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Harih Om Tat Sat. Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.
This is a verse from Vivekachudamani. Vivekachudamani is said to be last text that Sankaracharya wrote. Naturally, you can expect the rarest accomplishment that he had fully manifest in this wonderful creation. In 500 and odd verses of poetic composition, Sankara explains in all detail the entire spiritual life of seeking, its progress, the different aspects of refinement, reformation, sublimation, enrichment, elevation, expansion and finally enlightenment spread over it very beautifully.
If our Vedantic science was not expressed in poetry, I feel the science would have lost Bhoomananda Swami because I would not have interest in reading all this in prose and remember it. In fact in my life, I have not remembered any prose except perhaps two pieces, one is from a letter Jawaharlal Nehru wrote to Indira Priyadarshini, his daughter from the navy prison. Another is in the fancy dress competition one student from Vadakkānchery during my school days came and presented a piece of English. I don’t know how I committed it to my memory. I would like to tell you that for the sake of the humor it carries - “After a deep consideration, I came to the conclusion that the London Matriculation Exam is a great botheration to the Indian nation”. This is what I heard and I remember it even now.
As for Jawaharlal Nehru, he writes “On your birthday, you are in the habit of receiving presents and good wishes. Good wishes you will still have in full measure but what present can I send you from navy prison? My presents cannot be very material or solid. They can be of the air and of the spirit such as a good fairy might have bestowed upon you, things that even the high walls of navy prison cannot stop.” In this message, what appealed to me then as well as now, it still remains. He speaks about “Good wishes you will still have in full measure. What present can I send you from this prison? My presents can be of the heart and mind. You know that part of it which the high walls of navy prison cannot stop.”
So our thoughts, our feelings, our emotions, the mento-intellectual rewards we want to pronounce or give to anyone, the walls of prison cannot stop. They work on a different plane. This kind of a thought I think must have evoked me. But for poetry, I would not have learnt this at all but as poetry it has always delighted me, appealed to me, corrected me, informed me, reformed me, refined me. Every time, one verse is sufficient. If I remember the Subhāshitās, some of them or one of them even which I learnt during my school days, that one is sufficient. It becomes a lifelong discipline and enrichment and you can remember it.
A few months back, I started recapturing all the verses I knew. During the morning walk, I started remembering and some of the verses which I have forgotten when the brain was applied, somehow words after words because of their poetic sequence, I think I was able to jot down more than 600 verses. This is how poetry has been in my life, as part of my life, I have been a part of poetry also. So when I quote this verse:
It becomes an ideal, it becomes a value. How do you cultivate the items which Sankara pronounces there? Only by remembering them, reciting them, vibrating the mind after their words, I think this is how cultivation is done. When you have to cultivate strength to your body, apart from food you take exercises. Exercise means giving specific movements to the different limbs of the body, joints of the body. In the same manner, you should make the mind vibrant with qualities. When the mind becomes vibrant with the qualities, the qualities grow; they become part of the mind.
Vairagya-bodhau. Hearing and understanding is one, but cultivating is another. In the process of cultivation, repeated chanting, making the mind vibrate with the words and letters is the only process, nothing else is the process. It is not meditation even, writing even, but it is vibrating the mind or the consciousness with the words.
So it says Vairagya and Bodha are like the two wings of a bird. Imagine the seeker is the bird. Now he has to get to the top of a saudhāgratala. There is a palatial building of liberation – ātma-jñāna and he has to get to the top and he is down below. The seeker must have the two wings of Vairagya and Bodha - Viveka; by swinging them, fluttering them, he will be able to reach there. So Vairagya and Viveka are so very important.
When you understand something, understanding is perhaps in the intelligence. The understanding to be true, the mind will have to imbibe it. When the mind imbibes the understanding, automatically it becomes evident in your character, behavior and interaction. Throughout my life, I have done like this. When I know something, that knowledge becomes part of my being, if that knowledge has something to do with my character or perception, the character changes or the perception changes. According to that, the behavior also, equally so the interaction. If the interaction fails or becomes insufficient in this quality, understand that the understanding is not deep and wholesome enough. So make it wholesome, spend some time. As I always say, the number of mind hours you spend on a quality will determine whether you have become qualitative enriched by that quality.
So Viveka helps you to understand what is good, what is beneficial, what is proper, what is lasting and the opposite, what is bad, what is non-beneficial and what is fleeting. Why are you thinking like this? You are thinking like this only to eschew or reject the undesirable and cultivate and incorporate the desirable. So when the Viveka grows, correspondingly undesirable elements vacate you and the desirable elements take their place. Is it not a natural process?
My dear souls, this is jñāna sādhanā. In jñāna sadhana, there is no telling of beads, no walking around a place. In jñāna sādhanā, things are revolved in your mind and intelligence and thereby, all the correction, all inclusions, all eliminations, all the refinement will be achieved. Actually, revolve these in your mind only for this accomplishment. Otherwise don’t spend time. So this is an experiential sādhanā, a sādhanā where you experience; it is in the experiential level.
