Upanishad Course – Chapter 8 (Contd)
When we are asleep, our awareness is illuminating the absence around us and in us. To feel that insight into our Sadhana – when we are awake, we should be aware (conscious, vigilant) about how ignorant we are and how we ignore what life is, the source of joy, the health of our body and earth. Being aware of our ignorance helps us to be humble. Being with a master helps us to understand and appreciate how small one is! We should feel our ignorance to nurture our humility and that is what this course is about. We should feel we are a ‘Hansa’ (swan), a Paramahansa is one who is able to separate what doesn’t matter and what does matter. What matters is all of these teachings.
Recap: A popular message from the Upanishad is : ‘Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma’ (Sarvam -all, khalvidam- only, Brahma- infinity) – All is only infinity. A more popular teaching is: PurnamadaH Purnamidam – That is infinite, this is infinite. If we reflect on these teachings – then we know that there is no need to use the word ‘all’ in reference to infinity because it is given, there is no need to use the words ‘that’ and ‘this’ in reference to infinity ! These words indicate how tightly oriented we are towards the finite (Desha -space, Kaala – time, Vastu – matter). This is what is holding us back from feeling the infinite. When such teachings are shared with us, we must never feel bad to the extent where we feel we are not a disciple. Conversely, if we feel bad, it should be for us to work harder and smarter. This sentiment was shared in the Vedanta in Bhagavata class when Sri Vasudeva shares with a group of Rishis that he only knows his son as a son and not God, and wants to know how he can know his son as god like the Rishis do. The response was ‘Yajna’. If we engage in Yajna, we start to feel Jnaana. Sri Vasudeva does engage in Yajna and shared some of his revelations with Bhagavan Krishna and the Rishis when the Yajna turns into Jnaana – that Bhagavan Krishna is relation-less, which means He is infinite. Relations only exist in that which is not infinite. He shares that it is because he feels he is this body and so he feels Lord Krishna is his son. But now that he knows Sri Krishna is infinite, he feels he is not this body!
As long as we feel we are this individual, we also need a total. This total is called Bhagavan. Bhagavan is our Brahman of intellectual understanding. We need this! Yajna means dedication. In Mundakopanishad 2.1.3, what we should practice Yajna towards is shared.
Etasmaat jayate – from infinity was manifested praanaH (outside air and inside air),
manaH– mind, indriyaani (all senses- organs of perception and action) , cha – anything that has not been stated, kham – space, vayu – air, jyotiH -fire, aapaH – water, Prithivi vishvasya dharini – earth that supports all, so we should be dedicated to all of the above mentioned. Our inner equipment should be dedicated towards all that is outside of us. We should use our mind, intellect and ego to serve the earth, water, fire, air, space and all that is made up of this (humans, animals, plants and stones). This is what will unite our inner world with the outer world and this is how oneness manifests. The entire separation should be dedicated to unity. The logic of the word ‘nirvana’ (blow out) comes from such an understanding – the ego should be blown out through dedication. In the mantras from 2.1.3 to 2.1.9 a different facet of creation is zoomed in on, but the fundamental is always the same.
This Class: In the Mantras from 2.1.3 to 2.1.9, the Rishi also shares:
-the different Lokas that are manifested from Brahman
-the different Bhutas (stones, plants, animals, humans, Devas) – the lineage of all is with Brahman
-the Dharma (values) – will lead one to oneness
The mantras are trying to encourage us to think big. In the bigness, we will find the unity of creation, that what is enveloping all of this is consciousness.
Another way to reflect is that: All that is expressing from Brahman is subject to Kaala. All the different Lokas, Bhutas and Dharma are subject to time. We should be dedicated to that which is deeper than and beyond all of this. In mantra 8, the Rishi shares ‘Tasmat prabhavanti sapta praanaH’ – From Brahman what flows are the seven breaths (implication here is seven organs) – here it refers to the organs on our head. Our organs have come from infinity and the practice is that, all that comes through these organs, we should have the same feeling of infinity. In a ritualistic sense, this is a Yajna – there is an offering to the the ‘offered to’ (like Brahmaspranam BrahmahaviH). This is the Jnana Kanda, so the Rishis are encouraging us to take our Sadhana from gross to subtle, not to externalize our Sadhana where it is Karma oriented but for one to feel that all of this is happening internally. A simple gauge for this is – any external Sadhana (like using a Japa mala) will always be limited by time. But if we internalize it, we can always engage in japa in our mind. The message here is to go deeper and engage in Sadhana for a longer period of time by shifting from the gross to the subtle. When we know the root of all is Brahman, it feels more natural and makes more sense.
Purusha evedam vishvam – this multiverse is only Purusha (infinity)
Karma tapaH is what the Vishvam is made of. It is made up of what the Veda teaches, which is Karma Kanda and Jnana Kanda (Tapa here is Jnana Kanda)
Brahma paraa Amritam – Infinity is beyond fear. Mrita is death, death is not the challenge but it is the fear of death.
Etad yah Veda Nihitam guhayam – Etad here is infinity. That seeker who knows, resting in a cave – that is in the deepest part of who we are, so the one who knows this infinity as themselves
Sah Avidya grantim – To that seeker, the knots of ignorance which makes us have desires and makes us act, because of which we are always tired
Vikirati iha Sowmya – these knots are cut (in this space,time,matter ) and Sowmya is indicative of one who is fresh and one who has done that unlearning. Because they are not being held back, they are great students, they are absorbing.
This whole section of Mundaka Upanishad is summarized in this last mantra that shares that this multiverse is Purna, here is where we will feel completeness, first we start with the Karma Kanda – we have to ‘do’ and then we transition to the Jnana Kanda – we have to ‘be’ while ‘doing’, we have to start to feel that this outer infinity is the same as our inner infinity (Brahma Atma Eka). The anatma vasana becomes nasha and then one is Sowmya. Yajna leads to Jnana. To do this, we should start with what we can control – which is our Karma. Our Karma should be insulated by Ishwara Arpana buddhi (dedicated to our Brahman in creation – Bhagavan). Whatever is not in our control – Ishwara Prasada buddhi. We will know we are doing this if we become more Samatva (balanced). Balance is required where there is two-ness. In oneness balance is not required. So the more balanced we become, the more we shift from creation, through the creator to consciousness. Only if we reflect upon this, we can personalize it, and we can start to incorporate this into our life- then our life becomes Sadhana and we can reach the Sadhya!