Upanishad Course – Chapter 7 (Contd)
If we analyze Prince Arjuna’s questions at the beginning of Chapter 3 and beginning of Chapter 5, and if we analyze this in a casual way, we will feel that they are the same questions and so Bhagavan Krishna will give the same answers, and we will not change. However, if we analyze these questions seriously, we can come to understand and appreciate that there is a difference between Karma Yoga and Karma Sanyasa Yoga. With Karma Sanyasa Yoga there is more of an expectation of oneself, in Karma Yoga there is still a propensity to make excuses. With Karma Sanyasa Yoga one has to invest more effort, one goes from being a part time seeker to a full time seeker, with Karma Yoga there is still a notion of enjoyment. Our Upanishad course is designed for those who are reflective and want to change. We are 14 classes in and some of us may feel that we are not reflective, if we feel that then this course is most worthwhile because we come to know how we should be, and atleast in the one hour in class we should be a ‘Parama Hansa’ (swan that can separate water and milk, the one who can separate the unreal and the real).
Recap (of end of lesson 6 on Atma Vichara, guidance in inquiring into oneself) : In Pujya Swami Chinmayananda’s BMI chart, (going down the middle of the chart ) at the top is ‘Om’ (existence), beneath that is Vasanas (ego) , beneath that is Mind (equipment) , beneath that is Feeler (experiences) and then Emotions (entities). As we go down this framework, there is more Dvaita, more separation. What comes with that is Dukha (sorrow), the more extrovert we are, the more sad we will be. If we go up the chart, there is more Ananda , the more inward looking one is, the more joyous one will be. We should learn from all that is happening to us outside and inside. This is why in our Upanishads, there is a great analysis of our ‘states’. From the waking state we should learn to evolve, we wake up to evolve! In the dream state, the body is not there, so in the waking state we should identify less with the Rupa. In the sleep state, there is no Vikshepa (projections), so in the waking state we should engage in less identification with Nama. Incremental change creates the momentum for comprehensive change. The lesson on Atma Vichara encourages us to develop the Atma Vasana.
Recap (of beginning of lesson 7 Brahma Vichara, inquiry into what one is experiencing, from jiva to jagat). Brahma vichara flows from the known to the unknown. Our Rishis use ‘taTasta Lakshana’ – pointers that we know that help us to be directed to Svarupa Lakshana (characteristics that we don’t know yet). For example, if the purpose is to see the moon and one is not able to, then in order to see the light of the moon , pointers associated with the moon are used , such as looking at the branch and then looking beyond the branch. The less reflective we are, the more pointers we need. For one who is most reflective, these pointers are not needed and they are more prepared for Svarupa Lakshana.
We referenced Mundaka Upanishad (2.1.2) – Brahman (infinity) is Divya (awareness), Amurta (existence), Purusha (joy). Infinity is ‘Sat Chit Ananda’ – and we should reflect on this so that we feel that with Divya, Amurta and Purusha. Infinity is also Bahya (that which is outside) and Abhyantara (that which is inside). So infinity is the jagat and jiva. Infinity is Aja (not born). Every one of these Lakshanas requires atleast one hour of reflection.
Apraano means one who is beyond the breath, the implication of this is one who does not die.
AmanaaH means who is beyond that mind, which means one cannot think about this. The implication is, we have to quieten the mind to be able to tune into infinity. One cannot feel stress and Ananda simultaneously.
Shubra means pure, and the implication of this is there is no other.
‘Aksharaat parataH paraH’ – Our causal body (vasanas) is as if permanent in reference to the subtle and gross bodies. When the body dies, the mind does not die. If we isolate two lifetimes,it will seem as if the body is dying but mind is permanent. But if we expand this over many lifetimes, our vasanas change less, our minds change more and our bodies change the most. The implication here is , beyond that which is ‘as if’ permanent, that is beyond the vasanas. (In summary – the one who does not die, the one you can’t think about, the one with no other and the one who is beyond that which we feel is lasting. )
We have 6 sheaths – Bahya Abhyantara is our lifestyle (6th kosha), ajaH – body , apraana – breath, amanaH – mind , shubra – intellect (where the ego expresses, as ‘i am the doer’, which automatically means we are not), aksharaat parataH paraH – ego
Nature of infinity is that which is beyond all of these koshas.
Shifting from Svarupa Lakshana to taTasta Lakshana: Why is it that we don’t feel our Svarupa, why don’t we feel that we are not going to die, why don’t we feel the oneness with jagat and jiva? It is because of maya (Avidya in reference to Brahman is Maya). Ignoring the source of happiness when it comes to the individual is known as Avidya, in reference to the total is known as maya.
Reflections on Maya: In our study, there are three dimensions of reality –
‘Asat’ (unreal) – that which is never existing, so we never think/speak about it. Example in Upanishads is the horns of a hare.
‘Mitya’ (illusion) – that which is ever changing.
‘Sat’ (real) – that which is ever existing. (existence)
Maya makes us live in Mitya (relative reality or illusion). Maya is described as beginningless. Maya comes first and then time comes. So we cannot measure that which comes before time. Maya though without beginning does have an end. Once we know maya, then we are no longer limited by time. Maya is an appearance. Since it is an appearance, it cannot have an effect on our Svarupa.This means all of the states we go through, particularly sorrow – ‘we’ have never experienced it, only the ego experiences states!
A question we perpetually ask is – what is the cause of the world? But we should change this to – what is the cause of the finite? Finite cannot be the cause of finite (multiverse is finite, so it cannot be the cause). A cause, in an external way undergoes a change to become the effect. Example, milk undergoes a change to become yogurt. Every description of infinity is -‘that which never changes’, which means there is no creation! The highest creation theory in our Upanishads is that there is no creation.
Shwetashvatara Upanishad (Chapter 4 Verse 10):
We should know that Prakriti (creation, expression) is maya. The one who controls/facilitates this is Maheshwara. The absolute when relativized, we refer to that absolute as Bhagavan/Ishwara. Brahman expresses through Maya, and that is when Brahman becomes Bhagavan. There is only a creator in relation to creation. If there are no waves, then it means there is no ocean. The more that we feel that ‘we are’ , the more we will tune into the absolute. As long as we feel we have a Rupa and Nama, so does infinity. That is the critical/mandatory role of Bhagavan in our lives. When you start to feel you are more, then you identify lesser with the body and name – that is when Bhagavan will as if merge into Brahman. Throughout the Bhagavad Gita, Bhagavan Krishna sometimes refers to Himself as Bhagavan and sometimes He refers to Himself as Consciousness!