Tuesday, August 9, 2016

How does one progress spiritually (on the path of Jñāna)?

|| Hari OM ||
While veda-s teach us performing rites and rituals, Gītā teaches us to renounce them. What should we do? How does one progress spiritually?

As per Gītā, there are two ways - path of action (karma kāṇḍa) and path of renunciation (Jñāna mārga). While first portion of veda-s prescribe rites and rituals which is a part of karma kāṇḍa, last portion or better the essence of veda-s is known as vedānta (upaniṣad-s). Performing one’s duties, living a moral and ethical life, civil codes (laws), āchāra, vichāra, vyavahāra (conduct), etc, is prescribed in dharma smriti-s. In this section, we will discuss about Jñāna mārga.

Gītā is an essence of vedānta. Gītā is a moksha śāstra and not a dharma śāstra. Hence renunciation of karma kāṇḍa and agnī is recommended. karma kāṇḍa is said to be kāmya karma, hence a sanyāsī has to renounce ajnī i.e. yajña, havan, not even for the well being for society.

However, we are all attached with our body, mind and ego. Hence knowingly or unknowingly whatever karma we do, happens to be kāmya or sakāma karma. Hence our journey is to move from sakāma to niśkāma bhāva.

IMHO, There are three ways to progress spiritually on the path of jñāna.

1. Surrender all work and it's fruits to Īśvara. (karma and karma phala). When one surrenders karma phala, karma is automatically surrendered to Īśvara.

2. Do all karma for Īśvara and not for anybody else. Here one believes oneself to be a blessed instrument of Īśvara.

3. Do karma with sākshī (sāxī) bhāva i.e. by being a witness.

As I understand, these are the reasons for 3 types of approaches while doing karma.

1. When we say that we have 'surrendered' or 'offered' all our karma and it's phala to Īśvara, it has a pre-condition. The word 'surrender' or 'offer' can only be possible if we have something to 'surrender' or 'offer'. We can only give what we have. It means that we possess something and are willing to give. this implies there is an attachment with what we have done and it's results. Hence there is 'mama bhāva'. With 'mama bhāva', there is 'aham bhāva'. This 'I-ness' or 'mine-ness' is that which should be offered. This 'I-ness' or 'mine-ness' is our attachment with karma. Hence along with offering of karma or karma phala, our attachment to it also gets fade away. With repeated surrender with strong bhāva, comes humility and faith in Īśvara. 'I-ness' and 'Mine-ness' fades away. In this way we proceed from sakāma to niśkāma karma.

2. Whatever we do, kēp Īśvara in center or say kēp Īśvara in between work and you. For example when you are helping someone condition your mind such that, in reality, one one can help anyone except Īśvara. Hence I am not doing any favour by helping him. On the other hand, feel blessed and recipient of grace of Īśvara that he has chosen to work through you. In this way, you will not get attached to the one whom you are helping, but will remain humble. Likewise, when helped by someone, though for practical purposes you are obliged to say 'Thank you', in reality know that, 'It is Īśvara who has helped me through him'. Hence there will not be any dependency upon a person, nor will be a feeling of being 'under debt'. In either cases, our faith in Īśvara will increase and since we have already surrendered to Īśvara, by his grace, work will be niśkāma. As our faith and surrender in him increases, we will move from sakāma to niśkāma karma.

3. Being sākshī is very difficult. This last way is for the ones whose consciousness is loosely bound to body. During meditation, they can separate themselves from the thoughts, emotions, ego and physical body. In this path, one abides in jñāna sthiti, stays we a witness and then do all work. This state is difficult to explain. Even while talking, one feels separateness or a kind of detachment. When the work is over, mind effortlessly turns introvert. Even in neti-neti, one has to abide in the state of jñāna and then be a witness and negate whatever is non-Self i.e. anātmā. In case of such a blessed soul, s/he is not much attached while doing work, just like we are not totally conscious while driving. We talk, think, sing or listen while driving, still we change gears, apply brakes, overtake vehicles or down speed to let others overtake you. All these krīyā-s happen without paying special attention. In the same most work can be done in this way. In Sri Ramakrishna's words, "While doing work, keep one hand in God and another in work When work is finished, keep both hands in God". Even when one does work with full concentration, the mantra or the feeling of being brahman, which is consciousness, persists in subconscious mind. After work gets done, mantra or feeling of being a witness comes to conscious mind (jāgrata mana). Hence there are no more thoughts on the topic which was finished few moments ago. In this way the one stays 'in presence', does not think of past. So such a man never thinks of any unsolved problem after leaving the place. For example, after we leave from office, no thought about pending work comes in mind.

For this to happen, Īśvara kṛpā (Kripā), guru's kṛpā are necessary. Equally important is that the only goal of Life is 'moksha'. Moksha is the primary and the only goal and one is ready to renounce anything for the sake of this goal. 4 qualities like viveka, vairāgya, ṣaṭasampatti, mumukshutva have to be cultivated and has to be present in much more percentage then in neophyte.

Hence practice either 1st or 2nd approach. Diligent practice will open doors for 3rd approach. Also remember that when one wants to achieve anything or is not ready to renounce any desire or object, one has to follow rules of karma kāṇḍa.Hence dharma is to be carried our in a scripturally prescribed way. But when one wants to leave anything, there is no discipline or step by step procedure. When shifting from old house to new house, we step into new house at an auspicious moment (śubha muhurat), but do we care much about leaving old house in auspicious moment? to leave anything, or renounce anything from our mind i.e. remove attachment of anything, there is no need of waiting for muhurat or help of friends or family members. It's all up to you. It's inside your mind. Hence none but you can help you. If none can help you, none can obstruct your path to moksha, except your own mind.

Awakening and meditating during brahma muhurata, etc is prescribed even for sanyāsīn-s as though one is a renunciate, one has not risen above māyā. When one is still under the influence of māyā and so prakṛti, one has to be in tune with nature and take advantage of sātvika vātāravaṇa, as there are no worldly thoughts before Sunrise. After day-2-day activity begins (which begins after sunrise), worldly thoughts begin to float in atmosphere and efficiency and quality of meditation is reduced.

There is one more way of progressing spiritually. It is the path of yoga. It is to control the mind. abhyāsa and vairāgya are two wings that one needs to fly. Do dośa darśana in samsāra to develop vairāgya. abhyāsa is to practice dośa darśana daily, read scriptures, attend discourses dealing with moksha, stay in presence of a guru and meditate sincerely.

This while process is explained in Madhusūdan Sarasvatī in his Gītā commentary Guḍhārtha Dīpikā in chapter 6, specially in 6.15 and 6.35 where he quotes Patanjalī Yoga Sūtra 1.15, 1.13, etc, along wtih Vyāsa Bhāśya. Hence it's study is also required. Bhagavān Vyāsa's commentary is not easy to understand. It adds many new terminology which is not found in vedānta or in prakaraṇa grantha-s. This makes it difficult to understand and explain yogic way of spiritual progress. If you are interested in exploring depths and are interested in yogic approach and control mind, it is worth reading, else stick to 3 ways and develop vairāgya. Sant Jñānadeva's commentary on chapter six is also considered important. Important thing to remember is that we must always keep moksha as only goal of life to succeed.
|| Hari OM ||

1 comment:

martin said...

Yes spirituality comes from inner self. N with chanting of aum and other mantra ur inner self peace is realized.

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