Upanishad Class 2021-22: Summary
In the last class of the Upanishad course, the lessons 1-14 were revised and summarized.
Lesson 1: Acharana (commencement). What makes us do what we do is sukha prapti. All of us are trying to be joyous. The Upanishads are guiding us to understand Praptasya prapti, we are already joy and we cannot create it. We only have to know that we are joy. When we follow Praptasya prapti, then the journey-er is destroyed.
Lesson 2: Adhikari (student/disciple). The first facet that makes one a disciple is Viveka. When one practices Viveka, one acknowledges the presence of Dvaita, duality both in outer and inner worlds. This requires one to prioritize and let go. The second facet is Vairagya, knowing that a facet of this duality is dependent. The relative is dependent on the absolute. Sw. Chinmayananda describes this as the wings of a bird, with each wing supporting the other wing.
Lesson 3: Adhikari (continued). Sadhana chatustaya (design of 4 virtues). This is needed to commence Sadhana. All that is needed is to focus on one virtue and the remaining three will come. We need to focus on the application of these virtues and for that a guide/Guru is very important. Guru/guide makes the virtues real and personal.
Lesson 4: Vichara (inquiry) of dependency. This helps us to follow Praptasya prapti. By inquiring, we are trying to know joy, not create joy. We have to know to be able to benefit. Vichara is very important for Dhyana.
Lesson 5: Atma vichara (inquiry of the Self). To engage in Atma vichara, one has to follow the path of Sreya (bigger in terms of space, time and matter). One who follows Sreya, knows that there is more to the jeeva than just the jeeva. There is more to the jagat than just the jagat. The vichara we have to engage in is to find out more about the foundation of the jagat and the jeeva. When we discover the foundation, we will find that it is independent. What we need and are looking for is this independence. The difference between being alive and being life is that the former also includes fear of death. When one tries to inquire how it is that we are alive, we lose the fear of death and feel life!
Lesson 6: Atma vichara (continued). The lesson begins with the questions as to how come we not experiencing the big-ness. The truth is that we are experiencing it but we are strongly identifying with the ego. It is the ego that is going through all of the small-ness of desires, thoughts and actions. We are not experiencing the sorrow, stress, etc, there is another part that is going through these emotions, not us. When we feel we are the ego, the result is extroversion, viksepa (projecting and expecting). An analysis of Avasthas was also discussed in this lesson. Avasthas are waking, dreaming and sleeping that the ego goes through, not life.
Lesson 7: Brahma vichara. By engaging in focused inquiry, we are creating new Vasanas.These Vasanas are transcendental vasanas, helping us to transcend the body, mind. Brahma was reflected upon by Svarupa laksana (direct) and tatstha laksana (indirect).
Lesson 8: Brahma vichara (continued). Bhagavan Narayana is Bhgavatam is described as Ahetu, one without cause. Infinity does not cause, which means there is no effect, that means there is no ‘you’. By this logic, our original parent had no children….we are therefore the original parent ourselves. IF there is a cause, then the cause is Brahma. In Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Bhagavan says “I am in all (cause pervades the effect) and all are in me (there is no effect)”.
Lesson 9: Brahma-Atma aikya (Atma and Brahma are one). This involves sanyasa. ‘Sam’ means well , ‘ni’ means down and ‘asa’ means throw. Throw down well….the conditionings! By doing so, ‘Tvam’ and ‘Tat’ really are ‘Asi’. This message can be invoked through the Mahavakyas (revelations). Focus of this lesson: ‘Sat’
Lesson 10: Brahma-Atma aikya (continued). Phrase ‘Satyam Jnanam Anantam Brahma’ was introduced. Jnanam means knowledge is a synonym for Chit because all knowing happens because of awareness. We also explored the process of knowing, Paroksha, Pratyaksa and Apraokasa. Focus of this lesson: ‘Chit’
Lesson 11: Panca kosa viveka was introduced (six coverings including the lifestyle). Those who are most pure, don’t have to go through panca kosa viveka, all they need is Sravana. When their Sadguru shares with them ‘Tat Tvam Asi’, they immediately feel ‘Aham Brahmasmi’. Since we don’t have such levels of purity right now, we have to facilitate the purity by disidentification. The more articles, beings and circumstances that we depend on, the more impure we are. When we start to disidentify, there is ‘Anvaya’ (that which is remaining), we experience ‘Asti’ or ‘is-ness’. Focus of this lesson: ‘Ananda’.
Lesson 12: Antah karana sadhana via Sravana, manana and nidhidhyasana. As we live a life of purification, the purification will make us eligible for Sravana which will further make me inclined for manana (reflection) which in turn will make me inclined for nidhidhyasana (contemplation). In order to become a full-time seeker, we have to engage more in manana and reflect perpetually.
Lesson 13: Antah karana sadhana (continued). The focus is on nidhidhyasana (nitaram dhyaihi), perpetually thinking. To be able to develop strength to do this perpetually, Upasana to our Ista deva (personal God) and Ista Guru (personal Guide) is important. We explored the five Ss needed for contemplation: Space, Seat, Senses, Sentiment and Surrender.
Lesson 14: Om Dhyana. Using the saguna to reach the nirguna, using sound to be silence. It is only when we know Om, Bhagavan or Upanishad, that we start to depend on them. The jnana leads to Bhakti and Bhakti leads to Jnana. Any dhyana on Om, leads to one’s evolution. More implication of the lesson is when one contemplates, one should not be doing so for a result instead we should do it because it is one’s Svadharma, it is the only purpose of our lives.
“Iti Mandukya Upanishad Samaptaha”!