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Kaivalya Upanishad, Class 5

Continuing his teaching on Kaivalya Upanishad Swamiji says, the student Ashvalayana approached Guru Brahmaji and asked for Brahma Vidya. This indicates maturity of the student. He does not ask for liberation, rather asks for Brahma Vidya. This is an important corollary as student is very clear that liberation can only be got through Brahma Vidya. Every student coming to Vedanta should know that it is the only means of getting knowledge and liberation. Knowledge is not an option in the path to liberation, as no other method is available. This should be very clear to any student. Drauapadi thought, her five husbands or Bhishma and others would save her honor. They were all helpless. In this state, she called out to Sri Krishna. Her surrender was absolute. She even dropped her other hand holding her dress. Our commitment to Brahma Vidya should like Draupadi’s. Then the heart will be ready to absorb the teaching. Moksha is possible only through Brahma Vidya.

So, what is the means to obtain Brahma Vidya or knowledge? There are not many methods. You have to use a mirror to properly see yourself. This mirror is the Guru Shastra Upadesha. There is no other choice. Vedanta Sravanam, Mananam and Nidhidhyasanam are the only methods. Furthermore, our approach to receiving the teaching must be whole hearted.

Brahmaji says: For Gyana Yoga to be fruitful conditions must be ideal for Gyanam. One essential quality is to possess Vairagyam or Thyaga. Renunciation is my mental preparation to handover to God all my possessions including my body, with thanks. This is called Ahamkara or Mamakara Tyagam or Vairagyam. Once this occurs Gyanam is produced. Gyanam then produces liberation.

The Process then is: Vedanta Study> Gyana Yoga> Gyanam> Moksha.

Shloka # 4: This is not a one day course or crash program. Initially in life, Dharma, Artha and Kama are the main focus with Moksha in the back-burner. Gradually Moksha gains priority. Then, it becomes a burning desire. At this stage one will sacrifice anything for it. Greater the desire, greater the sacrifice one is ready to make. This change in priority occurs gradually in life. Priority reshuffling is constantly happening in our lives. As my desire for Moksha increases my pursuit intensifies until it converges into one. Just like the sun’s rays get focused under a lens. It is an evolutionary process.

Swamiji reminded us that a Grahastha usually chants Shloka’s 3 and 4 together while welcoming a Sanyasi. This shloka also occurs in Mundaka Upanishad.

So, what are the stages?

  • First step is, right direction is required. Our ultimate goal is Moksha. This requires Gyanam. Gyanam requires a prepared mind.  To prepare a mind one requires Karma Yoga (Purity of mind) and Upasana (Attention of mind).  So, the first step is scriptural study. Then right effort or proper effort or Karma Yoga is required. This will lead to a purified mind free of Raga and Dvesha.  (Note: Attachments (raga) arise from our previous experiences of pleasure and happiness. Aversions (dvesha) emerge from previous experiences of pain and suffering.)
  • Second step is leading a life based upon what is proper and what is not proper or as a Dharmic person or as a Samskritha (cultured person). Nithya Anithya Viveka must be there. Only Brahman can give fullness and lasting happiness.  In this stage, there is less and less dependence on material world also called Shuddha Tatva.
  • Sanyasa Yoga: This is the third stage. Once mind is mature, purpose of active life is served or complete. Work, work all the time is not the end of Vedas. At some point one has to turn to higher goals. This means reduction or renunciation or Sanyasa. One has to reduce or with draw from activities. At this time Smaranam, Mananam and Nidhidhysanam is the goal. An active person cannot spend time in Smaranam, Mananam and Nidhi dhysanam. The seeker also has to become introvert.

Brahma Vidya and Grihasta stages of life are > Extrovert.

Vanaprastha and Sanyasa stages are> Introvert.

So, during Sanyasa find quality time for Vedanta. You alone are immortal.

  • The last stage is Sravanam, mananam and Nidhidhysanam for an extended period of time. Here we are trying to change the way of looking at the world or God. This is not easy. By committing to this, one becomes Brahma Nishta.

Vedanta Shatram gives self-knowledge, while Vedanta Artha is the crux. Central teaching of Vedanta is “ I am ever free, I am ever full, still I am struggling to reach what I already am”. Do not look outside.

Su-niscitarthah: means this teaching has to become a conviction.

Those people who have conviction about shastra, is the culmination of spiritual sadhana. Such people reach Jivan Mukti or become one with Brahman in this life. One gets absolute eternity.

Swamiji says Svarga is only a relative eternity. They continue in this world as long as Prarabdha Karma requires. The fall of a Gyani is called Parantakala or final death. Final death, because in an Agyani it is not final, he will be born again. For Agyani, it is intermittent death. In Gyani all three bodies ( Sthula, Sukshma and Karana Shariras) are resolved. They merge with Brahman or Brahma Chaitanya.

Several religions lead to Chitta Shuddhi. However, ultimate knowledge should be: “Aham Poornaha”.

Shloka # 5:

In previous three mantras Brahmaji taught Gyanam.

Now he teaches Dhyanam. Kailvalya does not teach Karma Yoga. It assumes the student has already gone through it. At the end of Kaivalya, Karma Yoga is briefly discussed.

In Gita’s sixth chapter Dhyanmam is shown as two fold.

  1. PreVedanta meditation is performed to make myself ready for Vedanta.
  2. Post Vedanta meditation is performed to internalize whatever I studied, at the deepest level.

With best wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy