"Self-realization is meant to ensure fulfilment for one’s own self. It is not reaching somewhere or getting at something external, like going to the peak of a mountain. The attainment is in dissolving the mind and intelligence, and getting into the very core of oneself. In other words, it is like multiplying everything with zero."

The Guiding force of Narayanashrama Tapovanam & Center for Inner Resources Development

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha


Articles for Saadhana

Listen to Prabhaata-rashmih Audio

Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

We are discussing about the qualities or qualifications of a seeker of supreme truth. We spoke about viveka, particularly nitya-anitya-vastu-vivekaḥ, the art and process of discriminating between the real and the unreal. When you apply this standard, you will find including our body the entire world, including the planet earth, everything is perishable. Naturally there must be something imperishable- what is that? And we locate there is something which is constantly and changelessly referred to as ‘I’ and that must be the substratum for all the changes. This is viveka.

Then as a result of viveka you grow dispassion towards everything in this world and the other world. The things in this world are the sensory delights, comforts, luxuries and what not. That there is another world and there are so many joys available, swarga, naraka etc. are statements made by our Vedas. Only in a matter of belief you can have these. They are not subject to verification. Nevertheless, the human mind has an ambition for them, why? Because all the comforts and glories we have will stop when the body falls. So the one habituated to these comforts and delights will feel a sense of loss at least in his imagination now. So he wants to be assured of something comfortable hereafter. Is there a way of achieving it? Okay perform this ritual or that ritual. So it is mostly on a premise which is in the nature of belief. You have to grow dispassion towards things of this world and the other world, imaginary heaven and the like.

Then mumukshutvam, I said, a burning aspiration for getting liberation, freeing the mind from its shackles, freeing the intelligence from its curiosity and doubt and have a very stable, clear, poised mind and intelligence. That mind and intelligence will start radiating, revealing the subject presence in this object body. At present, you don’t have a revelation or radiation of the subject. Heat radiates from our body, maybe magnetism and other things also. Sound we constantly generate. Actually, every sound that comes out of the body in the way of speech is completely generated by the vocal system. What gets transmuted as sound and how do the sounds get ideas evolved elsewhere? So, there is an ideating source. What is that source?

Philosophy is a quest for knowledge and particularly philosophy aims at discovering or unraveling either the ultimate reality in the world or the source of knowledge. If our mouth emits a number of sounds which have ideas to convey, units of knowledge, automatically it means that there is somewhere within our body a source which generates these ideas. Where is that source? What is the source of knowledge?

The source of knowledge and the source of material universe, the Ultimate Reality are the same. This is the greatest statement that India has made. When you probe into the source of material or energial existence, we arrive at a stage where both matter and energy apparently cease to be and the observing consciousness survives. So the source of everything that is perceived is within us. It is neither matter nor energy and that is what they call ‘Brahman’, the Supreme Reality. And what is Brahman? It is the Self. And what is the Self? The knowledge ‘I’.

So, the knowledge is the ultimate reality. When you know that this is so, all our problems come to a cessation. To which extent you can make this knowledge functional and to which extent you can grow in your dimension is left to the individual seeker. Some people will know and like Ravana, postpone acting upon it. Some people will be greatly touched, stunned by the revelation or discovery and they will say that “If knowledge is Supreme and the source of knowledge is only within the human, then why is it that so much of fanfare for the external things? It is not right.”, and he may do whatever he further likes to do.

Now, we come to a set of six important virtues or traits. Śama-damādi-ṣatka-sampattiḥ. Śatka means an aggregate of six, sampattiḥ means enrichment. The first is śama. The word śamaḥ means:

सदैव वासनात्यागः शमोऽयमिति शब्दितः
Sadaiva vāsanā-tyāgah śamo yamiti śabditaḥ
(Aparokshānubhūtiḥ 6)

We generally have a number of desires, latent tendencies coiled up in the mind and these tendencies are at the back of all our activities and interactions and these tendencies are always focused on things other than ourselves. No one is there to say ‘I want myself’, ‘I desire myself’. Everybody desires something else. Desire can transpire only in the context of atleast a second factor and that factor is different from you, oneself. So, vāsanā is the latent tendency towards the things of the world.

Śama, the quality means sadā eva - always, vāsanā-tyāgah, you should be habitually and consistently eschewing, avoiding, abandoning the desires, not grow them or pursue them and try to fulfill them. “Swamiji, is it ever possible? Are not the things of the world to be desired? And should we not have an enjoyment of these?” This is a question everyone will raise or want to raise. There is an answer to it provided you are sensitive and intelligent, you can understand it.

