Nature of Brahman
Om! Brahman or Siva or the Impersonal Absolute is the Source and Substratum for the world of phenomena. He is the Source of the Vedas. From Him the world proceeds. In Him it lives. In Him it gets dissolved. He is Eternal, Self-existent, Self-luminous and Self-contained. He is all Full. He is beyond Time, Space and Causation. He is birthless, deathless and decayless.
He moves and moves not. He moves in His manifested or Saguna Aspect. He moves not in His Transcendental Aspect. He is smaller than the smallest and greater than the greatest. He is smaller than the smallest because He is the Soul of even the ant, the mustard and the atom, and He is extremely subtle. He is greater than the greatest because He is the Soul of this entire universe and extends beyond this universe also, and He is Infinite. He is nearer than the nearest and farther than the farthest. He is nearer to the thirsty aspirants, but He is farther to those who are worldly-minded. He is nearer than the nearest because He is the Inner Soul of everything. He is farther than the farthest because He is Infinite.
He is beyond the reach of mind and the senses (Avaangmanogochara). He cannot be reached by people of gross mind and outgoing senses. But He can be attained by that aspirant who is endowed with subtle, sharp, one-pointed intellect (Manasaivaanudrashtavyam), and who is equipped with the four means, and the grace and the instructions of a Brahma-Srotri, Brahma-Nishtha Guru, on Tat-Tvam-Asi Mahavakya.
Vision of a Sage and a Worldly Man
Brahman is the only Reality. He is the only Living Truth. The liberated Sage or Jivanmukta beholds Brahman only everywhere. There is no world for him in the three periods of time. But the ignorant man sees only the five elements and the forms. The world of names and forms only is real for him. He denies Brahman altogether.
The man who moves in a desert in the noon sees mirage at some distance and mistakes it for water. He runs there to drink water but is disappointed. The rays of the Sun fall on the bed of sand and generate the mirage. The mirage appears as a sheet of water, and deludes man. Even so the worldly man beholds the five elements and the combinations, i.e., names and forms, on account of ignorance or Avidya. Avidya hides the real and makes the unreal appear as real.
In the twilight a man mistakes a rope for a snake. gets frightened and cries. When a friend brings a light his fear vanishes. He sees a rope only. Even so a worldly man mistakes the impure, perishable body for the Pure Imperishable Atman and suffers in diverse ways on account of this erroneous notion or superimposition (Adhyasa) caused by Avidya. When the Avidya is destroyed through Brahma-Jnana or Knowledge of the eternal through initiation into the Significance of Tat-Tvam-Asi Mahavakya by the Preceptor or Brahma-Vidya Guru, he becomes identical with the Supreme Soul. The world of names and forms vanishes in toto. He sees Brahman only. All his fears terminate.
Happiness is in Atman Only
The feeling of pleasure is an internal feeling. There is no pleasure in physical objects, though they excite pleasure in man. Sensual pleasure is only a reflection of the Bliss of the Atman. When a desire is gratified, the mind moves towards the Atman and rests in Atman for a very short time, and the man experiences pleasure. Atman or Brahman only is the embodiment of Bliss (Ananda-Svarupa). Atman is full of Bliss (Anandamaya). Atman is a mass of Bliss (Ananda-Ghana).
One Brahman is Both Material and Efficient Cause
Brahman is both the material and the efficient cause of this universe (Abhinna Nimitta Upadana Karana). He is the fictitious material cause (Vivarta Upadana Karana). He somehow appears as this universe through Maya, without Himself being affected in the least, by names and forms. This is a Mystery. This is indescribable.
Brahman is Unattached
Just as the crystal is not affected by the coloured objects, though it reflects them, just as the Sun is not affected by the defects of the eye and other objects, just as ether is not affected by reason of its subtlety, so seated everywhere in the body, this Atman is not affected.
Qualifications of an Aspirant
He who is equipped with the four means, who has purified his heart through selfless service (Nishkama-Karma-Yoga), service of Guru, Japa, Kirtana and Upasana, who is calm, dispassionate, reflective, discriminative, fearless, straightforward, humble, large-hearted, compassionate, generous, truthful, pure and who is free from pride, egoism, arrogance, will realise this Mysterious, Indescribable, Unthinkable, Brahman or the Imperishable.
Kaivalya-Mukti or Final Emancipation can be attained through Knowledge of Brahman. Krama-Mukti is attained through Bhakti.
Mukti is not a thing to be achieved or attained. It is already there. You will have to know that you are free, by removing the veil of Ignorance.
Method of Meditation
I am all-Blissful Siva OM!
I am Immortal Brahman OM!
I am Existence-Knowledge-Bliss-Absolute
I am Infinite (Ananta) OM!
I am Eternal (Nitya) OM!
I am ever Pure (Suddha) OM!
I am Perfect (Siddha) OM!
I am ever Free (Mukta) OM!
I am Unattached (Asanga) OM!
I am Witness (Sakshi) OM!
I am Non-doer (Akarta) OM!
I am Non-enjoyer (Abhokta) OM!
I am not this Prana OM!
This is the Quintessence of Kevala Advaita Vedanta or Absolute Monism.
Thus ends the glorious Sivanand-Vidya! OM!
The Science of Knowledge of the Reality is the King of all sciences ‘Rajavidya’ as the Gita terms it. It is the Kingly Secret (Rajaguhya), the best and the end of all sciences. It is the only real science in the strictest sense of the term; all others are mere semblance of science. It is the rational way of entering into the Ultimate Truth, the Original Cause of things. This is the one aim of the ontological (Brahma-Tattva) researches made since many a generation of Seers and Sages.
