Upanishad Course – Chapter 9 (Contd) -

Upanishad Course – Chapter 9 (Contd)

Upanishad Course – Chapter 9 (Contd)

Week 18

At the beginning of Srimad Bhagavatam, Bhagavan Brahma wakes up and all He sees is only darkness. 

So He closes His eyes and starts to inquire. He hears the word ‘Tapa’ (to burn). (When there is darkness, ideally we can burn something to create light.) 

He knows that this is encouragement from the divine to keep going deeper. 

Eventually with His eyes closed, He sees Bhagavan Nayarayan and opens His eyes and there again He sees Bhagavan Narayana. 

Bhagavan Narayana teaches Him the original Bhagavata known as Chatusloki Bhagavata (4 verses). 

In the second verse, Bhagavan Narayana shares what Avidya or Maya is, which is – when the relative is made to be the absolute and the absolute is made to be non-existent. 

Bhagavan Brahma now engages in His responsibility as creator and that He must never forget that He is relative and Bhagavan Narayana is Absolute. 

The Upanishad course is a course about relationship management. Right now our relationship is with Maya, and she is our Master – whereas the relationship of Maya is with Mayapati (here Bhagavan Narayana). 

In our relationship management we have to divorce Maya and have a marriage with Mayapati. 

This is shared in a lighter way in Sri Ramana’s Upadesha Sara. He begins His teachings with Karma Yoga (intention path, so we should stop being instinctive), next is Bhakti Yoga and the fulfillment of this is we come to feel our Hrd (heart) – to know who we are. 

Whether it is Bhagavatam, Upadesha Sara or Upanishad course, it is all about understanding our relationship with Bhagavan and our relationship with Brahman. 

When these relationships are clear, there is closure.It is tiring when matters are not closed. 

Our course is designed for there to be clarity and closure. 

Recap: When a seeker reflects fully on who they are, they will reach existence. 

When a seeker reflects fully on what this is, they will reach existence. 

This is what is meant by ‘Aikya’. There is a oneness between who they are and what this is. 

For example, if a scientist researches fully what a wave is and another researches fully what an ocean is, both will come to water. 

Traditionally this reflection is tied to Jiva-Brahma Aikya, because we can relate to being the Jiva (the one who feels they are the Karta or doer, bhokta -deserver). 

To feel we are the Brahma, we have to practice being unconditional. Difference between Jiva and Brahma is the difference in conditions – Jiva has conditions and Brahma does not. 

So if we start to live in a more unconditional way, then we start to feel the oneness. 

Different words are used for living unconditionally such as Neti (na iti), Sannyasa (to internally renounce) , simplify etc. 

Ananya Bhakti has the same message. We should let go of any sense of condition, and one will reach Sat (existence). 

We analyzed this in detail through Chandogya Upanishad (6.8.7). 

‘That existence which is most subtle is the essence of all of this’ – This line is describing Brahma. 

Rishi Uddalaka continues to say – Brahma is existence and our spirit is existence. 

He makes it more personal by saying ‘Brahma which is existence – impersonally and personally – is the Atma. 

This whole teaching is about Atma-Brahma Aikya or Jiva-Brahma Aikya.

We understand ‘Tvam’ experientially, and ‘Tat’ we understand intellectually, the ‘Asi’ is where we have to reflect on. All that is Saguna (with conditions) depends on Nirguna (without conditions). 

Using existence as reference, Saguna means existing and Nirguna is existence. In regards to ‘Asi’ we have to keep on renouncing and disidentifying from the Gunas. 

In one of the Bhakti Shastras written by Acharya Shankara, He shares ‘I am yours, you are not mine’ – which means ‘i am dependent on you and you are not dependent on me’. 

The same teaching is also in Chapter 7 of the Bhagavad Gita.  

So the existing has to be renounced to existence. Existence is a facet of Brahman. 

We also know Brahman is awareness and joy. But existence is highlighted here because it is the most objective. 

However we cannot personalize that, because we think of existence as inert. 

But awareness is more personal, because we know our thoughts. 

