We are currently in a world where nothing is in order. The entire world is running here and there trying to solve one problem after the other. When we thought the economy recession was the only problem, the winter storms are coming one after the other (in the west). And not to mention the big earthquake in Haiti which has left many people in the country suffering. It is not just the suffering that the people of Haiti faced that comes to mind but the news about such people taking resort to even stealing and other ways to get some food and other materials. When there are nations trying to help the country, the various nations themselves are arguing amongst themselves as to who will help first etc. Not to mention various religious people trying to convert the children of Haiti; thus the entire world is in a chaotic situation.
This incident of calm people of Haiti taking resort to violence shows us as to what all can we be lead to when we face dire situations in our lives. This should make us realize one as to how temporary life is and we could become the next suffering people in the world with one strike of nature (like the Tsunami few years back); and two is that there will no dearth for desires and when we face situations where our desires cannot be fulfilled through the righteous way, we will take resort to non-righteous way. This doesn’t mean that righteous people will realize and rejoice in bliss but that they will be in a better state to at least have a chance for realization in the future than non-righteous people.
Thus it is very important that we don’t waste this precious human birth given to us in order to realize our very nature of non-dual reality of blissful Brahman. We don’t have to renounce everything, shave our head and live on the streets in order to achieve this. We just have to constantly remember this entire world of names and forms to be just an illusion in the non-dual reality of Brahman as the pulsating Consciousness (pulsating inside us as “I-exist, I-exist”). This doesn’t require money, lot of time, effort etc. It just requires a desire for liberation from the sorrowful world and a resolution of implementing it in our lives whatever it takes.
At least remembering the goal to be achieved through this implementation, we should strive towards implementing it. If we start implementing Vedanta now, we will at least be successful by the end of this birth or at least in a couple of births. If we don’t realize it now, then it may be too late when we want to try to implement it. The older we grow, the lesser our sense organs and intellect will perform; thus we will not be able to analyze and assert this world to be an illusion in Brahman and will not be able to constantly remember Brahman in our minds.
Let us thereby not waste any more time in implementing this simple sadhana of remembering in our mind that this entire world is one non-dual reality of Brahman and Brahman alone thereby making us rejoice in bliss soon in this very birth itself.
Let us also pray for the welfare and peace of the entire world – let us take the resolution to keeping Haiti and its people in our prayers – let us also try to help in whatever way we can the suffering people of Haiti remembering that they are also our very Self of Brahman.
AUM NAMAH SHIVAYA
Vedanta Darshanam 1
Guru Mahima 4
Mukhya Vishayam 8
Sankshiptha Vedanta 15
Upanishad Prachaaram 22
Raga Varsha 26
Sanskritha shiksha 41
Sanatana Dharma Sameeksha - snatn xmR smI]a 44
Vedanta Pariksha 46
Anukramaanika Nirdesham 54
Let us continue with the slokas of Gita popularly known today as “Guru Slokas”.
Tat padam darshitham yena tasmai sree gurave namaha Brahman which is of the form of this entire world; Brahman that pervades the moving and non-moving (objects of the world); he who shows us that goal of “TAT” or “Brahman”, to such a Guru my prostrations.
Sarva vyaapi chit – all pervasive Consciousness
We often hear about Brahman or Ishwara as pervading the entire world. Many times in discourses and other places, we hear this description of Ishwara as one who doesn’t just abide in the idol that we see in the temple but as pervading the entire world that we perceive (including the other world which we currently don’t perceive). Yama when questioned by Nachiketha in Katha Upanishad as to what is there beyond this world answered that whatever is there here is only present there (here means this world and there means the other world or world-after) and vice versa.
Though many of us know this description of Brahman as pervading the entire world, rarely will a person know as to why and how Brahman pervades the entire world. It requires some understanding of Vedanta to grasp the reason behind Brahman being all-pervasive. The reason is very simple and once we get a grasp of the same we will be able to remember it at all times (never forgetting this ultimate truth). The added advantage of remembering the reason behind Brahman being all-pervasive is that once we remember this truth, it is implementation of Vedanta which will give us the goal of blissful Brahman very soon (sama darshanam or equanimity is the way to realize Brahman as it is vision of truth – the truth that the world we currently perceive is Brahman alone).
Without much delay let us see the reason for Brahman being all-pervasive. The world that we perceive is constantly changing – each and every minute objects and people are changing. This changing world thus is an effect of a cause – the cause has to be non-changing as changes are possible only in a changeless entity. Thus the cause of the changing world is a changeless entity. This changeless entity is termed in Vedanta as Brahman or Lord – of the nature of Existence, Consciousness and Bliss absolute. It doesn’t require much analysis to understand that the world requires the light of Consciousness to exist – without Consciousness, the entire world will cease to exist. Thus the source of this insentient world is sentient Brahman. Taking an example to analyze this cause-effect relationship, the cause of mud creates the effect of pot out of it. The cause of mud pervades the effect of pot – pot has mud throughout. Or in other words mud pervades the pot – the difference or that which differentiates pot from mud is the name of “pot” and the particular “form”. Names and forms don’t create a new entity but they just make it appear as if a new entity has been created. Thus mud alone exists throughout the pot. In a similar way, Brahman alone exists through the world as Brahman is the cause of the changing name-form world. Names and forms make it appear as if objects of the world are different from one-another and as if the world is different from Brahman – in essence, the world is Brahman and Brahman alone as without Conscious Brahman the world cannot even exist for one moment.
