Upadesa Saram, Class 6


Greetings All,

Shloka 7 and 8.

Shloka # 7: “Constant , natural meditation like the steady flow of ghee or a stream of water is better than intermittent contemplation.”

Shloka #8: “The meditation “I am that” regarded as more purifying than one based on dualistic thought.”

Refreshing our memory of the last class Swami Paramathananda said Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi is dealing with a variety of spiritual exercises in his teachings. He discussed three of them namely Kayika, Vachika and Manasa Karmani. Thus:

Kayika relates to performing Puja.
Vachika relates to performing Japa.
Manasa relates to Dhyanam or Upsanam.

Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi classifies Dhyanam or Upsanam into two types. They are:

  • Bheda Upsanam
  • Abheda Upasanam also known as Ahamgraha Upasana. Ahamgraha literally means “self-grasping,” or “self-identification.”

Bheda Upsana: Elaborating on this upsana, Swamiji says, in this Upasana God is different from me. Upasaka Upasya bheda exists. After Bheda Upsana one moves to Abheda Upasana. Here you visualize God as myself in Soham Bhava. There is nothing wrong in this Upasana as God can be invoked in any object. Even as God is invoked in a Saligramam, or a mound of Turmeric so also one can invoke God in himself, as well. This is Abheda Upsana. It is superior to Bheda Upsana.

Abheda Upasana: is the stepping-stone for Vedanta. Here, one has to know “I am God”. Abheda Upasana is an ideal intermediary phase between Bheda Upasana and Vedanta. The transition from duality to Advaita is not easy. One should practice saying “I am Lord”. Every time puja is performed, the priest in his mantras offers puja to himself as well. The priest reminds us that there is no difference between God and me. Abheda Upsana is superior to Bheda Upasana.

Shlokas 9 and 10:

Shloka # 9:
“The repose of being poised in one’s true nature, devoid of thoughts, is the highest devotion. It comes from the strength of meditation.”
Shloka # 10:

“Sinking of the mind in the heart, its source, is Action. Devotion, Union and Knowledge.”

The possible culmination of any meditation (Bheda or Abheda) is Samadhi. Samadhi means absorption in object of meditation. I forget myself as meditator. One does not know he is meditating. This is similar to when the Waker is so absorbed in the dream world that he forgets that he is the projector of the dream. The dream becomes real to him. This is due to a natural propensity of the mind to do so; that is absorption leading to forgetfulness. This is also called Nirvikalpa Samadhi. The difference between meditator and meditated is lost. Subject object difference is lost. Vidyaranya defines Samadhi as forgetting that I am the meditator.

The word Susthithi in shloka # 9 means getting lost in Soham Bhava. Here the absorption is total. All Bheda Bhavana is gone. Thoughts of all divisions are gone. In Gita Chapter 6, Sri Krishna compares this state to a flame that remains without a flicker. The mind remains in Abheda Vrithihi. In this state, the flow of advaitic thought excludes dvaitic thought. Swamiji cautioned that Advaita Gyanam is different from Abheda Upasana.  So, how does this absorption come about? It comes from deliberate meditation (bhavana). Just repeating “Om Namaha Shivaya” will take us into this state of absorption. By regular practice it becomes spontaneous. The Samadhi is the greatest form of Bhakthi. Puja and Japa are all aspects of Bhakthi as well. Ramana Maharishi says Abheda Samadhi is the highest form of Bhakthi. I am absorbed in the Lord and he is in me. In this context Bhakthi is considered Samadhi.

Thus, so far, Ramana MahaRishi has spoken about four disciplines: They are Puja, Japa, Dhyanam, and Samadhi.

In the next shloka Ramana MahaRishi explains two more Sadhanas. They are Yoga and Gyanam.

Yoga: While Patanjali’s yoga is referred to, the emphasis is on Pranayama as a spiritual discipline.

Gyanam: Here the term Bodha is used in shloka # 10 for Gyanam. It means Self-knowledge.

So the six disciplines now are: Puja, Japa, Dhyana, Samadhi, Yoga and Gyanam.
For all these disciplines there is only one goal. The goal is that the mind should abide in peace. This Shanthi-Sthithi is goal of all Sadhanas. Swamiji says, a question does come up, after practicing all these Sadhanas, how do I know if I am progressing spiritually?  The acid test is obtaining mental poise or shanthi. Even when Prarabhdam brings different experiences, maintain calmness amidst the turmoil. This is progress. Otherwise, it is not spiritual progress. Do I enjoy general equanimity at all times? Manaha Swasthaha (shloka 10) means freedom from stress and abiding in my heart. Mind should have peace.

