Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Sloka 17 and Sloka 18


tachchintana.n tatkathanamanyonya.n tatprabodhanam.h
etadekaparatva.n cha brahmaabhyaasa.n vidurbudhaaH .. 17..

Budhaha: the wise ones
Viduhu: came to know (and teach)
Brahmaabhyasyaam: the practice of brahmanhood (i.e. ones own identity with Brahman) (as consisting in)
Tat chintanam: meditated upon that
Tat kathanamanyonyam: discussion on that
Tat prabodhanam: enlightening one another (amongst aspirants upon that)
Cha: and (above all)
Etadekaparatvam: cherishing this as the one supreme end

“Meditating upon that, talking on That, enlightening on That and in a way getting oneself absorbed in That-all these together have been known and taught by the wise ones as constituting the practice of Brahman.”

Acharya in this sloka explains the nature of practice that has to be followed after explaining that importance of constant contemplation in the previous slokas. One has to meditate on Brahman with mind divested from all other objects. One has to speak on the same i.e. in light of the vedantic teachings. We also have to note here that the words, ‘Tat parasparabodhanam’ which would mean to enlighten each other about That. We can clearly see the importance given to Satsanga. Discussions and enlightening one other in accordance to the scriptures definitely will lead to that supreme goal. These are but Sharavana, mannana and nidhidhyasana only.

Acharya here thus advises us that the practice should be in such a way that we should constantly meditate about It, discuss about It and enlighten each other about It. Every moment must thus be passed. All vain talks, gossips and complaints on the illusory worldly objects will never lead us to happiness. Hence the only talk that is worth talking is about ‘That’ and the only thought that is worthy is about ‘That’ Brahman only which is but the very Self. Till one is able to control all affections, such constant practice is necessary for a seeker. Also we have to remember that just any talks or discussions won’t help unless they are in accordance to the scriptures. Only then can they help us and take us in the right path.
By this sloka, we also learnt how important discussions and enlightening each other about the nature of the Self are in Acharaya Sankara’s own words. Hoping that at least now, someone will take up the Bhakti Yoga in the group J


dehaatmadhiivadbrahmaatmadhiidaarDhye kR^itakR^ityataa
yadaa tadaayaM mriyataaM mukto.asau naatra sa.nshayaH .. 18..

Dehaatmadhidhaadrudaye: with unwavering firmness in the thought of one’s identity with Brahman (attained)
Dehaatmadeevat: like (what firmness ordinarily man has in) the thought of his identity with the body (comes)
Krutakrutya: in the fulfillment (of this effort)
Asav: such a one (who has attained this state)
Muktaha: is liberated (indeed)
Na samshayaha: there is no doubt
Atra: in this (it then matters not as to)
Yadaa tadaa: when and (where)
Ayam: he
Mriyataam: may die

“Consummation of this practice lies in the firm conviction of one’s identity with Brahman, like what conviction is normally there in the sense of identity of the Self with the body. Once, who has realized this, is liberated, without a doubt; his body may then drop off, any time, anywhere”

In this verse, Acharya mentions us, the result of continuous practice of spiritual disciplines and constant contemplation of the ultimate truth propounded in all scriptures. That supreme goal is achieved only when the conviction of the true nature of the Self is as strong as that of the thought of the identity of self with the body. That is in other words, just as the belief in the identity of one’s self with the body is firmly rooted in all ordinary persons, in like manner, there must be strong conviction in the identity of self with Brahman. Such unshaken conviction which is the negation of the ego and the false identity of the Self with the body is what has to be achieved. Acharya here mentions that there is no doubt that such a person will definitely be liberated from all the illusory attachments and ego and hence attains that supreme goal. Attaining here again has to be taken at the empirical level only as there is no new liberation to be gained or lost nor is there any goal from the ultimate point of view.
Once such a realization occurs, one may die at any time and anywhere. Death here would mean only that of the body. For such a realized person death is simply discarding the bodily garment as such a person always rests in the infinite ever blissful nature of Self.
Sankara says in Upadesa Sahasri a similar statement that
“Deha atma dheevad jnaanam deha atma dhee baadhakam”
Bhaved yasya na ichchan api sah muchyathe (sorry Jforgot few words of the second line of this sloka)

For a person who has the strong conviction that “I am the Self” like normal ignorant people have the conviction that “I am the body” – this conviction which negates the conviction that “I am the body” – such a person is liberated from the bondages even if he doesn’t want it!!!

