Upanishad Course- Chapter 12
Our Upanishads teach: “Dvitiyat vay bhayam bhavati”, From duality indeed fear is born. Where there is duality, there will be fear. Our Upanishads can be described as Brahmavidya, remembering of Brahman. Infinity/Brahman is! We all know of Brahman, we don’t know Brahman and the proof of that is the sense of fear we experience. Brahman means bigness that includes all. Our Upanishad course is to remove the word “of” and turn “know of Brahman” to “know Brahman”. This is same as thinking “I know of happiness” vs “I know happiness”! They are both completely different. Knowing Brahman is equivalent to being Brahman and the utility of this is we become fearless. We do not know the Upanishad until we rediscover Brahman. We have to approach this experience with this kind of rigor.
The lesson 11 is on pancha kosa viveka. These kosas are introduced as Guha, a cave. Most of the time, what is in the cave is more important than the cave itself. We are trying to know the contents of the cave. Another way to think about this is the term “vyatireka”, to disidentify from all that you can remove. Pancha kosa viveka has many synonyms, the coverings (guha), vyatireka (denial). All this will only be facilitated by Atma vidya. You wouldn’t enter a cave if we didn’t know there was something important in it. If we didn’t know Atma (even theoretically), then we will never disidentify and deny any of the coverings. This is a critical point that separates Vedic dhyana (contemplation founded on Veda) and other forms of contemplation (relaxation, absorption, etc). If there is no Atma vidya, we cannot practice Vedic dhyana. The mantra we focused on to facilitate the pancha kosa viveka was from Kaialya Upanishad (1: 2): To Him this was said by Bhagavan Brahma. One can be Brahman through faith, devotion that facilitates contemplation.
Dhyana Yoga shared in Kaivalya Upanishad can be explored thus:
Sixth sheath: The untrained lifestyle ignores (the source of joy). We train our lifestyle by appreciating what you have/who you are. That will lead to our lifestyle being pure.
Fifth sheath: The untrained body interacts with others. We train our body by relaxing. That will lead to our body being calm (dama)
Fourth sheath: The untrained breath inputs (eating, drinking, etc). We train our breath by enjoying breathing. The trained breath will be natural.
Third sheath: The untrained mind interprets (by applying labels of likes and dislikes). We train the mind by chanting. The trained mind becomes quiet.
Second sheath: The untrained intellect instructs (doer expressing as desires). We train the intellect through enquiry. The trained intellect is still. This gets clear when Bhagavan Krishna starts explaining the shtitha pragnya lakshana (Chapter 2 of Shrimad Bhagavad Gita). He instructs Arjuna that when the intellect is still then you will start to feel this, following which Arjuna asks what that feeling would be.
First sheath: The untrained ego identifies. We train the ego be observing. The trained ego will be silent.
Our lifestyle is an experience and the next four sheaths are equipment. Equipment create experiences. The ego is an entity on its own, incomparable, Anirvachaniya. It identifies with the equipment to create joy. Ego therefore is also known as Anadamaya kosa. It is always trying to do something related to Ananada and the more we observe this, we will realize that it is all unreal/mithya. The thing in the center is life. From living to life is to go from the sheaths to the center. Life= Brahman, Atman, Sat Chit Ananda. Life is simply Being! In Being, there is no movement, or change or any effort. Being is philosophically not a verb. To Be, we have to do nothing. As soon as we do something, that is Becoming.
Lesson 12: The focus of this lesson is Antah Karana Sadhana. We do not live in the outer world, we live in our inner world because all our experiences arise from what is inside of us, not the objects in the outer world. Our inner world is made up of the Antah (inner) Karana (doer) and the antah karana is made up of four parts. From least powerful (memory) to most powerful (mind). More powerful is the intellect that can decide for the mind. The most powerful which is not an equipment is the ego. The ego identifies with all of these. Since we live in the Antah Karana, we need to work on it so that it becomes more aligned with joy. There are three Sadhanas that we can engage in: Shravana (of the Shruti, Veda and Vedanta), if you need it next Sadhana would be Manana (facilitated by Yukti, rational way of thinking) and the next Sadhana if you need it would be nidhishyasana (Dhyana, to be facilitated by Anubhuti or experience). These three should be aligned so that it can be easily internalized.
Shruti: Purpose of Shravana is that we feel what Vedanta is teaching is Brahma Atma aikya (Tat Tvam Asi). If there is no clarity after listening, then more active listening is needed. Why do we not feel this message that we have heard several times? Why don’t we transform?
Mantra for this week is from Taittreya Upanishad (3: 1: 2):
Tam ha uvacha: To him was said
Yatah vay Imani bhutani jayante: that from which all beings are born
Yena jatani jeevanti: that by which all beings exist
Yat prayanti avi sam vishanti: that into which all beings end/merge
Tat vijignasa svat: you should thrive to know that
Tat Brahma iti: that is infinite
Sah tapah atapyata: Then rishi Bhrigu went to do tapa and then came back to Deva Varuna
Student is Rishi Bhrigu and the teacher is Deva Varuna. The student is asking the teacher how he can experience Brahman. The second valli of Taittreya Upanishad is called Brahmananda. The second valli of this Upanishad is about shravana and the third valli is about manana. This is why Deva Varuna is teaching the student such that the student has to reflect on what he has heard to remove all doubts. After reflection, rishi Bhrigu returns to the teacher and shares that he thinks that Brahman is food. All beings come from food, they exist on food and become food at the end. Since this reflection of the student is incomplete, Deva Varuna continues to guide him. In summary, the first half of the lesson is trying to guide us to the importance of manana (reflection).