Upanishad Course – Chapter 10 (Contd)
Our Upanishad course is about ‘Sad’ which means to destroy all that we are NOT. Whenever there is a destruction of that which is close to us, we need help. In the Shastra called ‘Sivananda Lahari’ by Acharya Sankara, the second line of verse 20 (He speaks to Bhagavan Shiva):
Kapalin Bhikshu – you go for food and funds and the vessel you use is a skull
Me Hridyaya Kapim Atyanta Capalam – my heart, my mind is like a monkey – the implication is ‘you have brought me with you as you are going for Bhiksha because i am entertaining like a monkey entertains, i am this distracted wild being’
Dridam Bhaktyaa Baddhva Shiva – With a deep devotion please bind me
Bhavat Adheenam Kuru Vibho – you are the controller, i am helpless and have no courage, you help me!
I this line Acharya Sankara is sharing that He is not strong and courageous enough to let go. So He asks Bhagavan Shiva to hold Him so that letting go will become natural. Students of the Upanishad should think beyond aging and dying gracefully, they should think about ‘destroying’ gracefully, to ‘un-know’ all that is finite.
Recap: Lesson 10 is about Brahma Atma Aikya. A seeker is to seek not for utility rather for this is the Truth! As long as we seek for utility, that utility is always in the realm of finitude (more pleasure, position, possession). This means one is seeking for Siddhi. What one should be seeking for is Peace or Satya. We should reflect on why we are seeking – is it ‘for’ something or is it because it is the right thing to do. For those seeking the Truth, Upanishad teaches us that this Satya is ‘Guha’ (hidden or is described as ‘in the cave of one’s heart’). This is a message of hope – if it is hidden then the implication is that it is there! In our culture Svadhyaya is most important – seeking in oneself for that which is hidden in this heart! We do a lot of Adyaya towards the world like knowing about the Coronavirus etc. But if that Adhyaya is taking us away from Svadhyaya then it is an exercise in Aviveka. You are born to find yourself! Any other side thoughts are all Aviveka.
In Sanskrit the word for heart is ‘Hrt’ – the heart is felt as ‘I know’. We have never experienced any feeling which is not based on ‘I know’. The ‘I’ is existence, the ‘know’ is awareness. The unfortunate part of the the way we live is that ‘Hrt’ becomes ‘Hrt ayam’ (or Hrdayam). Ayam mean ‘this’. So it becomes ‘I know this’. We take the ‘I know’ for granted and focus on ‘Ayam’.
In Lesson 9, in the Mantra from Kaivalya Upanishad, the teaching was ‘All is Sat’ – all outside of you Brahma is Sat and all inside of you Atma is Sat. Sat is existence. What we are used to is that – existence is probably inert. This is why in Lesson 10 , Pujya Swami Tejomayananda leads us through a mantra in Taittiriya Upanishad which highlights ‘All outside of you – Brahman , all inside of you – Atman is Chit or awareness’
Taittiriya Upanishad Mantra 2.1.1: ‘The one who knows Brahman, they find this as themselves’ This is described as ‘Satyam’ (which we have already studied), Jnanam – knowledge, Anantam -infinite, this is the nature of Brahman.
Jnanam is knowledge – but we know because of Chit or awareness.
Shifting to the Atman – one who knows in the cave that is close to them, this divine space , which means for one to be inward looking to who they are , they have tasted all of their desires being achieved. This means they become desireless.
Pujya Swami Chinmayananda calls desires fulfilled/desires entertained as the happiness equation. Here if the desires entertained is zero, then anything divided by zero is Anirvachaniya (inexplicable). This is because one knows they are Brahman (infinite). The main point is ‘All is existence, all is awareness’ – which means existence is awareness and awareness is existence.
Bharanatvaat – that which supports all is Brahman (existence , awareness)
Hrt – i know – is the support of every experience we have ever had
Brhattamatvaat – Brahman is that which is bigness. There is no exclusivity, no excuses.
