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Vedantic Lore

by Swami Sivananda

The Infinite is Bliss. The Infinite only is Bliss. The Infinite is Brahman or Atman or the Supreme Self. The Infinite is the Absolute. The Infinite is Bhuma or the unconditioned that is beyond time, space and causation. The infinite is Immortality. Where one sees nothing else, hears nothing else, understands nothing else there is Infinity. The Infinite abides in its own greatness. The Infinite is Supreme Peace. The Infinite is fearlessness. The Infinite is Existence Absolute, Knowledge Absolute, Bliss Absolute. The Infinite is all-full and indivisible. The Infinite is self-existent, self-contained and self-luminous. The Infinite alone is Real. The Infinite alone exists in the three periods of time. You must search, understand, and realise the Infinite.

Whatever you see is Bhava Padartha. Padartha is a thing. That which exists is Bhava. When you say, "It is very, very big. It is very, very sweet. London is a very big city," this 'very' indicates "Abhava Padartha." It cannot be conceived by the mind. Brahman or the Absolute comes under the category of "Abhava Padartha" because it is Infinite.

As there is no language to describe Brahman or the Self to aspirants, sages generally compare the quietude of the various states previously described, to Brahman, just as Akasa is compared to Brahman. They take examples from the worldly experience to explain the nature of Brahman to the aspirants.

Brahman is Satchidananda. Brahman is self-luminous. Brahman is changeless and deathless. Brahman is not simply this, but something far higher and far different. It is something transcendental. Vedantins put it as "Vastu". Brahman cannot be defined. The above is only a provisional definition. Because we experience Asat, Jada, Duhkha (unreality, insentience and pain) in this universe, we give the opposite attributes of Sat-Chit-Ananda to Brahman. This is Atadvya-vritti Lakshana in Vedanta.

Srutis declare "Brahman is indeed below. Brahman is above. Brahman is in front. Brahman is behind." "Brahman is all this." "He who knows this Brahman attains Immortality." "The blower of the Self crosses over grief."

Here is a conversation between Yajnavalkya and Sakalya: "Which deity art thou in the eastern quarter?" "The Sun." "Where is the Sun located?" "In the eyes." "Where has the eye its locality?" "in colours." He said, "In the heart; for colours are produced by the heart; the heart (the Supreme Self) therefore is the locality of colours."

In Brihadaranyaka Upanishad II-4. 13 you will find, "Then by what should he see whom?" This clearly indicates that Atman is not an object of perception. It is always the knowing subject. There is neither an agent nor an object of action, nor an instrument. In the physical plane only there is the Triputi or the triad, viz., seer, sight and seen. Who can know the knower? How should one know Him by whom He knows all this? You could not see the seer of sight; you could not hear the hearer of the hearing; you could not perceive the perceiver of perception; you could not know the knower of knowledge.

There are six Padarthas or categories in Vaiseshika philosophy. They are Dravya (substance), Guna (quality), Karma (activity), Samanya (genus), Visesha (difference) and Samavaya (intimate relation).

The Antahkarana is made of subtle matter. The subtle elements or rudiments of matter, viz, the Tanmatras go to constitute the mind. The mind is formed out of the Vayu Tanmatra and so it is wandering like air. The intellect is formed out of the five Tanmatras. Chitta is constituted out of the water-Tanmatra. Ahankar is formed out of the earth-Tanmatra. Ullam is made of the Akasa-Tanmatra.

Indra killed many Sannyasins who were ignorant. Their killing does not affect him at all. He had the fire of knowledge, to destroy the Karmas. He knew he was Akarta, Abhokta, Asanga (non-doer, non-enjoyer and unattached). Raja Janaka put many learned persons in jail, when they were unable to answer his question on Brahma Vidya. He was not in the least affected. He was a Jnani. That is the reason why the Gita says: "He who is free from the egoistic notions, whose reason is not affected, though he slays these people, he slayeth not. nor is bound."

Everybody has got a world of his own. The monkey or the dog has got its own world. A deaf man, a blind man, a mad man, a savage, a fashionable man, a child, an aspirant, a rogue, a thief, a king and a peasant-all have their own respective worlds.

'Trial or luck' 'Purushartha or Prarabdha' 'Free will versus Necessity', 'Tagdhir or Tagdhil' are synonymous.

The man who is bitten by the serpent of ignorance will be cured by the Garuda-mantra called Jnana, or knowledge of Brahman.

The real 'I' is the eternal soul. The real 'I' is destitute of change, whereas the body is constantly changing. The body is full of impurities. How can then the body be the ever pure Atman?

Just hear this wonderful story. Having bathed in the waters of the mirage, crowned with a garland of sky flowers, this son of barren woman is going, armed with a bow made of hare's horn. How true it is! This world also is as real as this story.

There is neither absolute good work nor absolute bad work, the Gita says, "All undertakings indeed are clouded by defects as fire by smoke" (Chapter XVIII—48).

Aham is of two kinds viz., Samashti Aham or collective egoism and Vyashti Aham or individual egoism. The collective egoism is Ishvara and the individual egoism is the Jiva or the human being. The Jiva develops egoism first-begins to feel 'Aham Jivam-I am Jiva' and then only he begins to cognise the world and the Ishvara. But for the Vyashti Aham, there cannot be any Samashti Aham or Ishvara and the world.

As soon as you realise that you are not this body you become free from matter and death, you are free from the bondage of Karma, from the fetters of desires, from the mirage of this mundane life and its concomitant evils and miseries.

You see waterfall. The water flows continuously. If you take a photograph, you see the waterfall in the picture, but there is no motion in the water in the picture. Motion is mental creation. It is a trick of the mind and the eye. Motion is a relative term. The object appears to move only. Motion is illusion. Behind the objects that move there is the absolutely motionless Atman or Brahman. Where can this Brahman move, when He is all-pervading, and Infinite? Sitting He goes far. Lying He is everywhere, because He is all-pervading and infinite.

Ten ignorant people crossed a river by swimming and reached the other shore safely. They began to count themselves to see whether all have reached the shore. One man counted all the nine persons and forgot to count himself, the tenth person and began to weep bitterly. He thought that one man has been drowned. The other nine persons also counted in the same manner each man forgetting to count himself and began to weep when the tenth man was missing. When one man wept, all the nine persons joined with him in weeping. A bystander who was noticing their folly pointed out, "O man, no one is missing. There are ten men here. Tenth man is yourself. You have failed to count yourself." They were all immensely pleased afterwards.

Just as the man fails to see though near the existence of himself, which completes the required number, when his mind is engrossed in counting the persons external to himself, so also the Jiva on account of his ignorance is quite oblivious of his being in reality one with Brahman. Thus Brahman though is Atman itself He is not attained on account of ignorance. But when he is taught by the Srutis and the preceptor he beholds the Brahman, the Atman of all, to be his own Atman or the Self, just as a man, who owing to ignorance misses himself making up the required number and who reminded by some one else, finds himself again by knowledge.

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