So our reflections have to be dynamic, for us to internalize this. 

Avidya means ignoring, Vidya means remembering – so a practice for us is – as we live we should stop ignoring and start to remember that all that is existing is because of existence. Ignoring is taking for granted! 

This class: In the first lesson, the Upanishad was described as Adhyatma Vidya (Adhi means above, so deepest sense of self). 

In lesson 2, the subject of the Upanishad was shared as Brahma Vidya. This is really the Aikya of Atma and Brahma. 

The Upanishad is contained within the Veda, the Veda is filled with Vakya (statements).

In reference to Bhakti, the Veda is known as Narayana Vakya. Veda is also known as Shruti (the words we listen to). 

Our Veda contains approximately 100000 mantras/vakyas. Within these vakyas, some are qualified as Mahavakyas. 

A Mahavakya is a teaching where there is a Aikya between the individuality and infinity (where jiva is taught ‘you are Brahman’). 

The crisis that we are experiencing is an identity crisis, when that identity crisis is addressed then it is Mahavakya. 

‘Tat tvam asi’ is the most prevalent among the Mahavakyas. 

4 Mahavakyas have become prominent in Vedantic circles, and there is one found in each volume of Veda (there is only one Veda, that Rishi Vyasa volumized into 4). 

Our Rishis specifically designed this so that we all know that Veda has only one subject. 

Here is the order in which one should study and feel the Mahavakyas. 

  1. From the Rig Veda, Aittareya Upanishad – this is known as Lakshana Vakya. Lakshana means indicator, and the disciple has the sense about what they are.

Prajnaanam Brahma’ (Awareness is infinity)

  1. From the Sama Veda, Chandogya Upanishad – this is known as Upadesha Vakya. When the disciple feels the sense that there is more to me, then the Guru clarifies saying 

Tat Tvam Asi’ (Awareness that is infinity is you)

  1. From the Yajus Veda, Bruhadaaranyaka Upanishad – this is known as Anubhava Vakya. Anubhava means experience.

Aham Brahmaasmi’ (I am infinity)

  1. From the Atharva Veda, Mandukya Upanishad – this is known as Anusandhana Vakya. Anusandhana means to be established. 

Ayam Atma Brahma’ (This spirit is infinity)

Kaivalya Upanishad: Kaivalya comes from the word Kevala, which means only or oneness. When there is oneness there is freedom, so Kaivalya means freedom. 

Chapter 1, verse 16 of Kaivalya Upanishad is another Mahavakya: ‘Yat param Brahma sarvaatma vishvasya aayatanam mahat sukshmaat sukshmataram nityam tat tvam eva tvam eva tat’ 

Yat means that. That is Brahma. Brahma is para (highest) and sarva atma (essence of all). 

It is the greatest support of this multiverse. This is all existence. It is subtler than the subtlest, which means it cannot be known in the ways that we know. 

It can only be experienced. Nityam here means experience. ‘Tat tvam eva’ means ‘you are only infinity’.

All that we want to know is wanting to know an object. All that we are knowing is an object – through our tongue, brain, mind, intellect.

 We want to know this and are knowing this because we feel with every contact we will become happier. 

We all know ‘don’t act for fulfillment but act out of fulfillment’. 

But even our basic knowing and how we are using awareness is for Ananda which shows we don’t know either of them, that ‘Awareness is Ananda’. 

So this mantra is a mantra of unlearning, to unlearn that we should know for utility. 

When we unlearn knowing for utility, we renounce the condition and start to feel we are awareness and joy. 

We are not used to doing anything that is not utility based and that’s why this journey and this course is difficult, because our Anatma vasanas are beyond deep. 

These mantras are the truth, Sat is often described as ‘truth’.

We would have to be very virtuous to live these mantras because they are the ‘Truth’! Only when we are fully virtuous we will not need to know more objects. 

Then when our Satguru and Shastras come and say ‘Tat Tvam Asi’, we will feel ‘Aham Brahmaasmi’. 

When they say ‘Tvam eva Tat’ we will feel ‘Aham Brahmaasmi’.

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