Thursday, November 8, 2018

Wishing You a Joyous and Happy Deepavali and Prosperous New Year - 2018

Subh Deepavali Evam Nutan Varshabhinandan – Vikram SAmvat 2075 (Happy Deepavali / Diwali)

The Need and Importance of Śrī Rāma Gītā

On this auspicious occasion of Deepavali and New Year, let us understand the teachings of Bhagavān Rāma, who is the embodiment of truth, who lived like a true Jnānī, always detached from his body, always remaining established in truth, yet at times acting or doing karma like ajnānī (ignorant one). We can see from the life of ideal human being that he rejoiced, he felt dejected, got angry, showed compassion and other human emotions. This is in accordance with our śāstra-s that a Jnānī lives in the world as ajnānī i.e. he / she performs actions just like ignorant humans who do not know their true nature, but in reality is always detached from the actions and his own body by always abiding in truth – Brahman or Paramātmān or in his own Self (Ātman). It is this unique way of living and unique mindset that only another Jnānī can know by abiding in truth, none other.

Our mind is inbetween the sasāra (sensual, material world) and Brahman or Paramātmān (God). Māyā by it’s shakti (power) brings avidyā. Avidyā (ignorance, loss of knowledge of our true nature) is root cause of mind experiencing duality, and not God. One does not experience God is because mind has it’s face turned towards sasāra and not Brahman or Ātman. Our mind is a reflection of Ātman. It’s source of power is Ātman. Consciousness, which in reality, different and separate from mind and so sasāra, is now mixed with sasāra through mind and 5 senses. This is due to the effect of God’s illusionary power Māyā. Our consciousness is trapped in 5 kośa-s (sheaths, annamaya, prāṇama, etc). It is like our consciousness, the real ‘I’ identifies itself with mind, body and ego and connects with saṁsāra (the outer and inner world), and has become inseparable from mind just like milk mixed with water.

So there must be a way to dis-associate the mind with sasāra and ultimately dis-associate consciousness from mind, by generating dispassion from saṁsāra and being mind’s witness and abiding in one’s true nature which is Brahman. This art of separating milk from water though seems impossible is possible by the grace of Guru and learning of shastra-s. Hasa (Swan) is said to have the special ability to separate milk from water and drink only milk (nector of immortality) heaving behind water. This art of unlearning the worldly knowledge, dis-association and detachment with sasāra and mind is like a Hasa of the highest order. Such a yogi is known as paramhansa. Haṁsa is an important symbol in vedānta.

We are all attached to this world and with our loved ones. Śrī Rāma Gītā shows us the way to detach ourselves from this world and loved ones in a concise, clear and precise way. It is for those who has sattva gua as the pre-dominant gua and their mind is ready for mental renunciation of sasāra. In other words, it is for advanced sādhaka-s (meditators).

Srī Rāma Gītā consists of 62 sloka-s and is considered as ‘ruti-sāra-saṃgrah’ i.e. an essence of vedānta. Śrī Rama Gītā is fifth adhyāya of Uttara khana of Ādhyātma Rāmāyaa, which is a part of Brahmāṇḍa Purāa. It is of advaitic nature advocating renunciation of karma including those prescribed in veda-s after advanced disciple is given knowledge of veda-s and instructed by his guru to start advaita way of life and contemplation on the Brahman, the true Self or Ātman.

Pūrvabhūmikā or pretext of Śrī Rāma Gītā

Pūrvabhūmikā or pretext of Śrī Rāma Gītā is created as a reply of curious doubt created by Mā Umā (Parvatī) by Bhagavān Mahesha (Śiva). Compassionate mother, who herself is embodiment of wisdom, for the good of all, raises a question in her mind. Mā Pārvatī asks what is so special about Bhagavān Rāma that Mahādeva adorns. She already knew the divine story of Rāma. She was curious to know the mindset of Śrī Rāma after he ordered Lakshamaa to escort Sīta to Vālmiki ashrama when she was pregnant. How did Rāma continue his life without her?” Decision to renounce Sītā would have had great impact on his mind, yet he lived a normal balanced life always taking care of his beloved subjects and establishing Rāma Rājya. It is well known that both Srī Rāma and Mā Sītā loved each other, had full faith in each other and Sītā had already passed ‘agniparikshā’.

