Distinct Destinations

Distinct Destinations

Until here we discussed about the opposite attributes of Vidya (Knowledge) and Avidya (ignorance), but we did not define them on the basis of their impact and effect on our  lives.

The Knowledgeable ones say that there are two distinct elements (like sun and the shadow) residing in the   sacred alcove reserved in the deepest recess of mind inside the body. Their development follows the pattern of actions performed by the person.

We pray that we should be able to know the Fire (Yagya for different outcomes) which is the bridge to worldly achievements for the performers of action and the Word ( which grants freedom from all fears) which is the final refuge for ones who wish to transcend the material world.

A metaphor of chariot is used here to distinguish these two ways in terms of vehicle, journey and final destination of this mortal life.

The body is the chariot, intellect is the charioteer, mind is the bridle or leash and the soul is the Riding King.The Wise compare the faculties (organs of sensory perception and action) to the horses and the objects of perceptions to the way on which the chariot moves. They say that the soul acting in conjunction with the intellect, mind, body and faculties is the enjoyer of this world.

If intellect is indiscreet in nature and the mind is turbulent, the faculties go wild just as horses can not be tamed by an incompetent charioteer working with weak leash and bridle.

But if the intellect is discreet and self possessed and the mind calm, the faculties follow its command just as the disciplined horses obey the instructions of a skilled charioteer adeptly controlling the bridle.

Scriptures tell us about what becomes of the first kind. One who does not strive to know, whose mind is not disciplined and whose conduct is flawed, does not qualify to know about the Atman. He is resigned to the material world.

But the second kind, who is knowledgeable, possess a composed mind and bear excellent conduct, firmly gets positioned in Absolute after successfully traversing the worldly path.

(to continue)

ॐ The All Pervading Reality

ॐ The All Pervading Reality

Nachiketa: O Lord, If you are pleased and I am deserving, kindly tell me about what you perceive as distinct from Dharma (virtuous way of life that should be upheld even in situation of conflict) and different from adharma (which is not Dharma) too…… tell me about  what is beyond the mechanism of cause and effect….tell about what transcends time defined by past and future.

Yama: (explaining the attributes of the Reality)

  • (Aum) is posited as Absolute by the Veda.
  • (Aum)  is the final destination of practitioners of all methods of penance and austerities.
  • (Aum) is the ultimate achievement for all those who lead pious life after life in quest of knowledge.

The Word   depicts All Encompassing Truth. Knower of this Word gains everything she/he wishes for.

  is the Ultimate Reality and also the substratum of material Universe.

Achiever of this Position becomes one with Atman and is universally acknowledged and worshipped as the Enlightened One.

(Leaving description of commensurate rewards in this world for lowly and average worshippers of Onkar to other scriptures, Yama proceeds to describe the method to perceive Atman who resides in Onkar.)

Atman, the ever-intelligent consciousness, is neither born nor does it die. It does not come into being from other constituents or through conversion of its former self. It is unborn, eternal, ever present and never ending. It is not destroyed with the death of body.

If the assassin thinks that he has destroyed the Atmn with the body or the victim thinks that his Atmn has died too, both have no clue about Atman. The Atman neither kills nor gets killed.

Nachiketa: Then how can a seeker of Truth know the Atman?

Yama: Even smaller than the fundamental particle and still massive than cosmic proportions, Atman resides in the deepest alcove of our heart. The disciplined one who tames one’s organs of perceptions and turns them inward, perceives It clearly and moves beyond sufferings.

 Someone, whose perceptions and points of reference lie in the material world, is unable to even imagine about Atmn. For them it is difficult to conceive something that is stationery and moves to the farthest places at the same time, something that is dormant, still pervades everywhere.

Who else but I can know the Divinity that is abound in bliss but is still alert and aware.

(Now Yama elucidates how the knowledge of Atman can end sufferings)

The knowledge of Omnipresent and All pervading Atman, who resides in physical bodies but still not limited by them, who moves in transient material but is still eternal and permanent, leads the beholder to freedom from the grief.

Even though the Atman is singularly unyielding to common perception, persistent effort can lead to its knowledge.

This knowledge can neither be achieved through study of Veda, listening to scripture nor through contemplation.

Atman graciously reveals itself on its own volition to one who surrenders/ pledges oneself to It.

Besides, this knowledge cannot be glimpsed by one who causes injury to others, whose faculties are  governed by attachments and  whose mind is not quiet and equipoised.

The Disciplined one who doesn’t fit in aforesaid description can establish oneself in the Atman where all distinctions merge and where the death becomes a plaything.

( to continue)

 

Kathopanishad

The Boy who looked straight in the eyes of Death

  • This is the story of a young teenager, Nachiketa.
  •  One day his father Vajashrava undertakes to conduct a ritual of giving away all he has to Brahmans.
  • At the time of culmination, Nachiketa observes that all his father was giving away were hardly his prized possessions. The cows given in gift, were well past their prime.

 

  • It  dawns on him that the ritual was conducted with sole intention of earning praise and recognition.
  •  Desirous to remedy the folly, he intervenes, only to be ignored by his father.
  • Nachiketa continues his contemplation. He realises that he is the most prized possession of his father. Somehow he feels that he should be gifted away by his father to retrieve the situation.
  •  He decides to ask his father whom he intended to offer his only son to.
  •  The father, supremely satisfied with his own conduct initially does not pay heed to his query.
  • Nachiketa persists.
  •  infuriated at son’s temerity, the father declares that the son goes to Yama, the God of Death..
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Origin of Consciousness

Origin of Consciousness

While most of the theories begin with the origin of life or existence in physical dimension, the Vedanta deals with the concept of origin of consciousness.

For something or being to be conscious of its existence or its surrounding, it has to have limitation or existence of others/ surroundings to become aware of. An existence without the other can not experience awareness or consciousness.

Thus Vedanta says that in order to experience Itself Brahma or the Ultimate Existence initiated the creation of Universe or Brahmand. The process of creation  was initiated with the beginning of consciousness which could help It to experience and perceive the other.

Why😃?

The children in the family are now spreading their wings and reaching to far away places. They may sometimes wonder about what defines them in global perspective. The answer which initially may serve to give them information about their religion, could also lead them to faith in their own existence and that of their own finest aspect….commonly represented by the term “God”….

So I am attempting to initiate them to Vedantic Hinduism…the way to the Ultimate Reality, a term coined and often used by my father.