You may desire an external object like a set of sofa. You may possess it, quite all right, we have no objection. First of all, it is a desire and the desire is sprouting in the mind. You are following the desire in the external sphere, as a result of which you get the furniture and put it at home. Very good, I have no objection. Is it the arrival of the furniture that really counts or following the arrival whatever desire the mind had, that desire has become extinct? Suppose the desire continues to be there, then you would again run after the furniture and procure it. Mark my words very clearly, don’t get confused. I want you to be bold, simple and upright. It is a desire of the mind that you pursued and after pursuit, it is the desire of the mind that becomes extinct.

So, when you pursue a desire and fulfill it, what happens? Where the desire originally began, there itself it becomes extinct. So, desire fulfillment means what - the absence of that desire, its extinction. When all the desires are fulfilled, what will happen? The desired objects may be around you, but so far as the mind is concerned, it is extinction of the desires that takes place.

Now interpret the whole process in your mind level. Mind produces a desire, the senses and the body pursue, finally get the desired object. Then what happens? That desire is no more in the mind. So, it is desire extinction that we are seeking through desire fulfillment. If that is so, all desires when fulfilled, no desire will be there in your mind. So, why don’t you directly attempt that no-desire state right from the beginning? Where is it to be attempted - in your mind.

You make a lot of effort to procure the object of desire and ultimately you find the mind becomes calm. That desire is no more there. So, all the fanfare for fulfilling desires is only to make the desire extinct in the mind. So, why don’t you attempt the desire extinction and its preservation itself directly and wholesomely right from the beginning? This is called śama. By so doing, do you lose anything - not at all. Do you gain anything - yes. That all-fulfilled state of the mind will continue without any external effort and without any external object.

Now, there are details you can discuss. But I would like you in a seed form to think about this fundamental truth. In Vivekacūḍāmaṇi, there is a verse which says:

ज्ञाते वस्तुन्यपि बलवती वासनानादिरेषा
कर्ता भोक्ताप्यहमिति दृढा यास्य संसारहेतुः ।
प्रत्यग्दृष्ट्यात्मनि निवसता सापनेया प्रयत्नात्
मुक्तिं प्राहुस्तदिह मुनयो वासनातानवं यत् ।।
jñāte vastuny-api balavatī vāsanānādireṣā
kartā bhoktāpy-aham-iti dṛḍhā yāsya saṃsāra-hetuḥ |
Pratyag-dṛṣṭyātmani nivasatā sāpaneyā prayatnāt
Muktim prāhus-tadiha munayo vāsanā-tānavam yat ||
(Vivekacūḍāmaṇi 268)

You are after all an aggregate. In the aggregate, some psycho-physical factors and constituents are there. Mind is there, intelligence is there; they have their own hereditary traits. So even when the supreme truth of self is explained to you, the latent tendencies or desires will continue very strongly and these desires make you think that ‘I am a doer’, ‘I am an enjoyer’, ‘I am a sufferer’. These are very strong.

These agitations in the mind, these notions in the mind will have to be treated and set right by what process? Pratyag-dṛṣṭyātmani nivasatā sāpaneyā prayatnāt - By your inner inward absorption, by abiding in the self repeatedly, you will understand that to desire is redundant, to desire is irksome, to desire is unnecessary. When you know it, automatically the desires will fall. Such falling of the desire is called attenuation or extinction of desires and that is real mukti or freedom.

So, there is a lot of gap between getting exposed to the self, knowing it and then reaching a state of redemption characterized by the extinction of desires. Muktim prahuḥ tadiha munayo vāsanā-tānavam yat. Who can question and invalidate this proposition? Desire sprouts in the mind and fulfillment of desire is a requirement of the mind. When the desire is fulfilled, necessarily the desire should become extinct. So, what is it in the language of the mind that we are attempting? Is it not desire extinction means no desire? Why don’t you try it right from the beginning? It is a safe, inner, sublime pursuit. This is called śamaḥ.

So, if a man practices śamo-guṇa, don’t think he is a fool; he is most wise. That is why he attempts it. When the mind is fully desire-free, it is free to bring out the best of creative thoughts, the best of imaginations. It is from such a desire-extinct state that Sage Valmiki wrote a 24,000-verse scripture called Ramayana, Veda Vyasa wrote all that he wrote including Mahabharatam of 1,25,000 verses. A desire-full mind will not be able to write it. When the mind is desiring, it is under tension, agitation and stress. When the mind becomes free, transparent and spatial, that is the time when all the universe, good things will enter it and you will have the best of motivation, the best of persuasion, inspiration, enthusiasm, fervor and perseverance. What is there for you to lose – nothing! And what is there for you to gain - many things. This is how the mechanism works. This śama-guṇa is one of the six traits which a seeker has to cultivate, grow, evaluate and then be nourished by.

Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

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