Shloka # 10:

“Sinking of the mind in the heart, its source, is Action. Devotion, Union and Knowledge.”

Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi has talked about six sadhanas. They are, Puja, Japa, dhyana, bhakthi ( Samadhi), Yoga (Pranayama), and Bodhaha (Self knowledge). He discusses both Pranayama and Self Knowledge later.

Jivan Mukti is peace of mind alone. Swamiji says five of the six Sadhanas provide only a temporary peace of mind. Thus, all of them, except Bodha or Gyanam, provide a temporary peace of mind.  Only with Atma Gyanam can we get permanent peace of mind.

Shloka # 11:

“ the mind becomes a quiescent by regulation of breath, like a bird caught in a net. This is a means of mind control.”

In shlokas 11 and 12 respectively Ramana Maharishi deals with Yoga. Yoga has many steps. Ramana Maharishi however highlights Vayu-rodhanam or regulation of breath. There are several types of Pranayama. They include: Puraka, Rechaka and Kumbhaka.  Ramana Maharishi says Pranayama will make the mind quiet. Even science accepts this today. During stress, a deep breath brings down the body’s toxic chemicals. Pranayama is highly recommended for stress. Even Readers digest had an article on this topic. Pranyama regulates Prana and mind. The Pancha Koshas are interconnected. Is it biochemistry that changes emotions or is it the other way around? Clearly, psychosomatic diseases improve with Pranayama. When Prana is regulated Annamaya and Manomaya Kosha are improved as well.

Rodhana in shloka # 11 means regulate. Even a turbulent mind becomes quiet with deep breath. Pranayama is like a cage for a bird. Just as a cage arrests the movement of a bird so also Pranayama arrests movement of a mind. The term Jala-Pakshi Vada is used in the shloka to mean a net or a cage for a bird.

Shloka # 12:

“Minds and breaths, expressing themselves as Consciousness and Action, are only two branches of the same Primal Power.”

So, how does Prana control the mind? Answering, Prana and mind are like two branches of the same tree. When one branch is pulled the other branch also comes along. Citing another example, all four legs of a table are connected to a wooden plank. If you pull one leg of the table other three also follow. So also with Prana and Manas, both are connected to one Prakrithi. Prakrithi (Maya) is the cause of Prana (Rajo guna) and Manas (Sathva Guna).

Chitta Vayava in this shloka means mind and Prana. Chitta means Gyanam.
Shakyordvayi means two branches.
Shakthimulaka means Maya or Prakrithi or main trunk of the tree.

By controlling mind, Prana is also controlled. In a very emotional state the breath changes, it becomes shallow. If both can influence each other why should we regulate mind through Prana? Controlling the grosser Prana is easier than subtler mind. From gross one goes to the subtle.  When Pranayama is not possible, only medicine can help. Drugs and liquor are all trying to control the gross and thus the mind.

Shloka # 13:

“Control of the mind is of two kinds, its lulling and its destruction. A lulled mind will rise again but not the one which is destroyed.”

Now Ramana MahaRishi enters the last Sadhana called Gyanam. Even yoga and pranayama can only make the mind quiet temporarily. After all one cannot practice Pranayama all the time. Pranayama is not the ultimate solution. It only manages the problematic mind. Only Gyanam will destroy the problematic mind. In this shloka, Mano-laya, means temporary lulling of mind. Manonasha is permanent destruction of problematic mind. Swamiji clarified destruction of problematic mind does not mean destruction of the mind itself.

Liquor, drugs and even Nirvikalpa Samadhi  (where the mind disappears temporarily), are all considered Layam and they can tackle the Problematic mind temporarily. The only other method is permanent destruction of the “problematic mind”. This does not mean destruction of the mind itself. Mind is destroyed only in death. The “problematic mind” is however destroyed and replaced by a “compassionate” mind.

Laya gatham means the mind is temporarily lulled. The mind, however, continues to be problematic. The problematic mind is converted by wisdom. One sees the mind as Mithya. Once one sees the mind as Mithya it is a destroyed mind. Giving example in Tamil where seeing a wooden elephant one gets frightened, until one gets close by and sees it is not a real elephant. He sees it as a Mithya.

With Best Wishes,

Ram Ramaswamy