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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.
The Hindu dharma or Sanātana dharma has been prevailing in this land for many a millennium. I always say that it was in the Gangetic plains that the most ancient dharmic and Vedic thoughts began to emerge. We have no clear idea as to how long this process took in order to evolve into a systematic procedure and progress, climaxing itself with the Upanishadic thoughts, enquiries and findings.
You will find in the Vedas, two important sections. One is the so-called rituals and ceremonies. These are very elaborate. Initially it was only hymns, addressed to different superhuman powers high up in the sky. Very soon they wanted to follow up these hymns and praises with some ceremonial offers, for which they ignited the fire in a ceremonial altar, and started making oblations, chanting various Vedic compositions. But this did not satisfy them at all. So, after some time, they were led to retreat from the ceremonial life to get into a period of contemplation. This gave a new focus to their enquiry and efforts, and ultimately they arrived at the Supreme truth.
The manner in which they arrived at the supreme truth is clearly recorded in the Upanishads which are the finale of Vedic life and thinking. This is one part of it. The country, as well as its people, must have existed for many, many millennia thereafter. Now, if you look at the whole of the Hindu dharma, you will find, there are two important personalities around which the entire dharma prevails. One is Sri Rama, whose biography Sage Valmiki has written in a very elaborate manner. I would like to stress that in the whole of Ramayana you will only the Prince and the King Rama, nobody else. Either Rama is a prince or he has become a king. And if you go through you will find most of the Ramayana occupies the portions when Rama was in the forest exile. There is a lot of meaning when we study the subject and study what Valmiki has written, in a very careful manner.
So Sri Rama’s life represents, on the one hand, a very loyal prince’s life. The integrity and also the inner merit of an individual come to be counted when it comes to a question of having control over the mind and its emotions and then being able to handle them very carefully. Of all the things the mind can do, sacrifice is the most crucial one. So, when it came to a question of abandoning the throne or abandoning the abhisheka, the crowning ceremony, instead going to the forest for 14 years, Sri Rama did not doubt or think for a while. He said, “Before the sun sets today, Rama will have left Ayodhya.” Later on when it came to a question of abandoning his pregnant wife Sītā, there also he is shown with an unprecedented splendor. The greatness of the human mind consists in the sacrifice it is able to muster and give expression to. This is what we find in Sri Rama’s life.
Then the second personality that we have is Krishna. Sri Krishna’s personality, right from the beginning, has got a number of supernatural elements, which we don’t find in Rama’s life. So, the entire cultural and dharmic thoughts of our country had undergone a strange evolution and also revolution, as a result of which they found it was necessary to have a Krishna life as a compliment to Rama life. We find Krishna’s life mentioned in Mahabharatam, but in Mahabharatam it is invariably the life of a human with human excellences, human powers, and human greatness. Apparently, our thinkers found that this was not sufficient. People would like to have something in the way of adoration. They cannot adore anybody unless the adored has got exemplary and exceptional greatness and other elements. So, they started grafting on Krishna’s personality right before his birth, many supernatural elements. That is how you find Kamsa, while driving Devaki to her in-laws’ house after marriage, suddenly intercepted by an ethereal voice which said that the son born to your sister as the 8th son will kill you. This is a supernatural element added to Krishna’s life. Like that, from then on, it is all super natural. So, Krishna’s life came to be adored because the ordinary human mind wants a number of supernatural and very strange elements. The more these are there, the greater and deeper becomes their devotion.
Why I am mentioning all this? In Krishna’s life, apart from the supernatural elements which are associated with him, you will find two important human instances. What are they? His dialogue with Arjuna, during the battle of Kurukshetra, right in the battlefield, before the commencement of the discharge of arrows. Another conversation he had in a leisurely manner was in Dwaraka with Uddhava.
Muktisudhakaram is an exposition, primarily of this second dialogue. Krishna did not want to leave anything in this world except the two conversations of his. I think Dwaraka is not there. His clan also has gone. Nothing he wanted to leave, only the two things – his conversation with Arjuna in the battlefield, and his dialogue with Uddhava in Dwaraka. These are the only two factors which are surviving. These conversations are, for many reasons, or for strange reasons, they are very, very complimentary.
Traditionally there is an assessment. If Bhagavad Geeta is vidhi, Uddhava Gita, the dialogue with Uddhava, is vidhisesha. So, you will find a number of other elements incorporated in Uddhava Geeta. I would like to put it in this manner. From salt to camphor, everything about Hinduism is contained in Uddhava Geeta. I am now exposing something like the 17th chapter of Ekadasa skanda, the 11th skanda of Srimad Bhagavatam and I think the skanda has about 31 chapters. I am in the 17th chapter now, so far as Muktisudhakaram is concerned. The more and more I read it, I think about it, what I find is that everything is the mind, everything is the mind. Krishna repeatedly emphasizes (nobody would expect this kind of a statement from him) He repeatedly emphasizes to Uddhava, that the whole world, the whole universe is nothing but a mind display, mind display, mind display. Whether the mind has power to bring about such a display, if you ask, the answer is our dream. In the dream, the mind alone is there within us, and this mind produces gross physical objects like the earth, the stars, sun, moon etc. and all of them are wrapped up when you wake up. So, don’t question whether the mind has got the potential to create a visible, external, infinite world. Never question that. The mind already does it in the form of dream. The only point is you wake up from dream and the dream world vanishes. In the same manner, when you sleep, the waking world also vanishes. Only when you wake up again, wake up again, the same world appears. Suppose you had a dream yesterday, dream X, and today also you have the same dream X, what will it be like? Exactly so, is the waking world. So, the mind has got capacity, no doubt.
And finally, he also makes one addition, that’s all. What is that? He does not merely stop saying that, it is all the consciousness, the mind, that alone does. He also equates this consciousness with God. He uses the word ātmā, ātmā, repeatedly. At the same time, follows it by saying ‘I’, ‘I’. So that equating God with the Self, equating Self with the God, is the only additional factor I find in the Krishna-Uddhava dialogue. Otherwise it is very much the same as Bhagavad Gita.
Then he has gone into so many details. There is also a clear portion there, where he explains as I mentioned ‘from salt to camphor’, everything about varnas, ashramas, etc. We are all Hindus but if you are asked who is a Hindu or what is a Hindu, you have no answer at all. So, what is meant by Hinduism, how does one become a Hindu, what are the cardinals by virtue of which a Hindu is made so, what are the reforming, refining and cultural processes? Our life has to be cultured. The word culture is called saṁskāra. This is something that you have to administer to your own personality, to the members of your family, particularly to your children, and we have 16 such practices, and the first of which starts from garbhādhāna, the act of impregnating. So, that is something to be thought about seriously, and before that, the whole body and the would be sperm, everything will have to be purified. Similarly, the uterus, the womb has to be purified. The biological heredity will no doubt be there, but we also want a psycho-intellectual heredity to be there. Now, all these are meant by the first garbhādhāna process. Following that, we have 15 other elements, ending up with antyeṣṭi, the post death ceremonies administered to the dead body. Now, this is what is meant by Hinduism. Now, everything is called culturing, the process of culturing, saṁskāras. Like that, you will find many things are mentioned there.
But the prime emphasis is on the illusory nature of the world. That everything is the mind display, and mind itself is an expression of consciousness, and this consciousness is the Supreme truth, and that alone is god.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.
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