Upanishad Course – Chapter 6
Outer expectations are one of the greatest sources of sorrow in our lives. In order to free ourselves of this sorrow, we should shift this expectation from outside to inside. We should have higher expectations of ourselves. This self criticism should be active and this requires us to be tough just like Hanumanji. By doing so, we will understand that the aspect of us that we are criticizing is the ‘Ego’. Active criticism of the Ego will lead to its destruction. When the ego is completely dismantled, self criticism also ends.
There is an infinite difference between life (source) and living (symptom); between existence (cause) and existing (effect); between awareness (fundamental) and aware of (functional) AND between joy (one’s nature) and joyous (a feeling). If we reflect on this, we will enter into the practice of Anvaya (presence) Vyatireka (absence). This practice is one of tuning into that which is independent. Shri Ramana was one such role model who engaged in Anvaya Vyatireka. He actively engaged in negation (I am NOT body, intellect, ego, etc but I am existence, awareness, joy). Shri Ramana was simply BEING!, no verbs! What a restful state! Anvaya Vyatireka is a form of Vichara, a filter, in order to filter that one will never be joy through experiences or equipments or ego. One can only be joy through existence. The more Vichara we engage in, less Vikshepa will we engage in. In the language of Bhagavad Gita, it is going from changing to the changeless. This was all solidified from a verse in Kena Upanishad.
Section 1 verse 3: There that is existence, awareness, joy, eyes cannot go there; nor the words, mind or thoughts. We don’t know this enough the way we know worldly things. All efforts to describe this are finite. Since we do not know in a worldly sense, and therefore cannot be taught in a worldly sense either. Eyes, words and thoughts are limited. Limitations are simply an appearance. Appearances cannot affect us because we are limitless. Reflection (appearances) visible in a hazy mirror does not affect the object whose reflection is in the mirror.
The verse continues on to explain that What is known is different. It is also distinct from what is unknown. Our nature is different from what is known and what is unknown. We have learnt this from our ancestors. Our nature is beyond any sense of knowing and not knowing. Awareness or Chit can come from Sat or existence because existence and awareness are same. Awareness cannot come from non-existence. Awareness cannot come from awareness. Awareness cannot come from non-awareness. Nothing can come from non existence. This is what the Guru is trying to share with the SIshya, to think differently from what we are used to.
From the perspective of the absolute, there is no relative. From the perspective of Brahman, there is no Maya. Brahman is Anirvachaniya or illogical. When faced with something or someone illogical, we usually laugh it off or ignore it. We should do the same with Maya too. If we don’t then that would be hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is a clear sign of impurity. Those who are pure in their inner world have more integration. The knowledge in their intellect pervades their mind, words and actions. We actually do not feel Maya but then who is/what is? The ego! Ego is the one experiencing relativity. We, fundamentally, have never experienced finitude. In many mantras, our nature is described as ‘not being born, not ageing, not dying’. Similarly our nature is described as ‘not waking, not dreaming and not sleeping’. It is the Jeeva that goes through these states. We have a ego, we are not the ego. The more clear we are about this, it is liberation. “Na mukti, na bandah”.
Kaivalya Upanishad, Chapter 1 verse 12 states that We are experiencing ‘parimohita’ because of Maya. Parimohita means one is completely lost in Moha (higher meaning=confusion or Avarana; lower meaning= attachment). Avarana leads to Vikshepa. Avarana is not knowing who I am and Vikshepa is like I do know who I am (I think I am body, etc). If there was just Avarana, it would be easier but Vikshepa is harder to disidentify with. Swami Tejomayananda ji explained that there are three types of sleeping people, first is those who are genuinely sleeping (sleeping here implies ignorance) and who can be genuinely woken up. Second type are pretending to sleep and don’t need to be woken up and third type of people are those who think they are not sleeping and cannot be woken up. We are the third type who think we know who we are (body, mind, etc) and therefore it is harder to wake them up.
The ego thinks that it is doing everything. Ego identifies with intellect first and expresses through doership. Ego expresses as deservership through the mind. Those who think are the doers and deservers, cannot find peace and they keep creating peace through pleasures, food, alcohol, etc. Rishis are saying here that Avidya is forgetting you are joy. But we forget that we are joy and keep trying to be joyous. The more desires one has in one’s life, it is indicative of more sadness in their lives. In the waking state, one lives pretending to be content. To summarize, there is no ego, Maya, relativity and if we know this, all the struggles will be deleted. This deletion is retrospectively (past, present and future). Ways to bring this teaching for application is through Jnana yagna (dedicated to remembering). We have to be dedicated to Satta (Absolute) and sacrifice nama and rupa, invest less in name and form. A birthday is about the person whose birthday is being celebrated but a birthday of God, Guide, Guru is about us. On Bhagavad Gita’s birthday we think about us. We should invest less in our relative nama. Don’t waste time trying everyone to like us. Bhakti when directed to lower is Sneha and that to higher is Prema. We should direct our work, volunteering towards that which is higher, engage in Prema!