What Are The Upanishads? An Overview: By Sri S.N. Sastri

The Upanishads- An overview

(S.N.Sastri)

The word ‘Upanishad’ denotes Brahma-vidya by its derivation. Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada says in his Bhashya on the Kathopanishad that this word is derived by adding the prefixes ‘upa’ (meaning near) and ‘ni’ (with certainty) to  the root ‘sad’ which means ‘to destroy’, ‘to reach’, and ‘to loosen’.  Thus the meaning of the word ‘Upanishad’ is that it is the knowledge that destroys the seeds of worldly existence such as ignorance in the case of those seekers of liberation who, after becoming free from all desires approach (upa sad) this knowledge. Continue reading

What Is Witness Consciousness? By Dr. Harsh K. Luthar

Anandmayi Ma with Swami Yoganand Witness consciousness as a concept and a spiritual practice has become better known now in the West. In the psychology of Advaita and Yoga of thousands of years ago, it has always been a fundamental tool for self development and self understanding on the path to Self-Realization. Continue reading

AHAM (I AM) Is The Essence Of Mantras: By Sri Venkata Sriram

Edtior’s Note: The following post appeared in the Advaitin list on Yahoo Groups and is reprinted with the permission of the author, Sri Venkata Sriram. In this article Venkat-Ji speaks about the idea of AHAM as the essence of Mantras, Vedas, and Upanishads. AHAM translated from Sanskrit means, “ME” or “I AM” and refers to the principle of I-NESS that is inherent in the existence of all beings as it is their core. Sri Bhagavan Ramana’s teaching involving the Inquiry, “Who Am I?” is essentially a meditation on AHAM, which in the Advaitic approach leads to Self-Realization. I have made only minor edits in the original version. Please bring to my attention any errors and these will be corrected right away.

AHAM (I AM) Is The Essence Of Mantras

It is to be noted that *who am I* is not a *intellectual* enquiry to be pursued.  It is the upasana of *Aham* which is the upasana of Vak – the Great Goddess of Speech which is described in Vedas as Vak / Tripurasundari.

According to legend, the 14 Maheshwara Sutras were revealed to Panini, Vyaghrapada, Upamanyu and other sages by Shiva. Panini then composed his grammar called Ashtadhyayi which is based on the 14 Sutras that were revealed during the Cosmic Dance of Shiva. They are also called the Maheshvara Sutras. At the end of the Shiva’s Cosmic Dance, he sounded his Damaruka 14 times. And from these 14 Sounds of Damaruka, evolved 14 Sutras. These 14 sutras encompass the phonetics of the Sanskrit language.

The first 4 sutras cover all the vowels.  They are :

1) a i u n
2) r l k
3) e o n
4) ai au ch.

Omit the last letter of the 4 sutras and they are a, i, u, r, l, e, o, ai, au. The entire 16 vowels from A to AHA have emanated from these letters.

The Last 10 sutras include all the consonants. They are :

5) h y v r t
6) l n
7) n m n n n m
8.) jh bh n
9) gh dh dh s
10) j b g d d s
11) kh ph ch th th ca t t v
12) k p y
13) s s s r;
14. h l.

Omit the last letter of these 10 sutras, they become entire 34 consonants ie., from K to HA. The SRICHAKRA is constructed keeping in view these entire set of 14 sutras.  Ashtadhyayi divides these 14 formulae into 43 letters which become the 43 Angles of Sriyantra.

The entire Matrikas (letters) ie., 16 vowels and 34 consonants have evolved from these 14 Maheshwara Sutras.

The 16 Vowels and 34 Consonants have become 50 Matrikas of Letters.. They are the Saktha Pitas of Sridevi.  Every Matrika has a distinct Power and Seat of Origin in our Body. These Matrikas are presided by a distinct and corresponding Devis that govern that particular seat of origin (Pita) in our Body. These Cosmic Powers that preside over each Matrika is invoked during the Antarmatrika and Bahir Matrika Nyasas.

It is to be noted that the Kamakala Akshara is derived from these 14 sutras. This *AHAM* is the essence of all the Mantras, Vedas, Upanishads as these fall in between A (WHICH IS 1ST VOWEL) AND H (WHICH IS THE LAST CONSONANT). From the first sutra, A is taken and from the last Sutra H is taken. Bindu is added and it becomes AHAM.

This is the AHAM swarupa or the I-NESS of Maheswara which is of the form of CHIT. It is from this AHAM of the Siva, the entire Cosmos in the form of Matrikas have evolved. This AHAM is the KAMAKALA. The entire vowels and consonants fall in between this A and H.

The Tantric script encodes this principle of AHAM and depicts as a INVERTED TRIANGLE which is a representation of Triputi or Triad in the form of External Object perceived, Knowledge or Perception, Observer or Perceiver otherwise called Jnatr-Jnana-Jneya.

Veda & Tantra paves the way for the piercing of this Triad which is called TRIPUTI-BHEDANA. And the methodology employed is *AHAMGRAHOPASANA* through Sagunopasana.

When Vashishta Ganapati Muni pleaded for guidance in sadhana, Bhagavan Ramana asked the Muni to enquire into the Source of the Panchakshari Mantra (NAMA SIVAYA) which is invariably collection of 5 letters in the form of Speech.

The root of all mantras in the form of Speech is *A-HA-Bindu*.  A is the 1st vowel; Ha is the Last Consonant; M-the Bindu; which is AHAM. This is what is the essence of VAK Sukta in Rg Veda which starts with *Aham rudrebhir vasubhischarami……….*.

Bhagavan Ramana Maharishi wants us to catch hold of this AHAM as it is the source of Speech and which shines in the cave of our heart. (vide ref: Ramana Gita).

The speech has 4 stages of evolution whose order of evolution is : 1) Para 2) Pashyanti 3) madhyama 4) Vaikhari.  Vaikhari is the Articular Sound what we hear.  The source of this Articulate Sound is Para which originates from Heart Cave where throbs our consciousness in the form of *AHAM* (hridaya kuhara madhye aham aham iti sphurantam…).  It is this throb or Antah sphurana, Bhagavan urges us to realise.  It is this *Aham throb* or *Antah-sphurana* which is *Brahma*.  Hence, Bhagavan Ramana says in ECSTASY *Aham* *Brahma* *Asmi*.

It is verily this *I* which shines in the heart cave as *Aham* which Bhagavn says is Brahman.

Now, what does Acharya Sankara say about the Upasana of *Aham*, let us see.