Vedanta or Brahmavidya is the crest-jewel of all schools of philosophical thought which preaches the Unity of Existence, or Oneness of Consciousness. It proclaims that all these innumerable beings are in Essence one and the same, that there is no such thing as diversity (Brih. Up. IV. 4. 19), that all this is Brahman (Chh. Up. III. 14. 1). It thrills and widens the heart, brightens the intellect, and makes one experience the Absolute Being, the Only Reality. One does not feel that he is different from other, that he is an individual at all by himself and feels that there is nothing except his own Being. One does not, after the Realisation of the Eternal Truth. Experience this manifold universe of names and forms, of pairs of opposites. He does not even appear to be moved by external changes of talks and actions. One does not, having adhered to the practical principles of Wisdom (Jnana), feel that anything at all is serious in this world, that anything whatsoever is of any importance, that anything at all can cause any substantial effect in the appearance of this phantom of phenomena. Having been established in the glorious Seat of Knowledge of the Self (Atman or Brahman), one has not got to experience the misery of ‘Samsara’, one becomes completely divinised in nature! Goodness of heart and intelligence of brain which the whole world considers as a marvellous possession is superseded by the Divinity of Absolute Consciousness through direct intuitional cognition of the Universal Soul!
Anger, hatred, and the like, fade away into an airy nothing; desire, attachment and delusion vanish like goblins experienced in dreams; likes and dislikes become fictitious expressions, on the Ambrosia of Wisdom being tasted at least once! There remains nothing more to be known. Actions, emotions and willings become impotent of producing any binding effect, the great illusory dramatic Jugglery of life in the world becomes a fairy tale in the city of the clouds, on the Spiritual Spark of Wisdom having been shot out into practical experience. Every trouble, every disappointment, every depression or the other side of it appearing to arise in the mind, becomes known to be simply an appearance of the sport of Maya in the theatre of the universe, every act and movement, an exhibition of individual ignorance! One does not become a victim to the luring call of the senses, one is able to discriminate that all objects of sense-enjoyment are nothing but the one or the other aspect of appearance in the Absolute Consciousness.
Brahma-Jnana leads to the Glory of Moksha. The Mundaka Upanishad extols the Bliss of Salvation in the following words: Who know that Supreme State of Brahman, founded on which the whole world shines radiantly, who, being without desire, worship that Purusha, who are wise, they pass beyond the seed of rebirth here. Of him whose desire is satisfied, who is a perfect soul, all desires even here on earth vanish away. Attaining Him, the Seers who are satisfied with Knowledge, who are perfected souls, free from passion, tranquilattaining Him who is the universally omnipresent, those wise, devout souls enter into the All Itself. They who have ascertained the meaning of the Vedanta-Knowledge, Ascetics with purified natures through the application of renunciation (Sannyasa-Yoga), they in the State of Brahman at the end of time are all liberated beyond death. Gone are the fifteen parts (of the microcosm) according to their station even all the sense-organs in their corresponding divinities! One’s deeds and the self that consists of understanding, all become united in the Supreme Imperishable. As the flowing rivers in the ocean disappear, quitting name and form, so the Knower, being liberated from name and form, goes unto the Supreme Purusha, higher than the high. He who knows that Supreme Brahman becomes Brahman Itself. In his family no one ignorant of Brahman arises. He crosses over sorrow. He crosses over sin Liberated from the knots of the heart, he becomes Immortal!" (Mundaka Upanishad-III-2)
Thus is the Glory of the Wisdom of the Reality. Here do we find expressed in its complete form the Knowledge of the Infinite ‘Bhuma’ or ‘Brahman’ in the glorious sentenecs of the ‘Sivananda-Vidya’, the Science of the Blessed, the Infinite Brahman!
Nature of Brhman
Brahman is Siva or Blessed, Auspicious. The Mandukya Upanishad calls Brahman as Santam, Sivam, Advaitam (Mand. Up. VII). Brahman is ‘Santa’ or peaceful, ‘Siva’ or Blessed (auspicious), ‘Advaita’ or Non-Dual. The word ‘Siva’ is indicative of the Tranquillity of which Brahman is the embodiment in Fullness Brimh is to expand into Infinity, and the word Brahman is indicative of Completeness, Perfection Infinity, Eternity, and Absoluteness of Being which is of the Nature of Intelligence and Bliss, wherein all Power is hidden!
Brahman is the Source and Substratum, the Basis for all the play of phenomenal relativity. Just as the Sun is the Controller and the Basis for all the business of life in the world and also the Support of the mirages appearing in deserts, just as the Ocean is the Support of the many waves rolling on it, just as the glowing lamp is the Support of the light scattered around it, just as the burning flame of fire is the Supporter of the sparks flung around it, just as the moon is the Support of the beams surging from it, just as the great Ether is the Support of the ether in jar, etc, just as the dreamer is the Support of all the objects of his dream in the mind, so is Brahman the Prop or Support of the sport of Illusion as the diverse appearances of the universe. Who controls the earth from withinHe is thy Soul, the Inner Controller, the Immortal. (Brih. Up. III-7. 3 ).
Brahman is the Impersonal Absolute Amurtam (Brih. Up. II-3. 1), only One without a second, Ekameva Adviteeyam (Chh. Up. VI-2. 1), the ONLY EXISTENCE, Ekam Sat (Rig-Veda I-164. 46).
Brahman is the Source of the Vedas Asya Mahato Bhutasya Nisvasitametad Yadrigvedo Yajurvedah Samavedotharvaangirasah (Brih. Up. II-4. 10). From this Great Being has been breathed forth that which is Rig-Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, and the Atharva-angirasathus says Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. Veda is the Sabda-Brahman or the first evolute. Veda is Infinite, Anantaa Vai-Vedahthere is no end for Vedas because they are the expositions of the Nature and Glory of Brahman which is Infinite, Endless. Vid is to know, Veda is Knowledge of the Absolute Brahman, through the Sravana or hearing of whose Eternal truths from a Brahma-Nishtha Guru, and meditation on those truths, one is rendered fit to realise that Absolute Brahman. The first evolute was the great Sound or Nada of Omkara from which all other principles evolved subsequently. From OM the Vedas came forth through the medium of Brahman. OM, thus, is the quintessence of the Vedas and represents Brahman in the best conceivable way. OM includes everything here, OM this syllable is this whole world…the past, the present and the future everything is the word OM!...for truly, everything here is Brahman. (Mandukya Up. I, II). OM is the Support for Meditation on Brahman. The loud chant of OM swallows up the whole universe in one’s consciousness and asserts the Non-dual Brahman alone, the Absolute Being.
