Shloka # 27:
प्रशान्तमनसं ह्येनं योगिनं सुखमुत्तमम्।
उपैति शान्तरजसं ब्रह्मभूतमकल्मषम्।।6.27।।
Indeed the bliss supreme accrues to this sinless Yogin whose mind has been stilled, Rajas suppressed, and who has become Brahman.
Continuing his teaching of the Gita, Swami Paramarthananda said, in this chapter of the Gita, Sri Krishna is elaborately discussing the topic of Nidhidhyasanam. Nidhidhyasanam is only relevant after Sravanam and Mananam of Vedas. Actual knowledge takes place during Sravanam. When I see myself in the mirror, if it is a clear one, I can get a good picture of myself so long as my vision is also good. Guru keeps the verbal mirror in front of the student and then he gets a good picture of himself in the verbal mirror. And
So long as this teaching is properly presented, and the listener has got a defect-free mind, this very teaching can and will generate the knowledge in the mind and therefore we should remember knowledge is only through sravanam. Vedantic meditation does not give rise to knowledge.
And then this has to be followed by my mananam. This has to remove any trace of doubt with regard to the teaching. It has to remove any trace of doubt with regard to the fundamental aspects of Vedanta, which are:
- Brahman is the substratum of the world; and
- The world is dependent on Brahman, and
- Brahman the substratum is none other than myself.
Thus, sravanam and mananam should do the job of producing knowledge. Thus, conviction regarding Vedantic teaching has to take place only through sravanam and mananam. Once this has happened what is the role of meditation? The role of meditation is to enjoy the benefit of the knowledge.
Our problem is, we seem to know and understand the teaching; but the promised benefit does not seem to appear. The scriptures say that a Gyani is free from emotional problems but when I look at myself from that standpoint, I feel, there is a big gap between a Gyani and me. Therefore we doubt our knowledge.
Sri Krishna says that there is no defect in knowledge. What we lack is not knowledge rather we lack the benefit of knowledge. This benefit of knowledge is shanti or freedom from anxiety; sense of fulfillment; freedom from jealousy, hatred etc. and therefore the role of nidhidhyasanam is removing the block between Gyanam and Gyana phalam.
And what is the block between knowledge and the benefit of mano shanti? The block is our habitual ways of thinking and our habitual ways of looking at ourselves. We are habituated to look at ourselves as a physical person; or as an emotional person, or as an intellectual person; whereas Vedanta has taught us that physical body is not ourselves. Therefore, the physical identification, emotional identification, etc. are our habitual way of looking at ourselves.
Our response to life and events is also habitual. Everything is based on our habits. Citing an example, Swami Dayananda Saraswathi used to say that in India he would get into any car on the front, left hand side; the passenger side. When he visited USA, he would tend to do the same thing there as well. Unfortunately in USA the passenger side is the right side. This was a habitual response. These habits have developed over a very long time. The word Vasana is used to denote our habitual response. Nidhidhyasanam makes me to relook every thing in context of Vedanta including all relationships. I will not call many situations as problems anymore. Furthermore, verbalization reflects our habits as words represent our thinking. A change in words changes our thinking. Problems that we face now are not a problem anymore, per Vedanta as Prarabdham causes them.
And therefore nidhidhyasanam is to invoke my Vedantic personality, and learn to re-look into myself; in the light of Vedanta, learn to relook into one’s family situation, work situation etc. In the light of Vedanta one should re-look all problems. We should learn to rename them; we will not call them a problem, anymore.
This relook in context of knowledge of Vedanta is nidhidhyasanam. Success and failure are just words.
Citing an example imagine two people are together running a business and one person expected five percent profit; other person expected fifteen percent profit and the profit was 10%. And now the first person is going to say that it is wonderful while second person is disappointed. The result remaining the same, one calls it success while another calls it a failure.