Acharya Sankara gives us a wonderful hymn for meditation, contemplation and reflection which is called *Dakshinamurthy Stotram* (DS).  Acharya has divided the entire hymn into 3 principles  : Jiva, Jagat & Ishwara. Later, he gives a clue for the Upasana which is quite *mandatory*  for those who are into the upasana of  the *aham* principle. What exactly is this *aham*, is wonderfully given in the sloka *bAlyAdiShvapi…….AHAM iti antahsphurantam sadA….* of DS.

Now, how should we enquire into the root of this *aham* or *I-ness*? Acharya has hinted in the subsequent sloka and the type of upasana to be undertaken. It is the *ahamgrahopasana* along with Sagunopasana which is suggested here.  When this upasana reaches the state of culmination, it is the realisation in *ECSTASY* that this *aham* or *antah-sphuraNa* is Brahman which is the essence of Mahavakya *aham brahmasmi*.

Mahavakyas are the *GREAT UTTERANCES IN ECSTASY* by our vedic seers.

Even in deep reflection and sadhana, when the upasaka reaches the highest pinnacle of spiritual illumination, both the terms *aham* and *brahma* drops off and what remains is ASMI.  And this state is wonderfully explained in the Rg veda in  the *Hymn of Creation or *Nasadiya Sukta*.

I repeat: Mahavakyas are the *GREAT UTTERENCES IN SPIRITUAL ECSTASY*.

Acharya Sankara also hints in his Sutra Bhashya about the sagunopasana..  He says:

“apratyAkhyAyaina kAryaprapancham, PARINAMAPRAKRRIYAM CHA shrayati SAGUNESHuPASANESHUP AYOKSHYA te iti”.

Also, in the 1st adhyaya for the sutra “tad adhInatvA darthavat”, Acharya Sankara explains the principle of Sakti to be the upAdana kAraNa for paramEshwara in the Creation. Acharya Sankara emphatically says that it is the Parinamavada to be adopted to achieve the Sagunopasana Siddhi and not for kArya-prapancha (jagat) siddhi.

Acharya Sankara in his sutra bhashya says that parinamavada (theory of transformaton) can be adopted for the purpose of saguna upasana which is the upasana of maya-sabala brahman where the substratum is Brahman only. When the upasana is ripe, and upon the dawn of right knowledge, the “reality” which the “ignorant” people perceive WOULD BECOME an “illusion”.

So, what i conclude is that Bhagavan Ramana’s Teaching is not new and is not an *Intellectual Enquiry*. It is verily the *Veda Vidya* handed down to us. Bhagavan embodies in himself the *Spirit of Vedic Seer*.  Bhagavan’s teaching is the upasana of Vak.

Bhagavan was verily the form of Dakshinamurthy who taught the Upasana of Vak in the form of *Silence*. It is this *silence* which is called Para-vak. It is this Para-Vak which sports in the deep chasms of our heart as *I* or *Aham*.

The vedas and Tantra declare this Para-Vak as Tripurasundari – which is the Great Triangle in Sriyantra and the substratum of this Para-Vak is the Absolute Principle in the Form of Shiva which is depicted as Circle or Bindu in Sriyantra.

Sriyantra is the diagrammatic representation of AHAM and Srividya is the Upasana of Vak in the form of *Ahamgrahopasana*.  Hence, to evolve a method for this *ahamgrahopasana*, Srividya Tantra came into being.

It is interesting to note that Bhagavan Ramana himself did the prana pratishta of Sriyantra at the samadhi of His mother.

tamai shri gurumurtaye namah idam shri dakshinamurthaye.

with regards,
sriram

Moksha in Hinduism: By Dr. Shyam Subramanian

A seeker asks: In Hinduism, there is a belief in reincarnation. The idea of reincarnation is that when the body dies, I will be born again. However, we are taught to pursue Moksha (salvation) which puts an end to the cycle of birth and death. As a Hindu, why should I pursue Moksha? Is that not a permanent death forever? At least with reincarnation, I have a chance to be reborn. Perhaps I will get to meet old girl friends in my next birth and go to Las Vegas and Bombay again. But if I get Moksha, according to Hindu teachings, I will never be reborn. That is scary, is it not? Why should I then seek Moksha as stated in our scriptures? How does this idea of Moksha as salvation or liberation make any sense?

Editor’s note: Moksha in Hinduism is not viewed as permanent death but an awakening into eternal life. Moksha is essentially the recognition that one’s very nature is that of freedom and wholeness. The questioner’s presumption that his next life would be according to present desires or expectations (going to Las Vegas or Bombay with his old girlfriends) is not consistent with the doctrine of Karma. According to the doctrine of karma, the next birth is determined by a combination of actions taken in previous lives and the present life. The merits and demerits generated thus will determine future experiences of pleasures and pains. Therefore, there is no guarantee that the expectations to be with specific individuals and repeat pleasurable experiences would come to fruition in the next life. Although the seeker premises the question on a faulty understanding of the ancient teachings on karma and reincarnation, Dr. Subramanian clarifies logically the nature of Moksha and why it is considered the most worthy goal in Hinduism.

shyam

As a way of introduction, Dr. Shyam Subramanian is a professor of medicine and also well trained in the classical traditions of Vedanta. Shyam-Ji’s knowledge of Sanskrit and understanding of subtle truths of the Upanishads makes him a brilliant exponent of various Eastern philosophies and religions from a Vedantic perspective. His writing is clear and easy to follow and very helpful for the novice and the advanced students of Hindu philosophy. If any errors have crept in Shyam-Ji’s presentation due to my minor editing, these will be corrected as soon as pointed out.

Continue reading

The Hindu Doctrine of Karma: By Dr. Sunder Hattangadi

Editor’s note: The doctrines of Karma and Reincarnation play an important role in laying the ethical foundations of conduct in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. In Bhagavad Gita, the sacred scripture of Hinduism, the path of Karma Yoga (The Yoga of Action) leading to liberation (Moksha) is laid out and explained by Sri Krishna.

In popular understanding, the term Karma can have connotations of both cause and effect. Karma can mean action and activity. It can also mean the fruit or the results of such action and activity that we have to bear. For example, ethical, noble, and selfless actions (karmas) are said to lead to good fortune in the future or in a future life. The opposite of that is true as well.

According to Hinduism, how one leads one’s life determines the mental state in the last moments. The mental atmosphere, ideas, and images occurring in the last moments of life lead to a particular type of rebirth (Bhagavad Gita, Ch. 8, verse 6).