Thus the real-cause-Brahman pervades the illusory-effect-world. The effect of world is just an illusion of names and forms – not real at all. We saw in the previous issue that the Guru is one with Brahman. Thus Guru is all-pervasive with respect to the world – all moving and non-moving objects of the world are just illusions of names and forms in Brahman and hence Brahman pervades them.
This means that the entire world is filled in and out with the Guru. This also means that such a Guru thereby is a living embodiment of the truth of Brahman – that Brahman who is indicated through the word of “TAT” or “THAT” in the mahavakya of TAT TVAM ASI or THAT THOU ART. Therefore a shishya who is able to develop devotion and surrender to the Guru would be able to see the Guru as pervading the entire world – such a shishya would be thinking about the Guru, seeing the Guru in everything and remembering the Guru at all times. This constant remembrance of the Guru is constant remembrance of Brahman and such remembrance of Brahman as pervading this entire world is the direct sadhana for realization (termed as anusandhaanam or nidhidhyaasanam in Vedanta).
Sthaavaram jangamam vyaaptham yat kinchitsacharaacharam
Tvampadam darshitham yena tasmai sree gurave namaha The Self which pervades the living and non-living, moving and non-moving; he who shows us that Self indicated through the word of “TVAM” or “YOU” in the mahavakya of TAT TVAM ASI or THAT THOU ART, to such a Guru my prostrations.
TAT TVAM ASI – THAT THOU ART
This mahavakya of TAT TVAM ASI is well known to most of us. This is from the sama vedeeya Chandogya Upanishad where the Guru-father of Uddhalaka instructs the Shishya-son of Svethakethu not just once but nine times with different analogies in order for the son to grasp it fully. This mahavakya is called upadesha vakya in that it is instruction given by the Guru to the Shishya asserting that the shishya isn’t different from the Brahman preached in the scriptures – that Brahman which alone exists here as the non-dual reality of Consciousness. Put in other words, the Guru is instructing the shishya that the Chit or Consciousness that pulsates inside you as “I-exist, I-exist” is Brahman alone and not different from Brahman.
The TAT in the mahavakya denotes Brahman and TVAM denotes the Self that pulsates inside as “I-exist, I-exist” – both are one and the same. This oneness is denoted through the word of ASI. What this mahavakya means is that we think currently that we are different from blissful Brahman as we are limited and suffering every moment of our lives. But in essence or reality we are one with Brahman – it is just an illusion of ignorance that makes us feel as if we are different from Brahman. Once we realize our very nature of Consciousness different and distinct from the body-mind-intellect complex, we will be able to rejoice in bliss (that bliss which is the very goal of life and seeking which we do all worldly activities and thereby take many births over and over again).
In the previous sloka Siva said that Guru shows us the term of TAT and in this sloka Siva says that Guru shows us the term of TVAM – this means that the Guru shows us the oneness of the term of TAT and TVAM through making us realize our very nature of non-dual Brahman (the state where the Guru already resides – only a person who is abiding as Brahman can guide another to realize Brahman). It is now easy to figure out that the next sloka would have the Guru defined as one who shows the term of ASI (meaning).
Chinmayam vyaapitham sarvam trailokyam sacharaacharam
Asitvam darshitham yena tasmai sree gurave namaha That which is of the nature of Consciousness and pervades the three worlds of moving and non-moving objects; he who shows us that Brahman denoted by the term of “ASI” or “ARE”, to such a Guru my prostrations.
Scriptures speak about not three worlds but 14 worlds in total – seven of which are lower than Earth or Bhoo loka (which we reside in currently) and six are higher than Bhoo. Here Siva just speaks about three worlds alone – this means the bhoo loka where happiness and sorrow both are experienced, svarga or suva loka where happiness alone is experienced (temporary happiness and not eternal bliss) and pathaala loka (lower lokas) where sorrow alone is experienced. These three lokas are representatives of the 14 worlds – these worlds are attained by people due to the actions performed by them. The better actions a person performs with respect to the rules of the scriptures, the better or higher world will be attained. The bad the action is, the lower the world will be and thereby sorrow will be experienced. Thus going from lower to higher, a person experiences sorrow alone (temporary happiness is also a source of sorrow as it doesn’t stay for long). Thus performing actions a person goes from one birth to another – but this bhoo loka is the best of lokas as here we are experiencing both happiness and sorrow; it is like a neutral world. Such a neutral world or state alone can make us think, analyze and assert that all the pleasures of any world are temporary and thereby sorrowful. Thus analyzing we will be able to strive to achieve the eternal bliss which is always available to us in the form of our very nature of Consciousness and as the essence of the entire world of names-forms (TVAM as Self and TAT as Brahman).
Thus though all the worlds are pervaded by Brahman, the world that we currently are in is apt for realization and hence we often hear about the greatness of human life (bhoo loka). This is thus a wake-up call to us to utilize this human life to realize our very nature of eternal bliss thereby putting an end to these worlds and actions that take us to these worlds; but making us ever rejoice in bliss. May us until the next issue try to perform the sadhana towards realization of Brahman through seeing Brahman everywhere so that we don’t waste this precious human birth.