From Him this world proceeds. Janmaadyasya Yatah (Brahmasutras, 1. 1. 2). This Sutra of the Uttara-Mimamsa says that the origin, etc., of this is from Whom, i.e., the origin, preservation and destruction of this universe is due to Brahman only. Brahman projects the universe just as the Sun projects the mirage, sustains the world just as the mirage is sustained at noon, and dissolves the universe in the end just as the mirage is absorbed at the time of sun-set. All the creatures, all the worlds are created or rather projected by Brahman from the Body of Brahman, and the same Brahman is sustained by Brahman and the very Brahman is dissolved or destroyed by Brahman into Brahman. All this is merely a play or Divine Jugglery. All the creature; breathe and live in Brahman, they move and have their being in Brahman for Brahman alone is all this that appears, and there is nothing whatsoever, other than that one Essence existing everywhere at all times. He created this whole world, whatever there is here. Having created it, he entered into it. Having entered it, he became both the real and the unreal, both the defined and the undefined, both the based and the non-based, both the conscious and the unconscious. He became whatever there is here. (Taitt. Up. II-6). That, whence beings here are born, that by which when born, they live, that into which on deceasing they enter. . . That is Brahman, (Taitt. Up. III. 1. 1. )
Brahman is Eternal, Nitya, Everlasting. Brahman alone is the entire Existence and hence Brahman cannot be destroyed. The Actor, action and the thing acted are all Brahman in one. Brahman cannot change, for the very consciousness of the process of change is Brahman. Brahman is single, non-Dual and so is Self-Existent. There is nothing for Brahman to depend upon. Brahman is Absolute, All-in-All! Tat Satyam, That is Existence (Chh. Up. VI-16. 3). Existence alone was in the beginning (Chh. Up. VI-2-1). Brahman is Self-luminous, or Chit. Chit is Intelligence or Consciousness. The very Nature of Brahman is Absolute Consciousness, Pure Awareness Supreme, the Light of Knowledge. It shines by Itself, without any external agency, for it is the Sole Existence, and the Source of all Light, all Consciousness! It is Self-contained, Full, Perfect and Blissful. It is the embodiment of Perfection and joy without decay. Brahman is Full, the ‘Bhuma’ (Chh. Up. VII-23), the unconditioned. That is Full, this is full. From the Full, the full does proceed. Withdrawing the full from the Full, even Full then Itself remains. (Brih. Up. V-1. 1)
Time, Space and Causation are only appearances of Brahman in the Being of Brahman, and hence have no separate existence by themselves. Brahman is both Transcendent and Immanent. Brahman includes everything, and yet is beyond everything. Brahman is Indescribable Greatness and Glory! It is birthless, deathless and decayless. For all changes are fused into Its Supreme Being and there is nothing which It is not. Changes like birth and death are only relative terms and have no meaning in the Absolute point of view. Time, Space and Causation also are only relative terms expressing unreal things to the ignorant people, and when the Light of Wisdom dawns, there is no world, there is no duality and change, there is the Non-dual Brahman alone in Its own Glory! All this world is the dazzling of Consciousness (Yoga Vasishta. VI b. 213. 18. ) Hence Braahman cannot be attributed with any quality, change or action. Verily, that great, unborn, Soul, undecaying, undying immortal, fearless, is Brahman (Brih. Up. IV-4. 25).
Tadejati, Tannaijati (Isa Up. V). It moves and moves not. Brahman is all Full, Absolute and spaceless and hence does not move. Movement is possible only when there is space for purpose of change and action. But the Spaceless and the Timeless Completeness of Brahman cannot move, for motion is only Brahman appearing. But in the manifested aspect, where there is individuation, there is the possibility of motion and action, appearance of power and separateness. In this aspect Brahman appears as the Lord of the universe and apparently separates Himself from the State of Absoluteness of Being and moves. But in the State of Truth, He is Santam, Sivam, Advaitam, and moves not.
Anoraneeyan Mahato Maheeyan (Katha Up. II. 20). He is smaller than the smallest and greater than the greatest. Even the smallest thing occupies a portion of space and every speck of space is aglow with the presence of the Imperishable Brahman, for there is no space in all the three periods of time where Brahman is not. Even the smallest thing cannot but exist, and Existence is Brahman. Brahman is extremely subtle for It pervades and is immanent in everything for everything is Brahman! The Sruti says: He is Brahman, He is Indra, He is Prajapati, He is all gods, (He is) all these five elements… all this is guided by Consciousness, is based on Consciousness. The world is guided by Consciousness. Consciousness is its basis. Consciousness is Brahman.
Brahman is Infinite, for It pervades all and is the being of all. It is greater than the greatest because the greatest is only a part-manifestation of it. A thing is greatest only in the relative phenomenal sense and it is not greatest from the point of view of Brahman which transcends everything. The Rig-Veda says, having covered up all the world, It stretches ten cubits above. This is only to show that Brahman pervades and covers up all that is here and is beyond everything. Brahman is the Great Expansion and is the Entirety of Being. Hence there cannot be anything greater than Brahman which is the greatest, the All.
Brahman is nearer than the nearest and farther than the farthest of things. Tad Doore Tadvantike (Isa Up. V). The thirsty aspirant feels the presence of Brahman alone in his own being and hence to him Brahman is not only the nearest but is his very existence itself. Ayamatma Brahma (Ait. Up. III-3). This Self is Brahman. Brahman is the Self of everything. Hence it is the nearest.
Brahman is farther to those who are worldly-minded. Worldly persons perceive only physical bodies and cannot cognise the presence of the All-pervading Essence. They doubt the existence of the superphysical being and search for that Great Being in the external world. This leads to atheism in them, and so it is equal to Its being for, far from their reach. They get births after births and roll in the meshes of Samsara due to gross ignorance of the Nature of the Absolute Brahman. They remain in that state of misery until the dawn of Wisdom of the Self. The farness of Brahman is indicated by Its Infiniteness. Brahman is Illimitable, Indivisible, and hence, to express in relative word, is farther than the farthest. Brahman is Truth, Intelligence, Infinity (Taitt. Up. II-1).