As Sankara says in the 18th sloka, it doesn’t matter where the realized saint dies because there is no death for him (as Gaudapada says that Na chotpatthi na naasha, na bandho na mukthih). As Sureswaracharya aptly says in his works, there is no “removal of ignorance” as there is no real ignorance. There is no real “death” or cessation of “bondage” because bondage/death itself is only an illusion. Thus there is only sublation of the ignorance through knowledge. When the knowledge dawns that “there is no ignorance at all”, then ignorance vanishes by itself (that ignorance which never had any existence at all).

There are two opinions about Jeevan mukthi and Videha mukthi in Advaita Vedanta. One school opines that the realized saint is a jeevan mukta but still prarabdha is there for him and hence this sustains his body. When body is left or dies, then the saint gets videha mukthi by merging into Brahman. This answers the statements of Krishna in Gita as to how a realized saint will behave in the world etc.

JEEVAN MUKTHI means “Jeevan api mukthah” – even while living in the body, is liberated.
VIDEHA MUKTHI means “vigatha deha mukthi” – mukthi after body dies off.

But there is another opinion (which seems to be closer to Sankara’s view) which says that jeevan mukthi itself is videha mukthi because deha is there for the ajnaani – there is no deha for the jnaani as deha or body is part of ignorance (effect of ajnaana). If ajnaana is still there, how can such a jnaani be called a “JNAANI”. Thus realization is only one. Then why the two words of jeevan mukthi and videha mukthi???? These two words are from the perspective of the AJNAANI who sees the jnaani as embodied. The ajnaani just forgets (Jof course due to his ajnaana only) that the JNAANI seen itself is from his ajnaana’s perspective because “for a realized saint, there is nothing other than Brahman or himself to even perceive”. This is how Ramana Maharshi too used to explain this big riddle. The riddle is very simple if we understand that Brahman is beyond words & a jnaani is nothing but Brahman – thus a jnaani or his actions are beyond words or thoughts. Thus the one and only way to know a JNAANI to become a jnaani oneself. JBut once a person becomes a jnaani, then there is none other than himself to ask such doubtsJ.

There are some acharyas who opine that after getting jnaana too, there is some trace of ajnaana left which sustains the prarabdha karma and ajnaana. The jnaani is not affected by this because he is the sakshi of all these. This view does seem to be good enough for initial seekers but is still not perfect as “trace of ajnaana” cannot be possible after jnaana comes because jnaana completely removes karma and its cause of ajnaana. Moreover if this is accepted, then the arguments which Ramanuja raises in his Laghu Purva paksha in Sri Bhashya will become valid enough that “does the world exist after realization? If it exists, then ajnaana exists. If ajnaana exists, then there is no realization at all”.

About whether jeevan mukthi is same as videha mukthi – this can be answered only when a person realizes Brahman and becomes a mukta. But at the empirical plane, we can very well conclude that both are same based on Sankara’s statement itself in Aparokshanubhuti (“Prarabdha is karma done in many births but Self is devoid of birth & hence how can it have prarabdha). Also Sri Krishna clearly says that “Sarvam karma akhilam paartha jnaane parisamaapyathe” (all actions end in JNAANA) and “Jnaanena tu tad ajnaanam yeshaam naashitam aatmanah” that ajnaana which veils the Self is removed through knowledge & then the Self shines like SUN.

The main objection/doubt regarding the view that both jeevan mukthi and videha mukthi is that “then how come jnaanis are seen as doing work???”. This is answered by Ramana (as explained earlier) that it cannot be explained now as there is ajnaana and thus perception is not proper. This takes us back to good old EKA JEEVA VAADA and Dristi Sristi vaada (which we have already discussed).

Even Swami Sacchidanandendra Saraswathi of Holenarsipur seems to accept this view of considering both jeevan mukthi and videha mukthi as same.

We have to just remember that whatever we see now is through the eyes of AJNAANA and that only one thing is REAL and unaffected by AJNAANA which is Brahman, one’s own very nature of Consciousness. Thus we have to concentrate towards this reality to get rid of AJNAANA and then will everything be very clear indeed. Logic very clearly proves that there is Brahman alone, one without a second. Whatever else is seen is only an illusion in Brahman like dream world.

PS: The two opinions about jeevan mukthi and videha mukthi is by the two schools of Advaita – Bhamathi school and Vivarana school.

With this we complete the slokas of Laghu vakya vritti by Sri Sankaracharya. In the next mail, we shall summarize the work and conclude the learning of Laghu vakya vritti in the group.


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