Shloka # 2:
“For those who, being afraid of death, have sought shelter in the conqueror of death, the notion “I’ dies first. Thereafter in them (who are) by nature immortal, where is there any room for the notion of death?”
Continuing his teaching on Saddarshana, Swami Paramarthananda said, now in the second shloka Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi is talking of the glory of Shiva Puja. People who are afraid of death perform this puja. Lord Shiva is Mrithyunjaya. The story of Markandeya is famous in this regard. It is said that Lord Shiva actually destroyed his Devotee. This apparent contradiction means Lord Shiva destroys the notion that “ I am a devotee”. This notion is a Mithya. So, by giving him knowledge he destroys the notion that “ I am a devotee” as it is the cause of division. Devotee needs a deity. I am a Bhakta, worshipping a master. This division is a cause of limitation, finitude and plurality. Here one is limited by the other. I am a Devotee notion pre-supposes worshipper worshipped division. Wherever there is division there is mortality.
Therefore, I am a devotee is a limitation. Ultimately death is the notion that “I am a devotee”. Being a devotee causes mortality, per Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi. He says you should get out of this notion. This notion is Ahamkara. This misconception is Samsara. Once Ahamkara is destroyed the devotee deity duality is also destroyed and you are left with “I am”. The “Kara” part of Ahamkara is destroyed. “I” the consciousness and “am” the Existence alone remain. Mrithyunjaya gives this blessing. Lord destroys Devoteehood or he makes him one with himself. There is neither deity nor devotee.
Some terms used in the shloka:
Aasrit: Refugee or shelter seeker. Death is chasing every Jiva. Every moment death is attacking some part or other of our body. The world cannot give us security. So one has to take refuge in Shiva. Even Sugriva hides from Vaali in a mountain where Sugriva cannot go. We are all Sugrivas.
Mrithyubhihi: means fear of death. Shiva is destroyer of the fear of death. Yama causes death. Shiva destroys Ahamkara. A physical weapon cannot destroy Ahamkara. It is a notion born out of ignorance. Sad-Adarshanam is cause of Ahamkara. It will go away once ignorance goes away or through knowledge. So Shiva arranges for Guru Shastra Upadesha or Shiva himself comes as a Guru and imparts the knowledge. Bheda Nasha is moksha. Ahamkara must go then fear goes. After death of Ahamkara, the devotee is left with “I am”. “I am” is existence consciousness and it is immortality. It is my own nature. Every devotee discovers his immortal nature. The basis of the fear goes away. I am afraid of… what? The “what” is now gone. The notion goes. The Ahamkara Karanam is dead. So, perform Shiva puja and you will get opportunity for knowledge. For Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi, Shiva was the local deity of Arunachala, hence his worship of Shiva. Any deity can be worshipped, says Swamiji.
Shloka # 3:
“The primary cause of the world and the “ I” is accepted by all to be some Lord with immeasurable power. Here, in this picture, that One alone has become the seen, the seer, the canvas and the light also.”
Now the teaching regarding the discovery of the division-less truth begins. I should know that all divisions are just Nama and Roopa in one consciousness. Jiva is only a Nama and Roopa. Jagat is also a Nama and Roopa. Ishwara is also only a Nama and Roopa. This is Vedanta Shastra. Reducing all divisions to Nama and Roopa can be done by analysis or enquiring even one of the divisions. Thus, analysis of the water’s wave, bubble or the ocean, any one of them, will lead to the truth. Analyze one ornament and you will understand Gold. Jiva, Jagat and Ishwara Vichara will lead to Adishtanam. Self Realization is God Realization.
Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi’s approach is through Jiva Vichara. He considers it the best approach. Jiva is also Ahamkara. So study of Ahamkara is strongly recommended. Why so? The reasons are:
- Ahamkara is most intimately available among the three. Body is closest to us. Its proximity also helps.
- Of the three, Ahamkara is most solid. We are intensely attached to Mamakara or my love for individuality. It is a difficult one to tackle. So, it must be attacked directly. In the other two, the attack is indirect and not strong enough. In this case it may make you an informed Ahamkara. So, a direct attack on Ahamkara is best approach.
Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi gives most importance to Ahamkara Vichara. While Upanishad’s spend a lot of time on Jagat and Ishwara. In his teachings, he repeatedly talks about Ahamkara Vichara. He also repeatedly talks about the goal of this Vichara. But, surprisingly he does not elaborate on the process of Ahamkara Vichara. He is silent on the process.
This silence can be interpreted in two ways. First, it can be an approval or disapproval. Citing an example of Budha, Swamiji says, some devotees asked Budha about God. But Budha remained silent. From this silence several branches of Buddhism have come into being. One said it was because of nihilism or he did not believe in God. Another said it was because God exists but cannot be expressed. A third one said he probably did not know the answer.
Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi does not elaborate on the process of Ahamkara Vichara. Some interpret it as meditation on “Who am I”, repeatedly. This is an unfortunate interpretation. The Ahamkara Vichara, as per tradition, requires a Guru shastra upadesha. In olden days Vedas were Karna Parampara. When vedas were printed, they did not mark the swaras in the texts. This has resulted in chanting the Vedas wrongly. So, one has to learn from a Guru of Parampara. Therefore Guru Shatra Upadesha must supplement Ahamkara Vichara. Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi’s teaching with Guru Shatra Upadesha will lay out the process of Ahamkara Vichara.
The following shlokas talk of the goal of this Vichara. The goal is to arrive at the division-less truth and reduce the division-less truth into Nama and Roopa. The division is Jiva, Jagat and Ishwara. Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi reduces the three divisions to two, namely the Subject (Jiva)and the Object (Jagat). Jiva is first person while Jagat is second and third person, both. He does not mention Ishwara. Brahman is Adishtanam of Jiva and Jagat. So, what happened to Ishwara? Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi uses Brahman as a synonym for Ishwara. Nondual Existence is Ishwara. Ishwara has two meanings. They are:
- Ishawara as one member of plurality that is Jiva, Jagat and Iswara. Here Ishwara is only a Nama and Roopa.
- Ishwara as Brahman or Adishtanam. Here he is Satyam.
Ishwara as an object is Mithya. Ishwara as an Adishtanam is Satyam. Further clarification of this Shloka was provided. Some word meanings are:
Apar: Infinite power to manifest plurality or Maya Shakthi.
Saha Eka Prakashaha: That one non-dual Chaitanya is the observer while the Jiva is the observed. In dream I bifurcate myself into Subject and Object and suffer and enjoy. How can that division-less one divide itself? Infinite cannot become finite. Reality is that It appears as if it is divided. Waker divides himself in dream only notionally, not in reality.
With Best Wishes,