In other words, Parameshvarī (Mā Pārvatī) wanted to understand the mindset of Śrī Rāma that allowed him to make this harsh decision. (Earlier too he had sacrificed his throne and went on vanavāsa i.e went on to live in forest.)

Answer given by Mahādeva to this question is known as Srī Rāma Gītā.

Bhagavān Śiva replied, after Laxmaa escorted Srī Rāma’s consort Mā Sītā in the forest near the ashrama of r̥ishi Vālmiki and returned with a heavy, guilt and grief sticken sorrow heart, he approached his brother and prayed to him for guidance. Compassionate Īśvara (Rāma) gave Brahma Jnāna to Lakshmaṇa. This discourse between Bhagavān Rāma and his beloved and devoted brother Lakshmaa is known as Srī Rāma Gītā.

Srī Rāma Gītā is in itself an essence of vedānta. Hence it is extremely difficult to further concise it. Each and every sloka is important for a sincere sādhaka. I have made humble attempt to put it in 18 points. It is natural that I will have missed a few important sloka-s.

Śrī Rāma Gītā in a nutshell

  1. Birth is result of past karma. Man influenced by senses seeks pleasure and pain and does good and bad actions respectively. His actions will result in rebirth; when born, man does action again. The world is consequently termed a rotation. (One gets trapped in cycle of birth and death. Karma does not lead to moksha.)
  2. Man must renounce his varāśrama duties (duties related to his vara and āshrama) and become sādhana-sampanna i.e. develop 4 sādhana-s -
    1. viveka,
    2. vairagya,
    3. aasampatti – (śama, dama, uprate, titikshān śraddhā and samādhāna)
    4. mumukśhutva
  3. Karma neither destroys ignorance, nor diminishes attachment; on the contrary, it germinates evil action which again is incapable of warding off sasāra. The wise should therefore seek divine knowledge.
  4. Avidyā is the root cause of duality and bondage. Avidyā is due to the illusionary shakti Māyā of Īśvara.
  5. Jīva is born out of avidyā and is a reflection of Brahman.
  6. Individual Self appears as distinct from Parabrahman due to upādhi-s created by Māyā. Self appears to have 5 kośa-s (sheaths), but in reality Ātman is untainted, untouched, unborn and non-dual.
  7. Sasāra is unreal and so one must discontinue all karma-s, even though they are prescribed in veda-s, as karma or karma-kāṇḍa is considered as sakāma karma i.e. karma done keeping in mind it’s results.
  8. Generate Vairāgya and detach mana (mind) from sasāra. (Sasāra is actually in mind only). So by viveka-yukta-vairagya, stop involvement and attachment of mind from sasāra and turn it towards Brahman, the real ‘I’, Rāma tatva.
  9. World will continue to exist so long as there is avidyā or ignorance. So by practice of ‘neti-neti’, one must negate illusionary world from our mind and turn our mind towards Brahman.
  10. This world will disappear at once the light of knowledge shines.
  11. Ātman is pure, one without a second. This Ātman is the real ‘I’. One should contemplate on Self ‘Ātman’ as -
    1. I am self-effulgent, I am unborn. I am the One without a second. I am the ever-resplendent light of Consciousness. I am extremely pure, I am holy, infinite, blissful, and actionless.
    2. I am ever liberated. I am the power behind the universe which no intellect can comprehend. I am that pure Knowledge which is beyond all sense organs. I am immutable, endless, and limitless ocean of consciousness.
  12. Meditate on OM as this sasāra as explained in Śastra-s. ‘A’ is ‘Visva’, ‘U’ is ‘taijasa’ or ‘Tejasa’ ans ‘M’ is ‘Prajnā’. (These are states of consciousness, the deities of jāgrata-waking, svapna-dream and śuśupti-deep sleep). This knowledge happens to mind before samādhi.
  13. One should dissolve ‘A’ in ‘U’ and ‘U’ in ‘M’. Then ‘M’ is dissolved in the turiyā, the supreme consciousness, i.e. Ātaman or Brahman. Now, contemplate, ‘I am Brahman’.
  14. Such a yogi who remains free from worldly attachment and is satisfied in his true Self, which resembles calm vast ocean experiences samādhi. He has renounced his passions and has attained 6 qualities of Īśvara. Such a Jnānī contemplates day and night and is free from attachment and is egoless. He merges in me (Rāma-tatva, the pure consciousness).
  15. Such a Yogī becomes one with me (Rāma-tatva), just like water in ocean, milk in milk, air in air and sky in sky.
  16. Such a Jnānī sees this world as illusion, a fact stated by veda-s. Jnānī must constantly practice samādhi until he experiences this sasāra as non-different from the Self i.e. until he sees Self in everything in his natural state without having to enter into samādhi again and again. This is moksha or jivan mukti.
  17. To such a devotee, I (Rāma tatva) is constantly available day and night i.e. a Jnānī abides in Self in non-dual way and clearly experiences like we experience this world clearly without any doubt.
  18. Phala-shruti of contemplating on Śrī Rāma Gītā –
    1. One who follows it is freed from the bondage immediately.
    2. This world is nothing but illusion, so renounce it from the mind, by worshipping Me, you will live happily (free from pain) and with peace of mind.
    3. Whosoever worships Me from the heart with or without attributes, with faith in Me and his guru, and studies this condensed teachings of Vedas stated by Me, who am One and Knowable by Vedānta, he shall enter in Me, is in fact becomes one with Me.