Therefore most of our responses are born out of tagging; which is born out of thinking; which is born out of our knowledge or ignorance;
So Vedanta is a painful, time-consuming re-assessment of our situations in life; and in that reassessment, I should be able to say I am happy, not because of situations, but in spite of situations. Citing another example: A Swamiji lost his eyes because of diabetics. People were shocked. Swamiji himself was happy and he consoled people who felt sorry for him. He told them, now he could focus on God fully without distraction of the external world. He had changed his perspective with his blindness.
Abhibhava means you don’t solve rather you dissolve the problem. Similarly, Vedanta does abhibhava of the ego’s problems; they become insignificant; they become too small in front of the poornatvam that I have discovered; and this abhibhava is the job in meditation. I look at every problem of mind and see it as insignificant. It is like the stars during daytime; they are as good as absent.
Once I change my perspective, my anxiety goes away. My future continues to be unpredictable, as always, still the unpredictability does not give me anxiety. Gyani’s peace of mind is not because his future has become predictable; Gyani’s freedom from anxiety is not because of predictability; but in spite of unpredictability. This is called Jivan mukti. It is not a thoughtless state. It is not a mystic state. It is re-looking world and myself in context of Vedanta.
Citing another example, In Bhagavatham, they describe how Sri Krishna looked at all the Yadavas fighting and killing each other. And Sri Krishna sees right in front of his eyes; the Shapam coming through; the shapam being that you are going to fight and die; and Sri Krishna is the Lord himself; and Sri Krishna could not stop his family members fighting and dying one by one. Soon he is also going to join them; he is also going to be shot; and Bhagavatham describes Sri Krishna’s perception of those events; leaning on a tree; with his hands on the tree; he looks at the whole event with a smile; it is a choice-less situation, even for Bhagavan. The Omnipotent, Omniscient Sri Krishna choice-lessly sees the event of every family member of his dying one by one.
And what was Sri Krishna’s response; a smile; not that he is happy about it; but the thing is he looks at the situation and knows a choice-less situation has to unfold. Where there is a choice, Sri Krishna will certainly take an action; Therefore, Gyani does take action where it has to be taken; Gyani also accepts the situation where it is choice-less. So the world and the life will continue.
Change is in our perception and response. This is discussed further in shloka # 27.
Gyani enjoys great ananda born out of knowledge of poornatvam. I the atma am Poornaha. A Gyani is one who has struggled and used Vedantic knowledge to understand knowledge to look into every aspect of this kind. It is just like, if you want to change a raga, in Carnatic music, you have to go to the svaras which go make the raga; you cannot change the raga, without changing the svara; if I want to change the shape of this hall, I will have to take every brick and rearrange it.
If my life has to change every thought has to change. Jealousy, sorrow, anger are all just thoughts. These thoughts just arise and we respond. Our life is really a collection of all these thoughts. It is a time consuming process to change our thoughts.
Prashanta Manasa is one whose mind is free of unhealthy thoughts. He is not thoughtless; but his thoughts are un-disturbing thoughts; thoughts that do not disturb the mind.
In fact for one hour you are listening to my talk during which I am presenting ideas to you; and the ideas are generated in your mind in the form of thought alone. Now is this thought a burden to you? If it were a burden, you would not come here.
So, thought is not samsara; you need not eliminate any thought; compassion is a thought pattern; and compassion is not samsara; love is not samsara; generosity is not samsara; burdening thoughts are replaced by the thoughts which are not a burden; and that is called shanta vrittihi; they are called satvika vrittihi; satvika vritti means they are light in your mind; they sit light in your mind; they are not a burden to you; and such a mind the Gyani enjoys.
Mind is, however, a burden for a person who does not have peace of mind.
Thus, Gyani enjoys Prashanta Manasa. How does he enjoy such a mind? He enjoys a peaceful mind by removing Rajasika Vrithi, by removing Krodha, madha, lobha etc. The word Shanta-rajas means removing burdensome thoughts. Let me enjoy what I have rather than comparing with others. Similarly, Tamas Vrithi also subsides.
Vidyaranya Swami in Panchadasi says: satvika vritti is called shanta vritti; rajasa vritti is called ghora vritti; tamasa vritti is called muda vritti. Mudam means full of delusion and confusion.