In the article given below, Sri Sunder Hattangadi, a retired psychiatrist and a serious student of Sanskrit, discusses the concept of Karma with references to the classical scriptures of Hinduism. This piece is written at a very high level and a short bibliography is provided at the end for those interested in more information. Even though many Sanskrit terms are used in the text, Sunder-Ji provides excellent English translations to the Sanskrit verses which makes the article very readable by people of all backgrounds.

The original writing was posted by Sunder-Ji to the Advaitin list. The Advaitin list is one of the largest lists in the world to discuss the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta as taught by Adi Shankracharya. Sunder-Ji is a member and a moderator of the Advaitin list. His exceptional mastery of both English and Sanskrit make his works of great value.

I did restructure Sunder-Ji’s article a bit but not with much confidence in my judgment. If any errors have occurred, these will be corrected as soon as pointed out by Sunder-Ji and other learned members of the Advaitin list.

image

Sri Sunder Hattangadi

The Hindu Doctrine of Karma

Perhaps no word captures the mystery of human existence as suggestively as the word Karma. It is a word that evokes such a host of associated ideas – ethical-moral, psychological, metaphysical, and mystical – that one can easily lose one’s bearings in trying to understand it.

Krishna himself declares in Gita (4:17) – gahanA karmaNo gatiH – “hard to understand is the true nature of action”[`viShamA durj~neyA…yAthAtmyaM tattvam’]. It may be compared to exploring the Himalayan ranges to reach the peak of Kailasa, Shiva’s abode.

Simply defined, karma means action. The stem word, karman, is derived etymologically from the root verb (dhAtu) kRRi, to do, which also generates a multitude of other cognate words that are inextricably related to Karma – e.g. kartA (doer), kartavya/kArya (duty), kAraNa (cause), karaNa (instrument), and so on.

The definitions of Karma are modified by the prefixes, or adjectives, or compound words that are added to it, for example: Karmas may be described as sAtvika, rAjasika or tAmasika; nitya, naimittika; sa~nchita, kriyamANa (Agami), and prArabdha; kAmya, niShkAma; nyAyya, viparIta; shAstra-vidhanokta or avidhipUrvaka; akarma, vikarma, naiShkarmya; svabhAvaja/sahaja.

The Bhagavad-Gita, which Shankara has called `samasta-vedArtha-sAra-sa~Ngraha’ or the `epitome of the essentials of the whole Vedic teaching’ (or Spiritual Knowledge), is the incomparable vade mecum in explaining all the implications of the word Karma. It is a triune synthesis of dharma-shAstra, karma yoga-shAstra, and mokSha-shAstra. Any reader has a wide choice of verses to select in understanding this unique word. The present article is only one such selection, by no means exhaustive, and is only meant to serve as a pointer to other treasures.

Karma and Moksha: Action and Liberation

The word `karma’ yields over 300 words when associated with other prefixes and words to form compound words. The frequency of the word is relatively small in the Vedas & Upanishads, though the major portions of the Vedas (saMhita-s, brAhmaNa-s) are known as Karma-Kanda, i.e. dealing with rituals of worship. They, and the `dharma-shAstra’-s (scriptures on conduct), deal with the do’s and don’ts for the effective functioning of individuals, families, and society. The word has been repeated over a hundred times in the Gita.

The whole pursuit of Reality, the abode of Immortality (13:13) and Imperishable Bliss (5:21), is the effort to transcend the bondage or limitations caused by action. Every ego-centric action leaves an impression (vAsanA) on the mind (or chitta – the memory store-house) serving as a seed to germinate into further action, and results in consequences (karma-phala), that have to be experienced (enjoyed or suffered) in the present or subsequent life. These tendencies (vAsanA-s) can be countered by proper discipline of unselfish actions which leave impressions (saMskara-s). This wiping out of vAsanA-s (vAsanA-kShaya) itself is known as liberation (mukti).

The goal of action is to attain `actionlessness’, (naiShkarmya – Gita 3:4, 18:49). Immortality, freedom from delusion and sorrow and sin, peace, bliss, freedom from desire and anger, are the fruits of this pursuit, as attested in the following verses.

Gita 18:5, yaj~na-dAna-tapaH-karma pAvanAni manIShiNAm – purifiers of the wise.
5:11: “yogins perform action, without attachment for the purification of self.”
4:24 – “Brahman verily shall be reached by one who always sees Brahman in action.”
4:33 – “All action is comprehended in wisdom”.
4:37 – ” Wisdom-fire reduces all actions to ashes.”

Shankra Bhashya on Gita 3:16 states: ` ….till one attains the qualifications for Devotion to the knowledge of the Self, one who knows not the Self and is therefore qualified (for action only) should resort to Devotion to action as a means of attaining Devotion to knowledge.”

In Gita 4:25-32, Krishna defines the manifold yajna-s which are born of action (Bhashya: “in deed, speech and thought”, the not-Self, for the Self is actionless. If you realize that these are not my actions, I am actionless, I am unconcerned, you will be released by this right knowledge, from evil, from the bond of samsara”).

In Gita, 5:8-9, are described other actions (“seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, going, sleeping, breathing, speaking, letting go, seizing, opening and closing the eyes”,) which are expressed by a truth-knower as “I do nothing at all, the senses move among the sense-objects.”

Actions, or the flux of events or changes in phenomena, happen in Prakriti (Gita 7:4) or in Kshetra (13:5-6) when applied to an individual. 3:27 – “Actions are wrought in all cases by the energies of Nature (Prakriti). One whose mind is deluded by egoism thinks `I am the doer’. ”

How does Vedanta view Karma?

Gita 18:13 – (also 2:46, 4:33) Bhashya – “all action ceases when the knowledge of the Self arises, so that Vedanta, which imparts Self-knowledge, is the `end of action’; (sA~Nkhye kRRitAnte)”.

Other References From Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita on Karma

The classical definition of karma is given in Gita 8:3: bhUtabhAvodbhavakaro visargaH karmasaj~nitaH – “The offering which causes the origin of physical beings is called action (Karma)”.

Shankara Bhashya on this is: “The sacrificial act which consists in offering cooked rice, cakes and the like to the Gods (Devatas) and which causes the origin of all creatures, is known by the term Karma; for it forms the seed as it were of all beings; it is in virtue of this act that all beings, animate and inanimate, come into existence, after passing through rain and other regions of life.”

