Upanishad Course – Chapter 3
At the end of Moha Mudgara/ Bhaja Govindam, Acharya Shankara shares “Vanchasi Achirat Yadi Vishnutvam” meaning that if one desires Infinity, it can happen in no time. All our experiences are conditioned by time. Realizing our true nature is not conditioned by time but only conditioned by sincerity. If one is sincere, then one is not lost in minutes and days and so on. The vision of this course is to not hold ourselves back is courageous and sincere.
Lesson 2 in the course focusses on Adhikari. In the subjective science (study of the Self), we ourselves have to decide whether we are qualified to be an Adhikari. Adhikari is therefore self created/self determined. Bhagavad Gita is a great science and a great secret because it is deep. But no one externally is restricted from reading, writing and reflecting about it. We should not hold ourselves back and become a truly deserving Adhikari. Two dynamic personalities when it comes to being an Adhikari are Devi Maitreyi, a subtle sign of her being a sishya is that her husband, Rishi Yagnyavalkya, becomes her guide. Devi Maitreyi is a great Adhikari because she has a strong understanding and appreciation of Sthane: ‘All is as all is’ particularly when it came to relationships. She never took them for granted. She knew there was a design for why the Rishi was her husband. As Adhikari, we also have to understand that all that comes in our life has done so for a reason, for us to learn.
Rishi Nachiketa is another exemplary Adhikari and the virtue that he expresses is Satya, non compromising. He lived in such a way where his father’s ideals were not compromised. When his father ordered him to go to death, he followed it unwaveringly. The way we can grow in greatness is ‘Pratgnya purti’, fulfilling our promises. Complete our commitments. So when we know that this is our chance to be free from being born again and this demands we be Adhikari, we follow it through by living in a comprehensive way. The upcoming lesson is focusing on the way of living for an Adhikari, Sadhana Chatushtaya: Viveka, Vairagya, Shat sampatti and Mumukshtva. We should also include here Sthane and Satya for us to be great Adhikaris.
Devi Maitreyi is an icon of Viveka, filtering between that which is important and that which is unimportant. Her husband/guide is offering her pleasure/possession/position and she is filtering it to understand why he is giving them to her. Through her Viveka she wants what her husband is striving for. Noone is completely joyous because of pleasure/possession/position in spite of having them for long periods of time. Devi Maitreyi is therefore matched with Rishi Nachiketa who is an icon of Vairagya. After one has understoodwhat is relative and what is absolute, one has to let go, loosening the dependency. The more complex our lifestyle is, the less availability you have for that which is divine. Vairagya means living simply. Viveka and Vairagya are interconnected. Having one the other one expresses naturally. Simple living helps with high thinking. In Bhagavatam, there is separation between Hritham and Satyam. Hritham is determining the truth and Satyam is living by that truth. You have to determine the truth before you can live by it.
An Adhikari naturally goes to one who can guide them with humility. Their mind and body are calm. They are taught about the Infinite presence in themselves. The guide/Guru is Himself/Herself abides in the truth themselves.
The third lesson focusses on Sadhana Chatushtaya. The lower explanation of Sadhana Chatushtaya is the sadhanas needed to develop the four virtues and the higher meaning is these four virtues are already gained and now we can engage in sadhana to achieve something higher. These sadhanas are directly related to the Sadhya (freedom or joy). In the second class, a Shanti mantra was shared. In the third class, a verse from Mundaka Upanishad was shared regarding a sishya’s qualities of examination. In the fourth class, another verse from Mundaka Upanishad was shared that described a Sadguru. The verse shared in this class was from Katha Upanishad and described Sadhana.
Rishi Nachiketa is speaking to Yamaraja: “There is a doubt that revolves around a dead human. Some think that with the death of a human something still remains and there are others who feel nothing remains. Please clear my doubts on this and this is my third boon”. As a background for Rishi Nachiketa’s requesting of boons from Yamaraja, he asks a boon for his family, for the society and the third boon he asks that people have always wondered so he is asking on behalf of them as well.
Exploring this question, we know that the finite is terminally ill (one way only)/in self destruct mode. Every facet of the finite is subject to self destruction. The experiences and the equipment through which we have them are all in self destruct mode. Deha comes from ‘deh’: one that is constantly expanding and contracting). For someone who is terminally ill, we only give to them with no expectations. When we tune ourselves into this question, we become more objective with the finite and we become more observant with the finite and Infinite. The more one engages in Sakshi bhava, one starts to believe in the Infinite. In order to achieve this, more Anuraga is needed. Anuraga means ‘full love’ for the Infinite. This is pictorially shown in Ramayana. Shri Lakshmana cuts Shurpanakha’s nose whereas Shri Rama destroys her. Shri Lakshmana is vairagya and Shri Rama is Anuraga. The quality needed for an Adhikari is Anuraga, which is also described as Mumukshatvam, love for freedom. It is not enough to have Vairagya, one has to love the Infinite. Another example of this is when Shri Hanumana leaves Bharat to go to Lanka, first pull he faces is Mainaka (pleasure), second pull was Surasa (possession) and the third pull he faces is Simhika (position) but since he loved Shri Rama he simply touched pleasure, he rejected possession and didn’t entertain position at all. There are pulls on us and we have to learn not to be pulled and that is why Nachiketa says to Yamaraja to keep all the pleasures, possessions and position with himself and give him the truth. We have to be careful not to personalize and identify with that which is terminally ill, experiences, equipment and the ego!