOjyam na bhOktA
cidAnandarupa: ShivOham ShivOham ||

(न - not, पुण्य - merits, न - not, पाप - sins, न - not, सौख्य - joy, न - not, दु:ख - sorrow,
न- not, मंत्र: - sacred hymns,  तीर्थ: - pilgrims,  वेद: - sacred scriptures,  यज्ञ - sacrificial offerings,
अहम् - I,  भोजनम् - enjoyment/experience, न - not, एव - indeed, भोज्यम् - object to be enjoyed/experienced, न - not, भोक्ता - one who enjoys/experiences,
चित् - conciousness, आनंद - bliss, रूप - nature, शिवः - Auspiciousness, अहम् - I)

Sin or merit can never touch me, Joy and sorrow cannot contaminate me;
I know no mantra, I have no sacred pilgrimage to make, I know no scripture, nor have I anything to gain through rituals;
I am neither the experiencer (subject), nor the experienced (object), nor the experiencing;
I am Auspiciousness, Auspiciousness alone.

न मृत्युर्न शङ्का न मे जातिभेदः
पिता नैव मे नैव माता न जन्मः ।
न बन्धुर्न मित्रं गुरुर्नैव शिष्यं
चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ॥५॥

na mE mrutyuSankA na mE jAtibEda:
pitA naiva mAtA naiva na janma: |
na bandhur na mitram gururnaiva Sishya:
cidAnandarupa: ShivOham ShivOham ||

(न - not, मे - in me, मृत्युः - death, शङ्का - apprehension, न - not, मे - in me, जाति - caste/creed, भेद - distinction,
पिता - father, न - not, एव - indeed, माता - mother, न - not, एव - indeed, जन्म - birth,
न- not, बन्धु: - brother, मित्र - friend, गुरुः - teacher, एव - indeed, शिष्य - desciple,
चित् - conciousness, आनंद - bliss, रूप - nature, शिव - Auspiciousness, अहम् - I)

I have no death, nor have I any caste or creed distinction;
I have neither father nor mother; why! I am never born! I have no kith or kin,
I know no guru, nor am I a disciple;
I am Auspiciousness, Auspiciousness alone .

अहं निर्विकल्पो निराकाररूपो
विभुत्वाच्च सर्वत्र सर्वेन्द्रियाणाम् ।
न चासङ्गतं नैव मुक्तिर्न मेयः
चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ॥६॥

aham nirvikalpO nirAkAra roopO
vibhutvAca sarvatra sarvEndriyANam |
na cAsangata naiva muktir na mEya:
cidAnandarpa: ShivOham ShivOham ||

(अहम् - I am , निर्विकल्पः - without any option, निराकार - formless, रूप - nature form,
विभु - existing, त्वाच् - cover, सर्वत्र - everywhere, सर्व - all, इन्द्रियाणां - sense organs,
न- not, च - also, सङ्गतं - attachment, एव - indeed, मुक्तिः - liberation, मेयः - measurable,
चित् - conciousness, आनंद - bliss, रूप - nature, शिव:- Auspiciousness, अहम् - I)

Thought-free am I, formless my only form,
I am the vitality behind all sense organs of everyone;
Neither have I attachment to anything, nor am I free from everything; I am all-inclusive;
I am Auspiciousness, Auspiciousness alone.

॥ इति श्रीगोविन्दभगवत्पूज्यपादशिष्यस्य श्रीमच्छंकरभगवतः कृतौ निर्वाणषट्कं संपूर्णम् ॥
Note: in some versions the 3rd line of sixth verse is सदा मे समत्वं न मुक्तिर्न बन्ध: which means, I am the one who always has equal vision (has an impartial eye). I do not have mukti (salvation) or bondage

  • सप्त धातु (The seven-fold material) : मज्जा (Marrow), अस्थि (bone), मेद (fat), मांस (flesh), रक्त (blood),  चर्म (inner skin), त्वचा (outer skin).
  • पाँच ज्ञानेन्द्रियाँ (The five sense organs) : श्रवण (ear), त्वचा (skin), नेत्र (eyes), घ्राण (nose), जिह्वा (Tongue).
  • पाँच कर्मेन्द्रियाँ (five organs of action) : वाक् (speech), पाणि (hands), पाद (legs), पायु (anus), उपस्थ (genital organ).
  • अन्तःकरणचतुष्टय : मन (mind), बुद्धि (intellect), चित्त, अहंकार  (ego, conciousness).
  • चार पुरुषार्थ (four purpose of life) ‌:‌ धर्म (Righteousness) , अर्थ (wealth) , काम (desire), मोक्ष (liberation).
  • पञ्च कोश (five sheaths) : अन्नमय कोश (physical body, anatomical structure), प्राणमय कोश (physiological body, energy body, aura) , मनोमय कोश (mental sheath), विज्ञानमय कोश (intellectual sheath), आनन्दमय कोश (bliss sheath).
Credits : Swami Sarveshananda, Chinmaya Mission, Dallas

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Introduction of Madhusūdana Sarasvatī’s Gūḍārtha Dīpikā, a unique commentary on Bhagavad Gītā

Update: 01/08/2016. Verses 8 a nd 9 are corrected. 'Thou' is correctly translated to 'tvam' and 't hat...