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, 1:6:1, states: “This Universe is formed of three entities: name, form, and action.”

Taittiriya Upanishad, 1:11:2-4, gives the guidelines – “……should you have any doubt with regard to duties or customs, you should behave in those matters just as the Brahmana-s (learned ones) do, who may happen to be there and who are able and noble thinkers, who are adept in those duties and customs, who are not directed by others, who are not cruel, and who are desirous of merit…..”

[Jaimini’s Karma Mimamsa codifies in aphorisms (3,454 in 16 chapters) the Karma Kanda (`dharma-jij~nAsA’) of the Veda-s, just as Badarayana’s Brahma Sutra-s (555 in 4 chapters) formulate the Upanishadic `brahma-jij~nAsA’ (Jnana Kanda).

Gita 3:14-15 – “From food creatures come forth; the production of food is from rain; rain comes forth from sacrifice; sacrifice is born of action; know thou that action comes from Brahman; and Brahman comes from the Imperishable. Therefore the all-pervading Brahman ever rests in sacrifice.”

Shankara Bhashya : “…Yajna or sacrifice spoken of refers to what is called `apUrva’; and this is the result of the activities of the sacrificer and his priests (ritviks) engaged in a sacrifice. These activities are enjoined in the Veda (Brahman), and the Veda comes from the Imperishable, the Paramatman, the Highest Self. Because the Veda has arisen from the Highest Self, the Akshara, the Imperishable, as the breath comes out of a man, therefore, the Veda, though all comprehending as revealing all things, ever rests in sacrifice, i.e., it treats mainly of sacrifices and the mode of their performance.”

As the reader can see, the word Karma has a rich history and heritage. A discussion of it is intimately tied to other topics such as reincarnation (rebirth) and moksha (liberation). Please review the following references for more information.

References:

http://www.sankara.iitk.ac.in/gitaindex.htm [Complete Works of
Shankara]

http://www.gitasupersite.iitk.ac.in/ [various commentaries on
Gita]

https://luthar2.files.wordpress.com/2007/07/karma_mimansa.pdf [Jaimini
Sutra-s on Karma Mimamsa]

http://www.archive.org/details/thekarmamaimaacm00keituoft

http://www.mimamsa.org/articles/brief_introduction.html

http://www.geocities.com/profvk/gohitvip/contentsbeach11.html (waves
9&11) [by Prof.V.Krishnamurty]

http://www.hinduismtoday.com/archives/1994/2/1994-2-09.shtml

https://luthar2.files.wordpress.com/2007/07/waystotruth.pdf [by Ananda Wood]

Back To The Truth – Dennis Waite ; 2007 Ch 2; O Books, UK

The Story of JaDa-Bharata By Professor V. Krishnamurthy

Professor V. Krishnamurthy is well known to the Advaitin Hindu community and deeply revered as both a practitioner and a scholar of the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Shrimad Bhagavatam, and other ancient scriptures and texts. He has touched our lives through his healing words, wisdom, and authenticity.

Before his retirement, Professor Krishnamurthy was a professor of mathematics with a distinguished record of service and leadership in the academe. Along with that, he also demonstrated brilliant scholarship of Hinduism. His insight into the ancient texts should come as no surprise. He was trained from childhood by his father Sri R.Viswanatha Sastrigal who was a living example of the ideal Hindu way of life.

A more comprehensive description of Professor Krishnamurthy’s contributions to his profession of mathematics and to Hinduism can be found at the end of the article.

The Story of JaDa-Bharata the Jivan-mukta

By Professor. V. Krishnamurthy

The JaDa-bharata story in Shrimad Bhagavatam is the story of a superlative Brahma-jnAni. There are very few Brahma-jnAnis known to us either through the Puranas or through history. The example of Ramana Maharishi, of the 20th century, known to us in modern times, cannot be missed.

Going back in history, there is Sadashiva Brahmendra (of whom there is very little recorded history), Adi Shankara himself (of whom we know fairly well through his works), and Shuka Brahmam (whose Bhagavatam is very revealing).

The story of JaDa-Bharata is, however, unique among all of them. Lord Krishna describes a Brahma jnAni once each in the 2nd, 12th and 14th chapters of his Gita and also off and on in the fifth chapter.

The Lineage of Bharata

The history of Priyavrata, the first son of Manu Svayambhuva, occurs in the fifth skanda of Shrimad Bhagavatam. Priyavrata’s son was Agnidhra and his son was Nabhi. Nabhi was a great and devout ruler and to him was born another avatar of Mahavishnu, by name Rishabha.

Rishabha, also called Rishabhadeva, had one hundred sons of whom the eldest was Bharata whose story is the content of this article. Incidentally it is this Bharata after whom the country (India) was called BhArata-varsha; before that it was called aja-nAbha varsha.

King Rishaba Retires

King Rishabha on retirement from the duties of the state called his sons before him and gave them all a long sermon on the need to lead a spiritual life. This sermon constitutes the first 27 shlokas of the fifth chapter of the fifth skanda. It is sometimes called Rishabha-Gita. For a sample we take the first shloka here.

“This body is not meant to be used for sensuous enjoyments as done by lowly animals. There are two doors out of this life. One is the door for moksha and the other is the door for the darkness of hell”. (V – 5 – 2 –first half). “The door to moksha is by service to great people.”

Here the words used are *yoshhitAM sangi-sangaM*. To go upward on the spiritual path one needs a direct contact with great people. But to cause a slide downward even a secondary contact with the vile ones will do. The lesson is that one should select one’s friends very carefully.

“By the union of man and woman attachment arises to home, family, sons, wealth and property. Those who want to reach God must see to it that they should advise their children as a father, train their people as a boss or a leader, and teach their disciples as a Guru. A father who does not do so is not a father; a king who does not do so is not a king; a guru who does not do so is not a guru”.

After elaborating such teaching in very forceful words King Rishabhadeva relinquished his kingdom, left his palace and roamed about as one intoxicated with God and the godly, completely nude, with disheveled hair and uncouth appearance. Actually he moved about as if he were senseless, blind, dumb and deaf, a ghost or a drunkard; even though others spoke to him he did not speak, because he was observing total silence:

*jaDAndha-mUka-badhira-pishAchonmAdakavat avadhUta-veshaH abhibhAshhyamANo’pi janAnAM gRRihIta-mauna-vrataH tUshhNIM babhUva* (V – 5 – 29).

This avatara of the Lord is to teach us worldly minded people to change our ways and reach Moksha.