To further condense the teachings, the main points to remember are

  1. Karma cannot give moksha, so renounce it even though it is prescribed by vedas.
  2. We do not know of our true nature because of avidyā which is due to the effect of Māyā.
  3. Detach mind from sasāra and negate all sasāra from the mind considering sasāra as illusion. Do this with the help of neti-neti.
  4. Turn mind towards it’s source i.e. Ātman, the real ‘I’ that which empowers mind and intellect.
  5. Meditate on OM. Merge ‘A’ in ‘U’ and ‘U’ in ‘M’. Merge ‘M’ in turiya (silence part of OM by contemplating on ‘I am Brahman’à this is done by going towards source of OM.
  6. Be detached from worldly objects, detached from mind and karma it does. Be detached from all the dharmas of anatmā (that which is non-Self) and be egoless.
  7. Abide in Self, see this sasāra as illusion, remain steadfast in samādhi and practice samādhi until you see or experience Self in everything effortlessly without having to enter into samādhi again and again. It is it becomes your natural state. This is moksha or jivan mukti.
  8. Phala shruti - One who practices in such a way becomes non-different from Me i.e. Rāma-tatva, the pure consciousness, Brahman, Ātman or Paramātmān.

Few selected Sloka-s

Let us reflect on a few sloka-s of Srī Rāma Gītā, describing the true nature of Bhagavān Rāma, non-difference between him (Brahman) and Self (Ātman) and the way to worship him and abide in our true nature.

40. The Light of the Supreme Consciousness is shadowed (reflected) in intellect, which is born of beginningless avidyā i.e. ignorance (caused by Māyā) is called as ‘jīva’. The Supreme Self is witness of the intellect and is quite distinct from it as well as its qualities, while the jīva is one and the same Self.

41. As the Jīva, the shadow (reflection) of the Supreme Self, and mind accompanied by the senses live in one place both appear to have contracted each other’s animate qualities by false attribution (qualities get superimposed on each other), like an iron ball made red hot in fire.

42. One who has acquired knowledge of Self by learning Vedas and from his Guru, he having described the faultless Self in himself, should abandon all the inanimate objects, which appear to him in the Self.

43. I am Self Luminous, unborn, one without a second, I am the ever-resplendent light of Consciousness (knowable only by the Jnāna YogI-s), pure, All knower, free from miseries, All-in-one, Bliss, unchangeable and without any activity.

44. I am ever liberated. I am the power behind the universe which no intellect can comprehend. I am that pure Knowledge which is beyond all sense organs. I am immutable, endless, and shoreless. The erudite scholars of the scriptures meditate upon Me, day and night, in their hearts.

45. Thus, always who meditates on the Self as undivided, he attains perfection, and that knowledge at once destroys ignorance and its sequels, just as a tonic does ailment.

