Shloka # 9:
The world arises and sets with the “I” thought. Therefore, this world is illumined by the “I” thought. The Reality is the abode of the birth and death of the “I” thought and the world. It is One, complete and without birth and decay.
Continuing his teaching and refreshing our memory of last class, Swamy Paramarthananda said, in all these shlokas Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi is stressing the importance of Ahamkara Vichara that leads to Brahman. At that moment Ahamkara and Jagat are reduced to nama and roopa. This is what we learnt in last class.
In the next shloka there is an incidental diversion but an important one.
Shloka # 10:
Let the worship of names and forms of the Supreme , be the means to the vision of Truth. Know that abidance in Reality as “It is me” alone is the vision of truth.
Third and fourth lines of this shloka are discussed first. In previous shloka Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi said Ahamkara Vichara should lead to Adishtana Gyanam or Brahma Nishta. This is Sad Darshanam. Aim of Ahamkara Vichara is Sad Darshanam. What is Sad? It is Brahman. It is Ahamkara Adishtanam. It is the title of this text. When we say Sad Darshanam or Brahma Gyanam, one can mistake it as knowledge about an object called Brahman. Knowledge of anything means there is an object to know and a subject who knows. One may think of Brahma Gyanam as an object or also as an experience of Brahman. To remove this misconception, Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi says, it is actually abidance in Brahman and not the knowing of Brahman. In Sad is Vastu. Vastu in Vedanta parlance means Reality. In common parlance Vastu means things. Meaning of Vasa is “to exist”. Vastu means that which remains always or Brahman. Therefore abiding in Brahman is Gyanam. To avoid objectification of Brahman the word abiding is used. The word abidance can also cause confusion as one can think of it as going deep down and sitting on a Brahman, like a carpet. One has to understand the meaning of abidance properly.
What is Brahma Nishta? Abidance is a stage of knowledge where one knows, “that Brahman I am”. It is not an object. It is not below for me to sit upon. Brahman is Me. The word Bhava means Gyanam. It is a state of effortless knowledge. It is acquired through Ahamkara Vichara. Brahma Gyanam is Brahma Nishta or abidance in Brahman. It is a stage in which one enjoys the knowledge that I am Brahman, acquired through Ahamkara Vichara.
Once you acquire this knowledge, it is always present. If you say you have experienced Brahman keep in mind it can be displaced by another experience. Any experience is displaceable. Knowledge, however, cannot be displaced. Citing an example, knowledge of your phone number cannot be displaced. Even a great sorrow cannot displace knowledge of your phone number. That is why we work for this knowledge. Once you get the knowledge, you don’t have to work for it anymore. It is always there for you. You are in a state of knowledge. Just as you know your phone number all the time, so also you know you are in a sate of knowledge because it is retrievable in your mind. It does not require remembering. It should be available at all times. Nishta is a state of knowledge. You know who you are. Even as we know Ahamkara Gyanam, Atma Gyanam is also now known to us. Atma Gyanam is also available, on demand.
Brahman is neither an object nor an object under me. Brahman is Me. As per Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi this is Saddarshanam. It is called Vichara Marga.
Now comes a question? This is raised in first two lines of the shloka. Is Vichara Marga (Gyana Marga ) easy or difficult? Some say it is easy and others say it is difficult. Some parts of the Scriptures say it is easy while others say it is difficult. Gyana Marga is compared to walking on razors edge. The answer is that it depends upon who the person concerned is. For a prepared person it is easy while for an unprepared person it is difficult. For many people, sitting is difficult, for others it is not. The question then is who is considered prepared and who is not? It is a Sadhana Chatushtaya Sampana person who can be considered reasonably prepared. In humanity probably 99% of people are not prepared. The most important quality required is detachment. Detachment means free from Kama, Krodha, Raga and Dvesha. Most of us are not prepared. That is the reason Vedas have kept Gyana Sadhana as the last one. Therefore, Upanishads occur in Veda Anta. So, Gyana Marga is not easy. Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi cannot be considered an example, as he is an exception.
Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi says a person should go through a religious life. One should lead a Dvaita life before advaita. Ramana Cult people miss this point. May you remain in Mithya until Ahamkara matures to pluck you down. Raw fruit is difficult to pluck. When you pluck it oozes in sorrow at the separation. It is not ready for separation. A tree is required for the ripening. At that point Dvaitam loses its charm.
Never criticize puja. Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi was the greatest Bhakta of Arunachala. How to do puja of Brahman? Worship Saguna Brahman in form of Ishta Devata such as Shiva, Krishna etc.
Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi cannot be quoted as an example as he was genius. Ramana Cult people commit this mistake. Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi warns that do not give up puja. Puja helps with Nirguna Gyanam.
He gives another warning. Dvaita Puja is very important, but never take it as an end in itself. You have to go beyond it. Use Dvaitam to go beyond Dvaitam.
What is the connection between Puja and Vichara? Puja is an indirect means also known as Parampara Sadhana. Vichara is direct means known as Sakshat Sadhana. Puja helps Vichara. Vichara helps Gyanam. Religious life leads to philosophical enquiry. This enquiry then leads to Moksha. It is a very important verse as it teaches the majority of us that we need both Puja and Vichara.
Shloka # 11:
All pairs of opposites and all triads shine, taking the support of some entity. When that is searched, all will get dropped. To them who see the Truth, there is never any wavering.
Now back to Vichara, after emphasizing puja. The entire cosmos that we experience is nothing but Brahman with name and form. On this Brahman appear many names and forms. We look at it as subject and object also called Dvandam. We can also look at it as Triputi (The division of the knower, the known and the knowing instrument or the act of knowing – the pramata, the prameyam and the pramanam). All are one Brahman. Of this Brahman, part is Satyam and another part is Mithya. Mithya has Nama and Roopa. Thus, the entire cosmos is a mixture of Satyam and Mithya (nama and roopa).
Shankaracharya has said: You can never experience pure Brahman. Nor does pure Mithya exist. Whatever we experience is a mixture of the two.
The very “I”, singular, is also a mixture of Satya Atma and Mithya Ahamkara. Therefore, when we talk of Self-enquiry, the enquiry is into a mixture of Atma and Ahamkara. Therefore, in shastras the word used is Viveka or sorting it out rather than Vichara. Atma Ahamkara Viveka is self-enquiry. Since “I ‘ is a mixture of both it is called Ahamkara Vichara and sometimes Atma Vichara. If both descriptions are right which is a more accurate one? One may ask what do we care?
Swamiji said this information is required to change our attitude. Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi says Atma Vichara is more accurate although Ahamkara Vichara is also acceptable. Enquiry into Mithya won’t lead us anywhere as it is a mystery. It leads us only to further mysteries. You get lost going round and round. Don’t enquire into Mithya, say the Vedas.
Therefore Atma Vichara will lead you somewhere.
The second answer is Mithya is nourished by ignorance, as it is a false entity. Like in the snake and rope analogy, the snake exists because of ignorance of rope. Rope enquiry leads to rope knowledge that removes the snake. Therefore Vichara is Adishtana Vichara, leading to Adishtana Gyanam destroying Adishtana Agyanam. With this the Mithya serpent is destroyed.
Questions such as: How did the universe come into being? How did the first Karma occur? This is mystery leading to more mystery. Jagat Vichara is not the goal of Vedanta. So, Atma Vichara is Self-enquiry. This is the essence of this Shloka.
With Best Wishes,