*ayam avatAro rajas-opapluta-kaivalyopa-sikshhaNArthaH*

[Note to Scholars: Incidentally the author Shuka adopts a prose style of narration for most of this fifth skanda. In the other skandas it was all verse; probably he wanted to stick to the way the narration was given by Maitreya to Vidhura in the earlier portions. But now in the fifth skanda he is himself telling the story and this time it is about two great Brahma-jnAnis – Rishabha and Bharata – and as a Brahma-jnAni himself Shuka probably did not want to be bound by meter, prosody etc. which usually are obligatory restrictions in the verse form of narration.]

Bharata As King

Bharata accepted his responsibility as the next king after his father Rishba renounced the world.

Bharata ruled the country for a long time in the most notable manner, without ever swerving from the dharmic path, the path of the holy ones. As a noble king of India, he set a wonderful example for his subjects. Not surprisingly, his people were also following dharma in a remarkable manner.

The yajnas and pUjAs that he performed incessantly purified his mind to such an extent that the Lord was residing in Bharata’s heart almost visibly. Eventually Bharata wished to spend all his time in meditation and solitude. Like his great father Rishaba before him, Bharata ultimately decided to take Sannyasa and retired from the world.

Bharata Leaves the Kingdom

After making his family and subjects aware of his decision, Bharata distributed his kingdom to his sons and and went over to distant pulahAshrama for a period of penance and whole-time spiritual pursuit.

Entirely devoid of any mundane desires or attachments, he was worshipping the Lord with all the flowers, leaves and fruits that he could get in the forest there. His bhakti towards the Lord increased day by day and he was living all the time in a state of total bliss in the company of the Lord in his heart.

The constant contemplation of the lotus feet of the Lord generated a superlative joy of devotional experience. In that joy he forgot himself as well as the very worship he was doing. He just lost himself in divine contemplation in a kind of spiritual trance.

Forming of a New Attachment

One day, after his daily routine bath, Bharata was sitting on the bank of the river for four and a half hours doing the japa of AUM. A solitary doe approached the river for drinking water. Suddenly there was a terrifying roar of a lion. By nature the doe trembled with fear on hearing the roar; frightened and shaken by that roar, the doe jumped across the river. In that frightful jump she gave birth to a young one which fell into the river. The mother doe, due to shock, process of delivery, and the act of springing, fell dead on the other side of the river.

Bharata saw all this and was overpowered with compassion at the poor little deer that had now lost its mother and was about to be itself lost in the current of the river. Instinctively he caught hold of the little one, brought it to his own ashram and started taking care of it. From that day onwards he started feeding it, searched for the proper grass for its food, protected it from wild animals and was doing everything for its care, nourishment and growth.

Gradually Bharata’s time was more and more occupied with caring and tending to the needs of the infant deer. The time that he usually allotted for his spiritual disciplines got reduced steadily to almost nothing.

Compassion and affection are not wrong; in fact they are very noble qualities. But when they become an attachment, the spiritual fall is imminent. Affection ennobles, but attachment enslaves. Love elevates, but desire entraps. This is what happened in the case of this great King Bharata.

Infatuation Clouds Bharata’s Mind

With the attachment to the deer growing in intensity day by day, Bharata started thinking all the time of this deer that was now dearest to him. *Asana-shayana-aTana-sthAna-ashanAdishhu* — whether he was sitting or sleeping, walking or standing, or was eating, he was not wanting to be separated from the young deer. If the deer even for a little time was away from him he worried about its safety and began to wail over the matter. Even when he was trying to do his daily japa the deer would come near him and cuddle around him and he would take pity on it and put it on his lap and appreciate how this pet of his behaves like an own son!

Let us recall that this great king Bharata had renounced his vast kingdom and all the riches which he acquired as well as his family and people, for the sake of pursuing a life of total renunciation and tapas.

How could such a renouncer fall into the trap of worldly affection for a deer-cub and forget even his daily spiritual routine like this? What else could it be but his prArabdha (fate) in the form of this deer? Time passed like this and all his Atma-vichAra had come to a dead stop.

Death Of Bharata

Death comes to everyone and Bharata was no exception. The hour of Death does not wait.

Bharata knew the end was coming. He worried about what would happen to this poor deer-cub when he was gone! He was thinking about it, when he breathed his last. According to Hindu scriptures, a person’s last thoughts and state of mind determine the next birth.

Rebirth of Bharata

Subsequently, in his next life, Bharata was born as a deer!

(Recall Gita: *yaM yaM vApi smaran bhAvam *.. . (VIII – 6).

But because of the intense pUjA and tapas Bharata had been doing in all his previous life, even in the body of the deer, his mind, by the Grace of God, remembered his life as King Bharata and the calamity that had befallen him at the end of that life.

A Meditative Deer

So now Bharata, even as a deer, decided that he would not develop any more attachment or VAsanA. The deer Bharata deserted his surrounding deer-family and somehow went over to the same Pulahashrama where he was doing his tapas in the previous life.

The deer Bharata did not eat tasty green grass or any of the other things that deer are fond of, lest any attachment to food may develop. He only subsisted on a minimum dried grass and lived aloof from any of his own species. He lived in the company of Sadhus who were doing tapas in the Ashrama and was waiting for this life to pass and his prArabdha (destiny) to spend itself. He had decided not to acquire any more vAsanA even if he got a human life.

The end came. When it came, the deer Bharata went to the river and stood up in neck-deep water and for the first time as a deer, raised his voice and ‘spoke’ God’s name, dipped in the water and died!

The Last Birth of Bharata

Bharata’s next birth was in a noble Brahmin family. This was his last birth. His father was a great, scholarly Brahmin with purest intentions who led a religious life, with his nine sons from his first wife and a twin-child from his second wife. Of the twins one was male and the other was female.

The male of the twin was JaDa-bharata, our hero. The name that applied to him in this birth is not mentioned by Shuka. So, to continue our story we shall still call him Bharata. But expositors refer to him as JaDa-bharata. ‘JaDa’ means inert; from his very birth Bharata remained totally silent and was behaving like an idiot, not responding to any provocation. By the Grace of God he had all the memory of his two previous lives, one as King Bharata and the next as the lone deer of Pulahashrama; naturally, he was scared of accumulation of any more vAsanA. So he showed himself as mad, inert, blind, deaf and dumb.