Existence, awareness is the foundation. All that is ‘exist-ing’ (function not the foundation) , all that is ‘aware-ing’ (function not the foundation) is an appearance, which is never stable or balanced. An appearance is that which is ineffective to give us what we need. So living for an appearance is ineffective. So we should not be affected by that appearance.
This Class: All that we know, we know through 3 methodologies. They are:
- Paroksha Jnana – ‘Para Aksha’ , Aksha means eyes, but here it means senses , Para means another. Paroksha means we have not directly known this, but we have known this indirectly (courtesy of someone else). Paroksha Jnana is summarized as THAT.
- Pratyaksha Jnana – ‘Prati’ means towards or in front of. So Pratyaksha means what we have directly experienced but through the senses. Pratyaksha is summarized as THIS.
If we reflect on the above two methodologies – there is an implication that there is Desha- Kala-Vastu (conditions). If we just focus on Desha – another’s experience is a different space, and whatever our senses experience is the THIS space. Further implication of that – Atman is Brahman is bigness, which means there is no such thing as the condition of space, time and matter. So all the Paroksha Jnana and Pratyaksha Jnana we have is irrelevant and ineffective. It is like us knowing a lot about a dream.
One of the Mahavakyas is ‘Tat Tvam Asi’ , Tat means THAT (Paroksha Jnana)
Another Mahavakya is ‘Ayam Atma Brahma’ – Ayam means THIS
The final experience of the Mahavakyas should be ‘Aham Brahma asmi’ – this is called Aparoksha Jnana.
- Aparoksha Jnana – Aparoksha means – it has nothing to do with the eyes, it has nothing to do with another entity (no ‘aksha’, no ‘para’). It is our direct experience (not through another or an equipment), it is the ‘Hrt’ (I know).
To help understand this is the story of the 10th human. What we fail to appreciate in this story is – the person who is counting is always counting others. As long as we are investing in others, it means we are not investing in Svadhyaya and we won’t find what is inside of us. Counting others is Paroksha and Pratyaksha Jnana, it is not Aparoksha Jnana. The word Sankhya means to count. When we start counting ourself – then we will not take for granted but rather be grateful for ‘Aham taya’ , which is the sense if I. This is the only ever present (Sat), ever potent (Chit) , ever peaceful (Ananda) entity in life.
We have never not experienced ‘Aham taya’ , but we live in such a way that we need to study about existence, awareness, joy!
Chandogya Upanishad (7th Adhyaya, 23rd Khanda, 1st Mantra) 7.23.1:
Rishi Narada feels incomplete and goes to His brother Rishi Sanatkumara and asks Him to teach. Rishi Sanatkumara asks Him what He already knows, and so Rishi Narada lists everything- He knows everything. But still feels incomplete because it is all Paroksha and Pratyaksha but no Aparoksha. Then Rishi Sanatkumara shares:
YaH Vai Bhuma Tat Sukham – That which is infinite is that which is joyous. The focus here is on Ananda.
Na Alpe Sukham Asti – In smallness there is no joy.
Bhumaiva Sukham – Infinity alone is joy.
Bhuma Tu Eva Vijijnaasitavya iti – You should know this Bhuma (infinitude)
So Rishi Narada says:
Bhumat Bhagavo Vijijnaasa iti – I do want to know this infinity
Implication is : Every facet of nature is trying to be more natural. We are most natural when we sleep. This is called Sukha prapti – fundamentally why we do what we do is to be Sukha. We are doing this through ‘alpa’ or smallness or finitude. We desire that which is small and finite, this desire to get (article, circumstance, being) is always changing. That which is changing is ‘alpa’. This mantra is trying to encourage us to shift from desiring that which is small to desiring that which is big.
The first way to uncover our first covering (of the ShatKoshas, 6 coverings) is to be grateful. When we are grateful we stop depending on our lifestyle and desires. In Rishi Patanjali’s Ashtanga yoga, one of the yamas is Aparigraha (to not own what we don’t use). One of the Niyamas is Santosha (to be grateful for what we own). Being grateful is an antidote to desiring that which is small and an antidote to counting others.