Brahman cannot he comprehended through the mind and the senses. The mind and the senses have a tendency to objectification and losing consciousness of the subjective existence. Existence is an absolute identity of the subjective and the objective states of Consciousness in one, an indivisible oneness of the cogniser and the cognised, together with cognition. The One Existence, in a mysterious way, divides Itself apparently as the cogniser, cognition and the congised, but so long as there is this apparent difference of perception, etc. , there is no hope of Liberation from bondage. Unconscious identity (as in deep sleep) is of no use for the purpose of salvation. There should be a conscious Unity or Absoluteness of Existence, and this consciousness is that of Moksha or Liberation, though, in the case of certain special beings, there may be the sense of being or Self-consciousness. This is the case with the great beings, Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, with perfect Avataras like Krishna and sages like Vasishtha, who do not lose consciousness of their identity with Brahman in any condition. They are, therefore, not bound beings like men and other creatures who do not possess consciousness of such an identity. The minds and the senses of the bound ones run outward being extrovert in nature, and hence are incapable of experiencing Brahman, the Subjective Infinity. Brahman cannot he perceived by the outgoing gross mind. When there is cessation from objectification, there is Realisation of Brahman-Consciousness and Bliss. Brahman cannot be perceived but can only be experienced. It is not an object of cognition. That is why the mind and the senses which are the instruments of perception do not hold good in the Realisation of Brahman. Not by speech, not by mind, not by sight can He be apprehended (Katha Up. VI. 12).
But a pure heart with a subtle intellect can understand Brahman. by the mind, indeed, is this to be attained. (Katha Up. IV. 11 ). The faculty of reasoning through the subtle intellect has got very close affinities with the Essential Inner Nature. Vijnanam Brahmeti Vyajanat (Taitt. Up. III. 5). The intellect was known to be Brahman. The intellect is a form of the power of mentation itself, only with a different name, having a different function to perform, but it must not be forgotten that the intellect is the subtle aspect of the otherwise gross power of cognition. It is subtler than the gross mind, subtler than emotions and movements in the physical plane of life. That is why ‘Jnana’ paves the way for a very quick process of realising the Truth, better than the other aspects of the mind namely, action and emotion. But this is not a common rule, and on the other hand, Jnana is a special gift to a being acquired through strenuous efforts since births innumerable. But subtler and truer as it is than all phenomenal experiences, ‘Jnana’ is the direct Intuition of the Absolute, where reasoning has no worth whatever, which is the opening out of the Soul to its real Nature from its Jivahood. ‘Jnana’ thus, is the bold and independent method of realising the Absolute through ratiocination and discrimination! Yoga that wants nothing whatsoever, that wants not even to move in the slightest manner, having realised the futility of all that seems to exist, is attained through the practice of the four means; Discrimination, Renunciation, Tranquillity, Self-restraint, Cessation from activity, Fortitude, Faith, Concentration and intense longing for Liberation from bondage. The Jnani does not act, does not pray, but affirms his own Absolute Being, Intelligence and Bliss, having found no meaning in anything that happens here. This Strength to affirm the Reality comes only to one who is purified in heart and will, and not to one who is passionate and greedy, egoistic and proud! Without proper preparation for this kind of practice, one should feel he is walking along the edge of a sharp sword or a razor, if he dares to affirm the Reality! Only chivalrous aspirants with a purified heart, with universal vision of equanimity towards all beings, with perfect dispassion for things of this and the other world, with a strong will, can dare to step into the Path of Wisdom-Meditation (Jnana Yoga). Others have to weep afterwards if they ignorantly try to practise Jnana-Yoga without first getting established in Viveka, Vairagya, Shadsampat and Mumukshutva.
The grace and instructions of a Brahma-Srotriya and Brahma-Nishtha Guru is important for starting the Practice of Wisdom Meditations. The Guru should initiate the aspirant into the highest mystery of Existence, namely, the identity of the subjective consciousness with the Objective or the Absolute, through instruction of the great sentence of Identity enunciated in the Chhandogya Upanishad, Tat Tvam Asi, That thou art, declaring that Brahman and Atman are One in Essence. For the sake of this Knowledge, let him go, fuel in hand, to a Spiritual Teacher who is learned in the scriptures and established in Brahman (Mund. Up. I. 2-12). Acharyavan Purusho Veda (Chh. Up. IV. 14-2) One with a Preceptor knows the Truth of Brahman. Such a knowing Teacher, to one who has approached properly, whose thought is tranquillised, who has reached peace, teaches in its very truth that Knowledge of Brahman whereby one knows the Imperishable, the Purusha, the Reality, (Mund. Up. I. 2-13). Know that (Knowledge) by long prostration, by question and service; the wise who have realised the Truth will instruct thee in that Knowledge (Bhag. Gita IV-34). Thus do the Srutis and the Smritis declare the importance of getting initiated by an able Guru or Spiritual Preceptor into the Truth of Brahma-Jnana. Without it, the aspirant is likely to be misled in the advanced stages of Sadhana, and he is therefore prone to downfall. This fact is well illustrated in the fourteenth Khanda of the Sixth chapter of the Chhandogya Upanishad. The instructions of an experienced Person guide the aspirant along the precipitous path to Final Liberation.