This re-look is to be done compulsorily by not forgetting the problem. Rather we should see the problem through the Vedantic mind. For this Vedantic meditation is not important. Moreover, Vedantic meditation is not just sitting in a posture. Even restructuring your perspective during a walk is nidhidhyasanam. One who has thus become one with Brahman is known as Brahmabhut.
Brahmabhutam means instead of identifying with anatma; he has learned to own up to the atma swarupam; instead of claiming body as I, instead of claiming the mind as I, he looks upon them as instruments of transactions; I am the chaitanyam behind these instruments. This shifting to the first person singular is called brahmi bhavah; therefore brahmabhutam. What is the benefit of this meditation? Uttamam sukham upaiti.
Shloka # 28:
युञ्जन्नेवं सदाऽऽत्मानं योगी विगतकल्मषः।
सुखेन ब्रह्मसंस्पर्शमत्यन्तं सुखमश्नुते।।6.28।।
Thus integrating himself always, the sinless Yogin easily achieves contact with Brahaman or infinite bliss.
Same idea is prescribed in a different manner.
One gets shanti or gyana phalam. Meditation does not produce it. It removes obstacles to our knowledge and lets it flow. Gyanam is shanti. Obstacles are our habits. By reorienting our habits knowledge just flows. Situations, now, do not produce as much anxiety. This is a slow and gradual process. Even as our physical change is slow and gradual so it is with Vedantic knowledge. Shanti gradually increases. Who attains this sukham? The Yogi. How does he bring this transformation? It is like physiotherapy for an arm or a leg. It is a time consuming process as the mind is very subtle. In shloka, atma means mind, Yunjan means reorienting the mind; Vigatkalamasha means unhealthy habits, habitual negative thinking, will gradually leave.
Everything like anger is a viparitha bhavana; frustration is a viparitha bhavana. Vigata Kalmasham means unhealthy habits of thinking gradually come down.
So, sitting in a place think about the things that disturb you. You have to be alert in day-to-day transactions.
That is also nidhidhyasanam; but there are certain issues for which general alertness is not sufficient; you have to sit and ask the questions: Oh Mind why are you disturbed by that; and look at in the light of Vedanta; ask the question, can you change the situation; or is it choice-less; if you can change better work on changing; rather than working on worrying; And if you cannot change at all; learn to reorient mind to withstand the changeless situations; thereafter one should not talk about that situation again and again; because after knowing that it cannot be changed, what is the use of talking; I stop talking about the disturbing situation; I talk about the change required in my mind to withstand the situation; that is a worthwhile effort.
Citing example of camera, if somebody is taking a picture with a camera and focus requires me to go back, but you cannot because there is a void behind you. This is a choice-less situation where cameraman has to go or you go. You cannot change the situation. Then one has to change the mind one has to toughen it to reduce impact of the situation. Therefore, change the world if you can; otherwise change your mind; stop complaining and worrying.
In shloka, Sada means regular alertness.
If this is done Yogi attains great ananda. Sukhen means effortlessly. Jivan mukti is an experienced result; you experience it. This ananda comes from my association with Brahman or Atman by owning up to my higher nature.
Does it mean he should not enjoy Vishayanada? He can enjoy it so long as it is Dharmic. Once I have
got brahmananda; it is like having a generator inside me; as long as vishayananda, the corporation power is there; you use it; when it goes off, you need not worry, you start your own generator. Similarly when vishayananda is there; certainly Gyani is going to appreciate the beauty; but when it goes he is not worried because he is automatically connected to the Brahmananda and atyantam sukham.
- The fundamental teachings of Vedanta are:
- Brahman is the substratum of the world.
- The world is dependent on Brahman.
- Brahman the substratum is none other than myself.
- Our life is really a collection of all our thoughts. Jealousy, sorrow, anger are all just thoughts. These thoughts just arise and we respond. If my life has to change every thought has to change.
- Thoughts that are burdening are replaced by the thoughts that are not a burden. Non-burdening thoughts are called shanta vrittihi or satvika vrittihi.
With Best Wishes