Upanishad Course – Chapter 3 (Contd)
In chapter 4 of the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna tells Prince Arjuna that whatever He taught in Chapter 3 and Chapter 2, He taught to the Sun (Vivasvaan, one of the first forms of creation). The implication is that every parampara (tradition) starts with God. Bhagavan expresses as Shastra and Satguru. Our presence pervades our ego, equipments , experiences – through all of this making us feel we need to be complete. Even when the ego, equipments and experiences are perfectly aligned, there is still a sense of incompleteness and restlessness. That is the spirit pervading all of this, guiding us back to the spirit. Sri Krishna is that spirit/presence that is guiding us to follow this sense of incompleteness, learn why it is there and feel it so that we go back – from the experiences – to the equipment – to the ego – to the presence! Our fundamental fears (fear of death, unknown and sorrow) are teaching us who we are. Follow the fears, learn about it and we will tune into that presence. In the same way, if we follow this incompleteness and learn about it, then we will start to feel our presence.
Recap: In our Upanishad course, the first lesson is the introduction. The second lesson is about Adhikari (Shishya, one who follows discipline). The third lesson is about Sadhana, which leads us to think about Sadhana Chatushtaya. The beginner’s message in reference to Sadhana Chatushtaya is – ‘One should engage in Sadhana for these Chatushtaya’. The advanced message is – ‘The Chatushtaya leads to Sadhana’. One should already have these four virtues so that they can begin practices/disciplines.
Sadhanalaya means the abode or locus of disciplines. However, as said by a senior teacher at Sandeepany Sadhanalaya Ashram, it is actually Shodhanalaya (abode of purity). Sadhana begins after leaving the Ashram. Only when one has some level of purity can Sadhana begin. What we do in this course is all training. What has to happen after training is testing, which is Sadhana. We should do what it takes to develop these virtues.
In Kathopanishad, the Sishya Nachiketa tells his Satguru Dharmaraja to keep his chariots, singer and dancers to himself, and give him the Truth (which was his third boon). The everlasting can never be facilitated by the neverlasting! Any combination of the ego, equipment and experiences which is neverlasting can only create/facilitate the neverlasting. So Rishi Nachiketa asks for enlightenment. Sri Krishna emphasises this in Chapter 4 of Gita by saying what He is teaching is ‘Avyaya’ (indestructible/everlasting). Our sense of incompleteness will be everlasting unless we follow this everlasting knowledge/path. And if we follow this path – our joy will be Avyaya/Infinite.
This class: In the word Upanishad, “Sad” means to destroy.Here it means to destroy our notions that we can be complete by the relative, to destroy that notion that ‘i am the body’. It is like the festival ‘burning man’ , where one of the visions is to show that nothing remains after a certain experience. Similarly when we wake up from a dream – everything from the dream is destroyed. We have to be actively ready to destroy the sense of individuality (nama, rupa, gunas etc). For this one has to be strong in ‘all ways’ ‘always’.
This course is about destroying individuality, which means its not about being good or great, but being the greatest. So when we find that we are not being objective, we should feel bad about it and learn/grow from it, and not succumb to any weakness and any time.
The first of the four facets in the Anubanda Chatushtaya is Adhikari (one who is self-created). There will not be an external force that can make us a Sishya, it is our responsibility.
The first of the Chatushtaya is Viveka (to filter/discriminate) and the icon of Viveka is Devi Maitreyi. In the teaching of Bhagavan Narayana to Bhagavan Brahma (original Bhagavatam), the first teaching is ‘Infinity is real’. So to actively develop Viveka, we should burn these words ‘Infinity is real’ into our personality.
The second Chatushtaya is Vairagya (detachment) and the icon is Nachiketa. To actively develop Vairagya, we follow the second teaching from Bhagavan Narayana – ‘Illusion is unreal’.
The third of the Chatushtaya is Shatsampatti and the related teaching from Bhagavan Narayana is ‘Creation is relative’. Our relation with the creation should be to learn to be a better person. Swami Chinmayananda describes that this world is a college of knowledge.
The fourth of the Chatushtaya is Mumukshutvam and the related teaching is ‘Extraction is release’. Extraction here is longing for this, release is Moksha.
We have already explored Viveka and Vairagya, so here we explore Sampatti.
Sampatti means wealth (here means inner wealth that non one can take away). When we celebrate Navaratri and our mothers, an icon that comes to mind is Devi Lakshmi. The word ‘Lakshmi’, like the word ‘Lakshmana’ means one who is pointing to joy. All of this indicates to us how to be joyous. Shama – quietude, Dama- calmness, Uparama -understanding, Titiksha – endurance, Shraddha – faith and Samaadana – focus are the Shatsampatti.
Shanti Mantra from Sama Veda:
Om Apyayantu mamaangani – let my limbs be strong
Vaak praanaH ChakshuH Srotramatho balamindriyani cha sarvani – let my senses be acute
Sarvam Brahmopanishadam – All is Brahman , and we need to be trained to feel this.
Maaham Brahma niraakuryam Maamaa Brahma niraakarot aniraakaranamastu anirakaram me astu – This section shares “may i not deny Brahman’ and ‘may Brahman not deny me’. The implication is that may we always have faith in Brahman and may Brahman’s expression which is Bhagavan ever have faith in us, and we facilitate this faith.
Tadaatmani nirateya upnishadsu dharmaaH – All of the virtues described in the Upanishads
Te mayi santu – Let those virtues rest in me
Shama is the quietness of mind and the way to create this is to create space in our lives and have a simple lifestyle. Dama is calmness of body – a high expression of Dama is to be able to stop our body and senses when we want our body/senses to stop. Uparama means understanding – and a fine way to practice Uparama is Dharma. Uparama and Dharma are synonymous. Titiksha means endurance – a sign that one is strong in endurance is that they don’t become angry. Shraddha means faith – all of us can be more faithful, and the way to facilitate this is to reflect more. When we reflect more on our family history, it all begins with Bhagavan and the same DNA is in us! Samadhana means focus – a better expression of Samadhana is love. Whatever we love we focus on, and whatever we focus on which is Saathvik, we tend to love.
Post Shatsampatti, the fourth of the Chatushtaya is Mumukshutvam – Shraddha and Samadhana leads to Mumukushutvam which is desire – a desire for desirelessness. Mumukshutvam means “Moksha Icchami” (desire for freedom). For most of us, this desire is a want and not yet a need (because not enough Shraddha that moksha is possible and not enough Samadhana, that is focus on being free). In the Puranas this is known as Ananya Bhakti. Ananya means ‘no other’. Only when we love freedom alone (Eva – means alone, Api – means also) then one will become free.