The Vision of a Sage and a Worldly Man
Brahman alone is the Reality. Sarvam Brahma, All this (that appears) is Brahman (Chh. Up. III. 14. 1). Also, Brahman, the Immortal is before, Brahman behind, to right and to left, stretched forth below and above, Brahman, indeed, is this whole world, this widest extent (Mund Up. II. 2-11). The Liberated Sage sees Brahman only everywhere, for everything is Brahman (Mand. Up. II). He does not perceive the manifold world in all the three periods of time. Even Time and space vanish from his experience. He experiences only the Infinite Bliss of Brahman. Partiteness or divisibility of the One Existence is realised to be unreal by the wise knower, Ekam Sad Vipraa Bahudha Vadanti (Rig-Veda). The One Truth, the wise diversely speak of. All is Brahman alone, the Single, says Dattatreya in his Avadhuta-Gita, I do not perceive anything else! I am the Impersonal Formless Absolute. I am all-pervading in my very essential Nature! All this is mere Satchidananda or Existence-Knowledge- Bliss-Absolute. That is the only Reality. All else is false, is a mere phantasmagoria arisen in the mind! This is the truth. The Liberated Sage, the Jivanmukta experiences this Infinite Joy and is no more bound by Karma or Maya.
But the worldly man, the Jiva attached to intense objectification, stuck up to gross sensuality and activity, perceives only the physical world and the physical body bereft of Spiritual Consciousness. Thereby he gets himself bound to world-cycles and suffers from the bondage of Samsara. He does not know how to get permanent Bliss. The names and forms which are only false appearances are taken to be absolutely real, and thus the man of Pravritti or externa1 objective vision rolls in the miserable mire of delusion and attachment. He is caught by the force of attraction, repulsion and he becomes a slave to the passions of the world! These worldly forces blind man to deluded indulgences in sensual objects which give momentary delusive pleasure to his nervous itchings, and act as a great bar to Absolute Independence. He is compelled by forces of objectivity to deny the existence of Brahman altogether and thus fall deeper and deeper into the abyss of ignorance and suffering. Knowledge of Brahman, therefore, is the only potent medicine for the disease of ignorance.
Adhyasa or superimposition is mistaking one thing for another through delusion. The mirage in the desert is a common phenomenon experienced by many a traveller in deserts. The mirage presents not only the false presence of water but also buildings, meadows and mansions with cattle grazing in it. This kind of appearance has deceived not a few, who through ignorance of the unreality of the mirage-water, run after it, taking it for a reality and get disappointed in their pursuit. They then realise that what appeared to be a big reservoir of water and an oasis is only a dazzling of Sun’s rays on the bed of hot sand, and not real water or place of recreation. In a similar manner, the ignorant and the childish do not realise that this multifarious world with countless creatures, mobile and immobile, living therein (consciously and unconsciously), innumerable objects of attraction and manifold sceneries, is only an appearance, a dazzling as it were, of the Light of Absolute Consciousness reflected through Maya or the Great Divine Illusion! Man searches after pleasure, runs after variegated objects that he perceives in this world, runs after son, gold, women, land, name, fame, learning and beauty! He fattens his ego through anger generated by extreme longing for objects of the senses, infatuated love or deluded attachment for objects of indulgence; this is because man takes this world and its contents to be real just as the traveller in the deserts takes the mirage to be real. Wise men with deep Spiritual Experience realise the utter falsity of this great universe of diverse appearances, know it as a mere appearance of the Supreme Brahman in Its Infinite Glory and do not run after the objects of the world, just as the experienced traveller who had enough experience of the mirage in the desert, fully knows later on that what appears is only the dazzling of the Sun’s rays on the bed of sand, and does not once more run after the mirage thinking it is a real meadow with a tank full of good water. The names and forms which this world is made up of are only as real as the mirage in the desert; there is only Asti, Bhati, Priya or Satchidananda in reality! Ignorance of the nature of this existence leads to great misery, but a knowledge of the fact that all this world and its contents form only the Being of Brahman, the Sat-Chit-Ananda, liberates one from the bondage of birth and death, grief and delusion!
This phenomenon is also analogized by the misery and suffering caused by mistaking a rope for snake in twilight. The man treads upon a rope lying on the way at twilight and immediately jumps in fear thinking it is a poisonous snake. His heart throbs rapidly and he cries out in fear. But when a friend of his brings a light it is found to be not a snake but only a rope. Then all his fears vanish, he becomes once again happy. In the same manner, this entire existence, which is only Brahman in reality, is wrongly perceived to be diverse and divided. The objects of this world are not really true by themselves, their truth lies in the fact that they are only Brahman in essence. Man suffers in this world because he mistakes the unreal manifold phenomena projected out by illusion to be real existence. The light shown by the Guru or the Spiritual Teacher helps the aspirant to know that what he perceives is not really a diverse world, but the Indivisible Brahman in Its Infinite Glory appearing! The Guru initiates the spiritual aspirant into the mystery of the Absolute Reality, namely, the Abheda Bodha-Vakya of Tat-Tvam-Asi, That thou art, and thus the aspirant is enabled to meditate on the Great Truth! Then all his fears terminate, he is immersed once for all in Eternal Joy! He practises Manana and Nididhyasana and experiences the Blissful Nature of Brahman which is the One Undivided Essence of Consciousness! The world of names and forms does not exist.
Happiness Is in Atman Only
The feeling of pleasure experienced by the senses and the ego does not lie in the objects of perception. It is a reflection of the Bliss of the Atman inside. The Jiva projects the power of objectification called the mind and perceives the diverse world outside. It searches for its prey in the external world and finding its bait, catches hold of it and for the time being, there is a cessation of objectification. As soon as this cessation takes place, there is the stoppage of the activity of the mind as it turns back to its place of origin, the Atman. Immediately the Jiva experiences the bliss of its own Self and there is Joy! There is no joy when the mind runs externally, but there is joy when it ceases functioning: when the object of desire is obtained, and also during deep sleep. These are the two instances when there is experience of joy! But this joy is very transient and is clouded by delusion. It is the bliss of illusion that is experienced through indulgence. But the Jiva foolishly thinks that the pleasure comes from the object of perception and indulgence, when actually it is the Bliss of its own Self! The dog licks the bone and when blood oozes out from its own tongue, thinks that it is from the flesh in the bone, and indulges in it still more. Similar is the case with external indulgence. The Bliss is in Brahman or Atman. Anando Brahmeti Vyajanat (Taitt. Up. III. 6), Bliss was known to be Brahman. Anandam Brahmano Vidnan Na Bibheti Kutaschana (Taitt. Up. II. 9) He who knows the Bliss of Brahman fears not from anything at all. This Bliss is permanently and consciously experienced during Samadhi or the Realisation of Brahman. The Conscious Identity of the Jiva with Brahman alone destroys the longing for fleeting objects of the world. Then there is no more the world of perception. There is Infinite Experience. There is Fulness. There is Perfection. There is Joy. There is Bliss! Brahman or Atman is the Fulness of intelligence-Bliss, the very being and embodiment of it!