The father, wanting to discharge his responsibilities, and hoping that this jaDa nature of the boy might be cured by a proper samskAra, performed the Upanayanam (thread ceremony) for the boy and prodded him on to do the daily Sandhya worship. But the boy would do no such thing! He was already a Brahma-jnAni and was in that state all the time, though the outside world, including his own family, could not recognize him as such. All their teaching of the Vedas or the Gayatri was a failure as far as they were concerned! The father died in due time and the second wife, the mother of JaDabharata also followed him immediately.

JaDa-Bharata’s Indifference

The nine brothers of JaDa-bharata who were knowledgeable only about the karma-kANDa of the Vedas and had no idea of the Brahmavit among them treated him as a good-for-nothing fool. Consequently they simply extracted work from him and fed him only some rotten food, that deserved to be thrown in the garbage.

JaDa-Bharata came to be known in the entire neighborhood as a robust young man but a confirmed idiot. Whatever menial work anybody gave him he did it, but not intelligently. They put him as a sentry in the fields to ward off birds and he sat there unendingly. Some one gives him instructions to dig and he digs ; someone else comes along and asks him to stop and he stops. Some one gives him a beating for not doing his work properly and he receives it without murmur or protest. Whatever he gets he accepted it, without ever caring whether it is more or less, good or bad. Whatever they gave him, be it rice flour, oil-cake, chaff, spoilt pulses, or charred food – he ate up everything as if it were nectar.

*YadA tu parata AhAraM karma-vetana IhamAnaH sva-bhrAtRRibhirapi kedAra-karmaNi nirUpitaH tadapi karoti kintu na samaM vishhamaM nyUnaM adhikaM iti veda kaNa-piNyAka-palI-karaNa-kulmAsha-sthAlIpurIshhAdIny-api amRRitavad-abhyavaharati //* V- 9 – 11.

It went on like this day by day, year by year. He had decided not to care for this body and so his body was usually filthy, his dhoti dirty, and his face, with a long beard, looked like that of a caveman. He was living as a Brahmavit totally aloof from his body.

The Goddess Saves JaDa-Bharata

It turned out that some rich man wanted to give a nara-bali (sacrifice of a human) to Goddess Kali and had arranged for a captive intended for the nara-bali. But just on the previous night the captive escaped and they needed immediately a substitute for the next morning’s ritual. The rich man sent his assistants to look for a substitute.

They roamed about and found our JaDa-bharata sitting alone in the fields. His robust appearance and youth tempted them to choose him as their victim for the nara-bali and they simply led him on to their boss.

Never had a victim for nara-bali come along with them for his own human sacrifice, as this man did, without the least protest! It appeared to them he was almost willing to die for them.

The next day the ritual started in the presence of the Kali deity. JaDa-bharata was bathed in oil, washed clean, dressed gorgeously, decorated with sandal paste and other cosmetics. Finally the leader of the group got ready to cut off JaDa-Bharata’s head as a sacrifice.

At that time Mother Goddess Kali Herself appeared from the deity and chopped off the heads of the entire gang and saved JaDa-Bharata. We don’t know where JaDa-Bharata went from there.

Upholding Ahimsa (Non-violence) and Jolting the King

The story is picked up by Shuka in another scene. There was one King of Sauvira country, by name Rahugana. He had great intentions to have spirituality lessons from Kapila Muni and so he traveled, carried in a palanquin, to the northwest corner of this country in the hope of meeting Kapila. On the way, one of his eight palanquin-bearers became unable to do his duty and so they needed a substitute. They looked for one and they found our JaDa-Bharata roaming about as if for no purpose. Again his robustness and youth attracted them and he was used as the substitute palanquin bearer.

The strength of the vAsanAs that one inherits from the actions of the past is very great. Noble Sadhus, particularly in the Sannyasa-Ashrama, are so careful even while they walk to see they don’t trample on a living creature. It is an extreme discipline of this kind which is one of the reasons they have cAturmasya-vrata (the vrata during the rainy season of four months), the observance of which requires them, among other things, to stay in the same place and carry on their daily worship or meditation routine.

Our JaDabharata must have gone through such disciplines in his previous lives. That VasanA of ahimsA (non-violence) was so strong in him that as he was walking along carrying the palanquin of King Rahugana in the woods, now and then he jumped forward, still carrying the portion of the palanquin resting on his right shoulder. The jumping was to avoid trampling on some small crawling creature on the ground below. But this jumping of one of the bearers, without the concordant activity or consent of the other bearers, naturally created a sudden jolt and jerk to the occupant of the palanquin. The King opened his window, looked out, and faulted the bearers for jolting him like that. All seven of them said it was not their fault; it was the newcomer who joined them just a little while earlier who was jumping out of step unnecessarily!

JaDa-Bharata Speaks

And that was the starting point of a remarkable dialogue between the King Rahuguna and our hero JaDa-Bharata. The King chastises him in a satirical way, referring to his robust health, fat body and youth. When a second time this chastisement happens, JaDabharata, for the first time in his life, opens his mouth. This portion in the Bhagavatam, going through four chapters, is one of the most treasured pieces in the whole work.

My dear King, says JaDa-bharata, whatever you have spoken sarcastically is certainly true. Actually these are not simply words of chastisement, for the body is the carrier. The load carried by the body does not belong to me. There is no contradiction in your statements because I am different from the body. I am not the carrier of the palanquin; the body is the carrier. Certainly, as you have hinted, I have not labored carrying the palanquin, for I am detached from the body. Your words about my stoutness or otherwise are befitting a person who does not know the distinction between the body and the soul. The body may be fat or thin, but no learned man would say such things of the Atman. As far as the Atman is concerned, I am neither fat nor skinny; therefore you are correct when you say that I am not very stout. Also, if the object of this journey and the path leading there were mine, there would be many troubles for me, but because they relate not to me but to my body, there is no trouble at all.

Fatness, thinness, bodily and mental distress, thirst, hunger, fear, disagreement, desires for material happiness, old age, sleep, attachment for material possessions, anger, lamentation, illusion and identification of the body with the self are all transformations of the material covering of the Atman. Only a person who has identified himself with his body is affected by these things. Consequently I am neither fat nor skinny nor anything else you have mentioned.