So you develop Viveka as a result of which eliminate the undesirable, incorporate the desirable, become more and more a repository of virtue, goodness, elevation and growth. Nobody else will know about you. You have to cultivate. And the cultivation is done by reading and by repeated introspection. I call it truthful introspection. Introspection everybody does but with regard to professional details, external world etc. This introspection is meant to infuse its benefits into your system. So I call it infusional introspection with a view to instill the benefit, the process into your mind which means character, behavior and interaction.
Vairagya means dispassion. How do you grow dispassion? When you know by Viveka that your area is not so much the object world but the subject magnificence. Everything is in the form of experience. The experience is not physical. The experience is inner. Body is matter and energy. It cannot produce experience. So the experience is coming from a supra-material and a supra-energial source namely consciousness. Mind, intelligence and ego are functional units of consciousness.
What is walking? Walking is a movement and expression of the legs. Likewise, when consciousness functions in a certain manner, it is called mind. When it does mentation, it is called mind; when it does intellection, it is called intellect; when it does assertion, it is called ego. But the substance is the same whether you walk, stand, run, sit or squat, the substance is the same, the legs! All are processes. Similarly mentation is a process, intellection is a process, assertion is a process but the substance involved is consciousness.
So all experiences are in the consciousness level. In that consciousness level, you understand that my interest is in the subject level, not in the object level. My body is an object, the world is an object. Let the object interaction take place as a natural corollary of life. But my interest is in the experiential level, in the consciousness level. In the experiential level, I get delight. So the delight is subjective and personal. If the delight is subjective and personal and it belongs to the mind, in order to have my delight should I look into the mind or into the world? The answer is very clear.
Joy of any kind is emotional and generated by the mind. So keeping the mind as the source of delight and joy, why are you begging for it from the world? Why don’t you generate it? Let the mind generate joy independently without taking to any sensory interaction. Is it possible - Yes! All the joy even now is emotional, produced by the mind. So cultivate your thoughts in such a manner that you will start getting joy from the mind directly! That is what religion and philosophy are meant for.
You undergo the purity of the mind. You undergo the subtlety and refinement of the intelligence. When the mind is pure and the intelligence becomes subtle and refined, automatically the perception of self, the experience of the self follows. Will you believe it when I say? If you cannot understand, at least have faith!
There are statements like this. “What is God? Purity of mind is God. “What is the self? The expansion of the intelligence.” Our self is called cidākāśa. The sky is called dravyākāśa. Dravyākāśa is around us, visible to the eyes. Cidākāśa is inside, which is far more infinite than the external, infinite, material sky. That Cidākāśa is actually in the way of understanding, an intellectual experience. I don’t like to call it intellectual, intelligential experience to show its refinement. When the intelligence is able to conceive, initially you conceptualize it, later on you realize it. That realization of the cidākāśa is the nature of the Self. The whole process is worked by the purity of the mind and the refinement and subtlety of the intelligence.
Tathā tathā paśyati vastu sūkṣmaṁ, says Krishna. When your mind is purified by chanting the name of God, by listening to the stories of God,
By listening to divine stories, by chanting the name of God, by singing Godly songs, when your system undergoes more and more purity, proportionately you will realize the subtle presence in your body which animates and activates the otherwise inert body. It is only by purity, inner purity. You don’t require anything like yoga, yogāsana, praṇāyāma or mudrās; they are good for the body.
Every day, I walk briskly for half-an-hour. Then I take this push-up exercise for 35 times; then I take the Bhastrika praṇāyāma. My general goal is 550 times. I can take some other items also. Sometimes I forget, sometimes I don’t have time. Then I start swinging around in both the directions. Then turn this way, that way. I hold on to a high bar and twist the body this way and that way. I start bending, pressing my arms against the door backward. I like to skip but the doctors say I should not do it at this age.
So exercise is necessary. Yogāsanas are perhaps the best. Without using any external gadget, you can submit the body to 200 or 250 poses. Can you imagine? Praṇāyāma is another, mudras are still different. Take a piece of clean cloth, swallow it, swallow it. Let it go to the stomach and in the stomach it will start curling and when you pull it out, you will find a lot of mucus coming out. Drink water stomach full, over full and then insert two fingers into the mouth and touch the yonder small tongue. Then you will start vomiting. You will find a lot of mucus also flows with the water. Pour water into one of the nostrils, let it flow through the other. Like that so many mudras are there. All these are not spiritual at all but we call it spiritual because it has got a background; only spiritual people go to them, otherwise they go to physiotherapy and gymnasium.
But here spirituality is only this. You imagine people who are chanting Vedas. They chant, chant and only by recitation they get purified but poor people they only chant. Understanding is different. It takes ten years for learning a Veda, another ten years for understanding the meaning, so who will have so much time?
When I was correcting them in the recitation, every day they are reciting and because of inattention it became what – janmān-eka- śataih. It should be recited as janmāneka – aneka, that is the word. So a little inattention will mean mispronunciation. So this is something very very attention demanding. I thought of telling you how these recitations are bringing about the necessary purity and sharpness and more and more of knowledge until at last the subtle Self reveals itself. Even then you continue.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.