Brahman Is Both Material and Efficient Cause
Brahman is the only Reality. There is no substance out of which Brahman can create the world, because there is nothing which is not Brahman. If Brahman should create a world, he cannot but project Himself out as a differentiated entity. So Brahman becomes the material cause of the world. But the agent who shapes and works out the world is Brahman Himself. So Brahman is the Efficient cause of the world. But Brahman alone is appearing as the world and there is no separate existence called world. So Brahman becomes the fictitious cause of the world. The problem of creation is a very complicated one and the Upanishads speak of it variously. At a place the Upanishad says that the world comes out of Brahman as thread comes out from the mouth of a spider, as trees emerge out from the earth as hair grows on the human body! (Mund. Up. I. 1. 7). This would perhaps suggest that the world is a real creation of Brahman, that there is a real change in the Body of Brahman, and that at least in form the world is distinct from Brahman. But at another place the Upanishad says that there is nothing diverse here (Brih. Up. IV. 4. 19), that all this is Brahman (Mand. Up. II). Here it is clear that there is no real creation, but it is only an appearance, a Vivarta. The creation of the world by Brahman is compared to the creation, of a mirage by the Sun, which is not a real creation but only a false appearance. The Yoga Vasishtha says that the world is not a creation like a thread from the spider’s mouth or a tree from the earth, by only like a dream created by the mind, and the mirage created by the Sun. The world is only a dazzling of Consciousness and not an actual projection out of Brahman. Projection necessitates change, but Brahman is changeless, Brahman is actionless, and Hence He cannot be the Efficient Cause also. Brahman is Indivisible and hence He cannot be the Material Cause. Brahman is only the apparent Cause or the Vivarta Karana just as the Sun is the cause of the mirage in the desert. Divine Sages like Dattatreya and undaunted knowers like Goudapada contend that there is no world at all, that there is no such thing as creation, that all is Brahman only appearing in Its own Glory! This seems to be the most perfect view of all, since it solves all problems of life and puts an end to all logic and argumentation. There is no more doubt. It is the highest Truth and the most difficult to understand for the worldly man. Such a noble declaration of the Reality can be grasped only by advanced and well-purified aspirants and not by a novice in the spiritual path.
Brahman is not affected by the appearance of the world, just as the Sun is not affected by the appearance of the mirage or the defect of the eye. The question of efficient and material causes is only in the preliminary stages of spiritual Sadhana. and in the advanced stages the curiosity to know the problem of creation vanishes, for one realises that Brahman alone is all, that there is nothing actually created. Everything is only an appearance, and not a matter for the purpose of cause and effect. The relative plane presents a great and unsolvable problem of creation, preservation and destruction of the world, of Karma, Effort, Grace, Destiny, and the like, but the wise knower does not find any meaning in such a theory at all. To him there is no such thing as creation, there is only the Glory of Brahman, the Great, the Infinite, the Eternal, the Bliss of Consciousness! Such a Knowledge is not easy to obtain, it comes through the passage of time Kalenatmani Vindati (Gita, IV. 38). Everybody should strive his utmost to obtain that Great Knowledge, it is the only thing dear to all, the Goal of all faiths and all religions!
Brahman Is Unattached
This Nature of Brahman is already explained in the previous Khanda. Brahman is not attached to creating, preserving and destroying the world just as a man is attached to sustaining and beautifying his body. It is argued to certain philosophers that creation is due to the remnant of Jivas left even after dissolution of the world, whose Karmas have not yet fructified into experience, and that the collective force of their Karmas tends to creating a world for another time, for purpose of their objective experiences. This is true only with respect to the grosser Jivas. Brahman is not dependent on Karma. He is unattached! Karma is only a creation of the mind and carries no meaning by itself. A person who meditates on the Indivisible Brahman perceives no such thing as the law of Karma. The Law of cause and effect, Karma and bondage is only a network of delusion in the realm of Maya. If the Sun is attached to and suffers from the existence of the mirage in the desert, then, Brahman also would be affected by and attached to the existence of the world! The world is Brahman only shining. Hence, there is no question of Brahman’s being attached to anything. There is nothing existent, other than Brahman, hence there is no meaning in Brahman’s being attached. Brahman is not an egoistic entity and therefore there is not even the possibility of its being attached to an ego. Man, if not attached to the objects of the external world, may be attached to his own body; and even if he has renounced the attachment for his physical body, he may very likely be attached to his ego, the Ahamkara-Tattva which keeps up his individuality in tact. The working of the ego cannot be cognised or understood easily, for it is the very being of the individual personality. But Brahman is Existence itself and not an ego. It therefore, cannot be attached. Brahman is the Absolute.
It is also possible to content that creation is due to the remnant of the Karmas in the remaining Jivas for after all, it is not impossible to think that Brahman is the collective homogeneous being and consciousness of innumerable appearances of egos. It is also questioned whether the Entirety of Being is not thus affected by Illusion! For, Salvation is only individual, to which particular liberated ego, the Infinite Existence is revealed as it really is, and not a wholesale Emancipation for all the countless Jivas living. For, then, creation would have an end, which is not the case, really. Creation is beginningless and endless. This is clear proof to show that coming, being and vanishing are simultaneous and all these can happen at one and the same point in space. This mystery can be grasped only by subtle and pure intellects, through the knowledge of which, there is an instantaneous cessation from activity, and there is Illimitable joy which the mind and the senses know not. Such as those who are able to comprehend the meaning of this secret of existence are really fit to practise Vedantic Meditations. Others have only to grope in darkness in spite of erudition and vast scriptural study. It is not all among philosophic students that can understand the subtle truth of existence, and progress in Wisdom-Meditations without obstruction. To realise the plenum or fullness of Existence one has to struggle very earnestly too.