My dear King, you have unnecessarily accused me of being dead though alive. In this regard, I can only say that this is the case everywhere because everything material has its beginning and end. As far as your thinking that you are the king and master and are thus trying to order me, this is also incorrect because these positions are temporary. Today you are a king and I am your servant, but tomorrow the position may be changed, and you may be my servant and I your master. These are temporary circumstances. The differentiation is temporary, and it expands only from usage or convention. I do not see any other cause. In that case, who is the master, and who is the servant? Nonetheless, if you think that you are the master and that I am the servant, I shall accept this. Please order me. What can I do for you? You said you are going to punish me severely. What will you gain by punishing me? You will be only punishing my body; but I have actually punished this body by never tending to it. You are only powdering the already powdered chaff. There will be no effect.

King Recognizes JaDa-Bharata As A Self-Realized Soul

The King was stunned and amazed when he heard this. He jumped from the palanquin, fell at the feet of JaDabharata and asked for being taught spiritual wisdom. There ensues then a three-chapter dialogue between the King and JaDabharata containing the essence of advaita. The King asks questions and the Brahma-jnAni JaDabharata answers them meticulously.

Material pains and pleasures are only external. People interested in them are far from spiritual advancement. It is the mind, contaminated by the three modes of Nature, that makes the living entity wander through different species of life. If the mind can become unattached to material enjoyment, it becomes the cause of liberation.

All things on earth, moving or unmoving are nothing but different combinations of substances coming from the earth. We are all but dust and dust shall we end in. This universe itself has no ultimate existence.

Non-duality is the ultimate truth. This material existence is a forest. The Jiva through various births wanders through this forest and suffers untold miseries but does not know how to get out of this. The only way to get out of this is through satsangh. And the Brahma-jnAni concludes his teaching with the following emphasis:

*rahUgaNa-etat tapasA na yAti na cejyayA nirvapaNAd-gRhAd-vA /

nac-chandasA naiva jalAgni-sUryaIH vinA mahat-pAda-rajobhishhekaM *// Bh. V – 12 – 12

Rahugana, Unless one bathes in the dust from the feet of the devotees, this Absolute Truth cannot be learnt. Not by penance, nor by yajna, nor by renouncing the household, nor by Vedas, nor by torturing oneself in water, fire or the Sun (can it be learnt).

Summary

To sum up we shall only recall the following four shlokas from the Gita which describe a Brahma-jnAni. There is perhaps nothing more telling than the story of JaDa-Bharata to illustrate these profound declarations of the Lord Himself:

V-17: Their intellect absorbed in That, their self being That, established in That, with That for their supreme goal, they go whence there is no return, their sins dispelled by knowledge.

V -18: The wise men look, by nature, equally upon a Brahmana, rich in learning and humility, on a cow, on an elephant, and on a mere dog and on a dog-cooker (an out-caste).

V -19: Here [i.e. even while living in the body.] itself is rebirth conquered by them whose minds are established on sameness. Since Brahman is the same (in all) and free from defects, therefore they are established in Brahman.

V- 20: Resting in Brahman, with steady intellect and unclouded, the knower of Brahman neither rejoices on obtaining what is pleasant nor grieves on obtaining what is unpleasant.

Om ShAntiH ShAntiH ShAntiH.

Prof. V. Krishnamurthy
profvk@yahoo.com

Also see, http://www.harshasatsangh.com/ProfVK/Raasa/LeelA.htm

Prof. V. Krishnamurthy M.A. of Madras University and Ph.D, of Annamalai University, is an ex-Director of K.K. Birla Academy, New Delhi. Formerly he was Dy. Director and Prof. of Mathematics at Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani for two decades. While at Pilani he was one of the top-ranking academic administrators who were responsible for the multifarious academic reforms for which BITS is now well known. His wide and varied interests in teaching and research include assignments at the University of Illinois, Urbana, Ill., U.S.A. and University of Delaware, Newark, DE., U.S.A. His mathematical research contributions are in the areas of Functional Analysis, Topology, Combinatorics and Mathematics Education.

Professor Krishnamurthy has been the President of the Indian Mathematical Society, President of the Mathematics Section of the Indian Science Congress Association, Executive Chairman of Association of Mathematics Teachers of India, and National Lecturer and National Fellow of the University Grants Commission. He has been Leader of the Indian team for the International Mathematical Olympiad, held at Bombay in 1996. His books in Mathematics include: Combinatorics: Theory and Applications; Introduction to Linear Algebra (jointly with two others); The Culture, Excitement and Relevance of Mathematics; Challenge & Thrill of Pre-College Mathematics (jointly with three others)and, The Clock of the Night Sky. and What is Mathematics? – An explanation through two Puzzles (In Tamil).


Professor Krishnamurthy was also trained systematically in the traditional Hindu scriptures by his father Sri R.Viswanatha Sastrigal, a scholarly exponent who was himself a living example of the ideal Hindu way of life. Prof. Krishnamurthy has given several successful lectures on Hinduism, the Ramayana, the Gita, the Upanishads, and Srimad Bhagavatam to Indian and American audiences. His expositions are known for their precision, clarity and an irresistible appeal to the modern mind. His books on religion include: Essentials of Hinduism; Hinduism for the next Generation; and, The Ten Commandments of Hinduism. He has also authored a series of 18 poster-size charts on Hinduism, entitled SADHARMA (= Sanatana Dharma Ratna Mala). These are unusual expositions with visual support, on the concepts ideals and traditions of the Hindu way of life, presented by an incisive scientific mind in a totally novel manner never before tried by any exponent of religion formally or informally.

A number of writings of his on Religion and Philosophy are on the web at http://www.geocities.com/profvk/ entitled: Science and Spirituality and Gems from the Ocean of Hindu Thought, Vision and Practice.

His recent books on religion are Kannan sorpadi vaazhvdeppadi (in Tamil) with an appendix on Dhruva-Stuti – An Upanishad Capsule (Published by Alliance Co., Mylapore, Chennai) and Science and Spirituality – A Vedanta Perception (Published by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan).

Live Happily the Gita Way – An Advaitic approach” is under publication. He was given the Distinguished Service Award by the Mathematics Association of India in 1995, the Seva Ratna award by the Centenarian Trust, Chennai, in 1996, and the Vocational Service Award for Exemplary Contributions Education by the Rotary Clubs of Guindy and Chennai Samudra in September 2001.

Self, Shakti, Heart, and Enlightenment in Advaita: By Dr. Harsh K. Luthar

Often on the spiritual path, the topics of best postures, best techniques of meditation, best behaviors conducive to spiritual growth, best gurus, etc., come up. All of these questions are appropriate to their time and circumstances.  Such questions were frequently put to Bhagavan Ramana.

