VEDANTA is the religion of the Upanishads. It is the property of all. It has no quarrel with any religion whatsoever. It preaches universal principles. It inculcates the idea of that universal religion which is the fountain-head of all the religions of the world. It is a great leveller. It unites all. It gives room to all.
Vedanta is the direct royal road to the domain of unalloyed felicity and the supreme abode of immortality and eternal bliss. It is the Sanjivini (Himalayan herb) that can bring immediate life to a dying man. It lifts a man at once to the status of an Emperor of emperors, Kind of kings, Shah of shahs, even though he has nothing to eat, even though he is clad in rags. It gives real inner strength. It inspires, renovates, vivifies, invigorates and energises. It gives hope to the hopeless, power to the powerless, vigour to the vigourless and joy to the joyless.
Vedanta includes all sects, all religions, all creeds, all cults and all nations. It proclaims the revelations of the sages of yore of India. It is the common property of all. It expands the heart and opens the eyes. It brings a new life. It gives supreme joy and eternal bliss. It removes all barriers which separate man from man and unites all people. It gives solace, strength and peace and removes all fears, doubts and anxieties, delusion and illusion.
You think of your body, food, wife, son, friend, etc., but you do not turn your mind inward to find out what lies within yourself. You think that your body, this bundle of flesh and bones - is real and on this basis you build the whole citadel of life's ambition and activities. You have mistaken the shadow for the substance. You are contended with superficial things. Though you are endowed with the power of thought, yet you do not wish to utilise this power in the quest of the immortal Self. You have abandoned the precious jewel of Atman and caught hold of a broken glass piece. Is this not a foolish act? You will weep in your old age.
Why do you bleat like a lamb? Assert. Recognise and realise your Brahmic nature. I will tell you a small story. Just hearken with rapt attention. There was once a lion-cub, left by its dying mother, among some sheep. The sheep took care of the lion-cub. The lion-cub soon grew into a big lion and bleated Ba-a-a when the sheep bleated Ba-a-a.
One day another lion came and heard the sheep-lion bleating aloud with the other sheep. He was struck with amazement. He asked the sheep-lion: Brother! What is the matter with you? Why are you here in such an abject state The sheep-lion replied: I am a sheep. I am happy here amidst my brothers and sisters. Nonsense, roared the other lion, Come along with me. I will show you. You are under a false delusion. He took the sheep-lion to the side of a river and showed him his reflection in the water. He said to the sheep-lion: Look at your reflection now. You are a lion. I am a lion. The sheep-lion looked at the reflection and then said in joy, What a terrible mistake I have committed? I am certainly a lion indeed. I am not a sheep at all. He made a terrible roar and went along with the other lion.
Brother! You are also bleating like the sheep-lion. You have forgotten your real divine nature. You are hypnotised by Maya. Dehypnotise yourself and roar OM OM OM. Become a lion of Vedanta. Thou art the immortal Self. Do not identify yourself with the perishable body. Identify yourself with the undying, eternal Brahman and be free.
There is a permanent reality behind the universe. There is a living truth behind these names and forms and all phenomena. That is Brahman. That is Atman. That is Self. The goal of human life is to realise the reality behind the changing phenomena. The summum bonum of human aspiration is to attain Self-realisation. Self-realisation alone can eradicate ignorance and miseries. Self-realisation alone can break the bonds of Karma. Self-realisation alone can make you absolutely free and independent.
There is only one reality, Brahman. This world and body are superimposed on Brahman, just as snake is superimposed on the rope. As long as the rope is not known and the idea of the snake persists, you are not free from fear. Similarly this world is a solid reality to you until Brahman is realised. When you see the rope with a light, the illusion vanished and the fear disappears. Even so, when you realise Brahman, this world vanishes and you are freed from the fear of births and deaths.
A Jiva-Koti Jivanmukta is one who has realised the Self through gradual evolution and by his own efforts. He has raised himself form Jivahood to Brahmanhood by meditation. He has taken many births. Anyhow he has managed to free himself from the round of births and deaths. He can help a few persons only. He cannot elevate many people. He can be compared to a bullock cart which can take 4 or 5 persons or a plank in a river. Whereas the eternally free Ishvara-koti-Jivanmukta is born in the world for establishing Dharma, for the protection of virtuous persons and for doing good to humanity. He does not practise any Sadhana or meditation in this birth. He is an Amsa of the Lord. He is a born Siddha. He is illumined from his very boyhood. He can elevate many people. He manifests and disappears when the Lokasangraha work is over. He can be compared to a train which takes a large number of persons or a big steamer in an ocean. Sankara was an Ishvara-Koti. Vamadeva was a Jiva-Koti Jivanmukta.
Still the waves of the mind. Hold the mind steady in Nirvikalpa Samadhi. This needs constant and protracted practice of meditation. There may be breaks in the meditation in the beginning. But practice can make you perfect. Later on you can remain absorbed in mediation. You can merge yourself in Samadhi with a mind steady like a flame protected from wind. Before getting sanguine success in meditation get victory over the Asana (pose) first. Sit on your seat with the steadiness of a rock for 2 to 3 hours. If the body is steady, the mind also will be steady.
The student of Vedanta puts the 'Neti-neti' doctrine into daily practice. He says: I am not this perishable body. I am not this mind. I am not this Prana. I am not the Indriyas. 'Neti-neti' means not this; not this. This is the path of negation. But he tries to identify himself with the all-pervading Atman or Self. This practice culminates in the attainment of Self-realisation. It leads to the immediate intuition of the all-filling Brahman.
Perform worship of the Atman at all times. Live a regulated life. Mould your character. Develop noble and virtuous behaviour. Be righteous and work for the good of others. Be devoted to your preceptor. Live under life-long vows. Develop compassion and power of concentration. Be generous. Be charitable. You will soon attain Self-realisation.
Open your eyes now. Wake up from the deep slumber of profound inertia. Regain the lost divinity. Thou art Divine. Thou art Truth. Thou art Atman (soul). Realise this and be free. OM! OM! OM!