The Atman in the individual body is identical with Brahman or the Supreme Soul projecting the universe at large. The identity of the individual and the cosmos and the identity of the Atman with Brahman is very well illustrated in the Yoga Vasishta. Each individual is a cosmos to further smaller individuals living in it and each Atman is Brahman only immanent in everything. The idea of individual and the cosmos is only due to difference in the power of cognition latent in every living being. A big tree which stretches above man’s head up to hundreds of feet appears to be a tiny piece of grass when looked at from a far off high mountain or hill. So what is the real nature of the tree? When you look at a mountain from hundreds of miles away you think you can easily scale across the mountains with one step above it. But it is some miles high truth. The eye is always deceptive. Similar is the mind. It deceives the individual continuously until the dawn of Knowledge. To man the world is a very large body and real existence. But to smaller organisms living in his body he is himself a very big cosmos. In this manner, the Yoga Vasishta says there are worlds within worlds ad infinitum. Hence it is clear that the individual and cosmos are only in conception that being is really indivisible and homogeneous, and that in truth they are one and the same only bearing two names empirically. It is proved therefore as corollary that Atman is identical with Brahman and so Atman is also unattached and is existent everywhere, though mysterious phenomenon in Brahman Itself appears as many.
Qualifications of an Aspirant
The necessity for the four means of Sadhana was explained in Khanda II. The aspirant should realise the ultimate unity of the paths of selfless service, devotion, Yoga and Jnana. A person who hates any method is not really wise. All paths are different of real Knowledge. When there is real understanding all paths are found to be one. The wise man does not find any meaning in the difference among names and actions. The whole world of names, forms and actions is an intimate Unity for the wise Knower. Brahmaitadhi Sarvani Namani Roopani Karmani Bibharti (Brih. Up. 1-6, 1-3), Brahman alone put on various names, forms and actions.
The following sentences of the Upanishads extol Karma Yoga: Even doing deeds here, one should desire to live a hundred years, thus it is right for thee, not otherwise than this, the deed does not adhere on man (Isa. Up. II). One should give (in charity) with faith, etc. (Taitt. Up. I. ii. 2).
Thus Bhakti is extolled in the Upanishads: He whom the Self chooses, by him the Self can be gained (Katha Up. II. 23). Through the grace of the Lord one beholds the glory of the Self (Katha Up II. 23). With a golden vessel the Real’s face is covered over. That Thou, O Pushan, uncover for one whose law is the Real to see (Isa Up. XV). For the sake of Knowledge let him go to a Spiritual Teacher (Mund. Up. 1. 2. 28). Let him obtain Immmortality through singing…Stotra etc. (Chh. Up. II. 22. 2).
Yoga also is extolled in the Upanishads. The firm control of the senses they regard as Yoga (Katha Up. VI ii). Speak the Truth…practise Virtue…neglect not the study of the Vedas (Yama, Niyama), etc. (Taitt. Up. I. ii. i). There are a hundred and one channels of the heart, One of these passes up to the crown of the head. Going up by it, one goes to Immortality (Chh. Up. VIII. 6. 6).
Then the highest Jnana is declared in the Upanishads: by the Lord is all this enveloped (Isa Up. I). Brahrnan is this All (Mand. Up. II. , Mund. Up. II. 2. 11). Brahman is Truth, Knowledge, Infinity (Taitt. Up. II. i). Whoever knows ‘I am Brahman’ becomes this All (Brih. Up. 14. 10). Verily, all this is Brahman (Chh. Up. III. 14. 1). Thou art That (Chh. Up. VI. 16. 3), etc.
Hence it is clear that selfless service for the removal of impurity and purification of the heart, service of Guru, Japa, Kirtan, Upasana for removal of distraction in the mind and making it tranquil, dispassion, reflection, enquiry, etc., for purpose of attaining knowledge have to be practised. The eternal words of the Srutis are not lopsided because they speak of the Supreme Truth which is Ideal Perfection. The Upanishads are intuitional revelations and hence, do not fall short of the all-round approach that may be tried by various kinds of temperaments towards the realisation of the Ultimate Goal of life, which is an embodiment of all things here, an aggregate of all selves, the All-inclusive Brahman! The various virtues enumerated in the thirteenth chapter of the Bhagavadgita as real Wisdom have to be very carefully cultivated if one would wish to have purification of the heart and dawn of Wisdom thereby for the sake of Self-realisation.
All virtues pave the way to realisation but are not ends by themselves. One should not, therefore, attach himself too much to certain kinds of habits like the so-called Vairagya and hating of the world. Lopsided development tends to downfall and misery. Virtues like love, compassion, mercy, kindness, dispassion are all preliminary requisites and not the ultimate ends of life. A man attached to renunciation has no time to think of the sublime truths of existence and hence wastes his life in false meditation on renunciation. Attachment to unreal things leans to spiritual downfall in the long run. Just as a thorn stuck in the leg is removed by another thorn and then both the thorns are thrown out, evil qualities have to be removed by virtuous qualities like love, dispassion and renunciation, but both have to be renounced in course of time. Sri Dattatreya says in his Avadhuta Gita that at first the world. should be renounced, and then the subtle desire has to be renounced and finally the idea of renunciation itself has to be renounced. Renounce renunciation says the Yoga Vasishta too. Even forces like mercy, love, compassion and Vairagya are only forces of objectivity in the realm of Maya and will bind one to rebirth when not utilised with discrimination. One should not get attached to such objective forces, though apparently they seem to be superior virtuous qualities. Virtue and vice are creations of the mind and are not real entities. Goodness differs from man to man, from place to place, from time to time, and from one condition to another condition. Eternal Bliss is not a fruit of one-sided development, it is attained through a unification of everything here through balance and equanimity, through all-inclusiveness and positive affirmation of Absoluteness. After all every quality is an objective force and has to be finally renounced. All the qualities should get fused in the realm of the Absolute and the wise man stands tranquil, without any change whatsoever. Goodness, renunciation and indifference to external modifications are only an outward sign of inward Wisdom and do not constitute wisdom by themselves. Renunciation and other virtues should be involuntary and unconscious qualities and not qualities forced upon the self against its modifications. The desire or the taste for objects should be unknown to man. Then he is said to be established in the Great! A Brahmin does not care to think about meat and wine, and it is not the effect of forced renunciation. It is the very nature of the Brahmin to pay indifference to meat and wine. Similar should be the attitude of the wise man towards the world. He has not to brush aside the world from his vision; he has simply to forget that there is any such thing as the world. This is true wisdom.
