Upanishad Course – Chapter 11 (Contd)
In Bhagavad Gita, when Bhagavan Krishna is describing to Prince Arjuna about one who is content, He shares an apt visualization and says : “Nisha Sarva” – when all who are ordinary are sleeping, as they feel it is night time, “Jagarti Samyami” – for one who is extra-ordinary and directed, they are awake and they feel it is morning. When we apply this to the Upanishad course – an ordinary seeker cannot see any practicality to the Upanishad,it is like night time, and they are sleeping. For an extra-ordinary seeker, the practicality of Upanishad is like morning as they are awake and see this clearly. The practicality of the Upanishad is not how to live in the world, rather it is how to live beyond the world.
Shreya is that which is long lasting (in terms of time) and has deep impact (in terms of matter and what is important). When we apply this to the world – the world does not last long or has a deep impact, that is, it cannot make us joyous. So Shreya is not living in the world but beyond the world. One has to be tough to live the Upanishad. The Upanishad is teaching us not to depend on the world, but to depend on that which is beyond the world. This is aligned to Lesson 11 which is on Pancha Kosha Viveka.
Recap: We live in the Koshas (sheaths). Another term for Kosha is Guha (cave). We live in the cave of the mind,breath, body and so on. We all want to live without limits and not with limits in a cave! To live in the sheath means we give more importance to the sheath than that which it is covering. This is Viparita Bhavana (inverted/perverted identification). This can only be corrected with Dhyana. So Pancha Kosha Viveka is synonymous with Pancha Kosha Dhyana.
In a relative sense, we have six coverings and not five. We live at the level of entities (articles, beings, circumstances). This is our sixth sheath in a relative sense, while the Upanishad describes five sheaths. The sixth sheath is our lifestyle or Acharamayakosha.
The ordinary seeker’s lifestyle is instinctive. The majority of what they do is because they feel they are ‘supposed’ to be doing that. So the Dhyana that needs to be applied to the sixth sheath is to ‘appreciate’. When one practices appreciation in reference to their lifestyle, it goes from being instinctive to being oriented towards purification. When this sixth sheath is disidentified from, we can address the remaining five sheaths (mentioned in the Taittreya Upanishad).
Taittreya Upanishad 2: 4: 1:
YataH vAchaH nivartante aprApya manasA sah – Words come back along with the mind unable to reach ‘it’
Anandam BrahmanaH vidvAn na bhibheti kadAchan iti (where ‘it’ is the joy of Brahman or infinity, and one who know this and feels this has no fear since they have nothing to gain and nothing to lose)
Tasya eshaH eva sharira Atma yaH purvasya (the Atma of the outer sheath is the mind, deeper than the breath sheath is the mind sheath)
In this verse it is shared that none of the sheaths can be equivalent to that which is within the sheath which is Brahman. So we have to keep on letting go of these sheaths.
Implication: Our fifth sheath is the body which we heavily identify with. In general, the more healthy our body is, the less we identify with it. In contemplation, we should relax the body.
Our fourth sheath is the breath. This is in reference to our physiological functions such as digestion, circulation etc. To go deeper, in general be healthy and simple. In contemplation,
Our third sheath is the mind (Manomayakosha). Manute anena iti manaH – that by which we think is called the mind. The implication of this definition is that the mind is an instrument. The body, breath, mind and intellect are all equipments.The equipments interact with entities. In the Upanishad there is a saying – ‘that which is beyond the sheaths is the mind of the mind’.
The second sheath is the intellect(Vijnanamayakosha). The untrained intellect is one that instructs. This is why the sense of ‘Karta’ (i am the doer) lives in the intellect. Mind is the ‘Karana’ and the Karana uses the body for ‘Karma’. To contemplate, in general , for the mind the means is Dharma. The more responsible we are the less our mind will interpret and have likes and dislikes. Specifically in contemplation, we should chant with the mind. In terms of the intellect, generally we should have a purpose/ideal. In contemplation, we should inquire with the intellect. Sri krishna shares in the Bhagavad Gita that we are not the Karta but we are ‘Nimitta’ (we are the instrument).
Panchakosha Viveka in Lesson 11 is to know all of our coverings, identify with them and then disidentify from them.
This Class: Our first sheath is the ego (this is not an equipment). The ego has four equipments which engage in three entities. The ego begins with the sense of separation. So it is called Anandamaya (filled with). Once there is separation, it identifies with the equipments to create joy through articles, beings and circumstances. When the equipments engage in these entities, we say ‘i am joyous’. This is conditional because there is a reason for my joy. Ego is therefor called Anandamaya (filled with joy). The sense of ‘i am joyous’ is a vritti (thought). Our AntaHkarana (memory, mind, intellect, ego) expresses as thoughts. The vrittis become more specific where there is a sense of ‘Priya’. Priya is when we desire entities and it is close to us. For example, it is like seeing the cake in the bakery section of a grocery store when we are hungry. Here we feel Priya. A deeper vritti is when we have that cake in our hand and ready to eat – it is ‘Moda’ and when we eat it, it is called ‘Pramoda’. When the reason for ‘i am joyous’ goes away, there is Duhkha. So ‘i am joyous’ is not enough for an Upanishad student!
There are two ways to go deeper than the Anandamayakosha to the Ananda.
–Be grateful. When we are grateful, it starts off as being grateful for a reason but eventually when we practice that, we become grateful for no reason. We should be grateful for what we have and then be grateful for who we are. This should evolve to ‘i am just grateful’. (unconditional gratitude). This is the training for ‘i am joy’.
–Be an observer. If we are an observer/Sakshi, then we identify less.The more we observe, we realize that the separation is not true.
This lesson is training us how to be contemplative generally and specifically (as in formal contemplation). This is accentuated in Kaivalya Upanishad, in the first Khanda, second Mantra.
The Rishi is the student and the Guru is Bhagavan Brahma.
Kaivalya Upanishad 1.2:
Tasmai sa ha uvAcha pitAmahaH cha – to the student , Bhagavan Brahma who is known as the grand sire shares
Shraddha bhakti dhyana yogAt avaiH – (When the student goes to a teacher, in the context of the Upanishad, it is to learn how to be joy) Bhagavan Brahma responds that the way to rediscover joy is Shraddha, specifically in reference to shravana. When we listen to our Satguru and Shastra, we should do so with faith. Then Bhakti (devotion or love) is towards manana, when we have faith in what we listened to, we should train ourselves to love that. With shravana and manana solid, we should contemplate (dhyana yoga) – contemplation is the Panchakoshaviveka.
Bhagavan Brahma’s Guru is Bhagavan Narayana.
‘Narayana samArambhAm Vyasa Sankara madhyamAm asmadaachaaryaparyantaam vande guruparamparAm’
The Guru Sishya parampara begins with Bhagavan Narayana, then Rishi Vyasa, Rishi Sankara and all those who share the teachings of Rishi Sankara and Rishi Vyasa. Rishis Vyasa created most of the content for Sanatana Dharma and so He is called the Sutrakara. Rishi Sankara is known as Bhashyakara. He is the one who explained the teachings. We are receiving these teachings – and Bhagavan Narayana is teaching us!