46. Sitting in solitude, having restrained his senses from their objects, and completely controlled his mind, with pure conscience, having the knowledge of the Supreme as his object in view abiding in the secondless Self, he should meditate upon the Para-Brahman.

47. Having Dissolved the universe, merged in Self (Ātman), the fundamental cause of all, he sits satisfied and happy and does not know the things outside or inside.

48. Before entering into the samādhi, the movable and immovable jagat should be looked upon as Omkāra which means the world as is clearly indicated in the Śāstra-s. The cause of this birth is avidyā (neisence, ignorance of true nature), but disappears when knowledge shines.

49. Okāra is composed of three letter ‘A’ denotes Purua or Viśva, ‘U’ denotes taijasa and ‘M’ prājna, according to the Vedas. This occurs to the mind before the commencement of SAmādhi, and not after Self-knowledge illumines.

50. One should dissolve the ‘a’-kāra (Viśva) in ‘u’-kāra and again ‘u’-kāra (taijasa) in ‘m’-kāra  (‘A’ in ‘U’ and ‘U’ in ‘M’.) Note: Cause of Viśva is Taijasa, cause of Taijasa is Prājna, cause of prājna is Ātman, the supreme consciousness.

51. Having dissolved Prājna in the supreme consciousness (it’s source), he should contemplate ‘I am Brahman’ or (So-Ham) the object of knowledge, free from deception, the faultless, the eternal, the supreme Lord (Para-Brahman)

52. Thus always established in the eternal supreme Self, having forgotten his worldly connections remains ever contented in his own blissful Self, evidently as a result of constantly staying in this eternal unbroken Blissful state of Self, he attains mukti (emancipation) and he resembles a calm vast ocean.

53. He who thus continually observes samādhi in this manner, and has renounced objects of his passions which are his enemies and has attained the six attributes of Ātman [1], can always see Me.

[1] Note: In another translation, it is mentioned that he who has won a total victory over all the inner enemies, he who has lifted himself from the six main urges of the body

Sanskrit word is जितषड्गुणात्मन: i.e. has won six guṇa-s of Ātman - Aiṣvarya, sarvavyāpitva, yaṣa, ṣrī, Jnāna and vairagya

54. Thus contemplating on the Self day and night, the saint (maharṣi) detached from all attachments should remain without egoism dependent on his fate (Prārabhdha karma). He eventually enters in Me.

55. Having believed the beginning, the middle, and the end of the world a source of fear and sorrow, and renouncing all the sakāma karma, he should worship the Self in him as the supreme Self who dwells in all beings.


55. Understanding this samsara to be the cause of fear and grief in the beginning (childhood), in the middle (youth), and similarly also in the end (old age), the seeker should give up all identification with the equipments. Renouncing all other sadhanas prescribed in the Vedas, let him learn to contemplate steadily upon the Self in him as the one infinite Self everywhere.

56. Having contemplated on the Self as undivided, he then becomes identical with Me., just a water in ocean, milk in milk, air in air, and sky in sky.

57. Throughout his stay among people he looks upon it as an illusion, which fact is borne out by the Vedas as well as logic; just as the moon appears of different forms to some, and also sometimes a mistakehappens about true direction of Diṣā (space).

58. So long as one does not see Self in every object, he should constantly worship the supreme, I am day and night visible to my faithful devotee in his own consciousness.

59. Mr. dear! I have, after determining told thee the secrets (sahasyam) of the Vedas, collectively. The wise who will consider over and follow them, will be released from bondage immediately.

60. Brother, this jagat (world) that you see is nothing but al illusion. Renounce all from your mind, by means of worshipping Me, you shall live happily (free from pain), and with peace of mind.

61. Whosoever now and then heartily worships Me, with or without attributes, (i.e. saguṇa or nirguṇa) he attains Me; ; just as the sun sanctifies the three worlds, by touching them with the duct of his feet.

62. Whosoever, with faith in Me. And in his Guru, studies attentively this condensed philosophy of Vedas, stated by Me, who am One and knowable by the Vedānta philosophy, he shall enter in Me, is, in fact becomes one with Me.

|| OM Tat Sat ||

2. Rama Gita Translated by Swami Vijnanananda of Ramakrishna Mission, Published by Advaita Ashram, Kolkata.

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