To know the real meaning of spiritual Sadhana is not possible for the majority of the aspirants. Only a few blessed persons grasp the true meaning and purpose of renunciation, virtue, penance, goodness, intelligence, etc. Marvellous is the Spiritual Path! Mysterious are its ways! Only fortunate souls can understand what real Spirituality is! Only highly advanced souls know the meaning of it.
Kaivalyam or Moksha is the Goal of life. It is Absolute Independence, full of Bliss without decay. In Kaivalya-Mukti or Final Emancipation there is only the glory of Existence-Knowledge-Bliss, there is Absoluteness of Being. There is not even such a thing as Power really, for Power implies separateness and objectivity which is a limitation. Perfection is attained only in Absolute Independence, which is attainable through the knowledge of the Supreme Brahman, the only Real Existence. This is attained either through ‘Sadyo-Mukti’ or ‘Krama-Mukti’. Sadyo-Mukti is Immediate Salvation whereas Krama-Mukti is Progressive Salvation. Sadyo-Mukti is attained only by Jnanis but Upasakas and Bhaktas attain the same through Krama-Mukti. A Jnani realises that there is nothing here except Brahman everywhere and hence his Pranas do not depart to any place, for place does not exist for the Jnani. All is Indivisible Satchidananda and hence where is space to move? Therefore, there is no departure anywhere. The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says: He who is without desire, who is freed from desire, whose desire is satisfied, whose desire is the Self, his Pranas (breaths) do not depart. He being Brahman Itself, becomes Brahman (Brih. Up. IV. 4. 6). They (Pranas) are gathered together right there the breaths do not go out from the dead man (Jnani) (Brih. Up. III. 2. 11). This is the glorious way of Sadyo-Mukti or Immediate Emancipation. The Jnani does not perceive any object and hence becomes Brahman instantaneously.
But in the case of the Upasaka performing worships and meditations and the Bhakta performing austerities for the purpose of purification and trying to get higher worlds, the Srutis declare: They who practise austerity and faith in the forest, the peaceful knowers who live on alms, depart passionless through the door of the Sun to where is that Immortal Person, the Imperishable Spirit (Mund. Up. I. 2. 11). They go to Brahmaloka and then attain Kaivalya-Mukti. The Bhakta loves an objective Being, the blissful region of his Ishta, the immortal region of his favourite God, or something which is highly superphysical. But a Jnani does not desire for any such thing, for, to him, the seat of Immortality is here and now, which is the All.
Mukti is not a thing to be attained somewhere outside. It is not far away to be obtained after much search and enquiry. It is the very being of everything and everything is That only. Thou art That (Chh. Up. VI. 16. 3) is the eternal Truth. All this is Brahman in the three periods of time. There is no such thing as bondage and suffering. This is the Truth. But one has to be conscious of this fact. This, empirically, is called Liberation. All are Brahman only in reality. But none knows that he is Brahman. To know that is Final Emancipation. Liberation is not getting something which is not here at hand, it is only a Self-realisation, i.e., knowing the Self fully as it really is. This is done through the removal of unconsciousness or Ajnana which event takes place through the passage of time in the form of personal exertion, external aid, or automatic illumination through exhaustion of past Karmas.
Method of Meditation
There are, according to the Yoga Vasishta, three kinds of Wisdom Meditations. The first thing is called ‘Brahma-bhavana’ or feeling that everything is Brahman, that there is no such thing as ‘other than Brahman’, that Brahman alone exists, and so, that one is the Immortal Brahman, the Infinite Existence. The second method is ‘Padartha-bhavana-tyaga’ or renunciation of the idea that things which we see are mere material objects, i.e., affirmation of the fact that what seem to be physical worlds and bodies are really the Supreme Soul, the Brahman alone appearing and hence that one is Brahman Itself. The third is ‘Kevala-bhava’ or feeling that the subject is identical with the object, that there is no such thing as subject and object, that the individual is identical with the Supreme, and hence that one is the Absolute Independent Brahman. Here is explained the method of meditation through Brahmabhavana which is the most advanced sort of meditation, superior to all others.
I am the all-blissful blessed Siva or Brahman. I am the source of the great Omkaranada. I am Immortal, for I am everything, this All! I cannot die for I am Timeless and Spaceless. I am Brahman, the Infinite. I am the Absolute Existence, which is of the very nature of Supreme Awareness (Consciousness), the Indivisible Mass of Bliss, the One Essence, without beginning, middle or end. I am Eternal, Pure, Perfect, Free and Unattached! I alone exist everywhere at all times. All is myself, I am the All. There is nothing except myself. I am Brahman which is Absolute Intelligence. There is only one Being which is neither individual nor cosmic, but is Absolute. There is only one Infinity of Bliss and Knowledge without objectification, consciousness without thought. I am perfect Bliss-Absolute.
This Meditation will lead to Absolute Realisation of the Supreme Brahman. This is the quintessence of the Kevala-Advaita-Vedanta or Brahma-Vidya. This is the Absolute Truth. This is all. This is everything. Everyone should try to attain this. Peace be to all!
Thus ends the glorious Siva-Vidya or the Science of the Supreme Brahman! OM!