Underlying all such questions is the fundamental theme or inquiry as to what constitutes superior spiritual practice that will lead to improvement in one’s mental and physical conditions and finally to Self-Realization or Enlightenment. From this perspective, Self-Realization is viewed as an attainment. It is something that is achieved by an individual by making the right effort. This approach in its methodology is not too different than that of a talented world class athlete, who after having trained rigorously, wins a gold medal at the Olympics.

This point of view emphasizes the need to focus the mind in order for it to expand and evolve to higher levels. Spiritual practices based on this foundation, involve meditating in a particular posture, concentrating on chakras, raising the kundalini shakti, practicing mantras, deep breathing, and doing pranayama exercises.

The Yoga paths explicitly incorporate the idea of controlling and developing the mind to gain entry into Samadhi and Super-conscious states. Most religions have this philosophy at their core; that without hard work one does not succeed either in life or in knowing God.

The General Spiritual Path Model

Buddha is supposed to have said to his disciples as he was dying, “Work out your salvation with diligence.” He meant that you have to personally work it out and attain Nirvana by right conduct, right practice, right meditation, etc.

The same principle is present in Jainism and most of the schools of thought in Hinduism. In Jainism, one attains to Moksha through one’s own individual efforts. In Hinduism, one achieves Moksha by God’s Grace. However, in most schools of Hinduism, one only benefits fully from God’s Grace, when one has made the right effort on the spiritual path by following one’s Dharma and by meditating on the nature of the Self.

Although it is a complex topic, the general spiritual model that we have before us is this: There is a spiritual path, there is the goal of Enlightenment or Self-Realization, and you have to expend much effort, and walk on the path for a long time in order to reach the destination. While you are walking, you may even have to go through the “dark night of the soul” a few times, because there are so many temptations along the way and things can sometimes appear hopeless and quite depressing.

So not only is there the possibility of tripping and falling due to worldly obstacles, but one also may give up on the whole idea of Liberation, Salvation, Enlightenment, Nirvana, Moksha, and/or getting to Heaven. Indeed many on the spiritual path do end up concluding that there is no meaning in life or the spiritual aspiration at all and kick themselves for missing out on the pleasures of their youth by having rejected the philosophy of “Eat, Drink, and be Merry” prematurely.

However, experienced sages know that what practices or behaviors will be helpful to the seeker on the spiritual path seems to depend on one’s conditioning, physiology, culture, background, etc. Although there is a general framework on how to pursue one’s aspiration for Enlightenment or Self-Realization, the truth is that one has to make the path as one walks on it because each individual is unique. Therefore, the view of “Eat, Drink, and be Merry”, within reason and in moderation, may be fully compatible with the spiritual life. It is the overall context that has to be understood.

The Self-Knowledge of a Sage

For the one abiding spontaneously and inherently in the Self-Truth of Reality, questions of methods, techniques, and practices, and the path become moot. When clarity of Self arises, any technique may be practiced and any path may be walked or one may give up all techniques and paths. For such a person, the Self-Attention itself absorbs attention regardless of where it is focused outwardly. The essential element in this understanding is the Recognition by Awareness of its Innate Wakefulness. Awareness is always self-aware by its very nature.

When awareness remains pure and spontaneously self-focused (perpetually in communion with itself), the subtle duality between awareness/attention (as Pure I AM) and its Source is seen to be illusory.

Then even the witness disappears, there being nothing to witness. The “I AM” disappears having nothing to point to. Spontaneously with the I AM Awareness/Shakti merging in its Source, the Self is Recognized. The Self Recognizes It Self by It Self and Through It Self as its own Source. It Sees and Recognizes that It has Always Been the Source. That It Is the Eternal Source, the causeless cause.

This is the Supreme Beauty of the Heart. It absorbs the Shakti, and along with it the Mind, thus swallowing time and space.

How can one speak of this Silence? The Silence that transcends all understanding and knowledge can only be indicated indirectly.

Great sages like Sri Ramana Maharshi never tire of pointing out that, —That Which is Real and Absolute Always Exists and is not absent even now—. How can Reality, whether one calls it God, Consciousness, Absolute, Nirvana, Moksha, Kingdom of Heaven, or by some other name be present at one time and absent at another? Perfection, by its nature, cannot be more perfect sometimes but not others. The approach and method of Advaita is based on this implicit axiom.

The Method of Advaita

The ever-present and eternal existence of our fundamental reality, whatever label we give it (Self-Nature, Buddha-Nature, Original Face, God, Goddess, God Consciousness, Pure Consciousness, Supreme Consciousness) must be here and now in this very moment. Otherwise, it is not Perfect!

This is the fundamental insight and conviction of the path of Advaita and the Advaitic sages. Therefore, we have to grasp the present by simply being present to it. This is the method of Advaita.

How is this done? In this way:

This present ordinary awareness, that you experience, you should notice it and then hold on to it. It is subtle and yet so ordinary. That is why we miss it. No matter how ordinary a baby looks to others, to the mother it is special. She adores her baby and to her it is the most lovely and wonderful child in the world. That is the attitude one must have towards one’s ordinary present awareness.

Like a mother holds on firmly to her child in all conditions, one should keep this ordinary self-awareness in the center of one’s consciousness knowing it to be special. The Supreme Reality It Self is hidden in it. It cannot be anywhere outside of it. If the Supreme Reality is somewhere outside of our ordinary consciousness, it is not perfect. Therefore, we can confidently look for perfection in our ordinariness, our ordinary consciousness.

Finding God in the Heart

There is a Christian saying that “Man is made in the image of God”. There is deep meaning in that. In the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna says to Arjuna, “I am in the Heart of all.” We find such expressions in many of the religions of the world and in major works of different spiritual traditions.

On the path of Advaita, through our present ordinary awareness, we become, or more accurately, recognize our True and Ever-Present Image in the Heart. Advaita goes one step further and states that indeed the illusion of separation between the Individual soul and God lasts only as long as God is not recognized as the Center of our Being, sitting in the Heart as the Heart.

This is the Heart, that the ancients called Sat-Chit-Ananda. Existence, Consciousness, Bliss. The Supreme Self. It is beyond thoughts and concepts. Time and Space do not touch it.

As Sri Ramana has said, — that which is real is ever present—. We have to see what is present right now in this very moment. If we become quiet, we are able to feel our ordinary awareness, the sense of “I Am” as being present in this moment. That is the seed. If we water it and give it food, it grows and the Reality reveals it Self from within.

Editor’s Note:  The Feature Picture depicts photo art of brother Eden Kailash on his fb page.